AP: FCC’s LightSquared Decisions Could Ruin GPS

The Associated Press today reinforces questions raised by NLPC about a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to allow a company called LightSquared to deploy a national wireless network. NLPC has alleged that political influence played a role in FCC decisions favorable to LightSquared.

According to AP Technology Writer Joelle Tessler:

A new, ultra-fast wireless Internet network is threatening to overpower GPS signals across the U.S. and interfere with everything from airplanes to police cars to consumer navigation devices.

The problem stems from a recent government decision to let a Virginia company called LightSquared build a nationwide broadband network using airwaves next to those used for GPS. Manufacturers of GPS equipment warn that strong signals from the planned network could jam existing navigation systems.

On February 2, NLPC asked the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate the circumstances surrounding the FCC’s approval of an acquisition of a company … Read More ➡

SEC Must Investigate Berkshire Hathaway’s Sokol for Lubrizol Trades

The attempts to explain away David Sokol’s personal trading in Lubrizol shares just before Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition are strange. The SEC needs to investigate.

It doesn’t matter when and what Sokol told Warren Buffet. Sokol was working for Berkshire Hathaway at the time he was interacting with Lubrizol and trading its shares. Sokol’s defense that he did not have ultimate control on approving the acquisition deal is about as lame as it gets. And we are supposed to believe that his resignation is unconnected to these events?

Sokol didn’t buy Lubrizol stock after reading about the company in the newspaper. He actually met with the Lubrizol CEO James Hambrick. I doubt the discussions centered on Sokol’s personal portfolio.

This morning, Sokol said that if he had to do it again, he would have still bought the stock, but would not have proposed it to Buffett as an acquisition target. So … Read More ➡

SEC Says Wal-Mart Can’t Nix NLPC Shareholder Proposal on Global Warming

Mike Duke photoThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has notified Wal-Mart that it will not allow the company to exclude from consideration our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on the business risks of climate change. Our supporting statement criticizes the company’s support for unpopular measures like Cap & Trade, and for forcing its controversial political positions on its suppliers.

On January 28, Wal-Mart challenged the proposal to prevent its inclusion in the proxy and a vote by shareholders. By doing so, Wal-Mart continues its policy of hostility toward those of us who advocate for its right to pursue its business model, while at the same time embracing and bankrolling anti-business activists.

This process began under former CEO H. Lee Scott and has accelerated under current CEO Mike Duke (in photo).  Wal-Mart’s shift to the Left was first detailed in our 2008 Special Report titled Wal-Mart Embraces Controversial Causes: Bid to Read More ➡

Horowitz Blasts NFL’s Rooney Rule on VOA

Dr. Carl Horowitz, director of NLPC’s Organized Labor Accountability Project, offers his views on the NFL’s Rooney Rule in this report today by the Voice of America reporter Tala Hadavi:

The United States is known for being the land of equal opportunity. But that does not mean Americans don’t sometimes have to fight to get that opportunity. Here’s the story about one man who has made his mark helping to fight that battle.

Cyrus Mehri is one of the most influential – and perhaps feared – civil rights lawyers in America. In 2001, he settled one of the largest civil rights cases in the history of the United States – against The Coca-Cola Company for 192.5 Million dollars. Discrimination is a topic close to this Iranian American’s heart.

“I grew up in a family that when they came to the United States, they loved this country but they also saw … Read More ➡

Is Salazar Lowballing Gulf Drilling Applications?

Ken Salazar photoTwo weeks ago, we asked whether Interior Secretary Ken Salazar considered himself above the law by ignoring court orders to resume the permitting process for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Now we learn that Salazar may have misled Congress and the public on the number of drilling permit applications he is ignoring.

Yesterday, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) accused Salazar, along with Michael Bromwich, the director of the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, of using bogus figures. During Congressional testimony on March 2, and on other occasions, Salazar and Bromwich used much lower figures than those cited in a filing last week in the Justice Department’s appeal of the court order to begin issuing permits.

In a letter to Salazar and Bromwich, Vitter wrote:

Over the last several weeks and months, you have indicated publicly, before Congress, and privately to members, including myself, that

Read More ➡

Ex-Car Czar Acknowledges GM Problems


Appearing today on CNBC, Steven Rattner, the former head of President Obama’s auto task force, made some surprising observations that undermine his previously articulated optimism about the future of bailed-out General Motors. Although he cleverly tried to lump Ford in with GM, he acknowledged GM’s recent reliance on incentives to sell autos:

And you now have in the marketplace a fear that GM is pushing the incentives a little too much in January and February. And nobody wants to go back to the old ways of doing business.

The only problem is that GM has done exactly that by offering 0%, 72-month loans on some models. As I detailed last week, GM much-ballyhooed sales increases were goosed by the most generous incentive offers in the industry, some $3,700 per car sold.

Rattner also addressed the resignation of GM’s CFO Chris Liddell last week:

…you have this change in CFO at

Read More ➡

Boehm Takes Aim at Legal Services Corporation in National Law Journal Interview

Boehm testifyingFrom today’s National Law Journal by Tony Mauro:

Kenneth Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center in Falls Church, Va., was once a senior official of the Legal Services Corp., serving as counsel to its board of directors from 1991 to 1994.

Since then, Boehm has been one of the LSC’s most persistent critics, urging reform and even elimination of the agency. Last year he testified before the House Judiciary Committee, asking members to reject a bill that would have, in his view, eliminated many of the beneficial reforms Congress enacted in 1996. He warned that if the bill passed, “once again Legal Services will be known as a federal program plagued with unaccountability and controversy.” The bill died.

Earlier this month Boehm spoke with the The National Law Journal to discuss LSC and proposals to cut its budget.

Q: What is your current assessment of the Legal Read More ➡

Rangel Claims United States is ‘Not Broke’

Pete Kasperowicz of The Hill reported yesterday:

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) on Wednesday said the federal government is not broke, and that Congress should not begin cutting programs in the way that Republicans have proposed.

“Make no mistake about it, we’re not broke,” Rangel said in a floor discussion with Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) “It wasn’t that we overcompensated public employees. They didn’t cause this deficit.”

Of course, if you really believe that the country is not broke in the face of a $14 Trillion national debt, and a deficit of $1.3 Trillion this year alone, you probably don’t believe that you have to pay taxes, either. Maybe that explains why Rangel was so indignant when we forced him to admit that he failed to disclose or report rental income from his Dominican Republic beach house.

The financial crisis of 2008 shook the confidence of middle-class taxpayers in their … Read More ➡

Consumers Reject Chevy Volt

Part 4: GM by the Numbers

Last week, the Volt, GM’s signature hybrid vehicle, turned in a lackluster performance in its first series of road tests by Consumer Reports.  CR told Reuters on Monday that “when you look at the finances, [the Volt] doesn’t make any sense.”  The publication went on to note that the Volt was “not particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and not particularly good as a gas vehicle… This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer.”

GM and the Feds are betting the farm – and their credibility – on the Volt.  As Truth About Cars editor Edward Niedermeyer wrote last year in the New York Times, the history of the Volt was never about making a “best in class” green vehicle, it was always about making the bailout look palatable – whatever the cost.  And according to Niedermeyer, it’s … Read More ➡

GM Gooses Sales With Incentives

Part 3: GM by the Numbersincentive chart

Famed investor Warren Buffett once said, “If you have to have a prayer session before raising prices by ten percent, then you’ve got a terrible business.” So, what does it mean if your business is slashing prices month over month through discounts and other incentives? Take a look at this graph.

From GM’s IPO last November through February, the incentives and discounts the company is offering to consumers have increased from 29.8% above the industry average to more than 50% above industry average according to Edmunds.com.

What this means is simple: Yes, GM can crow about its 46% sales surge in February, as it did last week.  But what they aren’t telling you is they are offering discounts and incentives 50% higher than the industry average helping to inflate their numbers, and that these discounts have grown by leaps and bounds every month … Read More ➡

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