Florida’s Utilities Keep Homeowners From Making the Most of Solar Power

By Ivan Penn : nytimes – excerpt

The political clout and incentives of the state’s big power companies have discouraged installation of rooftop solar panels.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida calls itself the Sunshine State. But when it comes to the use of solar power, it trails 19 states, including not-so-sunny Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Maryland.

Solar experts and environmentalists blame the state’s utilities.

The utilities have hindered potential rivals seeking to offer residential solar power. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying, ad campaigns and political contributions. And when homeowners purchase solar equipment, the utilities have delayed connecting the systems for months.

Solar energy is widely considered an essential part of addressing climate change by weaning the electric grid from fossil fuels. California, a clean energy trendsetter, last year became the first state to require solar power for all new homes.

But many utilities across the country have fought homeowners’ efforts to install solar panels. The industry’s trade organization, the Edison Electric Institute, has warned that the technology threatens the foundation of the power companies’ business…(more)

Does a threat to the power companies concern the average power consumer?

100-pound tropical fish discovered on a beach in Oregon

By Amanda Jackson and Camille Furst : CNN – excerpt

The opah fish was found on July 14.

(CNN)A large colorful fish washed ashore on the Oregon coast last week in what aquarium officials called a rare occurrence.

The 100-pound (45 kilogram) opah fish, also known as a moonfish, was discovered on Sunset Beach in Seaside, a city in the northwest side of the state. The fish is “rare to the Oregon Coast,” Seaside Aquarium said in a Facebook post along with several images of the three and a half foot long fish…(more)

What Is a YIMBY? (Hint: It’s Not Good)

by Patrick Range McDonald : housinghumanright – excerpt

Maybe you’ve read an article about YIMBYs or heard a friend mention the term. Or maybe you saw something on Twitter, but still don’t understand what YIMBYs are. No problem. Here’s the lowdown.

To start off, Housing Is A Human Right has been battling YIMBYs for years, so you’ve come to the right place for more information. In fact, we published a special report about them last year: “Inside Game: California YIMBY, Scott Wiener, and Big Tech’s Troubling Housing Push.” That’s a must-read. In the meantime, here are seven key takeaways, with lots of links for more reading…(more)

These in in California but they are in every state in the union now. Watch our for them. They proceed the developers who are coming to grab your land, claim to be environmentalists and seeking equitable housing for all. Pitch density and limited parking first.

MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule.

by Nafeez Ahmed : vice – excerpt

A remarkable new study by a director at one of the largest accounting firms in the world has found that a famous, decades-old warning from MIT about the risk of industrial civilization collapsing appears to be accurate based on new empirical data.

As the world looks forward to a rebound in economic growth following the devastation wrought by the pandemic, the research raises urgent questions about the risks of attempting to simply return to the pre-pandemic ‘normal.’

In 1972, a team of MIT scientists got together to study the risks of civilizational collapse. Their system dynamics model published by the Club of Rome identified impending ‘limits to growth’ (LtG) that meant industrial civilization was on track to collapse sometime within the 21st century, due to overexploitation of planetary resources.

The controversial MIT analysis generated heated debate, and was widely derided at the time by pundits who misrepresented its findings and methods. But the analysis has now received stunning vindication from a study written by a senior director at professional services giant KPMG, one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms as measured by global revenue.

Limits to growth

The study was published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology in November 2020 and is available on the KPMG website. It concludes that the current business-as-usual trajectory of global civilization is heading toward the terminal decline of economic growth within the coming decade—and at worst, could trigger societal collapse by around 2040…(more)

So, we don’t need to bother with planning for 2050. We just need to either figure out how to pause the growth path we are on, or party on till 2040.

Greening the Tea Party

By Carolyn Kormann : newyorker – excerpt (2015 article)

A rooftop in San Francisco with PV and thermal solar systems photo by zrants

The solar-energy business is booming. The average cost of installing solar panels has dropped by half since 2010, and a new solar electric system is now installed somewhere in the United States every four minutes. The growth extends well beyond the rooftops of American homes and small businesses; last week, Apple announced that it is investing in an eight-hundred-and-fifty-million-dollar solar farm in Monterey County, California, which it says will power its operations in the state by the end of 2016. Although solar is still small, supplying less than one per cent of the country’s electricity, its growth has alarmed the energy industry’s old guard—coal, oil, and utility companies. Working primarily through conservative advocacy groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which lobbies at the state level, and Americans for Prosperity (A.F.P.), which was founded by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists, this coalition is doing its best to weaken the nascent industry, particularly rooftop solar. In a curious twist, however, ALEC and A.F.P. have found themselves butting heads with—and even losing battles to—tough-minded, pro-solar branches of the Tea Party.

Debbie Dooley was one of the twenty-two organizers of the first nationwide Tea Party protest, in 2009. A preacher’s daughter from Louisiana, she is a co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party, on the board of directors of the national Tea Party Patriots, and, since 2012, has been a fierce solar-power advocate. “I thought that the regulated monopoly in Georgia had far too much power,” she told me recently, describing the dominant utility company in her state. “They had begun to look out for the best interests of their stockholders instead of their utility customers.” Solar, she said, promised to give people energy autonomy. “The average person cannot build a power plant, but they can install solar panels on their rooftop, and they should be able to sell that energy to friends and neighbors if they wish.”

Dooley led a fight to persuade Georgia’s all-Republican utility commission to require Georgia Power to buy more of its energy from solar sources. A.F.P. fought back, sometimes in ways that Dooley found troubling. “They would put out completely false information,” she told me. Through mailers, mass e-mails, and Twitter, “they said that adding solar would cause disruption to the power supply and your household appliances. Electricity would be forty per cent higher! I don’t think they were really expecting me to go after what they were saying as forcefully as I did. I just ripped them to shreds over not being factual. We won that battle.” (A.F.P. did not respond to repeated requests for comment.) That was in 2013. Dooley had teamed up with the Sierra Club to form the Green Tea Coalition. Later, that coalition helped defeat an effort by Georgia Power to impose heavy fees on customers with rooftop solar systems…(more)

If they can do it in Georgia we should be able to do it anywhere.

Get out: A traveler’s guide to Highway 1 in a retro VW camper

By Alan Chazaro : 48hills – excerpt

Tag along on a rental van odyssey, with spectacular Cali coastal views (and Morro Bay’s best Cuban tostones).

021 might not be the summer of “love,” but it’s definitely the summer of “I need to get the hell away from quarantine and reconnect with everything the outside world has to offer.” In that sense, we should all embrace our freest spirit and hit the road in these upcoming months with no regrets.

Throughout COVID, I’ve tried to adopt a more hippified lifestyle—whatever that means as a Mexican American millennial freelancer—since it prioritizes good vibes, peaceful energy, and a lackadaisical privilege that I need now more than ever. It also implies a sense of freedom both spiritual and literal, through various forms of trips and travels.

But it wasn’t until last weekend, when my wife rented a 1984 Volkswagen Westfalia on Outdoorsy and decided to cruise down Highway 1, that I really tapped into my bohemian sense of joy in the great Californian outdoors…(more)

This will bring back some memories of a fun free-living past.

Road Show by Julian Assange’s Family Makes Stop In Oakland; Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Daniel Ellsberg Speak

By Jay Barmann : sfist – excerpt (includes videos)

The family of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is staging events around the country this summer to advocate for the dropping of the United States’ extradition request and the Espionage Act charges against him.

On Saturday, the road show came to Oakland, and Bay Area resident and The Color Purple novelist Alice Walker was there in person as part of her ongoing activism on Assange’s behalf. Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, also spoke to the crowd, and there were live video messages by linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, and an audio message from imprisoned activist Mumia Abu Jamal — who began speaking out on Assange’s behalf in 2020… (more)

Pirates of the Bay

By Miranda de Moraes : sfweekly – excerpt

As the Bay Area’s affordability crisis continues to squeeze the working class, the ‘Houseboat Wars’ of Richardson Bay are raging once again.

Sometime in early April, life got a lot more stressful for the jaunty community of boat dwellers living on and around Richardson Bay. That’s when Paul Smith went into “combat mode.”…

Blue Bloods to Outlaws

Back in 2019, local NPR affiliate KQED took a deep dive into the history of Richardson Bay, revealing that the region’s liveaboard culture dates back to 1880, when San Francisco aristocrats first planted houseboats on the shores of Belvedere and Tiburon. Initially used as weekend retreats, many blue blooded San Franciscans found themselves living full-time on these floating estates in the aftermath of the earthquake and fire of 1906…

A Rising Tide

Since the ’70s, the demographics of southern Marin County, and the communities surrounding Richardson Bay, have shifted. What was once a haven for granola-munching back-to-the-landers seeking a reprieve from hectic city life has become an enclave of white collar workers seeking a quiet community with easy access to the amenities and high salaries of San Francisco. And the houseboats that once served as weekend getaways and emergency shelters for wealthy city dwellers now command million-dollar price tags and are once again beyond the reach of the working class…

New Boss in Town

With nearly every harbor in the Bay Area at capacity for liveaboard slips — and some with years-long waitlists — living on a cheap boat in Richardson Bay has been one of the only options for low-income folks to remain in Marin. But after decades of unregulated on-the-water living, a new harbormaster is in town and the anchor-outs are fighting a riptide of sweeping changes…

People vs. Process

In response to the recent increase in harbor enforcement, boat-dwellers in the anchorage have responded by spending extended hours on their vessels out of fear that leaving their boats for any period of time could mean the difference between having a space of their own on the water or being forced to carve out a new home on dry land. The hysteria that has plagued the anchor-out community in the past few months is arguably just as toxic as the harm they’re causing to the stakeholders and coastal community of Richardson Bay…(more)

Florida prosecutor: DeSantis couldn’t stop Trump’s extradition to NY

By Steve Benen : msnbc – excerpt (includes video)

It’s surreal that this conversation is even underway, but these are apparently the times we find ourselves in…

On CNN over the weekend, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg acknowledged “informal conversations” have occurred between local officials “in case an indictment happens.”

He added, in reference to DeSantis, “So that’s a conversation we’re having: What is the governor’s power? And the governor’s power to stop an extradition is really nonexistent. He can try to delay it, he can send it to a committee and do research about it, but his role is really ministerial, and ultimately the state of New York can go to court and get an order to extradite the former president.”.

In his MSNBC piece, Vladeck came to the same conclusion, explaining, “The legal reality is decidedly to the contrary. If Trump is indicted in New York, both the U.S. Constitution and a federal statute dating to 1793 require DeSantis (or the governor of whatever state Trump is in at the time) to hand him over. And if DeSantis still refuses, a 1987 Supreme Court decision makes clear that federal courts can order him to comply. Unlike in cases of international extradition, where treaties often leave significant room for political and diplomatic machinations and maneuvering, the law of interstate extradition is both clear and straightforward.”…(more)