Explaining Southern California's economy

Solyndra: Why the Washington Post gets it wrong

Mercer 21115

Paul Chinn-Pool/Getty Images

Ben Bierman (left) and Chris Gronet (right) explain solar technology to U.S. President Barack Obama on a tour of the Solyndra solar panel company May 26, 2010 in Fremont, California.

This Steven Mufson piece from the Washington Post is a solid summary of how the government has long supported, as the headline says, "failed energy projects." Mufson argues that the feds have done a lousy job of making industrial policy work and peppers his account with all manner of money losers, going back decades.

He also holds Energy Secretary Steven Chu's feet to the fire of some flawed historical examples of the government investing in projects that we think were big successes but actually weren't — or that didn't involve any government money at all!

However, Mufson also follows a line of reasoning that has, since the controversial bankruptcy of solar startup Solyndra, become widely echoed by critics of the Department of Energy's loan-guarantee program for green energy and transportation, as well as the Obama administration's support of it. 

Read More...

Is it all over for Occupy? The Twitter perspective

Entering "#OWS" in Storify produces some interesing stuff, drawn from Twitter. As you can see, outrage developed today over whether the New York poilce had destroyed the Occupy Wall Street library after evicting protestors from Zuccotti Park — and arresting close to 200 of them.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

Read More...

Google 'occupy' and get a grim prognosis

Looks like the day of reckoning for the Occupy Movement is upon us. When I googled "occupy" just now, I got a lot of news about how various cities are trying to dislodge the protestors from the public sites they've, you know...occupied.

I'll check in with Twitter next and see what's happening in real time.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

Read More...

Congressional insider trading: Best piece of '60 minutes' theater in years

 

The best thing about "60 Minutes" in the Dan Rather/Mike Wallace glory days was when the reporters would just show up someplace with a film crew and start asking uncomfortable questions. Watch 'em squirm! 

This past weekend, Steve Kroft took a page out of that playbook and turned the cameras on...Members of Congress! The issue is insider trading — or maybe more accurately, trading on "non-public" knowledge. The Congress has ethical rules about insider trading, but it exempts lawmakers from...well, the laws that govern people in corporate life. 

This is TV, of course. So take what you see with a grain of well-edited salt. But the members that Kroft and the CBS cameras track down don't really come off looking too good, even if they may have done nothing wrong. What's disturbing is their collective "What, me worry?" reaction to the simple inquiry. You're seriously telling us that you don't know this is kinda sorta going on, even as you enter Congress with investment portfolios?

Read More...

Why the Occupy Movement is getting kicked out — and why it doesn't matter

Occupy Wall Street Camp In Zuccotti Park Cleared By NYPD Over Night

Mario Tama/Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Occupy Wall Street protesters and police stand outside Zuccotti Park after police removed the protesters from the park early in the morning on November 15, 2011 in New York City. Hundreds of protesters, who rallied against inequality in America, have slept in tents and under tarps since September 17 in Zuccotti Park, which has since become the epicenter of the global Occupy movement. The raid in New York City follows recent similar moves in Oakland, California, and Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

UPDATE: KPCC is reporting that Occupy LA — which hasn't yet been shut down and is actually right across the street from police headquarters — may become a kind of "oasis" for Occupy movements that have been forced out of public sites. It would be quite a trek for Occupy Wall Streeters. But you never know. It's getting cold in New York...

In the very early hours of Tuesday morning, New York City police descended on Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, the site of the original Occupy Wall Street movement, and cleared the site of protestors. Almost 200 people who refused to go quietly were arrested. 

Tensions are mounting at other Occupy sites around the country. In Oakland, protestors have been particularly aggressive. In Los Angeles, they're been mostly peaceful. But it's becoming increasingly clear that, despite a high level of political support in many cities, local governments are losing patience with 24/7 demonstrations at public sites. 

Read More...