(Readers: Please note the blog about the 5th revolution in the US is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, I think the story will be more meaningful by starting at the beginning.)

Want a PDF version for Entries #1-10, #11-20, #21-30 formatted for tablets and e-books?  Click links for download.  America’s 5th Revolution Volume I (Entries 1-10) America’s 5th Revolution Volume II (Entries 11-20) America’s 5th Revolution Volume III (Entries 21-30)

Scene: Jordan’s Office with JC

Jordan: “JC, nice to see you. What brings you here?”

JC: “Can you believe it?”

010414_1635_16TeachingS1.jpgJordan: “Believe what?”

JC: “The State of North Carolina gets dumber by the day.”

Jordan: “What are you talking about?”

JC: “I understand now why the revolution started in Charlotte. People…normal people anyway…had become so frustrated with the stupid actions of the NC legislators and some NC CEO’s.”

Jordan: “Are you saying ‘stupid is as stupid does’?”

JC: “Exactly. Supposedly smart people doing or saying stupid things.”

Jordan: “OK, what’s the issue?”

JC: “Two issues. One is the NC legislators cut the budget for staff of the Department of Natural Resources…they call it something else in NC. The budget cuts take effect about a month after a major coal-ash spill. Duh, folks, what are you doing?”

Jordan: “What’s the second issue?”

JC: “Duke Energy wants customers to pay for cleaning up the coal ash, which means Duke wants a rate increase.”

Jordan: “The cost of the cleanup is an expense.”

JC: “Jordan, sometimes you could join the ‘stupid is as stupid does’ club. Duke creates an environmental hazard because of their own actions and now wants customers to pay for their mistakes. I do not understand the logic.”

Jordan: “Duke needs to maintain profits in order to attract investors.”

JC: “Make me throw up. That’s the same stupid reasoning that allows Duke and other large companies to disregard many laws.”

Jordan: “What happens if Duke cannot recover expenses and ends up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy?”

JC: “Maybe they should go Chapter 11. Duke blatantly disregards environmental laws. Duke must think that as a monopoly it has no obligations to the public.”

DukeEnergy CroppedJordan: “OK, so Duke goes Chapter 11. Who is going to operate the utility?”

JC: “Another company or convert it to a public utility. There are lots of public utilities – TVA, Santee Cooper in SC, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power…and many others. It’s not a new business model.”

Jordan: “You are really upset.”

Mickey-Mouse-fingerJC: “You should be, too. Duke and its goody-two-shoes CEO are basically given the public the finger.”

Jordan: “What do you suggest?”

JC: “First, Duke eats the cost of the clean up. If executives salaries have to be cut to pay for it, then so be it.”

Jordan: “You are getting into touchy territory.”

JC: “Someone has to be held responsible. And it cannot be the public.”

Jordan: “The Duke CEO was not in charge when the coal-ash ponds were started.”

JC: “Jordan, might I remind you, the CEO has been with Duke a very long time and was the Chief Financial Officer before being promoted. You think the CFO was unaware of the problem and/or had no authority? If so, then a lousy CFO.”

Jordan: “I hear you but solving the coal-ash problem is complicated.”

JC: “What is so complicated? Duke puts coal ash in a pond. The pond is not well secured and prone to leaks and spills. Fix the problem.”

Jordan: “Enforcing compliance with these laws is really up to the states – North Carolina and other states.”

JC: “Help!! Please someone, make him listen. Let me remind you the State of North Carolina cut the staff that is supposed to enforce compliance by Duke. Comprende?

Jordan: “OK. Other than a few no-government-under-any-circumstances people, this issue does seem appropriate for Washington to get involved.”

JC: “Finally he understands. Jordan, working with you makes my head hurt sometimes.”

Jordan: “What do think Washington should force Duke to do?”

JC: “At a minimum, relocate the coal ash. Right now many of the ponds are on rivers or lakes used as a source for public drinking water.”

Jordan: “Well, if there is a spill then the water treatment plant should be able to handle cleaning it up.”

JC: “Do you have any brains left? No, the water-treatment plant cannot remove all the arsenic, cadmium and other stuff that’s in the coal ash. Plus, what happens to all the fish and wildlife when the coal ash dumps into the river or lake? Please, get him a brain.”

Jordan: “Alright, so we have Duke move the coal ash. Where?”

JC: “Jordan. I don’t know. But there are practical solutions. Can’t you make bricks or blocks out of this stuff? Isn’t there a way to sort out the heavy metals?”

Jordan: “JC, you’re making my head hurt. I need some coffee then we’ll continue.”