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Archive for January, 2012

Cartoon of the Day

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Stimulus Energy Grants Increased Cyber Vulnerability

Saw this on Twit­ter being high­lighted by my friend Michael Turk, who’s both an icon in the world of GOP eCam­paign work (he started the first state party web­site in New Mex­ico in the mid-90s when the web was young and is the “Bill Walsh” in terms of the “Who’s Who” of GOP eCam­paign spe­cial­ists) and an expert in the world of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and new technology.

Frankly, it should con­cern any­one who’s ever been online.

The Depart­ment of Energy’s rush to award stim­u­lus grants for projects under the next gen­er­a­tion of the power grid, known as the Smart grid, resulted in some firms receiv­ing funds with­out sub­mit­ting com­plete plans for how to safe­guard the grid from cyber attacks, accord­ing to an inspec­tor general’s report.

Offi­cials approved cyber secu­rity plans for Smart Grid projects even though some of the plans con­tained short­com­ings that could result in poorly imple­mented con­trols,” states the report. “We also found that the Depart­ment was so focused on quickly dis­burs­ing Recov­ery Act funds that it had not ensured per­son­nel received ade­quate grants man­age­ment training.”

Accord­ing to the report, 36 per­cent of the grant appli­ca­tions sub­mit­ted were lack­ing one or more ele­ments in their cyber­se­cu­rity plans. Three out of the five cyber­se­cu­rity plans reviewed by the IG were incom­plete, and often didn’t address weak­nesses pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied by the Energy Department.

We acknowl­edge that the secu­rity plans will evolve as sys­tems are devel­oped and imple­mented. How­ever, this prac­tice may be prob­lem­atic in that any exist­ing gaps in a recipient’s secu­rity envi­ron­ment could allow sys­tem com­pro­mise before con­trols are imple­mented,” the report states.

Like­wise, approved ele­ments that were not well-defined in the plan could leave the sys­tem sus­cep­ti­ble to com­pro­mise even after the cyber secu­rity plan had been fully implemented.”

The IG rec­om­mended the Energy Depart­ment ensure grantees’ cyber­se­cu­rity plans are com­plete, con­tain­ing thor­ough descrip­tions of poten­tial risks and mit­i­ga­tion strategies.

Yes, you read that right.  In the mad rush to give com­pa­nies a check, the Energy Depart­ment will­ingly let cyber­se­cu­rity go down the toi­let to enti­ties who either had lit­tle or no plans for secur­ing their work.

Happy online shop­ping folks.  (Of course, lax con­trol on one’s credit card num­bers online is prob­a­bly the least of the poten­tial prob­lems here.  Maybe I can talk Kurt into giv­ing the mil­i­tary point of view on this news…)

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GAB Takes Unfortunate Step To Complete “Democratic Hacks” Status">GAB Takes Unfortunate Step To Complete “Democratic Hacks” Status

Sorry, but Kevin Kennedy is still a Doyle Hack.  Always was a Doyle Hack, and remains a Doyle Hack.

This only proves it.

State elec­tion offi­cials put off mak­ing recall peti­tions avail­able pub­licly on Mon­day after hear­ing pri­vacy con­cerns from peo­ple who signed them.

The state Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­ity Board pro­vided copies of the peti­tions against Gov. Scott Walker to Walker’s cam­paign on Fri­day and had said that it planned to post copies of them on its web­site on Mon­day. But agency spokesman Reid Mag­ney said the board was hold­ing off on post­ing them online after hear­ing con­cerns about a stalk­ing vic­tim and oth­ers who did not want their names released.

Recall orga­niz­ers say more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple signed peti­tions to recall Walker, nearly dou­ble the 540,208 valid sig­na­tures. The board has until March 19 to deter­mine if enough sig­na­tures were filed to force a recall election.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Repub­li­can state sen­a­tors also face poten­tial recalls. Copies of the peti­tions against the sen­a­tors were posted on the board’s web­site in Jan­u­ary — just as they were last year for six Repub­li­cans and three Democ­rats in the Sen­ate who faced recall.

The account­abil­ity board is still elec­tron­i­cally scan­ning copies of the Kleefisch peti­tions and plans to give them to her cam­paign later this week.

In the past, the account­abil­ity board has treated recall peti­tions as pub­lic records, just as it has the rou­tine nom­i­na­tion peti­tions that can­di­dates must sub­mit to get on the bal­lot. Mak­ing both types of peti­tions avail­able has allowed the gen­eral pub­lic to ver­ify that enough proper sig­na­tures were gathered.

My sin­cere sym­pa­thies to those who have con­cerns over stalk­ers, but this rea­son­ing is pop­py­cock!  These are pub­lic doc­u­ments, have always been pub­lic doc­u­ments, and noth­ing should change that precedent.

Also, some­thing tells me GAB wasn’t up in arms when crap like this hap­pened last April.

Over the last few weeks thou­sands of Wis­con­sin vot­ers signed a recall peti­tion in Green Bay to recall [Demo­c­ra­tic State Sen­a­tor] Hansen and when vot­ers sign such peti­tions they must give their address and phone num­bers so that author­i­ties can ver­ify the voter’s sig­na­ture in order to approve the peti­tion. Now it seems that the Wis­con­sin Demo­c­rat Party has got­ten hold of these peti­tions and have begun a tele­phone harass­ment cam­paign against the indi­vid­ual vot­ers that signed the petitions.

The Wis­con­sin GOP has dis­cov­ered this dis­gust­ing cam­paign and have found that the Democ­rats are using a fake phone num­ber and a fake caller ID in order to get vot­ers to answer the phone only to be harangued about hav­ing signed the recall petition.

So…if you’re a Demo­c­rat will­ing to harass Repub­li­cans in the Green Bay who wanted to recall Dave Hansen, that’s okay by GAB stan­dards.  But if you’re a Demo­c­rat who signed a peti­tion to recall Scott Walker, you’re infor­ma­tion is sud­denly need­ing Level 7 Clear­ance from the NSA?

Fas­ci­nat­ing.

And a bunch of bull.

Funny lit­tle legal end­ing to the Hansen Recall calls.  Even­tu­ally, the Hansen Recall Com­mit­tee went to court to try to have the calls stopped.  They lost in their bid to get a restrain­ing order placed on the out-of-state tele­mar­ket­ing firm DPW was using.

Didn’t see the ACLU fight­ing for the Brown Co. GOP last year, did you?

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We Don’t Do Math, We Do Talking Points

Amaz­ing video from today’s White House Press Brief­ing where Press Sec­re­tary (and for­mer TIME reporter) Jay Car­ney is asked by ABC News’ Jake Tap­per about get­ting a “score” from the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Office on the so-called “Buf­fet Rule.”  It’s Washington-speak for how much is it going to cost, and how much rev­enue will it pro­duce for the fed­eral government.

Well, as the video shows, Car­ney won’t say.

You used to hear lib­eral admin­is­tra­tions talk about the inten­tions of their poli­cies when they couldn’t get the math to add up.  Here, we have a lib­eral admin­is­tra­tion com­pletely bypass­ing the math and say­ing “Trust us.”

Yeah, right.

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STOCK Act Momentum Going, “Pass Duffy’s Bill Instead”">Author Who Got STOCK Act Momentum Going, “Pass Duffy’s Bill Instead”

Yet, I highly doubt his opin­ion is much in high demand as the Sen­ate races to pass the STOCK Act, which has been called highly-flawed and toothless.

Aware that most Amer­i­cans would like to dump them all, mem­bers of Con­gress hope to regain some sense of trust by sub­ject­ing them­selves to tougher penal­ties for insider trad­ing and requir­ing they dis­close stock trans­ac­tions within 30 days.

A pro­ce­dural vote Mon­day would allow the Sen­ate later this week to pass a bill pro­hibit­ing mem­bers of Con­gress from using non­pub­lic infor­ma­tion for their own per­sonal ben­e­fit or “tip­ping” oth­ers to inside infor­ma­tion that they could trade on.

I see they shrank the 90 day dis­clo­sure win­dow down to 30 days.

It’s a start I guess.

Peter Schweizer, who’s book “Throw Them All Out” got the ball rolling on the issue of Con­gres­sional insider trad­ing has openly stated in inter­views that the STOCK Act — a per­pet­ual retread since 2006 — doesn’t go far enough.  The bill has very lax dis­clo­sure rules (Trades only over $1,000, a longer trans­ac­tion dis­clo­sure period than cor­po­rate Amer­ica) and some saw the SEC will not be able to enforce it.

Schweizer has looked at the “RESTRICT Act”, a com­pan­ion bill by Wisconsin’s own Sean Duffy and likes what he see.

There’s still much work to be done,” said Schweizer.  “We need to get behind Rep. Duffy’s RESTRICT Act and let our lead­ers know that we will not stand idly by as mem­bers of Con­gress profit off of access to mate­r­ial, non­pub­lic information.”

In Duffy’s RESTRICT Act, all mem­bers of Con­gress, the pres­i­den­tial admin­is­tra­tion and polit­i­cal appointees must either form a blind trust, or have three to five busi­ness day to dis­close any and all stock trans­ac­tions no mat­ter what the size.  It’s rules very sim­i­lar to what the SEC forces major cor­po­rate CEOs to do.

The sad part is no one knows if Duffy’s bill will even see the light of day dur­ing the debate.  The STOCK Act is a lot like the older sib­ling over-shadowing a much tal­ented younger sib­ling on stage by yelling to its par­ents (in this case the media and con­gres­sional lead­er­ship) to “WATCH ME!!!” while mess­ing up the rou­tine its lit­tle sis­ter is per­form­ing perfectly.

I’ve writ­ten on both the STOCK and RESTRICT Acts in the past.  You can read about it here.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Lasee Suspending Senate Run

Well, that was fun.

State Sen. Frank Lasee announced this evening that he is sus­pend­ing his cam­paign for the U.S. Sen­ate, say­ing in a state­ment it is not the right time to run.

Lasee, R-DePere, has badly trailed the other GOP con­tenders in recent polling, and his deci­sion to sus­pend the cam­paign comes just days before can­di­dates are required to report their fourth quar­ter fundrais­ing totals to the FEC.

Lasee said he looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing his ser­vice in the state Sen­ate and thanked his supporters.

It is impor­tant to send a real con­ser­v­a­tive to Wash­ing­ton to work for us, some­one with the right ideas that will get our coun­try work­ing again. A con­ser­v­a­tive that under­stands that we most get the gov­ern­ment out of the way, bal­ance our bud­get with­out rais­ing taxes and cre­ate an energy pol­icy that increases sup­ply and low­ers costs,” Lasee said. “The cur­rent path that Pres­i­dent Obama and the Democ­rats have us on, is not sus­tain­able, it will lead to eco­nomic ruin.”

Finan­cial reports for the 4th Quar­ter of 2011 are due on Tues­day.  Lasee bolt­ing now is prob­a­bly to pre­vent a ton of ques­tions regard­ing what could be a very light quar­ter of fund raising.

 

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Cartoon of the Day

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Image of the Day

Dear Boat Cap­tains of the World,

Learn how to steer those things already. (H/T Don Surber)

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Bachmann to Seek Re-Election

Well, that’s another pre­dic­tion blown already.

(I’m still not ready to acknowl­edge the Pack­ers not going to the Super Bowl…maybe I can just blame that one on Wiggy jinx­ing the Pack?  Damn that Cow­boys fan!)

U.S. Rep. Michele Bach­mann, the Min­nesota con­gress­woman who dropped a bid for the GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion in Jan­u­ary, will run for re-election to Con­gress in 2012, her cam­paign said Wednesday.

Bachmann’s polit­i­cal future had been in ques­tion ever since she announced she was sus­pend­ing her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign on Jan­u­ary 4, the day after fin­ish­ing sixth in the Iowa cau­cuses. Bach­mann has rep­re­sented Minnesota’s sixth dis­trict since 2007, but gained an out­sized pro­file in the last three years for her vocal sup­port of the tea party move­ment and her pres­i­den­tial bid.

Bachmann’s cam­paign spokesman, Guy Short, con­firmed Wednes­day she would seek reelec­tion for her seat, not­ing there were “more details to come” on her offi­cial announcement.

Min­nesota is still redraw­ing its con­gres­sional dis­tricts, mak­ing the con­tours of Bachmann’s region uncer­tain. How­ever, no other can­di­dates have announced they are run­ning for the seat. The dis­trict includes north­ern and east­ern sub­urbs of the Twin Cities and has been rep­re­sented by a Repub­li­can since 2003.

Prior to being rep­re­sented by Bach­mann, the seat was held by Rep. Mark Kennedy.  Kennedy relin­quished the seat for an unsuc­cess­ful Sen­ate run in 2006.

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