Science vs. industry: Climate Change battle rages in Congress

When all else fails, use intimidation and coercion:

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has subpoenaed scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and demanded that they turn over internal e-mails related to their research. Their findings contradicted earlier work showing that global warming had paused, and Smith, a climate change skeptic, has accused them of altering global temperature data and rushing to publish their research in the June issue of the journal Science.

On Tuesday, seven scientific organizations representing hundreds of thousands of scientists sent an unsparing letter to Smith, warning that his efforts are “establishing a practice of inquests” that will have a chilling effect.

This is standard operating procedure for these ignorant bullies. They don't want these e-mails for scientific purposes, they just want to parse the communications for any little nugget they can take out-of-context to create a nefarious conspiracy. But this is not just a "partisan" issue; the not-so-invisible hand of the fossil fuel industry is pulling Lamar Smith's strings:

Wednesday News: ¿Que demonios? edition


LIBRE, BACKED BY KOCH BROTHERS, AIMS TO RAISE GOP STANDING WITH HISPANICS (New York Times) -- Tapping some Democratic strategies, the Libre Initiative seeks to win over Hispanics by promoting economic freedom and smaller-government principles.

A must-read explanation of "distributed" power systems

The way of the future:

A distributed system, increasingly powered by renewable sources that are often at the site of the business or home. Efficient sensor-enabled appliances, controlled by communication technologies, would be linked to a grid coordinating a complex network of energy producers and users. In this scenario, the end user is increasingly in control of their own energy supply and demand. As networks of these new energy consumers grow, they will link together in micro-grids that allow autonomy from centralized providers.

I sort of jumped into the middle of the discussion with that quote, so you should go read the whole thing. We've already developed parts of this (new) approach with the proliferation of Solar farms, but many more need to be built, with an eye towards local needs. That includes smaller systems that provide power for 1-3 homes. And yes, that last part about "autonomy" will definitely be opposed by Duke Energy and their cohorts, but their business model is going to change, whether they like it or not. Another *huge* advantage of distributing energy generation is to curtail "lost" power. I don't have the stats in front of me, but even the newest long-distance transmission lines lose (waste) somewhere north of 17% of generated power before it can be used. That's right, one sixth of the toxins and carbon we're pumping into the air return *zero* benefits in power. If left to their own devices, Duke Energy will continue their "macro" approach to energy supply, so this battle is going to be a tough one. But it must be fought.

Tuesday News: "Wedge this" edition


DESPITE MCCRORY'S REQUEST, COOPER WON'T JOIN VIRGINIA TRANSGENDER BATHROOM SUIT (WRAL-TV) -- Attorney General Roy Cooper has rejected a call by Gov. Pat McCrory to side with a Virginia school district against a discrimination lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union that would allow a transgender high school student to use the men's bathroom.

An Open Letter to the Greenville City Council Regarding Syrian Refugees

When I first wrote this letter I didn't think it would get very far. It has been overwhelming to see 224 of my neighbors come out of the woodwork to endorse this idea. Two of Greenville's elections this year were decided by fewer people! Cities are where we must increasingly turn to in order to achieve progressive change. I hope that -- at the very least -- this will help to influence the debate in my neck of the woods. (Originally posted in The Greenville Guardian:

NC's African-American voters made to suffer by county BOE's

Long distance runaround:

Last year, North Carolina's Board of Elections changed the locations of many of its hundreds of Early Voting sites across the state. No one seems to have noticed that those changes added more than a third of a million miles to the distance between black voters' homes and their polling places, while affecting white voters' aggregate distance-to-poll hardly at all.

(Author's note: I was going to include this in my Tuesday Twitter post, but after perusing the data, it became evident it needed better exposure.) We've long suspected there was a concerted effort to disenfranchise certain voting demographics by relocating polling sites, but now we have the data to back that up. It also increases the likelihood (by a factor of ten) there was/is a state-wide conspiracy to make voting more difficult for people of color; you don't get these numbers by accident:

Another lawsuit to stop GOP's racial gerrymandering emerges

Bringing the total active cases to four:

Another challenge of North Carolina's 2011 legislative districts based on accusations of racial gerrymandering is back in court. Three federal judges scheduled a Monday hearing in Greensboro to hear motions in the lawsuit filed by registered voters against the state and legislative leaders.

They say lines drawn by Republican lawmakers for nearly 30 House and Senate districts are illegal because they relied too much on race.

The GOP's mapmakers weren't nearly as clever as they thought they were, and the more detailed the inspection, the more likely the truth will eventually come out. It's been almost five years since these new districts were shoved down our throats, but the fight still continues. Why? Because "wrong" doesn't get better over time, it gets worse.

Monday News: Rodney under fire edition

GOING AFTER THE NCAE (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Republican lawmakers have no credibility when it comes to public education or those who help to provide and support it. So the attacks on the president of the N.C. Association of Educators for being on “educational leave” and continuing to build his pension are hollow. Sen. Chad Barefoot of Wake County is one of those saying Rodney Ellis shouldn’t be allowed to work for NCAE, which reimburses his Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school district for his salary and benefits, and still build his retirement. But Barefoot and others who are after Ellis have made something of a cause of attacking public school teachers, so their motives are suspect.


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