Cyreenik Says

October 2019 issues

California's PG&E: Another fight in the battle between idealism and pragmatism

Last year Northern California suffered from several big forest fires caused by power lines getting pulled down by strong winds. The environmentalist public, state politicians and state courts were all outraged and took action. The result was the power company of the region, PG&E, suffered badly and was forced into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Sadly, the grief did not end there. This year PG&E is taking actions to prevent a repeat of last year's fires. But the some of the action being taken is causing even more grief than the fires did last year. PG&E is now shutting down power to areas forecasted to have strong winds coming so that this year downed power lines won't start fires. A nice aspiration, but this is cutting power to millions of Californians and cutting it off for days, not just minutes or hours.

This is a sad example of idealism displacing pragmatism and the result is a dramatic increase in suffering.

This 10 Oct 19 WSJ article, California Power Outage Rolls Into Second Day, Millions Without Electricity by Zusha Elinson and Jim Carlton, talks about the mayhem this precautionary power cutting is causing.

From the article, "Dr. Ferrari was one of the millions of business owners and residents forced to adapt as PG&E Corp. continued its massive electricity shutdown meant to avert the type of deadly infernos that killed dozens last year and propelled the utility into bankruptcy court."

Is ISIS much of a threat these days?

ISIS got its start and thrived mightily as an End of World (EOW) movement. These EOW movements come up periodically and have a lot of diversity in their themes. But one of their common features is they are short-lived -- when the world doesn't end on schedule the enthusiasts get discouraged and move on. For this reason it is likely that ISIS packs little clout these days. This means it is no longer a threat worth investing resources to counter... unless it revives itself as some sort of ISIS 2 movement -- but this is not a common occurrence. ISIS is not worth worrying about, but at some point some replacement will come along that is. But, keep in mind, that the replacement will be something different. It will have a different theme, different goals and different enthusiasts, and it won't be an EOW movement. And an end-of-October update: ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed. Leadership succession is now added to its other relevance challenges.



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