Wednesday, September 21

Time Mag writer: "Solyndra is perfectly sound."

Time Magazine has been a pro-Democrat mouthpiece for my entire life. They're a lot like the NYTimes: never met a Democrat or Dem idea they didn't like, but they're death on any proposal made by the GOP.

So I wasn't too surprised to read a column by a prestitute of an employee for Time named Michael Grunwald, opining on the recently bankrupt Solyndra. Grunwald's main point seemed to be to get snippy with Republicans who were starting to ask pointed questions about the company--like how they managed to walk off with half a Billion of taxpayer funded loans, when their business plan was garbage from the get-go.

Example:
I happened to visit Solyndra’s headquarters today, so maybe I can help the Republicans with their investigation. For starters, the reports of Solyndra’s death have been greatly exaggerated. And while reasonable people can disagree about the loan guarantee program, it’s not the boondoggle its critics suggest.
Wow. So much snark and so many errors packed into such a small paragraph! Grunwald's column was dated June 24th of this year. The company filed for bankruptcy August 31st. So Grunwald's soothing reassurances lasted all of two months or so.

Grunwald also take pains to reassure readers that the Obama administration's "loan guarantee program" isn't a boondoggle. But what else would you call it when a company shakes the taxpayers down for half a billion bucks and still fails. Sound management, Democrat style?

Go read Grunwalds article. Guy is so full of crap I'm surprised he can see to type.

Execs to plead the 5th to avoid testifying before congress

News flash: A House committee has asked executives of Solyndra--the bankrupt "green jobs" company that somehow (!) got half a Billion of your dollars to fund a business scheme that consisted of "make product for X, sell for one-half X"--to appear before them to explain the details of how the loan was obtained.

The flash is: The execs will reportedly "take the fifth," refusing to testify to avoid incriminating themselves.

Can you imagine the screams from the Left/Democrats/"progressives" if this was congressional Democrats investigating a loan program run by a Republican prez, and the beneficiaries refused to testify??

And it gets even better: The source has this quote:
The Solyndra executives had been asked to testify last week but delayed their appearance, saying they would cooperate this week and promising not to invoke their rights to avoid self-incrimination.
Did you get that? They avoided appearing *last week* by promising they'd cooperate this week! And they *promised* not take the fifth!

Yeah.

And yet one week later...

If I were the Repubs I'd jail these SOBs for a month for "contempt of congress." But Repubs are too wussy to do that. So we'll see this again and again, as long as they're investigating a Dem prezident.

I'm sure my Dem readers will want to know the source of this report. Fair enough. After all, if it came from Fox News or some blog or the Republican committee chair it would automatically be dismissed as a total lie, right?

You're absolutely right to be skeptical. (I don't believe a word published in the NY Times, for example.) And sure enough, the source is that bastion of right-wing plotting, ....the Washington Post.

But hey, there wasn't a single bit of incompetence or kickbacks or shady dealing going on. No sir! And you can believe that because...the liberal media says so. And they're absolutely impartial--not in the tank for Obama and the Dems at all.

And you can believe that because...they say so.

Sunday, September 18

Major Obama fundraiser was "overseer" of loan-guarantee program

Yesterday the Boston Herald ran a story on the Solyndra scandal, trying to explain why the Obama regime essentially gave half a billion dollars to a company that their own experts said was a disaster headed for bankruptcy.

The focus of their article was a top Obama fundraiser named Steve Spinner, and here's what they found:
Spinner was a Silicon Valley investor who founded a sports and wellness company before he joined the administration in April 2009 after serving on Obama’s transition team. He was named an advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and was charged with helping oversee a loan guarantee program authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus program.
I think the problem here is that unless this guy has a lot of accomplishments not discovered by the Herald's reporter, the only thing he should have been advising the government on was sports and wellness. To appoint him as an "advisor" to the head of the DOE--and then give him the job of "overseeing" the loan guarantee program to companies claiming to have ideas for green energy--would seem the height of incompetence.

If the story is correct, Spinner was a political cheerleader/fundraiser who in prior administrations would have been appointed ambassador to Baluchistan or some similar place. Instead Obama put him in as the overseer of a $28 Billion dollar boondoggle program.

Can anyone be surprised at the outcome?

Wednesday, September 14

National debt skyrocketing, Obama wants to spend even more

A month ago the excellent Mark Steyn wrote a column titled "Mad Debt--A threat to liberty." I've taken the liberty of editing it below. So if something sets you off, don't blame Mark.
Under the “historic” “resolution” of the debt crisis, the government has promised to cut federal spending by $900 billion over ten years. “Cutting federal spending by $900 billion over ten years” is Washington gobble-speak for increasing federal spending by $7 trillion over that period. But since they’d originally planned to increase spending by eight trillion, Washington considers that a cut.

Wow. So if they’d planned to increase spending by $10 trillion and then settled for merely spending the $7 trillion, they could have saved three trillion instead of a paltry one trillion. See how easy this is?

As part of this historic “cut,” congress also raised the “debt ceiling”--to roughly $15 trillion bucks. Do you think your congressman or senator has any serious intention of having the goverment repay the 15 trillion racked up in his and your name?

Look into their eyes and you can see the answer. And if they aren't willing to pay down the debt now, what are the chances they’ll do so by 2020 when, under these historic “cuts,” the debt’s up to 23-25 trillion?

I’m not a “declinist”-- I’m way beyond that, in the express lane to total social collapse. The fecklessness of Washington is an existential threat not only to the solvency of the republic but to the entire world. If Ireland goes under it’s lights out on Galway Bay, but when America goes under it will drag the entire developed world down with it.

When I go around the country saying stuff like this, a lot of folks agree. And they usually say, “Fortunately I won’t live to see it.” I always reply that unless you’re over 90 you will live to see it. Forget about mid-century. We’ve got about four years to try to turn this thing around.

If we fail, by 2020 just the interest payments alone on the government's debt will be greater than our entire defense budget.

We'll be spending one-fifth of all federal revenue on...interest payments.

Do we have to tell you that this means this vast amount of money won't be available for spending on real needs? If you're a Democrat or "progressive" apparently we do.

Pious celebrities often simper that they’d be willing to pay more taxes for more government services. But a fifth of what you pay won’t be going to government services at all. Unless by “government services” you mean the People’s Liberation Army of China--which will be entirely funded by U.S. taxpayers by about 2015.

And these numbers assume interest rates will remain at their present historic low of three percent or so. Last week one of the Obama administration’s favorite economic analysts predicted that in just ten years, interest rates on ten-year U.S. Treasury notes would be almost nine percent.

That's three TIMES the current interest rate.

If that forecast is right the Chinese will be able to quintuple the size of their armed forces at no net cost to them--since we'll be paying them that in interest.

Time is running short. If you think we’ve got until 2050 or 2025, you’re part of the problem.
Yes.

Sunday, September 11

9/11

On this tenth anniversary of 9/11 I urge y'all to click here and read Mark Steyn's take.

Steyn isn't a U.S. citizen but he nails what's wrong with America better than anyone.

Our government and education system--including prestigious universities--have been taken over by "political correctness" and "metrosexuals," and until we get rid of the perps at the top of each of those institutions, Muslim fanatics will keep up their efforts to explode things here--because there's no down-side to doing so.

Palestinians celebrated the acts of 9/11 not only then but also yesterday.

To Rick Perry and the other GOP candidates: Pledge that your first act if you're elected will be to kill *every penny* of the $300 MILLION taxpayer dollars "our" government gives the Palestinians every year. Zero *everything,* including food aid.

If the rest of the world loves 'em so much, let the rest of the world give 'em what they wish.

Then just wait for the first liberal twit to whine that we're being mean to the poor folks.

If they wanted our money and food, perhaps someone on their side of the fence should have told 'em it wasn't very smart to celebrate the murder of 3000 Americans.

Saturday, September 10

Did PBS cover an Obama gaffe?

When Obama addressed congress last Thursday, one of the vignettes he used was about Abraham Lincoln. Here's what the NY Times reporter heard Obama say:
We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. Founder of the Republican Party. But in the middle of a civil war, he was also a leader who looked to the future.
After the speech people began to note that the Republican party actually wasn't founded by Lincoln, who joined two years after the party was in fact founded.

Let me quickly say that I never knew who founded the party so I'm not very concerned that Obama made a mistake. What interests me is that when PBS initially posted their version of the transcript, the line about Lincoln was missing.

They've since corrected their so-called transcript. Turns out they simply posted the prepared text of the speech that was given to PBS
by the president's staff, and didn't contain the "founder" line, and the network simply published what they were handed instead of listening to the actual speech and publishing what was actually said.

But imagine the furor in the press if Palin or Bachman or Perry--or Bush--had made this exact statement!

Tuesday, September 6

"You need a license to breathe"--small town in Indiana

This will make your blood boil.

Some jerkwater town in Indiana--Burns Harbor, to give scorn where scorn is way past due--passed an ordinance that requires that anyone who wants to sell *anything* in that town must first apply for and be issued a license.

So whaddya have to do for a license? Simply be fingerprinted, pass a background check (!), and fork over a hundred bucks to the miserable excuse for a council.

Now, ain't nobody gonna miss much by not being able to sell stuff in a town of 1,156 people. But of course that's not the point. Because if this is allowed to stand, every jerkwater council from here to New York will jump on that same train.

Far too many city councilmen are morons--the kind of people who could be persuaded to vote against half of the amendments in the Bill of Rights--assuming they even know what they are.

Politicians are not to be trusted, period. And that mistrust goes up exponentially the farther up the chain you go. Problem in a small town is, they get in, and reward fifty friends, and you can never get them out.

Read the linked article.

The guy who signed off on a half-Billion loan to bankrupt company

In researching how a startup company with a lousy business plan managed to tap taxpayers for $535 million and then go bankrupt just 8 months later, I ran across this piece on a techie website. It's an interview with the guy who runs the DOE's loan program.

The guy--Jonathan Silver--had been a venture capitalist, so you'd think he'd be very savvy when it comes to reading balance sheets and evaluating business plans. The author says Silver described his job as overseeing the application process, the analysis and the negotiations for loans and loan guarantees.

Sounds like the exact guy who would have had to approve the Solyndra loan guarantees.

Oh, Silver also had one other responsibility: he said he was also responsible for staffing. Meaning--obviously--that he selected the folks on his staff.

That means they owe their jobs to him.

As he said in another interview (video about halfway down the page), in Jan 2009 there were nine people on the staff, and 18 months later there were 175 or so.

Starting to see the problem yet?

In reading paragraph after paragraph of the guy's comments, it's clear that he loves "investing" in companies. It's exciting, there's a chance for a big breakthrough, yada yada. But unfortunately, he's not putting his own money at risk in these ventures, but yours.

And lots of it: Between the so-called "stimulus" bill and the Obama administration's love of so-called "green jobs" (anyone remember Van Jones?), Silver had found a virtually unlimited source of funds. Seventy Billion bucks. And wanted more.

What happens when you give a venture capitalist comparatively unlimited funding and give him the task of investing in risky, cutting-edge ventures? You get a slew of risky loans.

That's fine for people investing their own hard-earned dollars. But when the guy is "investing" your money, most of us would expect less cheerleading and a helluva lot more critical analysis.

Read the interview at the link. The guy sounds really sharp, but because he's been untethered from the constraints of sound investing, the results you get are...political.

How "global warming" advocates censor published studies

If you're not familiar with the details of the fight over "anthropogenic global warming" --AGW--let me take one minute to brief you:

The pro-AGW crowd believes that not only is the Earth warming at an unprecedented rate, but also that the main cause of this warming is carbon dioxide from human activity such as burning gasoline, oil, natural gas and coal.

Accordingly, they see the solution as cutting way back on those activities--as you probably know.

What you may not know is that for the last 15 years or so, editors of scientific journals have consistently rejected any submitted paper (scientific study) that debunked any aspect of the pro-AGW theory.

Because there are usually only a handful of scientific journals relevant to any highly specialized field (say, atmospheric physics), a half-dozen "reliable" editors could block publication with almost total efficiency. That put authors of debunking studies in the position of having to go to an "off-topic" journal if they wanted to get their work published.

This in turn allowed the pro-AGW crowd to claim that every paper critical of AGW was garbage, "since the only place they could get it published was in this off-topic journal."

Neat way to shape the concensus, and thus public opinion, eh?

But once in a while this "perfect defense" slips up: Two researchers in Alabama submitted a paper to the journal "Remote Sensing." Following normal procedures, the journal assigned three reviewers to ensure that the researchers had used sound methodology and calculations. It passed all three and was published.

This is critical: Passing a review by three respected reviewers indicates that the paper appears to be scientifically sound.

But then someone who wasn't part of the review process realized that the paper debunked part of the AGW theory--rather sharply. This could not be tolerated, and the gatekeepers reacted: The editor of the journal resigned.

As far as I am aware, this is completely unprecedented. The editor did nothing wrong, the reviewers were randomly picked and well qualified, and their reviews of the science were solid. So why would the editor resign?

One theory is that the pro-AGW establishment forced him to resign as a show, while simultaneously promising him another position at comparable pay.

This theory is supported by the contents of the editor's letter of resignation, in which the only substantive reason he could give for resigning was that by chance, the three reviewers selected "probably" were "skeptics"--meaning they had reservations about the theory that humans are the primary cause of global warming.

Then someone else noted that if--as Al Gore and others claim--virtually every expert agreees that "the science is settled" that the theory is correct, the odds of randomly selecting 3 guys who disagreed with that theory were one in 100,000 or so.

Supporting this is the editor's use of the word "probably" to modify "skeptics." This is tantamount to admitting that the editor has no evidence for his claim and in fact didn't bother checking. In other words, it's a bullshit excuse.

I suspect the real reason the editor was "forced" to resign is that he didn't select the three reviewers from the known pool of true believers--which would have led to yet another rejection of a debunking study.

Next time some moron tells you "the science is settled," just laugh.

Saturday, September 3

Can we impeach NOW??

Suppose that back when Bush was president a company producing, oh, say Humvees for the Army had asked the government to guarantee loans to it of, oh, say half a Billion dollars.

And suppose a year or so later the company went bankrupt--leaving taxpayers on the hook for the half-billion.

Suppose further that a cursory investigation showed that the company had been making and selling its Humvees at a loss all along, so that it never realistically had any prospect of making a profit.

Finally: Suppose it turned out that White House officials had pressured the Army to guarantee the loan, vaulting the company past two dozen other companies that had applied for similar loan guarantees earlier.

Do ya think this just might possibly have been front-page news? News that would have led off all the nightly network news programs every evening for a month or more, like Abu Ghraib?

Okay, now suppose that same story happened today, with the Obama White House. Wouldn't you think that'd be as big a story as if it had happened when Bush was prez?

Apparently not.

If you're curious, the company is Solyndra, and the loan guarantee--the first such guarantee made by DOE under the woeful $787 Billion "stimulus" bill--was for $535 million. Just so we're clear, that's over half a Billion bucks. And now that the company has collapsed, the lenders are looking to us taxpayers to pay it back.

But wait...it gets better!

This loan guarantee was honcho'd by the Dept. of Energy, and when the company folded, the Republican chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee asked the DOE to provide documents that might shed some light on the question of how the loan came to be approved, who pushed DOE to approve the guarantee, and why no one in that department seemed to have even a vague hint that the company was in financial trouble.

In fact, the DOE helped get the loan restructured just five months before the company folded. Either no one looked at the company's financials, or every DOE employee who did was incompetent. Or in on the scam.

Members of the House committee had apparently gotten tips that the company was in trouble, and committee investigators had six months ago had started questioning the company's executives, lobbyists, and investors, as well as officials at the DOE and OMB. Everyone questioned told Committee investigators the company was financially sound.

As for the demand to produce records: The DOE initially made some motions to comply, but then began missing deadlines. Finally on July 14 the committee decided it had had enough of that crap and issued a subpoena to the Office of Management and Budget, demanding that requested documents related to approving the loan guarantee be turned over by July 22nd.

You'll be shocked to hear that OMB failed to comply with the subpoena.

For most people, failing to comply with a legal subpoena is a jailable offense.

And so we're perfectly clear: every Democrat on the Oversight Subcommittee voted against issuing the subpoena.
But it passed on a straight party-line vote.

Reportedly the administration is now cooperating again. But excuse me if I'm skeptical. Plus, the agency had from March 14th--the date of the initial demand--until August to vacuum their files (if needed) and get their stories straight.

Amazing that Obama claimed he was going to have the most transparent administration ever, and then we see crap like this.

Here's hoping the Republicans stop pussyfooting around and get to the bottom of this report of White House pressure. Use your subpoena power. And if the WH stonewalls, go to the Supreme Court just like the Democrats did with Nixon.

EEOC demands that company let alcoholic driver drive their trucks

The federal "Equal Employment Opportunity Commission" has a history of making crazy rulings and then suing businesses into the poorhouse. Since they have essentially unlimited resources, it's hard for a company to beat them even when they're clearly being arbitrary, capricious and stupid.

Combine that attitude with the draconian powers of the "Americans with Disabilities Act" and you've got the bureaucratic equivalent of the perfect storm.

Their latest is suing a trucking company that pulled one of its drivers off the road after he admitted to having an "alcohol problem."

The company has a long-established policy to do that, apparently believing that the risk to both the public and the company of an alcohol-related crash are too great. It didn't fire the driver, but gave him a non-driving job--one that paid less. The former driver refused to show up for the non-driving job and was fired.

The EEOC says alcoholism is a "recognized disability" under the ADA. And according to that law--which has morphed from good intentions into a legal monster--it's illegal to "discriminate" against anyone with a disability.

So now the EEOC is demanding that the company re-hire a man with self-admitted "alcohol problems" as a driver of big rigs. Oh, and give him back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and compensation for lost benefits.

I understand that the ADA was passed with the intention to do good, but it's hard to see how forcing companies to let alcohol-plagued drivers continue to drive is a good policy.

Except that it continues to provide a good living for thousands of government employees filing crazy lawsuits.

Thursday, September 1

What's this "cause-and-effect" stuff?

Further to my previous post on the CERN experiment that seems to have proved pretty conclusively that global warming is caused by cosmic rays seeding cloud formation, and that cosmic rays vary on their own without any man-made influence:

A commenter at PJM noted that this unexpected discovery opens up lots of other possibilities for similar surprising breakthroughs:

Could high government spending possibly have an effect on our huge national debt?

Could extortionate union rules have anything to do with businesses moving overseas?

Could the distrust of Muslims have anything to do with their habit of launching terrorist attacks?

Could the government paying welfare to single mothers possibly have any effect on the increasing number of out-of-wedlock births?

Could the burden of ObamaCare, increasingly harsh regulations and inflammatory anti-business rhetoric have anything to do with unemployment, and the reluctance of small businesses to add new employees?

Gee, it's hard to imagine that there could possibly be any cause-and-effect relationship with any of the above. It just doesn't seem logical.

No more logical than thinking the sun might be the major factor in any global warming.