"Overflowing" Government Subsidies

It is bad enough that projects that don't pay for themselves are getting subsidies. The problem is that they are getting almost all their money from the government and (surprise) that the subsidies are haphazard. From the New York Times:

. . . Obama administration officials said the subsidies were intended to help renewable-energy plants that were jumbo-sized or used innovative technology, both potential obstacles to getting private financing. But even proponents of the subsidies say the administration may have gone overboard.

Concerns that the government was being too generous reached all the way to President Obama. In an October 2010 memo prepared for the president, Lawrence H. Summers, then his top economic adviser; Carol M. Browner, then his adviser on energy matters; and Ronald A. Klain, then the vice president’s chief of staff, expressed discomfort with the “double dipping” that was starting to take place. They said investors had little “skin in the game.”

Officials involved in reviewing the loan applications said that Treasury Department officials pressed the Energy Department to respond to these concerns.

Officials at both agencies declined to discuss the anticipated financial returns of the clean-energy projects the federal government has agreed to guarantee, saying the information was confidential. . . .

In at least one instance — NRG’s Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma County, Ariz. — the Energy Department demanded that the company agree not to apply for a Treasury grant it was legally entitled to receive. The government was concerned the extra subsidy would result in excessive profit, NRG executives confirmed.

In other cases, the agency required that companies use most of the Treasury grants that they would get when construction was complete to pay down part of the government-guaranteed construction loans instead of cashing out the equity investors.

“The private sector really has more skin in the game than the public realizes,” said Andy Katell, a spokesman for GE Energy Financial Services, which like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other financial firms has large investments in several of these projects.

But there is no doubt that the deals are lucrative for the companies involved.

G.E., for example, lobbied Congress in 2009 to help expand the subsidy programs, and it now profits from every aspect of the boom in renewable-power plant construction.

It is also an investor in one solar and one wind project that have secured about $2 billion in federal loan guarantees and expects to collect nearly $1 billion in Treasury grants. The company has also won hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to sell its turbines to wind plants built with public subsidies. . . .

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Ann Coulter's piece does what the news media should be doing on the accusations about Herman Cain

Will anyone in the media be apologizing for what they have put Herman Cain through? Ann Coulter's latest piece.

Herman Cain has spent his life living and working all over the country -- Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, D.C. -- but never in Chicago.

So it's curious that all the sexual harassment allegations against Cain emanate from Chicago: home of the Daley machine and Obama consigliere David Axelrod.

Suspicions had already fallen on Sheila O'Grady, who is close with David Axelrod and went straight from being former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley's chief of staff to president of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), as being the person who dug up Herman Cain's personnel records from the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

The Daley-controlled IRA works hand-in-glove with the NRA. And strangely enough, Cain's short, three-year tenure at the NRA is evidently the only period in his decades-long career during which he's alleged to have been a sexual predator.

After O'Grady's name surfaced in connection with the miraculous appearance of Cain's personnel files from the NRA, she issued a Clintonesque denial of any involvement in producing them -- by vigorously denying that she knew Cain when he was at the NRA. (Duh.)

And now, after a week of conservative eye-rolling over unspecified, anonymous accusations against Cain, we've suddenly got very specific sexual assault allegations from an all-new accuser out of ... Chicago.

Herman Cain has never lived in Chicago. But you know who has? David Axelrod! And guess who lived in Axelrod's very building? Right again: Cain's latest accuser, Sharon Bialek. . . . .

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett set the events at Penn State in motion

When Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett was the State Attorney General, he started an investigation in 2009 into charges that former coachJerry Sandusky was molesting young boys. Corbett couldn't say anything about the investigation. But when the information finally came out Corbett used his roll as a trustee on the school board of trustees to push for a house cleaning at Penn State. He also made the decision to show up at the trustee meeting to make sure that the right thing was done. The NY Times has this:

. . . “He was upset about the inaction,” said Kevin Harley, who worked with Mr. Corbett in the attorney general’s office and is now his press secretary. “He knew what witnesses were going to the grand jury even though he was running for governor. So then he became governor, and he knew at some point that this day would be coming. He just didn’t know when it would be.”

That day came last Friday, when the charges became public against the former coach, Jerry Sandusky, and two senior university officials. Suddenly, though, Mr. Corbett faced a new challenge: as governor, he was effectively a member of Penn State’s board of trustees, the body that would decide how to handle the crisis, when to act and who, if anyone, to fire. But he also knew information about the investigation that he could not share with anyone, including other trustees, and was still bound by rules prohibiting prosecutors from making possibly prejudicial statements.

Over the next four days, then, Mr. Corbett, a Republican, kept his public statements spare, calling on trustees to act quickly and aggressively. But privately, he worked to move the board in what he believed was the right direction. He called multiple members, including Vice Chairman John P. Surma, the chief executive of U.S. Steel, and told them that the country was watching, that a change at the top was needed and that the issue was about more than a football program, according to a person with knowledge of his efforts.

Mr. Corbett eventually decided to send a public signal: he formally announced he would attend the scheduled meeting of the trustees on Friday, something he had never done before. . . .

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Not much hope for the housing market turning around soon

"House to vote on concealed weapons reciprocity bill next week"

A news report on this is available here.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill next week that would require states to accept concealed weapons permits issued in other states.

The measure already has the support of more than half the representatives in the House so it's likely to pass. It could significantly affect who authorities allow to carry a gun in Minnesota. Right now, Minnesota's Department of Public Safety only recognizes concealed carry permits from 15 states.

Department officials say laws in the remaining states, including neighbors North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin, aren't similar enough to Minnesota's concealed weapons law to grant reciprocity. U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack is one of the five Minnesota House members who back a bipartisan bill that would require all states to recognize concealed carry permits issued elsewhere.

Cravaack, a Republican, knows firsthand the problems that states' different laws pose for gun owners. He has a concealed carry permit and frequently drives to Wisconsin to visit his in-laws. "I have to take my weapon, take the bullets out of the weapon, put it in the trunk separated from the ammo," Cravaack said. "It's a little bit of a hassle. But at the same time, if I have a permit to carry, it should be respected in all the different states." . . .


Obama's nondecision is really a decision on the Canada to Texas oil pipeline

Obama is increasing the costs of the pipeline and may kill it simply by delaying it. In addition, everyone knows that it will be easier for Obama to kill this once the election is over. From Reuters:

The decision would be a victory for environmentalists, many of whom oppose the pipeline, and a setback for TransCanada Corp, whose $7 billion Keystone XL project is seen as the most important North American oil pipeline plan for decades.

One source familiar with the matter said that studying a new route for the pipeline would likely take 12-18 months, putting a final decision after President Barack Obama's bid for re-election on November 6, 2012.

If the administration explores a new route, "it's a huge victory, and it would probably be the biggest environmental gift that President Barack Obama has given us," said Tony Iallonardo, a spokesman at the National Wildlife Federation. . . .

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Romney keeps things really vague

Romney will pretty much leave the tax system and government spending the way they are. After four or eight years of Romney, Obama's changes in spending and taxes will pretty much be locked in. Romney just wants to be president and wants to cut the difference between the two parties. But I think that in the general election he will be attacked mercilessly for his flip-flops. I suppose that similar attacks can be made against Obama, that he is even more left wing than he promised. Paul Gigot at the WSJ's Political Diary nails Romney here:

If you want to know why Mitt Romney is leading the GOP presidential race, you could do worse than consider his response to moderator John Harwood's tax reform question at CNBC's Wednesday night debate. Mr. Harwood tried to pin the former Massachusetts governor down by pointing out that, among the GOP candidates, he was the only one who didn't have a tax reform plan.

Question: "You don't have a flat tax. You're proposing to preserve the Bush-era tax rates. What is wrong with the idea that we should go to one rate? Why do you believe in a progressive tax system?"

Mr. Romney blew right past that question to hit his talking points:

"Well, I would like to see our tax rates flatter," he said. "I'd like to see our code simpler. I'd like to see the special breaks that we have in the code taken out. That's one of the reasons why I'd take the corporate rate from 35 [percent] down to 25, is to take out some of the special deals that are there.

"With regards to our tax code, what I want to do is to take our precious dollars as a nation and focus them on the people in this country that have been hurt the most, and that's the middle class. The Obama economy has really crushed middle-income Americans. This president has failed us so badly. We have 26 million people out of work or in part-time jobs, that need full-time work or have stopped looking for work altogether. Median incomes have dropped 10% in the last three years. At the same time, gasoline prices are up, food prices are up, health-care costs are up. And so what I want to do is help the people who've been hurt the most. And that's the middle class. And so what I do is focus a substantial tax break on middle-income Americans."

Now, there is a professional at work: Dodge the flat-tax debate, pivot to a whack at President Obama, and stress that you share the aspirations of tax reform but first we must cut taxes on "the middle class," who happen to be most voters.

This obscures the fact that Mr. Romney is only proposing to cut capital gains and dividend taxes on those Americans, most of whom don't have many capital gains or dividends. He isn't proposing to cut their income taxes, though he skillfully left the impression that he is. And in cutting taxes only for the "middle-class," Mr. Romney is also accepting Mr. Obama's definition of "the rich." As for reform, how will we get a flatter, simpler system if the GOP nominee won't make the case for it? . . .

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What the new Bond Girl thinks of guns

French beauty Berenice Marlohe is the newest "Bond Girl." Her comments on guns are available here.

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Did DOJ intentionally lie about "gun walking"?

In February, DOJ sent a letter to Senator Grassley denying that they ever walked guns. High level BATF officials were involved writing the letter and they surely knew about "Fast and Furious." From The Hill Newspaper:

. . . . In a February letter to the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Weich wrote that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) “makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”

In his letter to Weich on Wednesday, Issa said he has documents indicating that high-level ATF and DOJ officials in multiple offices were involved in preparing and drafting the letter to Grassley, who launched Congress’ probe into the controversial Operation Fast and Furious.

Those officials, Issa said, had access to “reams of evidence that showed ATF did not make every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”

Issa took Weich to task for the statements made in the letter to Grassley. In testimony before Issa’s committee in June, Weich accepted full responsibility for the contents of the letter.

“Mr. Weich, as you are well aware, it is a crime to knowingly make false statements to Congress,” Issa wrote on Wednesday.

“As the Department’s principal liaison to Congress, we rely on you to be straight with the facts. You have not been, and so your credibility on this issue has been seriously eroded.

“Whether it is the case that you were fed a lie and faithfully repeated it in a letter to Congress, or whether it is the case that you took the initiative to lie to Congress yourself, you are responsible for the contents of letters that bear your signature. The buck stops with you,” Issa said.

Issa asked Weich to give him by next Wednesday a complete list of everyone involved in preparing the letter, copies of communications discussing its preparation, and any existing earlier drafts of the letter. . . . .


Move to fix training requirement imposed in Wisconsin

The state AG apparently went beyond the law in mandating a certain length of training to get a concealed handgun permit.

Applicants to carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin will no longer have to complete four hours of training, after a Republican-controlled legislative committee voted Monday to do away with a requirement that had been assailed by the National Rifle Association as being too strict.

The rule mandating the successful completion of at least four hours of training had been put in place by Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's Department of Justice.

Van Hollen testified Monday in support of the rule, saying it was necessary since the Legislature had said only that training was required but didn't say how much. He said four hours was the industry standard and not having a minimum requirement would make it impossible for the DOJ to verify that applicants had completed any training.

He also said that given that more than 20,000 people have submitted applications to get permits already, the public has not found the requirement to be too onerous.

But Republicans who control the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules ignored Van Hollen's concerns and voted to suspend the rule effective immediately. The committee also removed a requirement that applicants have a signed statement from the instructor verifying that the course had been successfully completed.

"There's no reason why we have to micromanage how people obtain their concealed carry permit," said Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend. He said other states with no minimum training requirements haven't had any problems and "there's going to be no problem in the state of Wisconsin either."
Republican Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, a sponsor of the bill, spoke in support of suspending the training requirement, saying the Legislature's intent was to leave it up to applicants to determine how many hours of training they needed.

"I really, truly believe we have to trust that individual," Suder said. The DOJ did not have the authority to specify a minimum number of hours, he said.

From now on, the DOJ will be "very liberal in accepting applications unless we have reason to believe there has been fraud or dishonesty or some aspect of the law has been disregarded," Van Hollen said. . . .


Castle doctrine passed in Wisconsin

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Homeowners who shoot intruders would receive strong legal protection, under a bill approved by the state Senate on Thursday and the Assembly early Friday.

The bill passed in the Senate on a bipartisan 26-7 vote and then was returned to the Assembly. All Republican senators voted for the bill along with nine Democrats . . .

The Assembly also passed the proposal on a bipartisan vote Tuesday, but since the Senate tweaked the proposal Thursday, the Assembly had to take it up again. Lawmakers in that house approved the Senate change on a voice vote shortly after 5 a.m. Friday. GOP Gov. Scott Walker has said that he supports the bill in principle but will still review it before deciding whether to sign it.

Under the bill, courts in most criminal and civil matters would presume that property owners using deadly force had acted reasonably against anyone unlawfully inside their residence, business or vehicle, whether the trespasser was armed or not. The proposal is sometimes known as the "castle doctrine," a reference to the saying that one's home is one's castle.

The legislation is one of a slew of bills moving through the Legislature this week as GOP lawmakers advance their agenda ahead of recall efforts expected to start against Walker and state senators later this month. . . .


More on Solyndra

A billionaire Obama donor directly lobbied White House officials over half billion dollars given to Solyndra.

Newly obtained emails released by House investigators suggest that George Kaiser, a billionaire Obama donor and chief investor in bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, discussed the company with White House officials, directly contradicting earlier accounts.

In a letter to the White House, House Energy and Commerce committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich, and oversight panel chair Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., disclosed the emails including one from March 5, 2010 between Kaiser and Steve Mitchell, Kaiser’s venture capital firm Argonaut.

"BTW, a couple of weeks ago, when Ken and I were visiting with a group of Administration folks in DC who are in charge of the stimulus process (White House, not DOE) and Solyndra came up, every one of them responded simultaneously about their thorough knowledge of the Solyndra story, suggesting it was one of their prime poster children."

Yet both Kaiser and the White House previously denied Solyndra was ever discussed in any of his 17 visits to the White House. . . .

Also the Vice President's office was intimately involved in pushing for the money.

"They about had an orgasm in Biden's office when we mentioned Solyndra," reads a Feb. 27, 2010, email from Levit to Mitchell. A follow-up email from Mitchell to Levit later that day responds with: "That's awesome! Get us a (Department of Energy) loan."
According to exchanges obtained by Fox News, in an email from Mitchell to Kaiser on March 5, 2010, Mitchell writes that "it appears things are headed in the right direction and (Energy Secretary Steven) Chu is apparently staying involved in Solyndra's application and continues to talk up the company as a success story."

In a Feb. 27, 2010, message from Levit to a party whose name has been redacted, Levit writes that there was a meeting with a group of people in "Biden's office -- they seemed to love our Brady Project -- also all big fans of Solyndra." . . .

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Technology for emergencies

This story available here about Siri was quite interesting.


Texas Railroad Commission may let employees carry concealed handguns at work

From the Times Record News:

Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman has proposed a policy change that will allow RRC employees who are in full compliance with the state's concealed handgun license (CHL) laws to carry firearms while they are conducting commission business.

Smitherman said, "During the normal course of performing their jobs, RRC employees often work alone in remote and desolate areas of the state where they may encounter criminals or dangerous wild animals. The least we can do is allow them to exercise their legal right to carry firearms in accordance with state law."

"Upon learning that RRC policy explicitly prohibited CHL holders carrying their firearms, I turned to my friend Jerry Patterson at the General Land Office, and crafted a policy to use at the Railroad Commission based on the GLO's successful program, and today I asked my fellow commissioners to change our policy to this new standard," Smithermansaid. "I appreciate the support of Chairman Jones and Commissioner Porter to make this change." . . .

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Oregon Public Universities try ways to get around court ruling

Oregon joins Mississippi, Wisconsin, Utah, and Colorado as states that say people can carry concealed handguns on university property. Unfortunately, the universities are trying to do what they can to negate this ability. From the Register Guard:

The Oregon University System on Tuesday said it has decided not to challenge an appeals court decision that struck down a rule barring people from bringing guns onto state university campuses.

The September ruling means people with a concealed weapons permit are allowed to bring firearms onto university campuses. The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that only the state Legislature has the authority to set rules governing concealed weapons.

But university system officials said on Tuesday they will look at using other rulemaking authority to limit firearms on university grounds and buildings.

Although the system can’t set broad rules barring firearms, officials believe individual campuses can include a firearms ban in other forms that would bar most, but not all, guns on campus.

For example, the fine print on tickets to many sporting events often includes language that essentially requires the purchaser to agree not to bring firearms into a stadium or university property as a condition of buying the ticket. Most universities also include a firearms ban in the contracts students sign in order to live in campus residence halls.

“Those are exactly the kinds of things we will be considering,” said Di Saunders, communications director for the system.

Earlier, in the wake of a similar court ruling affecting Oregon school districts, some districts have barred their employees, as a condition of employment, from carrying guns on school property. That type of rule also could be adopted by universities, Saunders said, noting that the appeals court upheld such employment-related rules.

Such rules conceivably could be extended to students as well. Universities also might impose rules prohibiting people who use or rent universities facilities from allowing people to carry guns, and a similar requirement could be written into contract with companies that provide services on campus. . . .

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Another broken promise by Obama on taxes

This promise has been broken many times already and I haven't been doing a good job keeping track, but here is another case. For those who don't remember the promise:

"I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes."

From the Heritage Foundation:

President Obama’s Agriculture Department today announced that it will impose a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees—the Christmas Tree Tax—to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.
In the Federal Register of November 8, 2011, Acting Administrator of Agricultural Marketing David R. Shipman announced that the Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board. The purpose of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” (7 CFR 1214.46(n)). And the program of “information” is to include efforts to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States” (7 CFR 1214.10).
To pay for the new Federal Christmas tree image improvement and marketing program, the Department of Agriculture imposed a 15-cent fee on all sales of fresh Christmas trees by sellers of more than 500 trees per year (7 CFR 1214.52). And, of course, the Christmas tree sellers are free to pass along the 15-cent Federal fee to consumers who buy their Christmas trees. . . .


20,000 concealed carry applications in Wisconsin

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has received more than 20,000 concealed carry applications since the law took effect Tuesday.

Data from the state Justice Department show that as of 4 p.m. Friday, 20,476 applications had been submitted. Of those, 879 concealed carry licenses had been approved and 793 had been printed. . . .

State officials have said they anticipate that as many as 200,000 applications could be submitted in the first few months.

To receive a concealed carry permit in Wisconsin, applicants must be at least 21, pass a background check and undergo training. Wisconsin becomes the 49th state to allow people to carry concealed weapons; Illinois is the only state without a concealed carry law. . . .

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Push to unionize Apple retail employees

It would be interesting to see how union work rules would raise costs and discourage the implementation of new Apple stores. You could help some existing workers and the expense of others, but that is the way unions always work. From CNET:

"The stores have been ranked in the top 50 best places to work by job tracker Glassdoor.com three years running, along with earning other accolades."

Apple stores currently are great places to visit. People are very friendly and anyone can help you out. Could you imagine what union work rules would do to the culture of the place?


Newest Fox News piece: Blame Bush -- Is That Holder's Strategy to Get Out of the 'Fast and Furious' Mess?

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

Blame Bush. It has been almost three years since President Obama took office, yet he still blames Bush for the bad economy. Now the Obama administration is following the same strategy to get out of the "Fast and Furious" mess.
"Fast and Furious," also called the "Gunwalker" case, involves the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF) agents ordering American gun dealers to sell guns to obvious Mexican drug gang members during 2009 and 2010. This was done over the objections of the gun dealers.
Both Fox News and the Washington Post started covering this scandal in early February this year. It may be excusable that Attorney General Eric Holder did not read the press reports, but, if we are to believe his congressional testimony Tuesay, he and his staff also neglected to pay attention to the 100 or so page "weekly reports" summarizing activity in the Justice Department. . . .

Grassley: Holder Either Lying or Incompetent

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One explanation for Mexico's high crime rates: Prison really isn't prison

I suppose that I had some inkling of this, but it is a much bigger problem than I realized. From the BBC:

A surprise inspection in a prison in Mexico has revealed the presence of 19 prostitutes, 100 plasma televisions, two sacks of marijuana, and 100 cockerels for cock fighting.
The discovery in the prison in Acapulco came as police prepared to transfer the inmates to a maximum security jail.
The officers also found six female inmates living in the male section of the prison and two peacocks.
Mexican jails are notorious for overcrowding, corruption and rioting. . . .
In July, prisoners in a jail in Sonora state were found to be running a lottery to raffle off a luxury cell they'd equipped with a fridge, DVD player and air conditioning.
An inspector from the State Commission for the Defence of Human Rights, Hipolito Lugo Cortes, recently denounced conditions in five prisons in Guerrero state, among them the one in Acapulco.
He said inmates were running affairs at these penitentiaries according to their own laws and customs, with little or no control by prison authorities.

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"77 percent of small business owners do not plan to hire any more workers"

The Small Business Accounting Solutions Perspective on Economic Recovery survey couldn't be much worse. From US News:

• 64 percent of respondents believe that the U.S. is either in or is headed toward another recession.

• 65 percent of business owners believe the economy has had a negative impact on their business for the last six months; 45 percent believe the economy will have a negative impact on their business during the next six months.

• 45 percent of business owners don't feel the economy has an impact on the number of employees they have.

• 77 percent of business owners think they will maintain the number of employees they have; 7 percent believe they will increase their employee count over the next six months and 8 percent believe that they will decrease their employee count over the next six months.

• 48 percent of business owners would like to hire but can't because of various reasons including economic uncertainty (65 percent), lack of revenue (59 percent).

• 77 percent of small business owners have sought access to financing this year; 67 percent found it more difficult to obtain financing than in the past; 61 percent were able to obtain the financing they were looking for.

• When asked about the effect the U.S. debt downgrade would have, 31 percent responded negative, 41 percent said no effect, and 27 responded don't know.

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Open mic catches Obama trash talking Netanyahu

The journalists at this event apparently agreed not to publish the information given the rules of the hearing, but journalists being journalists, they have found a way around it. The full story is available here.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly told US President Barack Obama that he could not "stand" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that he thinks the Israeli premier "is a liar."

According to a Monday report in the French website "Arret sur Images," after facing reporters for a G20 press conference on Thursday, the two presidents retired to a private room, to further discuss the matters of the day. . . .

The conversation then drifted to Netanyahu, at which time Sarkozy declared: "I cannot stand him. He is a liar." According to the report, Obama replied: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!" . . .

So much for Obama's claimed support for Israel.

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Some useful data on Euro Zone Debt crisis

The data on ratings downgrades and bailout help is available at the WSJ here.

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Gunwalker case hits the fan on Tuesday

The Obama people want to claim that they are no worse than the Bush administration. The “Wider Receiver” program gave direct notice to the Mexican authorities so that they could try to track the guns when they went to the Mexican side of the boarder. "Fast and Furious" made no such attempt to notify the Mexican authorities in anyway. "Fast and Furious" made no serious attempt to actually trace the guns and what is worse they knew that the guns weren't being traced. The Bush officials might have learned that Mexican police weren't up to tracing the guns, but at least they had a plan to try to have the guns followed. "Fast and Furious" gave out the guns, but agents and middle level people complained that the guns weren't being traced. From the WSJ:

Top Justice Department officials have settled on a strategy for explaining a botched gun-trafficking probe that includes blaming the now-ousted U.S. attorney in Phoenix.
The department has spent much of the year dealing with questions about federal agents' use of investigative tactics that resulted in the smuggling of firearms into Mexico. The issue is coming to a head Tuesday, when Attorney General Eric Holder is set to answer questions at a Senate hearing.
A hostile reception likely awaits from Republican lawmakers, who have pushed to make Mr. Holder accountable. More than 30 have called for him to resign.
At issue is a tactic that was employed by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow suspects to buy and transfer firearms in the hopes of landing big-time smugglers.
In the 2009-10 Operation Fast and Furious, suspects were allowed to buy about 2,000 firearms, hundreds of which remain unaccounted for.
An earlier operation called Wide Receiver, conducted in 2006-07 under the Bush administration, let suspects buy more than 400 firearms.
Mr. Holder and the Justice Department's criminal division chief, Lanny Breuer, have condemned the practice and said they wouldn't have permitted its use in the Fast and Furious operation. . . .



Consumer confidence and expectations remain near record lows

People's "present situation" has never really recovered at all. The graph was available here.


Almost 20 percent of men between 25 and 34 live with their parents?

This is an amazing and depressing statistic. From Bloomberg News:

The percentage of men 25 to 34 years old who live with their parents has increased by almost a third during the past five years, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. The economic downturn has accelerated that trend for young men, while women continue to be less likely to bunk with their parents.

Since 2006, the year before the recession began, the percentage of young men living with their parents has grown to 18.6 percent this year from 14.3 percent. Just 9.7 percent of women in that age group now live with their parents, up from 8.8 percent in 2006. . . .

The WSJ has a discussion available here on how young men are having a particularly difficult time getting jobs.

Few groups were hit harder by the recession than young men, like Cody Preston and Justin Randol, 25-year-old high-school buddies who didn't go to college.

The unemployment rate for males between 25 and 34 years old with high-school diplomas is 14.4%—up from 6.1% before the downturn four years ago and far above today's 9% national rate. The picture is even more bleak for slightly younger men: 22.4% for high-school graduates 20 to 24 years old. That's up from 10.4% four years ago. . . .

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Giuliani says "Obama owns Wall Street"

With violence breaking out at these "Occupy Wall Street" events, Giuliani makes Obama's responsibility clear. From Fox News:

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says responsibility for the Occupy Wall Street movement rests squarely on the shoulders of President Obama.

"This is a very dangerous movement, and it's ironic it's happening under a president who promised to unify us," Giuliani said. "Barack Obama owns the Occupy Wall Street movement, it would not have happened but for his class warfare."

The Occupy Wall Street protests broke out in cities all over the country shortly after president Obama called for tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. Some of the protests have turned violent. In Oakland, California, more than 100 people were arrested and eight were seriously injured Thursday, with protesters leaving stores in flames, and streets littered with broken glass and debris. . . .

An event in NYC:

An "Occupy Wall Street" protester threw a violent fit in a McDonald’s after employees refused to give him free food.
Fisika Bezabeh, 27, ripped a credit-card reader from a counter and threw it at workers at about 2:30am local time Friday at the downtown Manhattan restaurant, which has become a bathroom spot for protesters.
No one was hurt by Bezabeh, who has been seen hanging out with protesters in the occupied park, police sources said.
He was charged with criminal mischief. . . .

John Boehner criticizes Obama for class warfare rhetoric. From The Hill newspaper:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that President Obama is inciting class warfare "every day" as he pushes Congress to pass his jobs package.

"We are not going to engage in class warfare," Boehner said on ABC'S "This Week with Christiane Amanpour." "[The] president's out there doing it every day. I, frankly, think it's unfortunate, because our job is to help all Americans, not to pit one set of Americans against another." . . .

Boehner pushed back against the notion that Republicans, by opposing the tax hikes, are merely protecting the rich.

"That's very unfair," Boehner said of that characterization. "The top 1 percent pay 38 percent of the income taxes in America. How much more do you want them to pay?"

The Speaker also rejected the idea that the cuts Republicans have endorsed this year in their efforts to reduce the deficit would harm poor Americans disproportionately.

"No one here in this Congress – Democrat or Republican – wants to do anything about putting holes in the safety net for Americans," Boehner said. "There are Americans who are poor. And I think it's the responsibility of the rest of us to ensure that they have food in their stomachs and they have a roof over their head." . . .


New piece by Maxim: "Wind Farms Disrupting Radar, Scientists Say"

Even the fix leaves a hole in the military defense radar. No fix is available for weather radar. His latest piece starts off this way:

This one's really off the radar.
Wind farms, along with solar power and other alternative energy sources, are supposed to produce the energy of tomorrow. Evidence indicates that their countless whirring fan blades produce something else: "blank spots" that distort radar readings.
Now government agencies that depend on radar -- such as the Department of Defense and the National Weather Service -- are spending millions in a scramble to preserve their detection capabilities. A four-star Air Force general recently spelled out the problem to Dave Beloite, the director of the Department of Defense’s Energy Siting Clearinghouse.
"Look there’s a radar here -- one of our network of Homeland surveillance radars -- and [if you build this wind farm] you essentially are going to put my eyes out in the Northwestern corner of the United States,” Beloite related during a web conference in April.
Spinning wind turbines make it hard to detect incoming planes. To avoid that problem, military officials have blocked wind farm construction near their radars -- and in some cases later allowed them after politicians protested.
Shepherd’s Flat, a wind farm under construction in Oregon, was initially held up by a government notice that the farm would “seriously impair the ability of the (DoD) to detect, monitor and safely conduct air operations." . . .
Beloite told FoxNews.com that the project was given the green light by the military only after scientists at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory assured the Department of Defense “that there were algorithms and processors they could design for not too much money that would mitigate the problem.”
Beloite said that the MIT technology has proven successful in the last few months.
"[The problem] has been addressed. And I have a letter from the deputy director of operations from U.S. NORAD that says 'step one of the two-step fix worked so well that we recommend we don't spend any more money on step two.'"
The fix the MIT scientists came up with tells the radar not to pay attention to signals in a very small area. . . .

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