November 2010


Sen. Claire McCaskill who faces a tough reelection battle in 2012 tried to stake out her independence from preisdent Obama with mixed reults.

The only thing the stimulus did was prop op a faltering economy at a cost now estimated by the CBO of $814 billion rather than the $787 billion originally estimated by the Obama administration.  That cost will be borne by future generations long after Obama  and McCaskill is gone from the scene.

As for TARP and the GM bailout if success is measured by how much money was lost then maybe McCaskill is right.  The latest estimate is that TARP will cost the taxpayers $105.4 billion while the GM shares will have to rise about 50% for the government to break even.

That’s success I can live without.

There’s bad timing and then there is really bad timing.

A 13-year old Mississippi teenager held a brief protest in China as part of his campaign to lobby to turn the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea into a peace park just before North Korea bombed a South Korean island killing two Marines.

I have a suggestion for Jonathan.  Rather than a peace park in the DMZ how about a memorial for all the South Koreans killed as a result of the North’s aggression?  But that might be too much for this budding young leftist to stomach.

 

While the media is fixated on the TSA naked body scanners as they are calling them very few people are paying attention to the lack of screening of airport workers.

As someone who flies 35,000 plus miles a year I am not fan of the TSA security features and I have underwent the full body scanner at Heathrow this summer and while it may be an invasion of my privacy on the one hand it is one of those necessary evils that we have to face if we want to have some peace of mind when traveling.

But if airport workers who have access to secure areas that normal passengers never see plus virtually all aspects of an airplane aren’t being given the same security check as a 3 -year old then we have a real problem.

Just remember the price of freedom is eternal vigilance .

For more on this read the  comments by pilots on what they fear.

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) who lost the Republican primary this year reflects on why he lost at a time when conservatives triumphed at the polls.

It wasn’t Inglis’ lack of anger but his refusal to toe a more conservative line and take a stand.  The voters weren’t demanding the he call the president a socialist or question his citizenship but that he just support the issues that were important to them.

Incumbent Republicans who lost their primaries didn’t do that and therefore they lost the privilege of serving in the House majority that will take over in January.

Sorry Bob, this is nothing but sour grapes.  Now go join a lobbying firm and make some big capitalist bucks.

Two years ago presidential candidate Barack Obama promised that he would create 5 million green jobs and was elected president  less tha a month later based on the country’s dissatisfaction with George Bush and the hope that he wasn’t just spinning another empty campaign promise.

Thanks partly to an overeager candidate and a brutal recession Obama has struggled to keep that promise and nowhere is that more eveident than in Ocala, Florida where workers that were retrained for green jobs with stimulus money are still waiting for them to materialize.

From the Washington Post

After losing his way in the old economy, Laurance Anton tried to assure his place in the new one by signing up for green jobs training earlier this year at his local community college.

Anton has been out of work since 2008, when his job as a surveyor vanished with Florida’s once-sizzling housing market. After a futile search, at age 56 he reluctantly returned to school to learn the kind of job skills the Obama administration is wagering will soon fuel an employment boom: solar installation, sustainable landscape design, recycling and green demolition.

Anton said the classes, funded with a $2.9 million federal grant to Ocala’s workforce development organization, have taught him a lot. He’s learned how to apply Ohm’s law, how to solder tiny components on circuit boards and how to disassemble rather than demolish a building.

The only problem is that his new skills have not resulted in a single job offer. Officials who run Ocala’s green jobs training program say the same is true for three-quarters of their first 100 graduates.

“I think I have put in 200 applications,” said Anton, who exhausted his unemployment benefits months ago and now relies on food stamps and his dwindling savings to survive. “I’m long past the point where I need some regular income.”

With nearly 15 million Americans out of work and the unemployment rate hovering above 9 percent for 18 consecutive months, policymakers desperate to stoke job creation have bet heavily on green energy. The Obama administration channeled more than $90 billion from the $814 billion economic stimulus bill into clean energy technology, confident that the investment would grow into the economy’s next big thing.

The infusion of money is going to projects such as weatherizing public buildings and constructing advanced battery plants in the industrial Midwest, financing solar electric plants in the Mojave desert and training green energy workers.

But the huge federal investment has run headlong into the stubborn reality that the market for renewable energy products – and workers – remains in its infancy. The administration says that its stimulus investment has saved or created 225,000 jobs in the green energy industry, a pittance in an economy that has shed 7.5 million jobs since the recession took hold in December 2007.

The industry’s growth has been undercut by the simple economic fact that fossil fuels remain cheaper than renewables. Both Obama administration officials and green energy executives say that the business needs not just government incentives, but also rules and regulations that force people and business to turn to renewable energy.

Without government mandates dictating how much renewable energy utilities must use to generate electricity, or placing a price on the polluting carbon emitted by fossil fuels, they say, green energy cannot begin to reach its job creation potential.

“Green energy investment has been a central talking point of the Obama administration’s job growth strategy,” said Samuel Sherraden, a policy analyst at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization. “It was a little bit too ambitious given the size and depth of the recession and the small size of the renewable energy industry.”

Sherraden said it was unwise for the administration to invest so heavily in green energy, at least if short-term job creation was the goal. He said green energy comes with “political and market uncertainty” that has overwhelmed its job creation potential.

Despite that, Obama has described the surge of clean energy spending as crucial both to the nation’s economic and environmental future.

“Our future as a nation depends on making sure that the jobs and industries of the 21st century take root here in America,” Obama said in October. “And there is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now – and growth in the coming years – than clean energy.”

But other administration officials acknowledge that it is likely to be years before the spending on green energy produces large numbers of jobs. And they add that only part of the money earmarked for green energy has been spent. They also agree that the government will have to help create demand to support green energy.

Still, they are optimistic for the long term, even if the spending will not significantly ease the nation’s unemployment crisis in the short run.

Anton isn’t the only one wating for a job.

Carols Arandia, 59, has earned seven green jobs certificates since beginning classes this year, while renting a room from a friend to weather the hard times.

Often studying well into the night, Arandia is familiar with hard work. He ran a small manufacturing business in his native Venezuela before arriving in the United States in 1996. For years, he lugged around a dictionary and a notebook in which he religiously wrote down words and phrases until his English became passable. He worked seven years at Boston Chicken. Later, he sold cars.

But now, after nearly two years of being out of work and a series of classes that have not led to a job, his optimism is dimming.

“What is the point of giving somebody the tools to do something but to have nowhere to use them?” he asked. “I think it’s a great program, but I don’t see the connection with all the training and jobs. And I need a job.”

Christine Bageant, 45, also jumped at the opportunity to train in green jobs, after losing her position at the county library. She viewed the new classes as an opportunity to “get in on the ground floor of something big.”

Since then she has earned similar training certificates as Arandia. A few months ago she started looking for work as a painter. She thought her newly acquired expertise in abating lead paint would make her a hot commodity.

But many of the painting contractors she has interviewed with are tiny companies, with no more than two or three employees. They are struggling to survive, and Bageant’s expertise in lead abatement has left them unimpressed.

“Right now they are blowing it off,” she shrugged. “They don’t think it’s important.”

Officials who helped develop the training program nod knowingly when asked about the difficulty graduates are having landing jobs.

“I think this is a great program,” said Peter J. Tesch, president and chief executive of the Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Corp. “Applying it to real life, that is the challenge. In a place like Florida everybody’s talking the talk, but they’re not walking the walk. The market place has not caught up to the technical training and skill sets that have been provided these people.”

That much was obvious at a recent ceremony for 15 graduates of a solar electric training class. The students beamed proudly as family members took pictures and program officials offered words of wisdom.

Then, one-by-one, they walked up front to receive their certificates. But rather than serving as a passport to a job, the certificates were more like IOUs to be redeemed sometime in the distant future.

Ocala’s goal was to create 665 jobs in the renewable energy industry but to date graduates of the program are no better off than they were before despite their training.

“There is significant job creation potential in clean energy. But it is not revealing itself quickly or clearly,” said Jerone Gamble, executive manager of continuing education at the College of Central Florida, and a chief architect of the green jobs training program. “In the time being, we’re really selling hope.”

While it would have been difficult to predict the depth of the recession he should have known that the green jobs depends on a combination of government regulations, a relatively healthy economy and lots of federal subsidies to make solar and wind energy attractive to homeowners and businesses.

And you can’t put a solar panel on a foreclosed home which there is an abundance of in Florida so the very idea that Ocala is still bothering to train people for non-existent jobs shows what a waste of taxpayer money this program has been.

The graduates shouldn’t set their sights too high because as Jerone Gamble said in the article, they are “selling hope” much like Obama did two years ago to the American public.  And we all know how well that turned out.

Forner vice-president and noted environmental activist Al Gore issues a mea culpa of sorts when he admitted that his support fr corn-based  ethanol was a mistake.

From Reuters

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was “not a good policy”, weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.

U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline. The credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31.

Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy.

“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,” said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.

“First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

“It’s hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going.”

He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions.

“One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”

U.S. ethanol is made by extracting sugar from corn, an energy-intensive process. The U.S. ethanol industry will consume about 41 percent of the U.S. corn crop this year, or 15 percent of the global corn crop, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.

A food-versus-fuel debate erupted in 2008, in the wake of record food prices, where the biofuel industry was criticised for helping stoke food prices.

Gore said a range of factors had contributed to that food price crisis, including drought in Australia, but said there was no doubt biofuels have an effect.

“The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices.

“The competition with food prices is real.”

Gore supported so-called second generation technologies which do not compete with food, for example cellulosic technologies which use chemicals or enzymes to extract sugar from fibre for example in wood, waste or grass.

“I do think second and third generation that don’t compete with food prices will play an increasing role, certainly with aviation fuels.”

This is a little bit like a “Come to Jesus” moment for Hore as he admitted that not only was he mistaken in supporting corn-based ethanol but he largely did so because he was going to run for president and needed the farm vote.

Conservatives have been saying for years that corn-based ethanol is not cost effective only to be drowned out by environmentalists like Gore and the liberal media who jumped on every green energy scheme that crossed their path regardless of the facts.

Hopefully Gore’s statement will help kill the subsidy which amounted to $3 billion in credits in 2007 and was expected to reach $5 billion this year but the corn lobby will fight hard for the chance to continue feeding at the government trough.

the free market should decide what renewable energy sources succeed and fail but the problem with allowing that to happen is that mot of them would fail without heavy government subsidies which we all pay for so green energy isn’t as cheap as the left would have us believe.

For now I’m sticking to corn on the cob.

Parents were in an uproar after primary schools in Lancashire changed their school menus to reflect a gender neutral gingerbread cookie.

From the Daily Mail

In the nursery rhyme, the Gingerbread Man fled from the clutches of an old woman and her husband.

But now he has been cornered by an even more unforgiving foe – political correctness.

Council bureaucrats have stripped gingerbread men of their gender and renamed them gingerbread ‘persons’ on menus for 400 primary schools.

Parents in Lancashire were astonished when they discovered the change.

‘It is absolutely ridiculous,’ one mother said. ‘Someone has obviously taken the effort to change this and it is almost offensive.

‘I am all for anti-discrimination but this is a pudding. The gingerbread man is a character from a rhyme in a book, for goodness sake.’

Laura Midgley, of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, added: ‘It is totally ridiculous political correctness, nobody wants to talk about gingerbread people. They are what they are.

‘It is not just an innocent mistake. Whoever did it, I hope they will think long and hard about it.

‘If these sorts of things go unchallenged, they become the norm.’

The wording went out on the new autumn-winter weekly menu provided by the Lancashire School Meals Service.

Preston MP Mark Hendrick described the change as ‘daft’.

The outcry has since forced officials into an embarrassing U-turn.

They now claim renaming the biscuits was a mistake and that their gender will be reinstated as soon as possible.

If they had remained gender neutral who would have patted them down when going through a TSA scanner?

The firestorm over Bristol Palin’s advance into the finals on Dancing With The Stars continues with reports of voter fraud by Palin fans and a viewer boycott by those that aren’t happy with Tuesday’s results.

For those that are concerned with voter fraud on a reality show I ask- Where have you been?  DWTS isn’t the only program that asks viewers to vote for their favorite performers and yet it is now the focus of unhappy (and mostly liberal) anger.  It would be nice if they were this concerned about real voter fraud in political elections.

But these accusations are nothing more than sour grapes from those that have been caught offguard by the huge outpouring of support for Bristol.

As reported in the Washington Post the best summation of why Palin has made it thus far came from her dance partner Mark Ballas when he addressed the media on the subject.

“Obviously, you guys thought Brandy should have gone through,” Ballas said to the gaggle, according to TMZ video of the incident. “Did you vote?” he asked. Those members of the media who answered said they had not. “Well, then!” Mark shot back. Bristol has made it to the finals, he said, “because she’s relatable. . . . She’s the most normal person we’ve ever had on the show. . . . She’s not an entertainer, she’s not a dancer, she’s not a singer, she’s not an actress. . . . I think people at home who have their normal lives are like, ‘If I was on the show, that’s how I would be, so I want to vote and see how, if I was to compete on the show, what it would be like,’ ” Ballas speculated.

The media can’t get over that Bristol has won American’s hearts and is worried that a Bristol win will a feel good story for the Palin family that they would rather not have to report on given their disdain for her mother.

It’s anyone’s guess who will win the cheesy mirror ball trophy but one thing is for sure and that is that Bristol has already beaten the liberal media with her appearance and that is worthy of a prize in and of itself.

They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words but in the case of rioting students in Great Britain CNN Executive Producer  Nadia Bilchik felt compelled to go behind the pictures to explain why the students were tearing up government property.

Bilchik explained that until the late 1990’s students in Great Britain didn’t pay any university tuition and over time it gradually rose to the equivalent of $4500.  With the British government facing what even Bilchik admits is an enormous deficit they are left with very little choice but to raise the fees in order to close the budget gap.

But for Bilchik that’s really not a god enough reason since people who are now in their 30’s probably never paid any tuition and leaves viewers with the impression that the increase in fees despite the deficit is unfair since so many British citizens until recently had received a free university education.

Bilchik did think it was a shame that the student protest turned violent but closed the segment by saying that”but let’s take a look at the bigger picture of what they are protesting” and that “it gets lost in the whole big scenario.”

I think the public understands that the students are upset with tuition increases but that doesn’t give them the right to riot and destroy property and CNN has no business in turning it into a justifiable act just because previous generations received a free education.

That’s the problem with the cradle to grave society that exists in much of Europe. People expect that the government will take care of them forever and ask little in return so they can work a little and vacation a lot.  Well nothing in life is truly free and Great Britain is now paying the piper for decades of government excesses and it’s going to be very painful indeed.

Every fall television season the networks trot out several new shows to replace last years failures or shows that had reached the end of their useful ratings life.

This year was no different and we have seen the usual crop of hits and misses but no failure was apparently more glaring to Allison Samuels who laments in Newsweek the demise of Undercovers a new NBC series with a pair of attractive black actors as the leads.

Samuels just doesn’t take Hollywood to task for what she considers the dearth of leading black actors on television she goes as far as to say that Tinseltown isn’t ready for “super-negros” as she calls them

Here is part of what Samuels wrote in Newsweek

On Web sites such as Entertainment Weekly’s and Bossip theories ran amok as to why a flashy drama from a veteran producer sank before it could reach deep water. Some pointed to lack of star power, while a few fans complained of weak writing. Sure, all those things can cause any show’s early demise, but I’m not convinced those very fixable creative flaws explain the show’s short life span; ratings were low from the very first episode. I think it’s possible that a slightly more obvious, disturbing reason could be behind Undercovers’ failure, and it’s pretty familiar: race. Prime-time audiences just weren’t ready for “super-negros” on the small screen. And that’s exactly what Undercovers was: a show about black people doing very “unblack” things. Before anyone gets upset, let me explain. “Super-negro” was a term my family often used while watching old Sidney Poitier movies back in the day. In Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (our favorite), Poitier portrays a black doctor in love with a white, wealthy young socialite during the ’60s. Pretty early in the film, you begin to realize that Poitier’s character is not just any black doctor (an accomplishment in itself for most people then, and now); he’s a black doctor with degrees from several Ivy League universities, an internationally known scholar behind cures of dozens of diseases in Africa and elsewhere. Overkill. But Poitier portraying a “regular negro” was simply not good enough during those times, so the “super-negro” was born. The same could be said of his character from In the Heat of the Night, a Philadelphia cop with highly decorated awards.

Fast-forward 40 years, and it’s plain to see that Hollywood still hasn’t figured out a way to move beyond that absurd premise. It still can’t just fit us in. Yes, we often appear as sidekicks or backup characters in an array of popular shows in prime time, but rarely do we carry a show as the star or let the viewers come home with us. One exception is Jada Pinkett Smith’s turn as a no-nonsense nurse on the TNT show Hawthorne. Wonder why? It might have something to do with the fact that it’s a show that she and her husband, Will Smith, created and executive produce. Otherwise, it appears that the powers that be in Tinseltown feel quite comfortable relegating us to reinforcing every negative stereotype known to humanity in low-grade, embarrassing reality shows like Flavor of Love and Basketball Wives. So exactly how does the television audience (black, white, or other) make the gigantic leap from those constant images of foolery to a show like Undercovers? It doesn’t.

Samuels may be an award winning correspondent for Newsweek as her bio claims but in this case she is nothing but a race baiter for accusing Hollywood of purposely discriminating against blacks in leading roles.

Did Samuels actually watch any of the episodes?  I realize that television is entertainment but in the case of this show the idea that a young couple running a catering business were retired CIA agents and have been reactivated stretched the imagination.  The couple looked like they were maybe 30 years old at most and I could be wrong but how many retired spooks have you heard of retire at such a young age?  Also where did the wife learn all those languages?  It seemed like it didn’t matter what country she was in she could always speak the language.  How convenient.

The show didn’t fail because of some Hollywood conspiracy against “super-negros” but because it wasn’t remotely believable.

By the way if a white person had used the term “super-negro” he or she would have been crucified by the press but since Samuels is black it’s perfectly fine.

If Samuels is looking for bias in Hollywood she would be better off looking at how few conservatives are regularly employed or the ones that are keep quiet until they have established themselves.

 

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