Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Known as a murmuration of starlings, it is an annual event in Gretna in the Scottish borders and it is a signal that winter is on its way. Traditionally it was eloping lovers who'd flock to Gretna Green, looking for a quick wedding, but these airborne visitors come in their millions to take part in their own dazzling ritual.
One shows a group of children innocently playing chalk games in the street, one sees lightning fly across the sky above the recently-built Empire State Building and in another a shoemaker is smiling while eating his packed lunch. Huge numbers of sheets and other laundry items are seen criss-crossing the gap between tenements, two men are photographed sitting by a relief in the Union Square park and the Brooklyn Bridge can be seen with a grey sky overhead.
The bill, S. 1778, would amend the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to allow diapers and related supplies to be bought with grant money provided to states. Under current law, the money is meant to subsidize child-care services to parents who are entering the labor force or are in job training and education programs. It also helps subsidize child-care services for certain eligible families.
Eric Wesoff of Green Technology reports that Solyndra’s top executives awarded themselves substantial bonuses — on top of their already lavish salaries — just months before the solar company declared bankruptcy in early September 2011. Upon reviewing Solyndra’s 277-page bankruptcy document, Wesoff found the following:
• Karen Alter, senior vice president of marketing, received two $55,000 bonuses on April 15 and July 8 of this year, on top of her $250,000 annual salary.
• Ben Bierman, executive vice president of operations and engineering, received $120,000 in bonuses this year on top of his $276,000 salary.
• Paula Camporaso, vice president of information technology — $80,000 in bonuses on top of her $107,000 salary.
• Dave Sanat, vice president of supply chain — $80,000 in bonuses on top of his $111,000 salary.
• Bill Stover, the company’s CFO who took the fifth before Congress at a September hearing, was awarded at least $120,000 in bonuses on top of his $367,000 salary.
The document also reveals that Chris Gronet, one of Solyndra’s founders, was “transitioned to the role of adviser and consultant” from his position as CEO on July 1, 2011, and negotiated a severance package worth more than $450,000.
Fortunately for them, they’ll all get to keep their money. American taxpayers, on the other hand, will have to hope that Solyndra’s remaining assets yield more than $75 million — the amount to which private investors were given priority as part of the company’s loan-restructuring agreement negotiated by the Energy Department — or else we’ll be out $530 million.
The asteroid, dubbed 2005 YU55, will come within 202,000 miles of Earth, closer than the moon, before zipping farther into space. Carbon-colored and dark, the asteroid measures some 1,300 feet wide. It will be the closest visit by a space rock this size in more than three decades.
"This is not a potentially hazardous asteroid, just a good opportunity to study one," National Science Foundation astronomer Thomas Statler says. NASA and the NSF plan a series of radar telescope and other observations starting Friday, aimed at mapping the asteroid's surface and chemistry.
In releasing their projections for how the economy will perform in the years ahead, the 17 top officials of the central bank project that the jobless rate, 9.1 percent in September, will fall only to 8.5 to 8.7 percent by the final months of 2012. In June, the last time they released projections, they thought the unemployment rate would descend to around 8 percent.
Food stamp rolls have risen 8.1% in the past year, the Department of Agriculture reported, though the pace of growth has slowed from the depths of the recession.
A senior US State Department official said there was growing concern among Obama administration officials ahead of an IAEA report set to be published in November indicating considerable progress in Tehran's development of its military nuclear program.
The US is concerned that the report may trigger Israeli actions against the Islamic Republic which may not necessarily be in line with US interests in the region.