Posts Tagged ‘clean

17
Feb
14

Happy 5th Birthday, Stimulus!

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Jason Sattler: 5 Ways The Stimulus Saved And Remade America

It Reversed America’s Layoff Crisis. What happened in mid-2009 that suddenly boosted America out of recession and reversed the escalating trend of layoffs, which is measured here with the four-week moving average of initial unemployment claims that simply averages the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits? Was it the uptick of people buying tricorn hats or purchasing signs to call Obama a socialist/fascist/corporate cronyist?

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Or maybe it was the result of markets calmed by government intervention infused with the sudden burst of spending via the only place from which it could come in such a crisis, the federal government? It Led To The Creation Or Saving Of 9 Million Jobs. The most untold part of the untold story of the stimulus is the dramatic way it nearly conjured a vibrant green energy industry that barely existed five years ago.

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Pete Danko: More Wind Power Equals Lower Electricity Prices

The price of electricity has dropped in states that have developed extensive wind power over the past five years. It’s just a slight drop, but here’s the kicker: the other states have seen a hefty rise.  The AWEA pointed to 11 states that had produce more than 7 percent of their electricity from wind power – Texas, Wyoming, Oregon, Oklahoma, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. In those states, the price of electricity fell 0.37 percent in the past five years. Meanwhile, in the rest of the states, electricity went up by 7.79 percent.

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Igor Volsky: Republicans Slam Stimulus On Fifth Anniversary – But Most Took Credit For It Back Home

Monday marks the five-year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery Act, President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus stimulus package that invested in everything from infrastructure projects to electronic medical health care records and alternative energy sources. Every single Republican in the House and almost every Republican in the Senate — with the exception of Former Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — voted against the measure and today the GOP continues to deride the law as wasteful an ineffective.

But as ThinkProgress reported throughout 2009, over half of the GOP caucus praised the effects of the stimulus or took credit for the federal dollars in their home districts and states — despite repeatedly voting against it in Washington D.C. The Wall Street Journal reported “Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a ‘wasteful spending spree’ that ‘misses the mark on all counts,’ wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, ‘intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs.’” Ryan also wrote letters to the Secretary of Energy requesting stimulus funds for a local energy company in 2009. Ryan repeatedly voted against the stimulus.

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2.17.14

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Steve Benen: The Recovery Act, Five Years Later

It seems like ages ago, but in late 2008 and early 2009, the global economic crisis had reached terrifying levels, and U.S. policymakers had to choose a direction for the nation’s future. Democrats rallied behind a stimulus package called the Recovery Act, while Republicans called for a five-year federal spending freeze. First, if the nation had followed the GOP’s preferred course at the height of the crisis – David Brooks described the Republican prescription at the time as “insane” – the Great Recession would have been far worse, making their complaints now rather laughable. Second, if GOP lawmakers are convinced the stimulus failed, why’d they take credit for its investments back home? And third, public relations notwithstanding, the Recovery Act was a great success.

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Michael Grunwald: Five Years After Stimulus, Obama Says It Worked

Five years ago Monday, President Barack Obama visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, his $800 billion stimulus bill. At the time, the U.S. economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month. In the fourth quarter of 2008, it had contracted at an 8% annual rate, a Depression-level free fall. “Today does not mark the end of our economic problems,” Obama said on Feb. 17, 2009. “But it does mark the beginning of the end.” And so it did. the Recovery Act increased U.S. GDP by roughly 2 to 2.5 percentage points from late 2009 through mid-2011, keeping us out of a double-dip recession. It added about 6 million “job years” (a full-time job for a full year) through the end of 2012. If you combine the Recovery Act with a series of follow-up measures, including unemployment-insurance extensions, small-business tax cuts and payroll tax cuts, the Administration’s fiscal stimulus produced a 2% to 3% increase in GDP in every quarter from late 2009 through 2012, and 9 million extra job years, according to the report.

 The report also estimates that the Recovery Act’s aid to victims of the Great Recession — in the form of expanded food stamps, earned-income tax credits, unemployment benefits and much more — directly prevented 5.3 million people from slipping below the poverty line. It also improved nearly 42,000 miles of roads, repaired over 2,700 bridges, funded 12,220 transit vehicles, improved more than 3,000 water projects and provided tax cuts to 160 million American workers. The Recovery Act jump-started clean energy in America, financing unprecedented investments in wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable sources of electricity. It advanced biofuels, electric vehicles and energy efficiency in every imaginable form. It helped fund the factories to build all that green stuff in the U.S., and research into the green technologies of tomorrow. It’s the reason U.S. wind production has increased 145% since 2008 and solar installations have increased more than 1,200%. The stimulus is also the reason the use of electronic medical records has more than doubled in doctors’ offices and almost quintupled in hospitals. It improved more than 110,000 miles of broadband infrastructure. It launched Race to the Top, the most ambitious national education reform in decades.

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David Danelski: MOJAVE DESERT: High-Profile Solar Plant Dedicated With Fanfare

Amid the glow of 173,000 mirrors capturing the sun’s power, more than 100 government officials and energy executives Thursday celebrated the opening of the Ivanpah solar plant in northeast San Bernardino County and declared their intention to build more of them to combat global warming. “We will continue to work across the board to advance these projects. So bring them on,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in his keynote. His address, given in a large tent next to the mirror fields, came during a luncheon that offered squash ravioli and a salad of baby greens. Moniz said Ivanpah is the world’s largest thermal solar project and part of a strategy to expand carbon-free sources of energy.

The Obama administration is looking to provide as much as $40 billion in additional loan guarantees for energy projects, Moniz said. The plant is expected to provide enough electricity for as many as 140,000 homes through contracts with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric. It has been hailed by President Barack Obama, who said in his State of the Union address that America is a global leader in solar development. The government has backed such projects with investment tax credits that run through 2016, though it is not clear how much the Ivanpah investors have benefited. The tax breaks were part of Obama’s first-term economic stimulus package. Ivanpah is one of the first commercial-scale solar developments initiated during Obama’s recession-fighting stimulus effort. It is the first large-scale plant to use power-tower technology — at Ivanpah, the mirrors focus solar energy onto boilers mounted on three, 460-foot towers. Heat in the boilers creates steam, which powers turbines that generate electricity.

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07
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

President Obama stands in the Outer Oval Office, viewed from the Cabinet Room of the White House, Jan. 7, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

11:40 EST: President Obama Speaks on Emergency Unemployment Insurance

12:15 Jay Carney briefs the press

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Steve Benen: ACA ‘horror stories’ keep crumbling

For much of the fall, when major news organizations went into feeding-frenzy mode over the Affordable Care Act, an unsettling pattern emerged. The media kept shining a spotlight on various “horror stories” – regular Americans adversely affected by “Obamacare” – and those stories kept crumbling when subjected to scrutiny.

The problem persists. Reader R.B. passed along this striking report from Maggie Mahar, who explained that many of the “tales of Obamacare’s innocent victims … just aren’t true.”

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The Wire: Lessons from the Obamacare ‘Horror Stories’

At the root of every debunked, cancelled plan, Obamacare “horror story” is usually a person who isn’t as informed as he or she would like to believe. Usually that person is a journalist. Last week Maggie Mahar at HealthInsurance.org debunked yet another horror story, but she didn’t blame the misguided former policy holders so much as the journalist who wrote the story. “It appeared that no one at the Star-Telegram even attempted to run a background check on the sources, or fact check their stories,” Mahar wrote. “I couldn’t help but wonder: ‘Why?’”

Obamacare horror story debunkings are actually just journalists calling out their peers. While the Obamacare “victim” — usually someone who’s policy was cancelled — may be motivated by political leanings, an aversion to subsidies or just a lack of knowledge, it’s not their job to give an accurate, thorough report on the issue from all sides. “The whole concept of the media checking the media is a new phenomenon,”  Bill Adair of PolitiFact told Poynter in November. There was once a time when journalists were a little more discreet with their critics of their peers, but now calling people out is the norm. And with Obamacare, which leads all kinds of reporters to pick and choose details, everyone (everyone) can learn something from the mistakes of others. Here are the key lessons from the last three months of bogus horror stories.

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TPM: How The GOP Is Putting Uninsured Americans At Risk … In One Chart

The GOP’s relentless assault on Obamacare hasn’t succeeded in repealing or defunding the law, but it has managed to do something: prevent a lot of uninsured Americans from getting health insurance.

With three months of Obamacare enrollment completed, the effect of the Republican intransigence on health care reform can be seen in new data compiled by Theda Skocpol, professor of government and sociology at Harvard University and director of the Scholars Strategy Network.

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ThinkProgress: Anatomy Of A Hit Job: Expert Featured On 60 Minutes Exposes How Show Knowingly Ignored Facts On Clean Energy

“What’s the matter with 60 Minutes?”

That was the question asked by many, after the program on Sunday aired what has since been slammed as an inaccurate portrayal of the cleantech industry.

Besides the fact that the piece made no mention of climate change — which is one of the stronger arguments behind cleantech — the report largely passed over the recent explosive growth in wind power, solar power, LED lights and electric vehicles.

But it’s not like 60 Minutes wasn’t told about the recent major successes in the clean tech industry. Robert Rapier, Chief Technology Officer at Merica International, was interviewed by 60 Minutes, and spoke to them at length about cleantech’s many successes. But the only comments included were ones about cleantech investor Vinod Khosla, who CBS asserts is “known as the father of the cleantech revolution” (he is not).

Rapier spoke with ClimateProgress on Monday about what got left out of the interview.

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Steve Benen: Winter, climate, and what’s truly ‘laughable’

Every year, much of the world experiences a phenomenon known as “seasons.” For many Americans, this means higher temperatures in the summer and lower temperatures in the winter. What does this have to do with global climate change? Not a whole lot.

But just as one season leads to another, the transition from fall to winter brings out the worst in too many conservatives. Indeed, in seems every winter, like clockwork, far-right yahoos start arguing, “It’s cold in winter, therefore global warming can’t be real.” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), playing his usual role, insisted yesterday that freezing temperatures in much of the country is obviously proof that climate science itself is “laughable.”

Something in this debate is laughable, but I’m afraid it isn’t the science.

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MoooOOOooorning again! Got severely interrupted, so I’m missing 99.36% of the important news, I’m assuming. :???: Will catch up later in the day.

06
Jan
14

A Tweet or Two

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:shock:

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