Electricity manager for Texas wants AC settings raised during heat wave

With an early-season heat wave searing much of Texas over the weekend, the nonprofit that manages power to more than 26 million customers wants them to turn up their thermostats.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) made the appeal in a statement Friday…”We’re asking Texans to conserve power when they can by setting their thermostats to 78-degrees or above and avoiding the usage of large appliances (such as dishwashers, washers and dryers) during peak hours between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. through the weekend,” interim CEO Brad Jones said in the statement…

ERCOT came under scrutiny last year after record cold temperatures in February caused the state’s highest electricity demand and more than 200 people died during the power crisis, with the most common cause of death being hypothermia.

Wild temperature swings are a vaguely understood part of our changing climate. And scientific understanding means a lot less – politically – than public comprehension. Most symptomatic response continues fruitless and foolish in a state that believes that planning for public needs is so much less important than fully employed political hacks. The class that spawns most Texas bureaucrats.

Key commercial border crossing in Texas ready to double in size


Mahoney/Freightwaves

Since it opened in 1994, the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge has been one of the busiest commercial ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border. The city of Pharr, which operates the bridge, has reshaped itself over the decades from a small, dusty agricultural community into a booming border trade hub.

Trade at the South Texas border port totaled a record $42 billion in 2021 — a number that could skyrocket in the near future, as the city has been working on a project to build a second commercial bridge alongside the existing one.

“We are expanding because it’s a need, the demand is there,” Luis Bazán, director of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, told FreightWaves. “Even through the pandemic, crossings skyrocketed in Pharr. We’re at 26% trade growth year-over-year [from 2020 to 2021], combined imports and exports — that is a telltale sign that good things are coming, production is booming.”

The bridge expansion project is a joint U.S.-Mexico venture. The cost of the U.S. side of the second span, which is being funded by the city, will be around $45 million and is 1.5 miles long. It will connect with another 1.5-mile portion of the bridge that Mexico is building at roughly the same cost south of the border.

In conjunction with the existing bridge at Pharr, the second bridge will create the Rio Grande Valley’s largest international cargo crossing with Mexico once completed. Land has already been cleared and Pharr officials are ready to begin construction once all hurdles have been cleared. No timetable has been set yet.The bridge expansion project is a joint U.S.-Mexico venture. The cost of the U.S. side of the second span, which is being funded by the city, will be around $45 million and is 1.5 miles long. It will connect with another 1.5-mile portion of the bridge that Mexico is building at roughly the same cost south of the border.

I have to smile when I bump into a tale like this. Traffic management, logistics, is how I earned my living for a few decades and more. I really enjoyed the work. A core component in the economics of a region, an industry, a critical category within commerce.

The problems of rapid economic growth that turn a small town like Pharr into a boomtown – are good problems. Doesn’t always make them easy to resolve.

Texas Commissioner calls on Abbott to end border inspections


Elias Valverde II
Yes – that’s Sid Miller in the photograph

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller pressed the governor on Tuesday to end a new inspection policy that is snarling traffic at the border and “turning a crisis into a catastrophe.”

In a strongly worded statement, Miller warned Gov. Greg Abbott that commercial vehicles are being forced to wait up to 12 hours to enter Texas from Mexico because of the stepped-up state inspections. As a result, Miller said, produce is rotting in idling trucks and ultimately, prices could spike for consumers.

“This is not solving the border problem, it is increasing the cost of food and adding to supply chain shortages,” said Miller, a two-term Republican who is up for reelection this year. “Such a misguided program is going to quickly lead to $2.00 lemons, $5.00 avocados and worse.”

This may surprise you; but, there is a possibility Texas voters just might lay blame for this mess at the feet of the neo-fascist bigot sitting in the governor’s office.

So, Texans are scared of birds

A Walmart in Texas that was overrun by thousands of birds has been hailed as a sign of “death,” “disaster” and the “apocalypse.”

Shoppers were seemingly trapped in their cars—and presumably the store—when the flock descended onto the supermarket’s parking lot, off highway 80 in Mesquite…

Houston Audubon, a non-profit focusing on “protecting the natural environment for birds and people,” explained these sights are not uncommon.

While the birds in the clips were unconfirmed, the site said: “Great-tailed Grackles are a permanent sight in Houston and can be found in any area inhabited by humans that has some trees.

“They tend to congregate in large flocks and prefer shopping centers and fast-food store parking lots where there’s trash for food and trees or light posts for perching…In the evening, raucous flocks pack neighborhood trees creating noisy roosting aggregations.”

I think these folks spend too much time watching horror movies. This is common behavior, especially near sunset this time of year, looking for a place to roost…though feeding time is OK for sighting what is termed a “murmuration” of blackbirds. Some parts of Texas are uptight about grackles, the largest black birds this side of their cousin crows. Flocks often include starlings [not related] or red-wing blackbirds [more crow relatives].

In our neck of the prairie, someone outdoors spots a murmuration coming, they holler to folks indoors to come out and watch. They’re beautiful.

NEWS from the Borowitz Report


Kalifa/Getty

In a judicial decision that has stirred controversy in the Lone Star State, Texas has been temporarily forced to recognize women as humans.

The incendiary decision, handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman, enables women to “come out of the shadows” and be granted rights similar to those enjoyed by other humans in Texas.

In an emotional press conference, the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, called the judge’s decision to confer human status on women “a dark day in the history of our great state.”

He warned that the state could face mass immigration from women “once word gets out that Texas considers them equivalent to human beings.”

“The voters of Texas did not put me in office to allow women to be treated as humans,” he said, choking back tears. “As long as I can draw a breath, this will not stand.”

For the few people (probably) in Texas who don’t get the concept of satire, I’ve been asked to include the words “this is satire” to make it clear and comprehensible even to Texas Republicans.

Think you and your kids are safe?


Timberview High School parking lot, Arlington, Texas

Watching the news, this morning. Shooting in a classroom in a Texas high school has come to this view. Dozens of cop cars…they’re trying to find the shooter.

“Let’s put it out on the local news and tell parents to stay away.” You know what’s going to happen, right away. Every parent who hears that jumps in the family cqr (or pickup) and heads to the school. Except the cops have already setup road blocks because they knew what would happen.

So, the freeway is backing up because parents are getting as close as possible to the school…and then simply parking along the edge of the freeway to climb over the railings, fence, to run to the school to help their kids, to help the cops.

Except, this is Texas, after all. Everyone learned how to be a hero from watching John Wayne movies. So, now – the biggest danger is from all the parents who grabbed their rifles – bring ’em along to help the cops, right?

I am so glad my wife and her kin moved out of Arlington and Texas, years ago.

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Yes, I realize the TV reporter who told us about parents carrying their rifles to the school – might just be full of crap. All part of it, folks.

Ted Cruz: Booger on the Lip of Democracy

Trevor Noah has decided to pick on a man he calls “the booger on the lip of democracy.” That would be Senator Ted Cruz, the target of a scathing nine-minute segment on Tuesday night’s episode of The Daily Show. A faux documentary about the senator, narrated by correspondent Desi Lydic, it lampoons everything from Cruz’s adolescent aspirations of “world domination” to his ill-advised trip to Cancún amid Texas’s state of emergency in rapid succession.

Interesting article on a useless political parasite.

Texas Nearly Went Dark – AGAIN – Because Officials Misjudged Weather

Texas came uncomfortably close to another round of rolling blackouts Tuesday night because grid operators misjudged the weather.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages most of the state’s grid, had counted on a mild cold front sweeping the state, lowering demand for power. It didn’t happen. As a result, demand on the grid was about 3,000 megawatts higher than anticipated — or the equivalent of 600,000 homes.

The forecasting error, coming as 25% of power generation was off line for seasonal repairs, was another grim reminder of the vulnerability of Texas’s grid. Two months ago, a deep winter freeze knocked out almost half the state’s generating capacity, leaving millions of people in the dark for days. But Tuesday’s weather was hardly extreme, and the close call has raised questions about whether the grid operator, known as Ercot, can prevent a repeat of the February energy crisis.

“It’s a disgrace for a power grid in modern times to struggle to keep the lights on during a mild day,” said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Rice University.

No doubt that comment is echoed by millions of Texans who wonder who’s in charge and why haven’t they been fired by now. No, not just the Electric Reliability Council. Throw in the State Legislature and the feeble hacks inhabiting the governor’s mansion and outbuildings.