Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Hero's Journey










A longtime friend of mine posted a piece that touched me recently.  It's a different view of the Hero. In narratology and comparative mythology, the hero's journey, or the monomyth, is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed.

Earlier figures had proposed similar concepts, including psychoanalyst Otto Rank and amateur anthropologist Lord Raglan.[1] Eventually, hero myth pattern studies were popularized by Joseph Campbell, who was influenced by Carl Jung's analytical psychology. Campbell used the monomyth to analyze and compare religions. In his famous book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), he describes the narrative pattern as follows:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

Possibly because I think of myself as a hero, and because of a recent event in which two colleagues managed to conduct a coup d etat on a project that I founded, funded, and managed for six years, these words reached out like they might not have before.

"People constantly throw around the term 'Hero’s Journey' without having any idea what it really means. Everyone from CEOs to wellness-influencers thinks the Hero’s Journey means facing your fears, slaying a dragon, and gaining 25k followers on Instagram. 
But that’s not the real hero’s journey.
In the real hero’s journey, the dragon slays YOU
Much to your surprise, you couldn’t make that marriage work. Much to your surprise, you turned forty with no kids, no house, and no prospects. Much to your surprise, the world didn’t want the gifts you proudly offered it.
If you are foolish, this is where you will abort the journey and start another, and another, abusing your heart over and over for the brief illusion of winning
But if you are wise, you will let yourself be shattered, and return to the village, humbled, but with a newfound sense that you don’t have to identify with the part of you that needs to win, needs to be recognized, needs to know. 
This is where your transcendent life begins.
So embrace humility in everything. Life isn’t out to get you, nor are your struggles your fault. 
Every defeat is just an angel, tugging at your sleeve, telling you that you don’t have to keep banging your head against the wall. 
Leave that striver there, trapped in his lonely ambitions. Just walk away, and life in its vastness will embrace you. "   - Paul Weinfield
The friend who posted this was closely involved in our days at Armadillo and Space City Video.  So thank you Paula Helene and wow, you would have so loved our most recent Hero with a Thousand Faces adventure to Vegas to see U2 at the Sphere
 The Sphere is exactly what it is cracked up to be.
It is an entirely new form of entertainment venue.
I'm waiting for a politician to get a hold of it.
And it can't be the orange menace


Tuesday, October 31, 2023

All Saints' Day

Edward and Katherine Martinez


Here in Austin, we celebrate Halloween or "All Hallows Eve" unlike a lot of communities. Here, many homeowners dress their homes as if it's Christmas.  Down on Sixth street, where many of the bars are, tens of thousands dress up and walk up and down the closed street festooned in some really great costumes.  Oddly, few are actually scary, but many are definitely creative.  My favorite this year came from our neighbors up the street whose eldest young boy came to our door as a bright orange safety cone.

But the day after Halloween is pretty much ignored most places.  Yet, it has always been my favorite of the two. It's called All Saints' Day.

According to Wikipedia,

The Christian celebration of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven (the "Church triumphant"), the living (the "Church militant"), and the "Church penitent" which includes the faithful departed. In Catholic theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. 

In Methodist theology, All Saints Day revolves around "giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints", including those who are "famous or obscure".[22] As such, individuals throughout the Church Universal are honoured, such as Paul the Apostle, Augustine of Hippo and other saints, varying according to the hagiographic traditions of the Church in question. 

In some traditions, the day is also used to celebrate individuals who have personally led one to faith in Jesus, such as one's grandmother or friend.

Protestants generally commemorate all Christians, living and deceased, on All Saints' Day; if they observe All Saints Day at all, they use it to remember all Christians both past and present. In the United Methodist Church, All Saints' Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in November. It is held not only to remember Saints but also members of the local church congregation who have died. In some congregations, a candle is lit by the Acolyte as each person's name is called out by the clergy. Prayers and responsive readings may accompany the event. Often, the names of those who have died in the past year are affixed to a memorial plaque.

My Aunt Phoebe was born on All Saints' Day.  She is my father's younger sister.  Born in 1933, she turns 90 on this All Saints' Day. That means she was a young girl when Jack H Osborne went off to World War II to become an aviator for the Navy in the Pacific in 1942. When he came back alive and victorious with two Navy decorations, young Phoebe was understandably proud of her older brother who had seen so much carnage.  And she always loved my Dad with a wonderful spirit, helping him manage the rest of his life in health and finances.  ( My parents divorced in the early sixties and he never remarried).

Phoebe is a talented pianist.  Often when I was young, she would play Clair de Lune (by Debussy) for her father.  "Moonlight" was his favorite. It is the third movement of Suite bergamasque.  The popularity of "Clair de lune" has made it one of Claude Debussy's most famous works for piano, as well as one of the most famous musical pieces of all time.  I agree with Polk, my grandfather. 

In the last 20 years, Phoebe managed to cobble together the Osborne Farm in Gray County, close to Pampa, from her 2 older brothers and her older sister.  It was here that my grandfather had a huge double circus tent sale  on March 13th, 1936 and another one in September of 1938. His Hereford Bull, Jr. Prince Domino , was a sire of Prince Domino and Jr. won first place in the Denver Stock Show.

Phoebe has a son John, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Katherine. And Phoebe has lots of grandchildren and great grand children. She is the last remaining aunt or uncle I have.

And just last week, Katherine lost her husband Edward.  

This is from Katherine's obit.

Edward Carlton Martinez was born September 25, 1954, to the late Blas and Charlotte Martinez in Geneva, NY.  Being from a military family, he traveled extensively.

He grew up diving off cliffs of Palma de Mallorca as a young boy, ice fishing with his father in Minnesota and hunting in the woods of western New York as a teenager. He was a lifelong hunter and angler and enjoyed opening dove season in the Texas Panhandle, deer season in the Texas Hill Country and salmon fishing in Alaska. His love of the outdoors and respect for animals ran deep. 

Professionally,  Lt Colonel Martinez was a microbiologist with over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biologic and life science industries where he developed regulatory strategies for therapeutics and medical devices working closely with domestic and foreign regulatory agencies

In addition, Edward  served his country proudly working as a Medical Observer Controller / Trainer with responsibilities to train military chemical and medical units throughout the continental United States to respond to Weapons of Mass Destruction, terrorist attacks, and to prepare the United States Army response to natural disasters inside the continental United States.  

Edward was a Gentleman’s Gentleman with a streak of Roughrider. He was an avid listener and man of few words but whose words were powerful. Everyone who knew Edward witnessed his thoughtfulness, generosity, respectful nature, and well-timed sense of humor. He always had a kind word for everyone he met. 

We lovingly say so-long to our gentle giant."

Katherine also has her PhD  in Microbiology, so I guess they understood each other. 

The service is Monday, Nov 6th at Saint Marks in San Antonio. 

And I expect to see Aunt Phoebe and some of my cousins.

We all came from the Texas Panhandle 

and now we live all over the earth, 

in Seattle, LA, DC, Phoenix, Singapore, Round Mountain, and Helotes.

And I shouldn't forget our home in Real de Catorce, MX.

The Texas Panhandle is a good place to grow up,

and, as the most conservative district in the US Congress,

an even better place to be from.

Rest in Peace All.

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Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Wonder of this World


As we were landing in Las Vegas this month on our way to Boise, Idaho to see my partners Mom and to spend a week on Lake Payette, I looked down to get my first view of The Sphere.  It was the biggest dome I had ever seen and it looked like the construction was finally finished.

By the time we returned, what will soon be known by us all as the next Wonder of the World, had opened. And the first show was U2.

This from Wikipedia:

The sphere-shaped project was designed by Populous,[13] and its interior would include the world's largest LED screen.[10] MSG initially estimated the project cost at $1.2 billion.[10] In February 2020, the company said the cost had increased to $1.66 billion as a result of design changes consisting of guest enhancements.[14] The cost continued to increase, eventually surpassing $2 billion due to the 2021–2023 global supply chain crisis and the 2021–2022 inflation surge. With a final expected cost of $2.3 billion,[20] it is the most expensive entertainment venue in Las Vegas history, beating out the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.

The Sphere opened on September 29, 2023, with Irish rock band U2 beginning a 25-show residency called U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere.

The dome's roof required 3,000 tons of steel.[42] The roof started to take shape in March 2021, as crews began the installation of 32 trusses, each one weighing 100 tons.[ Truss instalation reached the midway point in May 2021, and the crane had to be moved to the southern side of the property to install the remainder. 

The dome was topped off on June 18, 2021,[45] and work was already underway on an external exosphere which would be built around the dome.[46] The exosphere will be made of LED light panels which will be visible from several miles away. It will be 30 percent taller than the dome.

Upon completion of the roof's steel frame, 6,000 cubic yards (4,600 m3) of concrete were then pumped onto the roof. This formed a layer measuring 10 inches (250 mm) in thickness, and weighing approximately 10,000 tons.[49] The roof was finished in October 2021. Crews then turned their focus to a 730-ton steel interior frame which will support the LED screens and audio system.

A second topping out, for the exosphere, took place on May 24, 2022. This was followed by installation of the interior and exterior LED screens.[53] The latter was illuminated for the first time on July 4, 2023, during Independence Day celebrations.

The Sphere is 366 feet (112 m) high and 516 feet (157 m) wide at its broadest point.[25] It is the largest spherical building in the world at 875,000 sq ft (81,300 m2).

The NYT's review on the opening seemed a little overwhelmed as everyone else including the band seemed to be:  "And so there was Bono on Friday night, onstage, tantalizingly close, freakishly accessible and, in some moments, perhaps just a tad lost. His band, U2, was inaugurating Sphere, a hyperstimulating new performance venue in which the whole exterior is a screen, and essentially the whole interior as well." 

When I was a young man in my twenties, I owned an advertising agency that among other venues and clients, promoted the Armadillo World Headquarters. It was a great way to grow up.  Armadillo is famous in Austin and in Texas.  It was there that we introduced Willy Nelson to everyone, not just the Hillbillies.  It was there that we recorded Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. It was there that we formated a new radio format called "progressive country" where the rednecks and the hippies learned to get along for a while. It was there that we spawned the first PBS music show, later to become the longest running show on PBS called Austin City Limits.

My love of music and the performance arts morphed into my love for humanity resulting in a career of developing large scale renewable energy projects so that Austin and Texas now have more renewable energy today than pretty much anybody. And, I have spoken about the Texas experience in North and South America and in Europe, showing that we can affordably meet the needs of an advanced society without drowning ourselves in carbon dioxide and the rising seas that accompany it.

And it is a wonder of this world that the nations are so challenged to overcome the greatest failure of the free Market ever, and effectively fight climate change, and bring about the policies that can save us all.

And it would take a lot to get me interested in a performance venue in Las Vegas given the crises we face in our Climate and in the health of our Body Politic.

But a sphere is not just a metaphor, it is where we all live.  

And we are going to see U2 in 

the Sphere



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Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Performance Artist

















The young upstart, Vivek Ramaswamy scored well in the Faux News R Debate for Vice President several weeks ago.  And he let go of some real doozies. My favorite was when he said that Climate Change is a hoax.  He also claims to be a scientist.  Frump has already said he would make a good Veep. Here is his truth that is so electrifying to the Rs that he is now in third place.

1. God is real. 2. There are two genders. 3. Human flourishing requires fossil fuels. 4. Reverse racism is racism. 5. An open border is no border. 6. Parents determine the education of their children. 7. The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind. 8. Capitalism lifts people up from poverty. 9. There are three branches of the U.S. government, not four. 10. The U.S. Constitution is the strongest guarantor of freedoms in history.

Unlike Frump,  Mr. Ramaswamy apparently has made his own money in the bio-tech field and is a billionaire (950 million):

While campaigning for the presidency, Ramaswamy called himself a "scientist" and said, "I developed a number of medicines."[35] His undergraduate degree is in biology, but he was never a scientist; his role in the biotechnology industry was that of a financier and entrepreneur.[35]

In January 2021, Ramaswamy stepped down as CEO of Roivant Sciences and assumed the role of executive chairman.[46][47] In 2021, after he resigned as CEO, Roivant was listed on the Nasdaq via a reverse merger with Montes Archimedes Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition vehicle.[48] In February 2023, Ramaswamy stepped down as chair of Roivant to focus on his presidential campaign.

Ramaswamy remains the sixth-largest shareholder of Roivant, retaining a 7.17% stake.

Roivant has never been profitable.

Lots of folks don't like him.  Carl Rove called him “a performance artist” who appeals to the “dark parts of the American psyche,” in the WSJ

Even the Washington Examiner sees through him:

"Vivek Ramaswamy is running a publicity campaign, not a winning campaign. He is running to be a mainstay in right-wing media, and he thinks that doing so means regularly contradicting himself as he shamelessly panders to right-wing audiences he thinks will eat it up. 

He is running as a caricature of what he thinks Republicans want in a candidate, his own very recent history be damned. He is a charlatan, and a snake-oil salesman"

He is also highly educated.  This from Wikepedia:

Ramaswamy attended public schools through eighth grade.[5][21] He then attended Cincinnati's St. Xavier High School, a Catholic school affiliated with the Jesuit order, graduating valedictorian in 2003.[5][23]

In 2007, Ramaswamy graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, in biology, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.[24] At Harvard, he gained a reputation as a brash and confident libertarian.[25] He was a member of the Harvard Political Union,[3] becoming its president.[5] He told The Harvard Crimson that he considered himself a contrarian who loved to debate.[3] While in college, he performed Eminem covers and libertarian-themed rap music under the stage name and alter ego Da Vek.

Eminem publicly asked him to stop it.

Now back to his 10 Truths.

1. God is real.  

OK, you can't prove it but OK

2. There are two genders

In 2004, a researcher named Marie-Anne Felix published a paper outlining a free-living nematode called SB347 that produced not one, not two, but three sexes: males, females, and hermaphrodites. Avocado trees have both female and male flowers on the same plant. This means they can wake up with their female flower opened, go to sleep, and wake up as males the next day

3. Human flourishing requires fossil fuels

NO, human flourishing requires affordable clean energy and your assertion is a hoax..

4. Reverse racism is racism

YES, and reverse parking is parking.

5. An open border is no border

YES, and that is a good thing.

6. Parents determine the education of their children.

Not my parents.

7. The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind. 

Don't you just mean family?

8. Capitalism lifts people up from poverty

It's certainly true in your family's case.

9. There are three branches of the U.S. government, not four.  

Nobody said there are four.  Maybe you are hanging around the golf course too much.

10. The U.S. Constitution is the strongest guarantor of freedoms in history. 

YES, so follow it and don't try to change it by saying that citizens under the age of 25 shouldn't be able vote.

Somehow I like the idea of a Frump Ramaswami ticket.

Rama in Hindu is gender neutral meaning pleasing, beautiful, and charming.

Swami in Hindu means someone who is one with himself.

We all know what Frump means. 

Try saying it 10 times without laughing.

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Monday, July 31, 2023

Breaking the Law









January 6th Transcription (not certified)


Have you got them?


Target unconfirmed.


Ransack  Nancy's office.




They must be in the Senate


On our way


Let me know,  need to call things off soon.


Roger that.

In case you've been in a semi-comatose state due to the extreme heat or the extreme flooding or the truly unparalled state of affairs in general, you might not know that the former POTUS was indicted by Special Counsel Jack Smith this week. You probably do know, but you might not have read the actual indictment.

Here's the first couple of pages. It's a pretty easy read:




Count 1: 18 U.S.C. § 371
(Conspiracy to Defraud the United

Count 2: 18 U.S.C. § 1512(k)
(Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official

Count 3: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(c)(2), 2
(Obstruction of and Attempt to
Obstruct an Official Proceeding)

Count 4: 18 U.S.C. § 241
(Conspiracy Against Rights)

The Grand Jury charges that, at all times material to this Indictment, on or about the dates and at the approximate times stated below:


1. The Defendant, DONALD J . TRUMP, was the forty-fifth President of the United States and a candidate for re-election in 2020. The Defendant lost the 2020 presidential election.

2. Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway—to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.

3. The Defendant had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won. He was also entitled to formally challenge the results of the election through lawful and appropriate means, such as by seeking recounts or audits of the popular votein states or filing lawsuits challenging ballots and procedures. Indeed, in many cases, the Defendant did pursue these methods of contesting the election results. His efforts to change the outcome in any state through recounts, audits, or legal challenges were uniformly unsuccessful.

4. Shortly after election day, the Defendant also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results. In so doing, the Defendant perpetrated three criminal conspiracies:

a. A conspiracy to defraud the United States by using dishonesty, fraud, and
deceit to impair, obstruct, and defeat
the lawful federal government function
by which the results of the presidential election are collected, counted, and
certified by the federal government, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371;

b. A conspiracy to corruptly obstruct and impede the January 6 congressional proceeding at which the collected results of the presidential election are counted and certified ("the certification proceeding"), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(k);and

c. A conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one's vote counted, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241.

Each of these conspiracies—which built on the widespread mistrust the Defendant was creating through pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud—targeted a bedrock function of the United States federal government: the nation's process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election ("the federal government function")."

It continues:

The Conspiracy

6. From on or about November 14, 2020, through on or about January 20, 2021, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the Defendant, DONALD J . TRUMP, did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with co-conspirators, known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to defraud the United States by using dishonesty, fraud, and deceit to impair, obstruct, and defeat the lawful federal government function by which the results of the presidential election are collected, counted, and certified by the federal government.

Purpose of the Conspiracy

 7. The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the federal government function by which those results are collected, counted, and certified."

The R's and the R Media will come out and say that this is about free speech. It is not. It is about criminal actions that resulted in an attack on the Capitol with resulting death, casualties, and a deep wound on the National body politic.

The rest of the indictment states the case plainly and effectively.

He and his fellow conspirators for the first time in our nation's history did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with co-conspirators to defraud the United States by using dishonesty, fraud, and deceit to impair, obstruct, and defeat the certification of our national election in order to illegally remain in power.

This is not about free speech. 

It's about breaking the Law

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Friday, June 30, 2023

Truth will Out


If there is any doubt that  Mitch McConnell pulled off a judicial coup over the last year of the Obama administration and into the waning months of the next one, the jury is in. His unconstitutional foul play might well be the partisan accomplishment of the decade and perhaps more than that.

By announcing that he would not allow Obama to appoint the current attorney general to the vacancy that suddenly appeared as Justice Scalia dies in his sleep at  an isolated far west Texas get-away lodge for the super rich, (Mick Jagger stays there), McConnell fundamentally changed the make up of the court. For almost a year, he sandbags the President.  Then, when RBG passes, he rams through the Republican Judge Amy Barrett through in record time.

This from Wikipedia:

On October 26, the Senate voted to confirm Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, with 52 of 53 Republicans voting in favor, while Susan Collins and all 47 Democrats voted against; Barrett took the judicial oath on October 27.[2] Democrats rebuked Republicans and accused them of hypocrisy, stating that they had violated their own interpretation of the Biden rule, which they set in 2016 when they refused to consider then-President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland more than nine months before the end of his term.[3] The 35 days between the nomination and the 2020 presidential election marked the shortest period of time between a nomination to the Supreme Court and an election in U.S. history.

All of these new judges are determined to reshape America. And now we have the receipts.

First, there was the reversal of Roe, and now today we have these jaw droppers.  They are all bad, but striking down affirmative action is a big victory for the white team. This from Scotus Blog:  

In a historic decision, the Supreme Court severely limited, if not effectively ended, the use of affirmative action in college admissions on Thursday. By a vote of 6-3, the justices ruled that the admissions programs used by the University of North Carolina and Harvard College violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause, which bars racial discrimination by government entities.

The majority effectively, though not explicitly, overruled its 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, in which the court upheld the University of Michigan Law School’s consideration of race “as one factor among many, in an effort to assemble a student body that is diverse in ways broader than race.”  

For the minority, Sotomayor emphasized that the majority’s decision had rolled “back decades of precedent and momentous progress” and “cement[ed] a superficial rule of colorblindness as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society.”

On the culture front, the court handed a major victory to business owners who oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons on Friday. A six-justice majority agreed that Colorado cannot enforce a state anti-discrimination law against a Christian website designer who does not want to create wedding websites for same-sex couples because doing so would violate her First Amendment right to free speech.

Interestingly, the website designer had not actually designed any websites when she filed the lawsuit, and the request that she purportedly received turns out to be a fake as well as a day after her filing. She perjured herself before the court by saying so.

And finally, in the flurry of a unbridled political judiciary, and by a vote of 6-3, the justices ruled that the Biden administration overstepped its authority last year when it announced that it would cancel up to $400 billion in student loans. The Biden administration had said that as many as 43 million Americans would have benefitted from the loan forgiveness program; almost half of those borrowers would have had all of their student loans forgiven.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court in Biden v. Nebraska, characterizing the decision as a straightforward interpretation of federal law. The HEROES Act, Roberts emphasized, gives the secretary of education the power to “waive or modify” laws and regulations governing the student-loan programs. Congress’s use of the word “modify” means that the Biden administration can make “modest adjustments and additions to existing provisions,” Roberts wrote, “not transform them.” 

Roberts apparently chose to ignore the first word in the law which also gave the secretary the right to waive.

It could be worse.

Earlier in the week, the Court rebuffed a legal theory that argued that state legislatures have the authority to set election rules with little oversight from state courts, a major decision that turns away a conservative push to empower state legislatures.

By a 6-3 vote, the court rejected the “independent state legislature” theory in a case about North Carolina’s congressional map. The once-fringe legal theory broadly argued that state courts have little — or no — authority to question state legislatures on election laws for federal contests.

The court’s decision in Moore v. Harper closes the path to what could have been a radical overhaul of America’s election laws.

A particularly robust reading of the theory — which the court turned aside — would have empowered state legislatures to make decisions on all aspects of elections, from congressional lines to how people register to vote and cast a ballot, without any opportunity for challengers to contest those decisions in state courts under state laws or constitutions. Opponents of the theory argued that it could have led to unchecked partisan gerrymandering, and laws that would make it harder for people to vote.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court’s opinion, joined by the three liberal justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, along with two conservatives, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. 

This of course would have been a huge shot in the arm to the guy who tried to stay in office after losing by 7 million votes by implementing exactly this view employing the power of  state legislatures in federal elections.

Maybe Alito and Thomas will miss a turn while on another unreported billionaire hunt to west Texas.

Maybe Roberts will get control of his court.

Maybe we vote the Rs out.

Maybe Truth will Out.



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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Clueless Award


 It's hard to imagine just how clueless most Rs are these days, but here in Texas, the R controlled Texas legislature gets my nomination for the much coveted Clueless Award.  Texas has been Red since the early nineties when Ann Richards and Jim Hightower, along with a host of other D's actually tried to govern a state with such enormous diversity in land, climate, and people.

But even with most of the big cities turning blue over the last decade, the rural areas still run the show.  It's gotten so unruly in Harris County, where Houston is,  the R's wrote and passed a bill that allows them to take over the voting administration  from the locally elected officials.  So much for local home rule.

So besides waging the usual culture wars on gays,  children,  women's health, and public schooling, the 88th legislature decided that they needed to stop one of the best things we have in Texas.  And that is our large and growing Renewable Energy industry.

That's the same industry that builds football fields and basketball field houses in lots of West Texas counties that don't have a sufficient tax base without the hundreds of millions dollars of renewable investments that have been planted in the hills and valleys of rural Texas.

So this session, legislators  spent a lot of energy arguing over bills that would make renewable energy harder to build and provide multi-billion-dollar payouts to companies to construct new gas-fired power plants. This from Canary Media:

There is an irrational animus toward renewables, a fundamental misunderstanding of what is causing the problems on the grid and what could be done to improve the situation,”  said Doug Lewin of the Texas Energy and Power Newsletter  in a Tuesday interview. We’re not even talking about the right things. All the debates at the end were about how much we’re going to screw over renewables, rather than what we’re going to do to fix these problems.”

But the most expensive and counterproductive policies, among the many threatening to undermine clean energy and drive up consumer costs, failed to be passed into law,  Lewin said.

That’s because a remarkable coalition of environmentalists, industry organizations and business groups” — including more than 50 chambers of commerce and trade groups representing manufacturers and even the oil and gas industry — united to defeat the worst measures, Lewin wrote in a post-session roundup for his Texas Energy and Power Newsletter. Together, these unusual bedfellows were able to stop a slew of policies that multiple analyses warned could increase costs to Texas energy consumers by billions of dollars per year without any evidence that they would improve grid reliability.

Those amendments threatened to increase the cost of electricity for Texas consumers by as much as $10 billion per year, according to IdeaSmiths, an analysis firm co-founded by University of Texas at Austin research scientist Joshua Rhodes. That would mean an increase of 50 percent over today’s costs, which have already risen significantly since the February 2021 grid disaster.

Over the final days of the session, a reconciliation committee (conference) working to align the Senate and House versions of HB 1500 managed to get rid of many of the most potentially harmful amendments."












Today,  Wind power and Solar power will be powering over 1/3 of Texas' homes and businesses and electric vehicles. And when you include our other non carbon generators, the total is 40%.  And it's very reliable, inexpensive, predictable power.  Look at today's power curve from ERCOT.


You can see that solar and wind together make a very nice match to the daytime load:






10 years ago, when I was serving as Chairman of the Austin Electric Utility Commission and the Generation Planning Taskforce, I spoke about the Renewable Symphony and  how well placed renewables can follow the State's load quite effectively.

Of course, we will have and will need natural gas generation for another decade or more.

Climate Change is occurring whether or not the Republican Party knows it 

or just chooses to disregard it.

I asked a leading lobbyist how we did as the session ended.

He said, we survived a plane crash.

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