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Flap’s Links and Comments for October 17th through October 18th

These are my links for October 17th through October 18th:

  • North Dakota Women Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for Methamphetamine – A woman accused in North Dakota of running a drug ring that included her 63-year-old mother was sentenced Monday to 23 years in prison.

    Authorities say Christeena Barker led the operation that transported about six pounds of methamphetamine from the Minneapolis and Bakersfield, Calif., areas for distribution in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Federal authorities dubbed the investigation "Operation Price is Right."

    Barker, 44, of Moorhead, Minn., pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers called Barker a "career offender-plus" and recommended a sentence of 25 years.

    "They moved an enormous amount of methamphetamine in a short period of time into the Fargo-Moorhead area," Myers said during Monday's hearing.

    Defense attorney Ross Brandborg asked for a sentence of 15 years. He said his client has lived her life under difficult circumstances, and ultimately cooperated with authorities.

    "She was never given a chance," Brandborg said.

    Myers said Barker had promised to help with the case after she was arrested in summer 2010. Instead she became a fugitive. She eventually was located in Strasburg in February.

    "Agents found her through a bit of luck and a lot of hard work," Myers said.

    Barker said in a tearful statement that she fled because she was scared.

    "Yes, I've had a drug problem and alcohol abuse. I've never had treatment," she said.

    Barker's mother, Betty Ann Schweigert, of Fargo, was sentenced earlier this month to 16 years in prison for her role in the conspiracy. Another one of Schweigert's daughters, Annette Avila, 32, pleaded guilty in July and is set to be sentenced in December.

  • ‘Rogue’ NLRB Defied Subpoena by Withholding Documents, Issa Says – The National Labor Relations Board’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, broke the law by intentionally withholding documents about Boeing Co., Representative Darrel Issa said.

    “Your continued personal obstruction, lack of compliance with a validly issued congressional subpoena and false statements to the committee are unacceptable,” Issa said today in a letter to Solomon. “The NLRB is acting as a rogue agency that believes it does not have to fully answer to Congress.”

    Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, requested that six NLRB employees submit to transcribed interviews for his investigative panel.

    The NLRB’s complaint against Boeing in April said the airplane maker violated labor laws by deciding to build a 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina in retaliation for union strikes in Washington state, home to Boeing’s factories. NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Issa’s letter. Boeing has denied it acted to punish the union.

  • Who Besides Solyndra Got Loan Guarantees? – Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison just resigned, as the controversy stubbornly refuses to go away.  Seems worth revisiting the loans once again, since I've spent a little time looking more deeply at the program over the past few days.

    Supporters of these programs claim that they're a necessary part of winning the green future because these are investments that are too risky, or too big, for private capital to take on.  

    Of course, if the government is going to be a VC, supporters say, they have to expect a high failure rate. There's a lot of talk about the manufacturing "Valley of Death", where startup manufacturing firms may have difficulty getting capital to commercialize their prototypes.  According to proponents of this theory, there's plenty of money for early stage ventures, and plenty of bank loans for established firms, but no money for mass commercialization of new manufacturing ideas.  (Hence the "valley").  This valley, they say, is especially wide for energy firms, because the capital costs for starting up are so high.

    I've been somewhat skeptical of those claims–why are people pouring money into manufacturing startups if they're inevitably doomed to die at the commercialization stage?  But say it's true.  I thought it was worth looking at who got the money from these programs, and for what.  How well is the government doing in its role of VC/valley of death sherpa?

  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-10-18 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-10-18 #tcot #catcot
  • Flap’s Links and Comments for October 17th on 06:09 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for October 17th on 06:09 #tcot #catcot

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