Friday, May 29, 2009

Obama Cyber Plan: NSC will protect our rights & privacy

I really like #4 on his list – appointing the NSC to protect our privacy & civil liberties. Are you kidding me?

From the Washington Post:
President Barack Obama today pledged to make securing the nation's most vital computer networks a top economic and national security priority, broadly detailing the results of 60-day cyber security review that calls for a range of responses to help improve the security of information networks that power the government and the U.S. economy.

1. Appoint a cybersecurity policy official responsible for coordinating the Nation’s cybersecurity policies and activities; establish a strong NSC directorate, under the direction of the cybersecurity policy official dual-hatted to the NSC and the NEC, to coordinate interagency development of cybersecurity-related strategy and policy.
2. Prepare for the President’s approval an updated national strategy to secure the information and communications infrastructure. This strategy should include continued evaluation of CNCI activities and, where appropriate, build on its successes.
3. Designate cybersecurity as one of the President’s key management priorities and establish performance metrics.
4. Designate a privacy and civil liberties official to the NSC cybersecurity directorate.
5. Convene appropriate interagency mechanisms to conduct interagency-cleared legal analyses of priority cybersecurity-related issues identified during the policy-development process and formulate coherent unified policy guidance that clarifies roles, responsibilities, and the application of agency authorities for cybersecurity-related activities across the Federal government.
6. Initiate a national public awareness and education campaign to promote cybersecurity.
7. Develop
U.S. Government positions for an international cybersecurity policy framework and strengthen our international partnerships to create initiatives that address the full range of activities, policies, and opportunities associated with cybersecurity.
8. Prepare a cybersecurity incident response plan; initiate a dialog to enhance public-private partnerships with an eye toward streamlining, aligning, and providing resources to optimize their contribution and engagement
9. In collaboration with other EOP entities, develop a framework for research and development strategies that focus on game-changing technologies that have the potential to enhance the security, reliability, resilience, and trustworthiness of digital infrastructure; provide the research community access to event data to facilitate developing tools, testing theories, and identifying workable solutions.
10. Build a cybersecurity-based identity management vision and strategy that addresses privacy and civil liberties interests, leveraging privacy-enhancing technologies for the Nation

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is Billboarding Torture?

The battle continues over billboards in Bossier City
The Council proposed that when a billboard is destroyed for any reason, it cannot be replaced. This of course met resistance.
"I'm shocked," Joe Kane, general manager and vice president of Lamar Advertising's Shreveport office, told The Times, “I think it's very anti-business."
The advertisers got the MPC to insert a clause in their proposed bill “that would refer city planners to a complicated formula based on the price of the reconstruction to determine whether the billboard should be rebuilt.”
Councilman Tim Larkin expressed unhappiness with the ordinance as proposed by the MPC.
Planning Comissioner Buster Constanzi replied "If they (the city council) are going to keep trying to control us, they're going to get in a lot of trouble.”
Doubtful, when you consider that the council appoints the members of the commission.
We will be interested to see the final outcome.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shreveport Bossier Tea Party online

If you haven't done it yet, check out the Shreveport Bossier Tea Party online. They have a great website, well organized. I am all for organized protest - vigorous protest. Our founding fathers were the ultimate protestors.
I am particularly impressed that Rob Gaudet is making the effort to keep it non-partisan. Although I personally believe both parties are evil, Republicans naturally gravitate to the site, but there are a lot of Democrats out there who are unhappy and this site is trying to reach them.
Too often during the initial movement it seemed like a cheering squad for the Republican Party. If they can succeed in keeping it neutral, it will have a great effect.
Go sign up today - it's free!
You can also find the link on our right sidebar.

Kudos to Robert Adley

Senator Robert Adley is speaking up after his ethics bill was killed in committee. Adley proposed that the governor's office have the same disclosure rules as everyone else.

He quoted Jindal's words from his inauguration - "we must change, we will change" and then added 'except when it applies to me'.

Watch the video from WWL.

I have criticized Senator Adley in the past. I would much rather commend him for actions such as these.

Bonnie and Clyde Days in Gibsland

Tomorrow marks the day, 75 years ago, that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed on a rural highway in Bienville Parish by 4 Texas Rangers, the Sheriff of Bienville Parish and a Deputy.
This weekend you can drive over to Gibsland for Bonnie and Clyde Days. Who knows, you might run into a Barrow, Methvin or a Hamer.
Check out the video below, it has footage of the car that was taken right after the shooting.
Although some have romanticized the pair, we need to remember that they killed 14 people, most of them law enforcement officers.

I thought it would be interesting to find out if any notable people were born on that day. Found one - Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog Synthesiser. Go figure.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Machen chosen Bossier Superintendent of Schools

In the anti-climax of the year, D. C. Machen, Jr., the Assistant Superintendent of Administration, was selected to be the next superintendent of Bossier Parish schools. Machen was in charge of administration during the time that a handful of unsupervised maintenance employees managed to relief Bossier Parish Taxpayers of upwards of $1,000,000.
For a few days, I actually thought that the board might be grudgingly and belatedly listening to the people they represent.
I was wrong.
I was prepared to give Scott Smith or Debbie Hays an opportunity to turn the system around. Despite what I considered baggage, I believe either of them could have succeeded.
Machen has already proved himself. It's hard to turn it around when you're the one who drove it there.


According to The Times:
"Asked of recent fraud committed against the system by employees and contractors, Machen said the individuals involved have been punished by the courts and it is time to move on."
The people who committed the crimes have been punished; the other people who were involved, those who should have been supervising the expenditure of funds, have been rewarded.
This is how the members voted:
For Debbie Deen Hays: Jack Raley, board president; Lindell Webb.
For D.C. Machen: Brad Bockhaus, Allison Brigham, Tammy Smith, Michael Mosura, Bill Kostelka, Julian Darby, Mack Knotts.
For W. Scott Smith: J.W. Slack, Kenneth Wiggins, Eddy Presley.

I can't leave it alone:

Video from Channel 3 shows Machen stating ""I will start off with my employees at the beginning of the school term, rebuilding their confidence that we have not lost confidence in them, what took place on the top of a building is not a reflection of what takes place inside that building."
That's like Obama saying that we should stop spending so much money. Machen was in charge of administration. He acts as if he was not there. Is he attempting to place all of the blame for the lack of oversight on Kruithof? Remember two things: Machen was forced on Kruithof in the first place, and Kruithof manned up and resigned, applying the 'buck stops here' rule.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Coin is in the Air

Who will it be?

A week ago I was sure it would be D. C. Machen. Now, I think it's a pretty even bet in any direction, with momentum (in my opinion) favoring Scott Smith.

We will find out tomorrow night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Bossier makes the news

Carolyn Roy of Channel 12 (KSLA) covered the meet & greet and the forum for Bossier School Superintendent yesterday.
There is no video posted, but you can read the entire article on the KSLA website.
The story notes that one of the finalists acknowledged the elephant in the room:
"Although there were references to fiscal and ethical accountability, there was no direct mention of the federal corruption investigation into alleged kickbacks and no-bid contracts for air conditioning work for the Bossier Parish School District until Scott Smith raised the issue, calling it a "real public relations problem" that needs to addressed. His comments drew applause from members of the audience."
I was interviewed for the lead up to the coverage at 5 o'clock, and My Bossier was also mentioned in the online article:
"Not everyone is content with the steps the board has taken to arrive at the final three candidates. Longtime Bossier resident and blogger Jim Wells has watched the process closely, and with a healthy dose of cynicism. "My problem is the good old boy system is so entrenched in Bossier City, ordinarily I believe in promoting from within but in this case we need a clean sweep." "

The strength of My Bossier comes from the input of the people who read it and comment. We have a healthy range of opinions in our open comments section. I learn a lot from the people who participate and all of our readers gain perspective from the varied conversations. Keep on talking!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Scott Smith speaks out

Scott Smith left the following remarks in my blog post supporting Debbie Hays, and I am re-posting them here so everyone can read them.

I respect your opinion on who you think should be next Bossier Superintendent of Schools. However, I made it very clear in my first interview that my number one priority was to quickly fix the problems in the maintenance and finance departments. In less than one hour, after phone calls to finance dept. employees, I was able to ascertain that there is absolutely no communication in the finance department! This is completely unacceptable.
I have no problem removing employees quickly from their jobs for poor performance or unacceptable behavior. I've done this many times over the years at Benton High School. Ask my 76 employees how quickly I address any problems that may crop up. That's why our school is held in such high esteem.
I have a 19 year school level administrative track record to prove it. I can and will quickly restore public confidence in this system, if given the chance. My goal is to have a new top level administration, new vision, and a new level of accountability for the Bossier Parish School System.
I should not be penalized or precluded from this job simply because my wife is a state representative. She has her career, and I've worked hard to have mine. I stay out of her business and she stays out of mine.
You can come to the public forum for the 3 final candidates this Monday, May 18, 5:00 pm, at the BIC Auditorium. I will be glad to talk to you personally about my vision for this system before the forum begins at 6:00.

Bossier School Board should appoint Debbie Hays as new superintendent

I blogged on February 3rd:
Personally, I believe that the board should cast the net far and wide in the search for a new superintendent. The system is faced with problems that are the culmination of years of good old boy politics and 'scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' operations.I think it is imperative to introduce 'new blood' into the system.”
I followed up on February 10th:
Aggressive new administration is needed to establish procedures and policies that will ensure that every penny is properly accounted for. The board must also tighten up its screening policies on outside contractors.”
I noted on March 23:
The formalities are being pursued, but I’m not sure that a new superintendent is.Several members have expressed their preference for the ‘same old, same old’ in the person of Assistant Superintendent D. C Machen.Is the search genuine or is the fix already in for Machen?I suspect the latter.”
On April 28th I laid out the reasons I believe someone other than Machen should be chosen:
The main question in most people’s minds is whether or not D. C. Machen should be the next superintendent. Machen has been the Assisitant Superintendent for Administration. It was under his watch that School Board Administration paid $291,266 to Ark-La-Tex Air Repair, Inc., for overcharges, replacement costs covered by warranties, installations that did not occur, and one missing unit.It was on his watch that Administration may have violated the Public Bid Law for air conditioning purchases and installation totaling $254,598.In addition, the School Board may have violated Public Bid Law through a $1,067,000 emergencymold remediation contract.Also under his watch, School Board Maintenance Department employees authorized credit card transactionstotaling $1,833 with Ark-La-Tex Air Repair, Inc., for air conditioning duct cleaning andsanitizing and the replacement of a control board that did not occur.One current School Board employee performed work and received $3,894 from a current vendor of the School Board in possible violation of Louisiana ethics laws. One former School Board employee may have violated Louisiana ethics laws by receiving $105,769 for services performed for the School Board within two years of the end ofhis employment. (Louisiana Legislative Auditor's full report)Yet incredibly, despite all of this, several board members have already expressed their support for Machen as the new superintendent.The fix is in.”
It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict on May 9th :
No need to waste any more time with this. The three finalists will be Machen, Debbie Hays and probably Scott Smith . . “
I ordinarily believe strongly in promoting from within. In this case, I felt that someone from outside should be brought in to clean up the financial mess that the system finds itself in.
Although the board had an applicant from Texas (how he found the ad, I don’t know), but of course he did not receive a single vote in the selection of the finalists.
I am not questioning the character of any of the three finalists, in fact I’m sure that they are all estimable individuals. What is troubling is the despotic good old boy nature of the selections.
I have outlined my problem with Mr. Machen’s selection above. Scott Smith, I am told, is a very good principal at Benton High School. Again, connections. His wife, State Representative Jane Smith was superintendent.
Debbie Hays, whose father was a principal in the system is the sister of Sheriff Larry Deen, hands down the most powerful person in Bossier Parish.
These facts don’t disqualify anyone, but they do make it more difficult for any of the three contenders to come in and reorganize the system without regard for individual considerations. However, one of the three will be chosen.
The only finalist to actually admit that a problem exists – in other words, to acknowledge the elephant in the room – is Debbie Hays who said ‘We need to ensure that we have high quality fiscal responsibility maintained in all departments. I would like to take over the finance department. I would like to be the No. 1 person in charge and with that I would like for you to assist me and hire a chief business officer that would answer only to me and to you. And this person will be the overseer of all of our funds, how they are distributed, how they are managed so that we know they're managed effectively, efficiently and responsibility over all areas of department areas.
For this reason, considering that one of these three will be superintendent, I believe that Debbie Hays should be the next Superintendent of Bossier Parish Schools.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lackland chosen for Cyber Command

According to AP, the Air Force has chosen Lackland AFB in San Antonio for the new Cyber Command.

Surprise, surprise - Bossier School Board names finalists

As I said last Saturday, “No need to waste any more time with this. The three finalists will be Machen, Debbie Hays and probably Scott Smith . . “
It’s official, the board has announced that the three finalists are . . . . (ready?) . . . . . Machen, Hays and Smith.
Why have they wasted taxpayer time and money going through a sham search? They knew who they were going to select. Why didn’t they just do it and avoid the pretense?
Skip the drama between now and Thursday. Just go ahead and name Machen and be done with it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bossier Schools - that image that we have

Seven candidates for Bossier School Superintendent were interviewed yesterday. Here are some of their comments and our take on them.
D. C. Machen said that ‘we’ve had some bad media, press, some things have been a negative reflection’ . . ‘based on incidents that have been beyond our control.’ He goes on to say that ‘we have attacked these issues’.
How do you attack issues that are beyond your control? As to the bad media causing a negative reflection, allowing a million dollars to disappear from under your nose is not likely to bring favorable media coverage.

Timothy Gilbert says that ‘events in the past few years have given some members of the public – and indeed gotten a little commotion from that from some media outlets, that would indicate we have not administratively or even as a board always ensured the public trust. . . I think that's the first thing we must repair: that image that we have’.
That image is well deserved.

Scott Smith, principal at Benton High School, spoke in general terms of ‘getting that cleared up, getting new people in there that have a new vision.
Hopefully, that new vision would not include stealing a million bucks.

Debbie Hays seemed to be willing to step up – and she didn’t even blame the media.
We need to ensure that we have high quality fiscal responsibility maintained in all departments. I would like to take over the finance department. I would like to be the No. 1 person in charge and with that I would like for you to assist me and hire a chief business officer that would answer only to me and to you. And this person will be the overseer of all of our funds, how they are distributed, how they are managed so that we know they're managed effectively, efficiently and responsibility over all areas of department areas.’

The board will announce the finalists for the position next Monday.
Complete coverage of all candidates in The Times

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bobby Jindal's Flim Flam Medicine Show

1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

One that tells lies.

In last year's inaugural address, Gov. Bobby Jindal vowed to rally Louisianians to build a state "where our leaders and our people set the highest standards and hold every member of our government accountable."
At the urging of the governor's staff, House and Senate committees last week killed mirror-image bills by Rep. Wayne Waddell and Sen. Robert Adley that would have eliminated the broad exception for the governor's office in the state's open records law.
The identical measures, House Bill 169 and Senate Bill 278, still would have shielded documents related to ongoing economic development negotiations that are held by the governor, his chief of staff and his legal counsel. That addressed worries about the state's ability to negotiate with private companies. The bills would not have affected exceptions in other laws, such as protections for records involving the governor's safety and security.
Unfortunately, Gov. Jindal and his staff are not only blocking reform -- they are backing a rival measure that would further restrict access to records held by the governor's office and other agencies.
Senate Bill 278 by Sen. Jody Amedee extends those exceptions to records held outside the governor's office, meaning other agencies could shield documents by arguing they were "used, held, or prepared on behalf of the governor," according to the Public Affairs Research Council.
Robert Adley served sixteen years in the House and one term in the senate as a Democrat. Just after last fall’s election he switched to the Republican Party because he shared the philosophy of the new governor. At the time, Adley said "I have worked with a number of reform governors and spent years trying to get reform in Louisiana. We've gotten close; we've never gotten there. I really believe this administration has that chance and I want to participate in that."
Adley is singing a different tune now. The Advocate reports that after the defeat of his bill he said "It's so blatantly bad," said state Sen. Robert Adley, a Benton Republican who offered legislation that would remove a governor's exclusion from state public-records laws. His bill was opposed by Jindal - and defeated. "He's making horrible arguments and the Legislature, because of all the lobbying he's doing, is swallowing the whole thing," Adley said. "Transparency is gone. Checks and balances are gone. I'm beginning to believe I'm sitting in a communist state.”
It’s good to see Adley on the right side of this issue. It hasn’t always been so. Last year, he opposed a bill that sought disclosure from those municipal officials that he depends on for his livelihood. He also was unable to find his conservative values when he voted for the exorbitant pay raise last year which Jindal ultimately vetoed, after promising the legislature that he would not.
Read editorial comments in The Times-Picayune and The Times.

Several references at LaNewsLink.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Bossier School Superintendent on the fast track

Bossier School Board members will interview the remaining 7 candidates for Superintendent Monday to narrow down the field.
The first to be interviewed will be . .drum roll . .big Gomer Pyle 'surprise, surprise' . . D. C. Machen, Jr., the current Assistant Superintendent for Administration.
Next up will be Scott Smith, principal of Benton High School and husband of Rep. (and former Superintendent) Jane Smith.
No need to waste any more time with this. The three finalists will be Machen, Debbie Hays and probably Scott Smith, unless the board, in an effort to show that they are looking beyond Bossier Parish, decide to name Ernest Reed, Jr. of College Station as a finalist.
Of course, if they do, he won't stand a snowball's chance in hell of being appointed.
Machen is pre-ordained by the board, and it is unlikely that any politicking from other quarters (the courthouse) will change their minds.
The Times said that "If a timetable worked out by the board Tuesday pans out, the new superintendent could be named at the May 21 meeting."
Betcha a dollar to a donut that it 'pans out', and that D. C. Machen will be named superintendent on Thursday after next.

Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!—One; two: why, then'tis time to do't.—Hell is murky.—Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?
Macbeth Act 5 Scene 1

Somali Pirates mistake French Warship for merchant vessel

Somali pirates, who made the mistake of attacking the German naval tanker FGS SPESSART on March 29 and were hunted down by the Dutch, Spanish, Greek and US Navies, have proved once again that they are nothing but third world thugs.
This time they mistook a French warship for a merchant vessel and were immediately disarmed and taken into custody.
They should check out the website for Jane's Fighting Ships and learn to identify their prey. On second thought, they probably shouldn't.

Thanks to Central La Politics for alerting us to this story.

Bossier Scoutmaster arrested for buying beer, cigarettes for troop

A Bossier Parish woman has been arrested on charges she supplied beer to a group of teenagers caught whooping it up during a drinking game at a parish park.
A group of boys and a girl, ages 14 to 16, were busted last month playing a rowdy game of "beer pong" at Cypress Black Bayou Recreation area, Bossier sheriff's deputies said.
Michelle Edwards, 39, of Elm Grove has been arrested on five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
Edwards was the teens' Venture Scouting scoutmaster, deputies said, and they were at Cypress for an outing.
Edwards denied providing the beer, saying the teens got it on their own while she had gone to get another Venture scout, investigators said.

Video from KTBS

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

School Board looks at applicants

The Bossier Parish School Board has revealed the names of eight applicants for the job of superintendent.
They will be screened and interviewed before a decision is made.
The eight candidates are:
D. C. Machen and the seven people who won't be chosen.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Knight elected to Bossier City Council

"Chubby" Knight defeated former Councilman Larry Hannisee for the District 5 spot on the Bossier City Council.
Knight had 51.96% of the vote to Hanisee's 48.04%.
Incumbents will be returning to all of the other seats.