Progress Energy has reportedly agreed to lower their rate hikes from the initially-proposed 11 and 14.5 percentages. Funny. I thought the major utility knew nothing about bargaining basics.

A couple friends were recently complaining about the utility hike, and I suggested they come up with a better scheme instead of pretending they were helpless. Of course our crony capitalist system fosters monopolies with horrific barriers to market entry, but I tried to start a brainstorm by, borrowing from the PC lexicon, visioning a business that created jobs for people to run on hamster wheels to put energy on a competitive grid. Employees could, in fact, enjoy prison-quality luxuries like being able to read all day and becoming fit. The idea actually was anticipated by Glenn Beck in Agenda 21. Unfortunately, the brainstorm was quickly sidetracked by the question of what powered the first Ferris wheel.