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January 20, 2022 at 5:55 PM EST
Solar panels and battery storage are the future of how the U.S. gets its power

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released its latest findings this month as part of its multi-year Storage Futures Study. The 45-page report, NREL's sixth in this series, is filled with surprisingly good news. According to the agency's modeling of high storage scenarios, solar could meet the country's energy needs by 2050. The NREL modeled five different scenarios, ranging from a reference scenario that "follows all reference assumptions for cost and technology evolution through 2050" to a Zero Carbon scenario that heavily relies on storage but also shows the U.S. energy grid emitting no carbon whatsoever by 2050, with emissions slashed 95% by 2035. The Zero Carbon scenario proved surprisingly robust compared with other scenarios, such as a future in which natural gas costs are high but battery costs are low.


January 20, 2022 at 5:30 PM EST
Earth Matters: SupCt may gut EPA's regulatory authority; ultra-rightist goes after Liz Cheney's seat

Supreme Court case could eviscerate EPA's (and other agencies') regulatory authority 

Fifteen years ago, by 5-4, the Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA  that carbon dioxide greenhouse gases qualify as air pollutants under the Clean Air Act, and as such, the agency had to either issue a rule declaring them a threat to public health and welfare—which would catalyze steps toward regulatory controls—or explain why they shouldn't be considered pollutants. The EPA did ultimately label greenhouse gases dangerous and has since implemented numerous rules restricting them, with much pushback and litigation in opposition. 


January 20, 2022 at 5:05 PM EST
As Trump's support among Republicans softens, DeSantis poised to capitalize

Donald Trump has a question for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. "Why won't he just say he's not going to run against me?" Trump has reportedly griped to his allies about DeSantis' lack of deference. The answer is likely two-fold: 1) DeSantis appears to be as big a narcissist as Trump; 2) he's been reading Trump's polling.


January 20, 2022 at 4:40 PM EST
After 140 anti-vaxx chronicles, this 'rapture watcher' finally broke me

This series documents stories from the Herman Cain Awards subreddit, tracking the COVID mis- and disinformation on Facebook that is leading to so many deaths. Today's cautionary tale lives in a world without any resemblance to reality. And some poor hospital has to deal with it. 

"Our government is known for putting reality in fiction films." It is? 


January 20, 2022 at 4:15 PM EST
Manchin forgets he's not the president, says everyone has to start over on Build Back Better

Riding high after his work helping Republicans dismantle democracy, Sen. Joe Manchin has imperiously declared that President Joe Biden is just going to have to start over in getting his support on the critical Build Back Better plan, the package the White House has been negotiating with him for months. As far as he's concerned, he said, they need to start from scratch. Eventually. "The main thing we need to do is take care of the inflation," Manchin said Thursday morning, because that is a thing that has gotten stuck in his head as something that makes him sound serious. "Get your financial house in order. Get a tax code that works and take care of the pharmaceuticals that are gauging the people with high prices. We can fix that. We can do a lot of good things." He's also in no hurry. He wants the White House and Congress to "get [our] financial house in order. Get this inflation down. Get COVID out of the way. Then we'll be rolling."


January 20, 2022 at 12:00 PM EST
Civil rights leaders, Democrats (who aren't Manchin and Sinema) vow to keep fighting for democracy

What comes next? Republicans teamed up with two faithless Democrats, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, to deliver a body blow to President Joe Biden, democracy, and their own institution Wednesday. Republicans once again showed, unanimously, that they've embraced Jim Crow 2.0. Manchin and Sinema jumped aboard that team. Congressional action won't do the trick, so it's going to have to be executive action and a Department of Justice (DOJ) in overdrive to use what tools are left to protect voters, while at the same time stamping out the Big Lie. The immediate fight for voting rights has to localize to combat the wave of voter suppression on steroids we're seeing from red states. Grassroots pressure, money, and action are going to have to transfer to the states to give local groups every tool available to overcome the barriers Republicans are throwing up.


January 20, 2022 at 11:30 AM EST
Study of far-right extremists with military backgrounds suggests Pentagon faces uphill battle

One of the primary reasons that far-right groups like the Oath Keepers pose such a grave threat to American democracy is that they specifically recruit military and law enforcement service members and veterans into their organization—meaning that people who by training and nature are skilled at handling weapons and materials and are knowledgeable about engagement tactics, are being radicalized into their seditionist extremism, the kind we saw on display at the Jan. 6 insurrection.


January 20, 2022 at 11:11 AM EST
Months after releasing remaining immigrant, California jail is once again locking people up for ICE

Immigrants and their advocates won a major victory last fall, following the release of Ricardo Vasquez Cruz from a northern California jail last October. Vasquez Cruz had been the remaining immigrant detained at Yuba County Jail. He'd been held for more than three years. The detention center in Yuba County has also been the lone remaining county jail in California to still hold a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Advocates hoped Vasquez Cruz's release could lead to that agreement's termination. But in "a blow" to advocates, Yuba is again jailing immigrants, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.


January 20, 2022 at 10:40 AM EST
Ex-press secretary says Trump held secret meetings in White House residence

According to a report from The Guardian  published Thursday, former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has revealed to investigators on the Jan. 6 Committee that Trump held "secret meetings" at the White House residence in the run-up to the Capitol attack.  The committee has not formally subpoenaed Grisham, indicating that her cooperation was voluntary. She had front row seats at the Trump White House while serving as a White House communications director, press secretary for former First Lady Melania Trump, and later, Melania Trump's chief of staff. Grisham resigned, effective immediately, on Jan. 6 in the wake of the violent Capitol assault. Her resignation was joined by White House press aide Sarah Matthews.


January 20, 2022 at 10:05 AM EST
DeSantis giddy over giving people with COVID a treatment that doctors say is equivalent to a placebo

I must admit, it confounds me that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is so openly ignorant. And it infuriates me that his ignorance is costing so many people their lives. His desire for power in the Republican Party has driven him to—knowingly or unknowingly, I'm not exactly sure which—kill his constituents.  His unwavering determination to ignore the science and plod along perpetuating a falsehood that Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatments are the answer to solving COVID-19 versus vaccinations and masks when the medical community says otherwise is irresponsible at best and criminal at worst.


January 19, 2022 at 11:00 PM EST
News Roundup: Senate battle for voting protections; Supreme Court rejects latest Trump gambit

In the news today: Tonight saw the latest Senate battle to protect voting rights even as Republican-held state legislatures pass unprecedented rollbacks targeting those rights. What's next is unclear, but Democratic leaders organized the vote tonight as a move to force the two Senate Democratic holdouts—as well as all Senate Republicans—on record for blocking the urgently needed protections. Also this evening, the Supreme Court rejected a Trump demand that the National Archives refuse a congressional request for administration records pertaining to the violence on January 6. Justice Thomas was the lone dissenter. And as congressional investigators probe the Trump White House's involvement with that violence, there are new signs that the Department of Justice's investigation is also now looking into connections between insurrection planners and Trump's inner circle of allies.


January 19, 2022 at 10:40 PM EST
Florida suspends county health officer for daring to encourage vaccination among his employees

Republicans are really on a roll, aren't they? First, they support Donald Trump, then Vladimir Putin—and now they're using the copious political capital they've built up with the pig-ignorant half of America to go all-in for COVID-19. I shudder to think what's next. Maybe they can repeal car-seat laws so toddlers are free to catapult into chemical freight trucks, as God and the Founders intended. So Florida—which is basically Disney World surrounded by 65,000 square miles of childish fantasy—has apparently decided that making Joe Biden look bad so its governor can take over and kill everyone in the country is the summum bonum of human endeavor. And they're not relenting. Oh, no.

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