The merger hearings for Duke Energy and Progress Energy before the North Carolina Utilities Commission were supposed to be the last major hurdle for the deal to be approved, but now the concerns of a small coastal city and a federal government regulatory agency have cast last-minute doubts. It turns out the demands by environmental groups for Duke to pay more money into weatherization boondoggles were minor irritants compared to the threat posed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Tim Foley is part of a long, ongoing Chicago tradition of public-sector income double-dipping. But two days ago he became a casualty of another Chicago tradition: investigative reporting. This Monday, on October 3, Foley resigned as business manager-financial secretary of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134 following weeks of allegations that he and three other local officials had violated Illinois law by simultaneously collecting lucrative pensions from the city government and the local. "Recent focus in news reports has impacted how we are perceived by the public," Foley stated in a press release. "Placing each of the 15,000 members and their families ahead of me is the easy part of my decision to resign." In his absence, Vice President Terry Allen will become interim head of the Chicago union, which represents private- as well as public-sector electricians.
General Motors continues to claim that demand will drive Chevy Volt sales and 10,000 of the vehicles will be sold in 2011, even as September sales came in at a still disappointing dismal rate of 723 units sold. GM has staked its credibility on the success of the much-hyped hybrid. The Obama Administration also risks another embarrassment if Volt sales continue to underwhelm following the Solyndra scandal that saw a similar failed green energy initiative lead to a 500 million dollar loss on its taxpayer funded gamble. Now we learn that GM has been selling the $40,000 plus vehicles for as low as $29,500 each according to the gmauthority.com site. How far will GM and the Administration go to pump sales figures to persuade the public that the Chevy Volt is a green success story that justifies the spending of billions of taxpayer dollars on such initiatives?
Today we filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Labor Department, its Wage and Hour Division, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We ask for all third-party communications related to this week's signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies and eleven state governments.
The MOU is the basis for a crackdown on employers who allegedly misclassify employees as independent contractors, but the action appears calculated to assist the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) in a campaign directed at the nation's homebuilders.
A recent article on Newsmax.com by John Berlau exposes another scheme by the Obama Administration designed to redistribute more wealth in an effort to cover taxpayer losses in the General Motors and Chrysler bailout fiasco. The plan is to have financial institutions with assets of more than $50 billion to continue to pay a "financial crisis responsibility fee" until TARP losses by firms like GM and Chrysler are recouped. Of course, cronies at GM and Chrysler are not on the hook for the losses. It seems that the old playbook used by Obama to have others pay for the costs of failure at GM and Chrysler is still being used.
It seems the promise of job creation for taxpayer funded green initiatives, such as the Chevy Volt development, is partially being kept. The only problem is that many of those jobs are going to China. General Motors confirmed last week that it would develop an electric vehicle platform in China. USA Today reports that GM Vice Chairman, Steve Girsky, stated that GM and Chinese auto company, SAIC, will develop a new electric vehicle that would draw upon the Chevy Volt's technology. Girsky also hinted that future Chevy Volts will be built in China in order to qualify for Chinese subsidies of about $19,000 per car. Girsky claims that neither China nor SAIC are demanding that GM share Volt technology. Whether they are demanding it or not, it is obvious that they will get it.
If it wasn’t already obvious, then a report in Friday’s Raleigh News & Observer about the merger hearings between Duke Energy and Progress Energy into the nation’s largest utility makes it clear: That Duke’s strategy is continued growth into “a political juggernaut.”
That’s what came out of the final day of testimony about the deal before the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which appears to be the final major hurdle for the merger’s approval. The N&O cited “hints” by company executives about “further acquisitions down the road,” in which Duke would wield even more power than they do now.
Not surprisingly the new partner - in a 50-50 joint venture with the state-run auto industry - is China. And also unsurprisingly, General Electric will join GM in a related partnership in the communist nation.
It wasn't the first incidence of union intimidation in Longview, Washington this year. And it may not be the last. For four hours on the afternoon of September 7, an estimated 400 members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 4 (Vancouver, Wash.) and Local 21 (Longview) blocked a shipment by a mile-long railroad train just outside its destination, a terminal at Port of Longview, Washington, leased by the Portland, Ore.-based EGT Development.