Fox Nation has seized on the bankruptcy filing of solar energy company Solar Trust to suggest that "taxpayers" would "lose $2 billion" because of the bankruptcy. However, Solar Trust did not receive loan guarantees from the federal government.
Fox Nation: "Another Obama Solar Company Goes Bankrupt ... Taxpayers Lose $2 BILLION?" An April 2 post on Fox Nation linked to a recent Associated Press article with the headline:
Beneath an excerpt of the article was a VentureBeat.com article from April 2011 that stated, "The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to Solar Trust of America for a solar thermal power plant near Blythe, Calif." [Fox Nation, 4/2/12]
Wash. Post: When DOE Offered Solar Trust "A $2.1 Billion Loan Guarantee," Company "Turned It Down." From a September 26, 2011, Washington Post article:
Uwe T. Schmidt, chief executive of Solar Trust, says he is a fan of the Energy Department's loan-guarantee program. He met with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and the program's director, Jonathan Silver, when his company was seeking support for a 1,000-megawatt solar thermal plant it wanted to build in the California desert in Riverside County.
But when the department offered him a $2.1 billion loan guarantee, Schmidt turned it down. It would have been one of the largest stimulus-funded clean-technology projects, and Solar Trust had been negotiating the deal for roughly a year. But Schmidt decided it was too risky.
"I'm now famous for getting the largest loan guarantee and then turning it down," Schmidt said. "For very sound business reasons, we opted not to go forward." [The Washington Post, 9/26/11]
Electric Utility Week: "Solar Trust Changes Technology For California Project, Walks Away From $2.1B Loan Guarantee." From an August 29, 2011, article in Electric Utility Week:
A California developer has significantly altered the technology it will use to build a massive solar power plant in the Sonoran Desert, a move that makes it ineligible for a $2.1 billion loan guarantee that the Energy Department offered the company just a few months ago.
Solar Trust of America, based in Oakland, initially planned to use concentrating solar technology for the first 500-MW phase of the 9-square-mile power plant it intends to build near Blythe, about 200 miles west of Los Angeles. But Solar Trust announced last week that it will now use photovoltaic panels for at least the first phase of the project, which the company said are less expensive.
That decision allows Solar Trust to finance the project in the commercial banking market. But it also means that Solar Trust will walk away from the $2.1 billion loan guarantee that DOE conditionally awarded it in April -- the largest non-nuclear loan guarantee that the department has awarded to date.
"Improved conditions for solar PV projects in the commercial bank market made pursuing commercial financing a more attractive strategy at this time," Edward Sullivan, Solar Trust's vice president of communications and external affairs, said in an email.
Solar Trust's move makes it at least the third company to spurn a proffered DOE loan guarantee. [Electric Utility Week, 8/29/11, via Nexis]
The five radical conservatives on the Supreme Court have allowed strip-searches to be conducted on any person who is arrested. From the New York Times— “The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to [...]
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Today is World Autism Awareness Day. Speaking as a parent of a son with high-functioning autism, this video by GoogleLabs made me cry. So many people with autism have great creativity and amazing visual thinking. The aquarium walls in one girl's "dream house"? Marvelous.
NOTE: Don't forget that tomorrow here at C&L we have a live chat with the amazing Illinois progressive House candidate Dr. David Gill. Read more about him here and join us at 2 Eastern, 11 Pacific tomorrow for a live chat.
Open thread below...
Robert Reich writes:
...recoveries are becoming more and more lopsided.
The top 1 percent got 45 percent of Clinton-era economic growth, and 65 percent of the economic growth during the Bush era.
According to an analysis of tax returns by Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Pikkety, the top 1 percent pocketed 93 percent of the gains in 2010. 37 percent of the gains went to the top one-tenth of one percent. No one below the richest 10 percent saw any gain at all.
In fact, most of the bottom 90 percent have lost ground. Their average adjusted gross income was $29,840 in 2010. That?s down $127 from 2009, and down $4,843 from 2000 (all adjusted for inflation).
Meanwhile, employer-provided benefits continue to decline among the bottom 90 percent, according to the Commerce Department. The share of people with health insurance from their employers dropped from 59.8 percent in 2007 to 55.3 percent in 2010. And the share of private-sector workers with retirement plans dropped from 42 percent in 2007 to 39.5 percent in 2010. [...]
We can?t possibly grow faster if the vast majority of Americans, who are still losing ground, don?t have the money to buy more of the things American workers produce. There?s no way spending by the richest 10 percent?the only ones gaining ground?will be enough to get the economy out of first gear.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011:
Are you a public employee of any kind?from a day care worker to a college professor? You could be vulnerable to broad open records requests from rightwing groups, as labor studies faculty at three Michigan campuses are finding out:
A free enterprise think tank in Michigan?backed by some of the biggest names in national conservative donor circles?has made a broad public records request to at least three in-state universities with departments that specialize in the study of labor relations, seeking all their emails regarding the union battle in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, TPM has learned.
So, yes, the Koch brothers and the Waltons are paying to try to get any emails a bunch of college professors sent that mention Rachel Maddow or Scott Walker.
Given this latest atrocity from the High Court of Hangin? Judge JR, I think it?s a good idea to revisit these wise and prescient words from Sen. Al Franken around the time of the Elena Kagan confirmation hearing ? haven?t heard much lately from him, though (and Number 44 actually thinks the bunch in the black robes isn?t going trash the individual mandate before they get out of Washington, D.c. in a couple of months...let?s just say that I?m not optimistic)...
...and even though there?s no video, I?m sure you can ?fill in the blanks? as well as I can here.
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A couple of weeks ago, Rick Santorum got into some trouble for saying that Barack Obama was "a snob" for wanting every American kid to be able to go to college. Santorum elaborated that universities today indoctrinate people in dangerous liberal ideas and convince them to abandon their religious beliefs. And now he's offering more details on just how un-American universities are:
I was just reading something last night from the state of California. And that the California universities ? I think it's seven or eight of the California system of universities don?t even teach an American history course. It's not even available to be taught.
Shocking! And it would be even more shocking if it were even remotely true. But as Think Progress notes, "In fact, of the 10 UC system schools, just one (San Francisco) doesn't offer American history courses. But that?s because it doesn't offer any humanities courses at all ? it's a medical school."
When Santorum says "I was just reading something last night," I think we can treat it like the stand-up comic who sets up a joke with, "I was on an airplane the other day..." We know he wasn't really on the plane the other day, since he's been telling this joke for the past six months. It's tempting to say that Santorum just made this up, but I don't think that's what happened. I think he heard it somewhere?maybe on a conservative radio show, or from somebody he met at a campaign event?and it was, as the saying goes, too good to check. That's because to Santorum, it just made sense. After all, everybody knows that universities are hotbeds of liberalism, and liberals hate America, so why wouldn't they banish American history? And that must surely be doubly true of state universities in California, a state ruled by pot-smoking hippies where the abundant sunshine leads comely young ladies to prance about in clothing so immodest it gives a morally upright fellow like Rick the cold sweats, where the abandonment of American history is just the tip of an iceberg of sin.
Responsible people, however, particularly responsible politicians, don't just repeat crazy stuff they hear. In conversation, you or I might preface such a thing with, "I don't know if this is true, but I heard somewhere that..." But Rick Santorum is a man without doubt. If he heard it, and it sounded good, he'll just tell you that it's true. Just like when he told everyone that in the Netherlands, euthanasia makes up "ten percent of all deaths, and half of those people are euthanized involuntarily, because they are old or sick," and the elderly are so terrified of being put down that they wear bracelets saying "Don't euthanize me." It turned out that too was totally false, but hey, it sounded good, because everybody knows Scandinavians are godless, grandma-killing socialists, right?
So listen, conservatives. The next time you get irritated at liberals for thinking you're all a bunch of conspiracy theorizing fantasists who hate reason and think facts are for sissies and socialists, consider how often it happens that the leaders of your party go in for stuff like this.
Is the Today Show journalism?[...]
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From John Dickerson at Slate, way back in 2007:
What books did Romney claim as his favorites? The Bible is his favorite book. His favorite novel is Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard, the science-fiction writer and Scientology founder. The first we would have expected, but the second is so wacky, it breathes new life into the tired old reporter's trope: There must be something we can learn about Romney by examining this answer.Considering that both Scientology and Mormonism are considered cults by some - and I'd bet that Scientology likely ranks far below Mormonism in terms of public acceptance as a religion - it's beyond bizarre that Mitt Romney would pick this book as his favorite novel, and worse, admit it.
For those of you who didn't study it in school, Battlefield Earth takes place in the year 3000, when the human race is nearly extinct and the planet stripped of its natural resources. Mankind has been enslaved by evil aliens with very bad breath that explodes when it comes into contact with radioactive material. A young slave wielding lasers and draped in a tennis cardigan leads a rebellion and retakes Earth, only to be attacked again by a series of foes including a race of interstellar bankers trying to collect on bad debts. (There may be kung-fu fights and a championship football game, too; I confess that I haven't read it all.)
Everything about the book is bad. Just a few sentences into the first page, you're confronted by this sentence: "Terl could not have produced a more profound effect had he thrown a meat-girl naked into the middle of the room." (A clothed meat-girl apparently gets a big yawn.) Hubbard's soundtrack for the book, when played, either attracts mice or repels dogs, or both. The movie, which starred John Travolta, is what therapists show to the producers of Ishtar and Glitter to help them feel good.
The whole tumbling horror of the Battlefield Earth experience is so profound it nearly comes out the other side and achieves a kind of perfection of awfulness. Is Romney being ironic, then, like those people who buy clown art? Unlikely. There's not a big irony bloc in the GOP and Battlefield Earth is a thousand-page book. No one can sustain irony for that long. (At 13,000 words per dollar it is a great value, though, which might appeal to notoriously frugal New Hampshire voters.) Romney was quick to point out that he disagreed with Scientology, so he wasn't going for that vote, or the smaller, untapped, creepy-Hubbard- ascot- fetish vote. Is Romney trying to act like he's a regular guy? Only 8 percent of the words in the book are considered "complex," so he can't be labeled an elitist, but no one trying to look like a common Joe would pick this book. You simply need a deep level of weird to like Battlefield Earth. The speed with which some of his aides tried to distance the governor from his remarks suggests they think he now looks a little too weird.
We Confederate-Americans love our flag. It reminds us of a better time, a time when having a confederate complexion instilled a sense of accomplishment, a time when the sheer wretchedness of one's life could be redeemed by the ability to produce a freckle.
That's why we get so angry when our flag is displayed in such a way as to wickedly trick us into achieving a state of inappropriate tumescence--the very thing that happened last week when a group of proud Confederate-Americans visited the Museum of the Confederacy at Appomattox.
Southern Heritage Alerts reports:
Yesterday, Va Flaggers visited the Museum of the Confederacy at Appomattox, and were outraged to discover a highly offensive display featuring a life-sized photo of cross-dresser Ru Paul, wearing a dress with an image of the Confederate Battle Flag. The photo that was secured and sent to other Flaggers was quickly disseminated, reaching all the way to National Sons of Confederate Veterans Leadership by late last evening, who quickly issued a public statement of condemnation, and called its members to action.Absolutely shameful. Imagine their embarrassment as they found themselves desperately scrambling to hide their little Parrott rifles. Scores of turgid man cannons swinging wildly every which way, striking buttocks and, yes, even each other, as they vainly attempted to retreat from the sight of our glorious standard draped so erotically over large perky breasts, fleshy hips, and God help us, a hidden package of the most unheartlandish of hues.
Title: The PlagueArtist: Scott Walker
Don't fear, the LNMC is not posting music by the troubled Wisconsin governor. Tonight's artist is much better looking and undoubtedly sings a whole lot better than recall man. I've been on a huge Scott Walker binge lately, so much so that I have had trouble deciding what song to post by "pop's own Salinger". I almost posted this, then this, or even this, but settled for the one that keeps running through my head. What a voice. Enjoy.