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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

60 Minutes took on the “Cleantech Crash” on Sunday night with a piece that surmised, “Despite billions invested by the U.S. government in so-called ‘Cleantech’ energy, Washington and Silicon Valley have little to show for it.”

SiliconBeat‘s Dana Hull was baffled by the story.

“First, there was absolutely no mention of climate change. None,” she wrote. “That’s the whole point of cleantech, after all: using the promise of technology and innovation to try to wean our economy off of fossil fuels.”

Instead, the focus was on retreads of arguments against the stimulus.

Lesley Stahl confronted a Department of Energy official with one of Mitt Romney’s favorite talking points: “Solyndra went through half a billion dollars before it failed. Then I’m going to give you a list of other failures. Abound Energy. Beacon Power. Fisker. VPG. Pfff…I’m exhausted.”

She’s not only exhausted; she’s exhausted most of the failures from that list. The clean-energy loans from the stimulus had a remarkable 97 percent success rate.

But even that fact misses the larger point, says Michael Grunwald, the author of the definitive book on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act The New New Deal and one of the first people to point out the DoE’s 97 percent success rate, which quickly became a quotable meme during the 2012 campaign:

As I explain in the book, just about everything Republicans have said about Solyndra is bullshit. But I do regret that the 97 percent meme has become such a big thing. For starters, more companies are going to fail. That’s what happens in a capitalist economy. And then critics are going to say, oh, look, now it’s only 91 percent, or 82 percent, or 74 percent. But the point of the program wasn’t cradle-to-grave assurance of success for all these companies; it was a jump-start, with the hope that some of these companies will change the world. And they are.

Grunwald offered his critique of the 60 Minutes story via Twitter. And he concluded that as bad as the segment was, it’s ultimately a sign that the fossil-fuel industry is now taking the booming clean-energy sector very seriously because it’s increasingly actually a viable threat to their bottom line. He also believes, of course, that Lesley Stahl should have read his book.






Screenshot: 60 Minutes

Donald Trump Jr.

Screenshot from Twitter

You've probably heard about Donald Trump's claim that his Democratic rival got "a big fat se onhot in the ass" before delivering a nearly perfect performance on a recently televised town hall. Or his more recent demand that Joe Biden get a "drug test" before their debate on Tuesday night. Having spent months lowering expectations for Biden, the Trumps are now busily defaming him as a junkie.

But that particular slur backfired spectacularly over the weekend when the Trump campaign posted a bizarre video of Don Jr. -- seemingly in a condition that called for rehab services. As his father might put it, "many people are saying" that the presidential spud looked and sounded like someone abusing a controlled substance. (His slurred message was disturbed too, something about an "army of able-bodied men and women" to intimidate voters).

It's both funny and sad to watch Don Jr. decompensate on Twitter. (More funny, though.)

Click and judge his condition for yourself.