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Monthly Archives: August 2011

More good news today out of California regarding Green Technology and the creation of jobs in that sector through Obama’s stimulus:

Solar company to file for bankruptcy

Knowing what we know about Obama’s business acumen the story here isn’t that he was wrong about a company and it’s ability to flourish.  While interesting, THAT aspect of the story has been told and retold.

No, the REAL story here is the fact that the company failed even though it received some money, a LOT of money:

A California-based solar company that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will shut down.

The company, Solyndra Inc., said Wednesday it would suspend its manufacturing operations and lay off 1,100 employees effective immediately. The company said it intends to file a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Another one bites the dust.

I’m interested though, what were the details surrounding the company’s decision to throw in the towel?

“Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion,” Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison said in a statement. “Raising incremental capital in this environment was not possible. This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate.”

Oh.  You mean that laws being passed make it difficult to predict the future?  And this inability to predict the future is creating a situation where banks don’t wanna lend you more money?

Weird.  Who woulda thought THAT?

* Let’s get this out of the way right away. I know this is redundant.

From the never ending font of all things cool, we get this:

California Assembly Bill 889 will require these protections for all “domestic employees,” including nannies, housekeepers and caregivers.

Under AB 889, household “employers” (aka “parents”) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers’ compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.

What kind of special intersection of crazy and powerful could create this law?

I like my talk radio.  And I like my North Carolina.  That’s why I listen to local talk whenever I can.  That means on the way TO work and on the way FROM work I get the local liberal talk.  In the morning I get Brad and Britt and the afternoon brings me Allan Handelmman.  Today they BOTH got me going.

First Allan.

It’s well know that the Left feels the best way to remove a bias against a particular group is to take society, group them according to characteristics that match the oppressed group and treat them differently than they do the rest of the population.  I know, I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either.  But, ya know…..

Okay, so, today’s group of people that are being exploited by the evil rich capitalists?

Ugly people:

In addition to whatever personal pleasure it gives you, being attractive also helps you earn more money, find a higher-earning spouse (and one who looks better, too!) and get better deals on mortgages. Each of these facts has been demonstrated over the past 20 years by many economists and other researchers. The effects are not small: one study showed that an American worker who was among the bottom one-seventh in looks, as assessed by randomly chosen observers, earned 10 to 15 percent less per year than a similar worker whose looks were assessed in the top one-third — a lifetime difference, in a typical case, of about $230,000.

There ya have it; a clear cut case of discrimination against a certain group of people.  And what should we do?

A more radical solution may be needed: why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?

Certainly this is more satire?

We actually already do offer such protections in a few places, including in some jurisdictions in California, and in the District of Columbia, where discriminatory treatment based on looks in hiring, promotions, housing and other areas is prohibited. Ugliness could be protected generally in the United States by small extensions of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Ugly people could be allowed to seek help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies in overcoming the effects of discrimination. We could even have affirmative-action programs for the ugly.

Come on….there is NO way we could do this:

The mechanics of legislating this kind of protection are not as difficult as you might think. You might argue that people can’t be classified by their looks — that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That aphorism is correct in one sense: if asked who is the most beautiful person in a group of beautiful people, you and I might well have different answers. But when it comes to differentiating classes of attractiveness, we all view beauty similarly: someone whom you consider good-looking will be viewed similarly by most others; someone you consider ugly will be viewed as ugly by most others. In one study, more than half of a group of people were assessed identically by each of two observers using a five-point scale; and very few assessments differed by more than one point.

For purposes of administering a law, we surely could agree on who is truly ugly, perhaps the worst-looking 1 or 2 percent of the population.

Serious?

Economic arguments for protecting the ugly are as strong as those for protecting some groups currently covered by legislation. So why not go ahead and expand protection to the looks-challenged? There’s one legitimate concern. With increasingly tight limits on government resources, expanding rights to yet another protected group would reduce protection for groups that have commanded our legislative and other attention for over 50 years.

You might reasonably disagree and argue for protecting all deserving groups. Either way, you shouldn’t be surprised to see the United States heading toward this new legal frontier.

I’m sure many generations of fathers have felt this.  But I seriously think that my America will have been better than my child’s.  As Sean Patrick says:

And so passes the glory of America.

Some time ago I stumbled on the CATO Institute’s Dan Mitchell.  He has an awesome video on how to balance the budget; a concept I’ve taken a liking to:

He also has his own blog that he regularly contributes to.  The other day he referenced a great post of his where he links economic freedom to prosperity:

What’s responsible for the turn-around in each of these nation’s welfare?

As Mr. Mitchell says:

— Chile’s score jumped from 5.6 in 1980 to 8.0 in 2008, and the country now ranks as the world’s 4th-freest economy (ahead of the United States!).

— Argentina’s ranking has improved a bit, rising from 4.4 to 6.0 between 1980 and 2008, but that still only puts them in 94th-place in the world rankings.

— Venezuela, by contrast, is embarrassingly bad. The nation’s score has dropped from 6.3 to 4.4, and its ranking has plunged from 22nd-place in 1980 to 121st-place in 2006.

Chile was the poorest and is now the most wealthy of the three.  Venezuela has seen just the reverse.

Fascinating.

I’m watching Bill O’Reilly just now; it’s paused* as I type.  He’s mentioning that Irene passed within 8 miles of his house; 8 miles to the WEST!  Jeepers, not many people are able to say that a hurricane passed to the West of ’em.

Anyway, hes talking about the fact that the storm brought out the best in people.  Folks made an effort to drive to their places of business in order to open for people who didn’t have power.  Profit motive maybe?

Sure, maybe.  But probably not.

I grew up in Minnesota.  We had highway 60 run right through town until the 4-lane came through and moved it outside of city limits.  Winters are, as you would think, harsh brutal affairs.  We would register at the city center and offer to house people who were caught on the highway and couldn’t continue.

Good times.

Once, in college, I suffered a flat tire.  While it was winter, it wasn’t brutally cold, only about 5 or 10 or so.  I changed that tire that night and made my way to the Perkins, open 24 hours.  A few folks were in there including some that knew me from my time tending bar.  They mentioned that they heard I was out on the highway with a flat but that I had the car jacked and was making progress.

While I’m sure that they didn’t keep “a-look-out” for me, it was nice knowing that they knew.  Cars were driving by and knew who I was.  They told other people and they knew to say that to me.

When I taught, I kept a house off the paved road.  While the water was running, it was cistern fed.  I had to have a truck deliver water to my house; I collected rain-water and snow.  I couldn’t cook or drink with t hat water, but hey; small town USA.

One night the neighbor down the way lost his barn in a fire.  The whole scene was filled with neighbors taking care of kids, hustling cattle and horses.  The barn, like I mentioned, was lost.  4 weeks after that fire we had a party at that farm.  A new barn held host to a dance and much beer, love and friendship.

Minnesota, rural Minnesota, even in modern times, is still a place that can sneak up ya.  Neighbors act decent because we’re a community.  We know that we may be needed to deliver food, or labor or donate a horse or sheep.

Most of America is like this.  Or would be like this if blizzards hit like they hit in Minnesota.  Or if flat tires meant danger, like in Minnesota.  People care, they wanna help their neighbor.  They want to know that the place they live is a good place.  Where you are cared for even as you care.

I wonder why we don’t think that’s the case?

*  Paused.  Awesome.  My children have never watched TV that they couldn’t pause.  I had 4 channels in total until I was 13.  We did have a color TV, but it had knobs.  The days…

If I get him fired in 2012, he can sue me for hurting his feelings:

A jury’s $60,000 verdict against Minneapolis blogger John “Johnny Northside” Hoff for a posting that got a man fired will stand, a Hennepin County judge has ordered.

In a nine-page ruling, District Judge Denise Reilly wrote that ex-community leader Jerry Moore provided “direct and circumstantial evidence” to support the jury’s verdict that a blog post by Hoff led to his termination by the University of Minnesota.

Hoff “acknowledged that it was his goal to get [Moore] fired and that he was working ‘behind the scenes’ to do so,” Reilly wrote. “After the fact, [Hoff] took personal responsibility for [Moore’s] termination and announced his ongoing, active involvement in the University’s actions.”

The case has drawn the attention of numerous free-speech advocates, including the Society of Professional Journalists, which filed a brief in support of Hoff.

Hoff, who learned of the order on Monday, called it “a dark day for the First Amendment.”

“I didn’t think it would go this way,” he said. “I’m shocked.”

The jury ruled last March that Hoff’s scathing blog post amounted to actively interfering with Moore’s job at the U, even though Hoff’s statements were true when he linked Moore to high-profile mortgage fraud.

The jury awarded Moore $35,000 for lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress. Hoff sought to overturn the verdict or get a new trial. Reilly denied both efforts.

It was true.  All of it.  And he was found guilty.

I know nothing else about the story, so I should ‘prolly withhold righteous judgement, but this kinda stinks.