Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Just when you thought it couldn't get worse for alternative energy and President Obama along comes BrightSource Energy. A solar power firm with connections to the President and a loan guarantee almost three times the size of the now-bankrupt Solyndra. According to a story that appeared in World Net Daily, BrightSource is the recipient of a $1.37 billion federal loan guarantee, the largest loan ever to a privately-held solar energy firm. The Chairman, John Bryson, was nominated by the President to be the Secretary of Commerce in June of this year. The Senate has held hearings on Bryson, but he has not been confirmed to this point. Many Senators including Democrats Jay Rockefeller and Diane Feinstein raised some concerns about Bryson views on energy. As the founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and former co-chairman of the Pacific Council on International Policy, Bryson is thought by some to be an environmental extremist and unfit for Commerce Secretary. The loan guarantee will be used to build a solar energy plant that uses mirrors to harness the sun's heat to boil water and use the steam to spin turbines to create electricity. Called the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, it is viewed by some as the 21st century version of Robert Fulton's Steam Engine. Given the technology and Bryson’s connections to the President this is widely expected to be a subject of Congressional hearings.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
In 1966, I lived two blocks from the World Trade Center on the corner of Rector and Greenwich Streets. Except for the old apartment buildings in that area almost all the space was commercial. I was told that the building we lived in was once a hotel where seaman stayed when their ships were in port. Battery Park City did not even exist yet and the tenements along West Street and the Hudson were razed under Eminent Domain for the construction of the towers. I don’t remember the exact date, but during 1967 the South Tower began to raise, a few floors at a time a first. At some point it blocked virtually all the light on Greenwich Street south of the tower. The street remained dark until September 11, 2001, the day the towers fell. Days later when the dust cleared looking north you could see the light of the sky for the first time in more than 30 years. In this case seeing the light had a two fold meaning. First it meant we came to understand our enemies had to be taken seriously. Since Viet-Nam we had waltzed through our conflicts. With some small exceptions we had not seen death and destruction by a foreign enemy on our own soil. Second, The World Trade Center, which had become for us a symbol of our financial power and influence in the world economy, had become for our enemies one of the ultimate prizes they sought to destroy to demonstrate America’s weakness. Ten years have gone by since the day the towers fell. I have been back a few times to see the progress on the site and to see the old apartment building, which still stands. The location of the Freedom Tower will not block the light like the South Tower did when it stood. Likewise America will not be blinded to the intentions of its enemies as we move forward on this 10th Anniversary of 9/11/2001
Friday, September 9, 2011
Will Americans continue to fall for the more spending now, cut spending later proposals of the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party? The President's America's Job Act is exactly that: an act. It is just another $500 billion of new spending now that will be paid for by cuts in mythical projected spending some time in the future. The President's approach is to eliminate the need for a House and Senate by urging them to "pass the bill" now. There is no bill. A bill, in Congressional terms, is legislation. It is law. It is not a wish list, a compilation, or an amalgam of items. It is a document that spells out specifically the rules under which taxpayer money will be appropriated and spent. The President has offered no such bill for the Congress to pass.