As the North Carolina Utilities Commission tries to make sense of the farcical events that surround its approval of the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy into the largest public electricity company in the nation, the deeper they dig, the dumber Duke looks.
Yesterday the 6-member panel (one seat is unfilled due to political wrangling) heard from former Progress CEO Bill Johnson (pictured). Throughout the 18-month merger process the two companies proclaimed to anyone who cared – including federal regulators, utilities commissions in at least six states, and Wall Street – that Johnson would carry that role over to the combined company, while former Duke CEO James Rogers would elevate to chairman.
A week and a half ago cash-poor A123 Systems, recipient of $279 million-plus in federal money and millions more from the State of Michigan, announced it would access $39 million via a stock sale to institutional investors and the release of other cash after meeting requirements related to its existing reserves.
It has been downhill ever since – all the way down to its all-time low of 75 cents per share price Tuesday (and 69 cents Thursday morning). It may be too much for even these masters of the press release cycle to overcome by creating good news out of thin air.
General Motors has announced that Vice Chairman, Steve Girsky, will be taking over its European Operations. According to one article, "Several trade union bodies are broadly welcoming the appointment of Steve Girsky." That makes sense, as Mr. Girsky was appointed by the UAW to serve on GM's board.
Rogers testified before the NCUC on Tuesday, after the directors of the newly combined Duke jettisoned Johnson just hours after the regulatory approval, even though both companies asserted beforehand – ever since the expected deal was announced last year – that he would lead the united company, while Rogers moved up to chairman. Utilities commissioners, former Progress directors who approved the merger, and the public were deceived into believing Johnson would oversee day-to-day operations.
General Motors has announced a 60 day money back guarantee policy for all new Chevy models, including the Chevy Volt. The move sets up a scenario where purchasers can buy a Volt, claim the $7,500 federal tax credit (and most likely state credits) and return the vehicle for a refund within 60 days. Did GM really not consider this glitch, or is this just another way for Government Motors to prop up politically important Volt sales leading up to November elections?
Just how uninformed does President Obama think that American voters are? Judging from the misrepresentations coming out of the Obama camp regarding the General Motors' bankruptcy process, it would appear that the Administration believes it can get away with rewriting history as the President continues to imply that GM never even went bankrupt. The obviously false implication continues to go unquestioned by mainstream media.
Then Duke’s board immediately pulled a fast one and fired the man they said all along would be the joint entity’s CEO, Bill Johnson, who would have continued from the same role he had with Progress. Instead leading the new combined company will be Duke’s current CEO, James Rogers. Throughout the merger approval process everyone understood he would abdicate that role to Johnson while remaining as company chairman.
NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm reacted yesterday to the release of a report detailing how members of Congress and their staffs received discounted mortgage loans from Countrywide Financial. Boehm told the Washington Examiner:
"It certainly doesn't look good when reports come out based on legitimate investigations that show all kinds of special treatment, and not only is there no action, the Ethics Committee doesn't even take it up," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. "What part of unethical don't they understand?"
It looks like General Motors will be throwing everything in but the kitchen sink to help fluff its second quarter earnings numbers. Taxpayers continue to help with the cause as President Obama campaigns on the "success" of GM following the manipulated bankruptcy process that cost taxpayers $50 billion and another $45 billion of tax credits gifted to GM to help protect powerful UAW interests. We now learn that government purchases of GM vehicles rose a whopping 79% in June, year over year.