No News Wins Again! Steven Chu Still Living

I’ve said it before but I just can’t learn my own lesson: You have to work in the news to understand how stupid the news is.

Yesterday I reported on Secretary of Energy Steven Chu’s not having commented publicly about the Solyndra bankruptcy. I noted, in a roundup of coverage, that Politico was running a story featuring no comments from Chu but bearing the strong headline “On Solyndra, the buck stops with Chu.” 

This morning I see that the Washington Post has a story up with the headline “Chu takes responsibility for a loan deal that put more taxpayer money at risk in Solyndra.” Ouch! The secretary of energy came out and took responsibility? How did I miss his comments? 

So I spend much of the day on the phone and at doe.gov, trying to find the statement from Chu’s office that the WashPost referred to. 

And it turns out the Post story (which has a double byline) was just a piggyback on the Politico story. They’re both working off a comment from Chu spokesman Damien LaVera – a none-too shocking confirmation that the secretary of energy approves commitments, loan guarantees and restructurings performed by the Department of Energy. 

On the plus side, LaVera provided me with a statement which I’m happy to cite in full: 

"When the career loan program staff recommends a transaction for a conditional commitment, closing or restructuring, the Secretary must give final approval – but only after extensive and rigorous analysis by teams of career federal employees and outside experts of the risks and benefits.  These transactions get months, and in some cases years, of exhaustive review, but there will always be an element of risk when America seeks to win an intense global competition for the innovative, job creating technologies of the future.  The roughly 40 companies supported by the loan program are on the cutting edge of America's effort to win jobs and build new industries, and we shouldn't cede the entire competition to China in the face of a single setback."

The hubbub about Chu’s responsibility is what A.J. Liebling described as media chasing “no news.” Whatever you think of Liebling, I recommend his essay on the death of Stalin “Death On the One Hand,” which features a narrative of how no news takes up more space than actual news. 

In our own thought-tormented age, the confirmation that Steven Chu is in fact the secretary of energy has begun to generate its own subgenre of news analysis. At the American Thinker, Thomas Lifson draws on the Post piece to conclude that Chu is being set up to take a fall for the president: 

Chu makes an excellent fall guy because he is a Nobel-certified brilliant scientist, a member of a minority group, and because he was the front man in the operation to shovel tax dollars into friendly hands. His fingerprints are prominwent [sic] on the corpse. 

Fox News agrees, with a story boldly headlined “Chu the Fall Guy for Solyndra?” 

But it turns out that story is just the original Politico piece with a new headline

Even White House spokesman Jay Carney has gotten into the act, responding to the Post’s scoop by saying the president has “full confidence” in Chu. 

So the actual news here boils down to: Steven Chu still has not said anything about Solyndra. 

The head of a cabinet-level department is too high-ranking to be a “fall guy” anyway. He may get in trouble for decisions he makes, and his boss the president may get in trouble too, but he is not a fall guy; he is the person in charge of the department. Nothing about Chu’s responsibility for the Solyndra loan has changed in the last 48 hours – but you’d have a better understanding of that fact if you had not been looking at the news than if you had. So maybe it’s a good thing that most Americans are paying no attention to Solyndra coverage. 

In the meantime, never forget that the gunsel is the fall guy, as explained in this pre-Bogart movie version of The Maltese Falcon

Also: David Boaz rounds up a month's worth of Solyndra headlines

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  • Tman||

    I've watched some of the hearings with DOE officials testifying about the loans and the restructuring and I'll be damned if I can figure out who is going to take the blame for this whole mess.

    You watch some tap dancing that would make Fred Astaire blush in these two videos as some Republicans question the two DOE bozos who is responsible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAEIBHS6K30&NR=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    I honestly think this story gets buried the way the White House wants it to, as Carney is already using the "hey, this is what happens in a dynamic marketplace sometimes" argument.

  • Binky||

    Now you know why Jonathan Silver gets paid the big bucks.

  • sevo||

    "but there will always be an element of risk when America seeks to win an intense global competition for the innovative, job creating technologies of the future."

    Translation:
    "It's not our money; we'll raise on an inside straight any time we please!"

  • Sudden||

    This administration would raise on a 4/10 off-suit when the board is showing nothing but paint.

  • sevo||

    Hey, when it's OPM, I'm all in!

  • Tman||

    "It's not our money; we'll raise on an inside straight any time we please!"


    Watch Pompeo say exactly that here-Congressman Mike Pompeo demostrates why the government can't pick winners and losers in the energy market.

  • sevo||

    Sorry, I couldn't get through more than a couple of minutes; I'd have punched a hole in my screen if I watched more.
    They simply admit they're willing to 'risk' taxpayer money, and don't have the decency to be embarrassed!
    I can understand why AP isn't picking this up, but why not the Journal? Sickening...

  • Tman||

    Pompeo destroys them though, which is refreshing.

  • ||

    He may get in trouble for decisions he makes, and his boss the president may get in trouble too, but he is not a fall guy; he is the person in charge of the department.

    Can you be your own fall guy?

  • No2RepublicanConJob||

    What Euro Crisis!
    Do you think everyone is brain dead like Republican lunatics are? Or we have no internet connection. For we can read that Euro is a MIGHTY, KINGLY, MANLY 35% more valuable than US Dollar.

    So if there was an ounce of real truth about "Euro debt crisis..." THEN US Dollar would have gained against the Euro, but instead it is Euro that is MUCH MORE VALUABLE than the US Dollar. Given the FACT that Euro since its introduction in year 2000 at 1 to 1 to US Dollar has GAINED a MIGHTY, repeat for Republican lunatics in US, has GAINED a MIGHTY 35% against the US Dollar.

    So How much longer does Euro have to be MUCH MORE VALUABLE than the US Dollar for Americans to realize that "Euro debt crisis..." is non-sense and that US is suffering from Republican lunatics, HOAX Democrats (ie Obama) and above all a right-wing (LYING) Media. As a result of which Europeans have fundamental advantages over US such as ALL Europeans having health care WHILE they spend HALF on health care. Or ALL Europeans can go to college for FREE, etc.

    More:
    http://www.realnewspost.com/sa.php?a=39732

  • rts||

    Someone else said it before me (can't remember who), but I agree 100%:

    Each new troll makes me miss the old.

  • ||

    I doubt you miss rectal.

  • ||

    I thought she was authentic.

  • ||

    Authentically insane and retarded, sure.

  • the truth||

    I miss her too

  • ||

    Smartphones are so cheap these days. The data plans, not so much.

  • Warty||

    I cry myself to sleep every night because the whore won't talk to me

  • ||

    Well I'll admit it was clear after the first night that our relationship wasn't going to work, but insane and retarded is going a bit too far.

  • Miss u too ;-)||

    If only you didn't lie on the questionnaire. "How receptive are you to anal sex on the first date?"

    How much can a fist hurt?

  • ||

    I'm not talking to you after you made fun of my piles.

  • Sudden||

    So what exactly is you exposure to Greek bonds? If you're so damned confident in this assessment, you should be buying that shit up like crazy.

    Of course, the reason that the Euro remains higher than the dollar right now is that Helicopter Ben has been printing like he owns HP, while the ECB has been a bit more gunshy about reliving the Weimar era.

    God you're fucking stupid. Don't try talking about economics when you don't understand a fucking thing.

  • sevo||

    "MIGHTY, KINGLY, MANLY...THEN US...MUCH MORE VALUABLE...GAINED...MIGHTY...GAINED...MIGHTY...MUCH MORE VALUABLE...HOAX...LYING...ALL...WHILE...HALF...ALL...FREE"

    Hmm, yes.
    Please don't send us more information on your organization.

  • HERCULEAN SAPIENT TOYOTATHON||

    EVEN I CANNOT TOP THIS.

  • PORSCHE AUDI NISSAN||

    NOUGHT TO SIXTY IN TWO POINT SEVEN SECONDS IS POSSIBLE, IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE [POWER] OF FRIENDSHIP

  • COMMANDER OF THE FAITHFUL||

    $$GRECIAN FORMULA 44 BONDS WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD$$

  • Thanks for the advice....||

    I'm putting my all my retirement $$ in Spanish bonds. Praying for Merkel to fuck over her Germans to pay for the Greeks.

  • ||

    I thought Lee Majors was the fall guy.

  • ||

    Heather Thomas > Heather Locklear. Way >.

    They're making a movie, of course, too.

  • ||

    What's next, a movie adaptation of Small Wonder?

  • ||

    That could be surreal. The original sure was. WTF were they thinking?

  • ||

    It was the 80s. They were probably on coke.

  • ||

    Coke doesn't do that. I'd vote for ether.

  • ||

    Ether doesn't last for four seasons.

  • Sudden||

    Which is exactly why I'm convinced it was copious amounts of peyote.

  • BakedPenguin||

    What did I tell you guys about peyote and ether?

  • PantsFan||

    What about the Alf motion picture?

  • ||

    I would go see that. The ultimate 80s TV show to movie would, of course, be Charles in Charge. No, wait, I'm being an idiot. It would be Manimal.

  • ||

    Alf, but totally dark, not a comedy.

  • PantsFan||

    ALF was a comedy? I saw it as Willy just hallucinating and his family enabling him.

  • ||

    I thought it turned out at the end that ALF was a dream of Bob Hartley's.

  • ||

    Only if ALF is re-done using CGI. Kids these days won't accept a movie with a mangy puppet.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Yeah, I could go for Alf with a Donnie Darko vibe.

  • Sudden||

    I've always felt Mr. Belvedere was dying for a remake.

  • ||

    Only if he sits on his balls again.

  • ||

    Q: What's the difference between a Hollywood scriptwriter and a monkey chained to a typewriter?

    A: The scriptwriter will re-hash Harry and the Hendersons faster.

  • Ted S.||

    Surely you're aware that the TV series was the remake? (And there were three films in the movie series.)

  • PantsFan||

  • PantsFan||

    What is "After M*A*S*H"?

  • ||

    You ever hear of an afterbirth? Same thing.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Still better than the Halloween special, "Monster M*A*S*H*".

  • PantsFan||

    Point Blank, which is on TMC right now, deserves a remake.

  • PantsFan||

    make that TCM

  • ||

    Or an unmake.

  • ||

    Dude!

    You just gave me my new favorite word, "unquel". Or maybe "dequel". It needs further development.

  • ||

    Sequit.

  • ||

    Better yet, sequell.

  • ||

    Colt's truck was an early 1980s GMC 4x4 pickup. It had a 6-inch lift and 35-inch Dick Cepek off-road tires mounted on a 16-inch chrome wagon style wheel. The truck also had a custom-made chrome roll bar mounted with 4 off-road lights, and a custom chrome grille guard mounted with 2 off-road lights and a Warn winch. One unusual characteristic was a secret compartment in the truck's bed, which was used to stash away villains or to hide weapons.

    The vehicle was painted brown and tan two-tone; it had an eagle painted on the hood with the phrase "Fall Guy Stuntman Association" underneath. The truck was very often involved in high-speed chases and huge jumps. As a result, it became very popular, especially with children, and numerous toy and model versions were produced.

    During the show's run, the stunts took their toll on the trucks (for example, one clip that appears in the opening credits clearly shows an axle breaking after a jump), so several different year model trucks are used during the show's initial run. As a result, there are some inconsistencies in the episodes. For instance, in the pilot episode the truck (a 1980 model) has two square headlights and a light tan interior. For the remainder of the series, it almost always had the quad headlight configuration of the 1981 and newer models, with a dark brown interior. The truck usually appeared to be a long bed model, but sometimes a short bed model was used. After destroying several trucks due to the huge jumps, a custom built jump truck was built as a solution. It had a reinforced frame and axles, and a mid-mounted engine. This greatly reduced the number of trucks scrapped during the show's production.

    At the end of the series, the remaining trucks were either auctioned or given away in a contest. One of them was sold on eBay in 2003.

  • Phlogistan||

    Omg! Facts!

  • ||

    ...the Secretary must give final approval – but only after extensive and rigorous analysis by teams of career federal employees and outside experts of the risks and benefits.

    In other words, Solyndra couldn't find a single loan officer at a private bank that would underwrite their loan--anywhere.

    And "teams of career federal employees" doing "extensive and rigorous analysis" are dumber--dumber than the dumbest loan officer Solyndra could find at a private bank anywhere.

    "Team of Career Federal Employees too Dumb to Work at Your Local Bank" That should have been the Post's headline.

  • ||

    "teams are career federal employees" are virtually powerless in the face of federal appointees and elected officials. Federal employees are smart enough to NOT risk jobs and pensions because someone in DC wants to spend the public's money.

  • ||

    Wait a second!

    "Teams of career federal employees" doing "extensive and rigorous analysis"--cannot be stopped!

    They're way smarter than bankers.

    The only reason they're in public service and not making the big bucks running Wall Street or venture capital firms?

    Is because they care about people!

    They're so competent--they couldn't finance their way out of a paper bag.

    Our receptionist could do a better job than these "teams of career federal employees". I mean, seriously?! He uses that term "teams of career federal employees"--like it's supposed to be impressive!

    Is there any other way to interpret what he said--other than trying to impress people by saying there were "teams of career federal employees" doing this?

    "Teams of career federal employees", what could be more impressive than that?!

    How 'bout the dumbest new hire loan officer at your local bank that refused to finance a highly speculative venture like this? That's more impressive--by far!

    If these "teams of career federal employees" who did this "extensive and rigorous analysis" were out of work and looking for a job at a local bank branch? I wouldn't hire them to review debit card applications.

  • Phlogistan||

    Thanks Tim, I had followed the circle jerk reporting yesterday wondering wtf. I couldn't find anything to sink my teeth into, just meandering logic trails.

  • Barack||

    Chu makes an excellent fall guy because he is a Nobel-certified brilliant scientist, a member of a minority group, and because he was the front man in the operation to shovel tax dollars into friendly hands....Hmm, that sounds familiar

  • Krugs||

    Don't tell no one.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    His fingerprints are prominwent [sic] on the corpse.

    "We're gonna be getting rid of these people here... First, Mr. Samir Naga... Naga... Naga... Not gonna work here anymore, anyway."

  • Max||

    So what? Ron Paul's still running for President, and nobody is asking him hard questions about his racist newsletters. All kinds of strange shit happens.

  • sevo||

    Don't you get tired of swallowing the same shit time after time?

  • ||

    Do you even have to ask?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Never mind that Paul did not write anything even remotely "racist" for those newsletters...

  • ||

    He lent his name out to those who did (and was paid quite nicely for it).

    It's like letting someone else borrow your car (for a fee) which they then use as a getaway car for a bank robbery. When eyewitnesses identify your plates...you're in for some tough questioning at the very least.

  • Tluppa and Maxx||

    Would maybe want the car rental agency to spend time in the hoosegow for that.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Jesus, Tulpa... Max has been flogging that insignificant bullshit for years now. Why help him toss logs on a fire that doesn't need to burn in the first place?

  • ||

    So many people's belief in the power of government to innovate and effect prosperity by skull-fucking one person and giving his shit to another really is otherworldly in its stupidity.

    A private bank wouldn't have taken a shit on Solyndra's front lawn, and the federal fucking government showers it with money? This is beyond retarded -- it's in the realm beyond retardation, that special place where Tony and Max and the world's largest collection of Mao's Little Red Book reside.

  • Sandi the Loan Officer||

    A private bank wouldn't have taken a shit on Solyndra's front lawn,

    Yes, yes I would.

  • BigT||

    Banks rarely fund high risk tech dev, but VC's also turned Solyndra down. That's telling.

  • ||

    Well, obviously if venture capitalists aren't smart enough to figure out who to fund--that's when the "teams of career federal employees" need to step in! To do their "extensive and rigorous analysis"!

    Ha!

    These are the same people who are running our healthcare system?! They couldn't run a friggin' hot dog stand.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'm in no way qualified to make loans to anyone, but I'm still qualified to take a shit on Solyndra's lawn.

  • by-law officer||

    I'm going to need to see your permit

  • sevo||

    "Even White House spokesman Jay Carney has gotten into the act, responding to the Post’s scoop by saying the president has “full confidence” in Chu."

    Hmmmm.
    Nixon, John Dean.....
    Rings bells.

  • Bob||

    Gunsel means something else...

  • Trespassers W||

    I know. That joke never gets old.

  • Bob||

    So Chu is gay and has a thing for fat older guys? :confused:

  • You're not saying??||

    that Jay Carney is gonna take the fall?

  • WWNGD?||

    "I’ve said it before but I just can’t learn my own lesson: You have to work in the news to understand how stupid the news is."

    ... working in news I realized that news is just entertainment to sell advertising.

  • Sacre Bleu||

    You americans are all such consumerists even your news programs are not immune.
    In the more civilized parts of the world, the news is not funded by adverts.
    The BBC news has no adverts.
    The CBC Radio in Canada has no adverts.
    Al Jazeera only advertises Qantas.
    No wonder CNN is a joke.

  • WWNGD?||

    But when the state is in charge of the news, the state decides what the citizens need to know.

  • Sacre Bleu||

    and when Burger King is in charge of the news, Americans become fat.

  • sevo||

    Fat's far preferable to STUPID.

  • Sacre Bleu||

    Yet most Americans are both

  • sevo||

    "Yet most Americans are both"

    We're trying, praise Obama, but we don't yet match the STUPID of Euros.
    Please tell us of those who started the two most devastating wars in history. No, don't bother; it was the STUPID Euros.
    Please tell us who originated the most horrible economic system in the history of mankind, causing the deaths of hundreds of millions. No, don't bother; it was the STUPID Euros.
    Please tell us of the sleazy folks who demand defense from others and then gripe that they're getting it. No, don't bother; it's the STUPID Euros.
    This is not to say every Euro is STUPID; Von Mises, Hayek and Schumpeter started there, along with, oh, Von Neuman, Fermi, Ulam and others, and they all had the sense to leave STUPID Euro.
    I have a hint for you, STUPID Euro: We fought to get rid of your STUPIDITY and most of us are pleased we did.
    Go suck your own cock; you deserve it.

  • Sacre Bleu||

  • sevo||

    Oh, how STOOOOPID!
    You WIN! How much more STUPID could you be than to offer that as 'evidence'?
    Try digging deeper; I'm sure you can lower the bar further.

  • Sacre Bleu||

    Any country that elected Bush 2 times is stupid.

  • Double D||

    When you can win anything on your own and don't live among people who riot for the right to not be fired for inferior work, then you can talk about other people.

  • sevo||

    Oh, and Mr. STUPID, I see you had a hard time answering the questions. Is that a result of STUPIDITY?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Well, dig this... a French guy, considering himself to be superior to Americans.

    What ARE the odds.

  • WWNGD?||

    His state run media told him he was better so he must be.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    A snooty French guy? Way to not play into the stereotype.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    When it's true, it's not just a stereotype.

  • You're not saying??||

    That Qantas runs Al Jazeera?

    Ah, the good old days when the Kremlin published all the truth for the masses. Are they back?

  • Jay Carney||

    Let me say this about that...

  • D Letterman, ESQ||

    That Chris Christie is so fat, he can't stop eating.
    And Rick Perry executed people.

  • Barack "The Assassin" Obama||

    Take that, you soft pansies!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Make up your mind, liberals:

    Making fun of fat people is insensitive... or it isn't.

  • Ted S.||

    It's so nice to see a reference to Ricardo Cortez.

    BTW: Ricardo Cortez is in no way Hispanic; he was born with the name Josepf Krantz in New York. (The studio claimed he was born in Vienna.)

  • ||

    Obama's great talent is for endlessly betraying his sycophants.

    The list grows of people thrown to the wolves to protect The One.

  • ||

    Chu not responsible for Solyndra.

    Check.

    But remember, a Cheney underling WAS responsible for "outing" Valerie Plame.

    I honestly don't know how progs sleep at night.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Richard Armiatage is STILL not in prison. Go figure.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Cavanaugh, the Liebling article was cut off for the last three pages. Care to sum up?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Note: I sent TC an email about this (without the sum up request), and he replied, reminiscing about the olden days when you had to go to used book stores to find books that might be missing pages.

    Unfortunately, I remember those days as well... You win THIS round, Cavanaugh!

  • Old Mexican||

    So the actual news here boils down to: Steven Chu still has not said anything about Solyndra.


    It's difficult for him to open his mouth after he shitted his pants...

  • sevo||

    Chu:
    "The United States faces a choice, he said, to sit on the sidelines or try to win the "clean energy race" with China, Germany and other countries."
    So, you see, it's a competition for who can throw money down rat holes.
    And WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE!
    That's according to the chief rat-hole-filler.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....925D94.DTL

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