Apparently, President Obama knew that solar company Solyndra was in trouble prior to his now infamous visit to the site. For those with really short memories, that visit was to brag about how well government intervention into the private sector was working. Unfortunately, Solyndra is now filing for bankruptcy and the president is feeling the heat.
From the National Journal:
New e-mails released Monday show the White House was warned about Solyndra’s potential problems even before President Obama visited the company’s Fremont, Calif., headquarters and used it as a backdrop for his push for renewable energy investment and green jobs.
“A number of us are concerned that the president is visiting Solyndra,” Steve Westly, managing partner of Westly Group, wrote in an e-mail to Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on May 24, 2010, a day before the president’s well publicized trip to Solyndra. “[T]here is an increasing concern about the company because their auditors, Coopers and Lybrand, have issued a ‘going concern’ letter … Many of us believe the company’s cost structure will make it difficult for them to survive long term.”
Westly went on to ask Jarrett if he could check with the Energy Department to make sure its officials were comfortable with Solyndra’s finances.
“I just want to help protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press,” Westly wrote. “If it’s too late to change/postpone the meeting, the president should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy, etc.”
Well, I guess that part didn’t work out to well for them.
In case you haven’t heard about this, Solyndra was loaned more $500 million of taxpayers dollars as the White House deemed it to be the focal point of its green jobs initiatives. However, Solyandra, a politically-conntected company, wasn’t as advertised and it went belly up. Now the Obama Administration is dealing with the headache of a scandal.
Jon Stewart took a few minutes last week to poke fun at the Obama Administration’s incomptence over Solyndra:
Embattled solar cell company Solyndra is catching hell right about now. They’ve filed for bankruptcy, but if that’s not enough, they’re finding themselves drawing a lot of attention. That’s to be expected since President Obama highlighted a government loan to Solyndra as evidence that his green jobs program would jump start an industry that hasn’t been able to create profits for themselves.
So where is the mainstream media on this one? Well, ABC News has been on it, that’s for sure. They have obtained emails about how the White House monitored the loan made to Solyndra.
Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department’s deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
The company’s solar panel factory was heralded as a centerpiece of the president’s green energy plan — billed as a way to jump start a promising new industry. And internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved. “This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.
Climate change is always a touchy subject. I have been advocating the position that it’s real, but a natural cycle. Others argue that it’s man made. However, there’s another theory that hasn’t been getting much play,and it probably should. That theory is that climate change may be the result of subatomic particles hitting the Earth.
In April 1990, Al Gore published an open letter in the New York Times “To Skeptics on Global Warming” in which he compared them to medieval flat-Earthers. He soon became vice president and his conviction that climate change was dominated by man-made emissions went mainstream. Western governments embarked on a new era of anti-emission regulation and poured billions into research that might justify it. As far as the average Western politician was concerned, the debate was over.
But a few physicists weren’t worrying about Al Gore in the 1990s. They were theorizing about another possible factor in climate change: charged subatomic particles from outer space, or “cosmic rays,” whose atmospheric levels appear to rise and fall with the weakness or strength of solar winds that deflect them from the earth. These shifts might significantly impact the type and quantity of clouds covering the earth, providing a clue to one of the least-understood but most important questions about climate. Heavenly bodies might be driving long-term weather trends.
A solar company that President Obama touted as evidence that his policies were creating jobs has filed for bankruptcy. In May, 2010, President Obama stood at the Solyndra solar panel plant in California and commented how where he was standing had been a vacant lot, but the company had expanded thanks to loans from Uncle Sam.
Some will disagree with those of us who don’t believe the government should be involved in loans for private enterprises. There are those who disagree with me that government doesn’t need to try and direct industry in a given direction, like green jobs for example. However, I point to Solyndra as an example of why.
The government loan itself had nothing to do with Solyndra’s bankruptcy as far as I can tell. Make no mistake about that.
What happened is what will happen to any business if they’re not extremely careful. From ABC’s report on Solyndra’s filing:
“Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion,” Solyndra president and CEO Brian Harrison said in a statement. “Raising incremental capital in this environment was not possible. This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate.”
They got hit with the economy, just like everyone else. Government efforts to pick winners involve tax dollars being spent, but often doesn’t account for the reality of the market. In this case, a government loan last year didn’t help Solyndra sell any extra solar panels. It didn’t accomplish a thing except give President Obama a photo op.
The guitar maker Gibson, famous for the Les Paul (one of my favorites to play) and the SG (which I own), was raided by armed agents from US Fish and Wildlife on Friday due to the belief that the company is illegally using wood from India not finished by Indian workers:
Federal agents raided the Gibson Guitar Corporation in Nashville Wednesday morning.
Authorities have yet to release details as to why the facility on Massman Drive off Elm Hill Pike was raided although it’s believed to be related to a raid at the same facility in November 2009 for possible violations of the Lacey Act.
The Lacey Act is a federal environmental law that prohibits importing endangered plants and wildlife. It was amended in 2009 to also include wood products.
During the raid in 2009, federal agents seized materials, files and computers from the plant on allegations that a rare ebony wood from Madagascar was illegally used at the factory.
No charges were ever filed
Wednesday morning, several hundred employees at the facility were first evacuated.
“We were just in our department and one of the supervisors just come in and said everybody get out and we just shut the machines off and headed out the door,” one employee who did want to be identified said.
They were later told to go home after being allowed to reenter the building to collect their belongings.
The Gibson Guitar facility in Memphis was also raided by federal authorities Wednesday morning.
The smugness of this administration is never ending:
President Obama today will announce new fuel efficiency standards that will save American businesses that operate and own commercial vehicles approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program. These work trucks, buses, and other medium- and heavy duty vehicleswill be required to meet fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for the first time ever beginning in 2014.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards in close coordination with the companies that met with the President today as well as other stakeholders, following requests from companies to develop this program.
“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened,” said President Obama. “We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks. They were from the people who build, buy, and drive these trucks. And today, I’m proud to have the support of these companies as we announce the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium-and heavy-duty trucks.”
That liberals believe they know what’s best for everyone else is nothing new. What’s fascinating to me is seeing the Barack Obama, the President of the United States, purport that others harbor the same religious reverence for him that he has for himself. He claims that the very individuals that run private corporations have more faith in him to run their businesses than they have in themselves. Here Obama is painting the picturing of the economy bowing at his feat, begging “tell us what to do, oh mighty one!”
Climate change is always a touchy subject. It generates strong feelings one way or another in most political type folks. However, a new Rassmusen poll shows that a large chunk of the American people believe that scientists have fudged the numbers somewhere along the line. How many?
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 69% say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say this is Very Likely. Twenty-two percent (22%) don’t think it’s likely some scientists have falsified global warming data, including just six percent (6%) say it’s Not At All Likely. Another 10% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here .)
The number of adults who say it’s likely scientists have falsified data is up 10 points from December 2009 .
I don’t care who you are, that’s a lot of folks. However, I can already hear some on the left clamoring about how it’s because of Fox News or whoever the boogieman is today. I wouldn’t be so sure about that if I were them. After all, Rassmusen finds that 51% of Democrats think the same thing.
Personally, I’ve long believed that the environmental movement has blown it. Their focus has been on asking Americans to sacrifice for the betterment of the environment, when what I think they should have done is focused on financial benefits to Americans and American companies for being more “green”. People will sacrifice for a lot of things, but it helps if they’re sacrificing for themselves moreso.
Now, there’s some evidence that seems to support my theory, at least to some extent.
Apparently, there’s been a bit of data that suggests that green houses are selling faster, and for a higher percentage of their asking value, than more traditionally built homes in the Atlanta area. From the Green Building Chronicle:
[Carson] Matthews’ latest numbers — in which he crunched together the 2009 and 2010 results — show that certified green homes:
• comprised 7.5 percent of the new construction market metro Atlanta over that time;
• sold for 94.9 percent of the listed price, versus 91.8 percent for conventional new homes;
• and took only 108 days to close, compared to 132 days for conventional homes.
While those numbers may not seem dramatic, they have something even stronger going for them: ”The numbers have been really consistent,” Matthews writes in an e-mail. “There have been the occasional quarter where the numbers didn’t match up, but maybe once in 2.5 years. Every other quarter and obviously in the yearly comparisons, the numbers are very supportive and consistent in support of green home building.”
The report cites a few limitations with Matthews’ study, but a similar study focused on elsewhere showed similar results as well. It’s not really surprising.
On Monday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in an opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that environmental policy is a matter that shouldn’t be worked out through the judicial system:
In the most significant global warming case to reach its front doors, the Supreme Court on Monday blocked a major lawsuit brought by states and environmental groups against five large power companies they accused of creating a public nuisance because of carbon dioxide emissions.
The court ruled 8-0 that the authority to set standards for reducing emissions lies with the Environmental Protection Agency, under air pollution rules established by the Clean Air Act. The court said just because the EPA hasn’t acted yet doesn’t mean that its authority is no longer valid.
The Clean Air Act “provides a means to seek limits on emissions of carbon dioxide from domestic power plants — the same relief the plaintiffs seek by invoking federal common law. We see no room for a parallel track,” reads the order written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“If EPA does not set emissions limits for a particular pollutant or source of pollution, states and private parties may petition for a rulemaking on the matter, and EPA’s response will be reviewable in federal court,” the decision continues.
The decision isn’t really anything to get overly excited about. The court did what it was supposed to do. Hopefully, Congress will find a way to prevent the EPA from implementing cap-and-trade through regulatory fiat.