Sunday, February 28, 2021

Reliability: Whose, and How Long?

Greg Abbott, the Cancun misadventures of Ted Cruz, even Texas is a distraction. Ever since Katrina, Gulf Coast disasters have followed thick and fast one upon the other. After Katrina, which affected Louisiana and Mississippi most drastically, New Orleans was never given a change at recovery. Two years ago Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in two feet of water. The snow storm affecting the entire state last week was preceded last August by Hurricane Laura forcing half a million to evacuate, and affecting the Lake Charles area, located just 3 miles from Houston. A month after Laura, Delta again left Lake Charles reeling under mass devastation. Weeks later, Zeta knocked out New Orleans power for nearly a week. 


In case no one’s noticed, the Gulf Coast has become uninhabitable.  That’s the real news.  All else is distraction, the politicians quick to pin blame on the Green New Deal and on wind turbines (Texas’ are not hardened against the cold) and not the  utility managers who sit on ERCOT’s board (Electric Reliability Council of Texas). Not the failure of its coal and gas plants, and its reliance on fossil fuels generally. Texas insisted on having its own grid in order to avoid regulation. Ten years ago after a severe storm, ERCOT’s managers were advised to harden their infrastructure, but they chose to do absolutely nothing that would stand in the way of more and more profits at the expense of rate payers statewide who have been without power, most without water, without heat in freezing temperatures, so severe it has resulted in several deaths, and whose uninsulated water pipes are located on the exterior of their homes. Many days of snow, and freezing temperatures eluded the Texas imagination—as did so much else. Because like everything else, Texans are immune to the ravages of global warming. Until it strikes.


Austin: Texans carrying potable water

Throughout the state now, millions of houses have burst water pipes, with severe water damage making many homes uninhabitable. Texans have had to scramble to obtain water and food as super market shelves have emptied; some have had to burn furniture to try to stay warm, and most hospitals are without power or  potable water, unable to care for the severely ill who keep their emergency rooms overflowing.  Like Katrina, the snow storm has impacted millions of people, but unlike Katrina, this disaster has reached deep into the white middle class as well.  Whereas one Katrina survivor described caravans of escaping white folks speeding by on the state interconnector, waving at them with “So, long, niggers,” this time some of these white folks don’t even get to exercise any ready-to-hand racism. In a great evening of the playing field, this time all Texans have been “so longed,” and ERCOT is slapping them with utility bills somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,600 for just trying to keep warm over the cold snap. My, oh my. oh my, just think what that’s going to do to Texas real estate values.


Homes in darness while corporate Houston glows

But Texas is just one sacrifice zone, the Gulf Coast is just another sacrifice zone. What about Iowa which not too long experienced flooding on a scale never before imagined, destroying some 43% of its corn crop? What about California which experienced skies the color of dark chocolate with massive wild fires too hot to control, reportedly because of the geo-engineered aerial spraying over its forests coupled with the fecklessness of PGE, the Northern California utility which alone managed to cause over 400 fires, and nearly one hundred deaths? Is California too to become a sacrifice zone to the global warming caused by human activity? And what about the U.S. military which produces more greenhouse gases than several developed countries?


And is all the United States between California and Texas to become one gigantic sacrifice zone, and is continental U.S.A. to become one mega sacrifice zone? And is Central America with so many of its inhabitants feeling drought to become just part or a Northern Hemisphere sacrifice zone, and as the Andes glaciers continue melting depriving much of Peru and Bolivia of water is Latin America to join a hemispheric sacrifice zone? And while the Western Hemisphere parches, burns, freezes and floods, will the Eastern Hemisphere, home of a great part of the world’s population, remain immune?


In the absence of local, state or federal agencies,  a number of articles, point to the heroic efforts of mutual aid groups all over Texas and Mississippi assisting neighbors, despite their own homes being subject to flooding, fires, freezing cold water damage, and their own food lockers all but empty. Neighbors turned absent homeowners water mains off. But despite the deep humanity to which these gestures attest, global warming is of such a vast scale that only the essentially radical approaches of governments uniting in one-world government can possibly encounter it.


Last night I watched the miracle of moon rise.  The moon stares down on all of this with an indifferent eye—as indifferent as most of the Earth’s people who do nothing and could care less.  Until disaster visits them.





CUT the Pentagon budget.



NO MORE WAR in the Middle East.




Academics at UK university reject IHRA anti-Semitism definition.


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China declares victory over poverty as World Bank estimates that in the past 40 years, this accounts for more than 70% of the world’s total.


India, China PMs to set up hot line as border crisis eases.


India and China complete pull-back of forces.


So Korea agrees to partial release of blocked Iranian money.


Israel lashes out as ICC okays war crimes probe.


Magpie River becomes first in Canada to be granted legal personhood.


Mexico to ban glyphosate and GM corn.


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U.S. says Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi’s murder, imposes visa restrictions on 76 Saudis.


SCOTUS denies Trump’s “shameful” effort to block tax returns release green lighting their release to NYC prosecutor.


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Texas mutual aid groups meet people’s long-term needs.


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Biden evokes #45 order designating Democratic cities ‘anarchist’ designation.


Biden team considering halting some arms sales for Saudis.


Citing concerns about corporate power, Sanders votes against Biden’s choice for USDA chief.


Sanders warms Biden about attack on Syria.


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With $15 wage included, House Dems fulfill election promises with passage of sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.


AOC spends weekend raising millions and delivering aid to Texans.


Jewish groups urge Biden to review and revoke Trump-era ‘made in Israel’ settlement good policy.


Ahead of hearing, calls grow for Postmaster General DeJoy’s removal.


California State legislature passes Golden State stimulus with governor signing it.


California appellate court holds that Wi-Fi sickness is a disability.


Newsom administration sued over thousands of unlawful oil and gas projects.


Judge upholds California’s gold standard net neutrality law.


Virginia to become first state in South to ban capital punishment.


California becomes first stats in country to repeal many onerous administrative fees in the criminal justice system.


Advocates applaud as Illinois approves elimination of cash bail.


Coastal Annapolis MD becomes 25th U.S. community to file climate suit that aims to #MakePollutersPay.


Under pressure from activists, fracking banned in Delaware River basin.


Coalition of activists tell Gov. Wolf, no sacrifice zones in Pennsylvania.


Environmentalists sound alarm over Texas refineries’ release of hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants during storm.


Investors managing $250 million in assets call on big banks to stop funding Mountain Valley Pipeline.


Fighting ‘disease of greed and destruction,’ water protectors blockade over a dozen Line 3 worksites.


Law students announce boycott of Chevron law firm, Seward & s.


Asian and Black progressives stress unity and understanding amid attacks on Asian Americans.


Minnesota returns land to lower Sioux Indian community.


New database aims to track police use of force, bypassing current government inaction.


Santa Barbara approves Medicare for All resolution.


Chicago City Council unanimously passes resolution to end blockade of Cuba.




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