March 22, 2018

Why electric demand is flat

Electric demand in the US has been flat for most of this decade and looks to stay that way.

Why?

At the bigger ticket level, homes are better insulated, and more older homes are going off the books.

At the medium ticket level, appliances continue to get more efficient. Thank government EnergyStar regulations.

At the moderate ticket level, computers and devices are ever more energy efficient.

At the small ticket level? A trip to WallyWorld illustrates.

I just moved, and needed a couple of light bulbs.

Two-three years ago, approximately, Wally just started selling LED bulbs. They had plenty of CFLs, halogen incandescents and some traditional incandescents.

Now?

NO, none, not a single CFL. (NO traditional incandescents, either. Just halogens.)

And, plenty of different types of CFLs.

Again, in part, due to regulation. Halogen incandescents are for those who want to spend less, even though paying more later. But, Obama's lights bill did this.

Other reasons include more backyard renewable energy. Thank regulation that requires at least partial feed-in tariff to utilities in many states, though not Texas.

Vox also wants to thank outsourcing of industry. Actually much of that happened before the start of this decade.

Anyway, even without the feed-in tariff here in Texas, obviously, Energy Future Holdings, the parent of TXU, is going to struggle more. And, that's the flip side of electric dereg.

March 20, 2018

TX Progressives roundup supports equality vs bigotry

The Texas Progressive Alliance takes note of the growing number of bombings in Austin, all apparently targeting politically active minorities, as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff examines the relationship between primary turnout and victory in November.

SocraticGadfly offers up a game of post-primary Texas mainstream media bingo.

As always, Neil at All People Have Value attended the weekly John Cornyn Houston Office Protest.

Brains and Eggs discussed both Harris County primary results and projections and reminded broad-minded people of Texas Greens' ballot access drive.

=========================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer said a couple of Texas Senate races could be key to how much or how little power Dan Patrick has in a year.

R.G. Ratcliffe at Texas Monthly discusses the ramifications of the state winning most of the talking points on appeal of SB4, the sanctuary cities bill.
Shari Biediger tells how the San Antonio River came to be green for Saint Patrick's Day.

Bonddad reminds national Dems to “curb their enthusiasm” over the primaries.
Space City Weather says it's still a bit early for a hurricane outlook.

Greg Jefferson reviews some of the many victories won by women in the primaries.

Leah Binkovitz points to a new study out of Houston that suggests that the benefits of homeownership are also ensnared in a discriminatory appraisal process that perpetuates racial inequality.

G. Elliott Morris interprets the PA-18 special election data, and finds no good news for the GOP.

Raise Your Hand Texas reports from the recent public school finance commission hearing.

Grits for Breakfast discusses TDCJ bias in its Youthful Offender Program.

David Bruce Collins talks about the “other” IT — inverted totalitarianism. Read Sheldon Wolin for more.

Lewisville Texan Journal says the city council there is expected to support the Texas bullet train.

Texas Freedom Network discusses ongoing gay marriage inequality issues.

Texas Standard notes iHeart Media is officially bankrupt. (Financially; morally, probably long ago.) See Brains' roundup for more links.

March 18, 2018

Seth Rich parents sue Fox, Butowsky, Zimmerman

Seth Rich
On March 14 the parents of Seth Rich sued Fox and here is the official filing. Co-defendants are Ed Butowsky and Malia Zimmerman. (Update, Aug. 22: The trial court has dismissed the case, claiming lack of specificity. The family plans to appeal.)

Odds of winning?

Depends on how deep of pockets their lawyers have, and, especially given that it retracted its story, how much Fox wants to fight, and what the Riches want besides monetary compensation.

Fox could settle out-of-court ... but assuming the Riches want more than just money, such settlements in these cases usually involve no admission of wrongdoing, which would probably ixnay that.

Butowsky, especially, and Zimmerman, as individual defendants? If Fox does pursue settling, they're in deep shit.

There are three emotional distress related charges. Lump them as one.

The fourth is tortious interference with contract. That piggybacks on Rod Wheeler's own lawsuit against Fox et al. Part of his original filing has already been dropped. I don't know if any coordination is going on there or not.

The fifth is against Fox only, for negligence in supervising Butowsky and Zimmerman. Again, Fox has an "admission" of sorts, saying it failed its (alleged) usual high editorial standards at the time it withdrew the story.

This all said, unless they have it as unmentioned but included under "other relief," monetary damages and injunctive action as necessary are the only relief being sought.

As for their legal mouthpieces? Susmann Godfrey and Massey & Gail are both high-powered. Larry Tribe is of counsel to the latter, as an indicator.

Through some brief Googling, I have found a couple of other things related to this issue. The biggest? RationalWiki, which trades on the image of movement skepticism being enlightened, is nowhere near that on this issue. It thinks Clint Watts is more enlightened than Seth Rich. Wiki itself is not a lot better.

Both fail in not disentangling Rich as the likely leaker to Julian Assange from the issue of who killed him. THAT latter part has spawned right-wing conspiracies. (I guess it's time to call Jared Beck a winger over this.) It's also got me thinking, based on what was not taken from him, that he was not killed by Russkies or Crowdstrike folks, but that maybe, he was dealing drugs and this was a hit killing for that reason. (That would explain the non-robbery. Calling it a "botched robbery" presumes facts not in evidence.) And, if my theory isn't true, and it was something else non-conspiratorial, that still doesn't mean he wasn't the thief.

But there is good evidence, as I have noted in that link, and that one can find elsewhere, that the Russkies did NOT hack the DNC until the Podesta spearfishing. The original emails likely were stolen and Assange has never directly denied Rich was a Wikileaks source.

And, even if he was NOT the thief, that doesn't mean that this was a Russian hack job.

To address a couple of RationalWiki's claims about Rich and him not being able to steal the emails.
1. His parents say he didn't have access. How do they know that?
2. Assange would have legit reasons to offer a reward. One would be to show he protects sources. Another would be to show he protects anti-Clinton sources. A third would be to fuel conspiracies.
3. Ditto for Kim Dotcom. Why would he reveal source material, even if Rich is dead? Would make him look untrustable. (Kim says, and ardently says, Seth was the leaker.)
4. RT was more responsible than American mainstream media precisely by presenting both sides of this issue.
5. And again? Calling it a "botched robbery" presumes facts not in evidence.
6. RW nowhere addresses the download speed issue.

Related? Movement skepticism, scientific skepticism, or Skeptics™,  call it what you will — just like Gnu Atheism, it's no guarantor of moral or intellectual superiority. And, at least a few such skeptics previously politicized Jill Stein.

So, again:
1. Seth Rich's death is separate from the DNC email thefts.
2. On the pre-Podesta emails from early 2016, at least, evidence points to internal theft, not Russian hacking.
3. There are more than two sides to this issue for sure, per Idries Shah:
“To 'see both sides' of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.”
4. Reject anybody who doesn't accept 1-3.
5. Given all this, Rich's parents have some chance of winning against Butowsky and maybe even against Fox. That said, they too, like Fox et al, have reasons to settle out of court. Discovery issues cut both ways and they risk finding out they are wrong in some of their claims and beliefs about their son.

CJR has some excellent additional insights.

===

Meanwhile, Ty Clevinger (who is more than too clever by half, I see what I did) has filed an FIOA lawsuit. They don't require "standing," of course.

Of course, our legal beagle has one thing wrong from the start. Since the FBI is NOT investigating the death — that's still with DC Metropolitan Police — it's a non-starter (except to fuel conspiracy theories) to ask it, let alone the NSA et al, for files. Ditto on throwing Hillary in there.

Stick to Booger County Mafia, Ty.

(For people who don't know who he is, I'll have a full-on blog post about him in late April.)

Oh, as Butowsky sues NPR's David Folkenflik (Ty, were you dumb enough to tell him to do this???) this is also a reminder that Rich's brother Aaron, and a former family spokesman, in two separate additional suits, are suing for actual defamation of themselves, not emotional duress via the Seth Rich conspiracy theories.