Usher’s News & Commentary for Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022

A lawsuit filed by 131 insurance companies alleges that negligence by the organization that operates Texas’ electrical grid and power companies caused electricity outages during the deep freeze last February ....


The lawsuit alleges that insurance carriers were forced to pay claims for water damage, living expenses and business interruption costs because of ERCOT and the generating companies’ negligence and gross negligence.


The lawsuit says ERCOT documents reveal the organization had planned for a peak load of only 69,592 megawatts during the winter of 2020-21, even though the peak winter load three years previously nearly reached that amount and demand was projected to increase by 1,000 to 3,000 megawatts per year.

Texas Insurers Sue ERCOT, Power Generators Over Damages From Deep Freeze

Please don't blame the insurance industry for rising construction costs and the fact that an insurance policy without an adequate inflation guard and/or settlement option in place will not necessarily cover replacement costs (with or without property depreciation factored in).

Builders everywhere are waiting longer than usual to line up carpenters, electricians and plumbers, and these specialists are themselves getting backed up waiting for parts.

Pandemic Adds Time, Cost to Rebuild After Colorado Wildfire

Electricity has been restored to the vast majority of households who lost their power during the storm, but the prolonged outage has especially been hard for people with disabilities or health issues, who use electrical medical devices like motorized wheelchairs, ventilators, respirators and apnea monitors.

Melissa Kasnitz, legal director for the Center for Accessible Technology, said people with disabilities or with medical needs can experience “subtle harms” during an outage. They include people with diabetes who rely on insulin, which needs to be refrigerated. Others are sensitive to dramatic temperature changes, or are at-risk to the adverse effects of COVID-19 and can’t go to resource centers.

Thousands in Sierra Without Power Nearly Two Weeks After Storm

Buy out an old condo high-rise, rip it down, and build a new condo high-rise in its place. Land values make it doable. As South Florida Condos Age, More Owners Are Willing to Sell

The concern is legitimate. The law is legitimate. However, proving intent is another thing.

"The coordinated and violent January 6 attack on the United States Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying the presidential vote was an insurrection against the United States," Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, said in a statement. "The Constitution disqualifies from public office any elected officials who aided that insurrection."

Citing 'Blatant Acts of Insurrection,' NC Voters Petition to Bar Cawthorn From Seeking Reelection


... they don't have to do this because most industries are now oligopolies composed of a handful of major producers that coordinate price increases.

The Fed Is Getting This Economy All Wrong

What Robert Reich is saying is that the Fed should take the corporations to task by calling for antitrust actions to be taken against those corporations to break the power of those corporations to raise prices in the face of low or no competition.

However, there are small businesses raising prices just because they can because everybody else is doing it too. To stop that would require price controls, which have been used successfully before.

Unfortunately, even though I too have said that it would be quite easy for the Fed to overly tighten, narrow-minded inflation hawks have the floor right now.

Were I in power, I'd take antitrust actions, put in price controls (temporary), focus on breaking bottlenecks, and continue and improve the welfare state so people wouldn't fall between the cracks. That would be just for starters.

Speaking of racketeering: Antitrust Suit Alleges 16 Elite Universities Colluded to Limit Financial Aid

One person's vacation is another person's nightmare. However, how do you tell people they can't be tenants or landlords on a short-term basis in great vacation spots? Of course, it's a matter of money. Those with enough of it can get pretty much the laws they want and where they want them.

There are few statewide efforts to address the effects of short-term rentals; some states, such as Idaho, outright prohibit local governments from enacting bans.

Swamped by Vacation Rentals, Small Towns in the West Are Fighting Back

Like it or not, conservatives are winning this issue. CDC Finally Admits 75 Percent of COVID Deaths Happen in Patients "With at least Four or More Comorbidities" - The Last Refuge

Here's another reason why. Vaccinated and Boosted AOC Announces COVID Infection After Maskless Partying in Florida - The Last Refuge

I remember when Al Jazeera didn't spout neocon drivel. It is really bad journalism not to at least make a serious attempt to get Daniel Ortega's answers to all of the neocons' allegations against him. I don't agree with every move Ortega has made or is making now, but I know for a fact that the neocons lie through their teeth whenever they speak (well, almost).

Ortega has done a great deal to make Nicaragua a better place after the greedy fascists ruined it twice, greedy fascists backed by the USA via the CIA.

US slaps new sanctions on Nicaragua on Ortega’s inauguration day

Was the cladding legal when it was installed? If so, the government should foot the bill. UK developers told they must foot bill for unsafe cladding

Smartest thing I've heard of coming out of Kosovo since the breakaway: Kosovo Seizes Hundreds of ASICs After Bitcoin Mining Ban

California Governor Gavin Newsom presented a $286.4 billion budget proposal, dubbed the "California Blueprint," for the state on Monday. The plan suggests spending $22.5 billion to address the burgeoning climate crisis in the state, allocating a fresh $6.1 billion to electric vehicle related initiatives.

California’s blueprint budget has $6.1 billion for electric vehicle initiatives

The goal for the “new normal” with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the “zero COVID” strategy.2 Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity. Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is short, preventing the use of targeted strategies like “ring vaccination.” Even “fully” vaccinated individuals are at risk for breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consequently, a “new normal with COVID” in January 2022 is not living without COVID-19.

A National Strategy for the “New Normal” of Life With COVID

I think the article is reasonably good. It left important areas untouched, however. I would have placed emphasis upon nutrition and exercise, among other things, including but not limited to alternative therapies. One-size-fits-all vaccines is clearly NOT the answer (yet).

"The radical changes in our economy that are required for reaching low climate goals have not been achieved," Mahowald said. "Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we will see unless substantial reductions in emissions are made and quickly."

Deadly extreme weather year for US as carbon emissions soar

I keep reading and hearing this following statement, but I never see a link to the original source with backup data. What is the underlying health of those people too?

You are 17 times more likely to go to the hospital if you’re not vaccinated, 20 times more likely to die.

Psaki demolishes Doocy with stats as he tries to claim Covid now an illness of the vaccinated

What does greed do? For one, it takes what was the greatest healthcare system on Earth and deliberately plans to turn it into garbage.

Do You Trust the Americans to Run the British NHS?

Biden GASLIGHTS On Failing Economy With Ridiculous Charts