Renewable Energy Capacity Now Exceeds Coal in the USA


Dept of the Interior

❝ Renewable energy now generates more electricity in the United States than coal. Solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, and geothermal totaled 21.56 percent of U.S. generating capacity as of April, according to a report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Coal, meanwhile, accounted for just 21.55 percent of capacity, down from 23.04 percent last year…

Coal capacity has dropped to its lowest level in 40 years. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than half of the U.S. coal mines operating in 2008 — when coal production peaked — have since closed. Natural gas, however, continues to grow, accounting for more than 44 percent of U.S. total energy capacity in April.

Add together the Fake President, his Oberst-Gruppenführer McConnell and the Do-Nothing Dodo Brigade of Republicans in Congress – they still couldn’t save something as backwards as coal-fired electricity.

Dummies never learn

❝ In the 1640’s the Dutch inhabitants of New Amsterdam built a 12′ wall to keep the bad hombres out. In 1664 the British ignored the wall and took New Amsterdam by sea. It’s now called New York. They took down the wall and built a street. It’s called Wall Street.

Same as it ever was…

Thanks, Ian Bremmer

Trump Wanted to Change Alaska’s Denali Back to Mount McKinley to make Bigots Happy in Ohio

❝ President Donald Trump brought up a campaign promise during a March meeting with the U.S. senators from Alaska, asking whether he could roll back President Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to rename the tallest mountain on the continent…

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan were meeting with Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in the Oval Office to talk about issues affecting Alaska…The president then raised another of Obama’s Alaska decisions. “Wasn’t the name of a big mountain in Alaska changed by executive order?” Trump asked, according to The Alaska Dispatch News – Obama announced in 2015 the federal government was changing the name of Mount McKinley to Denali, the Native Alaska name for the peak…

❝ The president brought up the idea of changing the name back to Mount McKinley, named for a U.S. president who never visited the 49th state, and the senators quickly argued against it. “Lisa—Senator Murkowski—and I jumped over the desk. We said, ‘No, no!'” said Sullivan, who was speaking at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage, the newspaper reported.

When the president asked, “Why?” Sullivan answered, “The Alaska Native people named that mountain over 10,000 years ago.… Denali, that was the name,” according to the newspaper…

❝ Trump, then just two months into his presidential campaign, reacted strongly. “President Obama wants to change the name of Mount McKinley to Denali after more than 100 years. Great insult to Ohio. I will change back!” he said in a tweet, referring to President William McKinley’s home state.

❝ Alaskans slammed Trump’s tweets. “We wanted that change for a long time, and now we finally have it, and we need to leave it alone,” Victor Joseph, president of Tanana Chiefs Conference, a consortium of 42 Athabascan tribes in Interior Alaska, told the Associated Press last year. “It was an insult to the first people of this land when they took away the name and gave it to somebody else.”

Trump’s racist politics betrays him once again. Aside from being criminally incompetent to manage the affairs of this nation, his affection for bigots and racist politics smears this whole nation with the stupidity that lead a minority of voters to go for Trump in the 2016 election.

Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies

❝ Modern conservatives have been lying about taxes pretty much from the beginning of their movement. Made-up sob stories about family farms broken up to pay inheritance taxes, magical claims about self-financing tax cuts, and so on go all the way back to the 1970s. But the selling of tax cuts under Trump has taken things to a whole new level, both in terms of the brazenness of the lies and their sheer number. Both the depth and the breadth of the dishonesty make it hard even for those of us who do this for a living to keep track.

In fact, when I set out to make a list of the bigger lies, I thought there would be six or seven, and was surprised to come up with ten…

Lie #1: America is the most highly-taxed country in the world

This is a Trump special: he’s said it many, many times, most recently just this past week. Each time, fact-checkers have piled on to point out that it’s false. Here’s taxes as a percentage of GDP, from the OECD:

❝ The blue bar is the US; the red bar the average for advanced countries.

Why does Trump keep repeating what even he has to know by now is a flat lie? I suspect it’s a power thing: he enjoys showing that he can lie repeatedly through his teeth, be caught red-handed in his lie again and again, and his followers will still believe him rather than the “fake news” media.

Read ’em and weep, folks. Paul Krugman nails our fake president. The chumps who voted for the Trump simply do not care if he lies. They love his misogyny, racism, broadcast bigotry and unabashed ignorance. He doesn’t have to know more than they do. Little enough is good enough for hypocrites. And losers.

The US “leads” the solar energy revolution by laying off solar energy researchers

On Monday, Oct. 5, Stuart Farrell had planned to take the morning off from his job as a researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., after being awake all night taking care of his sick 2-year-old son. But at 10:30 a.m., he received a call asking him to come in for an 11:30 meeting…

Farrell, who had worked in solar energy research at the laboratory for two and a half years, was one of 15 solar research staff members laid off that day due to federal funding cuts, according to NREL public affairs manager George Douglas. And another 40 to 60 staff members are expected to be lost through a voluntary separation program that the lab will initiate on Oct. 12.

Almost all of the researchers already laid off were involved in “next generation,” or long-term, solar research, Douglas said. Farrell’s work, for instance, involved research on improving the efficiency of cadmium telluride solar cells.

It’s the latest sign of a trend that experts say is undermining U.S. efforts to promote alternative energy: Federal funding for solar energy research has declined steadily over the past several years, despite emphasis from the Obama administration on continued investment in research and development of clean energy technologies. These cuts have affected the federal solar program at large, not just solar research at NREL…

“NREL is actually one of the smallest of the national laboratories, and I think it’s been one that has had one of the largest impacts of any of the national laboratories,” said Al Compaan, president and CTO of Lucintech, a company involved in the development of photovoltaic modules. “I’m particularly pained to see any further cuts in funding [to NREL].” For instance, support from NREL was integral to the success of photovoltaic manufacturer First Solar, which Compaan referred to as “one of the bright shining stars in the success of federal government support for solar energy.”…

Yet the budget appropriations have fallen short of the requests over the past few years, and applied research, particularly on long-term, forward-looking technologies like the project Farrell was involved with at NREL, has been one of the areas to suffer. The reasons for the funding cuts could be tied to budget sequestration, or limits on the size of the federal budget, which can force spending cuts in certain areas in order to bring the total budget down…

Despite these reductions, solar energy itself has continued to expand and contribute to decarbonization in the U.S., at least partly thanks to the importation of solar modules from other nations, particularly China. The U.S. market share in photovoltaic manufacturing has dropped significantly since the late 90s, and China has become the major source of module shipments over the past five years…

Jobs, jobs, jobs – the mantra of political hacks from both parties. But, as long as the government is run by an amalgamation of reactionaries and cowards the inevitability of change continues to be driven by the nations with a real dedication to alternative energy.

President Obama can blather all he wants at press conferences celebrating his joint energy and environment agreements with President Xi. At the rate we’re going the only American jobs flowing from the solar revolution will be as installers. Manufacturing for domestic consumption – much less export – will continue to diminish in a nation that would rather dedicate research to new and exciting weapons of mass destruction.

Our politicians take Americans another step backwards – bowing to the Koch Brothers and the fossil fuel empire.

Taxpayers get to pay the price for official state bigotry

Two months after the U.S. Supreme Court ended the legal debate over gay marriage by declaring that the constitutionally protected civil right to marriage must be extended to same-sex couples nationwide, attorneys general and governors who fought it are receiving unpleasant souvenirs of failure: Invoices from the attorneys who beat them.

States that defended same-sex marriage bans — most did, to some extent — are now being asked to pay the legal fees for those litigants under a 40-year-old federal law that says the court “in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party … a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs.”

Or as Michigan attorney Dana Nessel put it: “It’s the price governments pay for defending bigotry.”

Defeat won’t come cheap — or, in many cases, without further legal wrangling.

Michigan is weighing its response to a $1.9 million demand from attorneys for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, plaintiffs in one of the four cases that went to the Supreme Court and was decided in June. In Kentucky, another state involved in the Supreme Court showdown, the bill for services rendered is $2.1 million. South Carolina has been ordered to pay $130,000, and Florida’s attorney general is fighting a tab of about $700,000.

Several states have struck agreements already. Pennsylvania settled for $1.5 million, Wisconsin for $1.05 million, Virginia for $580,000, Oregon for $132,000, Colorado for $90,000, Utah for $95,000 and North Dakota for $58,000. The varying prices reflect the length of the battles or their intensity.

“This is exactly what Congress created this law for,” said Stephen Rosenthal, a Miami-based attorney who fought Florida’s ban. “It’s a recognition that people need lawyers to fight the government, which has lots of lawyers, when they feel their civil rights are being violated. To encourage lawyers to take these cases, you need to provide the potential to get paid in the end.”

The attorneys general of Michigan, Florida, South Carolina and South Dakota did not respond to requests for comment.

Sometimes the creeps who fight tooth-and-nail against progress get what they deserve. Taxpayers – who elected creeps to represent them – get to foot the bill.

Stupid pic of the day

I hope this photo isn’t representative of more than an isolated little turd on the Oklahoma landscape. A racist greeting for President Obama visiting Oklahoma to review policies that give us one of the most imprisoned societies on Earth. We have 5% of the planet’s population and 25% of the imprisoned.

Most of the international news services picked this up – so, the whole world will see this pic and presume they’re witnessing another example of racist America as widespread as it was back in official Jim Crow days – instead of a small clot of bigots celebrating their backwardness.

For that’s been my experience with OK. I spent a small piece of time representing a software company headquartered in Oklahoma. Small, though they had at the time a 40% market share in their niche. Nice BBQ at sales meetings.

Good folks in my extended family grew up in OK farm country. And I have a Norteño buddy who retired and left Santa Fe to a farm he bought in OK. Tells me he has great neighbors with no hangups over his Hispanic life and style.

Nope, my hope is these nutballs are just a small blob of bigotry, folks with a rats nest instead of brains.