Obama commits nearly $2 billion to solar companies


President Barack Obama, under pressure to spur job growth, said on Saturday two solar energy companies will get nearly $2 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to create as many as 5,000 green jobs.

In his weekly radio and Web address, Obama coupled his announcement with an acknowledgment that efforts to recover from the recession are slow a day after the Labor Department reported that private hiring in June rose by 83,000.

“It’s going to take months, even years, to dig our way out and it’s going to require an all-hands-on-deck effort,” he said.

All told, 5,000 jobs are expected to be created through use of $1.85 billion in money taken from the $787 billion economic stimulus that Obama pushed through the U.S. Congress in early 2009 over the strenuous objections of Republicans.

Obama announced the Energy Department will award $1.45 billion in loan guarantees to Abengoa Solar Inc to help it build Solona, one of the largest solar generation plants in the world near Gila Bend, Arizona.

Abengoa Solar, headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, is a unit of Spanish renewable energy and engineering company Abengoa SA. In the short term, construction will create some 1,600 jobs in Arizona.

“After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America,” Obama said.

Obama said $400 million in loan guarantees will be awarded to Colorado-based Abound Solar Manufacturing to manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.

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“The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”

I would be remiss if I did not include an excerpt of  the Fourth of July speech abolitionist, Frederick Douglass  made on July 4th, 1852, before the civil war.

The purpose of posting this excerpt is to ask the question, in the 21st century, some 165 plus years later, why is Douglass’ speech still relevant today in 2012?  One just has to read the news and see the overt racism bursting through its politically correct shroud of 50 years or so.  Perhaps the old adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same, is a truism, for some of us.

Also, having just completed a biography of Thomas Jefferson, the thought of Douglass’ speech came to mind, so I wanted to share it.


Click here for the text of this historical document.

During the 1850s, Frederick Douglass typically spent about six months of the year travelling extensively, giving lectures. During one winter — the winter of 1855-1856 — he gave about 70 lectures during a tour that covered four to five thousand miles. And his speaking engagements did not halt at the end of a tour. From his home in Rochester, New York, he took part in local abolition-related events.

On July 5, 1852, Douglass gave a speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Rochester’s Corinthian Hall. It was biting oratory, in which the speaker told his audience, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” And he asked them, “Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?”

Within the now-famous address is what historian Philip S. Foner has called “probably the most moving passage in all of Douglass’ speeches.”

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?

I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Poll: 26% Of U.S. Clueless On Who We Declared Independence From

Keith Olbermann touched on this subject Friday evening.  Just in case you missed it, TPM Live Wire  has a report:

Pop quiz:  Who was emperor when the United States declared independence from China?

Give up?

Perhaps you should ask one of the Americans who, when asked what country the U.S. separated from, named France, Japan, Mexico, Spain or, yes, China.

A new Marist poll shows that 26% of people in this country don’t know that the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain. That includes 20% who aren’t sure — and another 6% who think it was another country.

Looking at the numbers more deeply, it appears the closer to 1776 you were born, the more likely you are to know the correct answer. So enjoy the July 4th holiday, everyone, and don’t forget to be thankful that we’re out from under the yoke of our Mexican colonial oppressors.

No Dissent Allowed: Leading Conservatives Call For Steele To Resign For Daring To Question War

I agree with some of what Steele had to say about the war.  I know, appalling!

Think Progress

This past Friday, video surfaced of RNC Chairman Michael Steele speaking at a fundraiser in Connecticut about the war in Afghanistan. While some of Steele’s comments at the fundraiser were clearly inaccurate — such as his claim that the war was of “Obama’s choosing,” when it was started by his predecessor — he also made reasonable, debate-worthy arguments that engaging in a prolonged land war in Afghanistan is unwise.

Rather than refuting the historical inaccuracies in the first half of Steele’s statements and thoughtfully considering his critique of the war, numerous leading conservatives have responded to Steele’s comments by lashing out at the chairman, with some even asking for him to step down from his post. Their message is clear — in the modern Republican Party, you are not allowed to question the wisdom of engaging in a war:

– Leading conservative pundit and McCain presidential campaign advisor Bill Kristol called Steele’s comments an “affront…to the commitment of our soldiers” in Afghanistan and demanded that the chairman step down. [7/2/10]

– RedState founder, leading movement conservative, and CNN contributor Erick Erickson said that Steele “has lost all moral authority” and he “must resign.” [7/2/10]

– Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Steele’s remarks were “totally unacceptable” and said that he should “apologize and resign.” [7/03/10]

– Former Bush State Department official and Keep America Safe founder Liz Cheney said that Steele’s Afghanistan comments were “deeply disappointing and wrong” and that it is “time for Steele to step down.” [7/4/10]

– This morning on ABC’s This Week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said there was “no excuse” for Steele’s comments and told host Jake Tapper that “Mr. Steele is going to have to assess as to whether he can still lead the Republican Party as chairman of the Republican National Committee.” [7/4/10]

– Speaking on Fox News Sunday today, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) demanded that Steele “apologize to our military” and said that Republicans “need a chairman who’s focused.” [7/4/10]

– On CBS’s Face The Nation, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called Steele’s remarks “unwise” and said “we must win this war.” The senator was thankful, however, that Steele was “backtracking so fast he’s gonna be here fighting in Kabul soon.” [7/4/10]

While leading conservatives may be fine with toppling the head of their party for daring to question the wisdom of a long and protracted war in Afghanistan, they risk marginalizing themselves politically among an American public that is increasingly opposed to America’s longest war in history. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that a whopping 58 percent of Americans agree with President Obama’s stated timeline of July 2011 to begin withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It is also worth noting that nine elected Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the McGovern-Obey amendment requiring President Obama to submit a timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan — indicating that Steele’s position may be an increasingly popular one in the Republican Party.

Update As Glenn Greenwald notes, DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse put out a statement saying that Steele’s comments are tantamount to “betting against our troops and walking away from the fight.” Woodhouse’s position is hard to square with the fact that nearly 2/3 of House Democrats have voted to require the President to submit a timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Update The National Review’s Kevin Williamson suggests dumping Steele and hiring Sarah Palin as new RNC chair.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) says Steele is “absolutely right” and says Republicans “should stick by him.”

Fareed Zakaria Criticizes ‘Disproportionate’ Afghanistan War On CNN

Vodpod videos no longer available. 


Huffington Post 

Fareed Zakaria criticized the Afghanistan war in unusually harsh terms on his CNN program Sunday, saying that “the whole enterprise in Afghanistan feels disproportionate, a very expensive solution to what is turning out to be a small but real problem.” 

His comments followed CIA director Leon Panetta’s admission last week that the number of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan may be down to just 50 to 100 members, or even fewer. 

“If Al Qaeda is down to 100 men there at the most,” Zakaria asked, “why are we fighting a major war?” 

Zakaria noted that the war is costing the U.S. a fortune in both blood and treasure. “Last month alone there were more than 100 NATO troops killed in Afghanistan.,” the CNN host said. “That’s more than one allied death for each living Al Qaeda member in the country in just one month. 

“The latest estimates are that the war in Afghanistan will cost more than $100 billion in 2010 alone. That’s a billion dollars for every member of Al Qaeda thought to be living in Afghanistan in one year.” 

To critics who suggest that we need to continue fighting the war against the Taliban because they are allied with Al Qaeda, Zakaria countered that “this would be like fighting Italy in World War II after Hitler’s regime had collapsed and Berlin was in flames just because Italy had been allied with Germany.” 

“Why are we investing so much time, energy, and effort when Al Qaeda is so weak?” Zakaria concluded. “Is there a more cost-effective way to keep Al Qaeda on the ropes than fight a major land and air war in Afghanistan? I hope someone in Washington is thinking about this and not simply saying we’re going to stay the course because, well, we must stay the course.”