When things get too cozy – the travails of Duke Energy and DENR

I have been a customer and shareholder of Duke Energy for over thirty years. I have also been a North Carolina taxpayer for the same length of time. For the most part, Duke Energy has been a good company and recognized as such in its industry. Yet it has had a few moments when it got involved with some accounting irregularities in South Carolina and it bought into the gas transmission industry before it exited it with much egg on its face. With that context, I want to share my disappointment in Duke on the coal ash spill that could have been avoided along with their response. I also want to add that criticism of too cozy a relationship between Duke, the NC Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) and our governor is well placed.

As many of you know, Duke Energy is responsible for coal ash leaks on the North Carolina and Virginia border which have spilled coal ash into the Dan River. The “Dan” provides water to several communities in Rockingham County, which ironically is the seat of the Senate Leader in NC, Phil Berger. Rightfully so, Senator Berger has expressed outrage at Duke and their failure to notify people timely and their poor response.  However, the senator is also responsible for helping defang the environmental protections in our state and promoting fracking with an industry loaded committee to study the issue, so he has contributed to our lackluster environmental protection.

Duke is concerned about fixing the problem, but what troubles me is the issue of the coal ash ponds in our state was raised by several environmental groups last year in a lawsuit. They shared many concerns over the dozens of coal ash ponds, but the DENR decided to make it easier by consolidating the lawsuits into one and then settling with Duke for a fine of $99,000 and a commitment to clean things up on Duke’s timetable. That number is correct – a Fortune 500 company was fined the amount of $99,000, which cannot even count as being a slap on the wrist. As of this post, DENR has been sued by the Environmental Protection Agency and copies of emails have been requested to discern any foul play.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that our governor, Pat McCrory was an employee of Duke Energy before winning the governor’s race. However, this cozy relationship has been fairly cozy for some time, predating McCrory’s tenure. But, under the guise of reducing so-called burdensome regulations on industry, the environmental restrictions have been greatly loosened in our state, especially the past three years. Our General Assembly has passed some questionable legislation as well as considering rolling back a requirement to do more alternative energy, before it was beaten back when they realized late how successful the solar energy industry has been here. The Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis, noted his surprise that NC was the 5th most prolific solar energy state in the country at the time.

As a Duke shareholder, I have sent two emails to the previous and current CEOs about cleaning up the coal ash ponds. The first one was last spring to Jim Rogers and the second one was this past week to Lynn Good, the new CEO.  She came out in the paper saying the clean-up of the Dan River spill is on Duke (shareholders) while the clean up of other coal ash ponds will be on the customers. This last statement has not sat well with customers. Good is thinking too much like she was still in her old job of CFO and not like someone whose company screwed up and people were harmed. I understand her rationale, but by failing to act last year, Duke threw away the last shred of goodwill on this subject. The governor is banging on the lid of a trash can now, but he is a little behind on the issue in most people’s minds, as well.

Duke Energy, you are better than this. You have done some nice things in alternative energy and shut down some coal plants. That is good and you should be commended. Now, do the right thing and clean up the ponds before the next accident. Do what you should have done last year when you were apprised of the concerns. You should also be thinking about more creative ways to pay for this and not place the lion’s share of the burden on customers. And, please continue decommissioning the coal-fired plants as you have been doing. We need to divorce ourselves from coal at a faster clip as there is no such thing as clean coal and it does not get cleaner sitting in a coal ash pond.

I would also encourage you to link to a much more thorough post in Amaya’s blog called The Brabble Rabble.  Amaya includes greater detail about the defanging of the DENR and other environmental groups in North Carolina. Here is a link: http://thebrabblerabble.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/politics-north-carolina-style-coal-ash-pollutes-nc-waters-as-regulatory-body-endures-job-and-funding-cuts-duke-energy-promises-to-pass-clean-up-costs-on-to-customers/#comment-2251

But, mom said dinosaurs walked the earth with people

I watched a pretty good documentary this weekend on HBO called “Questioning Darwin” which shows a contrast between evangelical “Creationist Christians” and various scientists and scientific historians. It is worth watching, although it will leave you with some interesting emotions. Attached is a link which speaks to the documentary.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/12/new-darwin-documentary-shows-creationists-arent-dumb-theyre-fearful/

For context, I am a Christian, but one who believes the bible was written by men, reinterpreted by men, and translated by men over many centuries. If it is divinely inspired, there are many imperfections and interpretations of what God intended therein. To say it is word for word what God meant, simply cannot be true, as many of the men, especially King James, were known for some creative license. God may be perfect, but men are not.  I would also add, there is an old saying if you ever want to create an Atheist, have them read the bible. A Pew Research survey a few years ago, said Atheists actually know the bible better than Christians.

I am a big believer in the overarching messages of Jesus, which translate well to other religious texts. Jesus was a big believer in helping those in need and treating people like you want to be treated. That is the greatest lesson from the bible. The bible also teaches us through Solomon in Proverbs to honor God by using our brain for the betterment of mankind. To me, this is an ideal issue for us to use the wonderful brain that God gave us. If we don’t think, we do Him a disservice and harm others.

I want that context known as it disappoints me greatly that the “creationist” movement continues to take footing along with the establishment of creationist museums, which lend credence to something that has little solid science to back it up. For example, these museums exhibit dinosaurs walking the earth the same time as people. One minister noted that dinosaurs were created on the fifth day when all land animals were created. And, what I found quite interesting, per these teachings all dinosaurs were herbivores until Adam ate of the apple and original sin was created. Then the ones who wanted to be carnivores could now eat meat.

Yet, what really made me sad was seeing mothers home schooling their kids and teaching this as scientific fact. One of the kids even wanted to be a scientist, so I could see this kid going to college to find out that what he was told had no scientific basis at all. The ministers, teachers and counselors had a plan for that saying when you get out in the real world, people will tell you what you believe is not true. So, you should not believe them. I am a parent of three, and what parent would want to honestly tell their child to only believe what you learned here? That would set that child up for a harder adult life of learning.

When evidence abounds to the contrary, these kids will grow up and be frustrated with others first, then likely with their church leaders and parent-teachers for misleading them. “Mom, why did you tell me dinosaurs walked the earth with people?” they will ask. They will begin to see that scientific data on the age of the earth, when dinosaurs walked the earth, when man walked the earth, how species have evolved including man, how species continue to evolve to meet certain environmental conditions, etc.  As the scientists and scientific historians note in “Questioning Darwin,” many sciences are hinged off the tremendous depth and breadth of study of Darwinism.

I also came away even more impressed with Darwin. This man went to great pains, details and hardships to discover and validate his findings. The time he took to do this is impressive. His significant body of letters to other scientists is extraordinary by itself. The reaction “On the Origin of the Species…” was not only negative as believed today. Its overwhelming body of work and science was actually received favorably by many. And, it also may be of interest, Darwin was buried with acclaim inside of a major cathedral  in England, so what he painstakingly defined need not be at odds with Christianity. Those who buried him in an exalted place seemingly did not believe this.

Our country has fallen behind on math and science education to a degree that STEM education is a focus. Yet, to steal time from that focus to teach a misrepresented and misunderstood history of how the world was created is a terrible abuse of time, energy and resources. When Louisiana signed into law that creationism had to be taught as a science, Zack Kopplin, a young teen sued the state and was joined by over hundred Nobel laureates in science to advocate against the folly of this decision. His point was you are hurting my education to teach me something that is contrary to evidence that permeates everything. Here is an article on his reasoning for the lawsuit. http://global.christianpost.com/news/teen-activist-continues-fight-against-creationism-in-la-classrooms-88387/

The creationists in the documentary where concerned because they believe every word in the bible to be true. In other words, if Darwin is correct, then that means everything they believe is not true. To me, you are setting yourself up for failure with that construct. The men who were divinely inspired wrote from their perspective at the time. Just like any religious leader today, they would bring their own biases into the writing, even if divinely inspired. Also, as noted before, if you believe every word in the bible to be true, then you need to teach all parts of it, including the parts the ministers don’t like to dwell on. These are the parts that tend to create the Atheists who do read the bible.

So, to me as a Christian, we should recognize the bible as an imperfect book that includes some wonderful teachings that we all could learn from. Evolution is a proven and accepted science, but it need not make you lose your faith in and of itself. The sooner these “Creationist Christians” realize this, the better off they will be, as will their children and everyone else whose time you are wasting. That is what I believe.

A Republican Governor’s Comments a Year Later

With the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting the past couple of days, I was reminded of the comments made by Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s last year at a GOP planning conference. His comments were telling as he said for the Republican Party to stay relevant that “we have to stop being the stupid party.” As an Independent voter, who left the Republican Party in 2006 principally for this reason, I have written several posts that our country needs a more reasonable, collaborative Republican Party and not what it has become.

Looking back a year later, while there have been some glimmers of hope, for the most part the Republican Party has doubled down on stupid, rather than change with the prevailing winds. This is unfortunate and will actually cause the GOP to fall further behind in the America’s Cup race, as the changing demographics and failure to recognize the real issues of the day, will provide strong headwinds. My belief is supported by looking at the major issues of the day, recognizing that the Republican Party is on the wrong side of almost every major issue and many don’t even realize it or choose not to recognize it.

Eco-energy issues

The GOP continues to listen to the brainwashing of its major funder, the fossil fuel industry, to discredit what the rest of the world is addressing and 97% of scientists acknowledge – climate change is real and is man-influenced and we need to do something about it. This issue coupled by a blind jingoistic effort that fracking for natural gas is perfectly safe has placed our country in peril that we are only just beginning to recognize. Even the President has been blinded by the energy independence that fracking has helped cause, yet we are selling our future for now. We must address climate change in an even more aggressive manner than we are doing and yesterday’s House of Representatives decision to not support the President’s climate change bill is prima facie evidence of the fossil fuel clout in the GOP.

Plus, we cannot be so adamantly against regulations for their own sake. Yes, regulations and bureaucracy can be overbearing, but the absence of regulations would permit human nature to act at its worst. The coal ash spill by one of best utilities in the country in Duke Energy on top of the chemical spill in West Virginia are lightning rods, just as the BP Gulf oil spill and the TVA coal ash spill were a few years ago. Please remember, fossil fuel retrieval is inherently an unsafe process, but even if it were safe, it is only as good as its worst operator. George Mitchell, the father of shale fracking, acknowledged unsafe practices by wildcatters in the fracking industry before he passed away recently.

Individual rights issues

The GOP is on the wrong side of the LGBT issues and it is beginning to backfire on them. By embracing the evangelicals for votes, the decision to trample on the rights of our LGBT citizens and be adamantly against allowing marriage of same-sex partners places them on the wrong side of history. We are seeing some discriminatory state laws get overturned in court, as well as seeing the pressure placed on Governor Jan Brewer to veto the recent bill in Arizona. Coupling this with the Voter Laws passed in several states like my own in North Carolina, we are seeing these unconstitutional, Jim Crow-like laws get overturned in the court, as well. My GOP friends say these are the actions of “activist judges,” but these actions are not conducive to being a big-tent party and they were told these laws were unconstitutional before they were passed.

Immigration issues

The Republican stance on immigrations stymies me. The demographics are set dead against you, and yet you won’t budge on your uncompromising position. This stance, by itself, will cause the demise of the Republican Party. Yet, the GOP won’t act. I recognize this issue is complex, but at its heart it is not. Our industries need the imported talent that hard working immigrants bring. Plus, ideas and innovation come from all sources and there is a huge body of evidence that people who come to our country with nothing, can contribute greatly when given opportunity.

Gun issues

The acquiescence to the NRA on gun issues is absolutely amazing to me. Even responsible gun owners know the NRA does not represent what they used to and see them as a marketing engine for the gun industry. We have a multi-faceted gun violence problem in this country that dwarfs that of other civilized countries. It is an issue that happens everyday, but only gets highlighted when mass shootings occur. And, responsible people want changes to gun laws around background checks and waiting periods. Yet, the gun lobby is so strong on both parties, but in particular, the GOP that reasonable laws cannot be made. As noted before, it is much more than a gun issue, but for people to say it is not a gun issue at all is just plain wrong. The GOP is on the wrong side of this issue and our country needs to change.

Poverty Issues

We are finally talking about our poverty problem in this country. Yet, we are looking for panaceas to a complex problem. The GOP is saying the “War on Poverty” failed but that is too simplistic a statement and is not correct. Some parts were hugely successful, some were mildly successful and others not successful at all. We can also trace the divergence in “haves” and “have-nots”  to what George H.W. Bush called “Voodoo” economics, but Ronald Reagan called “Trickle Down Economics.” Several studies have noted the failure of this model, which basically made rich people richer through tax cuts, but it did not flow down to others. It was called the “Horse and Sparrow” theory a 100 years ago, where you feed the horse and the sparrows would eat what passed through the horse. That is as good an explanation of why this concept does not work as any.

We need to look at multiple levers – the minimum wage, the earned income tax credit, and job creation. With our infrastructure where it is, the best jobs program in the country would be to invest in rebuilding our infrastructure. Why we are not doing this with interest rates so low, the problems so many, is beyond me. Yet, we are at a stalemate. I should add Obamacare, which is largely a GOP idea, will actually help in addressing poverty issues, as people with health care coverage will be healthier and more secure and will spend more in the economy. The GOP’s obstinance on this issue should backfire on them, as Obamacare continues to show more success in this phase building off earlier phases’ successes.

Deficits and Debt issues

The one set of issues where the GOP has a rightful claim on their importance is the deficit and debt issues. Yet, because of the stance of the Tea Party and demagogues like Grover Norquist, they actually tie one arm behind our backs as a solution. Simpson-Bowles got it right with their deficit reduction plan recommending spending cuts and revenue increases and it should have been embraced as a working document. I fault the GOP and President on not moving forward with Simpson-Bowles.

The premise of the Tea Party is we are “taxed enough already,” which may be a nice emotional sentiment, but is actually untrue from a financial standpoint. Per the well-respected, Paris based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the US stands at 32nd out of 34 countries in the measure of Taxes per GDP. Our ratio is almost 10% below the median ratio for the 34 countries. And, as I like to add, George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill was fired because he openly disagreed with the famous Bush Tax Cuts. So, as recommended by Simpson-Bowles, we need spending cuts and tax increases to address our deficit and debt issues.

I could go on, but I want to paint a picture that we need the GOP to become more relevant. Right now, they are not a party of ideas. They are not a party of collaboration. We need them to recognize that America needs fiscally conservative voices at the table to make sure we are spending our money wisely. What we don’t need is uncollaborative people who name-call, govern by anecdote, invent issues, and do their best to drive people away. GOP, it is your ship to sail. Please keep it on course and not drift away. And, heed Governor Jindal’s admonition.

Diamonds and Rust – Tribute to Joan Baez

I was feeling melancholy after watching a performance by Judy Collins on PBS last night. My mind drifted to a song from a contemporary of hers, Joan Baez. My brother introduced me to Baez, as she was a strident voice for the disenfranchised and often sang at marches or events to bring attention to the cause. Her most popular was song was a rendition of “The Night they Drove Ol’ Dixie Down,” which I find ironic, as she spoke often against racism, in general, but especially in the south.

Yet, my favorite song of hers has nothing to do with causes. It is about the human nature of reflection and how memories can be both good and bad, especially with relationships that waned. The best of Joan Baez to me is found in “Diamonds and Rust” which is a fitting description of our memories. Here are the lyrics. At the conclusion, there is a link to the song which is worth the visit, as her melancholy guitar playing and voice make the song resonate even more.

Well I’ll be damned, here comes your ghost again. But that’s not unusual. It’s just that the moon is full. And you happened to call.

And here I sit, hand on the telephone. Hearing a voice I’d known a couple of light years ago. Heading straight for a fall.

As I remember your eyes were bluer than robin’s eggs. “My poetry was lousy”, you said. Where are you calling from? A booth in the Midwest.

Ten years ago I bought you some cuff links. You brought me something. And we both know what memories can bring They bring diamonds and rust.

You burst on the scene already a legend. The unwashed phenomenon. The original vagabond. You strayed into my arms.

And there you stayed temporarily lost at sea. The Madonna was yours for free. Yes the girl on the half-shell. Would keep you unharmed.

Now I see you standing with brown leaves falling around. An’ snow in your hair. Now you’re smiling out the window of that crummy hotel over Washington Square.

Our breath comes out white clouds mingles and hangs in the air .Speaking strictly for me, we both could have died then and there.

Now you’re telling me, you’re not nostalgic. Then give me another word for it. You, who are so good with words. And at keeping things vague.

‘Cause I need some of that vagueness now. It’s all come back too clearly. I once loved you dearly. And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust. Well, I’ll already paid…

If you don’t know her work, please enjoy and investigate further. She writes meaningful lyrics and captures things well. She could hold her own with many more well-known contemporaries. Oftentimes, it is these “under the radar screen” gems that stand the test of time. She was my Janis Ian before Janis came around. I would love to hear your thoughts on Baez and learn of your favorites.

http://www.songlyrics.com/joan-baez/diamonds-and-rust-lyrics/

We are so similar and need each other

Our friend Raye, who paints so well with words and pictures at http://jotsfromasmallapt.wordpress.com/, commented to me earlier this week, through all of her travels, she has noticed how similar we are. Of course, we are a diverse group of people of different races, religions, ethnic groups and cultures, but when you get beneath the surface, she is accurate in her conclusion. We want to have fulfilling lives and raise our families in a safe, secure and productive environment. We want to laugh with our friends and provide the needed armfuls of hugs, shoulders to cry on, hands to help with, legs to walk with and ears to listen.

Like me, Raye looks through a very human lens of imperfection and cares for the disenfranchised and the ones who do not have a voice at the table. She anguishes when the school yard bully from Russia takes the lunch money of everyday Ukrainian people. These are the folks that want to live, feed their families and have opportunity like everyone else. They should be able to decide this for themselves. I would encourage you to read the insightful comment by susan@quirkywomeninbooks in my post this weekend https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/as-the-rest-of-the-world-decides-on-putin/ where she speaks of her time in the Ukraine.

Like me, we anguish over those who had leaders that ruled them unjustly and lived the high life in the “Animal Farm” house while the everyday folks toiled outside working the fields. Whether it was Egypt, Libya or Ukraine, people saw how their leaders lived and realized they have little to show for it. These real life “Boxers” did not want to end up like the hard-working equine hero in George Orwell’s novel, so they rebelled and said why are we looking to align ourselves only with an entity that squelches freedoms and free markets through corruption?

We need to speak up for the pawns in these political games that are played around the world, whether they are in America, Venezuela, China, Middle East, India, Russia or Ukraine. In capitalistic economies, the power is in the industry leaders and if left unfettered by governance, they can become robber barons. The United States had robber barons six score years ago and is closer to it again today with a limited few owning an astounding percentage of American wealth. In socialistic economies, the power resides in the government oligarchy which is more easily corruptible. And, in totalitarian countries, it resides in the limited few who rule and embody corruption.

Right now, other similarities exist for the pawns around the world. We have a poverty issue.  We have a hunger issue. We have a water issue. We have a human rights issue. My friend George Dowdell lives and breathes helping others and his work and advocacy can be found at http://georgedowdell.org/2014/03/03/first-impressions-justice-conference/. He notes that the issue of climate change effects the “least of us” in the world the most. They are the ones whose food crops suffer due to lack of water. They are ones whose islands get consumed by the sea. They are the ones where industry steps all over their land rights. Yet, we have too much discussion around the politics of influence and ownership. The loud voices over who gets to rule or influence the rulers, drown out the faint echo of those whose voice cannot be heard and whose needs are the greatest.

On a blog I follow which shows various acts of kindness at http://kindnessblog.com/, it showed a picture of the young daughter of Ukrainian soldier visiting with her daddy who was on duty behind an iron bar fence. To me, it reverberated Raye’s comments that we are so similar. Here was a daughter that missed her daddy. And, from one daddy to another thousands of miles away, I can assure you he misses her, too. Let’s make sure he has the opportunity to watch her grow and live a fulfilling life. Let’s make sure other daughters and sons can do the same no matter where they live. Let’s speak up for the disenfranchised. If we don’t do it, the bullies of the world will continue to steal their lunch money. Sometimes they will use a tank and sometimes they will use a pen.

Good idea in Arkansas, but GOP wants to kill it

I saw a news piece on PBS Newshour a few weeks ago about a variation of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare being done in Arkansas. Governor Mike Beebe and the legislature received permission to use the Medicaid subsidies in the insurance exchanges as they felt the people in need would be better served by insurance companies than under Medicaid. As of last month about 83,000 people had been signed up under the Medicaid expansion. Per the news piece, it is working quite nicely and other governors are taking notice.

Well, to the chagrin of the governor, a new Republican legislator has joined the Arkansas assembly and is convincing others to kill the idea. The GOP argument is the same that is being used in other states when Obamacare phases down its funding of the expansion from 100% to 90% it puts the state on the hook. The Obamacare precept is as people use the system and tap more preventive resources the costs will come down. Three reputable organizations, The Commonwealth Fund, RAND Corporation and Economic Policy Institute have all said the Medicaid expansions is good for state economies and are worth investigation.

The Arkansas model is of interest to me and others. As an Independent voter who is a retired benefits manager and consultant, I would like to see this model continue to see if it is more meritorious than placing the people in need into Medicaid. I also believe it is a model that Republican led states could get behind, as the exchange concept is in keeping with Republican concepts. The truth that does not get talked about enough is, Obamacare, while detested by the GOP for political reasons, can trace its roots to the Heritage Foundation and Romneycare, which was supported for the country by none other than Mr. Tea Party, former Senator Jim DeMint.

Having DeMint’s earlier support does not make anything necessarily a good idea, I just find it ironic and hypocritical of his adamant opposition to Obamacare. If you doubt the veracity of this comment, I encourage you to Google Jim DeMint and Romneycare. And, here is one final truth. Obamacare, now that it is past many of its rollout issues in this phase, is showing promise and is taking shape, building off the earlier phases’ success.

Arkansas, please don’t kill a good pilot. Let’s study it and see if it is a better model. And, please do not kill it for political reasons, as that just hurts people and that would be a shame.

 

As the rest of the world decides on Putin

This is a tough situation in Ukraine. You have a large part of the country who wants to be part of Europe and dictate their own course and you have another part which is pro-Russia, yet I am not quite certain they know that the Russia in Putin’s mind is a dressed up version of the Soviet Union. You also have a country in need. I am glad we are talking with our allies, as some definitive action will be needed and needed very quickly.

This part is for certain. Vladimir Putin is a hood. For those who don’t know the vernacular, he is a crime boss. HIs country is known for corruption and bribery and doing business in Russia is an exercise in mistrust. There was a “60 Minutes” piece a few weeks back with a businessman who knows Russia well and he calls it a criminal environment. The owner of the New England Patriots football team has even accused Putin of stealing his Super Bowl ring after asking to hold it. Putin is also a narcissist and fancies himself with a much greater image than people in the know do. He also squelches disagreement and adversaries.

This will be a hard thing for me to say, but he is the kind of individual that will only react to power. It is good we are discussing sanctions and boycotts and we should. We should also send bailout money with troops support to Ukraine. Putin is seizing the whole country if you have not figured it out, and I have not put it past him, to seed the violence with people who are pretending to be Ukrainian like Hitler did with Poland. We are in this predicament as he bribed Viktor Yanukovych with money to stay aligned with Russia back when an agreement was on the table to be part of Europe. Putin could not stand for that, so he will take matters into his own hands.

I am peaceful person, but sometimes you have to be direct with people like Putin. You cannot threaten to tell mom. I recognize fully the risks that this takes, but the west is being invited in to help the temporary Ukrainian government. So, the west better not wait as it will be too late. By the way, George W. Bush thought he had a kindred spirit in Putin. He was wrong. Putin played him like a fiddle. Obama needs to change instruments and get a larger band, but act with more force on this. Please remember this thought, Putin does not care about sanctions. He can tell whatever story he wants to his fellow Russians. He is also a hood. He is backing that murderer in Syria, so that tells you all you need to know.

A fictional story about an Arizona Retailer

I am so glad Governor Jan Brewer was forced to veto the bill that would have permitted me to discriminate against people who do not share my religious beliefs. As a shopkeeper, I have always tried to serve my customers well. I learned that from my mom and dad when I took over the business when they retired.

You see, I was in a quandary as I try to live every day by the Golden Rule. You know the one where you try to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I always simplify it for my kids and say “treat others like you want to be treated.” Sometimes you have to break it down for people to understand. And, I try to follow my minister’s preaching on every issue asking “What Would Jesus Do?” I even wear one of those WWJD bracelets and get asked often about it.

I was troubled by the bill passed by our Arizona legislature. I did not like the power they were granting me as it runs counter to what I believe – treat others like you want to be treated. Jesus even said to treat “the least of us” as if they were Me.  Now that Governor Brewer responded to pressure from local, regional, national and global businesses as well as our two US Senators McCain and Flake, I can rest easy and serve all people willing to do business with me.

I now don’t have to discriminate and can serve bigots even though they do not have the same religious beliefs that I have. Even bigots need to be treated like we want to be treated. That is what Jesus would want.