Media’s One Sided Coverage Clear Evidence of Bias

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As White House reporter for ABC News Jake Tapper recently commented, ‘The media is failing the country.’ I agree.

The date was June 15, 1992. In an elementary school in Trenton, New Jersey, reading off a flash card that had been prepared by the teacher, the special guest counseled the child writing potato on the blackboard, “You’re close, but you left a little something off. The ‘e’ on the end.”

The media reacted swiftly and relentlessly.

The story was on all the front pages and was carried by all the major networks.

To the mainstream media, it was the moment that Dan Quayle confirmed “what a waste it is to lose one’s mind.”

It didn’t matter that the flash card given to the vice president was prepared by a teacher and was itself misspelled. It was carried on every news wire, every news program and in every late night TV monologue.

Quayle’s mind must have been on other things. It wasn’t like he repeated the mistake in all 57 states, or more precisely in Beaverton, Ore., in May 2008; or while traveling on the “Intercontinental” railroad in Cincinnati on Sept. 23, 2011; or perhaps, while he was speaking to the “President” of Canada in Chicago on Aug. 7, 2007.

He might not have known how to say it in “Austrian” while in Strasbourg, France, on April 5, 2009; or perhaps he was thinking of “Polish Death Camps” at the White House on May 30, 2012; or thinking about when he met with world leaders in that splendid “Asian” city, Honolulu, on Nov. 16, 2011.

He might have been thinking of the brave Navy “corpse” man at the prayer breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 5, 2010, which may not sound so strange to someone who also said: “On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today…”

All these examples were unreported or under-reported gaffes of President Obama.

The mainstream media didn’t seem to think these incidents were worthy of a media feeding frenzy, unlike those of poor Dan Quayle.

If Vice President Quayle had only been misspelling “Ohio” as “Oiho” with three college students instead of one elementary student, at an institution of higher learning like Ohio State University instead of an elementary school, the media would certainly have ignored it.

Or, perhaps, they would have been all over it, as the Washington Post was … quick to defend President Obama, claiming the photo must have been “Photoshopped.”

Unfortunately for the Post, the incident was captured by several different cameras from multiple angles. Oops. Apparently, misspellings are only important when they are done by someone with whom they philosophically disagree.

It was an unimportant issue that was wildly blown out of proportion by a biased media back in 1992 and now, completely ignored by a hypercritical and biased media in 2012.

And there’s no better example of the double standards and inherent bias of the media today.

In a surprise March 6 press conference, the president again had an opportunity to repudiate the disgraceful Priorities USA ad blaming Mitt Romney for the death of Joe Soptic’s wife.

He declined to do so.

It’s an important story, one that reveals the character of both the Obama campaign and the president himself. And yet, the real story behind it remains virtually uncovered.

A quick refresher — an ad for Obama featured laid-off steel worker Joe Soptic, who blamed Romney for losing his job and his health insurance and, incredibly, for killing his wife after Bain Capital acquired the GST Steel plant in Kansas City, Kan., in 1993.

The story goes that because his wife was no longer covered by his health insurance, her cancer went undetected and she had no access to proper health care and subsequently died.

Accusing Mitt Of Murder

Unfortunately for Joe’s story, Romney had left Bain two years before Joe lost his job. His wife had retained her own health insurance through her job. Six years later, she went into the hospital for pneumonia and they detected cancer. Tragically she died shortly after.

At that time, seven years after Romney left Bain and five years after Soptic had lost his job, Romney was governor of Massachusetts.

Initially, the White House denied any knowledge of the ad. Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We have nothing, no involvement, with any ads that are done by Priorities USA (the super-PAC that ran the ad). We don’t have any knowledge of the story of the family.”

Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter continued that line, telling CNN, “I don’t know the facts about when Mr. Soptic’s wife got sick, or the facts about his health insurance.”

These explanations were implausible because the Obama campaign had featured Joe Soptic and his story on a May 14, 2012, conference call set up by the Obama campaign.

This contemptible ad reflects the worst of politics. The fact the president does not have the character to publicly demand the ad be withdrawn and condemned reveals more about President Obama than it does about Mitt Romney.

But that’s typical of an administration that routinely lies, distorts and fabricates to divert attention from its own abysmal record and that will do anything to get re-elected.

The real question is whether the Obama campaign and Priorities USA coordinated their message, which would be illegal.

The White House says no. Of course, they also claimed to have never heard of Joe’s story.

But this story, like many others, can be found in the same place where the stories about William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, the real cost of the GM bailout, Sec. 407 of the Welfare Reform act, the source of national intelligence leaks and the truth about Operation Fast and Furious reside.

And that, as far as the media are concerned, is nowhere.

Massive Media Failure

As White House reporter for ABC News Jake Tapper recently commented, “The media is failing the country.”

I agree.

A July 16 Rasmussen poll revealed “59% of likely U.S. voters believe Obama has received the best treatment from the media so far” and “51% expect most reporters to help Obama.” Only 9% expect the media to help Romney.

The media should, at bare minimum, be expected to reveal the truth. But it won’t even do that.

Still the media focus nonstop on unsubstantiated reports about Mitt Romney’s tax returns — not on anything substantial.

MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin, when asked about Mitt Romney’s tax returns on the Today Show, said, “The press still likes this story a lot.”

He added, “The media are very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants, which is to focus on this.”

The fact the media are susceptible to do what any campaign wants is disturbing enough.

But the way the media focus relentlessly on gaffes and ignores substantive issues when covering one side, while ignoring gaffes and issues critical of the other side, does serious damage to the integrity of news reporting.

In a letter to Dr. James Currie in 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

But what of a press that limits itself to only covering news that favors its own political ideology?

Where is the real news?

Since the recovery began in June 2009, real median household income has fallen 4.8%, according to a new report from Sentier Research. This report is especially damning because incomes only dropped 2.6% during the recession.

Shouldn’t this be front page news?

The deficit is closing in on $16 trillion. That’s $1 trillion more than our entire GDP in 2011. The U.S. is on its way to becoming Spain. The president’s solution? Raise taxes on the upper 2%. But that takes in only about $45 billion. The CBO reports our deficit in 2012 is $1.1 trillion.

Where are the media truth tellers on this?

ABC’s Tapper criticized the media for not covering the economy more.

“A lot of people are hurting out there,” he said. “Unemployment is 8.3%. That doesn’t even take into account the underemployed.”

In recent polls, the most important issue to Americans continues to be the economy and jobs. What’s not being reported is that there are fewer people employed today than at the end of the last recession — the longest spell without net jobs growth since at least World War II.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the end of the recession 59.4% of Americans had jobs. That’s just 58.4% today.

As Joe Biden said in Athens, Ohio, on October 15, 2008, “The No. 1 job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, ‘a three-letter word’: jobs. J-O-B-S.”

No one is more of an expert on gaffes than Joe Biden. But don’t tell that to a biased media.

The media’s No. 1 job should be to cover the substantive issues of this campaign without regard to party affiliation or philosophical bias.

That it’s now acceptable for many in the media to flaunt their bias should be, to use Joe Biden’s words, “a big f-ing deal.” Sadly, it isn’t.

Michael Ramirez is IBD’s editorial cartoonist and senior editor

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Obama Movie Killing it Despite Negative Press

Dinesh D’Souza’s new film, 2016: Obama’s America, has far surpassed industry “insider” predictions (read: hopes) that the movie would tank at the box office. Aside from being the top grossing movie last weekend, D’Souza has announced that he is expanding the number of theaters showing it, from 1091 to 1600 screens. Apparently there is more interest out there in a political documentary than even the “experts” believe.

The film purports to show the “real” Obama, along the same lines as D’Souza’s books, Obama’s America and The Roots of Obama’s Rage. Anticipating where America might be if Obama gets elected to a second term, 2016: Obama’s America claims: “Love him, hate him, you don’t know him.” According to the official website for the film:
Immersed in exotic locales across four continents, best selling author Dinesh D’Souza races against time to find answers to Obama’s past and reveal where America will be in 2016. During this journey he discovers how Hope and Change became radically misunderstood, and identifies new flashpoints for hot wars in mankind’s greatest struggle. The journey moves quickly over the arc of the old colonial empires, into America’s empire of liberty, and we see the unfolding realignment of nations and the shape of the global future.

Far from giving the president little credit, as most Republicans are wont to do, D’Souza gives Obama large amounts of props. D’Souza believes that Obama is unfolding his policies and political plan exactly as he wants. Far from being inept and naïve, D’Souza believes that Obama is exacting and precise in what he wants for America, and is doing it right before our very eyes. In fact, the film uses much of Obama’s own words, straight from the audiobook version of Obama’s memoir, Dreams From My Father. It is an interesting concept to use one’s actual words against him, something that liberals are not very accustomed to doing, unless the words are taken out of context or abbreviated. I’m looking at you, Michael Moore.

While it is evident that D’Souza has done his homework and is trying to present facts in his film, this doesn’t preclude liberal critics from completely dismissing the film as a witch hunt (spoiler alert!). Reviews of 2016: Obama’s America have been positive from individual viewers, but have been almost unanimously negative from paid critics. This should come as no surprise, since the majority of film critics are nothing but government shills working for the left-promoting mainstream media. The quality or factuality of a film is irrelevant, what really makes a film “good” to these reviewers is its ideology. Toeing the liberal line is what is really important, not questioning it. You can be assured that when professional film critics are universally panning a well-made film, there is a very good reason for it, and it has nothing to do with the film itself. Most of these critics probably had the majority of their “reviews” written before they even sat down in the theater.

Read more: http://politicaloutcast.com/2012/08/obama-movie-killing-it-despite-negative-press/#ixzz253pq3yC8

Not With a Bang But a Whimper

By Roger Pielke Jr.

So the long-running soap opera called Australian Climate Politics has reached its surprising end. In a surprise move the Australian government has announced that it will abandon its plans to transition its newly implemented carbon tax into an Australian emissions trading system, and sign on the the European ETS.

There is no other way to read the Australian government’s decision other than that Prime Minister Gillard crying “uncle” and punting the issue far into the future. How does this play out? Here are a few initial thoughts:
Gillard gets to say that she never really wanted the carbon tax, and then claim that joining the EU ETS is a step forward;

Abbott gets to claim victory as the carbon tax lasted only 59 days before Labor decided to terminate it rather than transition it to a domestic ETS. The Coalition will have a field day comparing recent Labor claims (e.g., importance of a floor price, C tax as budget revenue) to the new claims (e.g., the Australian Treasury can model the EU recovery and future C price);

The EU gets the prospect of reducing a bit of the “hot air” in its oversupply of carbon credits and can claim some political success due to the high profile decision by Australia to join up;

By eliminating the floor price on carbon that was to be part of the proposed Australian ETS, carbon-intensive businesses have years to hedge and stock up on dirt cheap EU carbon credits and CDM offsets, limiting their exposure to the ETS and guaranteeing BAU, and thus reducing their opposition;

The environmental activist community (including many academics) will either have to put a brave face on what is surely another huge disappointment, or come out fully against this decision. I suspect that we will see a bit of both strategies;

For the first 3 years (from 2015) Australia will treat the ETS as an offsetting mechanism, which is a “one way” use of the ETS. That is Australia can buy credits from the EU but wil not be formally under the ETS.

The proposal is that from 2018 Australia will have full membership in the ETS, which means that unilateral decisions in Brussels could have the effect of increasing energy costs in Australia. If it ever gets this far, then this will be a political nightmare for whomever has to defend it in Australia. Even currency changes could drive price changes. Labor is kicking this can way down the road.

And what won’t change? I’ll stick with the conclusions that I wrote in a paper last year evaluating the targets and timetables proposed for Australian emissions reductions (here in PDF):

Australian policies for decarbonization could serve as experiments with a clear-eyed recognition that the pace of decarbonization simply cannot be known until those experiments are implemented and evaluated. Departing from conventional wisdom of the international process would take bold leadership and a willingness to clearly explain the simple mathematics of emissions reductions, such as presented in this paper. From this perspective the renewable energy package passed by the Australian government in August 2009 likely offers far more prospects for learning about the practical challenges of decarbonization and meeting aggressive goals for stabilization of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide than does an Australia ETS, whatever its eventual fate. The political challenges thus far facing passage of emissions reduction legislation in Australia, and its almost certain destiny to fail to achieve emissions reduction targets of the magnitude described here, should serve as an important lesson to climate policy makers around the world.

The Australian soap opera provides some clear lessons on efforts to price carbon at a high level to drive behavioral change.

Germany’s new “renewable” energy policy

Wind and solar power + soaring electricity prices = outsourced jobs + more coal burning

Meanwhile, eco activists demand “sustainable lifestyles” – for other people

Kelvin Kemm

It is amazing how biased the international media is when it comes to reporting on energy generation, specifically electricity.

In mid-August, Germany opened a new 2200MW coal-fired power station near Cologne, and virtually not a word has been said about it. This dearth of reporting is even more surprising when one considers that Germany has said building new coal plants is necessary because electricity produced by wind and solar has turned out to be unaffordably expensive and unreliable.

In a deteriorating economic situation, Germany’s new environment minister, Peter Altmaier, who is as politically close to Chancellor Angela Merkel as it gets, has underlined time and again the importance of not further harming Europe’s – and Germany’s – economy by increasing the cost of electricity.

He is also worried that his country could become dependent on foreign imports of electricity, the mainstay of its industrial sector. To avoid that risk, Altmaier has given the green light to build twenty-three new coal-fired plants, which are currently under construction.

Yes, you read that correctly, twenty three-new coal-fired power plants are under construction in Germany, because Germany is worried about the increasing cost of electricity, and because they can’t afford to be in the strategic position of importing too much electricity.

Just recently, German figures were released on the actual productivity of the country’s wind power over the last ten years. The figure is 16.3 percent!

Due to the inherent intermittent nature of wind, their wind power system was designed for an assumed 30% load factor in the first place. That means that they hoped to get a mere 30% of the installed capacity – versus some 85-90% for coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric facilities. That means that, when they build 3,000MW of wind power, they expect to actually get merely 900MW, because the wind does not always blow at the required speeds. But in reality, after ten years, they have discovered that they are actually getting only half of what they had optimistically, and irrationally, hoped for: a measly 16.3 percent.

Even worse, after spending billions of Euros on subsidies, Germany’s total combined solar facilities have contributed a miserly, imperceptible 0.084% of Germany’s electricity over the last 22 years. That is not even one-tenth of one percent.

Moreover, the actual cost of Germany’s wind and solar electricity is far and away higher than its cost of coal and nuclear power. So much for “free” solar and wind. So much for all the German jobs that depend on reliable access to plentiful and affordable electricity.

As to natural gas produced via hydraulic fracturing, that too is prohibited, even if it is required to back up undependable wind and solar facilities. No wonder Germany’s natural gas and electricity prices are practically unaffordable.

Meantime the extreme greens continue to preach about the wonders of life based on solar and wind power. They also talk constantly about “sustainable living,” a “sustainable future,” and an otherwise hydrocarbon-free and “decarbonized” tomorrow. Be warned! What these vacuous exhortations mean is that people must not enjoy the lifestyles and living standards of a modern world.

They mean the First World must cut back significantly on its living standards, and the developing world must give up its aspirations for achieving the lifestyle of the First World.

Believe me, African small-scale farmers all dream of becoming like the large commercial-scale farmers they see next door. They do not wish to plough their fields with oxen, when their neighbours have tractors and automated grain handling machines. The same is true of small-scale commercial and industrial operations in which an affordable and reliable supply of electricity is essential. It is likewise true of virtually every office, shop, hospital, school and family on the entire African continent.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, an organisation calling itself “Green Truth” has distributed a notice about a newly released movie titled simply “Fuel.” Here is part of the promotional notice:

“FUEL is a comprehensive and entertaining look at energy: A history of where we have been, our present predicament, and a solution to our dependence on foreign oil. Rousing and reactionary, FUEL is an amazing, in-depth, personal journey by eco-evangelist Josh Tickell, of oil use and abuse, as it examines wide-ranging energy solutions other than oil; the faltering US auto and petroleum industries; and the latest stirrings toward alternative energy.

“The film includes interviews with a wide range of policy makers, educators and activists such as Woody Harrelson, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. Tickell knew he just couldn’t idly stand by any longer. He decided to make a film, focusing on the knowledge and insight he discovered, but also giving hope that solutions are at reach. A ‘regular guy’ who felt he could make a difference, he spent 11 years making this movie, showing himself – and others – that an individual can indeed make a difference. Stirring, radical and multi-award winning energy documentary! FUEL features experts and eco-celebrities such as: Sheryl Crow, Larry David, Richard Branson and Robert Kennedy, Jr.”

The notice frequently emphasizes “sustainable living” and “a hopeful future.” And the singers, actors, activists and other energy “experts” featured in the film are all extremely wealthy, and not at all likely to adopt the “sustainable” lifestyle that they and Tickell advocate so passionately.

Does this film have anything to do with “truth” about energy? Or is it simply a propaganda film for the producers’ and activists’ version of “sustainable lives,” for others, though not for themselves? It takes but a fleeting moment to realize that it is just like Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” – leagues removed from truth, and laden with scientific errors, personal biases, and the hypocrisies of affluent partisans who own big houses and fly private jets to events where they tell other people how to live “more sustainably.”

I’m sure “eco-evangelist” Josh Tickell is just “a regular guy,” just as his movie promo says he is. But I would much rather have my country’s electricity future planned by electrical engineers and scientists, and by citizens and politicians who actually live here – rather than by a “regular guy” environmental activist and his self-proclaimed “experts” on energy and “sustainable” lifestyles.

As formerly eco-evangelist Germany has demonstrated, countries cannot afford to have national energy policy moulded by movies like “Fuel” and “An Inconvenient Truth.” Their policies – and their future – need to be based on genuine truth and honest reality.

____________

Dr Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and business strategy consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa. A member of the International Board of Advisors of the Washington, DC-based Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), Dr Kemm has been awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievers Award of the National Science and Technology Forum of South Africa.

Something Rotten? Obama Says Danes Receive 20% of Their Power Via Wind. WRONG AGAIN

Europe’s green policy this administration is determined to follow is a huge failure. Ohio State Study finds America Recovery Act, 80% of which funded Obama’s Bundlers (who proved to be bunglers) actually cost US 550,000 jobs. An example of the worst kind of crony capitalism. Obama promises to double down on this failed agenda in a second term.

WASHINGTON: President Obama has frequently cited Denmark as an example to be followed in the field of wind power generation, stating on several occasions that the Danes satisfy “20 percent of their electricity through wind power.” The findings of a new study released this week cast serious doubt on the accuracy of that statement. The report finds that in 2006 scarcely five percent of the nation’s electricity demand was met by wind. And over the past five years, the average is less than 10 percent – despite Denmark having ‘carpeted’ its land with the machines.

“As climate officials descended upon Copenhagen in a raging snowstorm in 2009 to continue their work to engineer a world in which energy is rendered less reliable, less affordable and increasingly scarce, the eyes of the world naturally fell upon the host country as well,” said Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), which commissioned the report.

“In the case of Denmark,” added Pyle, “you have a nation of 5.4 million, occupying some of the most wind-intense real estate in the world, whose citizens are forced to pay the highest electricity rates in Europe – and it still doesn’t even come close to the 20 percent threshold envisioned by President Obama for the United States. This may indeed be the model for the future – but only if you believe that a combination of smoke, mirrors and prohibitively high utility rates are the key to our economic and environmental salvation.”

Prepared by the independent Danish think tank CEPOS and co-authored by economist Henrik Meyer and Hugh Sharman, a prominent Denmark-based international energy consultant, the report details the extent to which Denmark’s claim to wind superiority is essentially founded on a myth – the function of a complicated trading scheme in which the Danes off-load excess, value-subtracted wind generation to other nations for roughly free, asking only in return that these countries sell some of their baseload power back to Denmark on the frequent occasions in which the wind does not blow there

The upshot? The Danes retain the title of world’s most prolific wind producer, and President Obama cites their experience as a path to be followed. The cost? Danish ratepayers are forced to pay the highest utility rates in Europe. And the American people are led to believe that, though wind may only provide a little more than one percent of our electricity now, reaching a 20 percent platform – as the Danes have allegedly done – will come at no cost, with no jobs lost and no externalities to consider.

Speaking of jobs, the report also pulls back the curtain on the wind power industry’s near-complete dependence on taxpayer subsidies to support the fairly modest workforce it presently maintains. Just as in Spain, where per-job taxpayer subsidies for so-called “green jobs” exceeds $1,000,000 per worker in some cases, wind-related jobs in Denmark on average are subsidized at a rate of 175 to 250 percent above the average pay per worker. All told, each new wind job created by the government costs Danish taxpayers between 600,000-900,000 krone a year, roughly equivalent to $90,000-$140,000 USD.

“That the current political leadership in Washington is enamored of the European energy model has been made abundantly clear – from the president himself, all the way on down,” added Pyle. “Less clear is the extent to which these people actually know what’s taking place over there, and whether they’re willing to level with the American people about the serious costs associated with following this dubious path.”

Report co-author Hugh Sharman joined CEPOS chief executive officer Martin Agerup in Washington, D.C., part of a three-day tour in 2009 aimed at explaining to a wider American audience the core conclusions of their report. Those interested in speaking with Messrs. Sharman and/or Agerup or setting up an interview should contact Patrick Creighton (202.621.2947) or Chris Tucker (202.346.8825).

Note studies in Spain, where wind and solar were heavily subsidized found for every green job created, 2.2 real jobs were lost as soaring energy costs sent businesses into bankruptcy or to ship production overseas and only 1 in 10 green jobs were permanent. In Italy, a study found the number was 3.4 jobs lost for every green job created. New Hampshire has been awarded over $1.1 million in stimulus funds for every full-time job funded under the three-year old federal spending program, according to state and federal reports. The influx of federal cash also led to the creation of 56 full-time and 26 part-time positions within New Hampshire government.

Economists Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor have studied the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and they reported their findings in a paper titled ”The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Public Sector Jobs Saved, Private Sector Jobs Forestalled.” and found the act may have cost the US 550,000 jobs. “Our benchmark results suggest that the ARRA created/saved approximately 450 thousand state and local government jobs and destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs. State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment. The majority of destroyed/forestalled jobs were in growth industries including health, education, professional and business services.” administration’s stimulus job creation record is abysmal. The ‘green job ideal may be an environmentalist’s wet dream but it is the taxpayers nightmare.

Fisker Recalls Karma; EV Maker Blasted by Rival Elon Musk

Submitted by Paul Chesser on Mon, 08/20/2012 – 11:12
Printer-friendlyEmail to friendThe electric vehicle fire in Woodside, Calif. about a week ago has led to the third recall in the short life of taxpayer-subsidized ($193 million in stimulus) Fisker Automotive and its plug-in hybrid model, the Karma.

The first two recalls were caused by problems with batteries produced by Fisker’s similarly troubled supplier and business partner, A123 Systems. The company said this time the fire was caused by a failure in a cooling fan, which caused overheating while the vehicle’s owner shopped for groceries inside a store. About 2,400 Karmas – 1,400 of which are in the possession of customers – will need to be recalled.

“We are committed to responding swiftly and decisively to events such as this to ensure total customer satisfaction,” said executive chairman Henrik Fisker. “This incident resulted from a single, faulty component, not our unique EVer powertrain or the engineering of the Karma. As this situation demonstrates, Fisker Automotive is dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to address safety and quality concerns.”

Jeremy Gutierrez of Sugar Land, Texas, who lost three vehicles and nearly his family and home in the first fire caused by his Karma, might challenge that notion. The cause of a previous fire, in May, still has not been explained. After that incident Fisker implied the fault might lie with the owner.

“As of now, multiple insurance investigators are involved, and we have not ruled out possible fraud or malicious intent,” Fisker said in a May statement published by Autoweek.com. “Based on initial observations and inspections, the Karma’s lithium ion battery pack was not being charged at the time and is still intact and does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this incident.”

Understandably, Fisker has obsessed about its batteries provided by A123 since they caused the first two recalls. But immediately after the two fires the company acted like its own design flaws or other faulty components were inconceivable. The action taken over the weekend is a step toward showing at least a little humility in calming fears and taking care of their customers.

Still, the specific cause of the Texas fire – other than that it was caused by the Karma, according to the Sugar Land fire marshal – has not been announced. Gutierrez, according to Autoweek, reported that he smelled burning rubber. The California fire (video) was similarly situated near a wheel well, “right above where the exhaust outlet protrudes underneath the bodywork,” according to Wired.com. Same problem?

Meanwhile, the company’s stimulus-funded ($465 million) EV rival – Tesla CEO Elon Musk – heavily criticized Henrik Fisker and his company in an interview with Automobile magazine.

“[Fisker] thinks the most important thing in the world – or the only important thing in the world – is design, so he outsourced the engineering and manufacturing,” Musk said. “But the fact is…that’s the crux of the problem. And he’s outsourcing to people who don’t know how to solve the problem. So he came up with a product – it’s a mediocre product at a high price.”

Indeed, the Karma retails for more than $102,000 (base), but the Tesla Model S sells in the $50,000 range. Obviously the subsidies for the two small-time car companies, plus additional taxpayer billions for charging stations, parts, and $7,500-per-purchaser tax credits, makes both vehicles a huge government giveaway to rich people. Worse, neither company’s history indicated any justification for the massive investments (Fisker a reported $1 billion-plus in private funding) they have enjoyed, much less from taxpayers.

Musk, a tycoon who has reaped millions of dollars from government for schemes for EVs, solar and outer space, may feel good about Tesla compared to Fisker for the moment, but in the Automobile interview he revealed massive problems in management and development while he planned to seek those loans from the Department of Energy. He related what an auditor told him in 2008 about the costly problems he had with development and production of the Model S predecessor, the Roadster:

He said, ‘This is crazy, we’re going to be producing cars for twice as much as we’re selling them for. And by the way, a third of the car (it turned out to be two-thirds) doesn’t even work [laughs again], and even if we could make it, we shouldn’t make it. And we can’t make it. We had to do a massive redesign. We had to switch out the body supplier.

Those issues were probably not expressed when Tesla applied for its DOE loan shortly after President Obama was elected. Instead the company spent $480,000 from 2007 to 2011 to lobby Congress, the White House, EPA and DOE on climate and energy issues, the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, the Promoting Electric Vehicles Act, and the Recovery Act.

In addition Musk is also a generous political donor, mostly to Democrats, although his investments and giving are equally diverse. Musk donated $290,000 to political candidates and the major parties from 2008 through 2012, which included $66,200 to the Democratic National Committee, $34,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and $63,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. His presidential candidate was Barack Obama, giving $2,300 for his 2008 campaign and $5,000 for the 2012 cycle. Besides Musk, a former Tesla director, Steve Westly, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for both of President Obama’s campaigns as a bundler.

And as NLPC readers know, Fisker and its top Silicon Valley investment firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers have engaged in their own search for crony-friendly government redistribution from politicos they supported and lobbied. Now Fisker, despite more than a billion dollars in public and private finance, seeks another $150 million to “tide the company over” until it can begin production on its next EV model, the Atlantic.

But never fear, investors, as Fisker always has a happy face to paint on its setbacks, even though taxpayers have been left holding the bag (as in Delaware where the state is paying the utility bills for an empty manufacturing plant). With their two fires, they made sure everyone knew that no one was injured due to the fires and that the previous problems with batteries were not the cause. And despite manufacturing their EV in Finland, all the U.S. government money Fisker received was allocated to American workers who engineered and designed the Karma.

Which is just what you might expect.

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center and publishes CarolinaPlottHound.com, an aggregator of North Carolina news.

USA CO2 emissions may drop to 1990 levels this year

I graphed the EIA data, shown below. What is most interesting is that this is market driven, not mandate driven.

Amazing Shale: US CO2 Emissions Plummet Towards 1990 Levels

by John Hanger (via The GWPF)

America’s carbon emissions may drop back close to 1990 levels this year. That result would have been thought impossible, even at the end of 2011. But the shale gas revolution makes a reality of many things recently thought impossible. Shale gas production has slashed carbon emissions and saved consumers more than $100 billion per year. Truly astonishing!

For US energy-related carbon emissions, fuel switching to gas is back to the future. After the first quarter, the USA’s 2012 emissions are falling sharply again and may drop to 1990 levels, or just slightly above that important milestone, according to data in EIA’s latest Monthy Energy Review.

America’s energy related carbon emissions fell about 7.5%, during the first three months of 2012 compared to the same period of 2011. And first quarter 2012 emissions are approximately 8.5% lower than emissions in the first quarter of 2010.

Total energy carbon emissions were 5,473 million tons in 2011 and last year fell below the 1996 mark of 5,501 million tons.

The first quarter 2012 reduction of 7.5% makes it possible that this year emissions will fall back essentially to the 1990 level of 5,039 million tons. That is shockingly good news.

The 1990 level of carbon emissions is an important measuring stick, as it is often used as a critical data point for judging progress in reducing a nation’s carbon emissions.

Why are US carbon emissions plummeting back to 1990 levels?

First and foremost are sharp reductions from electric power production, as a result of fuel switching from coal to gas, rising renewable energy production, and increasing efficiency. Yet, the shale gas revolution, and the low-priced gas that it has made a reality, is the key driver of falling carbon emissions, especially in the last 12 months.

As of April, gas tied coal at 32% of the electric power generation market, nearly ending coal’s 100 year reign on top of electricity markets. Let’s remember the speed and extent of gas’s rise and coal’s drop: coal had 52% of the market in 2000 and 48% in 2008.

Apart from power production, reductions of carbon emissions from the transportation sector since 2007 are pushing down US Carbon emissions. First quarter 2012 transportation emissions declined by about 0.6%, compared to the same period in 2011. Rising fuel efficiency and some switching to lower carbon fuels are the main causes of falling transportation emissions.

The bottom line is that America’s carbon emissions may drop back close to 1990 levels this year. That result would have been thought impossible, even at the end of 2011.

But the shale gas revolution makes a reality many things recently thought impossible. It was thought impossible to slash carbon US carbon emissions back to 1990 levels by 2012. It was thought impossible to massively, quickly cut carbon emissions and, at the same time, have lower energy bills.

Shale gas production has slashed carbon emissions and saved consumers more than $100 billion per year. Truly astonishing!

New York State’s money-road to nowhere

IDAs are “shifting the burden of taxation onto local residents and small businesses”

Mary Kay Barton

Local, state, and federal political favors have created an artificial and unsustainable industry: industrial wind power. Voters in every state need to understand what is going on in New York, so that the same things don’t happen to them.

Enormous industrial turbines have resulted in negative ecological and economic effects. Rural towns and countrysides across the USA have become the dumping grounds for massive sprawling infrastructure for a paltry amount of remote, unreliable energy.

For many enjoying rural life, the invasion of industrial wind installations has turned environmentalism on its head.

New York State (NYS) has more than its share of such malinvestment and damage. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently reported that tax exemptions by NYS’s Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) were not creating jobs and were “shifting tax burdens” from mega-corporations to local residents.

As a result, we have the spectacle in Upstate New York of taxpayer-subsidized industrial wind installations driving people from their homes – while further endangering the populations of eagles, hawks, herons, whooping cranes, bats, and all magnificent flying creatures.

Rural wind power, in short, is not only a fiscal fairness issue. It is an environmental issue of the first order.

Background

The Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency (WCIDA) was established under New York State legislation and regulation as a “public benefit corporation.” Its mission is to “promote, encourage and attract economic development projects in Wyoming County that result in the retention and/or creation of job opportunities that will generate additional tax revenues.”

Supporting and attracting job-creating businesses is one thing. The IDA’s methodology is another – as revealed in a WCIDA recent press release, “Wind energy powers agency’s loan program.” In it, the WCIDA proudly reported redistributing “$3.2 million dollars over the last six years” that it had received from wind developers, to various businesses in the county.

The part they left out was that this money was first taken from taxpayers, ratepayers and successful businesses. It was then given to Big Wind developers, who gave a tad bit of it back to the County, who then recycled some of those revenues back to businesses and people with the right political connections.
What has been going on in our towns and county (and across the nation) in regard to industrial wind flies in the face of any meaningful concept of “public benefit.” By relying almost solely on Big Wind projects for funding, the WCIDA has blinders on when it comes to the numerous larger issues – civil, economic, and environmental – surrounding industrial-scale wind energy.

Equally bad, according to a May 2 news article, NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that:

“tax breaks provided by the state’s IDAs are not effective in creating jobs…. DiNapoli’s office has found no significant correlation between the provision of tax exemptions and the creation of new job opportunities. Since IDA tax breaks reduce the overall amount of taxable land and enterprises within New York municipalities, they effectively shift the burden of taxation onto local residents and small businesses.”

In addition to providing few jobs and ultimately “shifting the burden of taxation onto local residents and small businesses,” the IDA’s actions impose many other immeasurable negative impacts on the area. Besides making people ill and driving some from their homes, trashing peoples’ property values, and forever changing the character of the area – these giant “Cuisanarts of the air” slaughter countless eagles, bats (already under serious threat from disease) and other magnificent flying creatures worldwide. The mammoth footprints of industrial wind installations fragment prime habitats, drive species out of their nesting areas, and further threaten already endangered species with extinction.
Corporate welfare: $billions, not $millions

The real “economics” of wind power are horrible and cannot be justified. Simply consider just a few of the taxpayer-funded corporate welfare programs that enable the industrial wind boondoggle to exist.

The $2.2 billion dollars of Stimulus money given to renewables (mostly wind) – 80% went overseas – transferring our wealth into the pockets of rich, multi-national corporations that have no allegiance to anyone or anything except their profit margins.
The “Section 1603 Direct Cash Grant Program” from the U.S. Treasury is worth 30% of the value of these industrial wind projects. The Production Tax Credit (PTC – aka “Permanent Tin Cup”) pays another 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour.

The project manager of the Lackawanna Steel Winds Project told us (in 2008) that each turbine cost approximately $5 million. (It could be much more by now, as in December 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration determined that the cost of new wind projects increased by 21% in the previous year.) That makes Invenergy’s proposed ‘Stony Creek’ project of 59 industrial wind turbines in Orangeville, NY worth approximately $295,000,000 – with the 30% Direct Cash Grant totaling $88,500,000. Nearly 250 wind turbines have already been installed in Wyoming County. Do the math.

The PTC and 1603 Direct Cash Grant money is a TAX that ALL U.S. taxpayers are forced to pay for a product that doesn’t even work. Their real function is to generate income via tax avoidance schemes for rich multi-national conglomerates – and enable those conglomerates to use our tax and rate money as campaign contributions to ensure that friendly legislators and bureaucrats remain in power.

Still more subsidies

In addition, the state of New York is involved. With the blessing of the NYS Public Service Commission, NYSERDA administers System Benefits Charges (SBC), Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and a market in Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) – all subsidized by fees collected through your electric bills.

On a per kWh basis, wind receives 80 times the public subsidies received by fossil fuels, but produces no reliable electricity capacity and very few American jobs. In fact, for every green job that wind supposedly creates, it destroys two to four regular jobs – in large part due to “skyrocketing” electricity rates.

Why would anyone willingly pay for such an obvious “lemon”? Government is subsidizing defective machines, not because it will improve electricity generation (quite the contrary), but rather because politicians are enriching their friends in Big Wind – and in turn, Big Wind helps them get re-elected. They are pretending to challenge the status quo, while in fact they are reinforcing it big time, while playing shell games with ratepayer and taxpayer money via the IDA’s nefarious loan programs.

The IDA is now trying to convince us that our recycled taxpayer money is creating secondary jobs across the county, thanks to wind (including McDonald’s workers who sell burgers to wind turbine installers). Most likely, these jobs will be added to the Administration’s list of supposed “green jobs,” in continued attempts to hoodwink the American public as to how many jobs the Green Scam is actually producing.

Questions for the IDA

In the face of this overwhelming evidence that wind power is a civilly, economically, and environmentally destructive energy option, the Wyoming County IDA wants us to believe that it is somehow a good idea to keep pouring money into a one-dimensional economic development plan.

The WCIDA needs to answer some critical questions:

1) Shouldn’t the IDA be worried about what happens to a county that is so heavily dependent on a single government program, when the government could suddenly end that program – which in the case of industrial wind is inevitable, because it is simply NOT economically sustainable?

2) Shouldn’t the IDA be concerned about the growing negative public realization that payoffs are being made by corporate interests to government agencies and elected officials, who then have a vested interest in perpetuating and expanding this taxpayer-funded industry in return for “donations”?

3) Doesn’t the IDA have a responsibility to ensure that the programs, projects and industries it supports and subsidizes first and foremost do not harm people, or destroy vital ecological resources – including bird and bat species that are vital to the county’s and region’s agricultural base, tourism and ecosystem?

4) Would the IDA support any other industry that had such harmful impacts on people and the environment?

Why should Wyoming County, the State of New York, the United States Congress and even the US Fish and Wildlife Service be subsidizing, protecting and promoting the destruction of both people’s lives, and these valuable and endangered species? Why should they do it on the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers? New Yorkers and, indeed, all Americans need to know the answers.

On July 13, the Ithaca Journal article, “Report says IDA investment fails to create jobs,” stated:

“The annual analysis of Industrial Development Agency data, produced since 2009 by the statewide Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition, shows ‘a widespread failure of New York’s main economic development tool to meet job creation goals.’ The analysis shows $182 million in IDA tax breaks went to companies that cut jobs, failed to create jobs, or didn’t even promise to create any jobs.”
All this suggests that the WCIDA would much better serve all of us by developing a comprehensive and diversified economic development plan that does not rely on recycled tax dollars from the wind farm scam – which will inevitably disappear.

Time for change

A blowback has begun regarding the naked wealth transfer from taxpayers to Big Wind corporations, including from IDAs. On the Federal side, the U.S. House Energy Committee recently delivered a blistering report about the Section1603 wind energy subsidy program: Where Are The Jobs?

Another recent article, “Wind Energy Jobs Myth,” reported: “Seventy-five percent of the Section 1603 largesse was lavished on Big Wind, and yet, despite billions of taxpayer dollars, the [wind] sector experienced a LOSS of 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2010.”

Thankfully, more and more U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers are waking up to the fact that our $16 TRILLION Dollar indebted nation cannot afford further taxpayer and generational theft. As a result, both the PTC and Direct Cash Grants corporate welfare programs are set to expire at the end of 2012.

We all better get to work to get off this highly-evolved system of state- and federal-financed corporate welfare. Please contact your senators, congressional representatives and committees, and state representatives.

Tell them the time for science-based energy policies is NOW!

Mary Kay Barton, a retired health educator and small business owner in New York State, is a tireless advocate for scientifically sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for all Americans. She has served over the past decade in local Water Quality organizations and enjoys gardening and birding in her National Wildlife Federation “Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”

Wind Energy Jobs: Mysterious Numbers from AWEA (75,000 claim bogus)

By Lisa Linowes, Master Resource

“AWEA’s job figures, dating back to at least 2009, may be nothing more than figures pulled from thin air.”

The numero uno goal of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) beyond its current expiration date of December 31, 2012. Documents available on the trade group’s website show that about $4 million of AWEA’s 2012 budget ($30 million) was directed toward PTC lobbying.

With job growth the top political issue in this election season, AWEA’s strategic plan calls for rebranding of the wind industry as an economic engine that will produce steady job growth, particularly in the manufacturing sector. But therein lies a problem: the wind industry’s own record on job growth lacks credibility.

Public information suggests that AWEA has inflated its overall job numbers.

Section 1603 Job Inflation

Seventy-five percent of the Section 1603 largesse was lavished on big wind, yet, despite billions of taxpayer dollars, this sector experienced a loss of 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2010. This lowers AWEA’s reported total to 75,000 jobs. [1]

In April, the DOE subsidiary National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released its estimates of direct and indirect jobs created by wind projects receiving 1603 funding. The agency relied on the JEDI (‘Jobs and Economic Development Impacts’) model to estimate gross jobs, earnings, and economic output supported through the construction and operation of large wind projects.

But an investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations rightly objected to NREL’s conclusions. The Subcommittee found that NREL overstated the number of jobs created under 1603, that it failed to report on the more important net job creation, and ignored potential jobs that would be created given alternative spending of federal funds. The key sticking point was that NREL did not validate its models using actual data from completed projects.

The Subcommittee concluded that models like JEDI which are used to estimate job creation were no substitute for actual data and added:

The Section 1603 grant program was sold to the American people as a necessary stimulus jobs program, and yet, the Treasury and Energy Departments do not have the numbers to back up the Obama Administration’s claims of its success in creating jobs.

JEDI Magic

Since NREL’s JEDI model provides a gross analysis only, it does not consider how building a renewable energy facility might displace energy or associated jobs, earnings, and output related to other existing or planned energy generation resources (e.g., jobs lost or gained related to changes in electric utility revenues and increased consumer energy bills, among other impacts).

In other words, the model is one-sided, considering only the benefit side of a cost-benefit comparison and ignoring everything else. That violates an old principle of economics, to see not only the seen but the unseen, as described in Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt:

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

To use the favorite analogy of economists, it is as if someone breaks a window and jobs are counted only from replacing the window, neglecting how the resources would have been spent if not diverted to repair damage. Hence the name for the JEDI misdirection: the broken window fallacy.

Validating AWEA Job Data

So what real data do we have on wind industry jobs? The answer is Not much. Apparently, AWEA is the only source of nationwide employment statistics in the United States for wind-related jobs.

Of the purported 75,000 direct and indirect jobs, the majority (around 60%) work in finance and consulting services, contracting and engineering services, and transportation and logistics. Twenty thousand are employed in wind-related manufacturing, with the remaining jobs tied to construction and O&M.

But validating this information is not possible since no industry codes exist that isolate wind power establishments or wind turbine and wind components establishments. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) bundles wind-related manufacturers under the same code as the “Turbine and Turbine Generator Set Units” manufacturing industry (NAICS 333611), which includes “establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing turbines (except aircraft) and complete turbine generator set units, such as steam, hydraulic, gas, and wind.”

At the end of 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 26,218 total jobs in this industry. It’s not credible that AWEA’s estimated manufacturing jobs could represent the vast majority of employment under the NAICS 333611 classification. [2]

Navigant Conjuring (Twice!)

In December, AWEA commissioned Navigant Consulting Inc. to study the impact of the PTC on job growth in the wind industry. The study, also based on the JEDI model, considered two scenarios, one where the PTC is extended for four years (2013–2016); the other where the PTC expires at the end of this year.

Part I: Navigant’s model showed that extension of the PTC would provide a stable economic environment and allow the wind industry to grow to nearly 100,000 American jobs over four years, including a jump to 46,000 manufacturing positions. Expiration of the PTC showed a loss of 37,000 jobs.

The message to Congress was clear: extend the PTC or you will be blamed for American jobs being lost. Even Interior Secretary Salazar peddled AWEA’s numbers despite the Congressional report that raised doubts about the JEDI model behind it.

Part II: Recent statements by AWEA prompted us to look at the numbers even further. In May, AWEA’s Denise Bode told Windpower Monthly that of the estimated 75,000 wind jobs, at least 30,000 were manufacturing jobs — a 10,000 jump!

Where did the additional manufacturing jobs come from? As it turns out, Navigant tabulated direct and indirect jobs but also quietly added INDUCED jobs — those jobs created when the overall level of spending in an economy rises due to workers newly receiving incomes.

Factoring in ‘induced employment’ was a radical departure from job figures previously provided by AWEA. “Induced” job figures are more abstract and inherently unreliable but a convenient way to inflate job numbers. We could find no documentation that explained this change in job reporting, nor was the change footnoted in the Navigant study.

We spoke with a Navigant representative who suggested AWEA might have been incorrectly treating ‘induced jobs’ as ‘indirect jobs’ in its prior reports, but that would not explain the inflation in manufacturing jobs. Total job counts would have stayed about the same.

In looking at the Navigant modeled numbers, it appears the wind industry currently provides only 58,000 direct and indirect jobs, not 75,000. A four-year extension of the PTC could result in a possible 70,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2016 (scenario 2) — 5,000 less than the number AWEA touts today!

Conclusion

The above analysis does not even account for wind jobs that have already been lost from the political uncertainty that engulfs the industry. These workers, no doubt, will be lost to wind forever as they migrate to where the real energy action is–the consumer-driven oil and gas industries that have job-wanted signs out.

The change in job counts raises serious credibility issues about the industry’s employment strength. But the absolute numbers tell only a piece of the story. Since Navigant’s study is based on JEDI, the job figures represent gross numbers and do not consider them in the context of the larger economy. In that sense, Navigant’s findings, like NREL’s study, tell us nothing about the true impact of the PTC.

But one thing does appear to be true: AWEA’s job figures, dating back to least 2009, may be nothing more than figures pulled from thin air.

—————————————–

[1] Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reports (p. 7): “The American Wind Energy Association, meanwhile, estimates that the entire wind energy sector directly and indirectly employed 75,000 full-time workers in the United States at the end of 2010 – about 10,000 fewer full-time-equivalent jobs than in 2009, mostly due to the decrease in new wind power plant construction.” A recent AWEA blog (February 3, 2012) confirms the 75,000 is still current.

[2] Wind manufacturing represents around one-half of one percent of the 11.5 million domestic manufacturing jobs in 2010.

Wind power not coming through for California – power alert issued by the CAISO

Posted on August 9, 2012 by Anthony Watts

I called the media support line for this press release issues today, to ask a couple of questions, here are the answers:

1. Q: Besides the heat wave, what other factors are contributing? A: “A Natural Gas plant of 775 megawatts went offline last night. The San Onofre nuclear plant remains offline with no restart scheduled.”

2. Q: Where is wind power in all of this, is it performing? A: “Well as you know, wind has to blow for wind power to be effective. “

The graph from CAISO tells the story, wind power has tumbled when it is most needed:

Of course, renewables are a drop in the bucket compared to the total demand seen here.

California ISO Declares Flex-Alert Statewide
With a major heat wave bearing down on California, the ISO is declaring a Flex Alert tomorrow through August 12.

Consumers are urged to reduce their energy use during the afternoon when air conditioners drive consumption. Find Flex Alert tips at http://www.caiso.com
Electricity conservation today, August 9, would also be helpful during the afternoon peak between 11:00 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Today’s Forecast peak demand: 47,125 megawatts
24-Hour Ahead Outlook for Friday, Aug 10: Flex Alert

High temperatures are forecast statewide. Energy demand is expected to be high and consumers are urged to reduce energy usage between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Forecast peak demand: 46,800 megawatts
48-Hour Ahead Outlook for Saturday, Aug 11: Flex Alert

The heat wave continues through the weekend. The California ISO is urging reduced energy usage between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Saturday
Forecast peak demand: 43,000 megawatt

72-Hour Ahead Outlook for Sunday, Aug 12: Flex Alert
Temperatures will continue to be hot. Conservation is helpful between noon – 6 p.m.
Forecast peak demand: 43,000 megawatt
Go to http://www.caiso.com and click “Notify me” to sign up for Flex Alerts and other updates. Follow real time grid conditions at http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutlook.aspx.

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Welcome to the third world. h/t to Roger Sowell.