“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."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

White moderates who supported Obama shocked that he is a committed leftist.

Doug said...

Davey Brooks is shocked, SHOCKED!

That a former member of the Socialist Party, who has spent almost his entire adult life around socialists, communists, black liberationists, Muslim Arabists, and domestic terrorists, might not govern as a CENTRIST!
...took Joe all of 5 minutes to learn that BHO is a committed redistributionist.
But Joe's "Just a Plumber."

Op-Ed Columnist - A Moderate Manifesto -

The president issued a read-my-lips pledge that no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people.
All the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward.

Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was.

His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”

Moderates now find themselves betwixt and between. On the left, there is a president who appears to be, as Crook says, “a conviction politician, a bold progressive liberal.”
On the right, there are the Rush Limbaugh brigades.
The only thing more scary than Obama’s experiment is the thought that it might fail and the political power will swing over to a Republican Party that is currently unfit to wield it.

Wed Mar 04, 06:53:00 AM EST


  1. No, the "Shocking" thing is that Greenspan Really Was "Shocked!"

    Shucks, THAT "Shocked" ME; and, Nothin "Shocks" ME.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Nothing except Trish's Nudie Book Club, that is.

  4. Poll: Obama's rating at all-time high

    NBC/WSJ poll shows gap between popularity of president and his policies

    By Mark Murray
    Deputy political director
    NBC News

    84% think the economic crisis is the Bush Legacy.

    According to the poll, part of the reason why Obama's numbers remain high despite these economic concerns is that the public doesn't blame the president for the current state of the economy. Eighty-four percent say this is an economy Obama inherited, and two-thirds of those people think he has at least a year before he's responsible for it.

    And here I thought that 8 months, until September, was a reasonable tranistion period. Then again, I was using the GOP approved 9-11-01 Standard of Presidental Responsibility.

    The general electorate seemingly more forgiving of sub-par performance than I.

  5. A PDF of the NBC.WSJ Poll

    Not a lot of positive data, for Conservatives, Republicans or those that do not embrace an Obama Administration.

    Obama must have found Ronnie's stash of teflon, in the White House basement.

    17b. And how much time would you say that Barack Obama has before his policies are mostly responsible for the country's economic conditions?

    Situation Obama Inherited ... 84
    Responsible in less than six months ... 2
    Responsible in six months to one year ... 13
    Responsible in one to two years ...25
    Responsible in two to three years ... 18
    Responsible in more than three years ... 23
    Not sure when responsible ... 3

  7. By David Glovin and Joel Rosenblatt

    March 2 (Bloomberg) -- American International Group Inc., which reported the biggest loss by a publicly traded U.S. firm, was sued for securities fraud by former Chief Executive Officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg.

    Greenberg sued today in federal court in Manhattan, saying the company’s “material misrepresentations and omissions” caused him to acquire New York-based AIG shares in his deferred compensation profit-participation plan at an “artificially inflated price.”

    The complaint comes on the same day that AIG CEO Edward Liddy told Bloomberg News that Greenberg was at the helm during the formation of AIG’s financial products unit, which sold derivatives that cost the company more than $30 billion in writedowns and prompted a government rescue. After reporting its fourth-quarter loss widened to $61.7 billion, AIG announced it reached an agreement to restructure its federal bailout.

    AIG’s alleged misrepresentations caused Greenberg to pay excessive income tax on the AIG shares, according to his complaint. Greenberg seeks to recover the difference between the price he paid for the shares and a fair price had the misrepresentations not occurred, according to the suit. Greenberg also seeks to recover the extra income tax he claims to have paid.

    Christina Pretto, an AIG spokeswoman, said Greenberg’s lawsuit is without merit and that AIG will defend itself.


  8. The other real funny thing, Joe never was a "Plumber".

    Just a laborer that worked for a plumbing company.

    The State licenses real plumbers, Joe was not.

    Just another miracle of marketing

  9. Well, now that the US President relates more to the Brits from a Kenyan and post colonialist perspective than did GWBush. Matter of breeding and personal and national history. The British handling of Africa similar to how it behaved in the Americas, prior to the formation of the United States. In Africa independece was granted to the individual States in a piecemeal fashion and without forming any type of African Union.

    By Dana Milbank
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009; Page A03

    Our British cousins are getting the feeling that the new administration doesn't fancy them.

    The murmurs began when President Obama returned to the British Embassy the Winston Churchill bust that had been displayed in the Oval Office since Tony Blair lent it to George W. Bush.

    The fears intensified when press secretary Robert Gibbs, announcing British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's visit to the White House, demoted the Churchillian phrase "special relationship" to a mere "special partnership" across the Atlantic.

    And the alarm bells really went off when Brown's entourage landed at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday night. Obama, breaking with precedent, wouldn't grant the prime minister the customary honor of standing beside him in front of the two nations' flags for the TV cameras. The Camp David sleepover that Blair got on his first meeting with Bush? Sorry, chaps.

    Still, Brown kept a stiff upper lip as he sat in the Oval Office yesterday as Obama, skipping the usual words of welcome for his guest, went straight to questions from the news services. Brown didn't get to speak for six minutes, after Obama had already answered two questions. ...

  10. Most Americans have no idea as to the degree of anti-Americanism in Britain. Nor should they care.

  11. Back to Cap & Trade, what is the difference between the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act that both John McCain and Obama supported, but did not vote for, and the new Obama proposal?

    This piece in Slate, from a year ago outlines both the Obama and McCain positions. There were many in the Senate GOP that were against the proposal, Maverick was not one of them.
    Since June of '08 the GOP's ability to block the legislaton has vastly diminished.

    Ducking the Climate Debate
    Are McCain and Obama serious about global warming?

    By Eric Pooley
    Posted Friday, June 13, 2008,

    So, how come neither he nor Obama showed up for the big debate?

    McCain was under massive pressure from party leaders not to appear. The Republicans were using delay tactics to obstruct Lieberman-Warner, calling it the "Boxer Climate Tax Bill" and claiming it would wreck the economy; the last thing Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to see was McCain riding in on a white horse to step on their story line. For McCain, that meant passing up an opportunity to burnish his maverick brand with climate-sensitive swing voters. But since large swaths of the GOP base are climate skeptics and this bill wasn't getting a serious debate anyway, being a no-show was the low-risk option. So, brave Sir John left his gallant steed in the stable and went to some fundraisers instead.

    Obama had other reasons to duck the debate. After pleasing the environmental left in the primaries with his strong, detailed climate policy, he is showing signs of regarding the issue as a liability for the general election. As America's economic troubles mount, the stump time he devotes to climate change dwindles. Maybe that's because cap and trade will boost energy prices over the short term, at a time when voters are in deep economic distress and apoplectic about the price of gasoline.

    But for Obama, cap and trade is the best way to reduce dependence on foreign oil and lower energy prices over the long term. (By putting a price on carbon, cap and trade offers built-in incentives to all clean energy sources.) It would impose a relatively modest upfront cost to get that done—2 cents per gallon of gas per year between now and 2030, according to the EPA—and that's a deal worth taking. Will Obama have the guts to make the argument? ...

  12. From another Hawaiian Eye

    McCain's Global Warming Plan Threatens Economy
    By Robert Bluey, 5/28/2008

    What’s in McCain’s Plan?

    McCain, who previously teamed with Lieberman to draft global warming legislation, supports a cap-and-trade proposal designed to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 60% from 1990 levels by 2050. He argued that such a system “harnesses human ingenuity in the pursuit of alternatives to carbon-based fuels.”

    McCain’s two Democratic rivals, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, support an 80% reduction by mid-century, a recommendation in line with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Lieberman-Warner bill supposedly would cut emissions by 70% by 2050.

    A closer examination of cap and trade reveals the pitfalls of such a system. Even if it works perfectly, which is unlikely, it essentially amounts to a new tax on energy. In its analysis of the Lieberman-Warner bill, the Congressional Budget Office said the legislation would increase federal revenue by $1.21 trillion from 2009 to 2018—money that can best be described as a tax increase.

    Several studies of the cap-and-trade proposal reveal its high costs. The Heritage Foundation last week released its analysis of Lieberman-Warner, showing skyrocketing energy costs, millions of jobs lost and falling middle-class income.

    “The burden would be shouldered by the average American,” the study’s authors conclude. “The bill would have the same effect as a major new energy tax—only worse. Increases are set by forces beyond legislative control.”

    The resulting higher prices for electricity, natural gas and home heating oil would send a typical consumer’s total annual energy bill through the roof—$938.63 more in 2030 than 2012 after adjusting for inflation, according to the Heritage study. Based on Department of Labor data, that equals about six weeks’ worth of groceries for a family of four.

    The impact on the overall the economy is even more alarming. The current U.S. economic output of $14 trillion would sharply decline by 2018 because of higher energy prices. Even under the most generous assumptions, the Heritage study estimates cumulative losses to gross domestic product (GDP) would be $1.7 trillion by 2030 after adjusting for inflation. The total could be as high as $4.8 trillion.

    Now, in the Election of 2008 many of the posters, here at Bar, supported the McCain policy positions and prescriptions.
    The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, similar to the McCain Cap & Trade proposal was one of those prescriptions endorsed by the GOP standard bearer.

    How does the new Obama proposal differ?

  13. Hopefully you havent seen this yet and it will make you smile!


    Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, Mexifornia, formerly known as California .

    White minorities still trying to have English recognized as Mexifornia's third language.

    Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops and livestock.

    Baby conceived naturally! Scientists stumped.

    Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.

    Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.

    France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica . No other country comes forward to help the beleaguered nation!

    Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.

    George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.

    Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

    85-year $75.8 billion study: Diet and exercise is the key to weight loss.

    Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.

    Global cooling blamed for citrus crop failure for third consecutive year in Mexifornia and Floruba.

    Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.

    Abortion clinics now available in every
    High School in United States .

    Senate still blocking drilling in ANWR even though gas is selling for 4532 Pesos per liter and gas stations are only open on Tuesdays and Fridays.

    Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.

    Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.

    Average height of NBA players is now nine feet, seven inches.

    New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2030.

    IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.

    Floruba voters still having trouble with voting machines.

  14. Most Americans have no idea as to the degree of anti-Americanism in Britain. Nor should they care.

    It's the British that cultivated and gave birth to alJazeera. Most of the staff alJazeera employs are former BBC employees. It's the British who have been promoting Jihadis and Jihadi propaganda. It's the British who have been facilitating Jihadi militancy anti Americanism and anti Semitism.

    It's ironic that Obama is the one to give them the cold shoulder.

  15. Well, here's the contra view of the Maverick McCain position. Doubt that Senator Inhofe will change his view, seeing as how he was just reelected.

    October 18, 2007

    ... calling the legislation yet another in a series of global warming cap-and-trade bills that would cripple our economy while achieving no real environmental benefits.

    "The Lieberman-Warner bill will burden American families with additional energy costs and significantly harm the United States economy," Senator Inhofe said. "Senators are going to be asking the American people to pay more for home energy and pay higher prices at the gas pump for no climate benefit. This bill will simply result in real economic pain, for no climate gain. MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen correctly summed up these types of efforts in March when he said, ‘Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon, you control life.'

    Posted by Marc Morano - Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov -

    To bad there are not even 40 Senators, loyal and true.

  16. Desert Rat wrote:

    "Obama must have found Ronnie's stash of teflon, in the White House basement."

    Well, we shall see if there's any left over stashed in the basement as any honeymoon with a new pres. lasts at least a little while and Mr. Hope and Change, due to that clever branding, will most likely float on honeymoon's gossamer wings a little longer than most. We shall see how it goes for eight years though and how the revisionists view him in posterity. Regan professed to dislike big government and spending yet he did both but the revisionists still peddle that old conservative line. Nowadays, with problems so dire, most everyone seems to be turning to the big ole gov. for answers, and HELP! Even our dear host, 2164th, a self professed conservative if ever I saw one, has warmly embraced the notion of getting the Feds. to fix things. Not that he is wrong in that sentiment but the irony also exists. Uncle Sam is the problem, HELP, HELP, Uncle Sam!!

  17. One in five U.S. mortgage borrowers are underwater | Reuters

    By Jonathan Stempel

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - One in five U.S. homeowners with mortgages owe more to their lenders than their properties are worth, and the rate will increase as housing values drop in states that have so far avoided the worst of the crisis, a new study shows.

    About 8.31 million properties had negative equity at the end of 2008, up 9 percent from 7.63 million at the end of September, according to the study, released Wednesday by First American CoreLogic. The percentage of "underwater" borrowers rose to 20 percent from 18 percent.

    Another 2.16 million properties could go underwater if home prices fall another 5 percent, the study shows.

    First American said the value of residential properties fell to $19.1 trillion at year-end from $21.5 trillion a year earlier, with half the decline in California. Forty-three U.S. states and Washington, D.C., were included in the study.

    While states such as California, Florida and Nevada were particularly stressed, the study showed worrying signs of deterioration in relatively healthy parts of the nation.

    "The economic slowdown is broadening," said Sherrill Shaffer, a banking professor at the University of Wyoming at Laramie and a former Federal Reserve official. "As more people lose jobs, it will be more difficult to sustain the levels of pricing and home ownership, and that is a big factor driving down housing prices in more parts of the country."

    Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio remained the most stressed states, with 62 percent of underwater borrowers and just 41 percent of mortgages.

    Other areas, though, also face more stress. Connecticut, for example, saw a 25 percent increase in homes with negative equity, while Washington, D.C., had a 44 percent increase.

    "Even I continue to be surprised at the tentacles of this financial and economic debacle," said Robert MacIntosh, chief economist at Eaton Vance Management in Boston. "More people are being laid off, resulting in reduced income and therefore less consumption. That leaves fewer people with money to buy homes, and the mentality is that people believe they should wait six months rather than buy now. Less demand means falling prices."

    Roughly 68 percent of U.S. adults own their own homes, and about two-thirds of these have mortgages. Many economists expect the nation's unemployment rate to rise above 9 percent before the recession ends, up from January's 7.6 percent.


    California had 1.9 million borrowers with negative equity at year-end, more than any other state, followed by Florida's 1.28 million. About three in 10 borrowers in both states were underwater.

    By other measures, Nevada was the most stressed, with 55 percent of owners having negative equity and borrowers on average owing 97 percent of what their homes are worth. About 28 percent owe more than 125 percent of their homes' value.

    Michigan had 40 percent of its homeowners underwater, while Arizona had 32 percent.

    New York fared best, with just 4.7 percent of borrowers with negative equity and an average 48 percent loan-to-value ratio, though this could change as employment and bonuses slide in the financial services industry. Continued...

  18. non-OPEC Oil Production Has Peaked |

    Yawn. non-OPEC oil production peaked in late 2006 above 41 Mb/day. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see those production levels again. It’s also unlikely, if you follow oil supply, you’ll be shocked by the revelation. That said, it’s worth laying out how this happened.

    From 01 January 2003 to the price highs 2008 the price of oil went from 30.00 to 150.00. Now let’s take a look at non-OPEC oil production. Remember, much of non-OPEC supply is free market oil which leverages the latest technology and benefits from the profit motive. OPEC supply is about politics, state control, and kingdoms. non-OPEC supply is about earnings per share, deepwater rigs, and high-tech engineering. So let’s take a trip through Econ 101, where supply always responds to higher prices.

    Annual averages of non-OPEC Production in Mb/day

    2002 Average 39,520|
    2003 Average 40,299
    2004 Average 40,989
    2005 Average 40,799
    2006 Average 40,850
    2007 Average 40,838
    2008 Average 40,319

    Although monthly production peaked in late 2006, you can see signature of the first faltering in the annual averages, coming out of 2004. That’s a tell-tale sign of the transition from a legacy inventory of easier oil, which comes out quickly, to a newer inventory of more difficult oil.

    If you are not sobered enough by the total lack of supply response, consider this ominous fact: Russia, which is the largest producer in non-OPEC, was able to skyrocket production this decade. Russia would add another 2 Mb/day to non-OPEC production in the annual time series above. Astonishing. Even though Russia too has now peaked, without Russia’s massive increase in supply, non-OPEC supply would have fallen into the the bull market in oil!

    Tell that to your Econ 101 professor.

    In case you do in fact run into your old Econ professor, I’d like to give readers a simple way to talk about non-OPEC supply. The next time you’re talking Oil with friends and family, hit ‘em with this: For six years non-OPEC supply was flat, around 40+ Mb/day. Even though prices rose from 30.00 to 150.00. In fact, without Russia, non-OPEC supply would have fallen. What happened is that the legacy cheap oil was increasingly replaced by newer, harder, expensive oil. And now that price has crashed back down, to levels where we began the whole journey? The legacy cheap oil is depleted. The current oil was built upon much higher prices. So, just as you would expect, non-OPEC supply is on a crash course.

  19. I think it's unfair to Joe the Plumber to say he's really not a plumber, though technically he may not have been.

    I'd trust the guy to fix my pipes, where if someone turns the water on upstairs, if you're downstairs taking a shower, you go from hot to cold in a nanosecond....

  20. At least he isn't a community organizer.

  21. Would you trust Obumble to fix your pipes?

  22. Trish still hasn't told us what book we are reading for this month.

    Trish, just a reminder.

  23. MOSCOW — If you're inclined to believe Igor Panarin, and the Kremlin wouldn't mind if you did, then President Barack Obama will order martial law this year, the U.S. will split into six rump-states before 2011, and Russia and China will become the backbones of a new world order.


    But possible?

    nah, not really.


  24. I'm currently reading Kingdom Come by J.G. Ballard. I immediately thought of some of you here when I read the first chapter. I tried to find an excerpt from that first chapter online but couldn't. I did come up with this bit though. To give you a taste:

    "”Elective insanity is waiting inside us, waiting inside us to come out when we need it. We're talking primate behaviour at its most extreme. Witch-hunts, auto-da-fes, heretic burnings, the hot poker shoved up the enemy's rear, gibbets along the skyline. Willed madness can infect a housing estate or a whole nation.'

    'Thirties Germany?'

    ' Good example. People still think the Nazi leaders led the German people into the horrors of race war. Not true. The Germans were desperate to break out of their prison. Defeat, inflation, grotesque war reparations, the threat of barbarians advancing from the east. Going mad would set them free, and the chose Hitler to lead the hunting party. That's why they stayed together to the end. They needed a psychopathic god to worship, so they recruited a nobody and stood him on the high altar. The great religions have been at it for millennia.'

    'States of willed madness? Christianity? Islam?'

    'Vast systems of psychopathic delusion that murdered millions, launched crusades and founded empires. A great religion spells danger. Today people are desperate to believe, but they can only reach God through psychopathology. Look at the most religious areas of the world at present - the Middle East and the United States. These are sick societies, and they're going to get sicker. People are never more dangerous than when they have nothing left to believe except in God.'

    'But what else is there to believe in?' I waited for Maxted to reply, but the psychiatrist was staring through the picture window at the dome of the Metro-Centre, fists gripping the air as if trying to steady the world around him. 'Dr Maxted?'

    'Nothing. Except madness.' Maxted rallied himself and turned back to me. 'People feel they can rely on the irrational. It offers the only guarantee of freedom from all the cant and bullshit and sales commercials fed to us by politicians, bishops and academics. People are deliberately re-primitivizing themselves. They yearn for magic and unreason, which served them well in the past, and might help them again. They're keen to enter a new Dark Age. The lights are on, but they're retreating into the inner darkness, into superstition and unreason. The future is going to be a struggle between vast systems of competing psychopathies, all of them willed and deliberate, part of a desperate attempt to escape from a rational world and the boredom of consumerism.'

    'Consumerism leads to social pathology? Hard to believe.'

    'It paves the way. Half the goods we buy these days are not much more than adult toys. The danger is that consumerism will need something close to fascism to keep it growing. Take the Metro-Centre and its flat sales. Close your eyes a little and it already looks like a Nuremberg rally. The ranks of sales counters, the long straight aisles, the signs and banners, the whole theatrical aspect.'

    'No jackboots, though,' I pointed out. 'No ranting fuhrers.'

    'Not yet. Anyway, they belong to the politics of the street. Our streets are the cable TV consumer channels. Our party insignia are the gold and platinum loyalty cards. Faintly risible? Yes, but people thought the Nazis were a bit of a joke. The consumer society is a kind of soft police state. We think we have choice, but everything is compulsory. We have to keep buying or we fail as citizens. Consumerism creates huge unconscious needs that only fascism satisfy. If anything, fascism is the form that consumerism takes when it opts for elective madness. You can see it here already.'

    'In bosky Surrey? I don't think so.'

    'It's coming Richard.' Maxted pursed his lips, as it to shut out all possibility of a smile. ‘Here and in the towns around Heathrow. You can feel it in the air.'"

  25. Now, in the Election of 2008 many of the posters, here at Bar, supported the McCain policy positions and prescriptions.

    With the (mostly) unspoken hope the old coot would get elected, and immediately die, leaving us with that good woman, Sarah, running things :)

  26. jeez, no wonder you're so screwed up, Ash, reading stuff like that.

    Want to join our nekked book club?

  27. The first thing we do, is take away the rights of the old folks, and kill 'em, when they turn 70.

    Saves us money.

  28. 'But what else is there to believe in?'

    Well, love, silly goose.

  29. Armed for Battle: First Solar vs. SunPower vs. Suntech -- Seeking Alpha

    By Ucilia Wang

    With the $400 million purchase of OptiSolar's project portfolio, First Solar (FSLR) has, in effect, declared war on two other large solar energy companies who also aren't satisfied at being merely solar panel makers.

    Can you hear the battle cry, SunPower (SPWRA) and Suntech Power (STP)?

    First Solar already has staked a claim as the company that can make solar panels cheaper than anyone else. The company, based in Tempe, Ariz., has become a Wall Street darling in recent years by delivering impressive financial returns. Startup solar companies aspire to be First Solar – or beat it.

    Now it's making a serious foray into the business of developing power plants for the U.S. utility market. First Solar announced Monday that it's snatching up 1.85 gigawatts worth of power projects under development – and enough land to build another 19 gigawatts -- in an all-stock offer to Hayward, Calif.-based OptiSolar. The package comes with a 550-megawatt project in California, and First Solar needs to start building in 2010 in order to meet power delivery deadlines previously set by OptiSolar, which has been crushed by credit crunch (see First Solar Buys OptiSolar's Power Projects).

    That's a heavy work load for a company whose biggest, completed project to date is a 10-megawatt plant in Nevada for Sempra Generation, which began selling electricity from that plant to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PCG) in January this year (see PG&E to Get Solar Power for the First Time).

    First Solar sees the move as a sure way to boost demand for its panels and to lower the overall costs of building a power plant by consolidating the procurement, engineering and installing processes, said Mike Ahearn, CEO of First Solar, over a conference call with analysts Monday. Ahearn called the deal "a watershed acquisition."

    The ambitious undertaking will pit First Solar against its fellow solar panel makers, SunPower and Suntech Power, both of whom have jumped into the business of developing large-scale projects for businesses and utilities, said Daniel Englander, a senior analyst with Greentech Media's market research division.

    "Big successful PV companies are being integrated downstream. It's a great way for them to cut costs along the supply chain," Englander said. "Companies that can access the capital will be able to build the projects."

    The utility market has become especially attractive thanks to a growing number of states requiring utilities to offer a certain percentage of power from renewable sources such as solar and wind. A new, 30 percent federal tax credit, in place starting this year, also has enticed utilities to own and operate their own solar power plants. In the past, they mostly preferred to ink long-term contracts to buy solar power from independent power plant developers and owners.

    SunPower, based in San Jose, Calif., bought PowerLight for $265 million in 2006 to enter the business of designing and installing solar energy systems. SunPower then went on to buy two other such companies, one in Australia and the second in Italy (see SunPower Buys Australian Distributor). SunPower scored a key deal last July to build a 25-megawatt power plant for Florida Power & Light to own and operate. A few months later, it announced a plan to build and operate a 250-megawatt solar farm in California in order to sell the electricity to PG&E.

    China-based Suntech Power, meanwhile, bought EI Solutions and formed a joint venture with MMA Renewable Ventures last year to woo utility, government and other business customers (see Suntech Buys EI Solutions, Teams Up With MMA). The joint venture, Gemini Solar Development, is pursuing a 30-megawatt project for the city-owned utility in Austin.

    Spain's well-financed solar project developer, Fotowatio, said only a few days ago that it would buy MMA, a deal that Suntech said would only strengthen its pursuit of power project deals (see Fotowatio Buys MMA Renewable Ventures).

    First Solar also has been eyeing the utility market for more than a year, and bought Turner Renewable Energy for $34.3 million in stock and cash in 2007 to learn how to engineer and build solar power plants. The deal came with an unfinished project in Blythe, Calif., that First Solar plans to build this year. Southern California Edison already has agreed to buy power from the project, which will start at 7.5 megawatts.

    First Solar's acquisition of OptiSolar's large portfolio of pending projects cuts short the amount of time it would otherwise take for First Solar to secure that much land, regulatory approval and customers on its own, Ahearn said.

    The deal to sell the power from the 550-megawatt project, called Topaz Solar Farm, to PG&E already has gotten approval from the California Public Utilities Commission. It plans to raise money to develop the project instead of using its own capital, said Ahearn, who also noted that the company would have to expand its panel production to meet the project's demand.

    Although the Topaz project calls for First Solar to own and operate the power plant, Ahearn indicated that the company is primarily interested in being a general contractor. This move would make sense particularly given the utilities' growing interest in owning and operating their own power plants (see PG&E to Build and Own Solar Power Plants).

    Seeing the Topaz deal go to First Solar is a bummer for SunPower. SunPower CEO Tom Werner told analysts last month that the company would try to increase its 250-megawatt deal with PG&E since OptiSolar was having financial troubles.

    Some financial analysts see the acquisition as a smart move by First Solar.

    "While investors have noted a meaningful gap between production targets and contracted deliveries, this new pipeline of projects should give them confidence that the company should not be faced with stocks of unsold inventory," wrote Mark Bachman, a senior analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, in a research note.

    Others are more skeptical. Gordon Johnson, head of alternative energy research at Hapoalim Securities, believes First Solar overpaid for OptiSolar's assets in a rush to prevent SunPower and Suntech from getting them. Then there is the question of whether First Solar can carry out the projects on time.

  30. It's not madness, Ashley, it's greed. The whole Nazi gobbledygook propaganda surrounding this basic fact, is just that: gobbledygook. This is the same energy that's animating your co-religious Islamist fscktards.

  31. The next meeting is on the eleventh, bob. There is, however, no assigned book this month. (Those are every other month and I don't have April's marching orders yet.)

    This is a "free read" meeting, at which we discuss the newly read book of our choice. I am still trying to decide between "Into the Wilderness," which I swiped off of someone and whose author I am familiar with, and "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," which I gave to my daughter for Xmas, she subsequently recommended to me, and I subsequently purchased on my way out of the States.

    Now, if you would like to put your hands on either one of those, read it, and report back before, say, Tuesday morning, I will channel your thoughts and impressions to the naked assembled between sips of wine Wednesday night.

    Alternatively, you can wait until April's reading order is dispensed.

  32. That Ballard book, mattie, I think you might like. It is basically an indictment of consumerism.

  33. That Ballard book, mattie, I think you might like. It is basically an indictment of consumerism.


    I'm all for consumerism. As long as it's not based on Jihadi oil, or devestating the ecology of the planet.

  34. There is, of course, much more to Ballard's book than simply an indictment of consumerism. As Ballard said in an interview:

    "I wanted to show how disaffected and deracinated intellectuals often get drawn into political conspiracies that turn out badly. We have a clear example at the present time with many of the leading American intellectuals who are involved with President Bush and his neo-cons — someone like Fukuyama, although I think he’s recanted. These think-tank intellectuals in America provided a lot of the rationale for the whole neo-con response to 9/11. And earlier than that, you see people like Joseph Goebbels — a fully-fledged intellectual, without any doubt — becoming the propaganda chief of the Nazi regime. Albert Speer’s another one. I wanted to show how rootless intellectuals do get involved in these conspiracies."

  35. ha ha ha hah ah ah ah aha

    I voted for McCain....

    And I was a Democrat.......

    BHO is and was a radical, left side, back to africa, hamas loving, hate whitey, zealot...

    and the country is getting what they deserve...

  36. Right. It's the "neocons" who mistakenly tried to install democracy in the Arab world instead of just killing these jihadi fscks en mass that we need to worry about, and not the neofascist left and their jihadist sugar daddies.

  37. GE, down 9% today under huge volume pressure. Trading under $6.50

  38. Oops, that would be "Into the Wild."

  39. I can only think of two things in the last three generations that we in our life might call 'consumerism'.

    The car, and the tv.

    But the car is such an all around good thing, I celebrate that.

    The tv, well, there was a golden age, but....

    This computer I'm typing on is a good thing too, I have to admit.

    Other than that, I really don't know.

    The tractor was a great thing, and the combine, but that's not really 'consumerism'.

    Life seems to me to be pretty much the same, with a few improvemnets, here and there.

    I couldn't give a fig about fancy clothes, and a Mercedes Benz means nothing to me.

    A jet boat, however, hmmm....or maybe one of the old wooden Centurys.

    I think the woman's two piece bathing suit is an improvement, mostly, depending....

  40. As for the airplane, that's a tough one.

    It has done much damage, but has protected our country, too.

    A well armed fighter jet is probably about the most lethal thing there is.

    Yet I think if you are going from the west coast to the east coast, a car is the thing.

    You can see the country that way.

  41. Bobal, Ballard in that interview I cited before, on consumerism:

    "Well, my feeling about this country(England) — that we have nothing left but consumerism — does, as far as I know, translate to other consumerist societies like America and Japan. My impression is that Australians, however, have got other things to do with their spare time. They’re not besotted with shopping, because the country’s so large and there are so many opportunities for recreation — that’s probably another delusion of mine, I’ve no idea. But I’ve been to Canada several times and no-one would call Canada a consumerist society, because people have got more things to do — there’s more space. The peculiar thing about England is that we’re so densely populated. When I say there’s nothing to do except go shopping, that’s almost the truth. You know, you can’t climb into your car and drive off into the wilderness. Shopping is all we have. But I think, translated overseas, the general principle of Kingdom Come will hold: there is something about consumerism and late capitalism that is too close for comfort to fascism. There are echoes."

  42. I think "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" sounds down my alley, I'll try to get that.

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  45. Ash, I can actually agree with you on much of that.

    Particularily about the part about 'space'.

    I have truly loved some of my trips around here, down to the Nevada desert, for instance, and the beautiful sky, the mountains off in the distance, maybe even a scene of storm clouds brewing, and a little lighning flash, the smell of the sage brush. (some of which get montrous big, if they have a little water to support them)

    I love it, and want to keep it.

    Therefore I am against Rat's idea about selling off the National Forests, to pay off the national debts.

    I'd rather cut off my right arm....

  46. "The anger of grassroots conservatives continues unabated at the weak-kneed, spineless, earmark –loving Republicans."

    Viguerie - Rushification is inevitable result of GOP leaders' incompetence

    Manassas, VA – Broadcasters and commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage are seen as the de facto leaders of the Republican Party for a simple reason, Richard A. Viguerie said today: "It's because no one else is acting like a Republican leader."

    "The 'Rushification' of the GOP is the natural and inevitable result of the fact that those who are supposed to provide leadership – Republican elected officials and party officers – are doing little to bring the party back," said Viguerie, chairman of

    "Nature abhors a vacuum, and there is no vacuum in nature as empty as the leadership of the Republican Party today."

    Said Viguerie: "The GOP absolutely refuses to replace the Congressional leaders who helped get the party and the country into this mess. There are many Republican governors campaigning for the Obama 'stimulus' plan that is wrecking the economy and will push America deeper into socialism. Governor Jindal's speech was technocratic, without passion and toothless, and Michael Steele's foolish attack on Rush Limbaugh will, I'm sure, cost the party many millions in contributions."

    "The anger of grassroots conservatives continues unabated at the weak-kneed, spineless, earmark –loving Republicans."

  47. there’s more space

    That's it.

  48. Therefore I am against Rat's idea about selling off the National Forests, to pay off the national debts.

    We need more green space. And we need to cut cities down to size.

  49. Mat, I'd love to take a drive with you, down through Nevada, I could show you some stuff....

  50. Will Israel exist in 8 years?

  51. Along rivers or in other relatively wet areas, sagebrush can grow as tall as 3 m (10 feet)

    Right, I've seen some of these babies taller than I am.

  52. Mat, I'd love to take a drive with you, down through Nevada, I could show you some stuff....


    I will take you up on it, one of these days. I really liked the areas around lake Tahoe. Visiting the "methusela forest" was also a quite an experience.

  53. There's always some snow capped peaks off in the distance, too, even in summer. Way over there, past the valley. Many days away, by wagon train. Way over there, where there is water, and one is thirsty.

    Thirsty for the call of one out of oneself.

    I love it.

  54. I just got to warn you, Bob, I'm not much of a talker. So bring some females. :)

  55. I think we really ought to do that, Mat.

    While I don't have the money right now, I very well might in a couple of months.

    I'm not much of a talker either, so we ought to get along:)

    I really would like to meet you sometime.

    I'm just an old fart, about sixty something.

  56. "If everyone is silent, no arguments arise"

    old Chinese saying

  57. Sometimes you "feel like a nut."

    Sometimes the Country "feels like a nut."

    Sometimes the country "feels like a nut," and elects a Marxist, Kenyan, "Mystery man" to be President.

    This was one of "those times."

    Somehow the Republicans let the "crossovers" in New Hampshire and Florida pick their candidate. A candidate they would have never picked for themselves.

    The Republicans are tired. Tired, and spent. They elected Michael Steele to head of RNC. A lifetime "high-achiever." Leutenant-Governor of some state or the other? Oh, Yeah, he's "Black." So was Alan Keyes.

    Republicans really are confused about "race." They see Barack Obama, and think Alan Keyes/Michael Steele.

    It's sad, really. If you're a "Republican." Rush is all you've got left.

    Me? I think we need this crap every fifty or sixty years. Keeps us "freshened up."

    I'm feeling "fresh," already. Aren't you?

  58. Ruf, I think I need some deodorant.

    And fifty or sixty years is a long, long time.

    Practically a lifetime.

  59. I'm just an old fart, about sixty something.

    That'd make you my dad's age. :)

  60. Young man. Still, we'd get along.