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Archive for January, 2012

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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

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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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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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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