The Obama Administration has over-stimulated the electric vehicle battery market, as companies inspired by the flow of federal stimulus support don’t have enough customers for their products.
The government promise of a coming electric car (and truck) revolution, thanks to moves such as President George W. Bush’s signature to approve a $7,500-per-electric-vehicle tax credit and Congress’s passage of the Recovery Act, instigated a buildup of capacity and inventory for batteries. Now putrid EV sales – including the newly introduced Ford Focus electric – have put their battery makers in peril, according to the Detroit Free Press.
This past weekend saw further escalation of nationwide demonstrations over the fatal February 26 shooting of a black Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin, by a white neighborhood watch volunteer. Though in apparent self-defense, many are demanding the shooter, George Zimmerman, be arrested. In lieu of such action, some are vowing to apply their brand of street justice. Unfortunately, they have an ally in President Obama.
Yesterday we reported that the FTC's decision to close its investigation into the Google WiSpy affair came less than a week after President Obama attended a $30,000-plate fundraiser at the California home of senior Google executive Marissa Mayer. It also came four days after Google, after months of denials, admitted for the first time that its "Street View" video cameras were intercepting emails, passwords and website addresses sent by unsuspecting Internet users.
Now we've learned that on September 28, 2009, Becky Burr, a Google lobbyist at Wilmer Hale, emailed White House officials Susan Crawford and Andrew McLaughlin asking for a meeting to request the White House's assistance in urging the Federal Trade Commission to back off on privacy. Her email reads in part:
The effort by House Republicans to investigate email practices at the White House hit a wall yesterday, when a motion to subpoena the White House deputy chief technology officer was blocked by Democrats during a House Oversight subcommittee hearing.
Subcommittee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC) demanded a recorded vote on a motion to subpoena White House technology officer Beth Noveck, after saying that the absence of a White House witness “undermines the purposes of the hearing and prevents us from doing our job of conducting oversight of this issue.”
Recent email communication between White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin (in photo), who is Google’s former head of Global Public Policy, and multiple outside individuals raise new questions about the official’s alleged circumvention of federal ethics and recordkeeping rules.
McLaughlin’s communications with Google officials and others about issues that directly benefit the company appears to be more extensive than indicated by a May White House report, which resulted in an official reprimand of Mr. McLaughlin. Click here for a 12-page pdf of the McLaughlin emails.
Illinois Republican Rep. Judy Biggert on Wednesday inserted into the financial regulatory reform bill an amendment calling for an investigation of efforts to rescue ShoreBank. Meanwhile the White House issued denials that it pushed for a bailout of the politically-favored community lender. The Chicago Sun-Timesreported yesterday:
As Chicago's ShoreBank struggles to survive, the Obama White House issued a strong statement Wednesday denying that it is interfering in any way with federal regulators or influencing financial institutions willing to pump money into the bank.
Last week, McLaughlin was officially reprimanded for violating its ethics policies. A White House investigation found that McLaughlin, a former senior executive at Google, had repeatedly circumvented both the letter and spirit of White House ethics rules by communicating with former colleagues about Administration policies affecting the company.