Posts belonging to Category Mark Warner



Does the state of Virginia think you’re a terrorist?

Below you’ll find some pages of a PDF document that was prepared by Trooper John R. Wright of the Virginia State Police and distributed by the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management on their website for “Safety Day” in 2004 (you can view the full report/presentation here [PDF]). UPDATE: The state of Virginia has removed the PDF from their web server; thankfully I downloaded the whole thing to my computer. You can view the original here [PDF]).

I’ll admit up front that my brother (shameless plug: check out his two hate-blogs, On The Right and Orange, VA Independence Day Tea Party) found the information on some nut conspiracy theorist website after a link to the nut’s post was mentioned on Twitter. Now, I’m not one to provide any type of support for nut conspiracy theorists — and I’ve been know to ridicule them on this very blog — but the stuff that the Virginia State Police considers to be a threat is a joke (click for the full-size version):

Note that in the first image (page 22 in the original PDF) that civil disobedience is now considered “low key terrorism”. So, what does that make Martin Luther King Jr.? What about Rosa Parks? What about all those antiwar protesters during the ’60s, ’70s, and even today? I don’t agree with those antiwar protesters nowadays but I don’t consider them having a die-in to be “low key terrorism”.

Note that on the second image (p. 41 in the original PDF) that single issue groups are considered “extremist groups” by the author. Does that apply to someone in the National Rifle Association, or conversely, in the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence? Or maybe the American Life League versus NARAL? Are they both “single issue” “extremist groups”?

And then you get to the “anti-government groups issues” page (p. 49 in original PDF) where they note such things as gun rights, constitutional issues, and tax protesters as points of concern. While this particular report was written in 2004, does the Virginia State Police still consider these issues that warrant their attention? Do they have any concerns about the current tea party tax protesters? I recall that the state of Maryland got caught surveilling antiwar groups for no reason, is the Virginia State Police doing the same thing to tea party tax protesters? And even more insulting is that they include an image of the First Navy Jack — which the United States Navy still uses to this day — on a page regarding “anti-government groups”. Are they keeping an eye out for United States Navy veterans that might have one of those flags in their possession?

And then on the next image (p. 52 in PDF), they characterize “single issue extremists” and “anti-abortion activists” as “hate groups”. Are they keeping a track of what the folks at American Life League are doing or what? They consider them “hate groups” because anti-abortion groups have a desire to bring an end to abortion legally through the legislative and judicial system?

And then on the next image you have the State Police telling government employees to be on the lookout for “unusual requests for information”. Am I going to have a visit by a State Trooper if I send in a FOIA request to the state government asking how much government money goes to Planned Parenthood (remember those anti-abortion activists are “hate groups”!)?

This just goes to show the geniuses that were in control of the Virginia State Police back when Mark Warner was Governor. The same folks that consider this report to be accurate and helpful to employees of the state government are the same people responsible for negotiating that STARS contract for example. Is the Trooper that was responsible for this oh-so-helpful report still employed by the state? If he is, what does that tell you about Tim Kaine and his management and leadership of the state?

How bad is the Virginia Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS) project?

It’s so unreliable that troopers are relying on their personal cell phones to communicate according to Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The head of a Virginia State Police advocacy group says the new statewide communications system being developed for the state police and 20 other state agencies is so unreliable that many troopers use their personal cell phones to communicate.

Ken Bumgarner, president of the Virginia State Police Association, said yesterday that the association, consisting of about 2,100 troopers and retired troopers, has been made aware of numerous problems with the system.[1]

I’m sure it’s a great boon to Trooper morale when they don’t know if anyone will hear them when they key their radio to call for backup or to request other assistance.

Here’s another thing to think about: What happens when the cellular phone system goes down or becomes overloaded because of a natural disaster or terrorist attack? How does the state planning on dispatching units and coordinating activities if the main users of the system (the Virginia State Police) rely on their personal cell phones for communications?

And for almost $340,000,000 the state of Virginia has been hoodwinked into purchasing a system that’s over budget — by over $10,000,000 already — and almost a year behind schedule and the main users of the system (State Troopers) don’t even think the system is reliable. They’re the ones whose lives count on the system working or not and they don’t trust it!

This is just one example of the failures in management and leadership by Warner–Kaine. They’re leaving their employees, which have the most dangerous jobs in the state government,  with inadequate equipment and nothing has been done to fix these problems even after the Auditor of Public Accounts has had to do two different audits on this project.

When will these problems be fixed and how much will it cost?

  1. Tyler Whitley. “Communications system for troopers, others is criticized.” Richmond Times-Dispatch. 19 Jun. 2009: <http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/state_regional_govtpolitics/article/STAR19_20090618-222804/274738/>. []

Will Creigh Deeds continue to follow the failed Warner-Kaine lead on the Virginia STARS project?

The Virginia STARS (Statewide Agencies Radio System) is an ongoing project that’s supposed to provide a digital, interoperable radio system for the Virginia State Police and other state agencies. The system is also supposed to provide for instance interoperability with local agencies. The contract for this project was awarded back in June 2004 and was supposed to be completely operational by September 2009 according to the original timetable.[1]

But, as everything the government does (regardless of whether it’s the federal, state, or local government doing it), the project is behind schedule and over budget. And the General Assembly is starting to get fed up with the whole thing according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Virginia’s new Statewide Agencies Radio System is over budget and behind schedule, in part because of poor planning, the House Appropriations Committee was told today.

The system is to bring new computers and radios to State Police cars and allow them to communicate easily with other public safety agencies.

Exasperated members of the budget committee sharply questioned Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the superintendent of State Police, about the report by a state auditor.

“What the heck are you all doing and how can we trust you?“ asked Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Augusta.

The project is expected to cost about $350 million. It was originally scheduled to be finished at the end of this year, but will need another year of work beyond that deadline, officials said.

Among the problems found by the auditor was that the project management team could not determine whether the work was on budget. It also found insufficient review of a consultant’s invoices before payment.

Flaherty said the deficiencies have been corrected and that some were exaggerated.[2]

Of course: ‘They’re just lying. Everything is a-okay here and we’re completely on budget! In fact, we’re under budget!’ *Snort*.

This is a project that’s currently over $10,000,000 over budget.[3][4] This is a program that should have been completely operational by September 2009.[1] Now, it’s almost a whole year behind in implementation.[5] According to the original project time table, all but one of the seven Virginia State Police divisions should be using the system currently, but as it stands now, only two are.[1][5]

This is a colossal failure of management and leadership by both Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. And Creigh Deeds says he wants to follow in footsteps of the Warner-Kaine style of governance? If so, this whole state is in for more of a Charlie-Foxtrot if he gets elected.

  1. “Frequently Asked Questions About STARS.” <http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads/STARSContract/STARS_FAQ.htm>. [] [] []
  2. Tyler Whitley. “Auditor critical of work on state public safety radio system.” Richmond Times-Dispatch. 16 June 2009: <http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/article/STAR17_20090616-135201/274164/>. []
  3. Department of the State Police. “Notice of Award.” 14 July 2004: <http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads/stars_files/Notice%20of%20Award%20Posting.tif>. []
  4. “Modification #25 to Contract Number 2001-035 Between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Motorola, Inc.” 25 Nov. 2008: <http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads/stars_files/Contract%20Mod%2025%20v6%2011-20-08.pdf>. []
  5. Department of State Police. “Re: Extended Implementation Justification.” 20 Oct. 2008: <http://tinyurl.com/m2h9bd>. [] []

Mark Warner certainly isn’t the brightest (in re online medical records).

From Virginia Lawyers Weekly:

A hacker’s theft of millions of Virginia’s most sensitive prescription drug records isn’t slowing Sen. Mark Warner’s push for electronic medical records.

The former governor convened a conference in Richmond last week about the medical and cost-saving benefits of digitizing hundreds of millions of patient records nationally.

“We’ve been talking about this subject, policymakers have, for decades: how can we make sure that we can bring the power of information technology to our health care system,” Warner told reporters at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Warner, who made a fortune as an early investor in cell phones and information technology, was among the earliest apostles of e-medical records. The federal economic stimulus package that Warner supported provides nearly $20 billion to begin the process of digitizing medical records and sharing them over secure networks.

Here’s the money quote at the bottom of the story (read the whole thing still):

VITA [Virginia Information Technologies Agency] was Warner’s idea for consolidating the state’s disparate and far-flung computer networks and technology procurement systems under one agency. It went online during his term as governor from 2002 to 2006.

“You’re never going to have an infallible system. But … you’ve got to make sure that you learn if there are breaches like this and improve and protect the system,” he said.

Does anyone else feel so safe in the knowledge that the government (or even a business) is going to be responsible for retaining your complete medical record?

The story portrays Mark Warner has being so tech savvy but he shows by his own comments he doesn’t know jack about computer security. And notice that he mentions that you improve security on the system only after the data has been compromised.

And given how a bureaucracy responds to computer security problems, I feel even more secure: Consider how the Oklahoma Department of Corrections implemented their state-wide sex offender registry. They set up the system and how it communicated with the database in such a way that it was possible to change a few words in the URL of the web page and viola, you have the social security number of every person listed on the registry (The Register (UK), Daily WTF).

And when the author of the article at the Daily WTF alerted the Oklahoma DOC to the problem they responded by changing the SELECT term from “social_security_number” to “Social_Security_Number”. Just change the URL to the capitalized term and viola, the information was still available to anyone. The problem was only fixed when the author revealed to the Oklahoma DOC that not only was information available about people that were on the sex-offender registry, but information regarding DOC employees, including medical information, was also available.

The author also theorize that given the way the system was set-up, he could have added records to the tables, enabling him to add people as DOC employees or as sex-offenders.

If that’s the way the government is going to handle my medical records, no thanks.

And, of course, it isn’t just the government that has failed to address security concerns. According to the The Register, a prescription processing firm, Express Scripts, offered a $1,000,000 bounty for the return of personal information, including prescription information in some cases, that a group managed to download.

This also goes back to the nature of computer security. It’s a reactive process. Security flaws and exploits are not fixed until there’s a problem that has been documented. Hell, just look at every security vulnerability in any Microsoft product.

And normal citizens don’t give a damn about their security in most cases, and where do those people work? Some are bound to work in sensitive places. You still have people that either don’t bother with wireless network security on their routers, or if the do, they’re still using WEP which the FBI demonstrated could be cracked in three minutes back in 2005. And even the more secure WPA has been demonstrated to have security vulnerabilities.

And by no means am I saying that paper records in a doctor’s office are secure. But at least then it has to be an employee or a burglar that compromises the information. And it wouldn’t affect millions and millions of people if it does happen. It also would take a lot more time and effort to copy and distribute paper medical records than it would take for electric files. Even if you find the people that compromise an electronic medical record, that information could have been forwarded to a million people already.

And then you have situations where neither the government nor business disclose the fact that their information has been compromised. Was it Bank of America that failed to tell their customers that their personal information had been breached until six months after the incident occurred? And look at how the state of Virginia has been mum about what exactly was compromised with the hacking of their prescription drug database.

All around, this is a Charlie-Foxtrot waiting to happen.

“Let’s Try a Truly Merit-based System for Picking U.S. Attorneys”.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly, citing the The Roanoke Times, is reporting that Timothy Heaphy appears to have been chosen to be the next United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.[1][2] For those unfamiliar with the nomination process for U.S. Attorneys, the Senators representing the state — in this case, Jim Webb and Mark Warner — nominate lawyers to the President who ultimately makes the decision.

I really know very little about Timothy Heaphy, but I do know this: On August 8, 2006, Heaphy contributed $500 to Jim Webb’s (D) campaign.[3] On February 27, 2008, Heaphy contributed $500 to Mark Warner’s (D) campaign; he contributed another $200 to Warner (D) on September 15, 2008.[4][5] He contributed $401 to Barack Obama’s election campaign on February 22, 2008 and another $1,000 to the “Obama Victory Fund” on October 24, 2008.[6][7] He’s also contributed $500 to the “Forward Together PAC”, a Democratic leadership PAC on May 19, 2006.[8] He’s also contributed $1,000 ($500 on March 26, 2008, and another $500 on September 28, 2008) to Representative Tom Perriello’s (D) election campaign against Virgil Goode.[9][10]

And folks, that’s just for federal candidates. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Heaphy has contributed $2,037 to various state candidates and PACs, all Democratic in nature: $500 to Tim Kaine (D) for Governor (12/10/2003),[11] $200 to Creigh Deeds for Attorney General (08/08/2005),[12] $250 to “Moving Virginia Forward” a leadership PAC of Tim Kaine’s (04/27/2007),[13] $247 in-kind to Constance Brennan for Delegate (09/14/2007),[14] $300 to Creigh Deeds for Governor (06/30/2008),[15] $300 to Brian Moran for Governor (06/30/2008),[16] and $240 in-kind to Steve Shannon for Attorney General (12/12/2008).[17]

Timothy Heaphy may be an exceptional prosecutor and may do a great job prosecuting cases in the Western District of Virginia, after all, he has a dozen years of prosecutorial experience in federal courts, however, it still looks like political cronyism. And ironically enough, Heaphy penned an article for Legal Times titled “Good Choice, Sir: Let’s Try a Truly Merit-based System for Picking U.S. Attorneys”.

  1. Peter Vieth. “Heaphy may be choice for US Attorney.” 6 May 2008. The VLW blog. <http://www.valawyersweekly.com/vlwblog/2009/05/06/heaphy-may-be-choice-for-us-attorney/>. []
  2. Mike Gangloff. “Richmond lawyer apparent pick for Western District U.S. attorney.” 6 May 2009. The Roanoke Times. <http://www.roanoke.com/news/breaking/wb/203785>. []
  3. Federal Election Commission. <http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?27020221757>. []
  4. Federal Election Commission. <http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?28020162256>. []
  5. Federal Election Commission. <http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?28020573333>. []
  6. Federal Election Commission. <http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?28930938587>. []
  7. Federal Election Commission. <http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?28934785774>. []
  8. Federal Election Commission. <http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?26950184768>. []
  9. Federal Election Commission. <http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?28990842857>. []
  10. Federal Election Commission. <http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?28933520860>. []
  11. Virginia Public Access Project. []
  12. Virginia Public Access Project. []
  13. Virginia Public Access Project. []
  14. Virginia Public Access Project. []
  15. Virginia Public Access Project. []
  16. Virginia Public Access Project. []
  17. Virginia Public Access Project. []

Mark Warner admits he called Christians, pro-lifers, home schoolers, and the NRA a threat to America.

MARK WARNER FINALLY ADMITS TO DEMEANING REMARKS ATTACKING
PEOPLE OF CHRISTIAN FAITH, PRO-LIFERS, HOME SCHOOLERS AND THE NRA

Gilmore Campaign Demands Warner Apologize for the Remarks and for Lying About Them

Alexandria – The Jim Gilmore for Senate Campaign released a statement today after Mark Warner admitted this weekend that he made disparaging remarks about people of Christian faith, pro-lifers, home schoolers and NRA members — calling them “threatening” to “what it means to be an American”:

“After repeatedly denying for years that he made these intolerant statements, Mark Warner this weekend finally owned up to the hurtful remarks after an audio recording of him making these demeaning comments was made public, ” said Ana Gamonal, the Gilmore Campaign Communications Director.

“What is even sadder than his admitting that he had lied, after of years of denial, is the best Mark Warner could offer was that his comments were perhaps “over the top” and that he had “learned a lot” since then, with no offer of an apology to the people he attacked by inferring they were un-American,” Gamonal said.[1]

“Mark Warner owes Virginians several apologies. One, for making these statements in the first place; Second, for repeatedly “angrily” denying he did so and calling those who were confronting him on it, “disrespectful”, when in fact he was the one being disrespectful.[2]And third, for his lack of sincerity throughout this entire Senate campaign, where he has attempted to paint himself as a “centrist”, while at the same time attesting to the sentiments expressed in these statements, by affirming he would not support Supreme Court justices like of Justice Scalia or Justice Thomas, calling them “out of the mainstream,” Gamonal declared.[3]

“Now, Virginians will be able to hear first hand and in his own words, how Mark Warner really feels about so many of the values Virginians hold dear.”

Click here to hear the audio recording: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpicD6UIq8A

“One of the things you are going to see is a coalition that is just about completely taken over the Republican Party in this state and if they have their way it’s going to take over state government. It is made up of the Christian Coalition, but not just them. It is made up of the right-to-lifers, but not just them. It’s made up of the NRA, but not just them. It is made up of the home schoolers, but not just them. It’s made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of differing views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to what it means to be an American.”

Mark Warner, May 1994

________________________________________

[1] Quotes taken from the Northern Virginia Daily 10/11/08
[2] Quotes taken from the Richmond Times-Dispatch 10/31/2001
[3] Quote taken from the Virginian Pilot 10/4/08

Here’s the video again:

Pass it along.

RWL: “Warner’s explanation: Who are you going to believe? Me? Or your lying ears?”

Check out it out. A sample:

This will cause some fun in the blogosphere and at the very least a major hiccup for Warner, but it’s emblematic of a larger issue with Marky Mark. The Dem nominee is the poster-boy for the “limousine liberal” (as Bob Novak calls them), wealthy politicos who vote for the Democrats on social or foreign policy issues, but mainly driven by an elitist snobbery that has no use for ordinary Virginians or what they think.

Read the whole thing as they say.

Did Mark Warner just have a “macaca” moment?


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