As the State Turns…

stateturnssymbolWyden Gets an Upgrade

Oregon’s Ron Wyden has been declared the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a position of importance that can be used to influence the future of the country in many ways, not the least of which being the ability to extend tax breaks for struggling areas. These could be focused on mortgage debt relief, renewable energy and all manner of research and development.

Personally invested in an earnest attempt to overhaul the tax code, Wyden’s general concept has always been to eliminate tax breaks in order to have lower rates overall. However, these sorts of changes are not likely to be seen until House Republicans find something besides Obamacare to hook their focus.

Petitioning for Puffins

Puffins – you know you love them, even if you have no idea what they are. Regardless, the tufted puffin population in the Pacific Northwest may be in luck, as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a petition on their behalf this last Feb. 12. Contained within the petition is the request that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provide some protection for the penguin-esque coastal bird while its breeding season is going on.

Climate change and fishing fleets have contributed to puffin population decline, bringing population estimates of 30,000 from three decades ago down to a present count of about 4,000. The NRDC is looking to help revitalize the puffin by reducing the amount of fishing going on which impacts important areas of the puffin diet.

Within 90 days of the filing, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must issue an initial response. If that response is an affirmation, they’ll then have a period of one year during which to offer a final ruling.

Cyber Attack On Oregon

According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, a recent Internet based attack “appears to have been launched from a foreign overseas entity.” This intrusion has resulted in their website being taken down as a preventative measure; the actual damage remains shrouded behind vague language, though. On the website, they list a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section in order to help inform curious parties.

One question in particular, “What data did they get?” only offers the following response: “The investigation indicates that we caught the intrusion early. In addition, Oregon Secretary of State doesn’t store full credit card information.”

They didn’t lose credit card information, which is great, but what other data was compromised? And when will the site be back up? Why has it been down this long? Could this have had anything to do with the Tibet House building downtown? Rumor has it the Chinese government was less than thrilled about it.

Until everything gets sorted out, a full picture will likely remain unpainted. All we can do now is watch for updates as services go back online.