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Witch Hunts 

On Friday, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, a Republican who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, gave the INDY's Thomas Goldsmith a quick interview about the Trump-Russia investigation. So far, Burr said, his committee had interviewed about thirty people. He also said that he would not allow his committee's inquiry to turn into a witch hunt (for more from this interview, see page 7).

On Facebook, Margaret Costley calls Burr a "hypocrite! He was perfectly OK wasting taxpayer dollars investigating the secretary of state for attacks on an embassy in Benghazi. Since we know with certainty that Russia interfered with our elections it might be wise to see how far this goes."

Amy White says she is "perplexed by the senator's analogy: Does 'witch hunt' suggest that it is a baseless investigation and that the parties are entirely innocent? The idea of a 'witch hunt' suggests that those who are trying the defendants are inflamed zealots seeking to burn innocent marginalized victims at the stake. It is such a hyperbolic corollary I am having difficulty processing it."

Pete Pruitt is succinct: "You ain't Sam Ervin."

Mari Kay Scoggins Hannah writes that this calls for an "independent investigation now! I do not trust Burr to follow this through. As a North Carolinian, I've witnessed him do the bidding of his donors over what his constituents want. This will not be settled without an independent investigation because nobody knows whom to trust. At the moment, most of the Republicans appear to be covering for Trump. This goes way beyond partisan politics. We are talking about treasonous behavior from Trump and his administration. Nixon was a crook, but even he wasn't a traitor!"

Which isn't to say Burr is without defenders. Commenter thisniss, for example, writes: "Senator Burr has surprised me with his (apparent) even-handedness with this investigation. I hope he's being sincere when he says he'll follow the investigation wherever it leads. I would still prefer to see an independent commission and/or special prosecutor, but at least Burr seems to be doing his job. This is perhaps the most important and troubling investigation of my lifetime, so I hope Senator Burr will continue to eschew partisanship in favor of pursuing the truth."

Moving on to our story last week about what critics are describing as Duke Energy's efforts to corner the market on solar ["Black Out the Sun"]. John Trololo says what Duke wants to do makes perfect sense: "Since Duke owns and maintains all of the power grid in its territory it makes complete sense that they need to control who and what is connected to it. That's especially true for solar, which has unreliable, unpredictable, and somewhat uncontrollable output relative to coal, nuclear etc. plants."

Commenter ct agrees. "The electric grid is already complex, dynamic, and fragile to a worrisome extent. That's why we have unplanned blackouts over large areas from time to time. Solar makes the problem worse because clouds and precipitation can substantially reduce solar output at a given farm several times each hour. 

"I support solar as much as anyone, but let's not kid ourselves. An isolated solar project here and there is no worry, but scaling solar up to 30–50 percent of North Carolina consumption has serious challenges. You want the grid operator to be in that loop. At the end of the day, it's Duke that has to make sure that the grid is stable and manageable."

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