Category Archives: “Stimulus”

Bankrupt car charging firm funded by stimulus still doling out bonuses

Outstanding…

Despite a disastrous year for defunct car-charging company Ecotality, which went bankrupt only a few years after winning a $100 million federal grant, two high-level employees soon stand to receive hefty retention bonus payments even though the company has no future.

Company lawyers say they need to pay the bonuses to make sure the two stick around during the dim final days as the company finalizes the transfer of its assets. A federal bankruptcy court in Arizona approved the bonus plan despite objections from creditors and government lawyers — though the judge capped the total at the $125,000 sought by the company.

Still, the fact that lawyers are quibbling on how to spend $125,000 marks just how fast and far Ecotality has fallen since 2009 when it won a $100 million grant from the Department of Energy.

In Lunacy, Veritas

PowerLine

In the first place, when Obama took office the Democrats controlled the House and had a veto-proof majority in the Senate. They could do anything they wanted, and they did. Without permitting any input whatever from Republicans, Obama and the Congressional Democrats enacted the epically wasteful and ineffective trillion-dollar “stimulus,” rammed Obamacare through Congress, and ran up unprecedented deficits. The idea that they were somehow stymied in any of this by Republicans is absurd.

More broadly, is it really Matthews’s view that whenever a new president is elected, the opposition party should abandon its principles and endorse that president’s policies, whether it agrees with them or not? Is that what the Democrats did when Ronald Reagan took office? Or George W. Bush? Do you remember Chris Matthews, or anyone else, urging Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt to abandon their opposition to Republican principles in 2001 and unanimously affirm President Bush’s legislative proposals? Just kidding.

Matthews’s tirade may have been crazy, but it wasn’t random. On the contrary, it reveals what he really thinks: that Barack Obama isn’t just an ordinary president, entitled to the ordinary level of deference–which is to say, little or none. Rather, Matthews believes that solely because of the color of Obama’s skin, his election was a historical event akin to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Further, he thinks that Obama’s skin color, and nothing more, created a duty on the part of everyone–especially Republicans–to ignore all philosophical principles and all considerations of public policy, and to cheer Obama on, regardless of what he might do. This is the import of Matthews’s praising DeKelk for being “willing to see [South Africa] transformed to black rule.”

Amazon Is Closer Than Ever to Running the U.S. Postal Service

Wired

Amazon’s drive for global domination took on a new dimension this morning, when it was revealed that the world’s largest online retailer now owns a day of the week.

In Los Angeles and New York, Amazon Prime customers can now get orders delivered on Sunday by the U.S. Postal Service. The company says it plans to roll out the Sunday option much more widely in 2014, with Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix among the cities next on the list.

For Amazon, Sunday delivery must feel long past due. Delivering products is Amazon’s core business. Imagine Google not being able to offer search on Sunday, or Apple closing the App Store one day a week, or Walmart closing all its stores. How maddening it must be for a company bent on giving people what they want when they want it to not to be able to follow through a full one-seventh of the year.

But in a country where the laws of retail commerce have long since trumped religious custom on Sundays, shipping has remained a stubborn holdout. It’s extra surprising that the organization to finally break that tradition would be a lumbering federal agency rather than a private company — especially since the Postal Service has been talking about cutting rather than expanding the number of days it delivers. Yet if any company could get mail carriers out on the streets an extra day, it’s Amazon.

Murky Waters…

Company behind Obamacare website in charge of nearly $2 billion in Sandy relief

CGI Federal Inc., the mastermind behind healthcare.gov, is assisting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the distribution of $1.7 billion in relief for Hurricane Sandy.

In a memo obtained by FreedomWorks titled, “Minutes of the 295th meeting of the members of the Housing Trust Fund Corporation held on May 9, 2013, at 8:30 a.m.,” CGI Federal is tasked with implementing the Disaster Housing Assistance Program. Additionally, they are asked to aid in the implementation of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, an assistance program that had recently obtained $1.7 billion.

Item five of the meeting agenda reads:

Mr. Nelson presented that the State received a $1.7 billion allocation in CDBG Disaster Recovery aid from HUD to aid impacted businesses and residences.  He stated that the State’s Action Plan was approved on April 26, 2013 and HTFC is currently in a phase of implementing the program.  He stated that in this phase, the corporation needs to stand-up its recovery programs as soon as possible to deliver critical resources, and in order to do so, the corporation requires immediate access to consultant services to assist in policy and procedure development, training, surge capacity, and call center assistance, and stated that CGI Federal Inc. could provide such services.

The resolution was passed and scheduled to “take effect immediately.”

The Associated Press revealed Tuesday that a mere $700 million of the $60 billion federal aid package – 1.2 percent of the total funds – has been given to victims of super storm Sandy.

Nearly a year after the devastating storm, a majority of the 24,000 families that have requested monetary assistance have yet to receive a penny from the federal aid package.

Obama promised health premiums would drop $2,500; Fact: They’re up $3,000

InvestorsDaily

Sen. John Barrasso gives the Weekly Republican Party Remarks

Hi. I’m Dr. John Barrasso, United States Senator for Wyoming.

As a doctor who took care of patients for 25 years, I saw the problems with America’s health care system every day. (Scroll down for video of these full remarks.)

There’s no question we needed real reform — reform so that people could get the care they needed, at lower cost.
Americans now know that’s not what President Obama’s health care law delivered.

What we got is higher taxes and bigger government, without the lower costs or quality care.

The so-called Affordable Care Act is hurting middle class families — their wages, their jobs and their health care.

On October first — less than a month from today — America will hit the deadline on one of the most critical and controversial parts of the Obama health care law.That’s when the government insurance exchanges go into effect.

Whether the exchanges are ready or not, millions of families will have to start arranging to buy their Washington-mandated health insurance.

Many families are going to have real sticker shock when they see their new insurance rates — even families who get government subsidies.

President Obama promised that his health care plan would reduce annual insurance premiums by $2,500 a family by the end of his first term.

That has not happened.

Continue reading

Love those Unions!

Chrysler workers canned for drinking on the job reinstated

MyFoxDetroit first aired the footage of the Chrysler workers in September 2010. Video showed them in a park during the work day, drinking alcohol from bottles covered in brown paper bags and smoking what appeared to be marijuana.

With the auto giant having recently received a federal taxpayer bailout, and President Obama having visited the plant where the employees worked just months earlier, Chrysler appeared to take a zero-tolerance attitude. The company fired 13 workers, and suspended two.

But MyFoxDetroit reports that following a union-backed arbitration process, the employees were reinstated. This week, they came back to work.

Chrysler said in a statement that it does not support the decision to bring back the workers but would like to move on.

Business as usual…

It’s all your’s, Barry

Can’t blame Bush for the mess now…

Earnings falling

Poverty rising

Food-stamp enrollment skyrocketing

Jobless claims jumping

Inflation creeping up

Coal plants closing

Small banks disappearing

Want some cheese with that whine?

Last Dance

MarkSteyn

Yesterday was apparently National Dance For Obama Day. In Manhattan it attracted all of twelve dancers . Of course, New York has been devastated by Hurricane Bloomberg, but the attendance in undevastated cities was not much better.  Still, I was sorry to miss it, having spent the last six weeks working on my interpretative dance of the Benghazi attack including an extended seven-hour coolly sensuous samba of the President deciding not to decide to do anything.

By the way, for any members of the Obama Youth Dancers reading this, tomorrow is National Hokey-Pokey For The National Debt Day. Timmy Geithner will put a US Treasury Bond in, Ben Bernanke will put it out, and unionized pom-pom heavies from the SEIU will shake it all about. Meet outside the Federal Reserve, 11am.

Audit: Green jobs stimulus program wastes cash

WashingtonTimes

President Obama’s green jobs training program, which was part of his stimulus, has failed on most key jobs measures, according to a new internal audit that found it was training workers who already had jobs that didn’t need green energy skills, and was failing to place new enrollees in jobs once they finished the training.

The Labor Department’s inspector general also said grantees who received the green jobs-training money did a poor job of reporting their results.

Only 38 percent of those who have completed training got jobs based on it, and only 16 percent kept jobs for at least six months — the key measure of success for the program.

“Outcomes for participants were far less than originally proposed,” the auditors said.

The government earmarked more than $400 million for green jobs training programs, and $328.5 million has been spent so far.

About half were already working in the energy sector and wanted retraining, and half were potential new energy workers.

Of those workers who already had energy-sector jobs, the auditors said they were retrained, even though they didn’t need it.

“We found no evidence that the incumbent workers in our sample required services or training to keep their job or obtain a new one,” the investigators said in their report.

The Labor Department challenged the findings, saying that auditors didn’t consider the full progress of those who got training. The department said some of those who got training found jobs before their training was completed and said they should have been counted.

Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training, also said as the rest of the training is completed, they expect the numbers to improve.

The audit was released by House oversight committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, who requested the update.

Mr. Issa said in addition to poor performance records, the green jobs money “served as a slush fund” for the Obama administration to dole out payments to allies “like the National Council of La Raza, the Blue Green alliance and the U.S. Steelworkers Union.”

The Incredible Shrinking President

MarkSteyn

‘We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video,” said Hillary Clinton. No, not the person who made the video saying that voting for Barack Obama is like losing your virginity to a really cool guy. I’ll get to that in a moment. But Secretary Clinton was talking about the fellow who made the supposedly Islamophobic video that supposedly set off the sacking of the Benghazi consulate. And, indeed, she did “have that person arrested.” By happy coincidence, his bail hearing has been set for three days after the election, by which time he will have served his purpose. These two videos — the Islamophobic one and the Obamosexual one — bookend the remarkable but wholly deserved collapse of the president’s reelection campaign.

You’ll recall that a near-month-long attempt to blame an obscure YouTube video for the murder of four Americans and the destruction of U.S. sovereign territory climaxed in the vice-presidential debate with Joe Biden’s bald assertion that the administration had been going on the best intelligence it had at the time. By then, it had been confirmed that there never had been any protest against the video, and that the Obama line that Benghazi had been a spontaneous movie review that just got a little out of hand was utterly false. The only remaining question was whether the administration had knowingly lied or was merely innocently stupid. The innocent-stupidity line became harder to maintain this week after Fox News obtained State Department e-mails revealing that shortly after 4 p.m. Eastern, less than a half hour after the assault in Benghazi began, the White House situation room knew the exact nature of it.

We also learned that, in those first moments of the attack, a request for military back-up was made by U.S. staff on the ground but was denied by Washington. It had planes and special forces less than 500 miles away in southern Italy — or about the same distance as Washington to Boston. They could have been there in less than two hours. Yet the commander-in-chief declined to give the order. So Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods fought all night against overwhelming odds, and died on a rooftop in a benighted jihadist hellhole while Obama retired early to rest up before his big Vegas campaign stop. “Within minutes of the first bullet being fired the White House knew these heroes would be slaughtered if immediate air support was denied,” said Ty Woods’s father, Charles. “In less than an hour, the perimeters could have been secured and American lives could have been saved. After seven hours fighting numerically superior forces, my son’s life was sacrificed because of the White House’s decision.”

Why would Obama and Biden do such a thing? Because to launch a military operation against an al-Qaeda affiliate on the anniversary of 9/11 would have exposed the hollowness of their boast through convention week and the days thereafter — that Osama was dead and al-Qaeda was finished. And so Ty Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Chris Stevens were left to die, and a decision taken to blame an entirely irrelevant video and, as Secretary Clinton threatened, “have that person arrested.” And, in the weeks that followed, the government of the United States lied to its own citizens as thoroughly and energetically as any totalitarian state, complete with the midnight knock on the door from not-so-secret policemen sent to haul the designated fall-guy into custody.

This goes far beyond the instinctive secretiveness to which even democratic governments are prone. The Obama administration created a wholly fictional story line, and devoted its full resources to maintaining it. I understand why Mitt Romney chose not to pursue this line of argument in the final debate. The voters who will determine this election are those who voted for Obama four years ago and this time round either switch to the other fellow or sit on their hands. In electoral terms, it’s probably prudent of Mitt not to rub their faces in their 2008 votes. Nevertheless, when the president and other prominent officials stand by as four Americans die and then abuse their sacrifice as contemptuously as this administration did, decency requires that they be voted out of office as an act of urgent political hygiene.

At the photo-op staged for the returning caskets, Obama et al. seem to have been too focused on their campaign needs to observe even the minimal courtesies. Charles Woods says that at the ceremony Joe Biden strolled over to him and by way of condolence said in a “loud and boisterous” voice, “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?” One assumes charitably that the vice president is acknowledging in his own inept and blundering way the remarkable courage of a man called upon to die for his country on some worthless sod halfway across the planet. But the near-parodic locker-room coarseness is grotesque both in its inaptness and in its lack of basic human feeling for a bereaved family forced to grieve in public and as crowd-scene extras to the political bigshot. Just about the only formal responsibility a vice president has is to attend funerals without embarrassing his country. And this preening buffoon of pseudo-blue-collar faux-machismo couldn’t even manage that.

But a funny thing happened over the next six weeks: Obama’s own cue balls shriveled. Biden had offered up a deft campaign slogan encompassing both domestic and foreign policy: “Osama’s dead and General Motors is alive.” But, as the al-Qaeda connections to Benghazi dribbled out leak by leak, the “Osama’s dead” became a problematic boast and, left to stand alone, the General Motors line was even less credible. Avoiding the economy and foreign affairs, Obama fell back on Big Bird, and binders, and bayonets, just to name the “B”s in his bonnet. At the second presidential debate, he name-checked Planned Parenthood, the General Motors of the American abortion industry, half a dozen times, desperate to preserve his so-called gender gap. Yet oddly enough, the more furiously Obama and Biden have waved their binders and talked up Sandra Fluke, the more his supposed lead among women has withered away. So now he needs to enthuse the young, who turned out in such numbers for him last time. Hence, the official campaign video (plagiarized from Vladimir Putin of all people) explaining that voting for Obama is like having sex. The saddest thing about that claim is that, for liberals, it may well be true.

Both videos — the one faking Obamagasm and the one faking a Benghazi pretext — exemplify the wretched shrinkage that befalls those unable to conceive of anything except in the most self-servingly political terms. Both, in different ways, exemplify why Obama and Biden are unfit for office. One video testifies to a horrible murderous lie at the heart of a head of state’s most solemn responsibility, the other to the glib shallow narcissism of a pop-culture presidency, right down to the numbing relentless peer pressure: C’mon, all the cool kids are doing it; why be the last hold-out?

If voting for Obama is like the first time you have sex, it’s very difficult to lose your virginity twice. A flailing, pitiful campaign has now adopted Queen Victoria’s supposed wedding advice to her daughter: “Lie back and think of England.” Lie back and think of America. And then get up and get dressed. Who wants to sleep with a $16 trillion broke loser twice?

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