Mitt Romney came to stand on a weed-infested patch of dirt in front of the shuttered Solyndra plant in Fremont, Calif., Thursday. If you stood at the right angle, you could look past Romney’s shoulder and see a big red “for sale” sign draped on the building, dubbed by Romney the “Taj Mahal of corporations.”
Two years ago, President Barack Obama came to Solyndra under very different circumstances. The solar-power corporation was completing a second factory, which created about 3,000 temporary construction jobs and was expected to provide 1,000 permanent production ...
This morning I got up bright and early, jumped into the car and took a drive up into Wisconsin to witness the Racine Tea Party rally in support of Wisc. Governor Scott Walker. Speakers included the lovely Rebecca Kleefisch (Wis. Lt. Gov.), Rep. Paul Ryan, State Senator Van Wanggaard, Talk Show Host Tony Katz, Breitbart Editor Dana Loesch and more.
Racine Tea Party Main Stage
It was a beautifully sunny day, perfect temperature, a nice breeze swept over those 3,000 or more gathered, and, in fact, you couldn’t ask for a better ...
An extraordinary new video reveals the first camera trap footage of the Cross River gorilla, the world's rarest gorilla.
Although the video, shot by Wildlife Conservation Society conservationists in Cameroon's Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, is only a few minutes long, it presents a vivid microcosm of these primates' lives -- their suffering at the hands of humans, their struggle, but also their pride.
As the footage begins, you can see one gorilla stopping briefly to rest under a tree, but then it's compelled to move forward by the troop. When another spots the camera trap, it briefly charges, Tarzan style, toward the screen, beating its chest.
Watching the footage, the connection to these magnificent animals, which are in turn so connected to us on the primate family tree, is undeniable. You can see how one gorilla has lost its hand, likely in a snare set by poachers, but the individual keeps moving and trying to survive. One can only wonder how hard that gorilla's life is now.
Fewer than 250 Cross River gorillas remain in the world. This video footage may be one of the last reminders of their existence. They are rarely observed by field researchers, so who knows when such footage will ever be captured again.
Does everybody know what “The Tragedy of the Commons” is? It’s an economic dilemma wherein multiple people have incentive to work against their own long-term interests. Here, let Walter Williams explain it:
Imagine there are 100 cattlemen all having an equal right to graze their herds on 1,000 acres of commonly owned grassland. The rational self-interested response of each cattleman is to have the largest herd that he can afford. Each cattleman pursing similar self-interests will produce results not in any of the cattlemen’s long-term interest — overgrazing, soil ...
**Written by Doug Powers
The Cherokee controversy doesn’t seem to have put any permanent dent in support for Dances With Identity Theft. Remember though that we’re talking about Massachusetts here, meaning the only thing that could really hurt Warren’s support at this point would be if word got out that she was 1/32nd Republican.
Suffolk University had a poll last week showing Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren separated by only 1 point in the Massachusetts. Today, two more surveys have the race too close to call: the Boston Globe has Brown up 2 points, while the Western New England University Polling Institute has Warren ahead by the same margin.
Brown’s approval rating is very healthy in both polls (60 percent in the Globe poll and 51 percent in Western New England University’s poll), but the race is deadlocked as Democrats move toward Warren in the very liberal state. In the Globe survey, the whole issue of Warren’s claimed Native American ancestry doesn’t appear to have worked a dramatic change on the campaign.
Fortunately for Warren, any support the Cherokee flap has cost her is being offset by the state’s sizable “moms who nurse while taking the bar exam” voting bloc.
Warren had been facing a primary challenge, but that has been put down:
To resounding cheers and applause, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren walked away from the state party’s convention in Springfield as the official Democratic candidate to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in November.
“We’ve been endorsing candidates this way for 30 years and we’ve never had a candidate get 86 percent of the delegates votes,” said party Chair John Walsh of the 15 percent threshold needed to appear on the party’s primary ballot.
With Warren shattering the record and preventing Marisa DeFranco from getting the 15 percent support she needed, the immigration attorney’s candidacy now effectively ends.
Clearly there aren’t many Cherokee delegates.
**Written by Doug Powers
Our LGF Connect Twitter client app has a nifty new feature today: you can now schedule tweets to be sent at a later time and date. I've been testing this for a few days, and it's now ready to roll out for registered LGF users who have gone to Account Settings and linked their LGF and Twitter accounts.
Setting the time for your scheduled tweet is very simple; when you click one of our tweet buttons (or type Control-Y) you'll see a new checkbox labeled "Schedule" in the LGF Connect dialog box:
When you click the Schedule checkbox, an input line appears next to it with the current time/date filled in, and our time/date picker pops up to let you choose your scheduled time.
Notice that when the Schedule checkbox is checked, the "Tweet" button has an asterisk to remind you that submitting this tweet will schedule it for later posting, instead of sending it to Twitter right away.
Notice also that the time/date picker won't allow you to choose a time earlier than when the dialog box popped up. (There's no upper time limit.)
Scheduled times and dates must be set according to the US Pacific time zone. (On the to-do list: time zone localization.)
Final note: our scheduling script runs every five minutes on the server, so the Scheduled time is not exact. It will be posted sometime within the five-minute window that includes your selected time.
Plastic bags: faithful transporters of groceries, liners of
wastebaskets, pickers-up of dog crap and inspirers of late
nineties Hollywood screenwriters, now
banned from grocery stores by the Los Angeles City Council. But
Reason.tv's Kennedy paid a visit to LA City Hall to find an
answer to that question. Council members stood by the ban, despite
being confronted with evidence that bag bans
have no discernible effect on the health of the environment and
make up less
than 1 percent (pdf download) of California's waste
"When you're looking at 1 percent, that's a huge difference,"
says Councilman Alarcon, who voted for the ban.
Reason contributor Jay Beeber points out that a similar ban in
failed to reduce (pdf download) the small number of
plastic bags actually littering the street.
"This is just feel-good legislation," says Beeber. "It's not
going to solve any problems, but it makes people think that we've
Still, council member Tom LaBonge feels that he served his
district well by outlawing plastic bags at grocery stores.
"That one percent [of plastic bags in the waste stream] pollutes
the river," says LaBonge. "You want to go out to the river with me?
I'll show it to you."
Approximately 4:43 minutes.
Interviews by Kennedy. Shot and edited by Zach Weissmueller.
Scroll down for downloadable versions and
subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel to receive automatic
updates when new material goes live.
With the shale gas boom in full swing, gas prices are at 10-year lows. We have the realistic prospect of abundant domestic supplies of a clean-burning fuel for the foreseeable future, who doesn’t like natural gas?
Ask the Sierra Club. This week, the venerable environmental organization announced its “Beyond Natural Gas” initiative, to go along with their “Beyond Coal” and “Beyond Oil” campaigns. Of course, they hate nuclear energy too.
“Fossil fuels have no part in America’s energy future – coal, oil, and natural gas are literally poisoning us. The emergence of natural gas as a significant part of our energy mix is particularly frightening because it dangerously postpones investment in clean energy at a time when we should be doubling down on wind, solar and energy efficiency.”
—Robin Mann, Sierra Club President
The Sierra Club has over a half-million members (down from 600,000) and an annual budget of $100 million. They are arguably the most influential environmental lobby in the country. People take them seriously, and politicians listen.
With their opposition to the fossil fuels and nukes, the Sierra Club takes 91% of our current energy sources off the table (see EIA chart at the end of the post). And most of the remaining 9% they’re not too crazy about. Below the fold, we’ll take a closer look.
Youthful naïvete has an endearing quality. If their proposal were merely impractical, it would be naïve. The Sierra Club is not naïve. Their plan is physically and economically impossible. They have a willfully foolish, craven and destructive agenda. They are not looking for solutions. They wish an end to our industrialized civilization. They wish us to return to mud huts.
There are responsible environmental organizations. It should be an embarrassment that anyone should give the Sierra Club a nickel.
The Sierra Club’s ultimate goal, not surprisingly, is to save the planet from Global Warming. To that end, they wish to curtail 90% of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 – thirty-eight years from now.
How will they do it? In Robin Mann’s words: “[W]e should be doubling down on wind, solar and energy efficiency.”
Point #1: Everyone is for energy efficiency, and it happens naturally due to economics and technical advances. But “energy efficiency” is a strategy to use existing fuels more efficiently, not replace them. That means the only technologies on the table are wind and solar. So that leads to …
Point #2: This is not “doubling down”, it’s going “all in“. All in on a sucker’s bet. That’s because wind and solar would have to grow by a factor of 50 times their contribution in 2011. Not “grow by 50%” — 50 times. Even if we suddenly developed the will to do it, there’s not enough money/resources in the known universe to make it possible. And if we did it, what about the Chinese and the rest of the world? And what would be the environmental consequences of making the conversion?
See that little pink bar, way on the right? The Sierra Club loves that. Everything else, not so much. Not at all, in fact. And it’s even worse than that chart makes it appear — this is a graph of domestic sources. In addition to the 78 quads depicted here, we import another 20. And Geothermal has limited growth potential. So that little pink bar needs to grow from a value of 2, to 100.
Or more than 100, because the population is going to grow by 2050. And since wind and solar are not primary transportation sources, we’d need to generate even more to account for efficiency losses.
This radicalism can be understood in the context of a recent reorganization:
Carl Pope, who has led the Sierra Club for much of the last two decades, is planning to leave the organization next year as it struggles to redefine its mission in a tough economy, the organization said Friday. … Mr. Pope, 66, stepped down as executive director last year after 17 years, turning the job over to Michael Brune, 40, who came to the Sierra Club from the Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace, younger and politically more aggressive groups. Mr. Pope has held the title of chairman since Mr. Brune arrived and will remain a consultant to the club until the end of next year.
Has the Sierra Club jumped the shark? That happened long ago. My friend, with this natural gas pronouncement, the Sierra Club gave the shark a lap dance. And had its love child.
The Wall Street Journal reminds us that not long ago, the Sierra Club and natural gas were BFFs (to the tune of $26 million from Chesapeake Energy, never a shrinking violet when it comes to advancing its own interests):
Sierra Clubs Natural Gas (WSJ website may require subscription):
The political irony is that not too long ago the Sierra Club and other greens portrayed natural gas as the good fossil fuel. The Sierra Club liked natural gas so much (and vice versa) that from 2007-2010 the group received $26 million in donations from Chesapeake Energy and others in the gas industry, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. Some of that money was for the Beyond Coal campaign. …
But now that the hydraulic fracturing and shale revolution has sent [wellhead] gas prices down to $2.50 [from $8 or more per million BTU in 2008], the lobby fears natural gas will come to dominate U.S. energy production. At that price, the Sierra Club’s Valhalla of wind, solar and biofuel power may never be competitive. So the green left has decided it must do everything it can to reduce the supply of gas and keep its price as high as possible.
According to the Sierra Club’s official energy policy directive (.pdf link), most recently updated by the national board in July 2011:
Resources Opposed by the Sierra Club:
- Anything Coal (Conventional, Coal-to-Liquids, Coal-to-Gas, etc.)
- Nuclear Power Plants
- New Large Hydroelectric Plants
- Incineration of Municipal Solid Waste
- Landfill Gas to Energy Facilities
Resources Preferred by the Sierra Club
- Community Renewables, Distributed Generation
- Onshore and Offshore Wind [as long as it's sustainable and doesn't impact endangered species, etc.]
- Central Station Solar
- Combined Heat and Power [but not coal-based, so essentially natural gas]
- Low-Temperature Geothermal
Resources Generally Acceptable to the Sierra Club
- New Small Hydroelectric Plants
- Ocean Energy Resources
- High Temperature Geothermal
Ethanol? “Biofuels from sustainable feedstocks using appropriate production technologies and facilities can be an important ingredient in a clean energy future. Inappropriately located, poorly regulated or excessively large biofuel facilities can easily create environmental problems greater than those they solve.” Shorter answer: No, not in its current form.
The following EIA chart is kind of busy at first glance, but it contains a wealth of information on U.S. energy sources and uses.
Cross-posted at Maley’s Energy Blog.
Ok, so the socialism of Obama’s reign is undone. What does that leave us with? It leaves us with the level of socialism we had at the end of President George Bush's tenure. Perception is reality. It isn’t true, but that’s what they say and what a lot of people believe. Reality is reality. In 2008, the U.S. [...]
The final chapter of a trailblazing Second Amendment lawsuit
appears to have been written. Yesterday a full panel of the United
States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issued its decision in
Nordyke v. King, upholding an Alameda County,
California gun control ordinance regulating gun shows at the county
fairgrounds. The case first originated more than a decade ago when
gun show promoters Russell and Sallie Nordyke filed a Second
Amendment challenge against the county’s 1999 ban on the possession
of firearms on county-owned property, a law enacted primarily to
prevent any guns from being sold at the fairgrounds. The Nordykes’
suit didn’t really pick up steam until 2008, however, when the U.S.
Supreme issued its decision in District
of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down Washington,
D.C.’s handgun ban and ruled definitively that the Second Amendment
secures an individual right, not a collective one, to keep and bear
One issue Heller did not address
was whether the Second Amendment also applied to state and local
governments. In April 2009, a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit
pushed that issue into the spotlight with a
decision in the Nordyke’s case. Although the 9th Circuit voted
to uphold the Alameda County gun law, the court also declared that
the time had come for the Second Amendment to be enforced against
the states. “The crucial role this deeply rooted right has played
in our birth and history compels us to recognize that it is indeed
fundamental,” wrote Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain. “We are therefore
persuaded that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
incorporates the Second Amendment and applies it against the states
and local governments.”
Because a different federal appeals court, the 2nd Circuit,
ruled in January 2009 that the Second Amendment did not apply
to the states (in an opinion
joined by future Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor), the
Supreme Court was left with no choice but to step in and resolve
the split among the circuits. The Court did so in its landmark 2010
ruling in McDonald
v. Chicago, which struck down the Windy City’s handgun ban
and ruled that the Second Amendment did indeed apply to the states
via the 14th Amendment.
Which brings us back to the Nordykes. In the course of all this
litigation, Alameda County decided to modify its 1999 law, finally
permitting fairground gun sales so long as the guns aren’t loaded
and various other safety measures are followed. In its ruling
yesterday, the 9th Circuit found these new regulations to be
constitutional. So while the Nordykes lost repeatedly at earlier
stages in their case, they ultimately succeeded in their bid to
bring gun shows to the county fairground. And more important, they
played a crucial role in advancing Second Amendment rights
throughout the country. The Bill of Rights stands on a stronger
footing thanks to their efforts.
You may be surprised to know that the mission of the Department of Defense under Obama does not include defending you from a missile attack. Obama big thinkers truly believe missile defense is “destabilizing” and actually serves to increase the danger of nuclear war.
Stephen Budiansky — [...]
Attorney Generic Eric Holder once again leveled charges of endemic racism against a state, this time accusing Florida of disenfranchising minorities by requiring photo identification and attempting to clean up voter rolls.
Holder asserted that requiring a valid ID to vote is racist, stating, “In my travels across this country, I’ve heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens, who—often for the first time in their lives—now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation’s most noble ideals… some of the achievements that ...
More stewardship of public funds: GSA spent $750,000 on travel expenses for work-from-home employees
**Written by Doug Powers
The government has an entire website devoted to the purported benefits, both environmental and fiscal, of having federal employees work from home. The GSA has contributed research to how teleworking supposedly reduces costs, among other things.
I’d hate to see how expensive it would be if these teleworkers had to actually show up at the office:
Ninety-five high-ranking employees at the General Services Administration who are assigned to work from home racked up $750,000 in travel expenses over nine months, documents show, prompting concerns from agency officials but no action to curtail the expenses.
The travel records, provided by the agency to congressional committees, provide fresh evidence of a spending culture at GSA’s Public Buildings Service that led to an embarrassing scandal this spring over a conference off the Las Vegas strip.
That’s an average of almost $8,000 in travel expenses per “virtual” employee in the span of just nine months. How many of these people were maintaining a “home office” on Hawaiian beaches?
This caused even Jeff Neely, the administrator famous for the $822,000 “GSA Gone Wild” Las Vegas junket, to channel his inner Oliver Hardy:
“100 virtuals and most of them with some pretty serious grades,” Neely wrote, referring to the employees’ General Schedule status. “[W]ell this is a fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.”
It’s more appropriate to say this is a fine mess they’ve gotten taxpayers into.
Neely is no longer employed at the GSA. Maybe now he can volunteer to help Joe Biden make sure every penny of stimulus money is being spent responsibly.
**Written by Doug Powers
Two Sacramento deputies face
federal charges for selling guns that officers and active
military members are allowed to own, but not us dumb, hapless
According to KTVU in San Francisco, at least two of the guns
ended up in the hands of criminals and one was used in a police
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagoner said the deputies were charged
with serving as straw buyers by purchasing the restricted handguns.
They then sold the handguns at a profit to unqualified buyers
through licensed dealers, prosecutors said.
California law bars citizens from buying handguns that have not
been deemed safe by the state Department of Justice, but the law
exempts peace officers. The deputies are accused of using their
peace officer exemption to buy dozens of weapons over more than a
year then selling them to others for a profit.
Yes, they’re facing federal charges for selling guns the state
of California deems unsafe for the public. If you’re not quite sure
what that means, they explain:
The weapons include easily concealable semiautomatic pistols
that shoot high-velocity .223 caliber bullets, the same long-range
ammunition used by the U.S. military for its M16 and M4 rifles.
Also sold were handguns that fire .50 caliber pistol bullets, a
less powerful version of the same large-caliber round used in
machine guns and sniper rifles. Investigators say semiautomatic
handguns built to look like Israeli-made Uzi submachine guns were
also bought and sold.
The state Department of Justice also restricts sales of other
models of handguns with features that may have advantages for law
enforcement but aren't considered safe for the general public. For
instance, the department's standards require that semiautomatics
can't be fired if the magazine is removed, to prevent the
accidental firing of a bullet left in the chamber. They also
require a visible indicator if a round is in the chamber ready to
The stories are not clear as to why the deputies face federal
charges for violating state law. They funneled the gun sales
through a licensed dealer, but it's possible the mandated process
outlined in the
Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act was not followed, given
that two ended up in the hands of criminals.