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Bloomberg says Target ignored own breach warnings

“Value of solar” decided; GOP’s Dahlberg goes after GOP’s Ortman; state job growth; E-cigarette rules advance;  fraternity drops “pledging”; later school starts found helpful; and more.

MinnPost photo by Rita Kovtun

My apologies for the steady run of Target data breach-related stories. But it is kind of a big deal, and with today’s report from a quartet of Bloomberg writers, it isn’t likely to fade away anytime soon. Says the report: “Target had a team of security specialists in Bangalore to monitor its computers around the clock. If Bangalore noticed anything suspicious, Target’s security operations center in Minneapolis would be notified. … As [the hackers] uploaded exfiltration malware to move stolen credit card numbers … FireEye spotted them. Bangalore got an alert and flagged the security team in Minneapolis. And then … Nothing happened.” Class action attorneys are ringing up the billable hours this morning.

There was a decision on that “value of solar” question. Dan Haugen at Midwest Energy News tells us: “Investor-owned utilities will now have the voluntary option of applying to use the value-of-solar formula instead of the retail electricity rate when crediting customers for unused electricity they generate from solar panels. Utilities have complained that paying the retail rate, under a policy known as net metering, amounts to an unfair subsidy for customers that own solar panels at the expense of those who don’t. Meanwhile, solar advocates say the retail rate underestimates the value of solar panels to the grid and society.”

Has someone forgotten Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment? Mark Zedechlik of MPR reports: “U.S. Senate hopeful Chris Dahlberg is accusing fellow Republican Julianne Ortman of possibly violating state law by using automated phone calls to solicit support for her U.S. Senate campaign. ‘We have to follow the law, and we don’t get to be the person that makes the judgment on this’, Dahlberg said. … The Ortman campaign denied any wrongdoing.”

Steady … at 4.7 percent. Bill Catlin at MPR says: “In the 21 months leading up to January, Minnesota’s economy added nearly 13,000 more jobs than originally estimated, state officials said today. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says the state gained an additional 600 jobs in January. Minnesota’s jobless rate that month was unchanged at 4.7 percent.” Damned job-killing onerous taxation!

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E-cigarettes are feeling the clampdown … Says Tom Scheck for MPR: “A committee in the Minnesota Senate has approved a bill that would forbid people from using e-cigarettes indoors and prohibit the sale of electronic delivery devices to people under the age of 18. The Senate State and Local Government Committee approved the measure on an 8-5 vote. Supporters say they worry that the secondary health effects from vapor emitted from e-cigarettes could be harmful to others.”

The (some say) anachronistic and frequently abusive tradition of “pledging” is a goner at one fraternity. Cody Nelson and Danielle Dullinger say in the Strib: “In the wake of deaths, lawsuits and a flood of negative press nationwide, [Sigma Alpha Epsilon] is doing away with the practice at its 240 chapters nationwide. It’s making the change, its leaders say, in an attempt to be safer and more inclusive. … Since 2006, there have been 10 deaths nationwide at SAE fraternities that can be attributed to hazing, drugs or alcohol, according to a recent Bloomberg News report — more than any other fraternity in the country.”

A new argument for later school starts … Kelly Smith of the Strib writes: “Findings of a University of Minnesota study released Wednesday are the first to conclusively link later morning school starts to higher test scores, better grades and fewer teen car crashes. The latest study puts weight behind an issue hotly debated by parents, students and school leaders nationwide.” MinnPost’s Susan Perry offers her take here.

The latest local real estate update from Jim Buchta in the Strib: “Brutal weather and a lack of listings stifled home sales in the Twin Cities last month, but declines in foreclosure transactions helped lift prices. There were 2,465 closings in February, a 14 percent decline from last year, according to a report Wednesday from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. The median price of those sales was $183,044, a 14.4 percent increase and the 24th consecutive month of price gains.”

Is this really about Sunday, the morning after? Frederick Melo of the PiPress says: “Add the St. Paul mayor’s office to the drumbeat of St. Patrick’s Day enthusiasts who want to see the annual noontime parade moved to Saturdays. Actually, it’s more like insisting, not requesting. … there are additional expenses associated with Saturdays because crowds are about 20 percent larger. ‘Because there are more people who come out at Saturdays, their costs go up — we’re talking toilets and security’, [Joe Spencer, the director of arts and culture] said.”