Media & news

Early Saturday Morning Thoughts

May 8, 2023

It’s early Saturday morning. The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Not turkey hunter early. Those guys would be stalking gobblers, but it is a cold, rainy, miserable morning.

My first thoughts this morning were of Easter Sunday. Not tomorrow morning, but the first Easter Sunday a long time ago when the stone was rolled away and the salvation it created. My next thoughts were of all the issues going on in our world – some I understand, some I do not, some I laugh at, and some I am scared of. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Less than a month ago, Credit Suisse, one of the world’s largest banks, suffered a run on liquidity and was forced into a merger with one of its strongest rivals UBS. Two large U.S. regional banks were subject to similar liquidity runs, and the stock market reeled for a week. Media covered the events for a few days, and now there is almost no mention of a very serious financial crisis that rocked Wall Street.

Just over a week ago, there was a tragic school shooting in Nashville that dominated the news for a few days. Now that the shock and sadness have worn off, the only mention is of protests and demonstrations for or against gun control. Two young African American Tennessee state representatives probably overreacted, commandeering the statehouse floor and using bullhorns to protest the lack of state action. The Tennessee Legislature probably overreacted to the protest and expelled the two state representatives. At present, you can find little mention of the original issue being protested.

Also last week, a previous President faces 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, related to reportedly paying off an adult film star to suppress a story that she allegedly was paid hush money to cover up an extramarital affair between the two some years ago. The media coverage was more about the politics surrounding the indictments instead of the underlying actions. Surprisingly, there is little discussion of the morals of a society where a politician is not crushed by such allegations but is instead enhanced in the arena of political standing.

Elsewhere, a sitting President released a report that claimed the United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan was actually a success despite the loss of life and reputation with our allies. Two days later, there is no discussion of the report.

I also discovered early this morning that some people suffer severe anxiety because of the number of music choices available on paid music sites to create personalized playlists. I learned the shuffle button has changed the world by introducing randomness in the entertainment space and eliminating the need to make choices, according to the technology website The Verge. Did you know you could place a bet on how the HBO drama series Succession will end?

This week, the media provided positive reviews to a paper released by Tesla titled Master Plan Part 3: Sustainable Energy for All of Earth which claims, “The current energy economy is wasteful and a fully electrified, sustainable economy is within reach through the actions in this paper.” Those actions include repowering the electric grid with renewable generation, switching to electric vehicles and heat pumps, increasing hydrogen production, and “sustainably”-fueling planes and ships, among others, in order to manufacture an overall sustainable energy economy. The plan estimates the cost of such a transformation is a mere $10 trillion, as opposed to a $14 trillion cost (isn’t it already paid for?) to maintain the current energy economy. Most surprisingly, the report claims that 240 terawatt hours of battery storage will be required to support the carbon-free energy economy. Most people don’t understand the watt terminology, and I won’t try to explain it here, but with their five current massive battery “Gigafactories,” Tesla would need 960 years at current rates of production to manufacture the batteries required for the transition. That fact is not mentioned in the report or by the media.

Thursday morning, my friend, Attorney General Steve Marshall, sent me an article about a letter to shareholders written by Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, stating, “…in addition to reforming permitting, siting and interconnection issues for power generation and transmission, the U.S. may need to invoke eminent domain to site local clean energy rapidly.”

We are in the business of selling electricity, but nonsense published by Tesla about a $10 trillion sustainable energy economy and a billionaire banker recommending government seizure of private property to build renewable energy resources — despite the growing rage in many rural areas about transforming thousands of acres of land to make room for wind and solar generation facilities — is appalling even for today.

The bigger issues mentioned here should scare you. They are serious threats to our ability to choose how we live our lives. It is very troubling how quickly issues pass through the media and are dismissed by the public. The general public’s attention span is similar to a squirrel on amphetamines. If we aren’t careful and mindful, people like Mr. Dimon at JP Morgan, and Mr. Musk at Tesla, will first take our electric reliability, and then our rights, while we perfect our playlists, mess with shuffle buttons and bet on the ending of Succession.

Let’s pay attention and have a good month.

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