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Wednesday News Roundup: Beto O’Rourke Eyes a Comeback and Anthony Fauci Lacks Self-Awareness

What is this – a scene from the Walking Dead?

That’s your ruling class, folks, holding candles while huddled safe behind their Capitol wall, with thousands of National Guard troops there to protect them.

By the way, more than 100,000 of those 500,000 Americans died in just the first month of the Biden presidency. IN ONE MONTH. But hey, Mitch and his fellow RINOs are out holding candles with their Democrat buddies, so we got that going for us. Holy crap.

Speaking of Mitch McConnell and the RINO herd… – They’re all doing what RINOs always do in a new Democrat administration, and voting to confirm China Joe’s appointees as if they’re qualified or something. Yesterday Mitch announced he was planning to vote to confirm Merrick Garland, an Attorney General nominee who admits that he hasn’t even thought about whether or not illegal crossings of U.S. borders are in fact crimes.

This man has sat on the federal bench for decades now, yet he insults the intelligence of every American by claiming he hasn’t even thought about one of the most pressing issues of our time and Cocaine Mitch and the RINO herd that follows him around the walled-in Capitol Building are just going to snap their fingers and vote to confirm him.

Four years ago, none of President Trump’s nominees received more than a few Democrat votes for confirmation. But Mitch and his RINO herd learned nothing from that experience. As always, there’s a war going on in Washington, DC, and the Democrats are the only ones fighting it.

Godspeed, Tiger Woods. – We all have opinions about Tiger Woods. I was an enormous fan until about 2009, when evidence came to light that he most likely had taken steroids to advance his career. But he has made an admirable comeback in recent years from knee and back issues that culminated in a win at The Masters.

The leg injuries he suffered in yesterday’s car accident will be hard for a 45 year-old man to overcome. A golf swing like Tiger’s places tremendous stress on the back and legs, so his future appears to be murky at best. He will obviously receive the best medical care possible, and all golfing fans can do is hope and pray for the best.

The Most Inevitable Story of the Week, from Politico. – Sigh. This story is so predictable that it’s a wonder it took this long for the Democrat toady media to get it out. Texas Republicans are taking a drubbing in the wake of last week’s winter weather disaster, because hey, they’ve been in charge of all aspects of Texas government for 27 years now. So, who else are Texans going to blame for the massive, epic failure of ERCOT and other Texas officials to ensure the heat and lights stay on when it’s 5 degrees outside?

Thus, the first thought of any leftwing fake reporter at Politico was bound to be “oh joy, does this mean we get our Beto back?”, and right on cue, the story appears:

Here’s an excerpt from the media’s latest Beto booster piece:

While Ted Cruz was getting clobbered for fleeing Texas amid its historic winter storm, the Democrat he defeated in 2018, Beto O’Rourke, was already deep into disaster relief mode — soliciting donations for storm victims, delivering pallets of water from his pickup truck and once again broadcasting his movements on Facebook Live.

It was part of an effort orchestrated by O’Rourke and his organization, Powered by People, in response to the crisis. It was also, to Texas Democrats, a sign that O’Rourke the politician is back.

The former congressman and onetime Democratic sensation acknowledgedlast month that he’s considering running for governor in 2022,and he has discussedthe possibility with Democratic Party officials and other associates. The drubbing that Texas Republicans are taking in the wake of the deadly storm may provide him with an opening — even in his heavily Republican state.

“After all of Texas freezes over because of poor leadership, I think it’s a different state of Texas than it was two weeks ago,” said Mikal Watts, a San Antonio-based lawyer and major Democratic money bundler.

If O’Rourke runs for governor, Watts said, “I think he could catch fire.”

[End]

I laughed out loud at that last line, since that’s exactly what every Democrat in Texas and Washington, DC said about “Abortion Barbie” Wendy Davis when she challenged Greg Abbott in the governor’s race in 2014. She ended up getting slaughtered by 21 percent of the vote.

Is Irish Bob, our favorite fake Hispanic, likely to challenge Abbott next year? Yeah, probably, although it’s a long way between now and November 2022. After all, the pampered child of millionaires who is married to the daughter of a billionaire doesn’t know how to do any honest work, so politics is the only option to get him out of the damn house.

And hey, Irish Bob has already clearly demonstrated that no one in Texas can pull in millions of Hollywood and New York dollars for a political race like he can. The Democrats are always desperate to find someone willing to be their sacrificial lamb for the governor’s race every four years – who can forget Lupe Valdez, Bill White or Chris Bell? – so having their media darling already teed up to go presents the party with a rare bird in the hand.

So jump on in, Irish Bob, the water’s fine.

This week’s Utter Lack of Self-Awareness Award goes to… – The little Menace to Society, Anthony Fauci, who told an interviewer this week that the United States has “done worse than most any other country” in its response to COVID-19:

Here’s an excerpt from that New York Post story:

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the US has “done worse than most any other country” in battling COVID-19.

With the country’s current 500,000-plus deaths nearly double the figure of Brazil, the nation with the next highest number of mortalities, Fauci told ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” Monday, “It’s so tough to just go back and try and do a metaphorical autopsy on how things went. It was just bad.

“I believe that if you look back historically, we’ve done worse than most any other country — and we’re a highly developed, rich country,” the nation’s top infectious-disease doctor said.

“I think these numbers are just so stunning,” said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, the day the US passed the half-million-deaths mark.

“Remember back in the late winter, early spring, of 2020 when we were saying we could get as high as 240,000 [fatalities], and people were thinking we were being hyperbolic about it — and here we are with a half-million deaths.”

[End]

Ok, so, anybody out there see what the Little Menace seems to be missing here?

Who has without question been the leader of our country’s “strategy” in dealing with the viral gift from China? Who has been out in the media damn near every day urging Democrat governors to lockdown businesses, coop people up in their homes and wear masks despite there being not a shred of science or actual data indicating any of those approaches has the slightest positive impact on the spread of this virus? Who has been contradicting himself, constantly moving the goal posts and confusing the entire country in media appearances day after day after day?

Isn’t the correct answer to all of those questions and so many more “Anthony Fauci”?????

Seriously, how does this Little Menace still have a job? The damage he has done to our society over the last 12 months is simply incalculable. He has arguably done more harm to our society than any figure in history, yet you can be sure that he will be appearing on CNN or MSNBC again today, confusing the situation even more than he already has done.

Relying on this little totalitarian despot is the very worst mistake Donald Trump ever made. We will be paying for that decision for many years to come.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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1/3rd of ERCOT Board Resigns: Just 2/3rds More To Go

Throughout the cold blast of last week, much news was made about the fact that three of the key members of the board of the Electric (non) Reliability Council of Texas weren’t even from Texas. In fact, it turned out the chairman lives in Michigan, the vice-chair also lives out of state, along with one other member of the 15-member board.

Well, guess what? Those news reports actually understated the out-of-state issue with this board. Turns out that there were no fewer than five non-Texans running Texas’s power grid. Happily, each and every one one of them resigned yesterday, along with a sixth non-Texan who was scheduled to move onto the board in the coming weeks:

Five members of the board of directors at the entity that operates Texas’ electrical grid will resign from their posts on Wednesday, according to a notice posted to the Public Utility Commission website.

Board Chairwoman Sally Talberg, Vice Chairman Peter Cramton, and members Terry Bulger, Raymond Hepper and Vanessa Anesetti-Parra will all resign from their posts on Wednesday, during the next meeting of the board of directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT.

ERCOT has come under fire for its handling of widespread blackouts that left millions of Texans without power and water as the state faced subfreezing temperatures, snow and ice.

None of the five members resigning from their posts live in Texas.

“Our hearts go out to all Texans who have had to go without electricity, heat, and water during frigid temperatures and continue to face the tragic consequences of this emergency,” the letter reads. “We have noted recent concerns about out-of-state board leadership at ERCOT. To allow state leaders a free hand with future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are resigning from the board.”

Craig Ivey, who was set to fill a vacant position on the board, said in a separate letter that he was withdrawing his candidacy “in order to avoid becoming a distraction” due to his out-of-state residency.

[End]

Look, I love non-Texans, so don’t get me wrong here. But ERCOT is a quasi-government entity – technically a 501(c)(4) non-profit – that runs the grid that supplies 80% of the state with power. It reports directly to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). In a state with 28 million residents, it seems to most of us here in Texas that we ought to be able to find 15 actual Texans who know how to manage a power grid.

I mean, we don’t elect Michiganders to our state legislature, or Marylanders to serve as our governor, do we? The governor can’t appoint Californians or Alabamans to serve on our PUC, can he? We don’t have a Louisianan as our attorney general, even though that might end up being tons of fun and all manner of shenanigans.

At the end of the day, my one and only problem with these five folks leaving the board – from which they were likely to be fired, anyway – is that the number is not 15.

My suspicion is that, like any other semi-accountable board of this type, ERCOT’s board has become a big social club, a cushy assignment with a huge paycheck that none of its members take too seriously. I honestly can find no other explanation for the fact that, when this board met on February 9, as the first of 3 arctic fronts was already pouring into the state, it spent just 45 seconds (that’s not a typo) of a 2-hour meeting discussing preparation measures for what they already knew at that point would ultimately become a major winter weather event.

The fact that not one of the 15 members had a single question or concern about preparedness for such a major event that they wanted to raise in that meeting tells me that there are no serious people currently serving on that board.

So, 5 down and just 10 more to go. If they won’t voluntarily resign, then the PUC and Governor Abbott needs to resign them. In fact, after the clownshow Texans suffered through last week – with more than 70 human beings ending up dead – the entire organization needs to be demolished down to the studs and reconstituted. Only a bold move such as that will give Texans any comfort that we won’t just be living through a replay of last week again sometime in the near future.

Are you listening, Governor Abbott?

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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The New York Times Gets it Half Right on Texas Blackouts

Hey, half-right is better than the New York Times normally does whenever writing about Texas, so I suppose we should applaud the authors of the piece I’m looking at this morning, titled “Texas Power Grid Run by ERCOT Set Up the State for Disaster.” Like so many other slanted media reports over the past week on this subject, the Times gets some things right while ignoring inconvenient realities that end up causing the writers to miss the fundamental point.

While most of the facts the piece lays out are in fact accurate, the headline gets the fundamental problem wrong: The power grid itself didn’t set the state up for the disaster; the failure of the people who manage the grid to recognize the utter folly of their ways did. Of course, since the folly that those grid managers at ERCOT engaged in was to focus all their efforts over the last decade on incentivizing the building of more and more wind and solar in Texas while refusing to recognize the reality that those sources of energy would fail us in a weather emergency like the one that took place last week, the leftwingers at the Times didn’t want to focus on that reality.

Perhaps the key paragraph in the entire piece is this one, which illustrates the perilous position that the failures of ERCOT had put the state in when the winter storms began to hit the state on February 9:

One example of how Texas has gone it alone is its refusal to enforce a “reserve margin” of extra power available above expected demand, unlike all other power systems around North America. With no mandate, there is little incentive to invest in precautions for events, such as a Southern snowstorm, that are rare. Any company that took such precautions would put itself at a competitive disadvantage.

[End]

Though factually accurate as far as it goes, this paragraph is where the entire thesis of the piece falls apart. While the facts presented in the paragraph are fundamentally true, the slant by the writers in blaming it all on the evil (in any liberal’s mind) “de-regulation” is simply not correct. What the authors ignore in this paragraph is the fact that, while natural gas prices were high during the first decade under the de-regulated system, Texas had a boom in the building of new combined-cycle natural gas power plants, which have enabled Texas to retire much of its fleet of coal-fired plants and lead the nation in emissions reductions over that time frame.

See, the part of the system these authors don’t inform their readers about is the fact that ERCOT’s de-regulated system allows power providers to base their rates to consumers – which appears as a “fuel charge” on our bills – on the price for the highest-cost fuel source, which from 2000-2009 was consistently natural gas. It was that higher fuel charge that provided the incentive to build all of those new, clean, natural gas plants in the first ten years of this century.

But the fundamental failure of ERCOT came when the price for natural gas began to collapse to chronic lower levels in 2009, where it has remained ever since. When gas prices began to collapse in 2009, my own summer-time electricity bills quickly dropped from ~$500 per month to half of that. The loss of that income from millions of consumers robbed the market of the incentives to build new baseload power.

Lacking that profit incentive, and with no other incentivization being provided by ERCOT or the Texas legislature, power providers have since chosen to invest their capital dollars elsewhere. Meanwhile, ERCOT’s policies have continued to heavily incentivize the build-out of new wind and solar, both of which failed the state so miserably during this crisis, which I detailed for readers in a piece posted last night:

Just so everyone knows that all forms of power generation in Texas failed us to some extent this past week, I wanted you all to see the chart below. Here is what it shows, in terms of the % of power loss by energy source from 11:00 p.m. Feb 14 [At the peak of the chart] to 11:00 p.m. Feb 17, when 4 million Texans were without power:

May be an image of text

 

Natural Gas fell from 43 mwh to 32 mwh, a loss of 26%

Solar dropped from 1 mwh to ZERO, a loss of 100%

Wind dropped from 8 mwh to 3 mwh, a loss of a whopping 63%

Coal fell from 12 mwh to 8 mwh, a loss of 33%

Nuclear fell from 4 mwh to 3mwh, a loss of 25%

It is also key to note here that, from midnight on February 9, when the first blast of cold weather began to set in across the state, until 11:00 p.m., February 14, when output peaked, Natural Gas rose from 14 mwh to 43 mwh, or roughly 300%. Over that same span of time, Wind dropped from about 30 mwh to 8 mwh, or about 72%.

So, although a relative handful of natural gas power plants did freeze up, either due to the weather or due to lack of natural gas supply as some pipelines also lost pressure, the unarguable fact of the matter is that so-called “renewables” were utterly useless to Texas consumers during this life-threatening emergency, and that without Natural Gas, the entire state would have been left freezing in the dark.

[End]

ERCOT has known for years now – and has informed the PUC and the legislature of this on a regular basis – that the Texas grid lacks adequate reserve capacity to get us through a weather calamity such as the one just past. We don’t have enough baseload reserves, and literally everyone has known that (or should have known it), yet no one in a position of authority has had the political will to force that to chance.

Here is where the NY Times writers get the fundamental issue right, in the following paragraph:

With so many cost-conscious utilities competing for budget-shopping consumers, there was little financial incentive to invest in weather protection and maintenance. Wind turbines are not equipped with the de-icing equipment routinely installed in the colder climes of the Dakotas and power lines have little insulation. The possibility of more frequent cold-weather events was never built into infrastructure plans in a state where climate change remains an exotic, disputed concept.

[End]

Indeed, the same features of the de-regulated market that have saved Texas consumers billions over the last 20 years have created this lack of incentivization to build new capacity and to properly winterize pipelines and power generation facilities. The heavy competition by power providers to offer the lowest rates to consumers created a cost-cutting and cost-saving mania among the generators, and any costs not required by regulators have naturally been avoided.

Here’s the other fact that the NY Times writers omit: Even with the lack of adequate reserve power generation capacity, last week’s blackouts would have been avoided had pipeline operators and power generators properly winterized their plants. But, as I’ve written several times over the past week, winterization has been suggested and encouraged by regulators, but it has never been required.

Another aspect of all of this that the Times writers leave out of their story is what happened in the cities of Austin and San Antonio last week, and is continuing into this week. Both of those cities run their own, city-owned and regulated power systems, although they do purchase much of their electricity from the same power providers that generate electricity for the Texas grid. The blackouts in both of those “regulated” cities were far more severe than those across the rest of the state, and both cities are still under “boil water” advisories today due to their water systems having lost power for several days.

Bottom line: This was not a disaster that was directly caused by the liberal boogeyman of “de-regulation.” This disaster was caused by the utter failure of the managers of that system (ERCOT) and the policymakers who oversee them (PUC, legislature) to adequately deal with a dangerous situation that they have all been well aware of for more than a decade now.

Blaming the “system” is what biased journalists and regulators do to shift blame and avoid taking responsibility for their own inactions. The “system” in Texas isn’t the problem: The human beings are.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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What Really Happened in Texas Last Week

Just so everyone knows that all forms of power generation in Texas failed us to some extent this past week, I wanted you all to see the chart below. Here is what it shows, in terms of the % of power loss by energy source from 11:00 p.m. Feb 14 [At the peak of the chart] to 11:00 p.m. Feb 17, when 4 million Texans were without power:

May be an image of text

 

Natural Gas fell from 43 mwh to 32 mwh, a loss of 26%

Solar dropped from 1 mwh to ZERO, a loss of 100%

Wind dropped from 8 mwh to 3 mwh, a loss of a whopping 63%

Coal fell from 12 mwh to 8 mwh, a loss of 33%

Nuclear fell from 4 mwh to 3mwh, a loss of 25%

It is also key to note here that, from midnight on February 9, when the first blast of cold weather began to set in across the state, until 11:00 p.m., February 14, when output peaked, Natural Gas rose from 14 mwh to 43 mwh, or roughly 300%. Over that same span of time, Wind dropped from about 30 mwh to 8 mwh, or about 72%.

So, although a relative handful of natural gas power plants did freeze up, either due to the weather or due to lack of natural gas supply as some pipelines also lost pressure, the unarguable fact of the matter is that so-called “renewables” were utterly useless to Texas consumers during this life-threatening emergency, and that without Natural Gas, the entire state would have been left freezing in the dark.

That is according to the official data coming from ERCOT and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. So, next time you see the leftwingers at the Texas Tribune or Houston Chronicle or New York Times or CNN tell you it was all the fault of natural gas, you know they’re really failing to tell the real story.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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Texans Are Not Ready to Accept Freezing Blackouts as Their “New Normal”

Hey, some of you probably thought I was dead. Well, sorry, Democrats, no such luck. Didn’t have another heart event, didn’t contract the ‘rona, the website isn’t down again. So yay on all of that.

What did happen, though, is we have no power at our home. Haven’t had any since 6:00 a.m. Monday, and it now looks like we won’t have any again until Friday at the earliest. In case you hadn’t heard, the entire state of Texas looks an awful lot like Alaska right now. Ok, well, West Texas looks more like South Dakota, but you get the picture. We’re covered up in snow and ice, the low temperature where I live near Fort Worth was -1 Fahrenheit this morning, we haven’t seen a temperature at my house above freezing since last Wednesday, and won’t see one until Friday. Again, that’s if we’re lucky.

Guess what? Texas does not do a good job of preparing for this kind of weather event. Which makes sense given that we don’t see this kind of stuff but about once a decade. However, we do see it. The last time we had a similar event was exactly a decade ago, in fact, on February 2-3, 2011.

So, while it is understandable, I suppose, that the folks at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) admit that they simply do not have contingency plans for this kind of severe winter event, I can’t help wondering why not? After all, the rolling blackouts they implemented 10 years ago during that ice event caused a public uproar that resulted in a series of hearings and rulemakings that were supposed to help ensure the grid’s resiliency was fortified to withstand exactly this sort of weather.

Yet, here we are again, and no one at ERCOT or the state’s main infrastructure provider – ONCOR – appears capable of providing a coherent answer why. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if we shouldn’t just force ERCOT to take the “R” – for Reliability – out of its name to make it more properly descriptive of what it is the agency actually does. Or rename it “ERSCOT”, with the S standing for “semi-“.

Texans have in recent years made a sport out of making fun of California for its having faded into near-3rd world status where its power grid is concerned. Trust me, that’s a ton of fun. Rolling blackouts and brownouts have become a way of life for Californians as the Democrat policymakers there force their grid to rely far too much on intermittent energy sources like wind and solar at the expense of reliable baseload generation, which must be provided by fossil fuels like natural gas and coal, or by nuclear plants.

Unfortunately, and with little public fanfare, the Republican-led Texas government has also allowed wind power to take a steadily-growing role in the state’s power generation mix over the past decade. Last year, in fact, wind surpassed coal in terms of the percentage of electricity provided to the ERCOT-managed grid, delivering 23% of the total mix, coming in second only to natural gas power plants.

That’s all great so long as you’re willing to pay the price, much of which becomes hidden from ratepayers by ERCOT and the state’s electricity providers, so everybody can pretend to be happy about “going green.” It’s also not so great when well over half the turbines in the state freeze up in near-zero temperatures and 3-12 inches of snowfall.

In the wake of the 2011 event, which was caused mainly by coal-fired plants tripping offline as they froze up and ERCOT’s rolling blackouts including several very large natural gas compressor stations, which caused several natural gas power plants to also go offline, reforms were mandated to prevent ERCOT from denying electricity to those compressor stations. We do not yet know if those reforms worked or not, but several of the state’s natural gas pipeline companies have been experiencing deliverability issues over the last couple of days, so ERCOT’s silence on the matter does make you wonder.

Texas policymakers simply must act in the wake of this event to ensure that the state’s power grid is resilient enough to withstand this kind of severe winter weather event. It is an incredibly dangerous situation when more than 3 million Texans are without power as temperatures remain below freezing for a full week. Texas might look like Alaska and South Dakota right now, but Texans are simply not prepared to deal with this kind of weather for even a couple of days, much less for a week or more.

Californians have been conditioned by their Democrat policymakers to accept this sort of rolling blackout situation as their “new normal” so they can all virtue signal about how “green” they all are. Texans, on the other hand, would rather be warm and safe in their homes than waste time virtue signaling about the environment. Again, trust me on this: Ain’t nobody in Texas ready to happily accept this crap as a “new normal” in their lives.

The state’s policymakers had better take advantage of this disastrous situation to act to really improve the resiliency of the state’s power grid, or there will be hell to pay in next year’s elections.

This situation is simply not acceptable, even if it only happens once a decade. Enough is enough.

I’ll post more when I can.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

 

 

 

 

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