Sunday, November 29, 2009

Destroying the Evidence In East Anglia

It would appear that the raw data for much of the temperature recordings that the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit massaged and manipulated to make up it's database has been destroyed, not just the electronic records, but the paper copies as well. This was irreplaceable data that cannot be used to validate or invalidate any of the data in the CRU database. These criminals have harmed mankind in immeasurable ways because we now do not have any means to replicate their findings, that makes their findings suspect. Nobody can ever go back and attempt to find new insights into the data because the data is no longer there.

H/T Pundit & Pundette

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The truth is an affirmative defense! Updated Again

Last year for a short span of time I had a post up concerning Chris Allen, who was one of the leaders of the Klein ISD Education Foundation. Which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which was formed in 2000, but is joined at the hip with the Klein ISD school district. It is operated out of the Klein ISD Admin building by district employees using district resources, so it's "independence" is somewhat suspect (see section B). Chris Allen, whose wife was (correction: still is) a school teacher at Klein Oaks HS (correction: Schultz Elementary), was a VP of Operations at First Service Credit Union. The Klein ISD Education Foundation spent a lot of money supporting the bond election. Chris Allen resigned from First Service and the Foundation in 2008, purportedly due to illness, but the truth was that he had been confronted over a series of ATM withdrawals. You see, since 2006, Mr. Allen had been transferring money from accounts that were dormant to a dummy account he had created, then using an ATM card to withdraw the money. I attempted to confirm the information that had been passed to me at the time but no one would confirm the information, so I posted it with a disclaimer that I had not been able to confirm any of it but that I trusted the source of the information. Mr Allen threatened to sue me if I did not take it down. I complied simply because I could not afford to fight any lawsuit, even though I was sure the information was largely correct.

On Thursday, Chris Allen pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $30,000 from his former employer and could be looking at up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine not to exceed $1,000,000 and five years supervised release for bank fraud.

These are the sort of people you have acting as cheerleaders for the Klein ISD bond.

My source tells me that from a cursory review of the audit trail data, the loss was most likely exceeding $30K. Further, my source tells me that the Credit Union was warned by an employee that this very sort of embezzlement scam was possible a year before Mr. Allen began his embezzlement run. At the time, the person who warned them was told not to worry, because it would be so easy to find that nobody would bother trying. There is however some speculation that this warning was in fact the genesis of Mr. Allen's plan. He was not however, very careful carrying out this plan because he used the same ATM, a First Service ATM that he was responsible for, and he made the withdrawals himself, after parking his personal car in front of the ATM where the camera could see the license plates. Had Mr Allen been intelligent, he would have paid a bum to make the transaction while he stood off to the side out of view of the cameras and he would have used a different bum and a different ATM every time. He also would have used terminals that other employees had logged into but were idle in order to make the internal transfers. Had he done all that, then the CU would have had a far more difficult time identifying the culprit. They would still have been able to determine that it was an inside job, but they would have had a much more difficult time determining who was responsible. But thankfully, criminals are lazy and dumb, which is why they are criminals in the first place. I only hope that First Service has learned it's lesson and tightened it's internal controls to prevent just such a incident in the future.

Update II:
It has come to my attention that after having been fired from First Service and a Secret Service investigation launched, Mr Allen was hired by Pulse EFT as a project manager:

Chris Allen’s Experience

  • Project Manager, Implementations

    PULSE EFT Association

    (Public Company; Financial Services industry)

    November 2008March 2009 (5 months)

    I Oversaw project implementations for financial institutions, processors, ISOs, and other organizations who utilize the Pulse switch for their transaction processing. I also assisted these organizations with the ATM and Debit card programs, including increasing efficiencies, new start ups, program changes, etc.

Now personally, I find it quite disturbing, that a man fired for embezzlement and who is under investigation by the feds can get a job IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY working with the same kinds of technology he used to bilk his former employer's customers. I ask you: How is this possible?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Klein residents, you were warned!

Last year, Klein ISD had a a bond election. Klein ISD did everything in it's power to ensure that the bond proposal passed, it got it's "foundation" which is really nothing more than it's in-house cheerleaders to mount a campaign insisting that no tax increase would be required for service of the debt. They then also promised the residents in KHS's boundaries that they would be getting a brand new school to replace KHS which was to be bulldozed and rebuilt. and of course they held THEIR election at different polling locations from LSCS so that someone would have to attend BOTH polling locations in order to vote on everything.

Then, when it looked like the bond proposal was not going to pass, it would appear that they made sure that a couple JBC's disappeared for about 48 hours, when they were "found", lo and behold the bond measure passed by virtually the same margin that it HAD been losing by. The ratio of yes to no votes was completely upside down and much larger compared to the rest of the district. And when some residents went to file a lawsuit challenging the election results due to possible vote tampering, they discovered that Vinson and Elkins had already been hired to obtain a summary judgment allowing the bonds to be issued immediately regardless of the outcome of any lawsuits that might arise only 2 days after the election was held. The missing JBC's had not even been found and tallied yet! The law allows 30 days to file a challenge to an election, so the declaratory judgment, while legal, circumvents the 30 day filing period and makes it basically moot. Their felonious actions would never be prosecuted as a result.

Now the promise to KHS residents for a new HS on the original site appears to be about to be broken, they are now planning on building a new KHS at a new site and using the old KHS as an admin facility. And the promise that they would not need to raise taxes? That promise is about to be broken as well.


Monday, November 16, 2009

The Chron still does not get it (part 4268 of a series)

Today, Lynsi Burton steps off into a latrine pit with an unsubstantiated assertion that the GOP created the Tea Party Movement, but has lost control of it.

The Tea Party Movement is not, and never was "created by the GOP". If anything, it was created in response to the GOP as it exists today. The GOP contingent in Congress has over the last few years attempted to move to the left and has become virtually indistinguishable from the Democrats. The Tea Party movement was created by the grass roots in order to show our leaders in Washington DC that the people are not leftist, we are by huge majorities, right of center. I realize she may not understand the true meaning of the words "Grass Roots" because it has been misappropriated and misapplied to groups that are in fact "astroturf" groups. Most of these astroturf groups are in fact promulgated by democrat organizations to support democrat causes. The most famous of these is ACORN and it's hundreds of front organizations, including SEIU. Let me be clear here, the true meaning of a grass roots organization is one that SPONTANEOUSLY forms by individuals, not by groups in order to give political cover to said groups. The Tea Party movement is just such a spontaneous group, as is the ACP.

The Tea Party movement was not formed by the GOP, at least not intentionally. It was formed BECAUSE of the GOP and it's shift leftward. It is not in of itself partisan, but it does lean to the right, on both fiscal as well as social issues. The ACP however IS partisan and it too was formed as a response to the GOP's shift leftwards.

Ms Burton really should do a bit more homework before she dives off into such rhetoric because she just looks like a democrat toady and hack propagandist instead of an actual unbiased journalist. Frankly her biases are showing in spades. Talking to her leftist co-workers over beers at some trendy bar is NOT research. She really should have contacted Felicia Cravens or someone else in the tea party movement before she went and stuffed both of her feet in her mouth.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gene Locke is Running Pell Mell Towards Bankruptcy

Gene Locke is quoted in today's Chronicle Houston Politics blog as being for the development of a soccer stadium for the Dynamo. However might I remind you that the Harris County Sports Authority is on the brink of bankruptcy and may shaft the taxpayers of Harris County with a $117 million balloon payment over the next five years on variable rate backloaded bonds (which Gene Locke helped to negotiate and underwrite as General Council for the HCSA) that were renegotiated just last year because they could not meet the balloon payment then either.
Meanwhile the city itself is also on the brink of bankruptcy, so says three well respected CPA's in town, and that bankruptcy if it happens will have a domino effect on the whole area because the city has sold some of it's debt to METRO, Harris County, and even itself. Yes, you read that right, the city has even bought it's own bonds in an arbitrage scheme. The city has in turn bought debt securities from METRO, Harris County, Harris County Sports Authority, and other municipalities. so a default in one, could trigger a default in all of them. The city is believed to be short at a minimum 1400, and possibly as many as 5000 policemen, and must pick and choose which crimes they will investigate/prosecute. This is according to Chief Harold Hurtt himself.

Edit: Here is an unedited interview with Ray Hunt with HPOU on the shortage by Isiah Carey with Fox26 news:

Do we really need a soccer stadium that damned bad?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Cutting down the ACORN tree and poisoning the stump

Only minutes ago the Louisiana Attorney General's office issued a statement that the Elysian street offices of ACORN in New Orleans were raided today and all of their computers and records were seized in a racketeering and embezzlement investigation.