Elliot Management buys large stake in Duke Energy

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Hopefully ratepayers won't get bitten in the process:

Elliott has not yet released any letters or presentations on the company, but based on past investments in this area and the level of engagement, we expect that they have a $1B+ investment in Duke. With the annual meeting recently passing, director nominations for next year are not due until January 2022, so management has time to prove itself.

However, we do not expect Elliott to sit by quietly during that time. We expect them to become vocal and engaged shareholders putting pressure on management to create value. The right plan could create tens of billions of dollars of value for shareholders.

I'm not even going to try to analyze this just yet, no amount or strength of coffee will aid me in interpreting Stock Talk. But that "creating value" thing has the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. That being said, this could also signal a quicker end to coal-burning power plants and a more aggressive move to renewables:

Monday News: Twelve thousand, eight hundred sixty two

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NC COVID METRICS CONTINUE DOWNWARD TREND, LESS THAN 1,000 HOSPITALIZED: At least 989,338 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 12,862 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,501 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from 1,394 reported the day before. At least 926 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, a slight increase from 925 the day before. As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, 3.8% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 51% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 45.9% are fully vaccinated as of Thursday.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article251459833.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE PUBLIC SHOULD KNOW WHO GETS TAX BREAKS FOR CHARITABLE DONATIONS: The identity of those who promote causes – and those paying for it and getting tax breaks – should be known. This is the kind of transparency that makes democracy work. Nonprofits that qualify for tax-deductible donations are NOT permitted to endorse candidates but can promote and comment on causes and issues. If an organization is essentially going to be a mouthpiece for its donors, the public deserves to know, and should know, who is bankrolling the megaphone. Nonprofits, as a matter of pride and identity, should be anxious to reveal their donors. Those who are giving the money should want people to know of their commitment and concern. Note: the Federal bill Republicans are trying to undermine with this legislation only tracks donations of $10,000 or above.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-public-should-know-who-gets-tax-breaks-for-charitable-donations/19677...

Saturday News: Justice, finally

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HENRY MCCOLLUM AND LEON BROWN AWARDED $84 MILLION FOR WRONGFUL IMPRISONMENT: An eight-person jury awarded McCollum and Brown $31 million each in compensatory damages — $1 million for every year they spent in prison after they were wrongfully convicted, twice, of the 1983 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Red Springs. McCollum and Brown, both intellectually-disabled with IQs in the 50s, were teenagers when they were charged after they signed confessions they insisted they didn’t understand. The jury also awarded them $13 million in punitive damages after the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, one of the defendants named in the civil suit, settled its part of the case earlier on Friday for $9 million. The judgment on Friday came against former SBI agents Leroy Allen and Kenneth Snead, both of whom were part of the original investigation in 1983 that led to McCollum and Brown’s convictions.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article251411148.html

Critical thinking is back in the White House

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Uncle Joe wants all your information, and no bullshit:

Quick decision-making is not Mr. Biden’s style. His reputation as a plain-speaking politician hides a more complicated truth. Before making up his mind, the president demands hours of detail-laden debate from scores of policy experts, taking everyone around him on what some in the West Wing refer to as his Socratic “journey” before arriving at a conclusion.

Those trips are often difficult for his advisers, who are peppered with sometimes obscure questions. Avoiding Mr. Biden’s ire during one of his decision-making seminars means not only going beyond the vague talking points that he will reject, but also steering clear of responses laced with acronyms or too much policy minutiae, which will prompt an outburst of frustration, often laced with profanity.

The contrast to Trump is stark, and that's a good thing. He didn't want any pesky information, and if it couldn't fit on a post-it note he wouldn't read it. But if you want good policy, it needs to be hashed out in detail. That's how you discover (ahead of time) any potential negative consequences. He should reign in that frustration if possible though, because it could stifle some input that could be critical. But it's early days still, and the sooner his people figure out he's not a blowhard like Trump the better:

Friday News: Misplaced priorities

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BLOCKING THE TEACHING OF RACISM AND ABORTION RESTRICTIONS PASS CROSSOVER: The House voted to limit the use of “Critical Race Theory,” barring schools from advocating that people are inherently racist or sexist or that the United States was created to oppress people. That came a week after the House passed a bill requiring many schools to post a list of the instructional materials their teachers use. Two abortion restriction bills, one in the House, and another in the Senate, passed through their chamber ahead of the deadline. Passing anti-abortion legislation is a high priority for Republicans, who could score points with their political base even if the governor would likely veto the bills. The House voted Wednesday to allow lawmakers to carry concealed guns inside the General Assembly, saying they need to be able to protect themselves. The vote mostly fell along party lines.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article251365393.html

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