What's Hot
Ken Boehm
03/04/2011 - 17:23

Sen. Tom HarkinThe Government Accountability Office (GAO) is supposed to be an objective finder of fact for the U.S. Congress. Last year it weighed in on the controversy over aid to students attending for-profit colleges with a critical study which appeared to cast aspersions on the practices of some 15 for-profit colleges. The study was ballyhooed by the Obama Department of Education that supported a double standard of regulations: one for taxpayer-supported community colleges and a much tougher one for the for-profit schools.

3,471 reads
03/02/2011 - 20:47

NPR logoA brief comment of mine was included today in a report by Peter Overby on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. Here's a transcript:

The fight over public employee unions has exploded into a high-stakes partisan war. In Wisconsin and several other states, Republicans want to end collective bargaining with many public employee unions. Two favorite proposals would disrupt the ability of unions to build their political funds. And that would deal a major blow to the Democratic Party.

2,693 reads
03/02/2011 - 16:52

Hilda SolisSecretary of Labor Hilda Solis has taken her gloves off in the ongoing war within the states. And her supporters are aching for more. In a speech before a partisan audience at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. last Saturday, Solis proclaimed solidarity with Wisconsin public-sector unions and their supporters who have all but shut down the state legislature in protest of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's proposals to curb public spending.

4,709 reads
03/02/2011 - 13:27

Deepwater HorizonEarlier today I accused Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of a "cynical" approach to issuing deepwater drilling permits for the Gulf of Mexico. I did not realize how right I was. According to Kristen Hays of Reuters:

BP Plc, whose Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history last year, co-owns the well that was granted the first deepwater drilling permit since the disaster.

BP is Noble Energy Inc's partner in the well, holding a 46.5 percent interest, BP said.

3,650 reads
03/02/2011 - 10:12

Ken SalazarInterior Secretary Ken Salazar appears today before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He will hopefully answer questions about his refusal to allow deepwater drilling to resume in the Gulf of Mexico, despite a federal judge twice ruling that the moratorium is illegal.

The BP oil spill was a disaster, but not as big of a disaster as the moratorium that followed. The granting of exactly one drilling permit to Noble Energy this week underscores just how cynical and politicized Salazar's response has been. Last week, Salazar said that he would not bow to "political pressure" to restart drilling, standing reality on its head.

3,490 reads
03/01/2011 - 19:15

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) yesterday claimed at a Congressional Black Caucus event:

Collective bargaining is something that is so close to slavery in terms of abolishing it, that it is not an American concept to tell people that they cannot discuss their economic position.

Rangel is apparently oblivious to other forms of servitude, like paying your taxes while he doesn't pay his, and then have to listen to him express indignation when he is caught.

2,696 reads
03/01/2011 - 14:13

auto breakdownThe media may want to take a break from its rooting for General Motors, not to mention its hype surrounding the Chevy Volt. USA Today recently summarized Consumer Reports' ranking of automakers based on performance and reliability. Of the 13 automakers receiving report cards, GM and Chrysler received the worst rankings.

The number one performer according to CR was Honda, followed by Subaru. Strong reliability contributed to the high overall scores. GM was number 12 on the list with only Chrysler receiving a lower score. It should not come as a surprise that the bottom two performers were the automakers that ended up bankrupt and receiving taxpayer funded bailouts.

4,475 reads
Ken Boehm
03/01/2011 - 10:31

Phil FalconeUnder extremely unusual circumstances, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently granted a company called LightSquared the right to use wireless spectrum to build out a national 4G wireless network. LightSquared will get the spectrum for a song, while its competitors have to spend billions.

Although the technical implications of the FCC action are complicated, how it came about is not. LightSquared is owned by the Harbinger Capital hedge fund, headed by billionaire investor Phil Falcone, in photo. Falcone visited the White House and made large donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

8,745 reads
02/28/2011 - 13:00

GM/UAW logosGeneral Motors reported less than stellar fourth quarter earnings last week, and announced that bonuses paid to its UAW workers will average $4,300. The earnings report disappointed Wall Street as GM shares fell about 4% on the news.

Some media sources attributed the drop in GM's share price to rising oil prices. Considering that oil prices went down on the day that GM shares fell, this explanation does not hold water. Rather, there are some specific issues relating to the earnings announcement that are causing concern on Wall Street.

3,167 reads
02/24/2011 - 16:56

Indiana legislatureIt's becoming a trend: Democratic members of a state legislature, rather than risk defeat in a roll call vote, take flight and hide in a nearby state. Last week all Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate fled en masse to Illinois in order to block a quorum on a GOP proposal to rein in public employee compensation. No doubt inspired by this turn of events, virtually all Democrats in the Indiana House of Representatives on Tuesday morning staged their own exodus in order to prevent a vote on a Right to Work bill. The whereabouts of the Indiana lawmakers, like their Wisconsin brethren, remain unknown. Whenever they come out of hiding, the damage these lawmakers and their union allies are doing to democratic process is going to linger a lot longer.

6,142 reads
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