Confidential information regarding everyone from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to researchers at the Idaho National Lab was included on a list compiled by hackers affiliated with the Anonymous group. The cyber-terrorists reportedly hacked thousands of email adresses and credit card numbers of men and women working for some of the nation's top corporations, the U.S. military and major defense contractors.
The Antisec faction of Anonymous claimed last week that it had hacked the information, and this weekend published lists on the Internet, including information on Kissinger, former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, former CIA Director Jim Woolsey, and contractors working for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, Exxon, Thomson Reuters, and the Idaho National Laboratory.
In posting the data to pastebin.com, hackers said their list included information from about 75,000 customers of Strategic Forecasting, a private intelligence analysis firm. Hackers also claimed that they accessed information on 860,000 people who had registered to use the Stratfor website.
The entries included scrambled versions of passwords, but according to Reuters, some of the passwords could be unscrambled using databases known as rainbow tables.
A spokesman for the Pentagon said U.S. military officials did not detect any threat so far.
"We are not aware of any compromise to the Department of Defense information grid," said Lt. Col. Jim Gregory, a DOD spokesman.
With barely enough time to cure a hangover, the New Year will quickly usher in a break-neck political season, kicking off Tuesday, Jan. 3, with the Iowa caucus. A little more than two months later, Idaho will be a part of the so-called "Super Tuesday" on March 6, when primaries and caucuses will be held in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming.
Here's a quick look at the 2012 calendar in the race for the White House:
Jan. 3 - Iowa caucus
Jan. 10 - New Hampshire primary
Jan. 21 - South Carolina primary
Jan. 31 - Florida primary
Feb. 4 - Maine and Nevada caucuses
Feb. 7 - Colorado and Minnesota caucuses, Missouri primary
Feb. 28 - Arizona and Michigan primaries
March 3 - Washington caucus
March 6 - Super Tuesday
Aug. 27-30 - Republican National Convention
Sept. 3-6 - Democratic National Convention
Nov. 6 - Election Day
Currently, presidential debates are scheduled for Oct. 3, 16 and 22. One vice-presidential debate is slated for Oct. 11.
Kroger and Smith's Food and Drug, which owns Fred Meyer stores in the Treasure Valley, is pulling Arizona iceberg lettuce from its shelves after salmonella was found in an Arizona field near the grower's farmland. None of the Growers Express lettuce has tested positive for salmonella but the grower alerted retailers of the test results and sought a withdrawal of its lettuce "out of an abundance of caution."
Kroger and its affiliated grocery chains decided to pull the product from 200 stores in Idaho and six other states.
Growers Express, which according to the Associated Press supplies product to Green Giant, hasn't been ordered to issue any official recall. No illnesses have been reported.
At least one county authority thinks it, and not a state regulator, has its own citizens' best interests in mind when overseeing gas drilling.
Recently, Citydesk reported that a draft of legislation was expected to be floated before the Idaho Legislature in 2012 that would trump local ordinances when considering oil and gas exploration. Though the oil and gas industry readily admits that it helped work on the draft, the legislative sponsor remains confidential until it is presented in 2012. One particular passage of the draft is getting a fair amount of attention from the state's municipalities:
"No city, county or other political subdivision of this state shall enact or adopt any ordinance, rule, resolution, requirement or standard regulating the siting, construction or operation of facilities used in the exploration for, production or transportation of oil and gas that conflicts, either actually or operationally, with any provision of this chapter of the commission."
But in Washington County, where explorers are eyeing their next potential gas-drilling operations, new rules are being crafted to indemnify its residents.
The Independent Enterprise reports that the proposed ordinance would require drillers to hold insurance policies to cover bodily injury, environmental impairment and protection of any underground reservoir and its resources. The ordinance would also require a $15,000 bond for each well permit to be held in a interest-bearing account.
But at least one state legislator didn't like what he heard.
"The state is in charge of regulating," District 9 Republican Sen. Monty Pearce of New Plymouth told the Enterprise. "The county doesn't have the expertise and shouldn't want the liability."
Beginning today, drivers arrested for DUI in Boise risk having their car towed, and it will only be released to a sober adult driver. Police are concerned about intoxicated drivers bonding out of jail, and getting behind the wheel again.
Since September, Boise Police have had two cases of drivers lawfully bonding out of jail and then being arrested a second time for DUI, both arrests coming within hours of each other. On Sept. 7, a Boise woman was busted for DUI twice within five hours. On Oct. 28, a Meridan woman was arrested twice within three hours.
So effective today, the vehicle will be towed unless a licensed sober adult is present and able to drive the vehicle with the owner's consent. If the vehicle is towed, the owner will be responsible for a tow fee of $125.
By all accounts, e-books are a huge success at the Boise Library.
Possibly because so many Kindles were new Christmas or Hannukah presents, officials at the library said over the holiday break, the city's e-book service "experienced tremendous usage," particularly in the period Dec. 24-26.
According to a report from library director Kevin Booe, which will be presented to the library's Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Jan. 4, library customers checked out 712 e-book selections, a 300 percent increase over last year's circulation.
E-books were introduced to the Boise Public Library in November 2010, allowing patrons to "check out" up to five e-books at a time for either seven or 14 days.
One of the biggest news stories of 2011 was the Nov. 18 death of convicted killer Paul Ezra Rhoades and the detailed operations that led up to Idaho's first execution since 1994 and only the second since 1957.
Today, Idaho's Department of Correction released the detailed cost of the execution: $53,411. Of the total, $25,583 went to employee overtime and $27,828 went to operational expenses, including medical supplies, equipment rentals and meals. According to IDOC, the total cost did not include salary and benefits paid to staff who would have been working regardless of whether there had been an execution.
IDOC Director Brent Reinke expressed gratitude for assistance from other city, county and state agencies. Extensive security was required for the events surrounding Nov. 18, which included some small-scaled demonstrations.
Reinke said in a statement today that his department "made a commitment to carry out the assignment with professionalism and a full measure of respect and dignity for all involved. We believe we met those standards while at the same time being careful stewards of taxpayer dollars."
By way of comparison, the Oregon Department of Corrections reportedly spent $57,574 in preparation for the execution of death row inmate Gary Haugen. But on Nov. 22, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber issued a temporary reprieve, two weeks before the scheduled execution date.
A pair of NASA satellites will be ringing in the New Year (and ringing around the Moon) this weekend. The space agency's Grail spacecraft were launched in September and, following a slow spiral, are expected to go into the Moon's orbit sometime this weekend. Their approach will bring them close to the Moon's south pole; that's when each satellite is expected to execute a roughly 40-minute engine burn to take up an elliptical orbit.
NASA scientists are hoping that new data from the satellites will solve a number of mysteries, such as why the Moon's near and far sides look so different.
"Grail will improve our knowledge of the Moon's near-side gravity by more than 100 times over what was previously known, and by more than 1,000 times over what was known on the far side," said Dr. Maria Zuber from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
With a gravity map indicating the surface highs and lows, NASA officials said scientists should be able to deduce the Moon's probable internal structure and composition. Grail's mapping phase will last for 82 days until early June. That's when the Moon goes into a shadow eclipse, behind the Earth.
The Idaho Department of Labor will be hosting a unique job fair next Wednesday in Mountain Home. A national solar installation company said it's ready to begin building a 30-megawatt alternate energy facility in the Grand View area and it needs approximately 90 laborers and equipment drivers for about four months.
The Labor Department office in Mountain Home will be the site of the Jan. 4 job fair, where Aerotek, a Maryland-based employment agency, will talk to individuals with at least two years of construction experience. General laborers will be paid $10-$12 an hour, skilled laborers will be paid $13-$14 an hour, forklift operators will be paid $15-$18 an hour, and operators of Bobcats, pile drivers and other equipment will be paid $19.50 an hour.
The job fair will be held Wednesday, Jan. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1150 American Legion Blvd. in Mountain Home.
It's one thing to occupy public space, but Occupiers were shown the door when the owner of an Iowa coffee shop had heard enough.
"We all have our rights," said Amy Brehm, who runs Java Joe's, where MSNBC had set up broadcast facilities in Des Moines, "but not in my place."
This morning, members of Occupy Des Moines stood chanting in the middle of the crowded coffee shop before they were asked to leave.
On Thursday evening, 12 Occupiers were arrested at the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters after police said they refused to move out from in front of the front door of the building. Among those taken into police custody was a 14-year-old, who was later released into the custody of her father.
According to the Occupy Des Moines website, Occupiers were vowing to "chase the candidates and their Wall Street cronies around the state of Iowa, dogging their heels at all their black-tie dinners and staged media events, drowning out their empty rhetoric with the strong, clear message of the 99 Percent."