Category Archives: Current Events

Team Trump, GOP downplay looming CBO report, question group’s competence, earlier findings

Sunday Trump administration officials and other key Washington Republicans downplayed the impact of the upcoming Congressional Budget Office report on the GOP’s ObamaCare replacement plan, suggesting the nonpartisan group has miscalculated before on such complex legislation. Continue reading →

Families who aided Edward Snowden seeking asylum in Canada

A trio of families who sheltered former government contractor-turned-notorious leaker Edward Snowden in Hong Kong in 2013 are now seeking asylum in Canada, the northern neighbor of the country whose secrets Snowden stole. Continue reading →

Trump’s first budget boosts defense, cuts conservative targets like EPA

This week President Donald Trump sends Congress a proposed budget that will sharply test Republicans’ ability to keep long-standing promises to bolster the military, making politically painful cuts to a lengthy list of popular domestic programs. Continue reading →

Trump, Pence follow ObamaCare replacement rollout with weekend offensive

The White House is trying this weekend to rally support for the ObamaCare replacement plan — with Vice President Pence in Kentucky and President Trump using the bully pulpit and old-reliable Twitter. Continue reading →

GOP Health Plan Risks Backlash From Seniors

House Republicans’ health-care proposal is running into a new political problem: opposition from older people. One day after House GOP leaders unveiled their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, AARP, the politically potent advocacy group for Americans over 50 years old, came out in opposition. Continue reading →

House panel wants any evidence Trump’s phones were tapped

The House intelligence committee has asked the executive branch for any evidence that would support President Donald Trump’s claim that his phones were tapped at Trump Tower during last year’s election. Continue reading →

Another taxpayer-funded energy company files for bankruptcy

A cutting-edge battery maker that received millions from taxpayers has become the latest government-backed energy firm to file for bankruptcy – reviving the controversy over how stimulus dollars were spent under the last administration.Seven years after Aquion Energy received a $5.2 million stimulus-tied grant from the federal government, the Pennsylvania company on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“Creating a new electrochemistry and an associated battery platform at commercial scale is extremely complex, time-consuming, and very capital intensive. Despite our best efforts to fund the company and continue to fuel our growth, the Company has been unable to raise the growth capital needed to continue operating as a going concern,” Scott Pearson, Aquion’s outgoing CEO, said in a press release.

Fox News

The company is now looking for a buyer and produces batteries to store solar and renewable energy. It had been touted as a rising star in the energy storage business, even attracting investment from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and millions more in state funding.

In January, the company was named “the North American Company of the Year Award” at the annual Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, which “focuses on emerging trends, leading innovation companies, and key players in sustainable innovation.”

Suzanne Roski, the company’s chief restructuring officer, did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

Critics say Aquion’s fate is further evidence the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.

“Who thinks the Department of Energy has the expertise to predict which companies will succeed for fail in the marketplace, particularly in an industry that is not only dependent upon government subsidies, but is highly unpredictable?” said William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Fox News

The company grew out of the work of Jay Whitacre, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He developed a successful design for a storage battery that would use only non-toxic, non-flammable chemicals, rather than the more flammable lithium batteries.

Days before the company filed for Chapter 11, Whitacre was named the new director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon.

Aquion was awarded its federal grant in 2010. The Department of Energy issued the funding to build a large-scale battery manufacturing plant that would be located on the site of a former Sony facility in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

Private investors flocked to the project.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Aquion raised about $190 million from investors, including from Ray Lane, a former president of Oracle.

They began low-volume production in the summer of 2011, broke ground on full-scale manufacturing facility in 2012 and have been shipping commercially since mid-2014, according to its website.

Two years later, Aquion Energy received $16.6 million in funds from the state of Pennsylvania, including two alternative clean energy loans totaling $5 million, to develop.

As part of the agreement, Aquion committed to create 341 new jobs and retain 70 existing employees, according to Heidi Havens, communications director for Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

In February 2016, the company requested a two-year extension to create the jobs promised. At that time, only 50 jobs had been created.

The Westmoreland facility has since halted operations.

“This announcement is a reminder of the critical need to ensure that taxpayer dollars for economic development projects are spent appropriately and that intended outcomes are met,” Havens said in an email to Fox News.

“Let’s remember that the need for energy storage systems is strictly a consequence of the intermittency of renewable energy sources like solar and wind,” Yeatman said. “… These companies benefit from the grants and indirectly from the inefficiencies of an industry that exists by the grace of political favoritism.”

Fox News

Chicago’s violent gangs looting freight cars filled with guns

Listen folks, on the south side of Chicago, in one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods, brazen criminals occasionally hit the gangster’s jackpot: they loot freight containers carrying shiny, new guns. The guns – boxes and boxes of them – are part of shipments that are destined for gun companies or gun shops across the country. But as gangsters have caught on to the practice, they are ransacking these trains and stealing weapons that eventually make their way to the city’s blood-soaked streets. Continue reading →

Iraqi insurgent fighter allegedly lied about identity, got through ‘extreme’ vetting

Federal lawmakers are investigating how a former Iraqi insurgent fighter was able to lie about his identity and still get through America’s ‘extreme’ vetting process. I know how he got in, those dumb ass liberals won’t let Trump vet them, and deny visas. Continue reading →

White House: Trump has not spoken to Comey on Obama wiretap claims

President Trump has not spoken to his FBI director about his claims that former President Barack Obama tapped his phones last year, according to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer – who put the onus on Congress to investigate the widely disputed allegations. Continue reading →