Friday News: The answer, my friend...

OFFSHORE WIND FARM NEAR WILMINGTON WILL PRODUCE 1.5 GIGS: The Department of the Interior announced Thursday that it is forging ahead with the lease of a nearly 200-square mile portion of the Atlantic Ocean off the Brunswick County coastline for the development of offshore wind. On Nov. 1, the Department of the Interior will publish a notice in the Federal Register proposing the lease sale of a large portion of the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area, starting a 60-day public comment period that will last until January 3. When completed, the Wilmington East area could generate more than 1.5 gigawatts of electricity, which Interior said is enough for more than 500,000 homes. By comparison, Duke Energy’s natural gas-powered Sutton Plant near Wilmington has a capacity of 625 megawatts, less than half the offshore wind area’s potential. I hope they're close enough to see from the shoreline. They are majestic, not ugly.

WAKE'S SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS MAY STRIKE TOMORROW: The Wake County school system is urging parents to “prepare backup transportation plans” in case their children’s bus route is impacted by a potential bus driver walkout on Friday. In an email Thursday to families, Wake said that there may be more bus drivers absent than normal Friday because of a protest over poor working conditions. Wake urged families to check the district’s Bus Updates page in the morning and afternoon to get information about their child’s specific bus route. Wake also encouraged families to download the Here Comes the Bus phone app for information about the location of their child’s bus. “We appreciate this information is being sent late and apologize for the inconvenience,” the district said in its alert. “However, some drivers have warned the district of disruptions tomorrow to bring attention to working conditions and wages." Maybe some of those nut-jobs that have been harassing the school board will step up? Yes, I was being facetious. Those people are worse than useless.

BANK-RUN BURR COULD STILL BE IN TROUBLE OVER INSIDER TRADING: U.S. Sen. Richard Burr had "material nonpublic information" about the coronavirus and its potential economic impact when he dumped $1.6 million in stock early last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in federal court filings this month. Burr's brother-in-law sold off stock the same day, starting the process a minute after a call from the Republican senator from North Carolina, an SEC investigator said in a court filing, citing phone records. Burr, who's retiring next year from the Senate, has faced scrutiny for his early pandemic stock trades since ProPublica first reported on them last year – particularly since Burr was assuring the public around the same time about U.S. readiness for a pandemic. The journalism nonprofit broke the latest details Thursday. A U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the trades ended early this year without charges, but the SEC's inquiry remains, and the commission asked a federal judge late last week to force Burr's brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, to comply with a subpoena and sit for an interview. Burr's wife is Fauth's sister. Take him apart, and don't worry about reassembling.

FACEBOOK IS RENAMING ITSELF "META": An embattled Facebook Inc. is changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc., or Meta for short, to reflect what CEO Mark Zuckerberg says is its commitment to developing the new surround-yourself technology known as the “metaverse.” But the social network itself will still be called Facebook. Skeptics immediately accused the company Thursday of trying to change the subject from the Facebook Papers, the trove of leaked documents that have plunged it into the biggest crisis since it was founded in Zuckerberg's Harvard dorm room 17 years ago. The documents portray Facebook as putting profits ahead of ridding its platform of hate, political strife and misinformation around the world. Marketing consultant Laura Ries likened the move to BP rebranding itself to “Beyond Petroleum” to escape criticism that the oil giant harmed the environment. “Facebook is the world’s social media platform and they are being accused of creating something that is harmful to people and society,” she said. “They can’t walk away from the social network with a new corporate name and talk of a future metaverse.” I really don't care...

FINALLY, BIG OIL IS ON THE CONGRESSIONAL HOTSEAT: Top executives from some of the world’s biggest oil companies are testifying before Congress Thursday about the fossil fuel industry’s alleged efforts to mislead the public about climate change. Lawmakers on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform have brought in executives from ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell to grill them about what Democrats say is their decades-long history of sowing doubt about the effects their products are having on Earth’s temperature and the stability of its climate system. Four of the liberal lawmakers known as “the Squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) — took turns bashing the fossil fuel industry for the harm they say it has caused to American discourse and communities. “I need Chevron to cut the check. You owe $50 billion to Indigenous communities and people that you harmed for profit,” Tlaib told Chevron CEO Michael Wirth. Ocasio-Cortez grilled American Petroleum Institute CEO Mike Sommers about his organization’s opposition to elements of President Biden’s climate agenda, including a fee on methane emissions. “It’s not lost on me that we are having a hearing today surrounding fossil fuel misinformation and disinformation campaigns on the same day that we are scheduled to vote on legislation that has been deeply influenced by the lobbying efforts of the fossil fuel industry,” she said. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see this. But it shouldn't be left up to the Squad to deal with these jerks. Every Democrat in the House should be venting on them.