The Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall — Inevitably


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The California Public Utilities Commission will wait until next year to make a decision on PG&E’s application to shutter Diablo Canyon in 2025…

If the five-person commission, which governs utilities in California, follows precedent, it will likely approve the application per the recommendation of administrative law judge Peter Allen…

County officials said they were optimistic after the commission delayed the decision on Thursday.

“Despite our radically diverse interests and viewpoints, a broad community and business coalition all came together and agreed that the proposal would help us protect local public health, safety and economic stability,” County Counsel Rita Neal said in a news release. “This continues to be our top priority. We will wait to move forward and when the commission reaches a decision, we will consider all of our options and next steps.”

PG&E applied in June 2016 to decommission the plant when licenses for its two nuclear reactors expire in 2024 and 2025.

Overdue.

Portugal is Europe’s New Booming Not-Germany-Approved Economy

❝ Germany’s resolute Chancellor Angela Merkel is not usually one to admit she’s been wrong. But this autumn, when it comes to her faith in austerity economics in Europe, Merkel, together with her then-Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaüble, did as much — in deed, if not in word…

Mario Centeno constitutes a shift in course. Until now, he has represented a Southern European country, Portugal, that received a 78 billion euro ($92 billion) bailout from its fellow European Union member states amid the euro crisis. But even more remarkable, Centeno was part of a leftist government with the backing of a communist party, which subsequently bucked the marching orders of its northern creditors and the troika composed of the European Central Bank, European Commission, and International Monetary Fund.

Portugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeedPortugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeed. That’s not to suggest that, just because Centeno has served a leftist Portuguese government, he will pursue radical policy ambitions in Brussels. But, as president of the Eurogroup, he will execute duties in a body that grew immensely in significance over the course of the financial crises and will be paramount in guiding the reform processes that still lie ahead…

Centeno, like the Portuguese government he served, already symbolizes the possibility that a new, less German, ideological era of economic governance is in the offing in Europe. Lisbon is the first Southern European government to climb out of the swamp of indebtedness and stagnation. Its economy is undergoing its fastest expansion in over a decade, and more growth is expected next year, which will shrink the country’s budget deficit to 1 percent of GDP — the slightest in 40 years. Unemployment this year fell to 9.2 percent, down from 17.5 percent in 2013, and exports are picking up…

Unlike the land of Chumps and a Fake President, a surprising number of EU Nations are willing to experiment with genuine reform. Sometimes conservative, often progressive, almost always advised by well-educated and market-proven economists instead of the obedient pap rolled out by our two-party beer commercials.

Red vs Blue States – Recovery?

Red vs Blue states in jobs recovery. Even when we have a barely progressive herd in Congress, the nation gets to deal with states often controlled by incompetents and other flavors of reactionary. We have a long hard struggle ahead to get this nation back on anything approaching an even keel. Including equal opportunities.

Here’s a link to the article sourcing these graphs.

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz.

Oz says “YES” to marriage equality — the fight for human rights continues

❝ The results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey are in. Despite the voluntary nature of the survey, 12,727,920 (79.5%) eligible Australians voted.

By a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%, Australians have said “yes” to the proposition:

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

❝ To permit same-sex marriage, parliament must amend the Marriage Act 1961…

The definition of marriage can be simply changed by removing the words “a man and a woman” and replacing them with “two people”.

Such a change will have flow-on effects throughout Australian society. For example, celebrants will be free to officiate at legal wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. State and territory authorities will be empowered to register same-sex marriages.

❝ Most significantly, same-sex couples will have equality of choice in how they want to formalise relationships. Those who choose to marry will be entitled to the legal benefits of marriage.

This will engage much of the usual anti-democratic sophistry and histrionics beloved of bigots and True Believers. One can only hope that the Australian Parliament will recognize the forward-looking spirit of this poll as meaningful – and predictive of the spirit of voters come the next election.

Most folks hope the bill sorting things out in legalese will be kept simple and to the point. Human rights are for all humans. Spirits in the sky are entitled to have their opinions voiced by folks who believe in such. They have no standing in civil liberties, civil rights.

The Electric Vehicle Takeover


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❝ Do you want the big thing or the new thing?…More importantly: Do you want to invest in the big thing or the new thing?

It’s a question that haunts any industry vulnerable to disruption, which is pretty much all of them these days.

❝ Take the automotive business. Bloomberg New Energy Finance just released its latest long-term outlook for electric vehicles. It posits, startlingly, that sales of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will overtake those using internal combustion engines within roughly two decades…

The late 2030s may sound like a long way away. But they aren’t when put in the context of an automotive industry that’s only been around for a century or so.

❝ Looked at differently, BNEF’s projection suggests electric vehicles account for all the growth in global vehicle sales within a decade from now…

Based on BNEF’s projections, global sales of vehicles will rise by 1.67 million in the year 2026. But sales of electric vehicles are forecast to rise by 2.06 million, while the number of vehicles using internal combustion engines will fall slightly, by around 400,000. To be clear, absolute sales of electric vehicles in that year are expected to be just over 10 million, versus almost 87 million for their traditional counterparts…

❝ And while it is tough for incumbents to pivot to a new business, it is not impossible…it was critical for Facebook that, even as it was launching its IPO in 2012, it was also overhauling its business to focus on smartphones rather than its desktop PC product — despite the latter accounting for 89 percent of the company’s advertising revenue that year…

Facebook’s desktop product dominated its advertising revenue in 2012 — but all the growth potential was in smartphones.

More examples dot the financial map. VW planning on investing $10 billion into electric vehicle manufacture – mostly in the United States for global distribution. The Brits announced, today, legislation to end registration of diesel or gasoline-powered motor vehicles in the UK by 2040.

Those drops of water appearing under your front door look like the beginning of a flood to me.

Republicans sing, “Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be college graduates!”

❝ Most Republicans think colleges are bad for the country, and the vast majority think the news media is too, according to new data from the Pew Research Center. The Pew study, conducted from June 8 to 18 among more than 2,000 respondents, found that Democrats and Republicans are growing substantially more divided in their opinions on public institutions.

❝ According to the survey results released Monday, 58 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independents say that colleges and universities have had a negative impact on the nation — the first time a majority of Republicans have thought colleges are bad for the country. As recently as 2015, 54 percent of Republicans said colleges and universities had a positive impact on the way things were going in the country, but by 2016 those results split to 43 percent positive and 45 percent negative.

On the other side of the aisle, 72 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners say they think colleges and universities have a positive effect on the country, holding steady with past years’ results…

❝ The partisan divide was even sharper when it came to the media. Only 10 percent of Republicans thought the media had a positive effect on the way things are going in the US.

Meanwhile, 44 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents have a positive view of the news media’s impact on the nation — an 11-point increase since August 2016…

❝ Despite the widening partisan gap, however, Pew reports that the public’s overall views on the effect of institutions on the nation are relatively unchanged. Polarization may have increased, but the uptick in Democrats’ positive views balance out Republicans’ increasingly negative ones.

Nice to know that confidence in constitutional democracy, republican representation, outweighs ideological stupid.

NASA GRACE Satellite Mapping


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❝ Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center generate groundwater and soil moisture drought indicators each week. They are based on terrestrial water storage observations derived from GRACE satellite data and integrated with other observations, using a sophisticated numerical model of land surface water and energy processes.

❝ The drought indicators describe current wet or dry conditions, expressed as a percentile showing the probability of occurrence within the period of record from 1948 to the present, with lower values (warm colors) meaning dryer than normal, and higher values (blues) meaning wetter than normal. These are provided as both images and binary data files.

Important stuff even if you don’t earn your living from the land. That ain’t a large number of folks as the percentage of US population. Their products are significant even in a global economy.

Sooner or later, everything in these maps is going to affect your life.

Hundreds of Economists from Left to Right tell Trump immigrants are good for the USofA

❝ Almost 1,500 economists across the political spectrum wrote a letter addressed to President Trump and congressional leaders that praised immigrants as an economic benefit to the United States and implored lawmakers to “modernize our immigration system.”

❝ “As Congress and the Administration prepare to revisit our immigration laws, we write to express our broad consensus that immigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy,” the letter stated in part. “With the proper and necessary safeguards in place, immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers.”

❝ The letter pointed out that immigrants have a positive effect on job creation by creating entrepreneurs who hire American workers; offsetting the retirement of the Baby Boomer population; granting diverse skill sets that help companies grow; and driving economic growth in industries like science, technology, engineering, and math.

The letter writers pointed out that immigration has economic costs, but ultimately said that “the benefits that immigration brings to society far outweigh their costs, and smart immigration policy could better maximize the benefits of immigration while reducing the costs.”…

❝ The crux of the letter — that immigrants are an economic benefit for the country — has been consistently proven true. More than half of U.S. firms that are valued at $1 billion or more, had at least one immigrant co-founder, according to a 2016 National Foundation for American Policy study. One-quarter of engineering and technology companies started in the United States between 2006 and 2012 had at least one founder who was an immigrant. And as the letter writers alluded to, the massive wave of 77 million Baby Boomers retiring between 2010 and 2030 will slow labor force growth. A 2013 Center for American Progress study found that at least two-thirds of all entrants into the workforce, including immigrants, are needed to replace today’s current workers with the additional one-third needed to grow the workforce.

The study doesn’t clarify which immigrants bring an economic boon to the economy. But studies show that all kinds of immigrants — including undocumented ones who contribute $11.74 billion in taxes annually — are integral to the economic health of this country.

I doubt Trump chumps will read any coverage of this letter – much less the letter itself, Or care much for the breadth of economics that endorse the concepts within.

Some of our Congress-critters will respond. A few will understand the economics discussed and fight to build a new understanding of immigration. Trump and his neo-con bubbas will ignore it.

The point remains this is a starting point for the broader fight to build a political fight for real independents to represent the American people in government. Democrat or Independent candidacy isn’t as important as a progressive mindset willing to fight for a future that doesn’t seem to excite or motivate the owners of the two Establishment parties. But, promises to bring American workingclass families a better life than we now have.

“If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress”

shorpy-douglass
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“This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Frederick Douglass, August 3, 1857

Remembering a dear friend this weekend, Ishmael Flory, Co-Founder of the African American Heritage Association