Is anti-fracking movement behind spike in electric rates?

Something doesn’t seem right when both National Grid and the Western Massachusetts Electric Co. get what some might call obscene state-sanctioned hikes in the electric rates allegedly because of the scarcity of natural gas in the state.

When we say natural gas the first thing we think of is hydrofracking (or fracking) which is immensely unpopular to a good deal of the population. In fact, “no fracking” has become one of those rallying cries among unexpectedly huge numbers of people banding together to defeat a move that they consider very unwise. They fight fracking because of its potential, they say, to pollute one of our most precious commodities, water.

While I’m in no position to say whether the fight against fracking and the rise in natural gas prices go hand in hand, it seems to me that this would be an ideal way for the state’s new attorney general to get his feet wet. He should look into the situation. Maybe this is just the market at work. Maybe, however, there is something darker going on. Just saying.

COSBY BACKLASH

As more and more women come forward to tell their stories of rape and sexual misconduct, there have to be some people who think that Bill Cosby is the victim. The statute of limitations has apparently run out. In Melbourne, Florida, he performed before a full house and received two standing ovations. When the current round of accusations started up, I cautioned that we have a legal system that stipulates you are innocent until proven guilty. Ever since we saw Joseph in the Bible unfairly accused of sexual impropriety there has been a certain tension over whether one side or the other could be believed.

But with the recent slew of very specific complaints against Cosby, I began to change my mind. He has remained mute on the charges, which of course is his right, but many think that makes him look guilty and those of us who have loved him forever are having that sinking feeling in the pit of our collective stomachs.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to see so many people stand up and applaud Cosby. Even as the giant NBC, which stands to lose a lot of money by canceling a Cosby project, bails out and other projects go down in flames, crowds still rise to applaud the man. If Cosby were to do a one-time television special, it might well be the single most watched TV show of the year or of all times. Is this interesting or disgusting? You tell me. Just saying.

GOVERNOR PAY HIKE

There is a good case to be made for giving the governor of Massachusetts a pay raise. We voters hate it when politicians raise their own salaries but when you consider the fact that so many others, including the governor’s own commissioners, earn more than he does, it makes sense to boost the governor’s $151,800. After all, he is the chief executive of a huge business called state government.

Most Americans would gladly work for $150,000 a year but if you get great talent in the job that would command millions in industry or even other top jobs in government it makes sense to pay at a fair level.

Of course, if you pay him then you’ll also have to raise the pay of the speaker of the house and others. Otherwise, under the law of quid pro quo, the governor’s pay raise wouldn’t fly. One wonders if a case might not be made that so many speakers have ended up in prison because they have had to steal to make ends meet.

Obviously, once you’ve raised the governor’s pay to an adequate level you really ought to give him or her a small annual cost of living increase so that this pay raise thing doesn’t keep rearing its ugly head. Just saying.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 11/30/14

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