If you ask the people who run America’s electric utilities what keeps them up at night, a surprising number will say solar power. Specifically, rooftop solar.
MORE AMERICANS ARE INSTALLING ROOFTOP SOLAR AND BUYING LESS ELECTRICITY FROM THEIR UTILITIES
That seems bizarre at first. Solar power provides just 0.4 percent of electricity in the United States — a minuscule amount. Why would anyone care?
But utilities see things differently. As solar technology gets dramatically cheaper, tens of thousands of Americans are putting photovoltaic panels up on their roofs, generating their own power. At the same time, 43 states and Washington DC have “net metering” laws that allow solar-powered households to sell their excess electricity back to the grid at retail prices.
CSPANIn “‘It’s So Simple, It’s Ridiculous‘” (May 2004), I explored the exotic world of tax rebels-Americans who believe citizens have no legal obligation to pay income tax. They describe themselves not as mere “tax protestors” but as a “tax honesty” movement, since they believe honesty about the income tax means admitting that none of us legally owe it.
The movement’s prospects looked bleak. “A sober assessment of the empirical evidence,” I wrote, shows “that victories for the tax honesty movement (the occasional criminal acquittal or mistrial) lead inevitably to a later defeat (further convictions or civil seizures).”
While tax protestors fare no better nowadays, it’s the tax collectors who are today making headlines by quibbling about how to interpret various tax laws. Congress has been investigating reports that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may have aimed unusually abusive information requests, denials of status, and bureaucratic foot-dragging at nonprofit groups with a conservative bent.
Thousands of Hong Kong citizens protested across the city on Monday, blocking roads and prompting the closure of banks and schools, as they stepped up their calls for democracy.
Police attempts to use teargas to clear huge protests from Admiralty and Central in downtown Hong Kong late on Sunday backfired by spurring more people to take to the streets, with numbers peaking in the tens of thousands. Fresh protests sprang up in Causeway Bay and Mongkok, in Kowloon.
Parts of the financial hub, generally known for its orderliness, were paralysed by the demonstrators. The government announced on Monday morning that riot police had been taken off the streets as citizens “have mostly calmed down” and urged people to unblock roads and disperse.
For decades, top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (PEA) were aware that a compound approved for agricultural use in the United States was wiping out the honeybee population, but they chose to ignore the compound’s effects in deference to pressure from agri-giant corporations.
Worse, the agency reacted harshly to anyone within the EPA who attempted to bring the issue to light, including through firings, forced reassignments and other actions.
According to a scholarly 2014 study [PDF] compiled by researcher Rosemary Mason, “on behalf of a global network of independent scientists, beekeepers and environmentalists,” and published on the website of MIT, “We have found historical and chronological evidence to show that the herbicide glyphosate (or other herbicides that are used as alternatives) is responsible for the transformation of garden escapes into super-weeds (in the UK these are termed ‘invasive species’).”