General Motors reported lackluster first quarter earnings' results as the company took a $1.3 billion charge related to recalls. Most of the expenses for the approximately 7 million vehicles recalled, however, were not actually incurred during the first quarter.
In addition, the $1.3 billion figure is far lower than what the recall will cost GM. The power steering recall alone of about 1.5 million vehicles (which was prompted by NLPC's exposure of the recall delay) is likely to cost more than that. The estimated cost for replacement of power steering columns is in the area of $1,300 per unit, bringing the total for this single recall to roughly $2 billion. That doesn't include loaner cars.
Bill Lann Lee, a former U.S. Assistant Attorney General who served during the Clinton administration, is deeply involved with a group that donated thousands of dollars for the legal defense of convicted terrorist lawyer Lynne Stewart.
Could the headline-making arrest last July of Harvard African-American Studies Professor Henry Louis Gates by a white Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer be justified? While the official civil-rights narrative continues to cast Gates as a victim, the facts, as National Legal and Policy Center reported in detail at the time, appear to vindicate Police Sergeant James Crowley. Now a new report by a Boston University-affiliated journalism think tank is providing even more fuel for the latter view. The study, which examined arrests for disorderly conduct in Cambridge over several years, concludes that local police have not engaged in a pattern of racial profiling. One hopes that President Obama, who played no small role in this affair, will give it a close read.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known by the acronym ACORN, exists only in shell form, having formally disbanded on April 1. Yet whatever name(s) the radical nonprofit organizing network and its countless affiliates currently go under, the issue of its right to receive federal funds is anything but a dead letter. A court ruling several days ago ensures as much. On Wednesday, April 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit temporarily reinstated a congressional ban on further public funding of the scandal-ridden group. The three-judge panel in Manhattan effectively overturned a lower court order barring enforcement of the cutoff, concluding that full arguments must be heard first. And they will be this summer.
If Reverend Al Sharpton was radioactive to future President Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, he's become a shadow member of the Obama cabinet in 2010. The close working relationship between the radical black civil rights leader and leading administration officials was very much in evidence last week at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers where Sharpton's nonprofit group, National Action Network (NAN), held its 12th annual convention.
The word "reform" in the age of Obama has taken on a clear meaning: aggressive expansion of government control over economic decision-making by businesses and consumers. The recently-passed health care bill, rammed through Congress via highly unorthodox parliamentary procedures, is evidence enough of that. Yet even supporters of new financial services reform legislation now before the full Senate may be hard-pressed to explain how the mammoth 1,336-page measure is supposed to improve efficiency and integrity in credit markets.
Is Reverend Al Sharpton giving up confrontation for pragmatism? An article appearing in the Wall Street Journal yesterday suggests the media-hungry civil-rights leader, with a long history of intimidation and demagoguery, has become a beacon of political moderation in his advancing years. The article, authored by Peter Wallsten, "Obama's New Partner: Al Sharpton," notes that President Obama, stung by criticism from the Congressional Black Caucus and other sources of black political opinion, has turned to the New York-based activist and radio talk-show host for advice. The piece is informative and well-researched. Yet it can't come to grips with the fact that the "new" Sharpton isn't really different from the old.
As far as operations in Maryland go, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, is no more. On Monday the group's former state co-chairwoman, Sonja Merchant-Jones, announced that the group has shut down all of its offices and in the foreseeable future would not operate under a new name. The announcement is a coda to the wave of bad publicity befalling the parent organization since last September following the airing of videos filmed by a young conservative activist couple, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute. The hidden camera sting, posted on the Web and Fox News Channel, caught ACORN office employees in Baltimore and other U.S. cities giving advice on how to skirt around the law in order to obtain small business loans.
Radicals long have used the judicial system as an effective last-ditch weapon to circumvent decisions by the legislative branch. This past Friday, one of their leading lights, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as ACORN, showed the advantages of having a sympathetic federal judge in one's corner. This past Friday, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York, a Clinton appointee, issued a preliminary injunction against the recent congressional cutoff of funds for the New Orleans-based nonprofit network.