Towers Down Tuesday


The California state Senate held a marathon out-of-session hearing Monday in response to the ongoing statewide blackouts that have thrown Californians into chaos over the past couple months, giving the public a startling snapshot of what happened.

Starting last month, state utility companies—PG&E chief among them—launched a (sometimes poorly) executed series of blackouts in an effort to avoid starting fires during unusually high wind events. Ahead of another planned PG&E outage in swaths of Northern California starting Wednesday, legislators wanted answers from the state’s three major investor-owned utility companies—PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison—about how they plan to better manage future power shutdowns, with PG&E taking most of the heat.

Marisa Endicott @ MOTHER JONES

About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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12 Responses to Towers Down Tuesday

  1. David B. Benson says:

    Better today. Eating a can of King Oscar sardines.


  2. Micki says:

    Time machine….

    Russia has notified the Clinton administration that it intends to withdraw from a 1995 agreement negotiated by Vice President Al Gore limiting Russian sales of tanks and other conventional weapons to Iran, officials said today.

    The Russian foreign minister, Igor S. Ivanov, told Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright of the intended action four days before the presidential election.

    President Clinton protested the Russian action when he met with President Vladimir V. Putin in Brunei last week, and Dr. Albright has warned Mr. Ivanov that if Russia makes new sales of advanced conventional weapons to Tehran, the Americans could impose economic sanctions against it.

    Mr. Ivanov said the Russian decision would take effect on Dec. 1, and administration officials informed Congress of the decision on Tuesday.

    The question of possible sanctions will fall to the next president, officials said.

    Mr. Gore reached a confidential deal with Viktor S. Chernomyrdin, then the Russian prime minister, in June 1995 to exempt Russia from sanctions for selling weapons to Iran in exchange for Moscow’s pledge that it would end all deliveries of sophisticated conventional arms to Tehran by last Dec. 31.

    That deal appeared to undercut a 1992 law sponsored by Mr. Gore and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, that mandated sanctions against countries that sold advanced conventional weapons to nations that the State Department classifies as state sponsors of terrorism. Iran is on that list.

    The 1995 agreement permitted Russia to fulfill contracts with Tehran for hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery shells and mines. The deal also allowed Russia to deliver a diesel-powered submarine and a number of sophisticated torpedoes to Iran.

    Russia violated the 1999 deadline, saying it needed more time to complete the deliveries under existing obligations, thereby irritating the United States, which complained to Russian officials. But by its latest action, Russia has now signaled its intent to enter into big new weapons contracts with Iran, American officials conclude.

    The Russian action was reported in The Washington Post this morning.

    Republicans in Congress and former officials who are advising Gov. George W. Bush harshly criticized the deal when details of its terms were first reported in The New York Times in mid-October. They complained today that the administration failed to act as Russia repeatedly violated what they called a flawed and unenforceable agreement.

    ”It comes as no great surprise that Russia has abrogated its commitments under the secret Gore-Chernomyrdin deal,” Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement today. ”The vice president cut a deal to look the other way on Russian transfers of weaponry to Iran for the past five years. But it is now clear that they can no longer turn a blind eye to Russia’s actions.”

    Mr. Gore has cited his cooperation with Mr. Chernomyrdin on a variety of issues as one of his major accomplishments as vice president and an important part of his qualifications for the presidency.

    The Russian move surfaced a day after the administration announced that China had pledged to stop exporting missile parts and production technology to countries developing nuclear weapons, including Iran and Pakistan. In exchange, the administration agreed to waive economic sanctions for past transfers of missile parts and production equipment.

    In the case of Russian arms sales to Iran, administration officials said today that they were weighing retaliatory steps against Russia. They added that they hoped that Moscow would reconsider its withdrawal from the agreement.

    A spokesman for Mr. Gore referred all questions to the State Department. An official of the Russian Embassy in Washington declined to comment.

    Mr. Ivanov said in his letter to Dr. Albright, which was dated Nov. 3, that Russia was backing out of the understanding because of recent news reports about the 1995 Gore-Chernomyrdin deal. The agreement, signed in Moscow on June 30, 1995, concludes with the words, ”This aide-memoire, as well as the attached annexes, will remain strictly confidential.”

    Dr. Albright replied to Mr. Ivanov that ”there will be consequences for Russia, including the possibility of sanctions, if Russia proceeds with its plans for unilateral withdrawal,” said Richard A. Boucher, the State Deparment’s chief spokesman. ”We are continuing to discuss this with Russians.”

    Officials in Congress who were briefed on the Russian action on Tuesday expressed anger that it was concealed from them for two weeks after Dr. Albright received the Ivanov letter.

    A State Department official defended the administration’s silence, saying that the secretary of state and other officials were quietly trying to persuade the Russians to reconsider.


  3. Den says:

    It started snowing here @ 3:30 and sticking, yikes!


    • Micki says:

      He should have stopped speaking in the previous paragraph…irresponsible, IMO, to segue into suggesting “the good news is…” . Good news??? No. This guy probably just wanted to keep his seat at the table…

      All of us here at DWF knew long ago that the Paris Agreement was thin gruel…and the U.S. — even before Trump — paid no attention to taking a leadership role.

      “The reductions required can only be achieved by transforming the energy sector. The good news is that since wind and solar in most places have become the cheapest source of electricity, the main challenges now is to design and implement an integrated, decentralised power system.”


  4. Den says:



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