Archive for September 13th, 2011
These are my links for September 13th from 20:06 to 20:11:
- Emails: Obama White House Monitored Huge Loan to ‘Connected’ Firm – Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department's deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
The company's solar panel factory was heralded as a centerpiece of the president's green energy plan — billed as a way to jump start a promising new industry. And internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved. "This deal is NOT ready for prime time," one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.
"If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY," wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email sent March 7, 2009. The "West Wing" is the portion of the White House complex that holds the offices of the president and his top staffers. Klain declined comment to ABC News.
Beginning in March, ABC News, in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News, was first to report on simmering questions about the role political influence may have played in Solyndra's selection as the Obama administration's first loan guarantee recipient. Federal auditors had flagged the loan, saying some applicants had benefitted from special treatment.
Read it all
- White House pushed $500 million loan to solar company now under investigation – The Obama White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s factory, newly obtained e-mails show.
The Silicon Valley company, a centerpiece in President Obama’s initiative to develop clean energy technologies, had been tentatively approved for the loan by the Energy Department but was awaiting a final financial review by the Office of Management and Budget.
The August 2009 e-mails, released to The Washington Post, show White House officials repeatedly asking OMB reviewers when they would be able to decide on the federal loan and noting a looming press event at which they planned to announce the deal. In response, OMB officials expressed concern that they were being rushed to approve the company’s project without adequate time to assess the risk to taxpayers, according to information provided by Republican congressional investigators.
Solyndra collapsed two weeks ago, leaving taxpayers liable for the $535 million loan.
One e-mail from an OMB official referred to “the time pressure we are under to sign-off on Solyndra.” Another complained, “There isn’t time to negotiate.”
“We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week),” one official wrote. That Aug. 31, 2009, message, written by a senior OMB staffer and sent to Terrell P. McSweeny, Biden’s domestic policy adviser, concluded, “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.”
Read it all.
Solyndra is blowing up into a full Obama and Biden scandal
- WH Pressured OMB on Solyndra Decision – The Washington Post uncovers more White House e-mails regarding the Solyndra loan scandal, and it’s not pretty:
The Obama White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s new factory, newly obtained e-mails show…
The August 2009 e-mails, released toThe Washington Post, show White House officials repeatedly asking OMB reviewers when they would be able to decide on the federal loan and noting a looming press event at which they planned to announce the deal. In response, OMB officials expressed concern that they were being rushed to approve the company’s project without adequate time to assess the risk to taxpayers, according to the e-mails, which were provided by Republican congressional investigators…
So clearly, as far as the Obama administration was concerned, the Solyndra loan was a done deal, and didn’t much care for the opinions of the budget geeks at OMB. They were far too preoccupied with their plans to “spike the football,” so to speak, by sending Joe Biden out to California to declare that Solyndra was “exactly was the Recovery Act is all about.” Indeed, the White House appears to have pressured OMB to approve the loan so as not to jeopardize a “looming press event.”
Read it all
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These are my links for September 13th from 08:33 to 16:34:
- Rick Perry and HPV vaccine-maker have deep financial ties – Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose bid for the White House depends heavily on support from religious conservatives, finds himself confronting an issue that is a flash point for that part of his base: his attempt to order schoolgirls to take a vaccine made by one of his major campaign donors.
The uproar over the Gardasil vaccine knocked Perry off-stride during a Republican debate Monday night co-sponsored by a tea party group.
The vaccine, manufactured by Merck, is aimed at protecting girls from human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexual infection that can lead to cervical cancer. Federal health officials say they are confident that the vaccine is safe, noting that more than 35 million doses have been administered in the United States with no pattern of serious side effects.
Perry bristled Monday night at accusations from his chief rival for tea party voters, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), that he had pushed the vaccine in 2007 at the bidding of Merck, a Perry donor that also employed a former aide to the governor as a lobbyist.
“It was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them,” Perry said. “I raise about $30 million. And if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.”
But campaign disclosure records portray a much deeper financial connection with Merck than Perry’s remarks suggest.
His gubernatorial campaigns, for example, have received nearly $30,000 from the drugmaker since 2000, most of that before he issued his vaccine mandate, which was overturned by the Texas legislature.
Merck and its subsidiaries have also given more than $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) since 2006, the year that Perry began to play a prominent role in the Washington-based group, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Perry served as chairman of the RGA in 2008 and again this year, until he decided to run for president. The group also ranks among the governor’s biggest donors, giving his campaign at least $4 million over the past five years, according to Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group.
Read it all
- The Gardasil Flap – I can’t make up my mind over this whole controversy. I think I’m torn because both sides are making good and bad arguments. I think the charge of crony capitalism against Perry is valid generally and looks on target in this case in particular. The issue isn’t just that he got $5,000 from Merck. It’s that his former chief of staff was a lobbyist for Merck. I think Perry’s partial apology is heartfelt. He did it the wrong way and has said so. On the other hand, I think his argument that he did this because he will always “support life” is dangerous hogwash. He mandated government inoculations against STDs because he’s a pro-lifer? It takes some pretty circuitous reasoning to get there, and in the process you’ve conceded the case for pretty much every other kind of health-care intervention by the state up to and including Obamacare.
Meanwhile, I think Michele Bachmann’s attacks on Perry are irresponsible and borderline demagogic. References to the “government needle” being “pushed into innocent girls,” sound paranoid and exploitative to me. And fueling anti-vaccine fears to score political points against Perry is beneath her. I think Fox or some other news outlet should investigate Bachmann’s claim last night on Greta Van Susteren’s show. Bachmann said that a member of the audience came up to her and told her with tears in her eyes that Gardasil caused “mental retardation” in her daughter. I’m not doubting that someone told Bachmann that, but it’s a pretty serious — and unusual — claim. Regardless, the suggestion that Rick Perry is in any way responsible for it is ludicrous.
Santorum’s objections seem the most philosophically sound to me. I agree with him that there should have been more of an opt-in rather than an opt-out provision. And I agree with both Bachmann and Santorum that this shouldn’t have been done as a mandate from the governor’s office. But I can’t muster much outrage over the underlying policy of offering the vaccination as a general proposition.
- President 2012 Poll Watch: Rick Perry Being Hurt by Social Security Flap? | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Poll Watch: Rick Perry Being Hurt by Social Security Flap? #tcot #catcot
- United States Poverty Rate Soars – Nearly 1 in 6 Americans | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – United States Poverty Rate Soars – Nearly 1 in 6 Americans #tcot #catcot
- Day By Day September 13, 2011 – Dis-infectant | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Chris Muir's excellent observations on the day.:
- Study: Sugar-Free Polyol Gum, Lozenges and Hard Candy Help Prevent Dental Caries | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – Study: Sugar-Free Polyol Gum, Lozenges and Hard Candy Help Prevent Dental Caries
- Dilbert September 13, 2011 – Proportional » Flap’s California Blog – Dilbert September 13, 2011 – Proportional
- Flap’s Links and Comments for September 12th through September 13th | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for September 12th through September 13th #tcot #catcot
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This ad is pretty devastating. It was leaked by GOP operatives over to Ben Smith, the lefty blogger at Politico. But, we kind of know who let it out of the archives, now don’t we?
The subject is the HPV mandate that has haunted Perry since the 2007 order mandating it, though he first suggested he’d erred on the question last month. The ad features a young girl singing to the tune of “ABC” about Perry’s mandate and his alleged cronyism with a Merck lobbyist.
Tags: President 2012
, Rick Perry
According to the latest PPP Poll.
Claire McCaskill’s approval rating has slipped a hair since PPP last polled Missouri in May, but she retains similarly slim leads over her two most likely opponents for a second Senate term, and both are still pretty unknown to voters.
43% approve of McCaskill’s work in Washington, down from 46% four months ago. The same 47% disapprove. Among the 87 senators on which PPP has polled, only one of the 23 Democrats on the ballot next year has a worse standing—Nebraska’s Ben Nelson.
But for now at least, McCaskill leads three Republicans running to replace her. She tops former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, 43-42, down from 45-42 in the previous poll. McCaskill also edges Rep. Todd Akin, 45-43, versus 46-45 in May. And she leads businessman John Brunner, 46-37, up from 47-41.
McCaskill benefits from the anonymity of these Republicans vying for the nomination. Three-quarters have no opinion of Brunner, and over half are not familiar with the other two. None of them is seen positively by voters either. Steelman is best off, with 23% seeing her favorably and 25% unfavorably, followed by Akin’s 18-26 and Brunner’s 7-19.
Senator Claire McCaskill is in trouble. American Crossroads (Karl Rove’s Super PAC) is already hitting her hard with ads and a website.
How about this billboard:
The Republican Party should pick up this seat in 2012.
Tags: Claire McCaskill
, Sarah Steelman
, Todd Akin
According to the latest Gallup Poll.
Mitt Romney is the only announced candidate whose Positive Intensity Score has improved significantly in recent weeks. His current 16 is up from 11 in late August and is his highest rating since mid-July, thus narrowing the gap with Perry. Rudy Giuliani, who has yet to decide if he will run, still edges out Romney with an 18.
Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have seen significant declines in their Positive Intensity Scores since late August. Palin, who has also not decided whether to run, is down six points, from 16 to 10, and Bachmann is down three points, from 13 to 10. Both women are now at new lows for the year, with Bachmann’s score cut in half since early August.
Of course, this poll was taken before last night, but shows some movement since the Reagan Presidential Library debate the week prior where the Social Security – Ponzi Scheme Flap reared its ugly head. Interesting that Rudy Giuliani continues to poll better than Mitt Romney.
With just under five months remaining before Republican primary voters start casting ballots for the 2012 Republican nomination, Perry continues to generate more positive intensity from Republicans who know him than any other announced or potential candidate Gallup tracks. This is particularly notable because Perry has managed to maintain a strong Positive Intensity Score as his recognition among Republicans has expanded from 55% in July to 75% today. Romney, however, remains better known, and has recently seen his sagging Positive Intensity Score rebound, although he still lags significantly behind Perry on this measure.
The news is not as good for Bachmann, who has lost much of the passionate support she generated as recently as early August. Positive intensity for Palin among national Republicans has also slipped to a new low for the year.
Republicans’ views of Paul, Gingrich, Santorum, and Huntsman all seem to be in a holding pattern at levels seemingly keeping these men out of serious contention for the nomination. Huntsman does particularly poorly in Republicans’ eyes, and is the only candidate tracked whose Positive Intensity Score is a net negative, meaning that more Republicans who know him have a strongly unfavorable opinion than have a strongly favorable opinion.
Cain continues to be an anomaly, scoring high in positive intensity among those who know him, yet unable to push his recognition above the 50% level, and scoring low in trial-heat ballot measures.
Tags: Michele Bachmann
, Mitt Romney
, President 2012
, Rick Perry
, Rudy Giuliani