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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Evergreen Solar, Green Jobs to Save the Planet. OOPS

Listen to this Bullshit

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown today questioned the millions in government subsidies to Evergreen Solar, saying it may have been a case of putting “all our eggs in one basket” when it comes to helping a company.
In a wide-ranging interview on the first anniversary of his stunning upset U.S. Senate victory last year, Brown took issue with the Patrick administration’s decision to funnel nearly $60 million in state subsidies to Evergreen, which earlier this week said it’s closing down its Bay State operations and shifting 800 manufacturing jobs to China.             BOSTON HERALD


Solar Panel Maker Moves Work to China

BEIJING  NYTimes— Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States.
But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen cited the much higher government support available in China.
The factory closing in Devens, Mass., which Evergreen announced earlier this week, has set off political recriminations and finger-pointing in Massachusetts. And it comes just as President Hu Jintao of China is scheduled for a state visit next week to Washington, where the agenda is likely to include tensions between the United States and China over trade and energy policy.
The Obama administration has been investigating whether China has violated the free trade rules of the World Trade Organizationwith its extensive subsidies to the manufacturers of solar panels and other clean energy products.
While a few types of government subsidies are permitted under international trade agreements, they are not supposed to give special advantages to exports — something that China’s critics accuse it of doing. The Chinese government has strongly denied that any of its clean energy policies have violated W.T.O. rules.
Although solar energy still accounts for only a tiny fraction of American power production, declining prices and concerns about global warming give solar power a prominent place in United States plans for a clean energy future — even if critics say the federal government is still not doing enough to foster its adoption.
Beyond the issues of trade and jobs, solar power experts see broader implications. They say that after many years of relying on unstable governments in the Middle East for oil, the United States now looks likely to rely on China to tap energy from the sun.
Evergreen, in announcing its move to China, was unusually candid about its motives. Michael El-Hillow, the chief executive, said in a statement that his company had decided to close the Massachusetts factory in response to plunging prices for solar panels. World prices have fallen as much as two-thirds in the last three years — including a drop of 10 percent during last year’s fourth quarter alone.
Chinese manufacturers, Mr. El-Hillow said in the statement, have been able to push prices down sharply because they receive considerable help from the Chinese government and state-owned banks, and because manufacturing costs are generally lower in China.
“While the United States and other Western industrial economies are beneficiaries of rapidly declining installation costs of solar energy, we expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint,” he said.
Even though Evergreen opened its Devens plant, with all new equipment, only in 2008, it began talks with Chinese companies in early 2009. In September 2010, the company opened its factory in Wuhan, China, and will now rely on that operation.
An Evergreen spokesman said Mr. El-Hillow was not available to comment for this article.
Other solar panel manufacturers are also struggling in the United States. Solyndra, a Silicon Valley business, received a visit from President Obama in May and a $535 million federal loan guarantee, only to say in November that it was shutting one of its two American plants and would delay expansion of the other.
First Solar, an American company, is one of the world’s largest solar power vendors. But most of its products are made overseas.
Chinese solar panel manufacturers accounted for slightly over half the world’s production last year. Their share of the American market has grown nearly sixfold in the last two years, to 23 percent in 2010 and is still rising fast, according to GTM Research, a renewable energy market analysis firm in Cambridge, Mass.
In addition to solar energy, China just passed the United States as the world’s largest builder and installer of wind turbines.
The closing of the Evergreen factory has prompted finger-pointing in Massachusetts.
Ian A. Bowles, the former energy and environment chief for Gov. Deval L. Patrick, a Democrat who pushed for the solar panel factory to be located in Massachusetts, said the federal government had not helped the American industry enough or done enough to challenge Chinese government subsidies for its industry. Evergreen has received no federal money.
“The federal government has brought a knife to a gun fight,” Mr. Bowles said. “Its support is completely out of proportion to the support displayed by China — and even to that in Europe.”
Stephanie Mueller, the Energy Department press secretary, said the department was committed to supporting renewable energy. “Through our Loan Program Office we have offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees to 16 clean energy projects totaling nearly $16.5 billion,” she said. “We have finalized and closed half of those loan guarantees, and the program has ramped up significantly over the last year to move projects through the process quickly and efficiently while protecting taxpayer interests.”
Evergreen did not try to go through the long, costly process of obtaining a federal loan because of what it described last summer as signals from the department that its technology was too far along and not in need of research and development assistance. The Energy Department has a policy of not commenting on companies that do not apply.
Evergreen was selling solar panels made in Devens for $3.39 a watt at the end of 2008 and planned to cut its costs to $2 a watt by the end of last year — a target it met. But Evergreen found that by the end of the fourth quarter, it could fetch only $1.90 a watt for its Devens-made solar panels, while Chinese manufacturers were selling them for as little as $1 a watt.
Evergreen’s joint-venture factory in Wuhan occupies a long, warehouselike concrete building in an industrial park located in an inauspicious neighborhood. A local employee said the municipal police had used the site for mass executions into the 1980s.
When a reporter was given a rare tour inside the building just before it began mass production in September, the operation appeared as modern as any in the world. Row after row of highly automated equipment stretched toward the two-story-high ceiling in an immaculate, brightly lighted white hall. Chinese technicians closely watched the computer screens monitoring each step in the production processes.
In a telephone interview in August, Mr. El-Hillow said that he was desperate to avoid layoffs at the Devens factory. But he said Chinese state-owned banks and municipal governments were offering unbeatable assistance to Chinese solar panel companies.
Factory labor is cheap in China, where monthly wages average less than $300. That compares to a statewide average of more than $5,400 a month for Massachusetts factory workers. But labor is a tiny share of the cost of running a high-tech solar panel factory, Mr. El-Hillow said. China’s real advantage lies in the ability of solar panel companies to form partnerships with local governments and then obtain loans at very low interest rates from state-owned banks.
Evergreen, with help from its partners — the Wuhan municipal government and the Hubei provincial government — borrowed two-thirds of the cost of its Wuhan factory from two Chinese banks, at an interest rate that under certain conditions could go as low as 4.8 percent, Mr. El-Hillow said in August. Best of all, no principal payments or interest payments will be due until the end of the loan in 2015.
By contrast, a $21 million grant from Massachusetts covered 5 percent of the cost of the Devens factory, and the company had to borrow the rest from banks, Mr. El-Hillow said.
Banks in the United States were reluctant to provide the rest of the money even at double-digit interest rates, partly because of the financial crisis. “Therein lies the hidden advantage of being in China,” Mr. El-Hillow said.
Devens, as the site of a former military base, is a designated enterprise zone eligible for state financial support.
State Senator Jamie Eldridge, a Democrat whose district includes Devens, said he was initially excited for Evergreen to come to his district, but even before the announced loss of 800 jobs, he had come to oppose such large corporate assistance.
“I think there’s been a lot of hurt feelings over these subsidies to companies, while a lot of communities around the former base have not seen development money,” he said.
Michael McCarthy, a spokesman for Evergreen, said the company had already met 80 percent of the grant’s job creation target by employing up to 800 factory workers since 2008 and should owe little money to the state. Evergreen also retains about 100 research and administrative jobs in Massachusetts.
The company also received about $22 million in tax credits, and it will discuss those with Massachusetts, he said.
Evergreen has had two unique problems that made its Devens factory vulnerable to Chinese competition. It specializes in an unusual kind of wafer, making it hard to share research and development costs with other companies. And it was hurt when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008; Evergreen lost one-seventh of its outstanding shares in a complex transaction involving convertible notes. But many other Western solar power companies are also running into trouble, as competition from China coincides with uncertainty about the prices at which Western regulators will let solar farms sell electricity to national grids.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, shares in solar companies fell an average of 26 percent last year. Evergreen’s stock, which traded above $100 in late 2007, closed Friday in New York at $3.03.
Tom Zeller Jr. in New York and Katie Zezima in Boston contributed reporting.


  1. Let's hear it for green jobs at public expense and at the same time let the Chinese do whatever they need to do to bury our dumb asses.

  2. You really have to play the video and then read the NY Times story.

  3. Governor Deval Patrick

    We have two significant milestones to celebrate today on our path towards a clean energy future here in the Commonwealth. The first is for our friends at Evergreen Solar, Rick Feldt and all of his team. Last year Evergreen, a Massachusetts company, agreed to establish their first ever United States-based manufacturing facility here in Massachusetts. They did so, or are doing so at Devens.

    They have now agreed and chosen to triple their size at Devens. Their next phase of expansion, right here in Massachusetts. A signature company in a signature sector and we congratulate all of the folks at Evergreen and look forward to continuing to work with you.

    I told you I'd cut this down. My fingers have already gone numb.

    We made a personal commitment to Evergreen for the sake of Evergreen but also because we wanted to show that there are ways in which state government, in working together with private industry and with the utility companies, could begin to create a different kind of environment, a different kind of business climate here, to grow that sector. And it is happening. It's happening.

    Evergreen is one of the most prominent examples, but there are a whole host of examples. And this is an area where all of our interests collide. Our interests in addressing responsibly the issues around climate change. Our interest in growing a new sector of the economy where, if we get it right, the whole world will be our customer and Evergreen is helping us lead the way.

    And I am so thrilled about their expansion and about their partnership with NSTAR, with National Grid, with other utilities. It is a part of what we must do to grow our economy and save the planet. We also have a moment today to acknowledge the anniversary of our Leading by Example initiative.

    A year ago I signed an executive order to cut our energy costs and take a significant chunk out of our overall carbon footprint. That order sets ambitious new standards and an aggressive timeline for moving state government to clean, renewable energy. We want state government to be the standard-bearer in environmental stewardship, walking the walk by putting renewable energy to work in our facilities.

  4. I spent a couple of hours with some newly elected State legislators, a couple of weeks ago.

    Both said that their primary concern "job creation".

    Their strategy for this achieving that goal was to promote companies from other parts of the country to relocate to AZ.

    That both of these fellows, themselves, were transplants from other States may have influenced their thinking.

    Seems that the Chinese are well ahead of the curve on that course of action. Being able, as they are, to offer a vastly superior subsidy package to any company they wish to.

    Rather than to establish an environment that provides for home grown success.

  5. Bond market key to Glendale's Phoenix Coyotes deal

    One month after Glendale agreed to lease Jobing.com Arena to Phoenix Coyotes buyer Matthew Hulsizer, the city does not yet have money in hand to complete the deal.

    Glendale plans to sell $100 million to $125 million in bonds, essentially taking on debt, to finance the deal.

    The money would buy Glendale the right to charge for arena parking, which city leaders say would pay off the debt.

    Hulsizer is expected to use the money and his own to buy the team from the National Hockey League.

    Glendale needs to secure a bond interest rate of no more than 6 percent if the city is to pay off the debt with parking fees, according to the most optimistic parking study commissioned by the city. However, Glendale will pledge citywide excise-tax hauls, such as sales-tax revenue, to pay the bond debt if necessary.

    Glendale spokeswoman Julie Frisoni said the city will issue the bonds soon when the market is advantageous for the city. She declined to elaborate, saying she did not know anything further. Glendale's financial adviser, Art Lynch, did not respond to requests for comment.

  6. Those Chinese workers are getting paid about $1.50/hr (if that much.)

    The Government will put all of the "profits" in its war-chest, and after putting all of our Solar manufacturers, and Wind Turbine manufacturers out of business move on to another industry. Perhaps yours.

  7. One more time: Cui Bono?

    And, one more time: It ain't you.

  8. And, Deuce, this has nothing to do with "Green" jobs. This has to do with ALL jobs. It just so happens that Solar is a very hot industry, right now. Many of us think it is one of the most important industries of the future.

    You need to look at what happened to the price of coal when oil spiked in 2008. Coal spiked right along with it.

    And what is coal doing today? It's steadily rising.

    Don't believe all that bullshit about 100 years supply of coal. It ain't true. We get 40% of our coal from the Powder River Basin.

    Those mines will be out of operation within 20 years.

    There IS other coal, but it is much deeper, and much harder to mine - thus, much more expensive.

    There is a lot of coal in Illinois, but it is dirty as sin. It's just full of Sulfur - very expensive to "clean."

    Imagine a coal train 1,600 miles long. China uses that much coal Every Day. It won't be too long until they "import" as much coal as we "use."

    The Fossil Fuel Companies are spending a lot of time, and money mocking (and financing sock puppets to mock) Green Solutions such as Solar, and Wind. Too many "Conservatives" are falling for it. This is a bad mistake for America.

    We are fools if we let China inexorably "pick off" our jobs by utilizing Slave Labor. We should, at the very least, institute import tariffs equal to the differential in wages between our workers, and the Slaves in China. Otherwise, WE will end up Slaves, ourselves.

  9. Another example of why government needs to limit it's involvement in the market.

    When government entices a private company into an 'arrangement' that would not otherwise work, the relationship usually is short-lived and the separation as ugly as Kelsey Grammar's.

    It happens all the time, whether it's tax advantages to manufacturers, subsidies to airlines, or who knows what to other employers. If the businesses can't make the numbers work without government incentives or subsidies, the business oftentimes is forced to look elsewhere for new sources to bleed.

    Look at Sports franchises. Constantly looking for public financial support in order to make 'the business model' work.

    Another example is Airlines seeking revenue guarantees from municipalities desperate for airline services to smaller, secondary airports.

    Several states and cities are now struggling to service the debt on municipal bonds which were floated to finance spending which should never have occurred in the first place.

    Smaller, more limited government on all levels is the best way to go. Politicians, for the most part, make poor businessmen.

  10. Massachusetts has pretty high income taxes. Texas has No Income Taxes. However, keep this in mind:

    If you live in Massachusetts you will make Much More Money (even After paying your income taxes,) and have a Much Higher Standard of Living than you would if you lived in Texas.

  11. The issue of Chinese manufactured goods is very interesting. It appears as if globalization was conceived to ease wage inflation. Cheaper goods and easy credit made up for stagnant wages. Now, the question is, what would have happened to the US economy had the US consumer been forced to pay the higher retail prices for products manufactured in the USA? I suspect that we would have long ago gone from a consumer economy to a thrift economy. Like Japan, we could have gone into the doldrums long before Credit Collapse.

  12. We had much smaller, and much more "limited" government in the '30's.

    My father said it wasn't so hot.

  13. Said $0.25/day didn't go too far.

  14. If you're comparing Texas to Massachusetts, you have to consider other factors such as education, inherent wealth, etc. Massachusetts, New England, the midwest all have much older, more mature economies than the rest of the country.

  15. If I'm not mistaken, about the only thing happening during the thirties was massive public spending by the Federal Government.

  16. Spending is spending. It is all a matter of balance.

    If an ecomomy is built on consumers and spenings on imported goods, the consumer may be better off for awhile but domestic incomes will not go up except perhaps for retail clerks.

    If money is saved and invested in capital goods, more jobs are created, incomes go up and you have more money to spend.

  17. Texas had cotton, then cattle, then Oil, and Gas. Didn't help the "people" much.

    The Cotton Barons got rich. The Cattle Barons got rich. The Oil, and Gas Barons got rich.

    The people stayed poor.

    What Texas didn't have was "unions."

  18. That's what Henry Ford believed and it works. Unfortunately, as spending goes up, prices go up. This puts pressure on wages. A friction develops between owners and workers and the next thing you know, here come the unions, then the government regulators and the tax man who all along has been salivating for his cut.

  19. Being able to buy imported consumer goods produced by Slave Labor is like a good Saturday Night party. A lot of fun for awhile, but painful as all hell the next morning.

    Guess what, The Sun's Coming Up.

  20. Hey Rat:

    The good people of Glendale should say "Thanks, but no thanks" to that Bond deal. Now is not the time to go into that kind of debt especially for a hockey team in the desert. I can just see a failed or relocated sports franchise and an empty parking lot. 100 million dollars is ridiculous.

  21. Rising prices should lead to greater productivity, and more hiring, leading to more "product," thus keeping prices in line.

    Businessmen love keeping all the money, and keeping their employees impoverished. That's just the way it is.

    Unions make that more difficult; thus, businessmen hate unions. That, also, is just the way it is.

    You Do Not want to be born poor into a country that has no strong union history. If I'm wrong, just name the country.

  22. On the other hand, Whit, people do love Sports. What would that come out to? Fifty, or a hundred dollars per person? They might think it's worth it.

  23. If the city puts up exorbitantly high prices to park for the hockey games, you can bet that the shuttle and bus services will do a booming business. This will force the dim bulbs to look for other ways (higher taxes and fees) to raise the money. Besides that, the municipal bonds market is extremely suspect right now.

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  27. Rufus II said...
    Texas had cotton, then cattle, then Oil, and Gas. Didn't help the "people" much.

    The Cotton Barons got rich. The Cattle Barons got rich. The Oil, and Gas Barons got rich.

    The people stayed poor.

    What Texas didn't have was "unions."


    I'll have to inform Buddy Larsen that he's hallucinating when he dreams he's playing the markets with real money.

    Poor sap doesn't know that Big Oil paid off oil workers with fake funny money in order to keep the Oil Barons rich and the people poor.

    ...and built a fantasy company town where workers would spend their fake dollars for fantasy "goods" and "services."

  28. They kept Buddy impoverished and he didn't even know it. Don't let Rufus get near him.

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  30. You think Buddy's ignorant black-hole brain would suck the brilliance out of RufusBrain tm if he got too close?

  31. Don't mess around with
    RufusBrain tm,

    ...it's unionized.

  32. Without unions, who would shoot the windows out of houses built by non-union workers???

  33. At least RufusBraintm knows how to google "per capita income per state," Doug.

    I'm glad Buddy did well; he's a nice man. However, Texas is way down the list on income.

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  35. Doug, I belonged to a union for about one month.

    Other than that I've been "self-employed" my entire life.

    However, facts is facts. Union States are wealthy, and pay for the welfare programs of poor, non-union states.

    's just a fact.

  36. Did anyone happen to notice a little more money in their paychecks since the first of the year?

    Social Security withholdings went from 6.2% to 4.2%. Employers will continue to pay 6.2%

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  38. Go away, Bob. You're not wanted.

    You're injecting yourself into a place where you are not welcome.

  39. Indeed, California and Ilinois are rich beyond our wildest dreams.

    Just you wait,

    You'll see.

  40. Illinois, and California have "options," Doug, because their citizens are fairly wealthy.

    Texas will soon no longer provide a minimum of health care for its poorest children.

  41. Rufus chooses to look only at Ponzi schemes in their early years.
    Avoids the uglyness of
    "the big payoff"
    that takes place down the road.

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  43. You have to look at cost of living in addition to per capita income.

    During the eighties and nineties too many of us succumbed to the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" mentality. Madison Avenue advertising pushed the images and easy credit enticed the consumer ever deeper into material excesses. Now, we've got to undo all that. We've got to shed debt but this will present a big problem especially for the auto makers still trying to peddle expensive iron.

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  45. Illinois and California have options to make choices in their coming bankruptcies.

    So far, Illinois only raised their sales tax sixty percent overnight, un-announced.

    An "option" bequeathed on the "wealthy" citizens.

  46. The people of Illinois have options. One of which is to leave the state.

  47. Living expenses in Waco Vs Manhatten,
    that is the question.

  48. Jerry Brown has proposed $12 Billion in budget cuts in Ca. Illinois raised their income tax by 2%. They get a little growth in the economy, and it's basically, problem solved.

    Texas is still a poor state that can't/won't pay healthcare costs for its poorest children.

    Massachusetts - Texas

    Texas - Massachusetts

    Where you choose to live is kind of like taking an IQ Test.

  49. The wealthy will leave in droves leaving behind a pocket of have nots. How's that going to work out?

    California and Illinois are prime examples of government spending run amok. Illinois, counter to everyone including Obama seems to think now is the time to put up tax rates.

    California has taxed until they just about can't tax anymore and still will not control it's state spending. How's that going to work out?

    We shall soon see.

  50. Illinois raised their income tax from 3% to 5%.

    Now, go look up the difference in "Income" between Texas, and Illinois. Tell me what difference the 2% made.

  51. California has a $19 billion deficit and Brown has proposed $12 billion in spending cuts which he may or may not be able to get through the union controlled California Legislature.

  52. "Jerry Brown has proposed $12 Billion in budget cuts in Ca."

    Jerry Brown proposed billion dollar cuts in EDUCATION, because he knows that's the one thing polling shows that people are willing to vote for tax increases to provide.

    ...more taxes in California means more businesses move to Texas.

    ...another day older, and deeper in debt.

  53. Correction:
    The California budget deficit maybe as high as $25 billion to $30 billion.

  54. That's right. It was $25 Billion. Then, it was $19 Billion.

    Then, he cuts $12 Billion (and, yes, he will get them through; he's a Democrat.)

    Now, a couple of quarters of decent growth (income tax revenue,) and California's back to the land of the living.

    Guys, we go through this Every time there's a Recession. Every Time. California's going broke. California's going broke. California IS broke. Woe is us. Woe is us.

    And then. And then. And then.

    The recession ends.

    Never mind.

  55. Large swaths of California now live in severe poverty and ignorance.

    Areas that were vibrant thriving communities in my lifetime.

    ...and VDH's, also.
    ...but he can write,
    and I can't.

  56. Businesses are exiting California like crazy Rufus:

    You argue that history always repeats.

    Ain't gonna happen.

  57. And, by the way. Instead of parroting Republican talking points take a look at the actual "migration" statistics. California is Neutral. There is no (or very little) migration out of the state.

    Look, I'll grant you their government is totally fucked up; but what government isn't. I just get tired of the bullshit from Both Extremes of the spectrum.

    You want to see a Real Government in action? wiki Iowa.

  58. Jerry's dad oversaw the construction of the California water projects.

    Jerry's political allies are now turning off those waters to farmers who formerly grew food for profit.

  59. Poor Mexicans are moving in, prosperous natives are moving out.

    That's another reason why there's no way out,
    this time.

  60. The financial abyss otherwise known as the California budget

    – 6 charts showing a challenging year for California housing and economy. Rental vacancy rate adding pressure to buying a home, per capita income down, and lost decade in homeownership.

  61. Chart #1:

    CA Welfare rolls 32 percent of national total.

    CA population:
    12 percent of United States.

  62. "Open Borders and Easy Access to Welfare: as the stack graph shows, California accounts for 12% of the nation's population but 32% of welfare recipients.

    Only California and Texas registered high enough to include the state name on the Y-axis.

    Texas has 8% of the U.S. population and is equally burdened by border issues but has only 1/10th of California's welfare rolls."

  63. Stage hands in NY City earn 400 k per year:

    Go, Unions!

  64. Similarly, the very rich in CA raise the state per capita average income.

    ...they don't share all that income with the poor.

    They do share the growing amounts their diminishing numbers pay in taxes.

    More taxes means fewer rich will choose to stay.

  65. Been hearing it since the 70's, Doug. Bought into it then; know better now.

  66. Let me give you an example of where California gets it right:

    It has taken nearly two decades for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA MTA) to replace its entire fleet of diesel buses with coaches that operate on alternative-fuel technologies, but on Wednesday, the MTA completed the transition when it retired its final diesel bus. Officially, LA's MTA is now the nation's only major transit agency with an entire fleet of buses equipped with alternative-fuel technologies.

    Diesel buses began operating in Los Angeles County back in 1940. The last diesel coach to be retired – a 40-foot long New Flyer purchased in 1998 – logged 383,180 miles before being relieved of its duties. In 1995, LA's MTA took delivery of its first natural gas coach. Currently LA's MTA operates 2,221 CNG-fueled buses, six hybrid coaches and one electric bus. Transit officials estimate that the elimination of diesel-fueled coaches has reduced particulates by 80 percent and slashed CO2 emissions by nearly 300,000 pounds per day.

    California Retires its Last Diesel Bus

  67. Plus, they've got a bunch of Big Solar Projects that will start kicking in this year.

  68. California is broke because they have way to many people, mostly there illegally, using it's facilities that do not pay taxes. Period. Texas has a similar problem.

    Unions will eventually suck the life out of any industry. It is a common disease that threads thru any ailing industry. Auto, transportation, garment, etc. Take your pick.

    The pro union comments being made here are right off the union websites. Union workers are the laziest people on earth. The polar opposite of profit and production is UNION.

  69. whit wrote:

    "It appears as if globalization was conceived to ease wage inflation."

    I dunno about that. I think globalization happened more than it was conceived. I think the early primary driver was the desire to open up markets. Take Coke for an example - all those folks in China look like a chance for some decent volume sales. For businessfolk cheaper inputs are also a driver. If you can manufacture your product better and cheaper and sell it to a larger market what is there not to like?

    Y'all are sounding like a bunch of socialists opposing the above logic with chirping about *what's better for the people*.

  70. I spent a few hours talking to illegal immigrants who are taking over Arizon.

    They said the 50 year War on Drugs hadn't worked, it was easy to pay off the US Border Patrol and the US consumption of snow and smoke has gone way up.

  71. I agree and I should have said that one of the benefits of globalization is to stem wage inflation.

    It's interesting though that the labor market has moved through out Asia chasing cheaper labor.

    First it was Japan, then South Korea, and Indonesia and now the Peoples Republic of China.

    And lest we forget, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong have been in the mix for a long time.

    My point is that each country during the course of its development has undergone wage inflation and rising wage demands. As that occurred, manufacturing looked elsewhere for cheaper labor. China, though more authoritarian, is already feeling that crunch as labor begins to desire (demand may be too strong a word for now) more material wealth and comforts.

  72. True Whit though in modern manufacturing there is so much more than low wage inputs. The low wage countries do well with items that require large amounts of labor - textiles being one of those industries famous for its 'slave labor'. Unions can be good in these environments giving the laborer a chance at a livable life. The Unions do tend toward rigidity and lack of productivity in more developed regions. Process manufacturing is a key though. Mechanically pounding out item after item precisely is a good competitive advantage. Japan has been very good a making cars and electronics. Korea seems to making a lot of computer components and China seems to be rising as well in this style of manufacturing. Apple makes most of their iPhones and other gadgets there don't they? I think it is a lot more than cheap labor making those jurisdiction competitive. The few times I've looked at purchasing electronic items from China the price has looked great but to get that price I had to buy a lot of the suckers. They don't just make a few at a time.

    I've gotten very frustrated dealing with Unions and anti-competitive laws in my life. I've found that both, in my experience, have functioned to keep things the 'way they are' as opposed to allowing for 'new and better'. They have served the interests of those currently in power thwarting the rise of the innovative and more efficient.

  73. Ash, I agree. Please don't have a stroke. :-)

  74. Feds threaten to sue states over union laws

    WASHINGTON – The National Labor Relations Board on Friday threatened to sue Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah over constitutional amendments guaranteeing workers the right to a secret ballot in union elections.

  75. Ash sees his own affairs through conservative lenses, but insists there is no connection between the micro and the macro.

    The magical socialist reality disconnect tm

  76. The Deaf Wife Problem

    Bert feared his wife Peg wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.

    Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem.

    The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

    "Here's what you do," said the Doctor, "stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response."

    That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was In the den. He says to himself, "I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens."

    Then in a normal tone he asks, "Honey, what's for dinner?"

    No response.

    So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, "Peg, what's for dinner?"

    Still no response.

    Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his Wife and asks, "Honey, what's for dinner?"

    Again he gets no response.

    So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. "Honey, what's for dinner?"

    Again there is no response.

    So he walks right up behind her. "Peg, what's for dinner?"

    'For God’s sake, Bert, for the FIFTH time, its CHICKEN!'

  77. Glock on a red G-string

    The night before the rampage, authorities say, Mr. Loughner, 22, dropped off at a drugstore a roll of 35-millimeter film containing images he had shot of himself posing with a Glock semiautomatic pistol while wearing a red G-string.

  78. doug, rufus still hasn't learned that sooner or later you run out of other people's money

  79. He focuses on sooner and ignores later.

    Makes a great salesman for foisting Ponzi Schemes on the public.

  80. Liberals Seek Ban on Metaphors

    In the most bald-faced lie I have ever read in The New York Times -- which is saying something -- that paper implied Loughner is a pro-life zealot. This is the precise opposite of the truth.

    Only because numerous other news outlets, including ABC News and The Associated Press, reported the exact same shocking incident in much greater detail -- and with direct quotes -- do we know that the Times' rendition was complete bunk.

    ABC News reported: "One Pima Community College student, who had a poetry class with Loughner later in his college career, said he would often act 'wildly inappropriate.'

    "'One day (Loughner) started making comments about terrorism and laughing about killing the baby,' classmate Don Coorough told ABC News, referring to a discussion about abortions. 'The rest of us were looking at him in shock ... I thought this young man was troubled.'

    "Another classmate, Lydian Ali, recalled the incident as well.

    "'A girl had written a poem about an abortion. It was very emotional and she was teary eyed and he said something about strapping a bomb to the fetus and making a baby bomber,' Ali said."

    Here's the Times' version:

    "After another student read a poem about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a 'terrorist for killing the baby.'"

    So that's how the Times transformed Loughner from a sicko laughing about a dead fetus to a deadly earnest pro-life fanatic.

  81. Loughner used a 35-millimeter film-based camera.

    More evidence proving him to be a reactionary conservative.

  82. .

    Blaming the unions for this country’s problems is simply scapegoating. Do they deserve their share of blame. Sure. But if you want to find out who is to blame, look in the mirror. Trying to find a simple answer for all the problems in this country and blaming it on the unions is frankly bullshit.


  83. Ah, my electric is back on.

    I guess one of those lazy, pole-climbing union swine done went out in the freezing cold, and fixed the line where some drunk ran over the pole.

    Guys, just name me one country without a strong union history in which you would like to be born.

    It doesn't matter if business is making beaucoup bucks if you are poor, and starving.

  84. I seem not to recollect a great number of threads in the archives.

    It's like going through old family photo albums and the people are the same, but the events recorded are largely unfamiliar.

    "Did we really go to Yosemite?"

  85. And, 'splain one more thing to me;

    if unions are so danged bad, why do the the Union states write a check every month to the non-union states?

  86. Why do the people in the union states make more money, have better medical care, better nutrition, receive a better education, and live longer?

  87. Am I in favor of "card check?"

    Of course not; that IS a step too far. However, I sure as hell don't want to live in a country that outlaws unions.

  88. Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Quirk?

    I don't recall anyone blaming all the problems on the unions.

    Find anything interesting back there, Trish?

  89. Are you on a journey of discovery or simply doing some background for discovery?

  90. Come on Rufus, the industrial states had money, better education and a higher standard of living long before unions ever came onto the scene.

  91. The idea that the Justice Department is threatening to sue States which insist on private ballots is inconceivable.

    I spent an enjoyable afternoon over at Viktor Silo. He nailed the progressive statists dead with an explanation that the progressive mindset seeks to enforce their views or eliminate the nonconforming.

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  93. Massachusetts Median Income - $65,000.00

    Let's go take a look at Texas, shall we?

    Ah, Wiki doesn't even give their Median, but Texas per capita income is $35,500.00

  94. Yes, Whit, but they kept it. The Non-Union States never caught up.

  95. .

    I have to agree with Rufus.

    Unions are a major reason that overall wages in this country are where they are. Everytime the unions get a rise in wages or benefits the prevailing wages in the area rise too. You can argue whether this is a good thing or not; but, If you argue it’s bad I suggest that what you are really arguing is that it’s wrong that wages and benefits go up; of course, with the exception of your own.

    Those that think it’s a good thing would agree with Henry Ford’s position that you have to pay workers a reasonable wage if you expect them to buy your product. When I worked salary, I was always glad to see the union contracts come up because whatever the unions got was almost immediately reflected in my paycheck too.

    Which brings up another issue.

    You blame the unions for doing what unions do. What about the other side of the equation? As Pogo said: “We have seen the enemy, and it is us.”

    The unions ask for something and management gives it to them. The first reaction is to blame the unions. What about management that doesn’t have the balls to say no, especially in the days when it was so much easier just to pass on any increases to the consumer. In an especially egregious case, remember it was GM not the unions that suggested the job bank concept. And why, because they thought it would give them an advantage over their main rivals Ford and Chrysler.

    Also, when the foreign carmakers came to this country, it wasn’t exactly a level playing field even here. We talk about Japanese quality and it’s true that they eventually got very good; however, I remember seeing plenty of those cookie cutter cars rusting away after a few years.

    The oil shortage was an opportunity for them and they took advantage of it. They had the small cars and the Big Three didn’t; but they also a cost advantage. The plants they built here were completely new. They had to be more efficient than those of the Big Three. Likewise they had no benefit costs to speak of other than healthcare. They had a young work force that wouldn’t be a burden for years; and they were up against American companies that had accumulated 70 years of legacy costs, costs that helped create the middle class in this country.

    And what about the service unions, especially the fastest growing one that represents government workers. Ronald Reagan showed how to handle these unions if their demands get out of hand. Yet today, governments at all levels have been giving them whatever they want. It’s much easier to pass on the costs to the public than to fight. Besides those making the decisions usually will dip their beaks at the same time. And for the Democrats, they are actually building a constituency. Sweet deal for all of them till the money runs out.

    This country’s middle class was built on the backs of the unions. The country sucks at the union tit when things were going good; and now when things are in the shitter, it’s all the unions fault. Laughable.

    Look in the mirror.


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  97. Did I find anything interesting?

    Interesting as in, "Hey, I must have been doing something actually productive out in the real world back in, what, March of 2009. Rather than spending endless hours on the roof, drinking, lap top in front of me. Because I am barely there. Or here. As it were. Whatever I was doing instead, I hope I got a paycheck and enjoyed it."

    That kind of interesting?

    Or: "How did someone I loathe, despise and abominate - no, not Doug - or Rat - come to figure so prominently in my virtual absence?"

    Interesting like that?

  98. "This country’s middle class was built on the backs of the unions. "

    Laughable bullshit.

  99. .


    I agree with Trish.

    When I was doing the Boscos, I went back a few years, to find blog streams with no comments on them so I could try out the links without bothering the current blog discussion.

    While doing so I saw some of the streams tht were put up long before I got here. Some of them are quite impressive. I especially liked some of the artwork. Going back and looking at some of them is kind of interesting if you have some time some day.


  100. .

    Laughable bullshit.

    A comment for sure but hardly and argument.


  101. .

    Or: "How did someone I loathe, despise and abominate - no, not Doug - or Rat - come to figure so prominently in my virtual absence?"

    Why don't you come out and say 'exactly' who you are talking about and then it might be possible to have a conversation about 'exactly' what is bothering you.


  102. "Are you on a journey of discovery..."


    I rather look at it from my hippie daughter's POV - borrowed from I-don't-know-where - which is that we are the means through which the universe becomes aware of itself.

    Not my journey.

    Except as a flea on a surfboard riding a tsunami.

    Or something.


    I was just going back looking for indications that something was going to go horribly awry.

    And marvel at my former innocent self.

  103. Uh, Q, did you run into the phrse "Cat vomit" back there?

    Sometimes I just really piss people off. :0

  104. "This country’s middle class was built on the backs of the unions. "

    "A comment for sure but hardly and argument."

  105. "Why don't you come out and say 'exactly' who you are talking about..."


    One of just a few people here who has ever actually frightened me.

  106. .


    Before my time.

    I'll have to move on to the next stream

    Ruf, 'cat vomit' was one of the nicer things I saw said about you.


  107. MAT?


    There I go, "overestimating" myself, again.

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  109. I'm sorry, Trish, for whatever it is that has caused such distress. I wish I could help. The best I can do is offer a prayer.

  110. Quirk said...

    Blaming the unions for this country’s problems is simply scapegoating. Do they deserve their share of blame. Sure. But if you want to find out who is to blame, look in the mirror. Trying to find a simple answer for all the problems in this country and blaming it on the unions is frankly bullshit.


    Especially laughable in the context this President has created:

    Visible and invisible transfers of billions of dollars to the unions on the backs of the citizens.

    Confiscation of private industries in order to save ruinous pension plans as written.

    Support for Union Thugs intimidating businessmen and their families.

    What unions have done for "education" or maintenance of public buildings and spaces...

    I could go on and on...

  111. .

    "This country’s middle class was built on the backs of the unions. "

    "A comment for sure but hardly and argument."

    I made my argument in the first couple paragraphs of my rather lengthy post above and the first comment above flows from that argument.

    I pulled my first response to your post because it didn't fit with the new EB policy of amicable discussion.



  112. "I don't recall anyone blaming all the problems on the unions."

    Sure, but why try to be fair and balanced.

    "Bullshit" covers it all.

  113. whit said...
    Come on Rufus, the industrial states had money, better education and a higher standard of living long before unions ever came onto the scene.


    Unions have taken California Education from first to near-worst in my lifetime.

    The coming bankruptcy will soon cap their legacy.

  114. "But if you want to find out who is to blame, look in the mirror."

    Our response to Unionized "Education" was to do it ourselves.

  115. Everyone that is not a cheerleader for unions and their lackeys in Govt sees the lackeys giving our money to the unions as payments for the unions monolithic support for their crooks in office.

  116. .

    Look in the mirror Doug.

    Do the unions have problems? Of course. Do they drive up wages? Yes. But then in most manufacturing situations, wages and benefits are a relatively small amount of overall costs (10-15%), an amount that can be overcome by other efficiencies. And over the past 20-30 years wage have been stagnant, yet we still continue to lose jobs.

    Do they drive up benefit costs? Yes. I may be wrong on this one, but I think that about half the people in the country had defined benefit plans at one time, but that has dropped down to about 15% on the last number I saw.

    Do unions drive inefficiencies? Sure. If they can force work rules that end up creating a few more jobs they will do it. Again, that's what they do. But if you want to see inefficiencies go to China. I've been there although the last time was 15 years ago. I'm sure things are getting better in some areas but theirs is a big boat to turn around.

    As an offset the unions championed laws to help guarantee safety on the job, to prevent age discrimination, to lay out a basis to prevent arbitrary firing, etc. Contrast that with the hundreds who die each year in the Chinese mine disasters. Or with a film I saw this week on CNBC that showed workers at a rare earth processing plant, walking around covered in dust from the process with no air masks or other protective devices. So much for the good old days without unions.

    And let’s face it union membership overall has been falling for years. The only place it seems to be rising is in government.

    And we continue to lose jobs.

    In summary, unions have a lot of problems; however, blaming them for all the job losses and other problems in this country on them is truly laughable.

    Ash complains about the unions, one wonders how he feels about tenure for professors.

    If you want to complain about the problems in this country, look in the mirror. You complain about a statist government. Who allows it?
    Who has allowed it for the past fifty years?


  117. "I'm sorry, Trish, for whatever it is that has caused such distress."

    Did you not know what you were doing?

    Are you actually children?

  118. Well.

    At least you are children who give an occasional, perfunctory nod to the importance of spelling and punctuation.

    Could be worse I guess.

  119. .


    Doggone it. Should that nod, in this context, get a period or not?

    Curse you Trish. I will worry about this as I walk the dog.


  120. No, I didn't know what we/I/us whoever was/were/are doing to you. I still don't.

  121. Les'see, March of '09.

    The Global Economy had just crashed.

    Many people were predicting the Greatest Depression in History.

    Obama had, only recently, been sworn in.

    I imagine most of us were shitting our pants.

    Anything else I can hep with?

  122. I'm tellin' ya, whit. There was a stretch there recently for the WaPo when I thought they'd brought in lazy high school newspaper editors.

    And I've seen it in articles posted here and elsewhere.

    If yer gonna make shit up, make it grammatically correct.

  123. Reality is breaking down.

    We communicate reality by means of language.

    We are incredibly lucky to possess the most precise and the most flexible language of all.

    When it goes, we go.

  124. When simple care for it goes, we go.

  125. .

    Anything else I can hep with?

    You could watch your damn spelling, cat vomit.

    You're ruining my life.

    Heck, don't you get it?


  126. Actually, we spend most of our time "lying like dogs."

    - in a most precise manner, of course -

  127. I'm working up to "abominated."

  128. Actually, we spend most of our time "lying like dogs."

    - rufus

    And you feel good about that?

  129. Yes, Trish; and if you saw how I spent the rest of my time you'd know why.

  130. Les' jest say a hillbilly is never so harmlessly disposed as when he's telling a good lie.

  131. But, I wanna say One more time: Those rumors about cats, and poodle dogs is abominatin' falsehoods.

    I'm, mostly, not like that at all.

  132. Don' none of you'all own shetland ponies, do ya? ;)

  133. I watched James Dickey read his The Lifeguard" on PBS last night. It was mesmerizing. It flowed. Like water.

  134. Uh, never mind, I just got distracted.

  135. It reminded me of the way Tennessee Williams could make his words flow.

  136. Dickey's "Lifeguard flowed, like water, really?

    Ya think he owns a shetland?

  137. It's funny because poetry hasn't affected me for a long time.

  138. I have a thing for diplomatic language. It's an art - or maybe just a science - which I do not really possess. I just respect its place.

    It can cover unspeakable atrocities as well as give cover to quiet justice.

    Precise and flexible.

    Our language is meant to do all sorts of things.

    In its best use, it simply speaks to us about ourselves. All of us.

  139. Ol' TW wuz drunk; that's why his words flowed.

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  142. My langwidge tells me I'm an old hillbilly that's probly drunk too much whiskey.

  143. Go away, Bob. The man said he doesn't want you on his blog.

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  145. "Our language, Trish, is meant to..."

    FFB. That word used by you is not a good thing.

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  147. My fuse has gotten considerably shorter in my old age. I traipsed out in that muddy field in wolf-killing mode once. There won't be a Second.

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  149. Bob. You're mad and you hurt people.

  150. James Dickey had a small cameo role in Deliverance. He was the sheriff at the end. He looked in the window of the car of what was left of the canoers who were driving off and said something to the effect of, "y'all don't never do nothin like this no more, don't never come down here no more. Let this river die in peace."

    He was a great writer. It was fun to watch him act.

    I never blamed all the country's problems on the unions. All I said is that they suck and that they are a bunch of lazy ass holes.

  151. We really have to guard against feeding the trolls, folks. Myself included of course.

    One of the grown-ups will be along with the keys, shortly.

  152. Green job.

    There is not even a definition; just fluff.

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  156. Why does Rufus lie like a dog and lick himself?

    Because he can.

    Flexible old Fart.

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  160. "And I am not mad, I just know more than you."

    Bob - get over yourself, you're like the rest of us, you don't know shit and you spend way too much time concerned about this site

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  165. Polar Opposite

    The term was well used above by gag.

    It may be applied more universally with good outcomes when considering all of Rufus's comments.

    With a compass needle, there's always a polar opposite. Knowing this, we navigate through perilous situations.

    With Rufus's arguments, I submit that applying the same principal to complex issues of our time can provide a reliable test to find the preferred alternative. Simply do the opposite of what he proposes or hypes.

    To test this thesis, examine the positions of Rufus on the following:

    Cash For Clunkers

    Statin drugs proposed for universal taking within the general at-risk population

    Obama Health Care


    Natural gas exploration and exploitation

    Government subsidies for wind and solar, and regulation of their competition favored by the rent seekers who've attached themselves to the technology like parasites

  166. Continued:

    Federal bailouts of failing auto companies

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