September 16, 2011

AP’s Sept. 16 Solyndra Story, Part 1: Passing Off Weeks-Old News As Its Own Work

APabsolutelyPathetic0109The public learned on September 3 from William McQuillen at Bloomberg (and possibly earlier elsewhere) that now-bankrupt Soyndra’s private investors restructured the company’s finances in January by lending the company “$75 million.” As a condition of doing so, they convinced the government to give the new loan senior status over all other creditors. Now taxpayers face a likely loss of hundreds of millions in Department of Energy loans, perhaps over $500 million.

On September 7, Peg Brickley at the Wall Street Journal clarified that the amount involved was $69 million, and identified the names of the lending entities involved (HT to American Thinker for both stories).

But if you haven’t stayed with or are unfamiliar with the story and read the Associated Press report this evening by Matthew Daly and Jack Gillum, you would think that the wire service did all of the dirty work to learn these things (credit-hogging language in bold):

Obama admin reworked Solyndra loan to favor donor

The Obama administration restructured a half-billion dollar federal loan to a troubled solar energy company in such a way that private investors – including a fundraiser for President Barack Obama – moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of a default, government records show.

Administration officials defended the loan restructuring, saying that without an infusion of cash earlier this year, solar panel maker Solyndra Inc. would likely have faced immediate bankruptcy, putting more than 1,000 people out of work.

Even with the federal help, Solyndra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month and laid off its 1,100 employees.

… the implosion of the company and revelations that the administration hurried Office of Management and Budget officials to finish their review of the loan in time for the September 2009 groundbreaking has become an embarrassment for Obama as he sells his new job-creation program around the country.

An Associated Press review of regulatory filings shows that Solyndra was hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars for years before the Obama administration signed off on the original $535 million loan guarantee in September 2009. The company eventually got $528 million.

… Under terms of the February loan restructuring, two private investors – Argonaut Ventures I LLC and Madrone Partners LP – stand to be repaid before the U.S. government if the solar company is liquidated. The two firms gave the company a total of $69 million in emergency loans. The loans are the only portion of their investments that have repayment priority above the U.S. government.

The AP review also found that officials at Solyndra had been seeking a second round of loans from the Energy Department to expand the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. The request for a second loan was denied.

The news of the company’s second-round attempt was carried at L.A Observed on September 15 (HT Flopping Aces). Daly and Gillum did the Obama administration a huge undeserved favor by failing to tell readers that Solyndra wanted another $469 million (that’s not a typo) in Round 2 — and yes, that is a mark against Team Obama, because the company wouldn’t have bothered to apply if it didn’t think it had a chance of getting approved.

Readers should also take issue with the AP pair’s characterization of the Solyndra saga as an administration “embarrassment.” Sorry folks; given the campaign contributions, White House visits, and lobbying involved, this has all the characteristics of a sc-, sc-, sc- … scandal.

Nowhere in the AP report does anyone who has done the digging during the past two weeks while the Essential Global News Network hoped the story would go away get any credit.

Here is what the AP’s “Statement of News Values and Principles” says about giving credit:

An AP staffer who reports and writes a story must use original content, language and phrasing. We do not plagiarize, meaning that we do not take the work of others and pass it off as our own.

Also, the AP often has the right to use material from its members and subscribers; we sometimes take the work of newspapers, broadcasters and other outlets, rewrite it and transmit it without credit.

They’ll argue that they’re in a gray area, but when you’re nine days to two weeks behind everybody else, I would suggest that going to the regulatory files others have already combed through and making it appear as if you’re the first to have discovered what you’re reporting — as indicated in the bolded phrases and statements in the excerpt above — deliberately misleads readers, listeners and viewers of AP content into believing that the wire service did the heavy lifting. Shame on Daly, Gillum, and AP for failing to give any credit where credit is due, thereby in my view perpetrating a clear deception.

Part 2 (found here) looks at the AP report’s deceiving description of campaign contributions by Solyndra’s private investors.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

August Employment Report By State: Ohio Shines Year-to-Date, Slowdown Signs Appear

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:37 pm

First the good news, from Ohio’s perspective: The government’s August jobs report by state shows that, on a seasonally adjusted basis, 3,800 more people were employed in the Buckeye State in July than were estimated to be working a month ago, while a visit to the BLS database tells us that 22,200 total seasonally adjusted jobs were added in June and July combined.

Now the not-so-good news: Establishment Survey-based job losses in August were a seasonally adjusted 700. Of course, the nationwide number was (ØMG!) zero, so the result isn’t a total surprise. The not seasonally adjusted figures, both overall (-1,100) and private (+2,300), were unimpressive compared to most years during the prior decade. Additionally, the Household Survey-based unemployment rate edged up to 9.1% from last month’s 9.0%, and now matches the national average. In August, the workforce declined, and the number of unemployed went up.

Still, Ohio was a middle-of-pack performer in August and not a laggard, which actually caused its standing in year-to-date job additions as a percentage of the workforce to improve to #6 from #9 in July:

StateSAemployment1210to0811

It’s nice to see that Ohio and Michigan are in a contest where both sides are winning. Let’s hope it continues, and that for Ohio August was just a hiccough (or that August gets revised upward as July did).

Quick Hits (091611, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:52 am

Addendum to last night’s Kelo movie item: The New London Day, the home newspaper of the Connecticut town which gave us the Kelo ruling, was so happy about the Lifetime movie that is being made that it put up an item about it — at midnight on Sunday, September 11.

________________________________________

At Time.com (“More Young Adults Are Poor, Live With Their Parents”; HT Instapundit): “In the spring of 2011, 5.9 million young adults aged 25 to 34 lived with their parents, up from 4.7 million before the recession. And these adult kids still at mom and dad’s make very little money: Over 45% have incomes that’d put them below the poverty threshold.”

________________________________________

From a Thursday evening Investor’s Business Daily editorial (“Living Miserably”), on the “Misery Index,” the sum of the rates of inflation and unemployment: “(1) it’s higher than any time in the past 28 years, (2) it’s 36% higher than the post-World War II average of 9.5 and (3) there have been only nine years in the past 63 when the annual Misery Index topped 12.9 — all in the inflationary 1970s.” That 12.9 consists of 9.1% unemployment plus 3.8% inflation.

________________________________________

So Michelle Obama has a major restaurant chain “voluntarily” kowtowing — at least for the cameras — to her “request” for healthier menus and portion sizes. The same chain currently is offering an “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” at its Olive Garden locations for $8.95. How’s that for a “portion size”?

On the one hand, I object to the authoritarian aroma of Ms. Obama’s effort. She knows as much as anyone that when the government and a business sit across the table from each other, even in a “friendly” discussion, the relationship is not equal. On the other hand, the chain’s ten-year promises give me the impression that management is really saying “Let’s humor her until she’s gone.”

________________________________________

At Investment News: “Former LPL adviser: I was fired for running gun ad.”

________________________________________

Another clear-cut example of tyranny (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”) in New Hampshire: “Obama Forces New Hampshire to Fund Planned Parenthood.”

________________________________________

Mona Charen at Townhall (“Dinner with Ahmadinejad”; paragraphs reordered from original):

… a group of students who are members of the Columbia International Relations Council and Association has been invited to attend a private dinner with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he travels to New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting next week. A student spokesman for the group, when asked whether the invitation had provoked controversy within CIRCA, seemed surprised by the question. “Everyone was really enthusiastic,” said Tim Chan. “They’re thrilled to have this opportunity.”

Ahmadinejad represents everything that campus liberals profess to hate. In order of importance, those things would be: 1) persecuting homosexuals; 2) cruel and abusive treatment of women; 3) brutal treatment of minorities; 4) shooting opponents of the regime in the streets; 5) restricting free speech; 6) building nuclear weapons; and 7) sponsoring terror worldwide.

Are leading American universities producing moral illiterates?

Yes.

Positivity: Archbishop Sambi remembered for life of service

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Sep 14, 2011 / 05:10 pm

Catholic bishops and lay people gathered Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C. to remember the life of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, a man who was described as having Christ’s cross “engraved upon his heart.”

The memorial Mass for Pope Benedict XVI’s representative to the U.S. was held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was the principal celebrant of the Mass. He was joined by six cardinals and more than 60 bishops from across the country, in addition to several dozen priests.

The noon Mass, which was open to the public, was also attended by several diplomats and the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden.

In his homily, Archbishop Dolan noted that the Mass was being held on the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross.

He said that Archbishop Sambi “knew the mystery of the cross” through his service to the Church.

“The cross of Christ, triumphant over Satan, sin and death, was engraved upon his heart,” the New York archbishop said.

Speaking on behalf of his fellow American bishops, Archbishop Dolan said that he will never forget the nuncio’s “warm, personable manner” and the “tender way in which he unfailingly responded to our own needs.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.