Archive for August, 2010

China leading the way in all aspects of clean energy development

August 14, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s a topic I’ve touched on before, and it’s not getting any better for the United States:

U.S. venture capital investors in new energy technologies are beginning to groom their portfolio companies for increased business in China, given favorable government policies and more availability of capital.

Many U.S. clean technology companies already rely on Chinese manufacturers for their component parts. Now, investors said, U.S. companies are turning to China for capital as well.

“The funding crunch in the U.S. is really severe,” said Jiang Xiaodong, a managing director with New Enterprise Associates and head of the firm’s operations in China. “And a lot of the Chinese companies that are listed on the SME [board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange] exchange and on ChiNext raised a lot of money and now they want to spend it in a way that gives them access to technology and future growth opportunities.”


Earlier this year, Tucker, Ga.-based Coaltek Inc. partnered with Guangdong Yi Jian Investment Co. to build a 10 million-metric-ton per year coal-treatment facility, which uses the company’s technology to turn low-grade coal into a higher burning, more powerful and less-polluting fuel. They’re building a plant together in Inner Mongolia that will ultimately cost $250 million.

Coaltek’s investors see similar opportunities with other companies in their portfolio. “We’re looking at things that have been developed [in the U.S.], but are not really ramping because of the availability of capital,” said Michel J. Maloof III, a principal with Braemar Energy Ventures, which has been an investor in Coaltek since the company’s first round.

This is all food for thought when we consider that our government is considerably anti-capital and anti-business.  Sure, the president will tap dance for a photo-op at a plant that makes batteries for electric cars.  But his people will make sure that said plant will operate only with the benefit of union workers.  Anything less is not a viable option.  Costs increase, regulatory requirements become more and more onerous and, as I noted previously, the US prices itself out of the market for innovation and capital that are necessary to develop a significant market presence.

The left loves to decry capitalists, capitalism and profits for shareholders.  At the same time, they also genuflect before the altar of progressive utopianism when it comes to alternative energy. 

They want their wind turbines, but crap on those who want to make it a profitable enterprise.  Flushing money down a toilet is not a way towards energy independence, and government will not provide solutions brought down from the clouds on a magical unicorn.  You can’t have it both ways.

Those classy Democrats

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Stay classy, Democrats:

It was a dramatic but fitting start to an evening that brimmed with political defiance. About 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, as guests began strolling into the Plaza Hotel to celebrate Representative Charles B. Rangel’s 80th birthday, former Mayor David N. Dinkins turned to confront a heckler.

“You know you are attending a party for a crook,” the man yelled.

At that, Mr. Dinkins, a paragon of statesmanship and dignity, raised his middle finger at the man, displaying it for all to see, according to witnesses, whose accounts were confirmed by the former mayor.

The former mayor of New York city, attending the birthday party of one of the country’s most corrupt politicians, confronted by a bystander pointing out that fact, tells said bystander to go screw himself.

These Democrats really have their priorities straight don’t they?

“Recovery Summer” crawls along

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

This morning’s job report was ugly:

The economy is looking bleaker as new applications for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in almost six months.

It’s a sign that hiring remains weak and employers may be going back to cutting their staffs. Analysts say the increase suggests companies won’t be adding enough workers in August to lower 9.5 percent unemployement rate.

First-time claims for jobless benefits edged up by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 484,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the highest total since February. Analysts had expected claims to fall.

Initial claims have now risen in three of the last four weeks and are close to their high point for the year of 490,000, reached in late January. The four-week average, which smooths volatility, soared by 14,250 to 473,500, also the highest since late February.


Claims fell steadily last year from their peak of 651,000, reached in March 2009. But they have mostly leveled out this year at or above 450,000. In a healthy economy with rapid hiring, claims usually drop below 400,000.

Seeing the endless stream of bad economic news over the past several months, and especially the weak jobs situation, I can’t help but think about the early days of the Obama administration, and their push for the trillion dollar $800+ stimulus package.

Remember the boasts made by both the administration and congressional Democrats, about the number of shovel-ready jobs that were lined up, waiting for federal funding?  And how those jobs would set in motion this miraculous economic recovery rooted in Keynesian economics?  And how not one Republican representative voted for that monstrosity in the House?

Me too.

The ball’s in the American people’s court this November–hold the politicians accountable for the lies.

White House to left-wingers: Drop dead…

August 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Gotta love this story:

The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

The White House, constantly under fire from expected enemies on the right, has been frustrated by nightly attacks on cable news shows catering to the left, where Obama and top lieutenants like Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have been excoriated for abandoning the public option in healthcare reform; for not moving faster to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay; and for failing, so far, to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Liberals have criticized Obama and his staff for moving to the middle and bargaining on healthcare reform, as well as the financial regulatory overhaul and even the $787 billion economic stimulus package, which some liberals said should have been larger.

Nothing spells the dog days of summer like some political fratricide, eh?

To be fair, if this were, say, the Bush administration, and Ari Fleischer made these remarks on the eve of midterm elections in which the party in power is at serious risk of losing their majorities, I’d be more than a little annoyed.  And it looks like the “professional left” is a bit perturbed this evening.

But the best thing about this story is that the administration is sticking its finger in the eye of the constituents who were the most mindless and sycophantic supporters of Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.  I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot more on this story in the next few days.

Pass the popcorn.

Obamanomics lays an egg

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Some call it Obamanomics, but really it’s just more of the same failed Keynesianism.  The same economic theories that the left was praising in the pre-inauguration winter of 2009, as the salvation for our economic woes.

No coincidence that Peter Orszag and now, Christina Romer have jumped ship:

Romer is best known for drafting the February 2009 report “The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,” which the White House used as an ammunition belt in the fight to gain passage of its $862 billion economic stimulus bill (the actual cost of which exceeds $1 trillion when interest is included).

Romer predicted that following passage of the stimulus bill, unemployment would plateau below 8 percent last fall and by this month register at 7 percent. That’s not close enough for government work, as unemployment stands at 9.5 percent today. It would be higher except that hundreds of thousands of frustrated job seekers have given up looking for new jobs and dropped out of the labor force.

Those who fail miserably in the real world, go back to teaching at Berkeley I guess.

Meanwhile, the $787 billion porkulus is flushed down the toilet:

…[T]he stimulus bill has proven to be an extraordinary waste of borrowed money that has failed to create jobs, generate economic growth or do much of anything other than line the pockets of White House political allies. That and give $308 million in subsidies to BP before the Gulf oil spill disaster, and subsidize a study on what happens when monkeys snort coke.

As Romer fades back to her teaching post at Berkeley, Obama is adding to the economic misery by creating an environment of regulatory uncertainty.

There is no accountability at all to what these people bring to the table.  The Obama administration was heralded by the press and the blogosphere as young blood, a haven of Democratic intellectualism that was supposed to do away with fiscal recklessness of the past, repudiate a failed Republican agenda, and jump-start the economy.

Now, with the better part of two years behind them (not to mention almost four years of a Democratically-controlled congress), the administration is trying to put lipstick on a pig of an economic landscape.

The worst part of all of this is that real Americans are suffering.  Nobody is asking for a handout, but the government’s actions appear to exacerbate the problems.

Open Thread

August 7, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s about 85 degrees today and sunny and, more importantly, no humidity.   Until today, this has been the summer of 100 degree temps and full-blast humidity.  Either that or it rains.

Going out to enjoy the day.

But first, some summer music:

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More on Prop C

August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

With the passage of Prop C as a backdrop, Michael Barone sifts through the results from this past Tuesday’s primaries, and what appears to be serious trouble for Obama and the Democrats:

Heavy Republican turnout helps account for the 71%-29% majority for Missouri’s Proposition C, which purports to ban any mandate to buy health insurance. But it doesn’t explain the whole thing.

[…] Proposition C carried all 115 counties in Missouri (St. Louis City is separate and apart from St. Louis County, which voted for C; Kansas City, whose results are reported separately, is part of Jackson County, which as a whole voted for it as well. To have the mandate rejected by 71% of voters in a state Obama missed carrying by only 0.2% is a pretty devastating result.

What does Chuck Schumer think about all of this?

Democrats and the media can spin this all they want.  It’s looking more and more likely that there really is a groundswell of voter dissatisfaction out there for Democrats and their left-wing agenda.


August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

On this date in 1966, the Beatles released Revolver.

Revolver was right on par with, if not better than, Sgt. Pepper.

Beatles hagiography drives me nuts.  The Beatles were not gods, and were by no means perfect musically.  But their music stands the test of time.  Like all other musical acts, their music needs to be put in the perspective of the era in which it was produced.

And not for nothing, that period from 1966 through early 1968 is probably the best quality period in pop music history.

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Newsweek, the money pit

August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

The magazine was sold this week, allegedly for a dollar.  Here’s why:

Revenue dropped 38 percent between 2007 and 2009, to $165 million. Newsweek’s negligible operating loss (not including certain pension and early retirement changes) of $3 million in 2007 turned into a bloodbath: the business lost $32 million in 2008 and $39.5 million in 2009.

Even after reducing headcount by 33 percent and slashing the number of issues printed and distributed to readers each week from 2.6 million to 1.5 million, the 2010 operating loss is still forecast at $20 million.

The slow, miserable death of Old Media is no surprise, but these numbers are jaw-dropping.

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Missouri voters push back against Obamacare

August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s one battle in what will be a long fight against Obamacare:

Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama’s administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.

“The citizens of the Show-Me State don’t want Washington involved in their health care decisions,” said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.

With most of the vote counted, Proposition C was winning by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. The measure, which seeks to exempt Missouri from the insurance mandate in the new health care law, includes a provision that would change how insurance companies that go out of business in Missouri liquidate their assets.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Cunningham said at a campaign gathering at a private home in Town and Country. “Citizens wanted their voices to be heard.”

Ed Morrissey breaks down the results:

How big was this victory? Three weeks ago, Rasmussen polled likely voters in Missouri and asked whether they supported repeal of ObamaCare. At that time, 58% said they supported its repeal, with 50% strongly supporting it. Thirty-eight percent said they opposed repeal. That 58/38 split turned into a 71/29 disaster for Democrats and Obama.


Even Rasmussen may be underestimating the power of ObamaCare repeal in its likely-voter turnout, as their last poll on this question in Missouri clearly underestimated (in an indirect survey, of course) the results for this election.


Bear in mind that over 315,000 Democrats turned out to cast ballots in the primary that nominated Robin Carnahan, while over 577,000 Republicans hit the polls. That is about a 65/35 split — which means that a significant amount of Democrats either supported the ballot measure repudiating ObamaCare, or didn’t bother to cast a vote to defend the program. Actually, Prop C got more votes than the combined voting in both Senate primaries — which tells us something even more about the passion in the electorate.

Democrats may have to hit the panic button after seeing the results from this swing state. ObamaCare set fire to the electorate last year, and that may be an inferno for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in November.

As goes Missouri, so goes the nation?

Like I said, this is great news.  But I remain pessimistic on the probability of repeal.  So much has to fall into place for repeal with teeth to happen.  Republicans need a massive victory in November.  That includes the Tea Partiers, who better make a big splash in November, if they want to be taken seriously.  Other state referendums need to be won.

But more to Morrissey’s point, and this is good to see, the Obamacare push-back appears to be hammering Democrats even harder than expected.

This is a great first step.  But it’s a first step in a long walk nonetheless.