Duke Energy positioning itself for coal ash-related rate increase

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Apparently profits are more important than fairness and responsibility:

Duke Energy responded sharply Wednesday to criticism from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office and others who have questioned the utility’s opening move toward a rate increase that would help cover its coal ash cleanup costs.

The corporate attorneys told the commission in a filing late Wednesday that Duke Energy’s coal ash predicament meets the “criteria for granting a deferral,” a special accounting technique enabling it to set aside more than $700 million in accumulated coal ash costs for consideration in the upcoming rate case. “Denial of the request would adversely affect the companies’ financial stability,” they added.

That is, if you'll excuse the quaint terminology, a bleeding crock. Duke Energy has been paying a dividend to its shareholders every quarter for well over a half-century, and that dividend got a 4% bump towards the end of last year. But what's really ironic about their whining about coal ash, is how much they've invested in fracked natural gas distribution:

Thursday News: The people's court

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COMMON CAUSE AND CITIZENS FILE LAWSUIT ON SPECIAL SESSION SHENANIGANS: The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Wake County Superior Court contends that Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, president of the state Senate, Phil Berger, president pro tempore of the state Senate, and Tim Moore, speaker of the state House of Representatives, violated North Carolinians’ rights when they took up the bills in a three-day session in December without laying out to the public what was on the agenda. “Legislative leaders used the tragedy of a hurricane to conceal a sneak attack on the authority of a properly elected governor,” Morrison said. “There was not even a pretense of proper procedure and public input.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article145578589.html

Where in the world is Carl Vinson?

After much chest-thumping by chicken-hawks, the carrier group finally heads towards the Korean Peninsula:

On April 9, Adm. Harry Harris said the carrier strike group was headed north to the Western Pacific after departing Singapore on April 8. A spokesperson for U.S. Pacific Command linked the move directly to North Korea's "reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability." Days later, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters the Carl Vinson was "on her way up there." In an interview that aired April 12, President Trump said the U.S. was sending ships. "An armada, very powerful," he said.

It is not clear why the carrier strike group never left Southeast Asia, or why the Trump administration did not clarify where she was. On Tuesday, Pacific Command said only that the strike group completed military exercises - and would now head north.

It's actually abundantly clear: You don't cancel training missions (or any other missions) at the drop of a hat (or an asshat). The Strike Group is composed of the carrier and a handful of cruisers and destroyers, and retasking them to go off-mission is a very big deal. Not only does it cost a shitload of money, it screws up capabilities in the entire theater. It's obvious Trump has no grasp of military operations, but it's also becoming obvious he doesn't comprehend geography either. 3,000+ nautical miles is more than just a quick road trip. In other words, don't hold your breath...

Wednesday News: Conspiracy

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DEMOCRACY NC SEEKS CRIMINAL PROBE OF MCCRORY CAMPAIGN OVER VOTER CHALLENGES: A voter-rights organization hopes to persuade state and federal prosecutors to investigate whether former Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign and the state Republican Party conspired in late 2016 to falsely accuse hundreds of voters of fraud. Nearly all protests were prepared by attorneys with the firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, based in Warrenton, Virginia, whose clients have reportedly included Republican strategist Karl Rove's American Crossroads organization and other GOP groups. Disclosure reports on the state Board of Elections website show that the Pat McCrory Committee and Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund paid the firm $98,000 in late November and December.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article145328789.html

Editorial: How the "family values Legislature" is destroying families

Extremist demagoguery is always counterproductive:

The simplest and best way to reduce abortions is to avoid unwanted pregnancies. The best way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is through sound family planning, access to contraceptives and good affordable health care for women. It is not complicated and shouldn’t be controversial.

But it is, largely because one of the best providers of these services and information to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies happens to be an organization that also offers legal abortion services to women – Planned Parenthood.

If this was merely an anti-abortion debate, Republicans would be tripping over themselves creating clinics that offered affordable health care for women, supplied various contraceptive methods, and rendered first-class prenatal and neonatal treatment to ensure healthy babies. The fact they don't speaks volumes about their true motivations, which is to perpetuate an outdated patriarchy in which women are merely vessels for procreation, and should be totally reliant on a husband to provide the things she needs. If a third party (the government) were to provide these things, the importance of that husband fades, and with him the entire social construct fades. And that construct is so important to these men that putting lives at risk is a small price to pay to strengthen their primacy:

Tuesday News: Come on, Georgia

DEMOCRAT JON OSSOFF LOOKING STRONG IN SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION: Voters in a suburban Atlanta congressional district will decide Tuesday whether Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff will win outright a special election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a district the Republican Party has held since 1979. The closely watched contest has drawn national attention as the first political bellwether of the Trump era, after the district nearly split its vote between the Republican leader and Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election. It even drew the president’s personal attention Monday, when the White House occupant criticized Ossoff in a tweet. “The super Liberal Democrat in the Georgia Congressioal (sic) race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!” Trump said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article145072879.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The curse of the unfunded mandate:

Pretty sure one requirement of whether something is a "good idea" or not is that it won't cripple the system you're trying to enhance:

Coal ash documentary featuring Dukeville residents showing in New York

"From The Ashes" will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival later this month:

The documentary, “From the Ashes,” examines the history of coal in the United States, the long-term effects of the coal industry on communities and the future of coal. The Dukeville community and several familiar faces for observers of North Carolina’s coal ash controversy are featured in the documentary. They include Dukeville resident Deborah Graham, Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Frank Holleman and Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins.

Part of the documentary was filmed in Dukeville, which has dealt with questions about well-water quality for roughly two years. State law requires that Duke Energy provide a source of safe, permanent water to neighbors of its coal ash ponds by 2018. “From the Ashes” is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 26. Graham said she has been invited to attend the world premiere.

Once this documentary makes its rounds of film venues, it will be aired on the National Geographic Channel. Here's the trailer:

Monday News: Corporatocracy

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MANY OF DONALD TRUMP'S APPOINTMENTS ARE RECENT LOBBYISTS: President Donald Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck. The potential conflicts are arising across the executive branch, according to an analysis of recently released financial disclosures, lobbying records and interviews with current and former ethics officials by The New York Times in collaboration with ProPublica. In at least two cases, the appointments may have already led to violations of the administration’s own ethics rules. But evaluating if and when such violations have occurred has become almost impossible because the Trump administration is secretly issuing waivers to the rules.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article144961129.html

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