Al Sharpton's newest role - full-time anchorman - is now a reality. The New York City-based black activist, preacher and former presidential candidate launched his MSNBC-TV talk show, "PoliticsNation," on Monday, August 29, six days after the network tapped him for the 6-7 P.M. (EST) weeknight slot vacated in July by Cenk Uygur. The announcement wasn't unexpected. Sharpton frequently had substituted for Uygur. And MSNBC's parent company, Comcast Corp., for years has been a generous donor to Sharpton's nonprofit group, National Action Network (NAN). The elevation of Sharpton, with a long history of demagoguery and financial chicanery, to top-tier media player, for now, is complete. The question is whether "the Rev" is more than a novelty - and whether his hiring represents another case of corporate surrender to a larger political culture.
For the better part of a year there have been many assertions that the auto industry was on the road to recovery with optimistic projections of sky-rocketing vehicle sales as consumer demand was to return to pre-recession levels. At the time of General Motors' IPO less than a year ago, many reports circulated implying that the stock would be a sure win. One major financial TV network even started a campaign to have all taxpayers "benefit" by being allowed to participate in the IPO.
Advocates of racial/ethnic affirmative action quotas typically travel under the benign-sounding banner of "diversity," so long as it doesn't involve a diversity of opinion. President Obama's executive order last Thursday, August 18 requiring federal departments and agencies to increase hiring and promotion of nonwhite minorities is yet another example. The mandate, Executive Order 13583, is titled, "A Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce." One notices words such as "efficiency" and "accountability" didn't make the cut. That's because over its four decades, "diversity" from the start has been about the allocation of economic rewards through force and guilt. The result most likely will be a federal bureaucracy committed more fully to racial payback.
Recently NLPC reported that Walmart’s top “sustainability” adviser, who provided significant help in getting the company’s “Green” credibility with environmentalist groups in gear, was Jib Ellison – a former wilderness expeditionist and river guide, and author of a guide on whitewater rafting. The story of his relationship with Walmart, which began with the introduction of Ellison by Rob Walton (son of founder Sam) to former company CEO Lee Scott, is documented in the new book Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Walmart’s Green Revolution by Edward Humes.
On Friday, a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York indicted Edul Ahmad, a Guyanese businessman who was last month arrested in a $50 million mortgage-fraud scheme. Ahmad made an unsecured personal loan to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) that was repaid only after Meeks' finances came under scrutiny by the FBI.
In January 2010, we exposed Meeks involvement in a charity called New Direction Local Development Corporation that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received it, among other questionable dealings. In March, we asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Meeks for paying $830,000 for a newly built home in 2006 that was worth more than $1.2 million. Media coverage of these events apparently triggered the FBI inquiry.
It looks like there will be a new group of individuals who lose out under the General Motors bankruptcy process. GM has decided not to take responsibility for defects in Chevy Impalas that predated its bankruptcy filing. Consumeraffairs.com reports that GM has asked a court to dismiss claims relating to faulty suspensions in more than 400,000 Chevys produced for model years 2007 and 2008. GM claims that it is not their problem, since they are "New" GM and the cars were built by "Old" GM.
A new report by USA Today offers further evidence that demand for the much-hyped Chevy Volt is not living up to the great expectations laid out by General Motors. Additional negative news includes an overheating charger fault and a power loss glitch, both of which were recently exposed. The USA Today piece cites a study by CNW Marketing that revealed that "prospects are starting to lose interest in the Volt."
Last week's stock market turmoil was a reminder that America continues to struggle to recover from the financial collapse of 2008-2009. Benchmarks of our economic progress, or lack of it, are over 40 million people on food stamps, unemployment rates stuck over 9%, and GDP growth slowing, as it just missed expectations of 1.3% growth. The Obama Administration's massive deficit spending has almost doubled the publicly held debt which was $5.808 trillion on 9/30/08, or 40% of GDP, to an estimated $10.672 trillion as of 9/30/11, or almost 71% of GDP. This is all just in 3 fiscal years. The road to recovery for most people looks longer than anyone expected.
But the American economy, being what it is, there are bright spots for some people. From the March 15, 2011 Wall Street Journal:
AFP reports that General Motors is investing $150 million on a West Java, Indonesia plant. The move is expected to create 800 jobs in the region. GM has about $20 billion left as cash and cash equivalents after having received about $50 billion from taxpayers a little over two years ago. While taxpayers may have reason to be unhappy about the investment overseas, at least GM is making a move that seems not to be based on politics.