Motorists Get Big Brake Line Repair Bills as GM Resists Recall

GM brake lineEvery so often a General Motors’ truck owner forwards me their story regarding problems with brake line rust, a problem that executives at GM refuse to acknowledge. One recent such correspondence tells of one of the highest repair bills that I have heard of relating to corrosion and failed brake lines. Repairs were made to the vehicle after the owner narrowly avoided an accident as a result of failed brakes due to the corroded brake lines.

Marsha Joiner from Virginia sent me a copy of the invoice from her Manassas GMC dealership for repairs to her 2005 GMC Yukon. The whopping total for repairs directly related to corrosion from brake lines was a staggering $3,600. Her ordeal (along with other examples) has also been recently reported on by Consumer Affairs as they continue to be one of the few media outlets and consumer advocacy organizations that question the safety of … Read More ➡ “Motorists Get Big Brake Line Repair Bills as GM Resists Recall”

Divestment Campaign Targets Fossil Fuels

fossil fuel divestment HarvardAmerica is on the verge of energy independence. We now pump as much oil as Saudi Arabia. Investments in new technologies are paying off, buoying our economy with new jobs and lower energy prices. What’s not to like?

Well plenty, if you are an activist who takes your lead from an organization called 350.org that wants to end the use of oil, gas and coal. The “350” comes from the group’s goal of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere from its present level of 400 parts per million to 350. Its unclear what good such a reduction would do. CO2 is naturally occurring and is always present in the atmosphere. It’s what we exhale.

When you are promoting a cause, however, it’s good to have a numerical goal no matter how arbitrary or unachievable. In fact, the more unachievable it is, the better in order to … Read More ➡ “Divestment Campaign Targets Fossil Fuels”

Why Did GM Share Price Tumble After Much-Hyped Earnings Announcement?

Mary BarraIt must be difficult for the Mom and Pop investor to make sense of General Motors’ recent earnings announcement and subsequent drop in share price. On Thursday morning, GM reported earnings that were trumpeted as being “impressive” by one major financial TV network. In fact, early in the day, headlines at the network stated that the entire market was being driven higher by strong earnings at GM and Caterpillar. That hyperbole came into question when GM share price dropped about 3% on a day that the broader markets were strong.

It was unfortunate for many investors who bought into the early hype and drove share price up pre-market. As is often the case on Wall Street, the little guy was at a disadvantage to the big guys who are more astute at filtering through the hype to get a clearer picture of the financial condition of publicly-traded companies. And when … Read More ➡ “Why Did GM Share Price Tumble After Much-Hyped Earnings Announcement?”

Tesla D Buyers Shouldn’t Get Tax Credit

Tesla D and Elon MuskEnvironmentally conscientious, wealthy car enthusiasts are in luck! The much-hyped “D” unveiling came last week as Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, presented what appears to be a very impressive version of its plug-in Model S electric car called the P85D. Boasting 691 horsepower, 687 ft/lb of torque, AWD and a blazing 3.2 second zero to sixty time, the new rich peoples’ toy is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $120,000. In fact, the car is so darn impressive that the only obvious question is why in the world do we need to give the affluent purchasers of cars like this a federal tax credit of $7,500 each?

I can see why General Motors would need subsidies to sell such cars as the Cadillac ELR (which lumbers through a zero to sixty time in a laborious 9.4 seconds) at a price of about $75,000. The car is essentially a gussied-up Chevy … Read More ➡ “Tesla D Buyers Shouldn’t Get Tax Credit”

Google’s Eric Schmidt Says Global Warming Skeptics Are ‘Lying’; Does He Protest Too Much?

Eric SchmidtGoogle CEO Eric Schmidt recently called global warming skeptics liars. According to Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker:

Google, one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world, is doubling down on the theory that atmospheric CO2 is causing global temperatures to rise (even though they haven’t for the last 17 years despite a large increase on CO2). Moreover, Google is withdrawing its financial support from a group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which it supports on other grounds, because of that group’s questioning of the climate change dogma whose models have failed to predict the last 17 years of evidence. Ars Technica reports:

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt today said it was a “mistake” to support the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that has said human-created climate change could be “beneficial” and opposes environmental regulations. Schmidt said groups trying to cast doubt on climate change

Read More ➡ “Google’s Eric Schmidt Says Global Warming Skeptics Are ‘Lying’; Does He Protest Too Much?”

Party Out of Bounds: Sharpton Lawyer Rubenstein Accused of Rape

Rubenstein and SharptonFor Al Sharpton, October 1 through 3 was a 60th birthday celebration to savor. But the most memorable part of that three-day occasion may have been something definitely not on the itinerary. Last Wednesday night, following a corporate-sponsored fundraising banquet for Sharpton’s nonprofit National Action Network (NAN) at Manhattan’s Four Seasons restaurant, a close associate, attorney Sanford Rubenstein, allegedly raped an unnamed 42-year-old black woman who is a ranking NAN official. The two had gone to Rubenstein’s nearby penthouse with another woman following the dinner. Rubenstein (in photo background), who was not arrested, vehemently denies the charge, saying the sex was consensual. But police are treating the case as a possible third-degree rape, meaning the alleged victim was incapable of giving consent. Sharpton, in response, has severed his ties to Rubenstein. Yet their relationship, while it lasted, suggests a lucrative quid pro quo.

For a lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, now 70, … Read More ➡ “Party Out of Bounds: Sharpton Lawyer Rubenstein Accused of Rape”

Electric Cadillac Can’t Compete With Tesla, GM Tries Frequent Flyer Miles

Cadillac ELRCadillac sales continue to sputter at General Motors. In fact, the brand is the only make at GM that has seen a year over year sales decline for the period ending in September at a time when the auto industry was booming. Specifically, Cadillac has logged in 127,837 sales for the first nine months of 2014 compared to 133,414 in 2013 for a sales decline of 4.2 percent. GM will now offer frequent flyer miles to help spur sales at the division.

The marketing move at GM follows a decision to relocate Cadillac’s sales team to New York City. That move, along with the renaming of Cadillac models, was criticized by Automotive News as follows:

It is most disappointing that the new head of Cadillac had this decision thrust on him without any chance to evaluate the situation or get some wise advice from outside the company — from

Read More ➡ “Electric Cadillac Can’t Compete With Tesla, GM Tries Frequent Flyer Miles”

Corporations Bankroll Sharpton’s 60th Birthday Bash

walmartsharptonadAl Sharpton turned 60 last Friday. That’s a psychological landmark in any man’s life. But if the New York-based civil rights activist, preacher, politician and media star is feeling blue, he can console himself with the reported $1 million in pledges from corporate and other donors to his nonprofit National Action Network (NAN). The celebration kicked off on Wednesday with a NAN-sponsored two-day education summit at New York University. On October 1, Sharpton held a private confab at Manhattan’s Four Seasons restaurant. The crème of New York Democratic Party politics were in attendance, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Charles Rangel and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. From the world of black arts and entertainment, Aretha Franklin and Spike Lee were present. For someone defined by his public demagoguery, Sharpton doesn’t lack for friends.

National Legal and Policy Center long has been focused on Reverend … Read More ➡ “Corporations Bankroll Sharpton’s 60th Birthday Bash”

SIGTARP: Excessive Pay at Bailed-Out GM

GM money bagsA special inspector general report on compensation for executives at General Motors and Ally Financial blasts the Treasury Department for allowing excessive pay at the companies as taxpayers lost billions of dollars on the auto bailouts. The watchdog group issuing the report monitors the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was set up to save financial corporations deemed “too big to fail” due to systemic risk to America’s financial system. The program was expanded to allow for the bailing out of the auto industry, despite the questionable use of funds specifically designated for financial institutions.

A NY Times piece states that the report criticizes the Treasury Department for loosening restrictions on TARP program pay limitations as follows:

Top executives at General Motors and Ally Financial, both of which received bailouts from the United States Treasury Department in 2009, were paid excessively even as taxpayers lost money, according to a special

Read More ➡ “SIGTARP: Excessive Pay at Bailed-Out GM”

Will Nissan Abandon Its $1.4B Stimulus-Backed Battery Factory?

Ghosn photoReuters sources inside Nissan are saying the production of batteries in Tennessee for the all-electric Leaf, which stimulus-subsidizing U.S. taxpayers backed with a $1.4 billion loan, could be eliminated.

According to the report, at minimum there is sharp debate over whether the company will continue to manufacture electric vehicle batteries in-house or contract with an outside supplier. Nissan partner Renault, which has 43.4 percent shareholder ownership in the joint company, is said to be pushing for outsourcing battery production – possibly to LG Chem. None who revealed the information were identified for the Reuters story.

“We set out to be a leader in battery manufacturing but it turned out to be less competitive than we’d wanted,” said a Nissan executive to Reuters, on condition of anonymity. “We’re still between six months and a year behind LG in price-performance terms.”

If they’re really thinking about a move … Read More ➡ “Will Nissan Abandon Its $1.4B Stimulus-Backed Battery Factory?”