Electric car maker Fisker begins the usual “painful public death” process.

Meet yet another of thank-God-he’s-former Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu’s bad calls with your tax money:

Struggling carmaker Fisker Automotive laid off 160 employees, most of its staff, Friday as it struggles to reach a financing deal that would save the maker of the Karma hybrid sports car.

The Anaheim company dismissed all but a core group of about 40 workers needed to keep the business running as it continues talks with three Chinese businesses considering buying or investing in Fisker, according to individuals familiar with Fisker’s strategy.

As the article later notes, Fisker received a Department of Energy loan that was supposed to start being paid back this month; however, the number that the LA Times used ($192 million) is only technically accurate.  Fisker actually borrowed $529 million*; but their business model was, alas, a bit optimistic and it turns out that making batteries for the car wasn’t exactly profitable**.  The Department of Energy finally turned off the spigot, thus triggering the following death spiral.  A heck of a thing when the good news is that the government didn’t manage to waste all of your money, but that’s life in the wacky endless circus that is modern American ‘green’ policy.

Total private money lost in all of this?  $1.2 billion.  But, hey: Steven Chu was a Noble prize winner.  That’s something, right?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: If we absolutely have to have a Department of Energy, can we at least have bureaucrats running it from now on?  It’ll be cheaper in the long run, not to mention the short.

*Part of that loan, by the way, was to set up a factory in Delaware.  Guess what?  Yup, never opened, and Delaware taxpayers are apparently now out of an additional $21.5 million of THEIR money that their governor loaned to Fisker.  Gov. Jack Markell’s office is carefully avoiding talking about how they’re going to get that money back, largely because they’re probably not.

**The aforementioned battery company was A123 Systems, which despite because of its own massive government subsidies (DoE gave them a grant of $249.1 million) was forced into bankruptcy.  Post restructuring, it is now known as… B456 Systems.

You may be forgiven at this point for deciding that Big Green is simply now just messing with your head.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s resignation letter. …Thank *God*.

It’s official.  AND LET US NEVER PUT A SCIENTIST IN THAT PARTICULAR CABINET POSITION, EVER AGAIN.  I don’t actually want to criticize the administration too strongly on this one: on paper, it seemed like a smart idea.  In reality, we got Solyndra:

Nothing personal against Chu, but smart in one field does not equal being smart in all of them.

Steven Chu to leave Department of Energy?


Secretary of Energy Steven Chu may be leaving the post during the next term of the Obama administration. Among those on the list to replace Chu are Ritter; Tom Steyer, a Democrat from California; former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan; Susan Tierney, a former assistant energy secretary; and Steve Westley, a California businessman, according to The Washington Post.

More at Hot Air, which notes that Dr. Chu has been distinctly subpar as Secretary of Energy ( the man doesn’t understand either politics or finance, which is not unexpected, but also why we don’t normally pick scientists for these positions).  As for a replacement, the answer is obvious: Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. While a Democrat, she’s a strong supporter of both the Keystone pipeline and hydraulic fracking, and frankly what we need now is a Secretary of Energy with some sort of practical background in energy production.  At the very least, we need one who might, perhaps, have a better chance to not actually waste the $30B annual budget that we give Energy every  year.  I think that we’re quite done with having all of these Solyndra-level debacles all of the time, correct? Continue reading Steven Chu to leave Department of Energy?

Energy Secretary Steven Chu to take the fall for Solyndra.

Secretary Chu will take “full responsibility” today for the government’s decision to throw a half-billion’s worth of taxpayer money into a failing energy company, despite its own watchdogs’ recommendations (and the government’s decision to pressure Solyndra into not reporting layoffs until after the ’10 midterms) – while at the same time insisting that nothing untoward occurred. In other words, Chu will not take any kind of responsibility at all.

But this is not about ‘responsibility.’ This is merely the next step in the resignation game. Chu will be grilled today on this topic:

In advance of Thursday’s hearing, investigators with the Republican led committee released the latest batch of internal emails it has reviewed. Among them were emails that suggested that Energy officials asked the company to delay layoffs at its California facility until after the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

The two congressmen leading the investigation, Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.) and Cliff Stearns (Fla.) released a statement saying they hope Chu’s testimony will “shed light on key questions about the decision-making inside the Department of Energy and the role of other agencies and officials, from the Office of Management and Budget to the west wing of the White House.”

Secretary Chu will then be expected to beat his breast a bit. Then the President will express his ‘full confidence’ in his ’embattled’ Secretary, which will be the signal for Republicans to release still more damaging revelations on the subject. Shortly thereafter, Chu will announce his resignation, in order to ‘spend more time with his family.’ End result: one Energy Secretary gone and a ‘tarnished’ administration.

And probably a Republican establishment that might be just a little confused about why the base isn’t happier about this. I mean, Chu’s gone, right? It’s always great to force out a Cabinet member – and there’s limits to what can be done in this sort of thing, anyway. I mean, what does the base expect, jail time?

Well, increasingly… yes, that is what they’re expecting.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Oops! Via Hot Air Headlines.

#rsrh QotD, This Will Depress You edition.

Mark Steyn, who is about as approving of Energy Secretary Chu’s arrogance as I was yesterday:

Nevertheless, having nothing to show for blowing a trillion dollars of other people’s money does at least make the point in a fairly spectacular way: the distinguishing feature of the west at twilight from Sacramento to Albany to Brussells to Athens is the failure of the Chu class – the People Who Know What’s Best For Us.

True, but consider this: remember when you could read the phrase “blowing a trillion dollars of other people’s money” and roll your eyes at the hyperbole?  Now it’s probably a low-ball number.

#rsrh My NSFW response to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

On the looming incandescent bulb ban.

In a conference call with reporters, Mr. Chu said the more-efficient bulbs required would save consumers money over the life of the product, even if the up-front price is higher.

“We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money,” he said.

It’s their money to ‘waste,’ you fucking elitist political appointee*.  Swear to God – and God help us all – we’re probably better off with former lawyers in that particular policy position, after all.  At least that demographic has the mother-wit to not gratuitously insult American consumers…

Via For What It’s Worth, via Instapundit.

Moe Lane Continue reading #rsrh My NSFW response to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Why scientists are under-represented in politics.

Bluntly?  Because they say stupid things like this.

When it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions, Energy Secretary Steven Chu sees Americans as unruly teenagers and the Administration as the parent that will have to teach them a few lessons.

Speaking on the sidelines of a smart grid conference in Washington, Dr. Chu said he didn’t think average folks had the know-how or will to to change their behavior enough to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act,” Dr. Chu said. “The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.” (In that case, the Energy Department has a few renegade teens of its own.)

Continue reading Why scientists are under-represented in politics.