“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

George Bush and Republican Leadership


  1. Get used to it and learn from it. Hope that Obama will shift to the center.

    I do not look at this as a rejection of John McCain. I admire John McCain and wish he had won the first time he ran against Bush.

    It was the economy stupid and say what we will, the Republicans by any measure have not measured up. The deserved to be rejected and they were.

    Like it or not it will be President Barack Obama. I do not like it and will have to learn to live with it.

  2. I wish Algore had won.
    Shoulda run Bob

  3. Pretty good chance Al would have secured the Border after 9-11.
    Better than opening the floodgates to unlimited Democrat voter pool.

    Rush said W left all the Bubba Buddies in the Pentagon too.
    Might as well be consistent, I guess.

  4. Elections have consequences:

    Schumer on Fox: Fairness Doctrine ‘fair and balanced’
    By Bob Cusack
    Posted: 11/04/08 11:30 AM [ET]

    Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday defended the so-called Fairness Doctrine in an interview on Fox News, saying, “I think we should all be fair and balanced, don’t you?”

    Schumer’s comments echo other Democrats’ views on reviving the Fairness Doctrine, which would require radio stations to balance conservative hosts with liberal ones.

    Asked if he is a supporter of telling radio stations what content they should have, Schumer used the fair and balanced line, claiming that critics of the Fairness Doctrine are being inconsistent.

  5. Bush wanted to be loved by those that hated him the most.

  6. When Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, Hamas and Iran attack Israel BECAUSE Obama has won, it will be on the shoulders of the democrats the millions of arabs that will become ash....

  7. Looks like Carl Rove is a mac (computer) guy.

  8. right now all those arabs that actually supported us are shitting themselves and packing to flee...

  9. Makeover [Mark Steyn]
    I like this picture of Sarah Palin voting. Heavy on the Caribou, light on the Barbie. She didn't need to be dunked in RNC bling. And the more the campaign went on and the more she wiggled free of her minders, the better she sounded. If you've got organic style, you shouldn't be shoehorned into generic campaign issue. If the night goes the way it seems to be heading, the differences between the Governor and the campaign will be one of the most interesting parts of the GOP post-mortem.

  10. It looks like the Senate will hold with the dems not getting 60.

  11. If the 'fairness doctrine' which the court ought to rule unconstitutional and might, is brought in, I might almost support it if it would change the programming at KGO a little. But, I suppose there it would be interpreted to mean a gay advocate would have to argue with some turd from NAMBLA.

  12. Solar stocks for a rainy day
    The industry has taken a beating in the market lately, but a few standouts may shine in the long run.

    By Michael V. Copeland, senior writer
    Last Updated: November 4, 2008: 8:42 AM ET

    (Fortune Magazine) -- No one loves Arnold Schwarzenegger more than the solar industry. Kicking off the nation's largest gathering devoted to all things sunny, the California governor won thunderous applause and two standing ovations from the crowd of 20,000 at the San Diego Convention Center. "What's green for the environment can also be green for the economy," he said. "Solar is the future; it's now; it can't be stopped."

    For those four days in October, the Solar Power International 2008 convention drew attendees from 70 countries and generated lines stretching out the door for parking, food, and just about everything else. It seemed as if the power of the sun could conquer all. You wouldn't have guessed that just a week before, the financial meltdown had felled sector after sector, including the once-shining solar industry.

    It's not that this swelling crowd thinks the macroeconomic troubles the world faces won't affect the solar industry; they know they will. All the leading solar companies have already seen the value of their stocks plummet far more than the 36% the Nasdaq has dropped from the beginning of the year to Oct. 21. The value of the Claymore/MAC global solar energy index (TAN), an ETF comprising global solar stocks, has dropped 56% since it started trading in mid-April.

    Given the uncertainty of the economy, some analysts fear that the solar industry's customers could have trouble financing utility-scale solar projects that use lots of modules. Most residential solar installations, which can cost $20,000 to $30,000, require homeowners to borrow, and that money has all but disappeared. Subsidies in Spain, a huge market in recent years, are decreasing, and it is an open question whether countries that have new subsidies coming online, like Italy, Greece, and France, will fill the void.

    In contrast to the 1980s - when solar companies got swept away by cheap oil, withdrawn government subsidies, or steep economic downturns - the sense this time is that the industry is here to stay. And not just stay and survive, but stay and flourish. Concern over climate change, combined with falling prices for solar technology, has made this source of carbon-free electricity more attractive than ever. The worldwide market for solar energy roughly doubled last year, to $33 billion, and analysts expect revenues to grow 33% a year for the foreseeable future. What began as a technology championed by tree huggers and pot growers is now a global market that Lux Research, based in New York City, says will reach about $100 billion in sales within the next five years. Germany, Japan, and Spain rank as the top markets for solar power, but other Western European nations are coming on fast, as are China and the U.S. As part of the bailout package, Congress extended the 30% investment tax credits for clean energy, which should give a boost to the American market.
    'A real industry'

    "Solar has become a real industry," says Marc Porat, a Silicon Valley veteran and chairman of green-building-materials company Serious Materials. Porat was at the conference in San Diego scouting for solar-electricity generating systems for another green project of his. Looking around the hall packed with startups selling everything from tools for manufacturing solar cells to rooftop hardware for mounting equipment to software for analyzing power needs, Porat emphasizes his point. "You can see that all the gaps in the market have been filled by multiple companies," he says. "It's the same with any good entrepreneurial opportunity."

    After 30-plus years of steady improvement, solar electric technology is going mainstream. Photovoltaic (PV) panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, can increasingly be found on residential rooftops, warehouses, and Wal-Marts. Large-scale photovoltaic solar farms cover huge swaths of land to supply utilities with clean power. Entrepreneurs have also invested in solar thermal farms, where the sun's heat turns liquid into steam to drive a turbine.

    Even with state-of-the-art manufacturing methods, PV solar power is still on average twice as expensive to produce as electricity generated by a coal-fired plant. But prices are finally coming down even as efficiency goes up, and some experts think the cost of solar will rival grid power in the next two to three years. In the meantime, government subsidies are bridging the cost gap in many markets. Also, as more nations pass carbon cap-and-trade laws - in the U.S. both Senators McCain and Obama support the idea - natural gas and coal will become more expensive, which should close the gap further. Finally, the industry has achieved scale. These are not backyard enterprises - they pull in hundreds of millions in revenue annually and do business everywhere on the planet. That they all are pursuing economies of scale should help drive down the cost of solar even further.

    Although the industry is able to sell solar cells and modules today as fast as it can make them, analysts predict capacity will almost double in 2009. That has caused some analysts to raise the specter of over-supply and the possibility of a bloody price war among manufacturers. "It's going to trigger a shakeout," says Ted Sullivan, a senior analyst with Lux. "The weakest players will either get acquired or fail."

    While industry players mostly disagree with Sullivan on the inevitability of aggressive price wars, they do see an upcoming shift in the industry. "I think we all agree that markets tend to consolidate during times like these," says Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower, a maker of solar-power-generating systems. "This is one of those periods in an industry where a handful of big players emerge."

    Of the 14 pure-play public solar companies, experts expect at least three to stand out from the crowd. The winners possess differentiated technology, enough cash to survive, and the financial heft to enter the entire solar food chain, from producing modules to selling power like any other utility. While the industry is likely to remain volatile for some time to come, long-term investors might want to consider stocks of these three companies, whose values now look attractive.
    First Solar

    Among the favorites of stock analysts is First Solar (FSLR). Founded in 1999 and originally backed by the investing arm of the Walton (Wal-Mart) family, First Solar went public in 2006, right at the beginning of a wave of solar IPOs. In the coming shakeout First Solar should thrive, because with its cutting-edge thin-film technology it is able to produce solar modules more cheaply per watt than its competitors. Traditional crystalline-silicon photovoltaic systems sandwich wafers of silicon between glass, resulting in those boxy panels you see on rooftops. By contrast, First Solar's thin-film technology applies a fine layer of material directly to a glass substrate. The process is faster, and because it requires just a fraction of the expensive silicon used in traditional PVs, it's vastly cheaper. First Solar, which operates factories in Ohio, Malaysia, and Germany, can produce systems for $1.14 per watt of power, compared with $2.90 per watt for traditional crystalline-silicon solar cells. With subsidies, First Solar's products can compete in many parts of the world with a natural gas or coal-fired power plant.

    Run by managers who are fanatics about meeting goals and avoiding unnecessary costs, First Solar routinely blows away both its own and the Street's targets. Its manufacturing team is legendary, bringing online factories that exceed expectations. "They come in at over 100% of projected capacity," says Jenny Chase, a senior analyst with New Energy Finance. "No one else does that."

    The shares of this highflying Tempe, Ariz., company peaked at $317 in May and now are trading at $144. Analysts expect sales this year to reach $1.2 billion, up 138% from 2007, and to top $2.1 billion next year, with earnings per share more than doubling. First Solar also sits on $633 million in cash. While the stock is pricey with a current P/E of 50 and a forward P/E of 21, the company's growth prospects and strong balance sheet make it look like a buy.

    While First Solar has laid claim to the lowest price per watt for its modules, SunPower (SPWRA) claims the most efficient. Inch for inch, its modules produce the most electricity. While SunPower's systems are expensive, you need fewer of them, which makes them perfect for homes and businesses where space is tight. The company, based in San Jose, was spun out of Cypress Semiconductor in 2005 and now sports a $4.2 billion market cap - about eight times the size of its former parent. It has carved out a place in the solar industry similar to Apple's in the computer world, producing well-designed, aesthetically pleasing modules. SunPower has distinguished itself in the market as one of the highest-quality makers of modules. "Brand actually does matter in this industry," New Energy's Chase says, "and SunPower has it."

    Besides making and installing systems, SunPower has started on a new track. Much like a utility, it has decided to sell the power its modules produce directly to customers. But that new strategy hasn't kept the stock from getting hammered. Over the past year, SunPower stock fell from a 52-week high of $164 to a low of $37 in early October. Werner is shocked by the drubbing his stock has taken. "The markets are valuing growth companies as if they were lead-pencil companies," he says. "This will take care of itself in time, and we are obviously in a really, really unique time."

    Now trading at around $54, with a current P/E of 60 and a forward P/E of 12, this stock, too, looks like a buy. Analysts expect SunPower's sales this year to hit $1.4 billion, up 80% from 2007, and to rise to $2 billion in 2009. Earnings per share are expected to rise from $2.33 in 2008 to $3.55 in 2009, a 52% increase.
    Suntech Power

    While SunPower is obsessed with quality, what solarmaker Suntech Power (STP) offers is scale. Based in Wuxi, China, the company is the world's largest manufacturer of solar PV modules and has set in place an aggressive plan to stay on top, says Roger Efird, who runs Suntech's business in the Americas. With a cash hoard of $752 million, access to cheap local labor, and deep-pocketed Chinese lenders backing it up, the company has been able to take advantage of the fast-growing market. Efird, who is also chairman of the U.S. Solar Energy Industry Association, believes the risk of price declines in solar modules next year will be offset by continued thirst for new sources of clean energy in both China and the U.S.

    Wedged in by people filling Suntech's booth at the San Diego solar conference, Efird looks around the hall. "There's not a person in this room who has a module for sale between now and the end of the year. It's all sold out," he says. "What people forget is that there are hundreds upon hundreds of solar projects, in the U.S. in particular, sitting on the shelf waiting for the right economic moment." Efird believes that moment is coming next year.

    To hedge its bets, Suntech, like its competitor SunPower, is moving up the food chain, selling power directly to commercial customers. That's not Suntech's only hedge. The company has invested tens of millions to lock in the price of silicon over the next five to ten years, betting that demand will rise and prices eventually will trend up. Competing manufacturers without Suntech's resources will have to face the vagaries of the spot market for silicon in years to come. Of course, if silicon prices drop - new capacity is coming onstream - the move could prove a costly mistake for Suntech.

    Suntech's share price has fallen from a 52-week high of $90 in January to $18 in mid-October. It looks cheap, with a current P/E of 17 and a forward P/E of 9. This year's sales, stemming mostly from its business in Asia, are estimated to clock in at $2.1 billion, up 62% over 2007, rising to $3.2 billion in 2009, as it pushes hard in the U.S. Earnings per share are projected to go from $1.67 this year to $2.50 next.

    The shares of even the best solar companies have fallen on hard times. Yet for anyone who believes that the world is destined to move away from a carbon-based economy, investing in this nascent industry, at least in the long term, may very well be a move you won't regret.

  13. I would be very curious to see how the election would end if it was by congressional district.

  14. Fla. Marriage Amendment Winning by Large Margin

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008 9:39 PM

    Florida’s Amendment 2, which sought to define marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, is passing overwhelmingly, according to the latest results from the Florida Department of State Division of Elections

    With nearly four million votes cast, the yes votes for approval had taken 63.3 percent of the vote compared to 36.7 voting against the measure. The measure also includes a provision to protect the new law from judicial review and action, though it will still likely be subject to a challenge in the courts.

    A total of 153 similar measures across 36 states are at stake in this election. Perhaps the most watched will be California's Proposition 8 to put a stop to gay marriage in the state. A poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California last week showed the initiative down among voters.

  15. 46% of Iowans dissaproved of Bush's job performance in 2004, today 72% dissaprove.

  16. Look at Pennsylvania

    Obama is leading by 50% in the popular vote.

  17. Nov 4, 2008 - 8:03 pm
    21. peterike:
    In retrospect, perhaps the biggest failing of the Bush administration is that after election 2000 they did nothing to improve the process. The fraud in that election was massive, and it got worse in 2004. This year it’s something of a joke. Yet they did nothing about it for eight years. Nothing. Now it’s just part of the system.

    Having lost that opportunity, and with 20 million illegals likely to be legalized in the next few years, America is essentially now a one party country. Welcome to the dreary world of socialist reality.

    It was nice while it lasted.

    Nov 4, 2008 - 8:09 pm
    23. wretchard:

    Having lost that opportunity, and with 20 million illegals likely to be legalized in the next few years, America is essentially now a one party country. Welcome to the dreary world of socialist reality. It was nice while it lasted.

    While everyone is legally obliged to accept the results of an election, nobody is expected to accept a political situation as permanent. That’s the definition of electoral democracy. But it all depends on how much people want it. The political refusal to accept a socialist trend is a powerful weapon. The Palestinians for example, have simply been saying “no” for decades. No to everything. If people don’t want socialism, there’s 2010 and 2012. But they have to decide in their hearts that they want to work for it.

    Nov 4, 2008 - 8:09 pm
    24. Doug:

    Turning a blind eye to lawlessness is not leadership.
    Border should have been secured in the wake of 9-ll.
    Bubba’s buddies should have been cleared out of all the agencies that they weren’t.
    Federal Dollars should not have gone to ACORN, La Raza, and etc.

    Better to believe that Pigs will indeed fly someday, I guess.

  18. What you got against NAMBLA, LaBob?
    Free Bernie!

  19. I knew it was going to be a tough evening.

    I flew into St Thomas AVI and rented a car to drive over to St Johns AVI. You have to take a twenty minute barge ride from island to island. I got there late and was the last on.

    As we pushed off a fire started in the engine room. Fortunately we got back to land and all the cars got off safely and the fire department put out the fire.

    Ten minutes could have made a very different outcome. I'll post some photos later.

  20. Had Bush done his job, there would be no President Obama.

  21. To Schumer, consistency was defined thus:

    "If we restrict porn, why shouldn't we restrict talk radio"

    I heard it from the a-hole's Piehole.

  22. Wait till all the illegals start coming in from Africa.

  23. If Bush had done his job, we'd still have a country.

    Too much to ask, I guess.

  24. One good thing for me is, I've been relieved from ever reading that idiot George Will again.

  25. The voters in Massachusettes voted to retain their state income tax.

  26. When I reload NRO, and the Big Flag Background comes up first, I get sick.

  27. My contempt for Joe Scarborough should trump your George Will.

  28. There are three general ways in which we can signal a new beginning and "refriend" our allies:

    - We should not only close the Guantanamo prison but also turn it into an international center for research on tropical diseases that afflict poor countries. It could thus become an example of multilateral humanitarianism.


    - The new president also should signal that we will no longer confront problems just by blowing them up. The military toolbox is essential, but it shouldn't be the first option for 21st-century challenges.


    - We must cooperate with other countries on humanitarian efforts, including family planning. One of the Bush follies that has bewildered and antagonized our allies has been the vacuous refusal to support family planning through the U.N. Population Fund.

    Rejoining the World

  29. Stupid Fuck Will didn't bother comparing Palin with the other guys in any meaningful way.

    ...Just against the fantasy World he imagines if everyone were as elite as he.
    Noonan sucked that up Big Time.


  30. At least the Democratic pols are true to their team. From the quarter back on down, you never know where the Republicans are going.

  31. I'm sorry. Really, I am. But I found that Country Club you thought didn't exist. It looks like everyone will need more then coffee, maybe next week.

  32. McCain was ahead in Ohio until the market meltdown. And in Florida too.

  33. We're watching with trepidation as McCain's numbers have been creeping upwards while Obama has been holding steady at 207 for some time. Of course, here on the West Coast the polls haven't even closed yet.

    But still, we here at Brad Blog know from experience not to count our proverbial chickens. Frankly, I can't see how Mac can pull it out.

    But if there's a will, there's a way, and there certainly is a lot of will on the part of those who would do anything to keep the military industrial complex fully funded.

    Dem Gains

  34. Well, it's the beginning of the end. According to my psychic nostradamus neighbor.

  35. Joe Lieberman says he fears for America. Well, what he said was he fears for America if the dems get 60 Senators.

    How's that Senate race in Minnesota going?

    Last I heard Frankenstein was a little behind.

  36. In our ending is our beginning, some of the poets day, Sam!

  37. The MSM did their job for Obama. Obama double-crossed McCain on public finance, voter fraud, motor voter, and a new expanded class of non-federal tax payers lining up to vote themselves benefits.

    The Republicans did everything to get black voters and got 8%. The Hispanics shoved it to them, and youth went about 60% for Obama.

    Mission Impossible.

  38. Republicans need to remember who they are and who they represent. It is a white party because the minorities say it is and that is not going to change.

  39. I'm certain of one thing, nothing really good is going to come of any of this. Except no black can accuse whites of being racist any longer. That's over.

  40. This was a referendum on George Bush.

  41. Now, we could go to Dunkin Donuts.

  42. It may be too late for a white majority, given demographic and immigration/open border trends.

  43. But your point remains valid, because if that's not the core of the Republican party, they don't have a core or a party.

  44. Hadn't been to St Thomas or St John's in about 10 years. Love that Red Hook Marina - assume that's where your ferry was.

  45. Only White Americans can be conned into thinking that their very identity is in itself wrong. Once they accept that, or are unwilling to defend that, then the borders are open to any culture that does not have that inferiority complex. It would be nice if race or culture did not matter but in the zero sum game of life it does.

  46. Ten more minutes and I may have been swimming!

  47. There's something really creepy about the huge Obama rally in Chicago right now. Just the sheer numbers of people. The size of it.

    Something creepy about all those huge rallies, actually.

  48. Sam, that's funny my sister-in-law used the same exact words.

  49. James says there appears to be only about ten thousand, slightly short of a million.

    Lucky for them:
    A million would have been mayhem, w/multiple deaths, and etc.

  50. James was surprised that SoCal cities are passing Prop 8, the Marriage one. (Bigot vote to T)

    I wouldn't have predicted it but as soon as I heard it I was not surprised:
    Hispanics probly joined the Bigots on that one.

    Course by the time it reaches the Supremes, it will be Barry's Court, and struck down.
    Establishing the power of the Unbigots forevermore.

  51. The dress? All I can say is, "Michelle, you're no Jackie Kennedy."

    I won't say anything about the election right now... wouldn't want to turn the page blue or make any longshoremen blush.

  52. Was strange:
    Needed to go to town, wasn't 'til I was driving back, several hours after knowing BHO won, that it struck me for the first time that my Belle is gonna be the First Ho.
    Good thing nobody mentioned her before, as both of them at once mighta been more than I coulda took.
    Wo unto us, we be fucked.

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