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Guest Commentary: Why I’m Very Worried About Daniel Cameron … – Cincinnati CityBeat

<a href="" rel="contentImg_gal-15964182" title="Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron – Photo: Office of the Attorney General Daniel Cameron/Wikimedia Commons" data-caption="Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron  
Photo: Office of the Attorney General Daniel Cameron/Wikimedia Commons” class=”uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle”> click to enlarge Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron - Photo: Office of the Attorney General Daniel Cameron/Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

In Alabama, the governor earlier this year forced out the state’s early childhood education director, who is a Black woman, over the use of a teacher training book that the governor deemed “woke.” In Arkansas, the state’s education department, led by appointees of the governor, recently announced students could not get credit towards graduation by taking Advanced Placement African American Studies, an attempt to effectively ban the class.

In Florida, the governor has removed two popularly elected Democratic county attorneys from their posts and also created an election fraud unit that has wound up arresting people, sometimes at gunpoint, on illegal voting charges that were later dismissed. His education appointees have banned the AP African American Studies course, mandated students in the state be taught that Black people learned valuable skills while they were enslaved and forced out much of the faculty at one of the state’s colleges.

In Texas, appointees of the governor have taken over Houston’s school system and started turning school libraries into disciplinary centers.

The governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Texas are all Republicans.

These developments in other states are why I’m so worried about Kentucky’s future if Attorney General Daniel Cameron is elected governor this November. Because Republicans dominate Kentucky’s General Assembly, the first few months of each year feature tax cuts for businesses, limits on abortion and transgender rights and other terrible policies that conservatives are adopting in red states across the country. But once the legislature is done meeting, Gov. Andy Beshear does much of the policymaking in Kentucky.

If Cameron wins though, Kentucky would likely have a governor looking to implement a Trumpian, “own the libs” right-wing agenda 12 months a year. And based on what happens in other states with Republican governors, a Cameron administration would negatively impact Democratic-leaning cities, teachers and professors and people of color in particular.

I know that on the campaign trail Cameron isn’t proposing to ban history classes or fire officials on flimsy pretexts. In fact, some of his ideas seem reasonable, such as raising teacher pay and offering extra funding for tutoring to make up for classroom time missed during the pandemic.

He might even do some of those good things. But I suspect that he would take lots of right-wing actions in office that he is not campaigning on now. That’s been the pattern of recently elected GOP governors such as Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin. Republican politicians are aware that an anti-teacher, anti-Black agenda isn’t particularly popular — so they don’t campaign on these policies.

There are at least four reasons in particular to expect Cameron to mirror the pattern of other Republican governors and be a very right-wing figure.

First of all, Cameron is very tied to not only former President Donald Trump (who has enthusiastically endorsed Cameron) but the broader Trumpism movement across the country.

As attorney general, Cameron has regularly joined lawsuits, many of which have little to do with Kentucky, that have been filed by a coalition of state Republican attorneys general against the Biden administration and other left-leaning entities. He and a dozen other Republican attorneys general are currently threatening to sue Fortune 100 companies if conservatives think those companies are trying too hard to increase their racial diversity.

Cameron has already hinted that as governor he would align with his Republican colleagues across the country.

“We need a governor that is going to stand aside Youngkin and (Ron) DeSantis and build an alliance of governors,” Cameron said last year.

Secondly, Cameron has already floated some moves similar to his GOP colleagues in other states. For example, he is proposing to increase the role of the Kentucky State Police, which reports to the governor, in Louisville. That could be a benign proposal. But this could set up an infrastructure for state police officers under Cameron’s direction and not accountable to Louisville voters or officials to use aggressive tactics and ignore some of the reforms that happened in Louisville after the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Cameron was a very strong critic of former Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass, who resigned in late July, citing his frustration with the increasingly anti-education posture of the state’s Republicans. If he is elected, I would expect Cameron to stack the state’s board of education with conservatives who would appoint a commissioner who will be hostile to education officials in Louisville and Lexington in particular.

Beshear had used his executive power to restore voting rights to people who committed nonviolent crimes but have served their sentences, a policy that disproportionately benefits Black Kentuckians. Cameron has repeatedly refused to say if he would keep that policy in place if elected, suggesting he is open to ending it.

Third, the last Kentucky Republican governor constantly used his power to antagonize the city of Louisville and left-leaning causes. Cameron has tried to distance himself from Matt Bevin. But Cameron’s gubernatorial staff is likely to be full of Bevin administration veterans — those are the conservatives in Kentucky with high-level government experience. So expect some Bevin-like tactics to be part of Cameron’s playbook.

As governor, Bevin’s education commissioner, Wayne Lewis, didn’t fully take over Louisville’s schools but required major decisions to go through him. Bevin also reversed his predecessor Steve Beshear’s restoration of voting rights to some nonviolent offenders who had served their sentences.

Fourth, there’s Cameron’s political ambitions. If he wins, Cameron would be the first Black Republican ever popularly elected governor of a state. As a 38-year-old governor, he would be immediately touted by the media as a potential president. His trajectory would be clear — win re-election in Kentucky in 2027, which he would be a heavy favorite to do, and then run for president when the timing was right. His incentives would not be to just ignore the needs of people in left-leaning Louisville and Lexington, but to attack them in ways that would get him on Fox News and excite Republican voters in early presidential primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

Perhaps some particular provisions in Kentucky law or the court system here will prevent Cameron from taking the exact same actions as say, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas. But if Cameron wins, I fully expect the policies of DeSantis, Youngkin, Sanders and Greg Abbott (Texas) to arrive in Kentucky. And they are terrible. Andy Beshear can’t make Kentucky some progressive panacea. But his being in office has prevented some of the worst policies from being adopted here. Things could be a lot worse here quickly if Cameron replaced him.

This commentary was originally published by the Kentucky Lantern and is republished here with permission.

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San Antonio Zoo welcomes adorable meerkat pups to newly opened … – San Antonio Current

<a href="" rel="contentImg_gal-32700245" title="Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa. – Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo" data-caption="Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa.  
Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo” class=”uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle”> click to enlarge Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose  commonly found in South Africa. - Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo

Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo

Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa.

After an almost three-decade absence, meerkats have returned to the San Antonio Zoo with the birth of four adorable pups.

The birth of the meerkats, also known as Suricata suricatta, coincides with the reopening of a special habitat for the animals inside Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot, zoo officials said. The previous meerkat habitat closed 27 years ago.

The revamped meerkat habitat now houses a larger and more active family of the mammals, according to zoo officials.

“These little meerkat babies are an absolute delight,” San Antonio Zoo CEO Tim Morrow said in a statement. “We are thrilled to offer our visitors the opportunity to witness these captivating animals up close and personally.”

Families can see the meerkats and experience the new facility during the facility’s annual Zoo Boo!, which runs through Oct. 31.

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Royal Enfield appoints AW Rostamani Group as official distributor for the UAE – Autocar Professional

Royal Enfield, a global leader in the mid-size motorcycle segment (250cc – 750cc), announced plans to further strengthen its presence in the Middle East and Africa region with the appointment of AW Rostamani Group as its official distribution partner for the UAE region

Located in Umm Suqeim St. Dubai, the newly inaugurated store will have iconic Royal Enfield motorcycles including the Super Meteor 650, Hunter 350, Scram 411, Classic, Meteor, Interceptor, Continental GT, and the Himalayan. The store will also have the complete range of Royal Enfield apparel and accessories. 

A dedicated service centre has also been set up for Royal Enfield customers in Al Quoz to ensure that customers receive seamless after-sales service experience. To cater to the evolving demands of the riding community in the region, the company plans to set up additional branches in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the coming months. 

With the newly formed alliance Royal Enfield will further widen its presence in the UAE, as the AW Rostamani Group today inaugurated its first Royal Enfield store at Umm Suqeim St. Dubai. 

Speaking about the partnership with AW Rostamani Group, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, CCO of Royal Enfield, said, “We have been focused on growing the middleweight motorcycle segment in the Middle Eastern markets for almost a decade now. In a bid to extend the Royal Enfield pure motorcycling experience to the riding community in UAE, we are excited about our strategic partnership with AW Rostamani who brings a wealth of experience and a strong presence in the market.”

“With this new alliance, customers in the UAE can look forward to easier access to our wide portfolio of exciting motorcycles. This collaboration represents a significant step in our growth strategy, and we are excited about the opportunities it will bring to our valued customers,” he added. 

Demand for Royal Enfield motorcycles across the UAE region continues to rise, as the brand establishes itself as a global leader in the midsize motorcycle sector (250cc-750cc). Exponential growth in Royal Enfield’s International markets has seen production increase to 832,179 motorcycles in FY 2023 and registered motorcycle sales were at 834,895 units (standalone), up by 38.4% from 602,268 (standalone) in FY 22. 

Michel Ayat, CEO of AW Rostamani, said: “We were pleased to forge a partnership with Royal Enfield, a venerable motorcycle manufacturer with an illustrious legacy. The demand for bikes in the UAE is on a steady rise, and we remain steadfast in our belief that this alliance profoundly caters to and elevates the aspirations of the burgeoning community of motorcycle enthusiasts nationwide.”

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Solar energy and climate change are killing future hydro plants in … – ZME Science

There are around 1.2 billion people in Africa, and most of them need more energy than they’re using now. The person in Africa uses four times less energy than the global average, but as African nations improve their standard of living, they are starting to use more and more electricity. Hopefully, the vast majority of that new energy will be renewable and clean — and indeed, that’s the plan for much of the African continent, with hydropower at the forefront.

But the plan is changing.

Hydroelectric dams, once considered to be a prime source of future African energy, may no longer be cost-effective.

The Aswan Dam in Egypt. CC BY 3.0.

At least on paper, the case for hydroelectric energy seems very strong in Africa. Abundant rainfall, massive rivers, and huge waterfalls — the geography of the continent seems to be excellently fit for hydropower. Many countries are already using this. Ghana’s Lake Volta (the largest artificial lake in the world), Ethiopia’s flagship Renaissance Dam, and the Aswan Dam (the largest embankment dam in the world) in Egypt are already huge, completed projects.

But Africa is only exploiting around 10% of its hydropower potential, and there are plans to build way more hydroelectric projects. Except those plans may not be all that wise.

According to a new modeling study, investing in more hydroelectric projects may not be the wisest approach for Africa.

Solar’s cheaper

The researchers looked at what would be the most cost-effective way for African countries to meet their rising energy demand by 2050. They looked at various sources of energy (hydropower, solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, coal, and others), comparing their cost. They also estimated the cost and benefits of every possible future hydropower in Africa.

The study’s complexity is unprecedented. They included everything from population growth to river flow and interplay between different plants. Ultimately, they found that in many cases, it’s better to simply not build the hydroelectric plants. In fact, 67% of possible future hydropower plants in Africa are probably not worth the investment.

For now, renewables still account for a very small percentage of Africa’s energy. But this stat could start to change soon.

“What is unique about our study is that we model every single hydropower plant in Africa individually — both existing ones and future candidates,” explains Dr. Angelo Carlino, lead author of the study. “This way, our model can pinpoint which plants could be a smart investment and which ones should probably not be built.”

The first reason is that renewable sources (especially solar, but also wind) are becoming cheaper. Simply put, hydropower will be unable to compete economically with other renewable sources of energy. Solar, in particular, is expected to become the cheapest form of energy for Africa.

But there’s another reason why hydropower may not be as cost-effective: climate change.

Climate and water

We’re already seeing the effects of climate change, but in the next couple of decades, these effects will almost certainly intensify. Drought is among the most prominent such effects — and drought is a game changer for hydropower. Drought makes river volume less reliable, and it also means you need to invest more into maintaining the plants.

This is another reason why solar power will emerge as the more attractive technology in the long term,” says Dr. Matthias Wildemeersch, a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and co-author of the study.

But this doesn’t mean it’s “game over” for hydropower in Africa. At least in the short and medium term, some hydroelectric plants could provide much-needed cheap power. They could also be used as a buffer in the transition to renewables — essentially serving as a cost-effective bridge to reliable wind and solar.

“Our model shows which specific hydropower plants would still be cost-effective in the short-term,” comments Professor Andrea Castelletti, professor in Natural Resources Management at Politecnico di Milano and senior author of the study. “Especially in the Congo, Niger, and Nile basins, there are certain projects that would be worth the effort, as long as they are well-planned and harmful environmental effects are kept to a minimum.”

However, the study forces African countries to rethink how they should use hydropower.

“The window for hydropower in Africa to be a feasible investment is very rapidly closing,” adds Professor Sebastian Sterl, professor in Energy Meteorology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium, and senior scientist at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The study suggests that beyond 2030, only a very limited number of hydropower plants would remain attractive investments across Africa. “Aside from cost-effectiveness, this is generally good news for the environment: it means that many rivers won’t have to be dammed and can keep their natural course,” concludes Sterl.

Solar will be king

In addition to showing the roadblocks for hydropower, the study highlights how dominant solar power is expected to become.

In the long term, solar power would emerge as the “king” of electricity markets world wide. Solar power is already the cheapest form of electricity globally, and there’s still plenty of room for improvement, particularly as renewable energy is scaled up.

“The benefit of rapid renewable deployment is greater energy security androcky independence, plus long-term energy price deflation because this is a manufactured technology — the more you install the cheaper it gets,” Kingsmill Bond, Senior Principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, told Euronews earlier this year.

Journal Reference: Angelo Carlino et al, Declining cost of renewables and climate change curb the need for African hydropower expansion, Science (2023). DOI: 10.1126/science.adf5848

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