October 26, 2012

Not News: Bankrupt Abound Solar Touted by Obama in 2010 Now Under Criminal Investigation

In his weekly radio address on July 3, 2010, President Barack Obama announced that “the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments from the Recovery Act to two solar companies.” Neither of them was named Solyndra.

One of the two companies Obama did name was Fort Collins, Colorado-based Abound Solar, which Obama touted as a company which would create “more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs” at two new plants which “When fully operational … will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year.” As Amy Oliver detailed at Townhall a year ago, Abound is a classic case of Obama bundler cronyism. In July, just shy of two years after Obama’s address, the company filed for bankruptcy. Yesterday, a Colorado District Attorney announced a criminal investigation. So far, it’s only local Colorado-area news (internal links added by me; bolds are mine):

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Breaking: Fox Reports That CIA Operatives Were Told to ‘Stand Down’ Rather Than Try to Save Stevens on Sept. 11

During the past almost seven weeks, the establishment press has dug itself a deep credibility hole thanks to its disgracefully selective, negligent, and politically twisted reporting on the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 and its determined attempt to defend the Obama administration’s ever-evolving and contradictory stories about the attack’s origins. Along the way, legitimate questions have been raised about the administration’s willingness and ability to protect those who serve us overseas.

Now the question is whether the press will let that hole get even deeper now that Jennifer Griffin at Fox News is reporting that the CIA requests for help during that attack were rejected. The first four paragraphs of the “read the whole thing” report follow:

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3Q12 Gross Domestic Product: 2% Annualized (See Updates)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:55 am

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 2.0 percent in the third quarter of 2012 (that is, from the second quarter to the third quarter), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 1.3 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the third-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see box below). The “second” estimate for the third quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on November 29, 2012.

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), federal government spending, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

The acceleration in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected an upturn in federal government spending, a downturn in imports, an acceleration in PCE, a smaller decrease in private inventory investment, an acceleration in residential fixed investment, and a smaller decrease in state and local government spending that were partly offset by downturns in exports and in nonresidential fixed investment.

In the 13th quarter after the Reagan-era recession ended growth was an annualized 3.1% — and the press at the time was starting to make noises about a “slump.” We could have used a “slump” like that during the three years of this so-called “recovery.”

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UPDATE: Yippee skippy — the result beat Bloomberg’s expectations of 1.8%.

UPDATE 2: Zero Hedge

… the details are, as expected, ugly … over one third, or 0.71% (compared to a deduction of -0.14% in Q2, and 0.64% of the 0.71% came from defense spending), was contributed by “Government Consumption.” This was the biggest rise in government spending in 3 years, and only the first contribution by Uncle Sam to its own GDP print since Q2 2010. So in much the same way as the September jobs print soared courtesy of government employee hiring, this same government is now juicing its own numbers to make itself look better.

UPDATE 3: Pethokoukis

Weak GDP report shows no end in sight for the Long Recession

… Today’s GDP report also reinforces just how badly the Obama White House overestimated the impact of its economic stimulus:

– In August of 2009, the White House—after having a half year to view the economy and its $800 billion stimulus response—predicted that GDP would rise 4.3% in 2011, followed by 4.3% growth in 2012 and 2013, too. And 2014? Another year of 4.0% growth.
– In its 2010 forecast, the White House said it was looking for 3.5% GDP growth in 2012, followed by 4.4% in 2013, 4.3% in 2014.
– In its 2011 forecast, the White House predicted 3.1% growth in 2011, 4.0% in 2012 and 4.5% in 2013, 4.2% in 2014.
– In its most recent forecast, the White House predicted 3.0% growth this year and next, and then back to 4.0% after that. The current consensus is for 2013 growth to be a lot like 2012 growth.

And as for next quarter and next year? Putting the fiscal cliff aside, analysis are looking for more of the same. Growth around 2%.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102612)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:06 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Catholic couple rescues 1,400 Chinese orphans

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Beijing:

Oct 26, 2012 / 12:02 am

An American couple living in China for 15 years says their success in rescuing over 1,000 medically-fragile orphans is due to totally relying on God, especially during trying times.

“You really have to have an absolute dependence on God that the money’s gonna show up when you need it and that you’re going to stay out of trouble,” Brent Johnson of the organization China Little Flower told CNA Oct. 17.

Founded in 1998, China Little Flower is the parent organization of Brent and Serena Johnson’s “apostolic hobby,” Little Flower Projects, a charity that seeks to reach out to the most vulnerable of China’s population by providing medical care to abandoned orphans and children.

While one was a student and the other a tourist, Brent and Serena met in China in 1990 and soon returned to the United States, where they converted to Catholicism and were married.

When they returned to China as teachers shortly after the 1995 birth of their eldest son, Thomas Becket, the Johnsons were confronted with the “unbelievable” conditions of Chinese orphanages.

“It was a confrontation with the truly ugly side of humanity,” Johnson said. “So we said, ‘We gotta do something.’”

Although conditions in the government-run orphanages have improved since the 1990s, he said around one-third of the country’s roughly 700 facilities still have an infant mortality rate that hovers near 100 percent.

The Johnsons asked the orphanage leaders if they could foster one of the children in their own home and were granted permission.

“We were just kind of ordinary, young Catholics living our faith, trying to do the right thing,” Johnson said. “When we started this, we didn’t think of ourselves as missionaries.”

From then on, they convinced family friends in China to do the same. Eventually, they began to pay Chinese families to take in orphans as well.

“This wasn’t any great leap in brilliance, this was just doing what (Serena’s) parents had done,” Johnson said, referring to his in-laws in Connecticut who three adopted children, had three biological children and served as foster parents for several years.

Since then, the Johnsons and those who work with Little Flower Projects have helped rescue 1,400 orphans who would have otherwise died. …

Go here for the rest of the story.