Daily Archives: May 27, 2012

When even crony capitalism fails, what’s next?

Obama spent billions on “green” energy companies run by his campaign donors but – surprise! – the jobs he promised failed to appear.

President Obama has made much of his commitment to green energy as he launches his re-election bid, but the nascent industry has produced far fewer jobs than the president promised, despite massive, repeated infusions of taxpayer dollars.

Since taking office more than three years ago, Obama has routinely promoted wind, solar and other green energy efforts, touring factories — often the beneficiaries of federal grants — and touting the manufacturers as cutting-edge job producers who are leading America’s transition to energy independence. He had promised in 2008 to help those companies create millions of jobs.

“We can invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy … to create 5 million new jobs, new energy jobs, all across [the] country, jobs that pay well, jobs that can’t be outsourced,” Obama, the candidate, told an Ohio crowd.

But the president has fallen far short of his own mark.

The wind industry has actually lost about 10,000 jobs since 2009, even though it doubled its domestic production, the American Wind Energy Association reports. And Republicans were quick to point out that as Obama blocks the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas, the oil and gas industry has added 75,000 jobs since the start of his term.

Obama spent $90 billion of his stimulus package on green energy projects, including weatherization of buildings and development of electric vehicles. Yet, by the end of last year, just 16,100 people landed new jobs in the so-called green industry, Labor Department statistics show, far short of the 200,000 jobs the White House projected it would help create each year.

The lack of progress has some Democrats bemoaning the current state of green energy, particularly when compared with the vision laid out by Obama.

“To me, the most glaring failure of the Obama administration has been a total inability to deliver on green jobs,” said one top Democratic strategist not associated with the president’s re-election campaign. “Even worse, it’s not even part of the national dialogue — you’d think it would be a bigger part of his platform with all the focus on gas prices, but sadly, it just the occasional stump speech.”

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No wonder manic depression rates are up

This cranky baby will have a 7-Up, thank you, and Mother can keep the vodka for herself

Heard a reference to 7-Up just now and, curious whether it’s still manufactured, I looked it up. It still is (Snapple here in the US, Pepsi’s got it around the rest of the world, but here’s something that surprised me: it contained lithium salts from its first date of manufacture in 1929 until some spoil sport, probably the same guy who took the coke out of coca cola, changed the formula in 1950. Now those were truly the good old days.

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If it’s supposed to be a learning experience, why don’t they teach something?

Organic foods arrive via PTA to Parkway school. Nothing wrong with that – I myself try to stay away from, say, toxic fish from China, but to claim this is some sort of learning experience (food has to be grown! Wow!) is just nonsense. If this public school wants to use spotted apples as a learning tool, why not assign the kids a research project and have them learn up on the proved health benefits of organic vs. non-organic food (none), the relative cost of the two products and the practicality of changing the food supply for one billion people to an organic model?

That would be an interesting experience for the kids, far more useful than another five-hour course on diversity and the civil rights of transgender lesbians, say,  and might open their eyes to the feel-good hogwash being foisted on them by otherwise well-meaning adults. Hell it might even turn them into cynics and boost their immunity to the mind-shaping propaganda they’re being smothered in, every day.

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Damn it, there no reason for it, it’s POLICY!

Just in time for Memorial Day comes this reminder that rear-echelon mother f***ers (REMFs, if I have that terminology down) are still with us, as they will always be. If you’re ordering young men into combat and you learn that you’ve equipped them with substandard equipment that endangers their lives do you (a) ensure that your soldiers receive better gear and investigate how your procurement procedure went awry or, (b), hide your embarrassment by continuing to issue the defective weapon part and issue a directive barring the use of anything better? If you’re a REMF, course (a) will never occur to you.

Army bans use of non-issue ammo clips.

The Army has ordered that soldiers may use only government-issued magazines with their M4 carbines, a move that effectively bans one of the most dependable and widely used commercial-made magazines on today’s battlefield.

The past decade of war has spawned a wave of innovation in the commercial soldier weapons and equipment market. As a result, trigger-pullers in the Army, Marines and various service special operations communities now go to war armed with commercially designed kit that’s been tested under the most extreme combat conditions.

Near the top of such advancements is the PMAG polymer M4 magazine, introduced by Magpul Industries Corp. in 2007. Its rugged design has made it as one of the top performers in the small-arms accessory arena, according to combat veterans who credit the PMAG with drastically improving the reliability of the M4.

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TACOM’s message authorizes soldiers to use the Army’s improved magazine, which PEO Soldier developed after the M4 finished last against three other carbines in a 2007 reliability test. The “dust test” revealed that 27 percent of the M4’s stoppages were magazine related.

The improved magazine uses a redesigned “follower,” the part that sits on the magazine’s internal spring and feeds the rounds into the M4’s upper receiver. The new tan-colored follower features an extended rear leg and modified bullet protrusion for improved round stacking and orientation. The self-leveling/anti-tilt follower reduces the risk of magazine-related stoppages by more than 50 percent compared to the older magazine variants, PEO Soldier officials maintain. Soldiers are also authorized to use Army magazines with the older, green follower until they are all replaced, the message states.

Military.com asked the Army if the improved magazine can outperform the PMAG, but a response wasn’t received by press time.

The same infantryman serving in Southwest Afghanistan had this to say about the new and improved magazine:

“Like any magazine, they work great when they are brand new and haven’t been drug through the dirt and mud. I haven’t noticed much of a difference between these tan followers and the older green ones. After some time training up for the ‘Stan, the same issues started to occur: double feeds, rounds not feeding correctly so on and so on. While it seems to occur about half as often, it’s still not a great solution.

“The magazines still get bent at the opening and are still prone to getting crushed in the middle. I haven’t seen any issues like this with the PMAG due to the polymer casing. I have seen an empty PMAG get run over by a MaxPro [vehicle] and operated flawlessly later that week when we tested it at the range. Last time I saw this happen to a standard issue magazine, it was scrap metal after that.”

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