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Archive for January 13th, 2010

So put on a sweater and crank up the thermostat! That was the major trend late last week and over the weekend, when arctic weather led Texas to set another winter power usage record.  According to the Abilene Reporter News,

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of the state, reported a winter record of 55,856 megawatts Friday between 7 and 8 a.m. to erase the previous high of 52,001 set just 12 hours previously between 7 and 8 p.m. Thursday.

Those of you paying close attention may recall that last year Texas also set the record for summer energy consumption.

This year Texas used more energy staying cool in the hot hot summer, and more energy staying warm in the cold, cold winter, than in any other time in the past.

It has been so unusually cold in North America that “wintry weather sweeping across the Northern Hemisphere has slowed coal deliveries in parts of the U.S. South.” Though we’re feeling the chill here, but its actually been unseasonably warm in most other parts of the world like Greenland where they usually count on that cold to re-form ice sheets — some scientists are even saying 2010 will very likely be one of the warmest on record.

In just a year Texas has faced searing hot summers, cripplingly cold winters, devastating drought, no coal for frosty’s nose… makes you wonder if there’s something bigger going on out there.  Like some sort of, oh I dunno, massive shift — a massive change leading to extreme weather events. Not sure what to call it now, I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

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By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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What’s the difference between the Pete Sessions / Allen Stanford scandal and Pretty Woman?

A: Julia Roberts won’t kiss you– for any amount of money

The bubbling scandal over the “mini Madoff”, R. Allen Stanford, and the Ponzi scheme he (allegedly) engineered in his bank, Stanford Financial, continues to percolate and slime everyone he had dealings with.

Let’s briefly reset the stage, shall we? Sir R. Allen Stanford was a relatively big financier, meaning he would take your money, invest it, then give you a healthy return.  Of course, what he is accused of doing by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is “massive ongoing fraud” of investment funds worth over $8 billion.  Allegations are that Stanford would take your money, use it to pay other clients who had previously invested with him, and then take money from others and give it to you—this is what is known as a “Ponzi scheme” and is the same thing Bernie Madoff was convicted of.  But with Stanford it’s much less clear, as many of his bank accounts are hidden in notorious banking black holes in various Caribbean islands, so Stanford is not yet convicted of anything: we should continue to give him the presumption of innocence that our legal system affords him.  Ditto on the allegations that he laundered money for the Mexican Gulf Cartel or cheated on his personal and property taxes to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, the following are facts which are NOT in dispute.  Stanford threw money around Congress and various elections like it was water, with over $2.4 million given to various candidates from Stanford, Stanford Financial’s PAC, and its employees bundling their donations.  These donations were often given to individuals who sat on committees who would mark up a bill which would regulate financial securities and clamp down on fraud– the same fraud he is now alleged to have been perpetrating. Convenient, no? (more…)

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