The repeat-offending corporate felon

Pacific Gas and Electric

Somehow, “problem child” just doesn’t cover this: Pacific Gas and Electric had already been found guilty of felony charges and remains under probation for the San Bruno gas line explosion.[1] The utility will now plead guilty to felony charges stemming from the Camp Fire that leveled nearly all of Paradise in 2018.[2] The company had just gotten California governor Gavin Newsom’s approval for a reorganization plan in its bankruptcy.[3] I still think it should be considered incorrigible.

Katherine Blunt, “PG&E to Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in Deadly California Wildfire,” Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pg-e-to-plead-guilty-to-involuntary-manslaughter-charges-in-deadly-california-wildfire-11584962649


Pennsylvania

As near as I can tell, the list of life-sustaining businesses is unchanged, so I apparently am able to continue to drive for Uber and Lyft. But fewer people will have places to go.

WTAE, “Stay-at-home order to begin tonight for several Pa. counties, including Allegheny,” March 23, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/stay-at-home-order-to-begin-tonight-for-several-pa-counties-including-allegheny/31900786


Recession

Eric Levitz, “Coronavirus Exposes the Virulence of American Conservatism,” New York, March 23, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/senate-gop-puts-ideology-above-workers-in-coronavirus-bill.html


  1. [1]Jarod Cassidy, “PG&E Guilty of 6 Felony Charges in San Bruno Pipeline Explosion,” Thomas J. Henry, October 5, 2017, https://thomasjhenrylaw.com/blog/premises-liability/pge-guilty-6-felony-charges-san-bruno-pipeline-explosion/; Richard Gonzales, “Federal Judge Imposes New Probation Terms On PG&E To Reduce Wildfire Risk,” National Public Radio, April 2, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/04/02/709248544/federal-judge-imposes-new-probation-terms-on-pg-e-to-reduce-wildfire-risk; Lyanne Melendez and Katie Marzullo, “Federal jury finds PG&E guilty of obstructing investigators,” KGO, August 10, 2016, https://abc7news.com/news/federal-jury-finds-pg-e-guilty-of-obstructing-investigators/1463352/
  2. [2]Katherine Blunt, “PG&E to Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in Deadly California Wildfire,” Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pg-e-to-plead-guilty-to-involuntary-manslaughter-charges-in-deadly-california-wildfire-11584962649
  3. [3]Dale Kasler, “PG&E makes deal with Gov. Newsom on bankruptcy demands. ‘End of business as usual,’ he says,” Sacramento Bee, March 20, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article241379336.html

Let us drown

Recession

Further evidence for my claim that neoliberalism is an ideology rather than anything its proponents claim it to be can be found in Kate Aronoff’s article in the New Republic.[1]

[Nancy] Pelosi was evincing a preference for allowing some of those drowning to go without life preservers, if that’s what it took to prevent wasting preservers on those who were perfectly capable of swimming to shore on their own.[2]

Even the Republicans don’t believe in it anymore—not that, with their budget deficits, they ever really did.[3] This morning, I noted that “for all that earlier denial and minimization, the Republicans are better prepared to present proposals than the Democrats.[4]” I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be the only one to have noticed.[5]

Yet instead of reclaiming their place as the party of the New Deal, several senior Democratic lawmakers seem stuck in a different decade. The mantra of New Democrats like Al Gore, Michael Dukakis, and Bill Clinton in that era was that the “solutions of the thirties will not solve the problems of the eighties.” They pushed for the party to embrace market-based solutions and reject Roosevelt and Truman’s big welfare state policies as they triangulated around Reaganomics. But as the U.S. and perhaps the world currently face what might be the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, the solutions of the 1980s couldn’t be worse suited to solve the problems of the 2020s.[6]

FireShot Capture 110 - DJIA - Dow Jones Industrial Average Advanced Charting - WSJ - www.wsj.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Averages, from January 20, 2017 (Donald Trump’s inauguration) to March 20, 2020 (today) created using the Wall Street Journal’s advanced charting tool.

Wall Street’s meltdown over the past month has erased all of the stock market gains since President Trump entered the White House. On Feb. 12, the Dow peaked at 29,551.42 — a 49 percent jump from its close on Trump’s Inauguration Day in January 2017. But within a span of weeks it has lost a third of its value as the coronavirus crisis has played out. On Friday, it lost an additional 913.21 points, roughly 4.6 percent, to close at 19,173.98.[7]

Kate Aronoff, “The Democrats Screwed Up,” New Republic, March 20, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156994/democrats-screwed

Thomas Heath and Taylor Telford, “U.S. markets wrap up worst week since the 2008 financial crisis,” Washington Post, March 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/20/stocks-markets-today-coronavirus/


Pacific Gas and Electric

Dale Kasler, “PG&E makes deal with Gov. Newsom on bankruptcy demands. ‘End of business as usual,’ he says,” Sacramento Bee, March 20, 2020, source


  1. [1]Kate Aronoff, “The Democrats Screwed Up,” New Republic, March 20, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156994/democrats-screwed
  2. [2]Eric Levitz, quoted in Kate Aronoff, “The Democrats Screwed Up,” New Republic, March 20, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156994/democrats-screwed
  3. [3]Kate Aronoff, “The Democrats Screwed Up,” New Republic, March 20, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156994/democrats-screwed
  4. [4]Jeff Stein et al., “Senate Republicans release massive economic stimulus bill for coronavirus response,” Washington Post, March 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/19/trump-coronavirus-economic-plan-stimulus/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Why do Republicans seem better prepared to present proposals on coronavirus relief than Democrats?” Irregular Bullshit, March 20, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/03/20/why-do-republicans-seem-better-prepared-to-present-proposals-on-coronavirus-relief-than-democrats/
  6. [6]Kate Aronoff, “The Democrats Screwed Up,” New Republic, March 20, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156994/democrats-screwed
  7. [7]Thomas Heath and Taylor Telford, “U.S. markets wrap up worst week since the 2008 financial crisis,” Washington Post, March 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/20/stocks-markets-today-coronavirus/

Gavin Newsom might not think what you think he thinks

Pacific Gas and Electric

My guess is that this is not what Gavin Newsom, who has, on balance, been governing as a progressive, means:

PG&E had been on the defensive for months after a group of bondholders made their own alliance with wildfire victims and mounted a hostile takeover bid for the utility. The bondholders, led by Wall Street hedge fund Elliott Management, insisted their takeover plan is still better for California and said PG&E’s proposal would burden the company with billions in new debt.

With Newsom rejecting PG&E’s plan, the bondholders’ effort gets new life.[1]

I’m thinking more along the lines of,

“Nothing I can think of says, ‘screw the public interest’ like a hedge fund-owned public utility,” [Dave] King said.[2]

Dale Kasler, “Gavin Newsom rejects PG&E bankruptcy plan, demands ‘radically restructured’ CA utility,” Sacramento Bee, December 13, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238350708.html


Cenk Uygur

There is a new blog post entitled, “Bernie Sanders should not have endorsed Cenk Uygur in the first place.” This is the first of two new posts today.

Michael Finnegan, “Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-12/bernie-sanders-endorses-cenk-uygur-young-turks


Anti-Semitism

A self-identifying Zionist affirms a right to criticize Zionism, criticizing the order that Donald Trump issued[3] earlier this week.[4]

Kenneth Stern, “I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it,” Guardian, December 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/antisemitism-executive-order-trump-chilling-effect


The Left

There is another new blog post entitled, “On lessons to be learned.”

David Adler, “What the U.S. Left Can Learn From the Labour Party’s Epic Loss,” In These Times, December 13, 2019, http://inthesetimes.com/article/22220/labour-party-jeremy-corbyn-boris-johnson-uk-brexit-bernie-sanders-left

John Cassidy, “What Are the Real Lessons of the U.K. Election for 2020?” New Yorker, December 14, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-are-the-real-lessons-of-the-uk-election-for-2020


Donald Trump

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court will take up Trump’s broad claims of protection from investigation,” Washington Post, December 13, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-will-take-up-trumps-broad-claims-of-protection-from-investigation/2019/12/13/1de84cd6-1d19-11ea-8d58-5ac3600967a1_story.html


  1. [1]Dale Kasler, “Gavin Newsom rejects PG&E bankruptcy plan, demands ‘radically restructured’ CA utility,” Sacramento Bee, December 13, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238350708.html
  2. [2]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  3. [3]Kenneth Stern, “I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it,” Guardian, December 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/antisemitism-executive-order-trump-chilling-effect
  4. [4]Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/; Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html

Don’t you dare call Israel racist! Or the Burmese genocidal!

Anti-Semitism

So a White House official confirmed to CNN that Donald Trump was about to sign an order declaring Judaism a nationality. That appears to be inaccurate,[1] but it sure kicked off a fuss.

That said, the order relies on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which includes “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”[4] Which is to say that Israel may engage in ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians, but we can’t call it racist.

Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/

Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html


Israel

Ruth Eglash, “Israel heading for third election in less than a year after politicians fail to form government,” Washington Post, December 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/israel-heading-for-third-election-in-less-than-a-year-after-politicians-fail-to-form-government/2019/12/11/d9d4818a-1ac6-11ea-977a-15a6710ed6da_story.html


Amazon

Danny Fortson, “Is Jeff Bezos’s Amazon now the ‘evil face of capitalism’?” Times, December 8, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-jeff-bezoss-amazon-now-the-evil-face-of-capitalism-3lxjs0k0n


Rohingya

Aung San Suu Kyi will need to do better than this. Even if she is correct in blaming “the separatist Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” for “forc[ing] Myanmar [Burmese] forces to respond,” “mass executions, sexual violence and arson”[5] are war crimes. Executed on the scale Burma is accused of and especially at a largely noncombatant population, they amount to genocide.

The one point that she might have is that international courts do indeed try claims almost exclusively against small, poor countries.[6] But “selective prosecution” is a weak defense against crimes against humanity.

Note that until a relatively legitimate government, which has not existed there in a very long time,[7] exists to assert the name “Myanmar,” I will continue to refer to the country by its admittedly colonial name, “Burma.”

As to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and the Rohingya generally, they appear not to be separatist at all but rather, according to C. Christine Fair, seek only “to return to Myanmar with citizenship and, problematically, with government recognition as a distinct ethnic group.” Crimes against the Rohingya, including land confiscation, concentration camps, forced labor, and arbitrary taxation, appear to precede the ARSA by decades,[8] entirely undermining Aung San Suu Kyi’s argument.

So my message to the Nobel laureate is this: Get over yourself, you lying bitch.

Clyde Hughes, “Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims,” United Press International, December 11, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/11/Myanmar-leader-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-rejects-genocide-claims/1061576065233/

Marlise Simons and Hannah Beech, “Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations,” New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-rohingya-myanmar-genocide-hague.html


  1. [1]Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/; Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html
  2. [2]Jamal Dajani (@JamalDajani), Twitter, December 10, 2019, 8:49 pm, https://twitter.com/JamalDajani/status/1204578922702069760
  3. [3]Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA), Twitter, December 11, 2019, 9:20 pm, https://twitter.com/RWPUSA/status/1204586619057115136
  4. [4]International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, quoted in Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/
  5. [5]Clyde Hughes, “Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims,” United Press International, December 11, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/11/Myanmar-leader-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-rejects-genocide-claims/1061576065233/
  6. [6]Marlise Simons and Hannah Beech, “Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations,” New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-rohingya-myanmar-genocide-hague.html
  7. [7]Lawrence James seems not to specify when, precisely, Burma fell under sway of the British empire in The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994) but notes campaigns were fought there in 1824 and 1853.
  8. [8]C. Christine Fair, “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army: Not the Jihadis You Might Expect,” Lawfare, December 9, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/arakan-rohingya-salvation-army-not-jihadis-you-might-expect

The wages of fire

There is a new blog post entitled, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020.”


Pacific Gas and Electric

The Los Angeles Times story incorrectly states that “[t]he wine country fires in 2017 scorched more than 200,000 acres mostly in Napa County, destroyed or damaged more than 5,500 homes, displaced 100,000 people and killed at least 41.”[1] These fires were mostly in Sonoma County, rather than in Napa County. This settlement does not include this year’s Kincade Fire,[2] which also occurred mostly in Sonoma County.

Howard Blume, “PG&E reaches $13.5-billion settlement with victims of devastating California wildfires,” Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-06/pge-settlement-fire-northern-california

Dale Kasler, “PG&E makes deal to pay California wildfire victims. What it means for utility’s future,” Sacramento Bee, December 6, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238138009.html


Elon Musk

Tim Higgins, “Elon Musk Cleared by Jury in Defamation Case Over ‘Pedo’ Tweet,” Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-cleared-by-jury-in-defamation-case-over-pedo-tweet-11575678498


Palestine

Democrats Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress who have gained notoriety for their strong criticisms of Israel, both opposed the resolution [H.R. 326], as did the two other left-wing congresswomen dubbed “The Squad.” They objected that the resolution’s authors, in a bid to gain broad support, removed a call to end Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian land.[3]

As I have previously said, a country founded in response to genocide cannot allow even the appearance of ethnic cleansing. Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians, even refusing to acknowledge their identity and labeling them “Arabs” instead, and further, refusing them the right of return to lands they were expelled from, is in fact an erasure of the Palestinian people—genocide.

Thus, Israel erases its own legitimacy. As a state it can no longer have a right to exist.

Eric Cortellessa, “In rebuke to Trump and Netanyahu, US House passes resolution supporting 2 states,” Times of Israel, December 6, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-rebuke-to-trump-netanyahu-us-house-passes-resolution-supporting-two-states/


  1. [1]Howard Blume, “PG&E reaches $13.5-billion settlement with victims of devastating California wildfires,” Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-06/pge-settlement-fire-northern-california
  2. [2]Howard Blume, “PG&E reaches $13.5-billion settlement with victims of devastating California wildfires,” Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-06/pge-settlement-fire-northern-california; Dale Kasler, “PG&E makes deal to pay California wildfire victims. What it means for utility’s future,” Sacramento Bee, December 6, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238138009.html
  3. [3]Eric Cortellessa, “In rebuke to Trump and Netanyahu, US House passes resolution supporting 2 states,” Times of Israel, December 6, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-rebuke-to-trump-netanyahu-us-house-passes-resolution-supporting-two-states/

More elected officials support converting PG&E into a cooperative

Pacific Gas and Electric

It is unclear whether the [bankruptcy] court would consider the mayors’ cooperative proposal.[1]

And while I am mostly just opposed to allowing Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to continue in anything like it’s present form, the expert “skepticism [that] the proposal to reinvent the state’s largest utility in such an unprecedented fashion would be considered a more viable solution to its financial and operational problems” seems warranted: It really isn’t enough here to just say anything would be better than capitalist greed; there needs to be a specific plan for how you take over this massive corporation and completely reinvent it. Such a plan remains to be seen with either this plan[2] or the idea of a state takeover.

Maggie Angst and John Woolfolk, “San Jose mayor announces growing support for customer takeover of PG&E,” San Jose Mercury-News, December 5, 2019, https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/12/05/details-of-bold-plan-for-customer-owner-pge-fix-released-with-resounding-support/


Joe Biden

(Click through to see the ad.)

Okay, so Joe Biden backers are absolutely thrilled—thrilled—that Biden made an ad stating the blindingly obvious.

This is what political discourse in this country has come to.


  1. [1]Maggie Angst and John Woolfolk, “San Jose mayor announces growing support for customer takeover of PG&E,” San Jose Mercury-News, December 5, 2019, https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/12/05/details-of-bold-plan-for-customer-owner-pge-fix-released-with-resounding-support/
  2. [2]Maggie Angst and John Woolfolk, “San Jose mayor announces growing support for customer takeover of PG&E,” San Jose Mercury-News, December 5, 2019, https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/12/05/details-of-bold-plan-for-customer-owner-pge-fix-released-with-resounding-support/

Regulatory capture at California’s Public Utilities Commission?

Pacific Gas and Electric

A New York Times story hints at, but does not explicitly suggest, regulatory capture in the California Public Utilities Commission’s failure to properly oversee Pacific Gas and Electric.[1] I have updated yesterday’s blog post, “Sorry, PG&E, but sorry is not enough.”

Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis, “Report Detailing PG&E’s Failures Raises New Hurdles for Utility,” New York Times, December 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/business/energy-environment/pge-camp-fire-report.html


Racism

I finally picked up someone at a district court who is not a Black male. This was a young white man with an attitude, leading me to suspect he’s one of the drivers I aim the sign on my back window that says, “Keep Your Testosterone Off My Tail,” at.

“I hate that place,” he said.

“It’s hard to imagine loving it,” I said.

“All they do is fine me,” he said. Which suggests to me that he’s past a normal point where he can mail in a payment and that he’s been in there multiple times. I’m guessing the cops around here know him.

For my part, I’m glad to see any enforcement directed against someone other than Blacks. But obviously, it’s not enough.


  1. [1]Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis, “Report Detailing PG&E’s Failures Raises New Hurdles for Utility,” New York Times, December 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/business/energy-environment/pge-camp-fire-report.html

Sorry is not enough

Pacific Gas and Electric

There is a new blog post entitled, “Sorry, PG&E, but sorry is not enough.”

Russell Gold and Katherine Blunt, “PG&E Had Systemic Problems With Power Line Maintenance, California Probe Finds,” Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pg-e-had-systemic-problems-with-power-line-maintenance-california-probe-finds-11575338873

Kanishka Singh, “PG&E failed to inspect transmission lines that caused deadly 2018 wilfdfire [sic]: state probe,” Reuters, December 3, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-wildfire-pg-e-us-idUSKBN1Y70N8


Donald Trump

Ann E. Marimow and Renae Merle, “Appeals court refuses to block House subpoena for Trump’s financial records,” Washington Post, December 3, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/03/appeals-court-refuses-block-house-subpoena-trumps-financial-records/


Benny Gantz fails

Israel

Steve Hendrix and Ruth Eglash, “Challenger Benny Gantz fails to form Israeli government, deepening political crisis,” Washington Post, November 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/challenger-benny-gantz-fails-to-form-israeli-government-deepening-political-crisis/2019/11/20/9e6da19c-0b14-11ea-8054-289aef6e38a3_story.html


Donald Trump

Jeremy Diamond, “The White House shifts description of Trump’s visit to Walter Reed,” CNN, November 19, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/politics/donald-trump-hospital-visit-white-house/index.html


Pacific Gas and Electric

Mary Fricker, “Exploring options for PG&E’s future,” Sonoma West Times and News, November 20, 2019, http://www.sonomawest.com/sonoma_west_times_and_news/news/exploring-options-for-pg-e-s-future/article_cdccdf26-0bc2-11ea-a06f-1bf6a8868cad.html


Capitalists are bad? You don’t say!

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 15, 7:43 pm.
  2. November 16, 2:58 pm:
    • Correction: Sonoma Clean Power does not own or operate the geothermal plant at the Geysers in Sonoma County. These wells are mostly operated by Calpine.[1] I have removed erroneous text. Also, it appears the Press Democrat story[2] over-emphasized the prospect that Sonoma Clean Power might acquire PG&E’s transmission network in Sonoma County. My mother tells me that the Board was concerned with the possibility that PG&E might be bought out or become something else, and what the ramifications for Sonoma Clean Power, as a subsidiary power seller, would be. There may be a story forthcoming.

Ayodhya

Sadanand Dhume, “Hindus Take a Muslim Site. What’s Next?” Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hindus-take-a-muslim-site-is-the-taj-mahal-next-11573775903


Pacific Gas and Electric

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.c
Fig. 1. Is this a picture to grab your attention or what? No, this isn’t a disaster about to happen. The original caption: “A helicopter uses a sprayer to wash high tension power line insulators after the Kincade Fire near Pepperwood Preserve.” This photograph is undated and uncredited but the other two in the article, also undated, are attributed to Kent Porter of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.[3] Fair use.

There is concern that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), a company with a criminal record, will emerge from bankruptcy under control of a hedge fund.

“Nothing I can think of says, ‘screw the public interest’ like a hedge fund-owned public utility,” [Dave] King said.[4]

So Sonoma Clean Power may seek to acquire PG&E’s transmission network in the county.[5] It is unclear how this would mesh with the possibility that the state will take over the utility.[6]

While I’m no fan of PG&E, I also have to wonder to what extent public ownership will solve a problem whose causes lie not only with corporate malfeasance but also with the climate crisis.[7] And you know how you convince me you’re serious about the latter: Go vegan. Until you’ve done that, you’re really just playing around.

Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will


Gig economy

Imagine if other states, notably California, actually slapped Uber with a tax bill the way New Jersey has.[8]

Matthew Haag and Patrick McGeehan, “Uber Fined $649 Million for Saying Drivers Aren’t Employees,” New York Times, November 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/nyregion/uber-new-jersey-drivers.html



  1. [1]Power Technology, “The Geysers Geothermal Field, California,” n.d., https://www.power-technology.com/projects/the-geysers-geothermal-california/
  2. [2]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  3. [3]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  4. [4]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  5. [5]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  6. [6]Katherine Blunt and Alejandro Lazo, “California Governor Threatens State Takeover of PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-governor-threatens-state-takeover-of-pg-e-11572641749; Rebecca Smith, “California Mayors Join Campaign to Buy Out PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-mayors-join-campaign-to-make-pg-e-a-cooperative-11572955201
  7. [7]Kurtis Alexander, “Scientists see fingerprints of climate change all over California’s wildfires,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2018, https://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Scientists-see-fingerprints-of-climate-change-all-13128585.php
  8. [8]Matthew Haag and Patrick McGeehan, “Uber Fined $649 Million for Saying Drivers Aren’t Employees,” New York Times, November 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/nyregion/uber-new-jersey-drivers.html