Daily dose

Tuesday News: We've been hacked

OVER HALF OF NC'S POPULATION HAD PERSONAL DATA STOLEN IN VARIOUS DATABASE BREACHES: “This number is staggering and unacceptable,” Stein said. Mecklenburg County was the victim of a ransomware attack last month. Hackers demanded $23,000 in bitcoin to release the county's data, but county officials had backups of the information and did not pay. Duke Energy also recently announced a potential breach of more than 300,000 customers' billing information. Uber recently acknowledged a massive data breach, but it took the company more than a year to let its customers know. “That is certainly not a reasonable time frame to let someone know that their information has been breached,” Saine said. “We've looked at practices all across the United States and what different states are doing, and we'll certainly combine that into the bill.” Stein said scams and cyber attacks spiked in 2017. The most commonly stolen information includes full names, dates of birth and Social Security, driver license, and credit card numbers.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article193628819.html

Monday News: Fire and Fury

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TRUMP AND HIS SUPPORTERS ENRAGED OVER NEW TELL-ALL BOOK: Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" portrays the 45th president as a leader who doesn't understand the weight of his office and whose competence is questioned by aides. That picture, said Miller, "is so contrary to reality, to the experience of those who work with him." Miller also criticized Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who is quoted at length by Wolff, saying it was "tragic and unfortunate" that Bannon "would make these grotesque comments so out of touch with reality and obviously so vindictive." Bannon's description of a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York between Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign aides and a Russian lawyer as "treasonous" and "unpatriotic" particularly infuriated Trump, who released a seething statement accusing Bannon of having "lost his mind."
http://www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/celebrities/article193486809.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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BURR'S COMMITTEE NEEDS TO ADDRESS RUSSIA'S MEDDLING IN U.S. POLITICS: North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr leads the Senate Intelligence Committee and its investigation into what role, if any, international meddling may have played in the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign. He’s acknowledged that President Trump has strongly urged him to wrap up the committee’s probe. Additionally, Burr recently told reporters he wanted to wrap up the investigation early this year – and hasn’t decided what the committee would do – put together a report or simply make public much of the information the committee gathered. “The important aspect is: Can we lay the facts down so the American people can come to their own conclusion?” Burr said. Questions about whether Trump or his campaign knew of the Russian efforts in 2016 or even more so, if they aided in them, should be thoroughly examined. But those matters are separate from the more basic concern. Questions of international interference in our electoral process are serious. They are not partisan and should not be dismissed as the 2018 elections open.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-burr-s-committee-needs-to-address-russia-s-meddling-in-u-s-politics/17...

Saturday News: Stop the K-3 meltdown

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ROY COOPER CALLS ON GOP LEADERS TO FUND CLASS SIZE MANDATE: Gov. Roy Cooper is urging Republican legislators to act next week to help school districts deal with smaller state-mandated K-3 class sizes, but a key lawmaker says a deal is not imminent. School leaders across North Carolina are warning about a wide range of negative consequences for teachers and students if they’re still required to sharply reduce K-3 class sizes starting in July. During a visit Friday at Cotswold Elementary School in Charlotte, Cooper said GOP lawmakers need to provide funding for smaller classes or phase in the changes when they return to Raleigh on Wednesday for a special session. “I believe smaller class size can be a good thing, but you have to pay for it,” said Cooper, a Democrat. “This is an artificial class size change – one that shrinks classes on paper but in reality hurts students and teachers.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article193246149.html

Friday News: Gerrymandering on trial

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COURT PONDERS LEGISLATIVE MAPS CREATED BY SPECIAL MASTER: North Carolina legislative districts drawn up by Republicans are back in court as federal judges decide whether to accept proposed boundary changes from the third-party expert they appointed. The three-judge panel scheduled a hearing Friday in Greensboro to listen to why a Stanford University law professor they hired as a special master redrew boundaries the way he did. The judges also said it appeared a handful of districts in and around Raleigh and Charlotte were needlessly altered from their initial shapes — possibly violating the state constitution — when the GOP first approved maps for this decade in 2011. The original maps helped Republicans retain and expand their majorities, making it easier for them to enact their conservative agenda on taxes, education and social issues.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article193109004.html

Thursday News: Go back to Kansas, Toto

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TRUMP DISBANDS KRIS KOBACH'S "VOTER FRAUD" COMMISSION AFTER PUSHBACK FROM STATES: President Donald Trump has dissolved a commission intended to investigate voter fraud after a massive data request by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach led to a backlash from state officials across the political spectrum. The White House announced the dissolution of the panel late Wednesday, citing resistance from states about complying with the commission. Kobach, the commission’s vice chairman, had sought personal information on every voter in the nation in June, a massive data request that spurred multiple lawsuits and backlash from state officials from across the political spectrum. Many states had refused to comply with the request, citing privacy concerns, and even Kansas could not legally provide the commission with partial Social Security numbers as Kobach requested.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article192864959.html

Wednesday News: Attacking the Constitution

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REPUBLICAN LEADERS IN NC TAKE AIM AT DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED JUDGES: In separate interviews broadcast last week on Spectrum News’ “Capital Tonight,” Republican legislative leaders Berger and Moore said they could take action on constitutional amendments, GenX river contamination, Gov. Roy Cooper’s appointments to state boards, possible budget tweaks and judicial redistricting proposals. Polling from the conservative Civitas Institute in October found that 66 percent of people polled oppose a constitutional amendment that would end judicial elections and instead allow for judges to be appointed by government officials. Only 25 percent supported such an amendment. Moore told Spectrum that he doesn’t think merit selection has enough support yet to get the three-fifths majority vote required to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot, but he said he’d support a system in which the legislature appoints judges – “if the process is set up the right way, with input from the local communities. ... It works in Virginia, it works in South Carolina.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article19...

Tuesday News: Grifter-In-Chief

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FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS HELP TRUMP'S BUSINESSES ABROAD SUCCEED: In Indonesia, a local government plans to build a road to shorten the drive between the main airport on the island of Bali and the new high-end Trump resort and golf course. In Panama, the country’s federal government intervened to ensure a sewer system around a 70-story Trump skyscraper shaped like a sail in Panama City would be completed. And in other countries, governments have donated public land, approved permits and eased environmental regulations for Trump-branded developments, creating a slew of potential conflicts as foreign leaders make investments that can be seen as gifts or attempts to gain access to the American president through his sprawling business empire. “If you have a foreign government providing a benefit to the Trump company that is going to violate emoluments clause of the Constitution,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/article192131674.html

Monday News: The year to stand up

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POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN SETS OUT GOALS FOR 2018: The NAACP teamed up with the Poor People’s Campaign at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church to ring in the new year Sunday night with a renewed sense of passion for long-standing issues on their agenda. Watch Night service is an African-American tradition that has been around for over 100 years, but a mix of people attended Sunday night’s service. The Poor People’s Campaign viewed the service as a fresh call to action. The goal was to highlight issues the organization has always focused on, including poverty, racism, environmental destruction and other controversial topics. The organization also called for everyone in attendance to renew their commitment to the cause. “In every age, people have to decide to stand up just like they did on the first Watch Night. They had to say ‘we’re going to stand up and take on the system of slavery.’ We have to stand up and take on the systems of oppression. We do not have the luxury of sitting down,” said Rev. William Barber.
http://www.wral.com/-we-have-to-stand-up-poor-people-s-campaign-rings-in-2018-with-renewed-passion-f...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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UNC BOARD'S IDEOLOGICAL BIAS EXPOSED IN COURTING PRINCETON'S CONSERVATIVE CENTER: It is of questionable wisdom, not to mention fairness, for the UNC Board to complain of ideological bias and close some campus-based centers while at the same time actively courting another, clearly ideological center. Does anybody on the board worry about this inconsistency? It is particularly troubling to consider that such a center might be publicly funded or carry the endorsement of the state. As it is imagined now, it is not the place to spend the taxpayers, tuition or student-fee dollars. This board is acting with the kind of fiat that we’re used to seeing from the General Assembly. Sure, the board has the power and authority. But there should be a sincere effort to demonstrate a need, and desire to build support – in this case from a campus, its students, faculty and administrators.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-unc-board-s-ideological-bias-exposed-in-courting-princeton-s-conservat...

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