Solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra Inc. announced today that it would seek bankruptcy protection, suspend work at its Fremont facilities and lay off 1,100 employees, as the recent plunge in panel prices undercut the company's sales.
Solyndra, whose modules are thin tubes rather than flat panels, gained national attention in 2009 when it won a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government to build a second factory in Fremont, near the company's headquarters. State and federal officials cited the project as an example of how the green tech industry could generate jobs.
But the company had to cancel its plans for a $300 million initial public stock offering last year, and it struggled to compete against a flood of inexpensive solar cells pouring into the market from new factories in China.
Readers of my column know that I have written repeatedly that the “Ground Zero” mosque would never be built for reasons having nothing to do with politics. The main financiers and the imam have gotten into one legal problem after another and Allstate Insurance Company is now launching a major lawsuit for fraud against one of them. As we approach the tenth anniversary of September 11, it’s clear that there isn’t going to be a mosque next to the World Trade Center attack site.
From the start, it seemed to me that the whole project was designed as something of a scam by shady characters to get lots of money from the contributions of the Saudis and others. In other words, the controversial and triumphalist aspects of the mosque were a public relations’ scheme designed to win millions of dollars from the Muslim-majority world’s millionaires. When the money didn’t materialize–the controversy didn’t help matters–the whole thing fell apart.
Here’s the real story:
A group of people with a terrible record as developers who didn’t develop, businessmen who didn’t pay their bills, and slumlords put together a very badly designed project that would never otherwise have gotten zoning and other permits. In other words, the true story is how city officials gave special privileges and the media gave sweetheart coverage because people were Muslims building a mosque, not that there was discrimination against Muslims who wanted to build a mosque. Remember, in the end the mosque project got everything its advocates wanted and yet it still wasn’t built.
It is the story of how the corrupt can play a system built around special privileges for special categories of people, in which fear of being labelled some variety of “racist” overrides the proper enforcement of the law.
Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson's chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company's manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier," he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.
It isn't the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian's ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms."
The question in the first raid seemed to be whether Gibson had been buying illegally harvested hardwoods from protected forests, such as the Madagascar ebony that makes for such lovely fretboards. And if Gibson did knowingly import illegally harvested ebony from Madagascar, that wouldn't be a negligible offense. Peter Lowry, ebony and rosewood expert at the Missouri Botanical Garden, calls the Madagascar wood trade the "equivalent of Africa's blood diamonds." But with the new raid, the government seems to be questioning whether some wood sourced from India met every regulatory jot and tittle.
San Francisco police were seeking witnesses Sunday to the shooting of two men and the severe beating of a third in a restroom at Candlestick Park, as city and league officials condemned a rash of attacks and brawls that marred the annual preseason football game between the Raiders and 49ers.
The most severely injured victims from Saturday night - a 24-year-old wearing an anti-49ers T-shirt who was shot, and a 26-year-old who was beaten - were listed in serious condition at San Francisco General Hospital, suggesting they would survive.
Meanwhile, video footage of fights between fans at the stadium popped up on YouTube, showing a chaotic and dangerous scene at an event that drew tens of thousands of fans.
Investors abandoned Hewlett-Packard Co. after its plan to get out of the personal computer business left serious questions about the technology company's strategy.H-P Shares plunged 20% Firday to $23.60, erasing about $12 billion in market value and leaving the stock near six-year lows.H-P shocked investors Thursday when it said it is looking to sell or spin off its PC business, the world's largest. It also agreed to pay more than $10 billion for British soft ware maker Autonomy Corp.
I ... just don't believe that if you take money away from people who were smart, energetic, focused and maybe even ruthless enough to make it in the first place, and give it to politicians and bureaucrats to allocate to projects they have a notion are good ideas, that will somehow create wealth. I worked in government and with government for about six years, long enough to realize it's difficult to get government workers to do anything simple on time, let alone come up with some new way to make money. Forget about morality and incentive effects -- how likely, how plausible is it that doing this will create wealth? And assuming this is a big waste of money, which it is, how can wasting money be anything but, well, a waste of money? With apologies to my literal scriptural friends, when I read Krugman or somebody else talking this way, it's like listening to the people who say, oh no, the dinosaurs were created six thousand years ago and were all vegetarians until Adam ate that apple, at which point they started killing and eating each other. That is, my jaw drops and I think HTF can they actually believe that? You take money from millionaires, give it to people not smart enough to do the same, they keep part of it and give the rest to their pals, and this makes us all richer. Right.
Moammar Gadhafi is making preparations for a departure from Libya with his family for possible exile in Tunisia, U.S. officials have told NBC News, citing intelligence reports…
The officials could provide no further details as to conditions or precise timing for Gadhafi’s departure, NBC said, and the news report emphasized that there was no guarantee that Gadhafi would follow through on any plans to flee…
Five loud explosions shook the center of Tripoli on Thursday afternoon, possibly striking near Gadhafi’s compound. NATO jets flew overhead minutes after the blasts. It wasn’t immediately clear what was hit or if there were civilian casualties. NATO has bombarded military targets all over Libya since March when a no-fly zone was instituted…
The Bush model of war -- go in heavy, attempt to win the war on the backs of American (and allied) soldiers, attempt to establish a monopoly on the use of violence, and then continue that monopoly on the use of violence by acting as the nation's law enforcement/army for five, six, ten years -- doesn't work, or at least does not work at costs the American public is willing to pay.
I see no point agitating for a Full War Model against Iran, for example -- to urge such a thing is futile. I do not believe the American public has the appetite for such an endeavor. (At least-- not unless Iran uses its soon-to-be-built nukes.)
We didn't use to take care of these countries in this fashion. We used to arm and train rebels within those countries (they've all got them), fund them, provide intelligence, spread some bribe money around, and, when necessary, bring in the sort of Word of God that our air and naval forces issue from the air or sea.
Such wars were messy and bloody and often very very dirty, with guerrilla tactics that often looked like "terrorism" being employed by both sides. This is only a problem when the forces on our side employ such tactics, because that's the only time such tactics get condemned in the press.
They are, however, effective, much of the time at least, and with a light American involvement as far as troops on the ground.
Colin Powell's ludicrous statement -- "You break it, you buy it" -- is a formula for nonstop, decades-long nation-building of exactly the same type that George W. Bush campaigned against in 2000, albeit on a much longer and much bloodier scale than we saw in, say, Haiti.
Why do we "buy" it if we break it?
Broken societies reassemble themselves. In fact, they seem to do so more quickly than people expect, even when faced with great devastation.
Mr. Perry brought the Fed directly into the campaign debate Monday night by saying it would be "almost ... treasonous" for the central bank to play politics by expanding the money supply.
"If this guy prints more money between now and the election," Mr. Perry said in Cedar Rapids Monday night, without naming Mr. Bernanke, "I don't know what y'all would do to him in Iowa, but we—we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas."
The busy evening commute out of downtown San Francisco gave way Monday to a chaotic cat-and-mouse game between police officers and roving protesters who lashed out at the transit agency for temporarily shutting down underground cellular phone service last week.
BART closed all four downtown San Francisco stations - Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery and Embarcadero - soon after the protest began at 5 p.m. Officers in riot gear blocked entrances as many train riders fumed on the sidewalks and tried to figure out how to get home. All stations were reopened by 7:30 p.m.
Muni Metro stations at the same locations were closed in tandem with the BART stations.BART's action last Thursday - which ignited an international debate about technology, free speech and public safety - was an effort to diffuse an antipolice demonstration. But it spurred an even larger protest Monday that was organized online by a loose-knit band of computer hackers known as Anonymous.
The first thing you need to know about Rick Perry is that he is (or has been) a flagrant adulterer. The second thing you need to know is that Perry is a man who constantly uses religion and Christian Bible talk for his own political advancement, while living a double life.
Nor does Perry understand or appreciate free market capitalism and the importance of low taxes for all; Perry is a crony capitalist and he likes to spend and borrow lots of money. Perry does not respect parental rights (HPV mandate).Rick Perry, a 25 year career politician, is for the endless, costly undeclared wars; he is for an unaccountable Federal Reserve banking cartel making multi-trillion dollar interventions in a free market; he is for the Patriot Act and its assault on your privacy.
The same man who used a presidential prayer rally (8/6/11) for his personal ambitions and who often spouts Christian buzzwords and Bible talk to advance his political career is a flagrant adulterer, having sex with women who are the approximate age of his daughter Sydney, age 24.
I know this because I am a patron of Austin strip clubs. My friends and excellent contacts in the Austin strip club community tell me that Rick Perry, a la Bill Clinton, has an enabling entourage who gets him “young hotties” to have sex with – both here in Austin and especially when he is on the road. I learned about this before the 2010 Texas primary. I had an attractive stripper tell me about her direct dealings with Rick Perry. She said that she was attempting a Monica Lewinsky-type act upon Gov. Rick Perry (oral sex) but that in her words Perry was “too coked up” to perform sexually! When it came time for the stripper to leave, Perry gave her an outrageous amount of money, so large in fact that it probably means that Perry is taking cash bribes or illegal gifts to fund his extracurricular activities. Perry is not a rich man and I doubt he is spending that much of his own money on the women. (Actually sweetheart real estate deals have made the man unusual money.)
Another young woman, who has had direct dealings with Perry’s enabling entourage, told me that Perry is especially flagrantly adulterous when he goes on the road. She said that Perry has sex with the “young hotties” and that Perry and his entourage are literally having orgies in his hotel room. They are either calling escort services or picking up “young hotties” impressed by an arrogant, entitled governor of Texas .
Recently a local Austin reporter was telling me that they had heard about Rick Perry and the strippers in 2006, but they never could nail it down. Well, consider it confirmed. Additionally, there are many people in Austin who are convinced that the man is a homosexual or has had gay affairs in the past. I have never met a man who has had sex with Rick Perry, but I have met women who have had direct dealings with Adulterer Rick Perry and his enabling entourage. Perry has most definitely been living a double life.
That brings up another disqualifying characteristic of Perry: he is arrogant. Rick Perry knows his adultery rap sheet and liability more than anyone else. Perry is fully aware of the tremendous amount of risk this brings to the Republican party, his political career, his personal life and reputation. Yet, Rick Perry, drunk with arrogance and entitlement, presents himself as a legitimate presidential candidate when he is anything but that. Adulterer Rick Perry is sitting on a keg of slut-fueled nitroglycerine that if it ever exploded, would make Anthony Weiner look like a mere pimple popping.
An Indian tribe creates a corporation owned by the Tribe. Its sole function is to hire employees and then "lease" those employees to other companies. Who hires the employees? Not the Tribe. Where do the employees work? Not on the reservation. Who do the employees work for? Formally, for the Tribe's company, but actually, the outside employer. It's as if Oracle said to its employees: "Okay, I want all of you to be formally employed by this outside entity. You'll still work here, and for me, but your paycheck will come from someone else."
Why do that? Because tribal corporation don't have to pay Federal Unemployment Tax on its employees, which is around six percent of the first slice of an employee's wages. So the company thus hoses the United States (and, secondarily, the states) for those taxes, which pay for unemployment benefits, and instead the employer and the Tribe keep for themselves (and then split) those taxes.
How much money can you make this way? Well, this case involves the Blue Lake Racharia, an Indian tribe in Humbolt County. How many members does it have? 53. How many "employees" did it have?
Wisconsin Republicans narrowly maintained control of the state Senate Tuesday, according to unofficial results, winning four of six recall elections in Republican-held districts.
Tuesday's results are also a victory for Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who maintains Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature—although by the narrowest of margins in the Senate, where Republicans will have a 17-16 advantage. Democrats needed to gain three seats to flip control of the Senate but fell one short.
Be honest, don't you at least want to hear what a band called "Crocodile Skink Wargame" sounds like?
I'm afraid I think that the lion's share of the blame goes to the GOP, which escalated to this completely unnecessary showdown, and then gave up any hope of a grand bargain because it would have required some revenue increases.(But what about the specifics? I hear you cry. I find this singularly unconvincing as a rebuttal. The GOP was extraordinarily, um, specific about their total aversion to revenue increases, a position that they continued right up to the brink of a crisis, which makes me think that it was not merely a clever negotiating tactic. It is therefore not some sort of horrifying example of Democratic perfidy that the negotiations never went beyond fairly broad generalities. It's an example of what happens when you signal that you aren't going to compromise no matter what)This was not terroristic, psychopathic, or whatever, and the people who used those sorts of epithets have forfeited the moral high ground they claim to occupy. I sympathize with the Tea Party's goals of smaller government. I even kind of understand what they thought they were trying to do. But it was an enormously counterproductive tactical mistake, and though of course I would say this, I believe it was made because everyone who tried to point this out was ignored . . . nay, not just ignored, but derided as a Beltway Insider Commiesymp.In that political environment, hell, I'd downgrade us.I'm sorry, but this was stupid. It hurt the country, and it hurt the party that staged the protest vote even more. All for very little gain
There are few groups in history that have as immediately recognizable a musical sound as one finds in the music of Molly Hatchet, as while most other bands were content with one or two guitarists, "The Hatchet" preferred a triple-guitar assault. The team of Dave Hlubek, Steve Holland, and Duane Rolland establish a far more imposing, yet not overly aggressive sound on "Flirtin' With Disaster," and it is this unique contrast in sound that largely defines the bands' sound. It also enables Molly Hatchet to produce some of the most amazing solos and guitar progressions ever recorded, and yet at the same time, "Flirtin' With Disaster" is as straightforward a rock song as one can find anywhere. The guitars have the ideal amount of "twang" that stays true to their Southern roots, and yet it is the edge and slight aggression they bring that sets the band far apart from any other group using the term "Southern rock." Bassist Banner Thomas is equally impressive, as it is his playing that gives "Flirtin' With Disaster" its amazing amount of movement, as he gives the song a swing and a sway that make it impossible not to groove along with the music. This is complimented by drummer Bruce Crump, and his steady, slightly speedy pace serves as the ideal finishing touches to one of the finest musical arrangements in all of music history. The band deploys amazing periods of tension and release, and it is these "waves" of music that vault "Flirtin' With Disaster" to such an iconic status.
S&P removed for the first time the triple-A rating the U.S. has held for 70 years, saying the budget deal recently brokered in Washington didn't do enough to address the gloomy outlook for America's finances. It downgraded long-term U.S. debt to AA+, a score that ranks below more than a dozen governments', including Liechtenstein's, and on par with Belgium's and New Zealand's. S&P also put the new grade on "negative outlook," meaning the U.S. has little chance of regaining the top rating in the near term.
The unprecedented move came after several hours of high-stakes drama. It began in the morning, when word leaked that a downgrade was imminent and stocks tumbled. Around 1:30 p.m., S&P officials notified the Treasury Department that they planned to downgrade U.S. debt and presented the government with their findings. Treasury officials noticed a $2 trillion error in S&P's math that delayed an announcement for several hours. S&P officials decided to move ahead, and after 8 p.m. they made their downgrade official.
S&P said the downgrade "reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics." It also blamed the weakened "effectiveness, stability, and predictability" of U.S. policy making and political institutions at a time when challenges are mounting.
Stocks spiraled downward Thursday as investors buckled under the strain of the global economic slowdown and the failure of policy makers to stabilize financial markets.
The selling began in Europe and continued in the U.S., where stocks plunged from the opening bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its worst point drop since the financial crisis in December 2008, falling 512.76 points, or 4.31%, to 11383.68. Oil and other commodities were also hammered. Even gold was a safe haven no more as prices fell. Asian markets slid on Friday morning, with Tokyo, Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong markets all falling more than 3% in early trading.