Is Manchin any more corrupt than the rest of Congress?

The power plant that buys coal from Sen. Joe Manchin’s company is fighting to stay open by generating electricity for cryptocurrency mining after being on the brink of economic collapse for years.

The plan would ensure that the plant keeps burning some of the dirtiest coal on the market, and continue a lucrative business for Manchin’s family company that sells waste fuel collected at shuttered mines…

That could preserve a large portion of Manchin’s personal income. His company, Enersystems, supplies the plant with nearly all of the gob, or waste coal, it uses for electricity generation from large piles of discarded shale, clay and slurry dug out from two nearby coal mines that closed years ago.

Manchin has collected more than $5 million from Enersystems since he was elected to the Senate in 2010, according to financial disclosure documents. His stock in the company is worth up to another $5 million…

“You have Joe Manchin talking about how utilities are already moving toward clean energy so he doesn’t want to support these new clean energy policies, but you can look at his home state and it’s not happening there,” said Dave Anderson, policy and communications manager for the Energy and Policy Institute. “The continued reliance on coal waste is just costing ratepayers more money so it’s pretty hard to justify. Which makes the fact that he is still making money off of coal more concerning.”…

Manchin is not the first lawmaker to vote on a bill that could affect their personal finances, said Richard Painter, the former chief ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush…

But Manchin’s position as a deal breaker for a provision that could affect his personal income is “terrible for the reputation of our representative democracy,” Painter said.

“They put Manchin in a unique situation, he has this deciding vote, and if there are provisions in there that help his company and he makes those provisions into deal breakers, at a certain point you get close to the bribery statute,” Painter said.

RTFA. Enough detail, answers and explanations to make a stone gargoyle puke on a church.

Flames and Fury

Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg

Tom Houghton (Media editor)

Despite the abundance of incredible photography that has crossed my desk this year, I struggle to think of a moment more moving than the one captured by Bloomberg photographer Konstantinos Tsakalidis on the island of Evia, Greece. This woman’s anguish as the raging wildfire draws closer to her house is heartbreaking. The colour and composition reminds me of the painting The Scream by Edvard Munch. No matter how many times I look at it, it remains both beautiful and upsetting.

This was excerpted from “The Best Science Images of 2021”

“The Doomsday Glacier is coming for us all”

Jeff Goodell

One thing that’s hard to grasp about the climate crisis is that big changes can happen fast. In 2019, I was aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer, a 308-foot-long scientific research vessel, cruising in front of the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica. One day, we were sailing in clear seas in front of the glacier. The next day, we were surrounded by icebergs the size of aircraft carriers.

As we later learned from satellite images, in a matter of 48 hours or so, a mélange of ice about 21 miles wide and 15 miles deep had cracked up and scattered into the sea.

It was a spooky moment. Thwaites Glacier is the size of Florida. It is the cork in the bottle of the entire West Antarctic ice sheet, which contains enough ice to raise sea levels by 10 feet…

Given the ongoing war for American democracy and the deadly toll of the Covid pandemic, the loss of an ice shelf on a far-away continent populated by penguins might not seem to be big news. But in fact, the West Antarctic ice sheet is one of the most important tipping points in the Earth’s climate system. If Thwaites Glacier collapses, it opens the door for the rest of the West Antarctic ice sheet to slide into the sea. Globally, 250 million people live within three feet of high tide lines. Ten feet of sea level rise would be a world-bending catastrophe. It’s not only goodbye Miami, but goodbye to virtually every low-lying coastal city in the world…

Or to put it more urgently: “If there is going to be a climate catastrophe,” Ohio State glaciologist Ian Howat once told me, “it’s probably going to start at Thwaites.”

RTFA.There are many variables. There may even be a small chance they don’t stack up to be a disaster. But, I wouldn’t count on it.


Sleeping cuckoo wasp
Thorben Danke

A prizewinner by Thorben Danke. Photomicrography was the very first career I truly wished to enter while still a young lad in the industrial world of New England. Wanted it, so bad. But, like anything approaching an apprenticeship in the 1950’s, you didn’t even earn peanuts, much less enough to live on – on your own.

But, I worked with a great and skilled practitioner of the art, Billy Hogg, from the UK. We worked in a laboratory testing, examining non-ferrous metals produced by our employer. He did the final touches and took the photos of samples after I’d done the rough work including polishing and chemical etching. Beautiful stuff.

Was not to be.

FBI sniffing around rightwing cross-pollination

Levinson/Daily Beast

A Justice Department investigation into conservative operative James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas group includes a review of O’Keefe’s ties to a member of the far-right Proud Boys, according to a federal search warrant.

On Nov. 6, FBI agents carried out an early-morning raid on O’Keefe’s home. The search came as part of a year-long investigation involving Project Veritas’s purchase of a diary purportedly belonging to Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden, and the diary’s subsequent publication on a right-wing website.

As part of the raid, according to the warrant, FBI agents were looking for communications with a self-described “third degree” Proud Boy named Jackson Voynick. Voynick is listed in the document as one of several persons whose communications could reveal information about “potential co-conspirators…”

Project Veritas and a lawyer representing O’Keefe didn’t respond to requests for comment. Voynick couldn’t be reached for comment.

Now, we get to witness rightwing clucks spouting buckets of blather in an predictable attempt to blot out case law that differentiates between rights for political speech used for opinion and policy OR criminal enterprise.

Cheap EV battery swaps already happening in China

Nio may have started making headlines with its increasing network of electric vehicle battery swapping stations in China, but fellow Chinese carmaker Geely is doing the same. The former already has almost 200 such stations that are already operational, so it has a head start, but Geely wants to catch up and promises to have 100 stations up and running by the end of this year.

Even though battery swapping makes EVs more complex, companies that are embracing it argue the extra complexity is worth it because it’s so much quicker than charging. Spending not more than a minute to have a fully charged battery, as opposed to waiting around for it to be charged, really does sound good in theory.

This was published May, 2021. Geely’s current target over the next few years is 5,000 swap stations.

Curious to see how battery swapping works? Well, this video published by Geely UnCut takes you through the entire process, if you drive a Geely EV in China.

7 Euros cost. Some competitors are 7 dollars. Either road, a helluva lot cheaper, simpler, than discussions in the GOUSA would lead you to believe.

Anti-Vaxxers refused service at Trump Grill – no proof of vaccination!

A group of anti-vaxxers protested outside Trump Grill in New York City on Thursday after they were denied entrance to the restaurant.

A police officer was recorded trying to reason with the handful of protesters, who appeared to be in the restaurant’s lobby.

None of the individuals involved in the argument were wearing masks, or practicing social-distancing.

‘Trump is a fraud if he’s enforcing this!’ said one of the men in the video…

In New York City, people aged five and older are required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for indoor dining, including restaurants, catering halls, hotel banquet rooms, bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, coffee shops, fast food restaurants and grocery stores with indoor dining.

Har! Ask Trump if he will support principles over profit, eh? Not in his lifetime.