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8:40 AM ET, December 31, 2016


 Top Items: 
Washington Post:
Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, U.S. officials say  —  A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials.
Burlington Free Press:
Russia penetrated Burlington Electric utility company computer  —  Russian hackers penetrated a Burlington Electric laptop, according to Commissioner Chris Recchia of the Vermont Public Service Board.  —  Burlington Electric Department is owned by the city of Burlington.
Discussion: Engadget and emptywheel
Amber Phillips / Washington Post:
N.C.'s outgoing GOP governor appears to make one last attempt to stick it to the Democrat who beat him  —  With just one day to go before he leaves office, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) threw a legal hail mary to the U.S. Supreme Court in another apparent effort to undermine his Democratic successor's ability to govern.
Paulina Firozi / The Hill:
Judge halts North Carolina law stripping incoming Dem governor's power
Discussion: Politico, Political Wire and RedState
Raleigh News & Observer:
Judge puts NC GOP elections board makeover on hold after Roy Cooper sues
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Associated Press:
The Latest, NC: Law stripping gov.-elect's power blocked
Discussion: and Daily Kos
Trump Said to Weigh Aide's Husband for Top Legal Job  —  Corporate lawyer George Conway in line for solicitor general  —  Conway has handled high-profile clients for law firm  —  President-elect Donald Trump is considering George Conway, a long-time corporate lawyer and the husband …
Discussion: BizPac Review
Jeremy Diamond / CNN:
Kellyanne Conway's husband on short list for top US lawyer job  —  (CNN)The husband of one of President-elect Donald Trump's top advisers could be arguing cases on behalf of the federal government at the Supreme Court next year.  —  George Conway, a corporate attorney who is married to senior …
Discussion: Josh Blackman's Blog and Mediaite
Nikita Vladimirov / The Hill:   Trump considering Conway's husband for solicitor general: report
Associated Press:
Mexican Man Charged With Rape Had 19 Deportations, Removals  —  A Mexican man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl on a Greyhound bus that traveled through Kansas had been deported 10 times and voluntarily removed from the U.S. another nine times since 2003, records obtained by The Associated Press show.
Neil MacFarquhar / New York Times:
How Russians Pay to Play in Other Countries  —  PRAGUE — For a brief moment, it seemed that the powerful adviser's head might roll at the Castle.  After he lost his long legal battle over a hefty state fine, the Czech president warned him to pay up or lose his post.  —  Then a guardian angel materialized from Moscow.
Claudia Rosett / The Hill:
Obama settling old grudges — but not against Russian, Israeli leaders  —  Is President Obama using his final weeks in office to settle personal grudges against Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?  Obama certainly appears to be settling scores …
Discussion: Politico, Hot Air and Washington Post
Louis Nelson / Politico:
Team Trump: We're the true target of Obama's sanctions
Discussion: Daily Kos and The Hill
Alina Selyukh / NPR:
U.S. Ethics Chief Was Behind Those Tweets About Trump, Records Show  —  In November, the typically straitlaced Office of Government Ethics surprised observers with a series of tweets mimicking Donald Trump's bombastic style, exclamation points and all: “Brilliant!  Divestiture is good for you, good for America!”
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Matt Taibbi / Rolling Stone:
Something About This Russia Story Stinks  —  Nearly a decade and a half after the Iraq-WMD faceplant, the American press is again asked to co-sign a dubious intelligence assessment  —  In an extraordinary development Thursday, the Obama administration announced a series of sanctions against Russia.
Lucas Tomlinson / Fox News:
No US carrier at sea leaves gap in Middle East  —  For the next week, not only will there be no U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Middle East, but there will be no American aircraft carriers deployed at sea anywhere else in the world, despite a host of worldwide threats facing the United States.
Matthew Wisner / Fox Business:
Alan Dershowitz: If Keith Ellison is Appointed DNC Chair, I Will Resign My Membership  —  As the debate continues over the Obama administration's handling of the U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements, there are signs it is causing a divide within the Democratic Party.
Discussion: The Hill and Lawyers, Guns & Money
Glenn Thrush / Politico:
What Chuck Todd gets about Trump  —  Chuck Todd has interviewed Donald Trump many times, and he's noticed something somewhat disquieting about the unquiet president-elect.  —  The man doesn't laugh — not in a normal, spontaneous, regular-human kind of way.  —  “[It] drives me crazy.  Do you know what?
Discussion: Raw Story, The Hill and Mediaite
John Hayward / Breitbart:
Steve Bannon: ‘Hobbits and Deplorables Had a Great Run in 2016,’ but It's Only ‘Top of the First Inning’  —  Stephen K. Bannon, former Breitbart News executive chairman, founding host of Breitbart News Daily, and now chief political strategist for the incoming Trump White House, made a special appearance on the final live show of 2016.
Discussion: Daily Mail and Politico
Dr. Susan Berry / Breitbart:
Girl Wants Boy Scout Group to say she is a Transgender Boy  —  An eight-year-old girl in Secaucus, N.J., says Boy Scout officials should treat her as a transgender boy, and let her join a boys' Cub Scout pack.  —  The child, who is a biological girl but has been living as a “transgender boy” …
Ema O'Connor / BuzzFeed:
Some DC Restaurants Are Donating Their Inauguration Profits To Anti-Trump Organizations  —  The profits will go to support Planned Parenthood and pro-immigrant organizations, among other charities.  —  More than a dozen high-profile DC restaurants have pledged to donate a portion …
Mark Hensch / The Hill:
DC restaurants to donate part of Trump inauguration profits: report
Kenneth P. Vogel / Politico:
Mar-a-Lago sold tickets to New Year's Eve party with Trump  —  Mar-a-Lago, the pricey private resort in Palm Beach, Florida, sold hundreds of tickets at more than $500 a piece to an annual New Year's Eve extravaganza planned for Saturday night that will feature a very special guest …
David Smiley / miamiherald:
Fired Miami cops joked about using black neighborhoods for target practice  —  Three rookie Miami police officers fired two days before Christmas joked in a group chat with other cops about using predominately black neighborhoods for target practice, an internal affairs investigation found this month.
Discussion: Law News, TheBlaze, AOL and Raw Story
Washington Post:
Trump refuses to face reality about Russia  —  ALTHOUGH PRESIDENT Obama's sanctions against Russia for interfering with the U.S. presidential election came late, his action on Thursday reflected a bipartisan consensus that penalties must be imposed for Moscow's audacious hacking and meddling.
Oklahoma cop who saved woman's life in viral video now arrested for internet crimes against child  —  BLANCHARD, Okla. - The Oklahoma cop who was caught on dash cam video saving a woman's life earlier this year has now been arrested for internet crimes against a child.
Discussion: KTLA, New York's PIX11 and PINAC
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 More Items: 
Peter Sullivan / The Hill:
Obama, Dems eyeing strategy to defend ObamaCare
Chris Brito / New York's PIX11:
Highway patrol officer jumps into moving car to save toddler from impaired driver on LIE: Police
Discussion: WTKR-TV and KTLA
Susan Dynarski / New York Times:
Free Market for Education? Economists Generally Don't Buy It
Discussion: Slate Star Codex and EconLog
Liam Quinn / Daily Mail:
Donald Trump supporter ‘films barrage of abuse he receives for wearing a #buildthewall T-shirt’ INSIDE …
Mural defaced at GOP headquarters
Ian Kullgren / Politico:
Cupcake defender interviews for Ag secretary job
Discussion: Raw Story, and Mediaite
 Earlier Items: 
Department of Homeland Security:
DHS Releases End of Year Fiscal Year 2016 Statistics
Discussion: Washington Post, KTLA and Politico
SUV burned, house spray-painted with N-word in Highlands
Discussion: TheBlaze and Raw Story
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Senate moves to condemn U.N. over Israel
Dan Lamothe / Washington Post:
The legacy of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus: Change — and mixed feelings about it
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Matthew Boyle / Breitbart:
Exclusive — Behind Scenes at Presidential Inaugural Committee: Trump Inauguration to Have Less Pomp …