Archive for September, 2011
Despite the growing Solyndra scandal, yesterday the Department of Energy approved $1 billion in new loans to green energy companies — including a $737 million loan guarantee to a company known as SolarReserve:
SolarReserve LLC, a closely held renewable energy developer, received a $737 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee to build a solar-thermal project in Nevada.
The 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes project, near Tonopah, Nevada, will use the sun’s heat to create steam that drives a turbine, the agency said today in a e-mailed statement. SolarReserve is based in Santa Monica, California.
On SolarReserve’s website is a list of “investment partners,” including the “PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (East) LLC.” As blogger American Glob quickly discovered, PCG’s number two is none other than “Ronald Pelosi, a San Francisco political insider and financial industry polymath who happens to be the brother-in-law of Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives.”
But wait… there’s more! One of SolarReserve’s other investment partners is . . .
Read more By MARK HEMINGWAY at the Weekly Standard
President Barack Obama appears to be getting it from all sides regarding a government snafu dubbed Operation Fast and Furious. Besides both houses of the U.S. Congress and a number of public-interest groups investigating what is being characterized as a rogue federal law enforcement operation, Mexico’s attorney general is infuriated over the allegations that the U.S. was behind the smuggling of weapons into Mexico that ended up killing her countrymen.
In a statement released by Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales, she called Operation Fast and Furious “an attack on Mexicans’ security.”
Morales told Mexican reporters that she is demanding a full and honest explanation from the United States government especially since evidence is being gathered that reveals the Obama administration was more involved in Operation Fast and Furious than top officials admitted in their sworn statements.
If what is being reported is true, U.S. Attorney General and other government officials may have committed perjury and/or obstruction of justice if it’s proven they lied when testifying before House and Senate committees.
Read more by Jim Kouri at examiner.com
Rules hurt Harley in China
Company works to ease difficult regulations
Harley-Davidson Inc. is lobbying the Chinese government to ease regulations in the world’s most populous country that make it difficult to own and ride a motorcycle.
The goal is to increase sales in China by as much as 40% a year through 2016, Sean Jiang, a Harley representative in China, told Bloomberg News in Beijing.
The Milwaukee motorcycle manufacturer is quadrupling its number of dealerships and is supporting riding clubs to capitalize on a Chinese luxury-vehicle market that JD Power & Associates says will grow by about 35% this year.
But any investment in China without addressing restrictive regulations will be a “castle built on sand,” said Jiang, who is based in Shanghai.
–SNIP– Harleys cost more in China because of import duties that can add 30% to the sticker price before other taxes are figured in.
by Rick Barrett of the Journal Sentinel
As ‘Mens Rea’ Erodes, More Become Unwitting Criminals
A Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday outlines the decline of the consideration of criminal intent in prosecutions in America as the Federal criminal code continues to swell each day.
The WSJ reports that in 1790, the first Federal criminal law passed by Congress listed fewer than 20 Federal crimes. The list has since grown to 4,500 Federal statutes, plus thousands more embedded in Federal regulations, many of which have been added to the penal code since the 1970s. This has made it easier than ever for citizens to unknowingly break a law, and they are more and more often prosecuted without the consideration of mens rea, Latin for proof of a “guilty mind.”
by Sam Rolley at personalliberty.com
The Stoughton Area School District was facing a $1.8 million budget hole.
But, Act 10, Wisconsin’s controversial budget repair bill, filled more than half of that gap, Stoughton Superintendent Tim Onsanger said.
“We were able to balance this year’s budget partly by asking our staff to contribute” to the state pension fund, he told Wisconsin Reporter on Monday.
By M.D. Kittle at the Wisconsin Reporter
Just as the call for patriotism is often the last refuge of scoundrels, so the charge of “rising protectionism” is often the last desperate cry of globalists who don’t understand that it is raw mercantilism that is turning their free trade dream into a nightmare.
–SNIP– We do not live in a world of free trade and free financial markets. Rather we live in a world that is divided. It is half free trade and half mercantilist. China, the world’s second largest economy, strictly manages the its yuan to be dramatically under-valued versus the dollar. It also manages the types and conditions of both domestic and foreign investment and often makes access to its markets conditional on the transfer of technology, investment, and jobs. Because China’s yuan is not allowed to appreciate, capital flows to Brazil where the real is soaring and thereby making Brazilian production for both foreign and domestic markets uncompetitive. In effect, China is exporting unemployment to Brazil. Nor is China alone. Many others have also adopted the strategic, export led, neo-mercantilist growth strategies pioneered by Japan after World War II.
Read more By Clyde Prestowitz at ForeignPolicy.com
Republican Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma told The Daily Caller on Friday that no House Democrat wants to put his or her name behind President Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan, a necessary step before the legislation can be introduced for consideration.
He also claimed the bill would not lower the current 9.1 percent unemployment rate.
“The focus right now from him [Obama] is ‘pass my whole bill, pass my whole bill,’ [and] some of the struggle with that is no Democrat in the House has even taken his bill and filed it yet. So we can’t even pass the bill because no one wants to put their name on it and say, ‘this is my bill’ and file it in the House,” said Lankford in a September 23 interview at the U.S. Capitol.
Read more by By Nicholas Ballasy at The Daily Caller
Oshkosh Area School District committee of employees, administrators recommends dropping union health insurance
The Oshkosh school district could save about $774,000 this year and another $1.3 million next year by leaving its union-affiliated health insurance for a new provider.
A committee of about 30 district employees, union representatives and administrators has recommended the school board ditch its insurance through the Wisconsin Education Association Trust, a non-profit company started by the state teachers’ union, for a cheaper but equivalent benefits plan through the Wisconsin County’s Association Group Health Trust.
The school board will vote on the change Wednesday.
Read more by Adam Rodewald at thenorthwestern.com
State Regulators Tell Lawmakers Two-Mile Milwaukee Train Project Could Require $70 Million in Related Utility Work
The price tag for a controversial streetcar in Milwaukee continues to grow, with the revelation from Wisconsin’s utility regulators that costs to move utility lines for the boutique transportation project could exceed $70 million.
Cynthia Smith, general counsel for the Public Service Commission, explained the new figure in a letter to two Republican legislators who want to know if ratepayers outside the City of Milwaukee will be on the hook for paying for the costs.
Read more at MacIverInstitute.com
The NYPD now has anti-aircraft capability.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly tells “60 Minutes” that the NYPD has “some means to take down a plane” in what he termed an “extreme situation,” during an interview tonight on CBS, according to a transcript of the exchange.
Under fire by some for police counterterrorism tactics highlighted in a series of Associated Press articles, Kelly doesn’t elaborate to interviewer Scott Pelley exactly how cops could take down a plane, but when asked point-blank whether the police have the equipment and training to pull off such a feat, Kelly responds, “Yes”
“Do you mean to say that the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?” Pelley asks.
To which Kelly responds: “Yes, I prefer not to get into the details but obviously this would be in a very extreme situation.”
“You have the equipment and the training,” Pelley follows up.
“Yes,” Kelly answers.
Read more By PHIL HELSEL in the NY Post
An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering.
Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called “a regular gathering of more than three people”.
That type of meeting would require a conditional use permit as defined by the city, according to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the couple’s legal representation.
The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further “religious gatherings” in their home, according to PJI.
“We’re just gathering and enjoying each other’s company and fellowship. And we enjoy studying God’s word.” Stephanie Fromm told CBS2.
Read more from CBS Los Angeles
Very often, I am asked to sum up for politics-minded colleagues just what I think is so terribly wrong with the American economy. It’s always difficult to encapsulate all of America’s fiscal problems in a few sentences — everything from devastating crime to rising poverty levels, from inflated real estate values to bank bailouts, comes into play. Barrels of ink have been spilled on this topic, and barrels more will follow them.
In short, it’s almost impossible to sum up what’s wrong with America’s economy while standing on one leg.
Unless your name is Mr. EBT. EBT, for those who are too ignorant to know how their tax dollars are spent, stands for Electronic Benefit Transfer. Essentially, state governments distribute welfare payments via a credit card (EBT). Most major food outlets take EBT as a form of cash. States cannot charge sales tax on any items bought with an EBT.
Just who is Mr. EBT, though? He’s a self-titled rapper who just came out with a new YouTube sensation titled “My EBT.” Yes, he wears the traditional rapper get-up of a straight-brimmed hat and baggy pants. But look beyond the clothing and see something deeper — the sort of leech who is bankrupting our society.
Read more by Ben Shapiro at Townhall.com
You want a quick and easy introduction to media bias? Just look at the reception given to author Ron Suskind when he appeared on NBC’s “Today” show this week to promote his new book, “Confidence Men,” which is critical of President Obama — and then compare it to the reception Suskind received in 2004 when he appeared on “Today” to tout another book,”The Price of Loyalty,” which was critical of President George W. Bush.
Start with the new book. The newsworthy bits in “Confidence Men” are well known: Suskind reports the Obama White House is tough on women, with former aide Anita Dunn calling it “a genuinely hostile workplace to women.” Suskind also says Obama’s top economic advisers had so little regard for the president that former National Economic Council chief Larry Summers said, “There’s no adult in charge.” And Suskind writes that on at least one occasion Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner ignored a clear directive from the president.
A lot of that is small-scale Washington chatter. The bigger picture from the book is one of a president not up to the job during perilous economic times. And that’s not an image the White House wants to encourage with the 2012 re-election effort under way. So White House officials pushed back hard — with a big assist from “Today.”
Read more by Byron York at the Washington Examiner
Co-chair Alberta Darling says Milwaukee Democratic Sen. Lena Taylor should be removed from the Joint Finance Committee, calling her behavior in meetings disrespectful.
Darling (R-River Hills) was on conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes’ program to talk about protester tactics in Madison. She said the disrespect shown by protesters has spilled over to Taylor.
“She doesn’t feel like she has to respect the voice and the opinions of the chair,” Darling said. “She can call people liars. This level of disrespect for the process, disrespect for rules of law and disrespect for the process of doing legislation for the people of Wisconsin is a concern.”
Read more from MKE Politics
Good morning, suckers: President Obama is playing you.
If you work hard, play by the rules, save your money, create jobs, and make a success out of yourself, President Obama and the Democrat party will plunder everything you have worked so hard for, because in their view that is only fair.
That is the meaning of the policies President Obama is espousing as he campaigns for re-election around the country this week. As Mark Steyn has explained, there is no bill yet that the President is demanding Congress pass, it won’t create any jobs, and there is no money to pay for it. It is just a traveling road show, and we need to start to hold accountable our relatives, friends and neighbors who would fall for it, and thereby darkly threaten the entire future of America.
Read more by Peter Ferrara at the American Spectator