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Virginia News Headlines: Saturday Morning

by: lowkell

Sat Oct 25, 2014 at 06:53:48 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, October 25. Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he "discusses the measures we are taking to respond to Ebola cases at home, while containing the epidemic at its source in West Africa."

*The Republican Party's electoral philosophy: Cheating wins ("The explosion and enforcement of restrictive voter ID laws make this one thing very clear")
*5 New York Epidemics That Were Way Worse Than Ebola Will Be
*Sarah, Bristol & The Recurrence Of The Eternal Victim ("...their dead-ender defenders need to accept that if you're a public figure, a recent candidate for national office, and you crash a party drunk and the fists start flying and the police have to show up to sort everything out, people may end up hovering over the details and getting a chuckle out of it. That's life.")
*NPR Guts Its Environment And Climate Reporting Team, Becomes 'Part Of The Problem' (My confidence in NPR just dropped several notches. WTF?!?)
*Polluters Push a Paragon of Misinformation, But Most Americans Want Climate Action
*Ebola Quarantines Seen as Barrier to Volunteers
*Comstock's property taxes raise questions about a central campaign narrative (She's lying, in other words.)
*The Post's endorsements for Congress in Northern Virginia (Beyer and Connolly of course, but NOBODY in the 10th CD? Uhhhhh...)
*Virginia's busiest elections office reportedly embroiled in infighting ("'In a nutshell, it's chaos,' the liaison between unionized employees and Fairfax County officials said." Greeeaaaat.)
*Remains found in Albemarle County positively identified as Hannah Graham's (So sad.)
*Ex-legal client pleads guilty to trying to blackmail Va. Senate leader ("A former legal client pleaded guilty to trying to blackmail the senator over 'embarrassing e-mails and text messages.'")
*Judging when it is OK to elect a legislator's relative to the bench ("Wonder who Del. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, is thinking of with his proposed legislation to restrict the General Assembly from electing a judge if a candidate is a spouse, parent, child or sibling of a member of General Assembly?")
*National Park Service considers Lewis and Clark legacy trail in Virginia
*Fairfax's later start times for high schools may set a trend
*Little faith in Norfolk's schools
*Blue skies, gentle breezes and plenty of sunshine in store for the weekend

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Grading the Democratic Campaigns' Excuses You'll Be Hearing After Election Day

by: lowkell

Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 11:26:17 AM EDT

With just 11 days to go until Election Day 2014, and the near certainty that Democrats will lose at least a few seats in the Senate and House, I can just here them now. No, not the cheers of victory or the cries of defeat - although I can certainly imagine what those will sound like - but the excuses, torrents of excuses, that will be flowing from Democratic campaign operatives of all types, trying desperately to shift the blame for their losses to others. For instance, as this article in Bloomberg yesterday put it, "Years of disappointment and tension between Democrats and their president are now on open display as politicians, party leaders and strategists worried about their chances in the midterm elections begin casting about for someone to blame." That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. With that, here are some of the top excuses you'll probably be hearing from losing campaigns after November 4, graded from "A" (makes a great deal of sense) to "F" (makes no sense whatsoever, utter b.s.).

1. "It's President Obama's fault". This one gets a "C-/D+" grade at best. Why so low? Because the history is clear: since World War II, the party holding the White House tends to lose around 26 seats in the House and around six seats in the Senate during the "6-year itch" mid-terms (the second mid-terms of a two-term president's eight years in office). The biggest losses occurred under Eisenhower, Ford, Bush and Truman, with somewhat lower losses under Reagan (at least in the House; Republicans lost eight seats in the Senate in 1986). So, basically, this is just what happens in mid-terms to the party in power, Republican or Democratic. On the other hand, Barack Obama's approval ratings are anemic at best, in the lost 40s, so that's why I gave this one a "C-/D+" not an "F" grade. On yet ANOTHER hand (how many hands do we have, anyway? LOL), though, Obama's approval rating hasn't really changed throughout 2014, so the same campaigns that were claiming all year that they could win - and asking for money to do so - can't now honestly turn around and claim that Obama's 40%-45% approval ratings constitute some sort of new factor in their calculations.

2. "The national political/economic climate": I'd give this one a "C-/D+" for similar reasons as in #1 -- the political/economic climate hasn't really changed all year, plus it's Democrats' own fault to a large extent if they couldn't figure out a way to turn whatever anger's out there against Republicans, whose obstructionism, sequestration, shutting down the government, austerity policies, refusal to invest in our nation's infrastructure, refusal to kickstart a more rapid transition to a clean energy economy, etc., etc. have contributed so much to the problems we have.

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Virginia Sen. Steve Martin, "the child's host" Dude, Campaigning for Gillespie, Rigell, etc.

by: lowkell

Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 07:42:22 AM EDT

Yes, this is the same Virginia State Senator Steve Martin who was roundly ridiculed and blasted in February for saying to women: "once a child exists in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child's' host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it...why did you write all the rest of that bologna about raising healthy children (by killing the unhealthy ones), having access to healthcare (which you do), and preventing unwanted pregnancies (don't have unprotected sex)? Such nonsense, supposed adults have written, to celebrate love, on Valentines. These folks are really sick people!"

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 06:30:07 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, October 24. As for the map, obviously Virginia has a lot of room to improve when it comes to energy efficiency.

*EU leaders agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 (Excellent news, now the U.S. needs to do the same or more.)
*Fox News Attacks Chuck Todd For Calling Out Fox's Media Bias "Obsession" In Media Matters Interview (Kind of proving Todd's point, I'd say!)
*Fox Hosts Lash Out At Media Matters Following Widespread Criticism For Discouraging Voters (The truth hurts, huh Fox?)
*After The First Confirmed Case Of Ebola In New York City, Three Reasons For Optimism
*Joni Ernst Reserves The Right To Use Her Gun To Defend Herself Against The Government (In a sane world, that "bullet box/ballot box" style comment should disqualify her.)
*House hopeful John Foust on federal workplace issues
*Former AP editor sues AP for defamation after 2013 firing
*Today's top opinion: Day care needs tighter regulation (But, but...I thought Republicans always said there was too MUCH regulation?!? I'm so confused now. **snark**)
*Gillespie loans his campaign $435,000
*Judge moves Maureen McDonnell's sentencing
*Governor's ethics commission meets Monday, sets public hearing for Nov. 6
*Brat, Trammell, Carr field questions at Goochland forum
*Gillespie: 'We Have to Get our Numbers Up' in Arlington (Yeah, good luck with that Enron Ed!)
*Hampton Roads military bases brace for climate change, sea-level rise
*Warner, Gillespie square off in Virginia Beach
*Panel discusses elected school boards in Norfolk
*Man held in Alexandria killings to go on trial next October
*No rain ahead, but breezy conditions persist as temperature fluctuates

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

More on the O'Reilly/Stewart Brouhaha: The Right-Wing Urge to Kick Down

by: Andy Schmookler

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 12:51:00 PM EDT

In my previous piece on "The O'Reilly/Stewart Brouhaha," I said that it's unclear whether conservatives like Bill O'Reilly really want to help foster a culture of responsibility among people at the lower end of the economic spectrum -- in particular, in black culture -- or whether they just "enjoy the excuse to beat up on an oppressed people, as their kind have been doing in America for centuries."

It looks a lot like it's the latter.  We can infer this eagerness to kick down on those at the bottom from how much conservatives of this kind are willing to distort reality to justify their attitude of blame and attack.

Remember Mitt Romney's infamous "47%" comment in the 2012 presidential election? However much that comment reflected Romney's own beliefs, he surely had reason to believe that this condemnation of half the country as "takers" suited the beliefs of the Republican fat-cats to whom he was speaking.

After that 47% remark was made public, many came forward to expose how distorted was the notion that all these millions of Americans were somehow parasitic on the American bounty the fat-cats prided themselves on creating. This 47%, it was pointed out, included not only people who had retired after years of hard work, but also people supporting families, sometimes needing to work more than one job to make ends meet. Hardly parasites.

Somehow, it served a purpose for these rich Republicans to imagine that the bottom half of America were leeches on the body of the American economy.

But on the right, it's not only the rich who seem drawn to this distorted fantasy. This I know from years discussing politics with a conservative radui audience in my part of Virginia.  

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Entire Arlington General Assembly Delegation Strongly Supports Columbia Pike Streetcar

by: lowkell

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 12:48:57 PM EDT

Impressive that the entire Arlington General Assembly has signed onto this letter. Also, see the parts I've bolded for a few key points. Go streetcar!

P.S. Del Alfonso Lopez totally nails it in his ArlNow column, which utterly demolishes the absurd "Garvey-Vihstadt plan." Great to see them being called out.

October 22, 2014
The Honorable Aubrey L. Layne, Jr.
Secretary of Transportation
Commonwealth of Virginia
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218

Dear Secretary Layne,

As Members of the Arlington County General Assembly delegation, we strongly support the Commonwealth of Virginia's commitment to provide funding for the regional streetcar system that the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has included in its six year improvement program.

We are particularly pleased to see that Jennifer Mitchell, Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, confirmed in response to a press inquiry that the Commonwealth remains fully committed to providing Arlington and Fairfax Counties with $65 million over the course of the six-year improvement program in addition to other state funding.

We concur with Director Mitchell that this "project is an important regional priority and a key part of the economic redevelopment along Columbia Pike and the Pentagon City and Crystal City corridors." We strongly disagree with the efforts of Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt to deprive Arlington of those state funds dedicated to the streetcar project. In testimony before the CTB, Libby Garvey noted that although she and John Vihstadt are Arlington County Board members, she was speaking in her individual capacity and on behalf of Mr. Vihstadt in his individual capacity.

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Craaaaazy: Top Virginia GOP Advisor Shares His, er, Views on Homosexuality

by: lowkell

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 07:10:54 AM EDT

Ben "NLS" Tribbett breaks the news on his Facebook page about a rabidly anti-gay bigot who's a leading Virginia GOP operative (e.g., he lists himself as a "Senior Advisor" to Dave Brat in 2014) named Steve Waters. Shocker that he's a Republican political operative (Keith Fimian, E.W. Jackson, George Allen, and the others Ben lists) huh? By the way, one of this guy's Facebook posts rants about a "rainbow flag flying over the U.S. Embassy in Israel." Here's what Waters thinks of that:
Would Obama fly the Christian Flag? I doubt not! Purely evil and utterly disgusting as to what Presidential Leadership is in 2014 in the United States of America. George Washington and other GREAT Presidents are rolling in their graves in disgust!... Would Obama fly the Christian Flag? I doubt not! Purely evil and utterly disgusting as to what Presidential Leadership is in 2014 in the United States of America. George Washington and other GREAT Presidents are rolling in their graves in disgust!

Now, he's back on his favorite theme, the supposed evils of homosexuality, with his latest: "Is it normal for adult males to have to wear diapers because their rectal muscles have been abused so badly they can no longer control or tighten them to avoid pooping in their pants?" Also: "I will say this, if homosexuality is so normal, how come the diseases, illnesses and cancers connected with it are so abnormal. Even the CDC recognizes this."

UPDATE: This is great, the guy actually goes on Ben's Facebook page to try and defend himself. He claims: "I've got history, natural law and biology on my side on this one. What do you guys have, emotion. You should know emotion doesn't work well in public policy." Also hilarious: "I love seeing mean-spirited liberals lose their cool in a debate and all they can do is show people the huge gaps in their tolerance, or lack there of." He then adds: "I don't have a problem with homosexuals, I have an issue with them wanting to pervert marriage and tell pastors what they can preach. The good thing is y'all have over stepped on this one with the bi-sexual/transgender side. The American people aren't ready for that, nor kissing cousins wanting to marry." Also: "Logic, good one. A man putting part of his anatomy where 'poop' comes out of. Yep, that's love alright." And this: "Anything I say is going to be regarded as "hate" by you guys so I won't even try. I'll say this, you guys use the hate word so often it loses its effectiveness. Like I said, you want to get screwed up the rear as a man, that's your business, but don't try and force society to have to accept it. There's no precedent for your claim. Natural law buddies, have a good one. I'm so glad we had this opportunity to discuss this. If you are on this thread and happen to be a lesbian or gay guy, I wish you well and please take care of yourself and don't dismiss this stuff without consulting your physician. This is pretty serious stuff. I love you all! Goodnight and God Bless!"

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Concerned About Where Our Nation Is Heading?

by: Andy Schmookler

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 15:35:09 PM EDT


Summary: Americans think the nation is heading in the wrong direction. My biggest worries are 1) that our democracy is increasingly being transformed by the influence of big money into a plutocracy, and 2) we are failing to act vigorously to address the pressing emergency of global climate change. On both issues, the Republicans are playing a darkly destructive role, while the Democrats are failing to press the battle with the necessary vigor. That pattern reveals the essential core of America's national crisis. (This piece ran as an op/ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch this spring.)

Are you, like me, unhappy about where you sense our nation is heading? Do you, like me, fear that the prospects for our children and grandchildren will be darker than what we have known?

For years, the polls show, a substantial majority of Americans have been unhappy about where our nation is headed. But we don't all see the same dangers or agree on what to do about them. For example, the fear of millions that Obamacare is another step toward a socialist tyranny has little to do with reality. This distraction is indeed just one more symptom of what's gone wrong.

Here are my two most important areas of concern:

** The accelerating replacement of government by and for the people by government by and for big money.

** The disruption of the earth's climate system, on which our lives depend, is gaining momentum, while our nation remains incapable of responding appropriately.

Both crises reveal a pathological political dynamic darkening the prospects for our nation and its people.

The plutocratic threat to our democracy has long been visible, but not in living memory has our descent into the rule of the money system gone so deep.

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Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 06:33:51 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, October 23. Also check out the NewsHour story, which explains that it's by far and away non-Ebola diseases (e.g., the flu, measles, whooping cough, antibiotic-resistant bacteria) which pose the real health threat to the American public when it comes to infectious diseases.

*Economists See Limited Gains in Republican Proposals (Ya think?)
*EJ Dionne: The politics of Ebola ("...it's something else again to stoke alarm and to set up an unrealistic policy demand as a test of 'toughness.'")
*Alison Lundergan Grimes finally goes off-script (Maybe Chuck Todd will say she's "qualified" now? LOL)
*Attack on Ottawa: PM Harper cites terrorist motive
*Canada's Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame
*Piketty's prophecy comes true: The planet's middle class is rapidly going extinct ("New research reveals the superrich have grabbed half the world's resources -- and their wealth is only growing")
*Exclusive: DSCC going back up with ads for Alison Lundergan Grimes in Ky.
*Comstock, Foust in Close Race for 10th Congressional District Seat
*Brat's Strange Immigrant-Bashing (Brat, as always, is an extremist.)

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A Law to Make Congress Follow the Constitution

by: Dan Sullivan

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 18:50:45 PM EDT

Senator Kaine Public Square 52 photo 141021SenatorKaine_zps8b320dca.jpgGoing to war is serious business. Senator Kaine (D-VA) believes that those in whom that power is vested should follow a deliberate process and that the executive should be bound by the decision. The Constitution is not vague about the responsibilities but the world presents circumstances that are.

In an attempt to clear up any misunderstanding about the authority to commit forces to war, Senator Kaine has joined with Senator McCain (R-AZ) to offer legislation that will establish a process to ensure the judicious application of military force. Yesterday's participation in the Richmond Times Dispatch Public Square series was part of Senator Kaine's effort to gather "comments, suggestions, criticisms..." in a strategy to shape and craft the bill.

Tacitly, President Bush followed the requirements of the War Powers Act, a law passed in 1973 following the frustration over the prosecution of the Viet Nam War. That was designed to rein in the initiative of any President using military force but written with both Johnson and Nixon in mind. Johnson had the support of a Congress that never imagined the scope of involvement that would precipitate. Then Nixon attacked two countries, Laos and Cambodia, without consulting Congress. To be honest, no President went as far as Bush to conform to the letter of the War Powers Act. The others managed to avoid anything more than consulting with Congressional leadership and always went on their merry way. However, the fact that George Bush appealed for authority may be more revealing about how thin he knew his justification was and that he needed cover rather than indicating sincere regard for the law. Plus the timing of the request appears suspiciously politically motivated.

Further, the authorization that Congress gave President Bush has no sunset or clearly defined achievable objective. As long as it remains in effect, Presidents can and will chase any remnant or offshoot of al Qaida's ghost, real or imagined, while waving the authorization as justification for centuries to come. So, even if you argue that he and his successor have acted under the authority of the War Powers Act, you observe the same result that arose before the Act, different day: war(s) with a scope never imagined when authorized, being fought in second, third (fourth, fifth...) party countries. Senator Kaine's obsession with the subject is more than justified.

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Former Senator Jim Webb Endorses Senator Mark Warner for Re-Election

by: lowkell

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 14:36:17 PM EDT

From Sen. Mark Warner's campaign:
ALEXANDRIA - Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb today announced his endorsement of Senator Mark Warner for re-election.

In his endorsement, Webb cited Senator Warner's work on behalf of Virginia's military families and veterans and his commitment to reaching across the aisle to find solutions for Virginians.

"Mark Warner has been a friend and a colleague for many years," said former Senator Jim Webb. "I will always appreciate his efforts on behalf of my Senatorial campaign in 2006, and I believe it is in the best interests of all Virginians to return Mark to the Senate."

"I am honored to have the endorsement of Senator Webb," said Senator Warner. "Senator Webb was a leader in the Senate in his work to pass the new GI Bill and reform the criminal justice system.  I'm proud of what we accomplished together, securing funding to expand Craney Island, introducing legislation to recognize Virginia's Indian Tribes and pushing for oil exploration off Virginia's coast."

As colleagues in the Senate, Webb and Warner were successful in securing $24.7 million in federal funding to expand Craney Island at the Port of Virginia, doubling terminal capacity and creating hundreds of jobs.  Warner and Webbalso introduced legislation to speed up the timetable for offshore oil exploration off Virginia's coast and to ensure Virginia would receive it's fair share of revenues.

Senator Warner has worked tirelessly in the Senate on behalf of Virginia's military families and veterans.  Warner convinced the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs to certify the College of William and Mary's Puller Clinic as a national best practice program, using law students to help veterans expedite their disability claims on a pro bono basis.  The clinic has now expanded from one to 15 and has been approved by the American Bar Association. Sen. Warner also has fought to block Pentagon plans to cut its network of commissaries, which young military families rely upon to help balance their family budgets.

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Lyme Disease Spreads as Humans Unravel the Web of Life?

by: aprilmoore

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 11:56:59 AM EDT

(Add in other diseases too, like Ebola, which has almost certainly spread due to deforestation and other human depradations on the environment. When (if ever) will we learn? - promoted by lowkell)


A few days ago I received a shocking email from Mike Tidwell, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).  Subject line:  "Mike diagnosed with Lyme Disease."

Oh no!  As a CCAN board member, I knew that Mike had been dealing with miserable, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, and muscle stiffness for sometime.  I felt terrible to learn this news.  Lyme Disease is a frightening illness that is hard to cure and sometimes leaves lasting damage.  

I felt sad to think of this prospect for Mike.  In addition to being a great guy, Mike is an inspiration to climate activists in the mid-Atlantic region, where CCAN operates, and beyond.  One of the most dedicated climate warriors I know, Mike is also an effective organizer, writer, speaker, and fundraiser.  He is a mentor to a great many of us, and we need him to be healthy!

Mike noted in his email that he knows many people in the mid-Atlantic region who have had Lyme Disease.  I have to admit that I can say the same.  Just in the last year or so, the number of people I know with Lyme Disease has increased dramatically.  

Yes, I know that a warming world means many diseases are on the move.   For example, tropical diseases, never before seen in the United States, are expected to move northward from the tropics into the American south. When I first heard about Lyme Disease 25 years ago, it was in places north of us, places like New England and northern Minnesota.

If climate change is pushing diseases toward the poles, then it would seem that the explanation for the increased incidence in our region must lie elsewhere.  So I wondered, what might the answer be?  Clearly, something is going on that is making the mid-Atlantic region hospitable to the tick that transmits the disease.  

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"Solar PV is mostly a threat to utility investors and shareholders, not ratepayers"

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 20:09:41 PM EDT

I'm cross posting this here from Scaling Green, as it's directly relevant to Dominion Power, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), and all the ignorant, stupid s*** I've heard recently from the likes of Bill "ALEC" Howell about clean energy, the future of Dominion Power, etc, etc. Do these folks know anything at all about energy markets? Based on what they've been saying in recent days, it sure doesn't seem that way. Now, here's someone who actually DOES know what he's talking about...David Roberts of Grist, who frankly is smarter than the entire SCC, Dominion Power executives and Virginia House of Delegates "leadership" put together. And no, that wasn't meant as a backhanded compliment to David Roberts. :)

UPDATE 11:10 am Wednesday: It appears that even a hyper-conservative coal country legislator (State Sen. Bill Carrico) says he can live with the Clean Power Plan. No doubt because he knows, deep down, that it's a winner for Virginia jobs and the economy. Meanwhile, the Bill Howells of the world are hard at work actually (albeit unintentionally/cluelessly) hastening the demise of Dominion Power.

The headline of this post is quite possibly the energy-related quote of the day, maybe the week or even month. It's courtesy of David Roberts of Grist, back to providing us with consistently incisive analysis after a year-long sabbatical. Today, Roberts has a must-read post (in his case, maybe we should call it an "even-more-must-read-than-usual-for-David-Roberts" post) entitled, "Rooftop solar is just the beginning; utilities must innovate or go extinct." It's really worth your time to read the whole thing, and we strongly recommend you do that if you're interested in the future evolution of clean energy (which of course you are if you're reading this blog!). For now, here are the key points, including Roberts' awesome quote.

  • Distributed solar power poses a serious threat to power utilities, and "utilities are fighting back, attempting to impose additional fees and restrictions on solar customers."
  • The problem is, the way the utilities are fighting back - "cling[ing] to their familiar business model" while trying to recoup lost revenues through "rate-tweaking" - is not going to save them. Instead, they need to undertake "a wholesale rethinking of the utility business model" -- "sooner" rather than later if they're smart.
  • Two new analyses -- "Financial Impacts of Net-Metered PV on Utilities and Ratepayers" by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and "Does Disruptive Competition Mean a Death Spiral for Electric Utilities?" by Elisabeth Graffy and Steven Kihm --  zero in on the core problem(s) facing utilities faced with the "disruptive threat" of rapidly growing distributed solar power. For instance, what happens "if solar PV penetration rose to between 2.5 and 10 percent of total retail sales by 2022?" The answer: utilities equity and earnings fall a lot, while rates go up only a little.  Which leads us right to Roberts' superb quote: "Solar PV is mostly a threat to utility investors and shareholders, not ratepayers."
  • The problem for utilities is that their whole business model is based on building "more power plants and power lines," which as Roberts points out is both "insane" (in that it's not just diametrically opposed to "our social and environmental goals"), but also the polar opposite of where power markets are headed -- towards more distributed power and more consumer autonomy.
  • Does all this mean an inevitable "death spiral" for investor-owned utilities?  Not necessarily, according to the Graffy and Kihm analysis, as long as utilities are willing and able to muster "the organizational foresight and habits needed to respond proactively to disruptive threats." The problem, in Roberts' view, is that after "a century of enjoying regulated-monopoly status, with returns guaranteed by law and expansion as far as the eye could see, utilities have virtually none of [that]."
  • Another, short-term option for utilities is to try to recover their costs by raising rates, fees, etc. to consumers. The problem with this approach, of course, is that it only leads to "a bunch of dissatisfied customers seeking non-grid alternatives," and "a growing market that will attract more and more entrepreneurial attention, thus accelerating customer defections." In short, "The longer utilities try to hold back the wave with legal or regulatory roadblocks, the harder it will hit them when it finally comes."
  • The bottom line is that utilities need to adapt to the distributed solar power revolution, and fast. If they try to resist this revolution, their demise - the "death spiral" - will only be more assured (and probably more sudden). The alternative: "Instead of viewing ratepayers as passive sources of cost recovery, utilities ought to view them as, y'know, customers. Offer them products and services that satisfy their evolving preferences." We'll see if they're smart enough to do that, but as Roberts points out, "regulated-monopoly" utilities are simply "not prepared for this sh*t."  In other words, the next few years will be crucial - not to mention fascinating to observe as this process plays out.
Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 06:37:18 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, October 22. Also see the video of Sen. Tim Kaine at the Richmond Times-Dispatch's "Public Square" on war powers.

*Mark Levin Urges Viewers To Vote Republican Because Obama Will Go "Full Mussolini" After Midterm Elections (Jut remember, this maniac endorsed Barbara Comstock.)
*BREAKING: Federal Judge Rules Against Marriage Equality, Mocks Other Judges In Angry Diatribe ("Given the makeup of the First Circuit, the overwhelming consensus among federal judges in favor of marriage equality, and the belligerent tone of Pérez-Giménez's opinion, it is unlikely that his decision will be upheld on appeal.")
*Ben Bradlee, legendary Washington Post editor, dies at 93
*The GOP's Attack on Mark Warner Is One of the Most Hypocritical of This Election Season ("So, in short, Virginia's top Democrats, panicking about the potential loss of Senate control and the fate of the governor's legislative priority-not to mention the fate of 400,000 poor Virginians' health and financial well-being-tried to fight fire with fire, and favor with favor, and lost...even if the overtures crossed some line, there is no disputing which overture came first, what the original sin of this saga was.")
*Mark Warner attacks Ed Gillespie in new ad tying his former firm to 'dictator'
*Today's Top Opinion: Sen. Kaine calls for war-powers clarity
*Virginia jobless rate unchanged at 5.5 percent for Sept.
*Schapiro: A governor's chief of staff is his chief operative ("Reagan's error was not that he did his job. It was that he left fingerprints - lots of them. Did he do something illegal? Probably not, according to lawyers in both parties. Did he do something stupid? You don't have to consult a lawyer to answer that question.")
*Kaine says midterm election keeps Congress from debating war (Actually, it's the fact that Congress has for decades been close to impotent when it comes to debating war.)

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Pew Analysis Yet Again Demolishes the Media's False Equivalence Between Liberals and Conservatives

by: lowkell

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 15:45:18 PM EDT

Yet more evidence that right wingers are in their own far-out universe, in this case from a fascinating new study by Pew ("Political Polarization & Media Habits"). You know how the corporate media and others like to always claim that there are two equivalent "sides" in every debate, that there's a "left" and a "right" that are equally "extreme," blah blah blah? Well, of course that's complete bull**** in every way, with no factual evidence at all to back it up, yet still they persist. Take media viewing habits, for instance. I don't know how many times I've heard that Fox is just the right-wing version of MSNBC, or some such idiocy. Well, in fact, right wingers are WILDLY different than liberals in where they get their news: basically, right wingnuts only believe Fox, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and a few others. In stark contrast, liberals get their news from a wide variety of sources, and - perhaps to a fault - are more trusting of news sources (28 of 36 surveyed) compared to the "consistently conservative" crowd, who only trust Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Drudge, the Blaze - also a Glenn Beck project - Fox, the Wall Street Journal and freakin' Breitbart - hahahaha. Think about that: right wingers only trust extremist nutjobs like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. I mean, it's not surprising to most of us, I'm sure, but still...WTF?!?

By the way, I must say that I find it disheartening to see how many liberals watch trash networks like CNN, which basically traffics in triviality, superficiality, "if it bleeds it leads," extreme weather, shark attacks and other assorted garbage. I mean, seriously, if you get your news from CNN, you have no clue what's going on the world. Same thing, frankly, if you get your news from the major networks' evening newscasts - same basic crap as CNN (weather, fires, idiocy, triviality, etc.). My recommendations out of Pew's list for where anyone who's not a right wingnut should be getting their news? How about any/all of the following: NPR, PBS, the BBC, the Economist, the Guardian, Mother Jones and the New York Times? As for Politico, I'd just take that as "Tiger Beat on the Potomac" infotainment and faux-narrative creation for the most part.

Anyway, the bottom line is not that liberals are  necessarily super-well-informed people. Again, if you get most of your news from CNN or comedy shows or whatever, you're not going to be. However, the right wing simply lives in a bizarre, freakish alternate universe that bears zero resemblance to that thing we call "reality." What it DOES do very well, however, is to stoke fear, anger, ignorance, outrage, and other manifestations of the "worse angels of our nature." For the folks stuck in that echo chamber, all I can say is: run, don't walk, as fast as you can away from it! The brain cells (not to mention sanity) you save may be your own. :)

P.S. It's funny and appropriate that nobody trusts BuzzFeed. Unless you like cute dog and cat "listicles" and other assorted cotton candy for the brain.

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