ATLAS SHRUGS: Hostess Shutters Operations; Closes Denver Plant

The Hostess company today announced that it would stop operations – meaning it will close plants, lay off its 18,500 employees, and sell off its brand.  Among the plants it plans to close is one in Adams County, which could close as early as Tuesday, according to an article in the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

The company cited a recent strike as the reason it would have to cease operations.  Thousands of union members went on strike last week after rejecting in September a contract offer that cut wages and benefits. While Hostess agreed upon a contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union was still in negotiations with Hostess.

The CEO of Hostess, Gregory Rayburn, told ABC News:

“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike.  Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

The company had asked that striking employees return to work last night, but, apparently, not enough returned to enable the company to return to production. This is just another example of how union bosses with fat paychecks don’t represent the interests of their members.  We’d bet the reduced wages for employees that the unions haggled over now look appealing compared to no wages the employees face.


COULDA SEEN THIS COMING: Stryker Corps To Lay Off Employees Over Obamacare Tax

Who couldn’t see this coming? A company that built the wealth inherited by one of the biggest Democrat donors in the country is now laying off 5% of its staff because of the Obamacare Medical Device Excise Tax. 

The fortune of Pat Stryker — Colorado Democrats’ personal sugar momma – comes from the Stryker Corporation, a company started by her grandfather that specializes in medical equipment. Stryker has used that money to spend millions propping up liberal attack groups and make extensive donations to Democrats.

Now that political advocacy is wreaking havoc on the company that created her fortune.

Reports Michigan Live:

KALAMAZOO — Stryker Corp.'s plans to layoff about 5 percent of its worldwide staff to cut costs — a move announced by the medical products company last Thursday — have some worried about the spin-off effect it may have in the community.

…Stryker Chairman, President and CEO Stephen P. MacMillan said the decision was a result of “a challenging economic environment and a market slowdown in elective medical procedures,” as well as the need to prepare for the new tax.

The company said that it will look to cut its 20,036-person worldwide staff before the end of 2012 and restructure some of its operations in order to wring out about $100 million in pre-tax operating costs savings. It said it expects the Medical Device Excise Tax, which requires the makers of various medical devices to pay 2.3 percent of their gross U.S. revenues on such products beginning in 2013, to cost it about $150 million.

If Stryker does an across-the-board cut of its 2,250-person Kalamazoo-area workforce, about 112 local workers would lose their jobs. About 1,002 of its worldwide workforce would be cut. [Peak emphasis]

As the Boulder County Business Report detailed in May, the 2.3% Obamacare Medical Device Tax is weighing heavily on Colorado businesses that deal in medical equipment. Coming amid a stagnant economy — unemployment rose in Colorado in April and May — it couldn't be a less welcome change to struggling companies.  

It's also not the only tax about to take effect. As we recounted last week, Obamacare is riddled with tax increases — there's something in there for everyone to hate, at all income levels. 

It's unfortunate that Pat Stryker's political advocacy is killing jobs for hard working employees who weren't lucky enough to inherit a 10 figure fortune. And those on the left wonder why we denigrate limousine liberals…


THE MISSING MEDIA: On The Abound Solar Meltdown Mainstream Press Has Been Conspicuously Absent

Governor Hickenlooper make another sexualized slip of the tongue? Get a reporter on it. A green energy company backed by Colorado Democrats' personal sugar momma lays off 70% of its staff after getting nearly half a billion in tax dollars? Let the bloggers handle it.

The press coverage of current events in Colorado this past week should make the Colorado press corps embarrassed to attend their next J-school reunion. While they've been suckered into covering stray tweets about sex and a Governor who's glad to expound on the sexual prowess and proclivities of his fellow elected officials, it's been left to the blogosphere to cover the big story of the week. You know, the one with actual implications for the livelihood and personal finances of Coloradans. 

In today's Denver Post, there is not one, but two articles about flash in the pan controversies that for all of the sound and fury surrounding them, signify nothing to the real lives of Coloradans. 

Yet, when a potentially massive pay-to-play scandal unfolds right before the media's eyes, they ignore it. 

To be fair, they'll probably get a lot more clicks on the sex stories. With the recent Project for Excellence In Journalism study showing that for every dollar newspapers are gaining in digital ads, they are losing $7 in print ads, we can understand their need for the clicks.

But isn't there something called the public interest that should matter to the media too?

While the Colorado press has unbelievably broken not a single story on the massive meltdown at Abound Solar, bloggers are picking up the slack (h/t Michelle Malkin).

Todd Shepherd at Complete Colorado broke the story that Abound had a previously unreported shutdown late last year and was telling their employees that everything was A-OK only weeks before 70% of them lost their jobs. He was also the first to draw the pay-to-play connections in the Abound loan, 18 months ago!

Meanwhile, Amy Oliver of the Independence Institute, uncovered that Weld County saw the writing on the wall and cut off Abound's tax credits in December. She also was the first to report in Colorado on the Sunlight Foundation's find that a "Pat Stryker" shows up in the White House visitor logs only months before the Abound Solar loan boondoggle was approved. 

Michael Sandoval, of Peoples Press Collective and The Colorado Observer, has also added original reporting, noting that Stryker gave more to Obama's inaugural than the national media is reporting, bundling $87,500 in addition to her $50,000 donation.

We know that newsroom budgets are down drastically, but is the mainstream press in Colorado okay with ceding a huge national story to the blogosphere?

We thought bloggers were supposed to cover the sex stories and the "real journalists" were supposed to do the investigative reporting.

Maybe it's time the Colorado Press Association give up their Legislative floor access to the folks doing the real reporting. 

They say it's Republicans who fixate on bedroom issues. Even the most puritanical conservative couldn't hold a candle to the mainstream media these days.

Image: renjith krishnan /


A HISTORY OF GOVERNMENT GRAFT? Abound Solar Isn’t First Stryker Tied Corporation To Be Investigated

When news broke last week that liberal heiress and left wing funder of Colorado Democrats, Pat Stryker, may be implicated in the Abound Solar government boondoggle, a number of our readers sent along a juicy tidbit: this wouldn't be the first time that a corporation tied to Stryker has been accused of stealing from the public trough.  

In 2007, the Stryker Corporation, the company founded by Pat Stryker's grandfather and the source of much of her personal wealth, paid $16.6 million to settle Medicare fraud allegations.

Former Colorado GOP Chair Dick Wadhams referenced the fraud allegations in 2008, telling The Denver Post:  

"When Democrats talk about corporate greed, what could be more greedy than ripping off the federal program that takes care of the poor and the elderly? What could be a better example of corporate greed than the Stryker Corp. being convicted of Medicare fraud in South Dakota."

Making matters worse for Stryker in the Abound boondoggle are the pay-to-play allegations regarding $400 million government loan to Abound Solar which was approved by the Obama administration's Energy Department.

The Sunlight Foundation found that there is a "Pat Stryker" listed in the White House visitor logs in October 2009, though the White House refused to confirm details of the meeting or if it was the Pat Stryker in question.

Obama announced the $400 million loan to Abound Solar in July 2010.

Stryker denied any involvement in the alleged Medicare fraud through the Stryker Corporation, saying through a spokesman that she had no involvement in the daily management of the company.

But Stryker has yet to weigh in on her involvement with Abound Solar and the $400 million government loan it got from an administration she has donated heavily to.

As Peter Schweizer has reported, 16 of the 20 billion dollars loaned by the Energy Department has gone to companies owned or operated by Obama donors. 

Pat Stryker: Did you have a role in getting the Obama administration to approve the Abound Solar loan?

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