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Singing Robots of Solyndra

Have you been wondering what Solyndra did with the $535 million you were compelled to give them by the Obama Administration?  It seems that a lot of the money went into their Silicon Valley factory.  And what a factory it was!  Bloomberg News sets the stage for us:

It wasn’t just any factory. When it was completed at an estimated cost of $733 million, including proceeds from a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, it covered 300,000 square feet, the equivalent of five football fields. It had robots that whistled Disney tunes, spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the water temperature, and glass-walled conference rooms.

“The new building is like the Taj Mahal,” John Pierce, 54, a San Jose resident who worked as a facilities manager at Solyndra, said in an interview.

[…] The plant features 19 loading docks, four electric car charging stations in the parking lot and landscaping of wild grass and a rock garden. An automated rail system moved parts through the assembly process.

Robots that resembled “a big freezer with wheels” maneuvered around the factory transporting panels from one machine to another, said George Garma, 49, a former Solyndra equipment maintenance technician from Fremont. The Disney tunes alerted workers to the robots’ presence.

“It was first class,” David Chan, 51, who was an information-technology contractor for Solyndra, said in an interview. “I’ve been in the business for 25 years and have seen some elaborate buildings. I’ve never seen a facility like it.”

Wow!  It would have been wonderful to work there, passing the time with a friendly band of singing robots while the company made $6 solar panels and sold them for $3 to a dwindling customer base.  I wonder if they had a wet bar in the storage area where the unsold pallets of federally-subsidized green jobs fuel were stacking up.

Alas, the liquid crystal shower temperature displays have all gone dark, and the lobbyists Solyndra spent $1.9 million to unleash upon Washington no longer meet in the glass-walled conference rooms, plotting their next wacky scheme to swipe pick-a-nick baskets from the taxpayer tourists, while Ranger Smith is distracted by House Oversight hearings on the wave of guns passing through Jellystone Park en route to Mexican drug cartels.

The building, designed to make far more solar panels than Solyndra got orders for, is now shuttered, and U.S. taxpayers may be stuck with it. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6, leaving in its wake investigations by Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a Republican-fueled political embarrassment for the Obama administration, which issued the loan guarantee. About 1,100 workers lost their jobs.

Amid the still-unfolding postmortems, the factory stands as emblematic of money misspent and the “Field of Dreams” ethos that seemed to drive the venture, said Ramesh Misra, a solar-industry analyst in Los Angeles for Brigantine Advisors.

 I love the scene in Field of Dreams where Ray’s six-figure donations to the Democrat Party lead to massive federal subsidies for his mystical baseball field.  “If we subsidize it, they will come!”

The Solyndra stone wall cracked a little this week, as we learned that Obama was explicitly warned by high-ranking members of his Administration, including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, that the “green energy” boondoggle was going off the rails.  The President plowed ahead, even as Energy Department staff warned of dire financial problems at the company.  Now you can see why.  Who wouldn’t be eager to see the dream of this fairy-tale super-factory brought to life, even if everyone involved knew that nobody would buy the junk it produced? 

Since we already bought and paid for them, I hope some of the singing Solyndra robots end up gainfully employed at the Obama Presidential Library.  In fact, I think we might just have the perfect location for that library in Silicon Valley.  With a little retooling, it can become an exciting theme park of corruption and failure.

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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