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Post-Industrial America

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Power Plant Closures Due To Environmental Regulations To Take Toll On Towns. December 14, 2011: Pigeons fly past as the stacks of Dominion's power plant tower over a nearby neighborhood in Salem, Mass.AP For more than 90 years, the coal-fired power plant in Glen Lyn, Va., has been churning out electricity and contributing to local prosperity. Of late, it has generated nearly a quarter of the revenue for the $1 million budget of the town. Yet when the plant ultimately shuts down to comply with new federal air pollution regulations by the end of 2014, says Town Manager Howard Spencer, so too might the community of 200. "If the town lost all of that revenue," he says, "we would struggle to even continue to be incorporated.

" An Associated Press analysis has found that more than 32 mostly coal-fired power plants in a dozen states will be forced to close because of the new, more stringent regulations. Another 36 plants are at risk of closing. No lights will go dark. "They've done so much donation-wise for local causes ... The closures, though, have long been anticipated.

Obamacar for the 1 Percent - By Henry Payne - Planet Gore. The real scandal behind this week’s latest electric-car barbecue is a reminder that taxpayer dollars are being burned up to subsidize wealthy Americans’ dreams of owning a $100,000 sports sedan. “California-based Fisker said Thursday it is recalling 239 plug-in electric hybrid cars because a misaligned battery part could lead to a fire,” reports the Detroit News today. “It comes just a month after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a formal investigation into fire risks in General Motors Co.’s plug-in hybrid, the Chevrolet Volt.” Like the Volt, the Karma’s move is a precautionary measure — no fires have been reported in real-world use (though it is a further irony that coal-powered “alternative batteries” share fire risks with their standard gas-fired engines — one of which is also on board each plug-in hybrid Karma).

The Karma’s hose issue will be addressed and repaired. But the damage to taxpayers’ wallets will not. Facebook Targets Huge IPO. Hunger Is Sign Of Ohio Town Still Struggling To Recover From Rust Belt Troubles. WARREN, Ohio – Tucked deep behind the flowing yellow cornfields of northern Ohio are the fading shells of former steel plants.

The factories no longer spew black smoke into the sky, there are no employees patrolling behind their high metal fences, the lights inside are permanently off and there's an eerie silence all around. The buildings stand as large, empty symbols of the industry that used to keep the Mahoning Valley running. "This was the center of the steel industry, mostly because of the location, halfway between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, halfway between New York and Chicago … that led to a lot of manufacturing," said historian Jim McFarland. At that time, jobs were abundant. Generations of families worked at the plants and built their lives along the Mahoning and Cayuhoga rivers.

"Everyone worked at the steel mill; it was a good paying job," said longtime Ohio resident Timothy Walton, whose father and grandfather worked at the plants. They called it Foodstock. Wall Street’s resurgent prosperity frustrates its claims, and Obama’s. The largest banks are larger than they were when Obama took office and are nearing the level of profits they were making before the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, according to government data. Wall Street firms — independent companies and the securities-trading arms of banks — are doing even better. They earned more in the first 21/2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the eight years of the George W.

Bush administration, industry data show. (See data in an Excel file here.) Behind this turnaround, in significant measure, are government policies that helped the financial sector avert collapse and then gave financial firms huge benefits on the path to recovery. For example, the federal government invested hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in banks — low-cost money that the firms used for high-yielding investments on which they made big profits. Stabilizing the financial system was considered necessary to prevent an even deeper economic recession. Jon Corzine’s big mistake--Charles Gasparino. Jon Corzine appears to have committed more than a few sins in the runup to the demise of MF Global, including possibly using client money to pay for the risky trades that forced his brokerage firm into bankruptcy over the weekend.

But possibly his biggest sin was his steadfast belief in the power of government. The former New Jersey governor and Goldman Sachs chief executive went wrong by assuming that a government bailout would somehow turn his firm’s bet on some of the worst investments in the world — the sovereign debt of Italy and Spain — into gold. That absurd faith has doomed many chief executives — Dick Fuld of Lehman Bros. chief among them, just a little more than three years ago. And, more than any of the other shenanigans that may have taken place during the ill-fated firm’s final hours, it’s what did in Corzine and MF Global. I debated him on CNBC in the summer of 2008, while he was still New Jersey governor. Their price. The Real Luddites. Have you noticed that any person who exhibits any skepticism about global warming alarmism will, sooner or later, be called a Luddite? “Are you a Luddite, a troglodyte? Are you a part of ‘The Planet of the Apes’ that doesn’t want science?

Where would you place yourself in this argument?” Newscaster and anti-simian Chris Matthews “asked” a congressman a few years back. And so on and so forth. The Luddites, as you all know, were a 19th-century social movement that protested, often by violent means, the encroachment of the Industrial Revolution on their lives, fearing that it would leave them without their jobs and destroy their communities. But Luddites weren’t challenging the veracity of some scientific theory; they just weren’t crazy about the options progress offered them. So global warming skeptics — call them anti-science if you like — are not Luddites. For example, Democratic Rep. Those aren’t structural issues; they are productivity issues. Or at least they used to. Solyndracracy. In happier times, the firm had been celebrated as a harbinger of the future. The political connections it enjoyed were the fruit not only of well-placed contributions but of a self-imposed ideological mission: It was going to deliver cheap energy in amazing ways.

Top executives had dismissed accounting irregularities. The normal rules, it was said, did not apply. Then came the reckoning. The columnist’s then-colleague, who has a flair for the dramatic, wasted no time placing this image of corporate greed “against the stark backdrop of those less well-connected Americans who are fighting our war.” Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, and the New York Times, in other words, were all bent on uncovering the extent of the executives’ crimes and the nature of the White House’s involvement.

It’s hard to see why. And, sure enough, the nation’s investigative reporters seem to be diligently following the scandal. What does President Obama have to say about Solyndra, for example? Is Canadian Oil Bound for China Via Pipeline to Texas? "This is all about taking the oil that's coming into the Midwest and moving it down to the Gulf Coast, where they have access to China and other markets," the National Wildlife Federation's Jeremy Symons told Congress this summer. Spurred by the provocative analysis of a prominent energy economist, Philip Verleger , the argument joins the already contentious debate over the Keystone XL pipeline.

The 1,700-mile, $7 billion project has stalled awaiting approval of the U.S. State Department, which must approve any pipeline built across the U.S. border. (Related: " The Keystone XL Pipeline: A Tar Sands Folly? " and " Yellowstone Spill Shadows Efforts on the Keystone XL ") The project would provide a much-needed outlet for booming oil production from the tar, or oil, sands of Alberta in Northwest Canada.

Output from the sticky sands has jumped amid higher fuel prices and new technology. {*style:<b>Moving Oil From Alberta </b>*} The path closest to opening is the Keystone XL. {*style:<b> 10 (Short) Reasons to Be Excited About Wind Power. The American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) conference opened Thursday in Aspen, Colorado, with leaders from the sectors of government, industry, activism and science engaging on questions about how the United States can wean itself from dependency on fossil fuels. In an early keynote speech, Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, offered 10 succinct reasons why wind power is desirable: It is abundant. China, for example, has enough harnessable wind to increase its electricity consumption 16-fold.It is carbon-free.

Reducing carbon emissions is a key part of any plan to transition from fossil fuels.It is non-depletable. What we use today doesn’t affect how much we have tomorrow.It does not require any water. This is in contrast to other water-intensive energy sources, such as nuclear and natural gas.It does not use any fuel. Brown cited Denmark, Spain, Germany and India as having significant portions of energy sourced from wind. Number of Green Jobs Fails to Live Up to Promises. How much will San Francisco's Chinese bridge really cost? | Prestowitz. The Dutch have a saying: Goed Koop is Duur Koop, Cheap is Expensive. That came to my mind yesterday as I read in the Sunday New York Times of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge having been made in China and now being readied for shipment to San Francisco where the its modules will be placed on their supports and snapped together like an erector set.

I am old enough to remember the pride my parents took in telling me of the completion in the middle of the Great Depression of the Golden Gate Bridge, then the world's longest suspension bridge. In that trying time, the bridge, almost entirely made in America, was a symbol of hope because it demonstrated that Americans could still do great things when properly led and organized. Now, in these trying times as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tells us the economic recovery from the Great Recession is stumbling for reasons he doesn't understand, it seems that we take pride in what China can do for us. PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images. In California, a Road to Recovery Stirs Unrest. Bridge Comes to San Francisco, With Made-in-China Label.