Apple CEO Tim Cook Contradicts Himself with Lisa Jackson Hire

Tim Cook photoAfter last week’s announcement that Apple would hire former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to handle environmental issues, a series of videos released  last week by Duke University were amusingly timed.

The six clips featured interviews with CEO Tim Cook, who succeeded the late, popular Steve Jobs, and were released by his alma mater’s Fuqua School of Business, where he earned his MBA. Cook had returned for a class reunion in April and while there Duke recorded discussions about topics such as inspiration, career planning, intuition, and other aspects of business management.

But comments he made in excerpts about ethical leadership and collaboration, in light of Jackson’s new employment, were guffaw-worthy. As NLPC outlined on Monday, Jackson fled EPA after undergoing harsh scrutiny about the agency’s – and her personal – practices of evading transparency. Under that cloak she conducted a highly political and destructive implementation of President Read More ➡

Did IRS Target Homebuilders on Behalf of Laborers Union?

Ray LaHood photoIn the fall of 2011 the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) submitted Freedom of Information requests to the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service following an announcement that the administration was investigating homebuilders in an attempt to bolster union membership at the expense of housing sector jobs.

To read article by John Ransom at Townhall.com, click here.

 … Read More ➡

Why Does Apple Want Lisa Jackson and Her Ethical Cloud?

Lisa Jackson phptpApple’s hiring of former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson last week gives her a soft landing place, after she fled her cabinet role spurred by a flurry of evasions and deceits over alias email accounts she and her underlings used to hide correspondence from the public. Her would-be successor, Gina McCarthy, seeks to be confirmed under the same cloud.

It’s unclear why Apple would want or need Jackson, as its (faux) environmentalist credibility is already well established, and the Mac maker already boasts the top figurehead of eco-figureheads on its board of directors, Al Gore.

That’s not to say the evasive, deceptive Jackson isn’t a fit for Apple, a company with a reputation for falsely claiming “green”-friendly policies when the truth shows otherwise. Also like Jackson, the Cupertino, Calif. clan isn’t shy about piling on sky-high costs for the massive amounts of electricity it needs for services like iCloud … Read More ➡

EPA Regulations Responsible for Eco-Boost Engine Problems

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica was interviewed on the Willis Report on May 28, 2013. Here’s a transcript:

Gerri Willis: Federal government finally, finally revving up an investigation into the Ford F150 pickup trucks with Eco-Boost engines. Now if you watch this show you would have known this was coming because earlier this month we reported consumer complaints about Eco-Boost engines. They shake or lose power during acceleration. That is a complaint. But little has been done about it from Ford or the federal government, for that matter. With more on this Mark Modica associate fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center. Mark, welcome to the show. You know, we’ve talking about this for a long time. Why is the federal government been so slow to act?

Mark Modica: Hi, Gerri. Well, I don’t know. There have been about a hundred complaints. As you said, the vehicles … Read More ➡

Obama Extends HAMP Mortgage Plan Despite Data Showing Lack of Effectiveness, Need

mortgage-modification-formThe housing market has been on a roll this past year. Prices are rising; vacancy rates are falling; and homeowners are spending small fortunes on upgrading properties. In this context, a White House initiative, the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, launched in 2009 to reduce mortgage payments for millions of owners at risk of foreclosure, appears downright irrelevant. But Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced this morning that his boss will extend the program for two years beyond its scheduled December 31, 2013 expiration date for new applicants. In April, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) released a quarterly report (see pdf) concluding HAMP is rife with delays and alarming default rates. “This is a significant problem,” noted Inspector General Christy Romero. “When homeowners fall out of these modifications, all of a sudden they’re facing huge mortgage payments.” … Read More ➡

Dreamliner Flies, But Doubts Persist About Boeing’s Batteries

Now that Boeing has placed most of its 787s back into service, including those in United Airlines’ fleet, executives with both corporations are putting a happy face on the expensive hardship that was caused by the four-month grounding of the planes due to fire hazard risks.

United reinstated the so-called Dreamliners on May 20, when United CEO Jeff Smisek and Boeing CEO Jim McNerney hopped a flight from Houston to Chicago to show the troubles with the plane’s lithium ion batteries were behind them.

“I’ll tell you, Jim,” said Smisek, as recounted by the Associated Press, “it was a fairly expensive piece of sculpture to have on the ground, so we’re really delighted to have it up and flying.”

That’s not to say the Dreamliners are fixed. As NLPC reported last month, Boeing’s engineers don’t know what caused the fires in the first place, thus they can’t be … Read More ➡

Obama’s Electric Vehicle Loans Program is a Failure

Fisker logoMark it down: the report this month about the shutdown of Vehicle Production Group – beneficiary of a $50-million stimulus loan from the Department of Energy – means the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing initiative within the Loan Program Office has been a thorough failure.

All five ATVM recipients, awarded a total of $8.4 billion of taxpayer-backed financing under the Recovery Act, have earned derision to some degree. Most fit into the already much-ridiculed electric vehicles program. VPG was funded to produce wheelchair-accessible passenger vehicles that ran on compressed natural gas.

The recipients range from the start-ups (Fisker Automotive, Tesla and VPG) to the established (Ford Motor Company and Nissan). The highest-profile flop, by far, has been Fisker, with its single $102,000-plus electric model built for wealthy California elites that couldn’t muster a stronger review from Consumer Reports than “the fourth-worst luxury sedan” on the market, … Read More ➡

Were Republicans Targeted in GM and Chrysler Dealership Closures?

Chevrolet dealership photoThe IRS scandal that revealed targeting of conservative groups by the Treasury Department has reopened speculation that the Obama-orchestrated auto bailouts unfairly targeted Republican-leaning dealerships for closure. Republican Congressmen Mike Kelly (PA) and Jim Renacci (OH) have penned a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requesting documentation so that an investigation can determine what criteria was used to shutter dealers that appear to have had one thing in common: their political affiliations.

The outrageous behavior of the IRS in targeting non-profit organizations with conservative roots, like the Tea Party, for extra scrutiny came at around the same time that General Motors and Chrysler were being guided through bankruptcy processes by the Treasury Department. Obama’s Auto Task Force required that GM and Chrysler close about 2,000 dealerships as part of the restructuring. This job-killing decision came at the same time that the Administration boasted about all the jobs that would be … Read More ➡

Obama Proposal to Expand Student Debt Forgiveness Would Spur Risky Lending

The cost of higher educationCollege loan debt has become a red-flag issue rivaling that of home mortgage debt a half-decade ago. Ironically, the White House, like Congress, in the haste to avert disaster, might create it. President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget includes a plan to expand participation in the Income-Based Repayment program, which is designed to assist eligible persons going through a partial financial hardship to stay current on federal student loans. At present, the program forgives outstanding debt for borrowers who make 20 years of timely payments – 10 years if they work in the public or nonprofit sector. But eligibility is limited to borrowers approved since October 2007. The Obama plan would extend forgiveness to those who took out loans before that. And it would render debt tax-exempt. It’s a sweet deal – except to taxpayers.

National Legal and Policy Center twice has examined in detail the student debt issue … Read More ➡

Chevy Volt Inventory Build – Time for Another Production Halt?

A recent search for new Chevy Volts on cars.com unearthed 9,254 vehicles currently at dealerships for sale. There were another 258 late-model, used Volts available. About half of those had less than 5,000 miles on them. Considering the abysmal sales rate for the self-proclaimed electric wonder-car (1,306 in April for those keeping track), the unofficial inventory numbers point to about a seven month supply of Volts available. Ideal inventory levels are considered to be in the two month range. It may be near time for General Motors to halt production, yet again, for the floundering Volt.

The inventory numbers for the Volt seem to be at all-time highs at a time when sales have shown no signs of revival. Barring a manipulation of demand, which GM has managed in the past by offering low-payment, subsidized leases through government-owned Ally Financial, it does not make any sense for Volts to continue … Read More ➡

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