June 20, 2007

What the ???? (Ohio Data Theft Update; Time for an Independent Investigation)

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:04 pm

Y’know, I look at this updated list (HT RAB) of what’s on the “stolen back-up computer tape” taken from an intern’s unlocked car, and I start thinking the list of what is currently NOT in unknown hands is shorter than the list of what is.

(Did I miss the “unlocked” part the first, second, and third time around? Nope, because I don’t think it was there. The June 15 Tech News World story refers to “Thieves who broke into a car belonging to an intern.” You don’t have to “break into” an unlocked car.)

I believe that my suggestion yesterday that an independent investigation take place is now a necessity. The governor and his handlers, with whom I have had no shortage of differences, are being played by someone (singular or plural) in the food chain, and if the y doesn’t watch out, this is going to hurt the governor badly. Frankly, it shouldn’t.

To be clear, if data-protection procedures were inadequate, that is an executive-level problem, and Strickland deserves at least some heat for that. But I’m willing to cut him just a bit of slack for that because he’s right on the edge (which I consider to be about 6 months, and he’s at 5) of where the blame game for the previous guys’ inadequacies (if any) and the realities of a new administration’s transition have to be considered mitigating factors (in this case, just barely).

But in my opinion, the need for an independent investigation is there because we don’t know who and what are causing the situation to continually mushroom. It’s making the governor (unfairly, in this case) look like a buffoon. To be finding out 10 days later that what was thought to be encrypted isn’t, what was thought to be locked wasn’t, and that the scope of what was stolen is still growing, is ridiculous. If the game-playing goes high enough (like to the governor’s cabinet? or a handler?), any attempted internal investigation might be compromised. It’s better to have an independent investigation now and clean house than to either never get a handle on what happened or to have the truly guilty parties engineer some kind of fall-guy/gal result.

I don’t believe Ted Strickland is foolish enough to be dribbling out the bad news like this. If he is, that’s a whole different matter entirely.

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UPDATE: Conservative Culture is not cutting the guv as much slack as yours truly. Columbuser thinks that “the way details are coming out on exactly what information was on the tape seems a bit too controlled.”

UPDATE 2: Don’t the taxpayers and others whose personal info has been compromised deserve the same level of protection given to state employees? Answer: Yes. That’s good. At about $10 per affected person and about 230,000 additional affected persons (at last count), we’re talking about another $2.3 million at least in additional protection costs the state (i.e., taxpayers) will have to bear. That’s for one year.

Here’s an underemphasized point: After the one-year expiration of the protection, it would appear that everyone affected, including the 60,000-plus state employees, will be on their own. I’m not suggesting unlimited protection; I’m just making a point that isn’t being made — which, by the way, should bolster arguments for credit-freeze legilsation.

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Previous Post:
- June 19 — What the ???? (Stolen State Data Was NOT Encrypted)

Carnival Barking (062007)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 1:39 pm

Darn it. I should have submitted an entry to Lisa Renee’s Carnival of Ohio Politics 70, and ferrrr-got.

It’s very worth a visit, despite (or perhaps because) of my oversight.

Quote of the Day: On the ‘Blackstone Tax’

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:24 am

From a subscription-only Wall Street Journal editorial, on the private-equity tax heist Congress is brewing up:

So let’s compare: Country A takes a $3 billion stake like any other investor in a company’s initial public offering. Country B doesn’t bother with such capitalist niceties and instead arbitrarily changes its tax law to grab a share of the IPO’s income stream. Who would have guessed that Country A is Communist China and Country B is America?

Globalarmist Excuse-Making for China Begins; BBC Happily Accommodates Them

Iain Murray at Planet Gore yesterday predicted the enviro reaction to the news that China is ALREADY the world’s biggest carbon emitter, and is running away from the rest of the world:

I look forward to complaints that China has only a sixth of the world’s population but emits a quarter of its CO2, that Chinese auto emissions standards aren’t good enough (Mr Gore?) and that China hasn’t signed Kyoto …..

Murray didn’t have to wait long.

The propagandists are already at work, with the willing help of the BBC:

(UK Foreign Office official John Ashton) pointed out that much of China’s emissions growth was being driven by consumers in the West buying Chinese goods, and noted that China’s emissions per person were still well below those of rich nations.

It is estimated that the average American still pollutes between five and six times more than the average Chinese person.

….. “Responsibility for China’s soaring emissions lies not just in Beijing but also in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo,” said Greenpeace UK director John Sauven.

“All we’ve done is export a great slice of the West’s carbon footprint to China, and today we see the result.

….. “The West moved its manufacturing base to China knowing it was vastly more polluting than Japan, Europe or the US,” he added.

“No environmental conditions were attached to this move; in fact the only thing manufacturers were interested in was the price of labour.

So Ashton says it’s our fault that we’re buying the stuff that the nation with the largest standing army on earth has been forced against their will (apparently) into making, and that we need to cut our emissions by 80%-85% to bring our emissions down to their level. Then we can live like the average person does in China. Uh, no thanks.

As to Suaven, he effectively says it’s everybody’s fault. (By the way, who was Vice President of the USA for eight years while so much of the outsourcing to China took hold?) So I guess there needs to be some kind of worldwide controlling regime that will browbeat everyone into cutting carbon emissions that “cause” global warming — except that there hasn’t been any since 1998. What a bunch of, well, globaloney.

In his daily e-mail this morning, Benny Peiser of CCNet calls the BBC “China’s Mouthpiece” on this issue. Indeed.

NewsBuster Noel Sheppard wondered yesterday if the American media will notice. I would guess that they will, with the Beeb’s template as guidance.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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Also: See last item at this morning’s “Couldn’t Help But Notice” post.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (062007)

Bainbridge, commenting on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs (HT Instapundit; also covered at Boring Made Dull), reveals a cost overrun for the ages:

The chief regulatory culprit is SOX section 404, which requires both management and the company’s outside auditors to annually assess the firm’s internal controls over financial disclosures. The Securities and Exchange Commission initially estimated that section 404 compliance would require only 383 staff hours per company per year.

….. a Financial Executives International survey of 321 companies, however, ….. projected expenditures of 35,000 staff hours — almost 100 times the SEC’s estimate.

Sometimes I’m amazed that the economy can grow at all.

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Maybe this Congress can succeed in their apparent attempt to stop the economy from growing with this economy-stifling tax increase:

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said the taxes on the large oil companies — most of the provisions exempt smaller producers — “will almost certainly lead to gas price increases” as oil companies pass on the added cost. “You can’t raise taxes … by $29 billion and not expect gas prices to increase,” he said.

The American Petroleum Institute, the oil company trade group, said in a statement that the taxes “will discourage new domestic production, discourage new investments in refinery capacity and would lead to the loss of good-paying U.S. jobs.”

On-target commentary on this impending fiasco can also be found at Captain Ed’s place and at Red State.

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This Long Overdue Supreme Court Ruling (HT to Sticky Notes for original news notice) came down last week:

WASHINGTON — In a setback for organized labor, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that states may bar public employee unions from using compulsory dues for political purposes unless individuals give their explicit approval.

Before the “conservative court” crybabies let loose — The decision was unanimous.

IBD wonders: “Now the question is, will the unions obey the ruling?”

Conservatives are crowing about the ruling’s protection, but it really shields any union member who wants to decide where his or her political dollars go — including nowhere. For example, I could envision quite a few Teamsters withholding contributions from a local that supports candidates who are against drilling in ANWR, or antiwar workers not wanting to contribute to a union drive to give to the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who voted for the war at crunch time.

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Globalarmists are going to have to re-”Orient” their thinking. It turns out that this long-anticipated news actually took place last year (HT NewsBusters):

China has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, figures released today show.

The surprising announcement will increase anxiety about China’s growing role in driving man-made global warming and will pile pressure onto world politicians to agree a new global agreement on climate change that includes the booming Chinese economy. China’s emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world’s biggest polluter, for several years, although some reports predicted it could happen as early as next year.

the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency ….. says China produced 6,200m tonnes of CO2 last year, compared with 5,800m tonnes from the US. Britain produced about 600m tonnes.

That’s not just passing us up. That’s flat-out lapping us.

Because of this development, especially in light of the facts (first item at post) that US carbon emissions fell last year while the EU’s (and almost everyone else’s) went up, I propose a new “Leave the US Alone” coalition — Globalarmists have to leave the US alone until they convince the China and India to cut back their carbon emissions and thereby stifle their economic growth and forestall their emergence from centuries of poverty. Good luck.

Update: I see the propagandists are already at work on the situation. See this post.

Positivity: Local heroes rescue driver, toddler

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Hawaii:

Posted on: Sunday, June 10, 2007

At least four men were being called heroes last night after they jumped into the Ala Wai Canal and pulled an unconscious driver from his overturned and submerged pickup truck, officials said.

“You don’t think. You just do it because that could be you down there instead,” said Jim Crites, one of the men who freed the driver from the truck, then performed CPR on him in the water before city rescue personnel arrived. The driver was in critical condition last night at The Queen’s Medical Center.

“It was like something out of a movie,” said witness Mike Hicks, whose car was struck by the truck seconds before it hit a berm and flew into the canal’s murky water.

Within seconds, several witnesses jumped into the water to aid the man trapped in the vehicle’s cab, which rapidly filled with water, said Fire Department Capt. Earl Kealoha.

“Definitely heroes,” he said.

Go here for the rest of the story.