January 11, 2011

Cop-out: AP Reporter Swallows Claim that GM’s R&D Was Set Back a Year by 40 Days in Bankruptcy

Man, it is getting really deep around here — and no, I’m not talking about the snow, though there is no shortage of it here in Southwestern Ohio.

What’s really deep is the claim by current Government/General Motors Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson that because of the company’s government-engineered, unsecured bondholder-shortchanging trip through bankruptcy, “we lost roughly a year in terms of development.”

The Associated Press’s Tom Krisher apparently doesn’t mind traipsing around in thigh-high boots while he’s covering the Detroit Auto Show, as he displayed no skepticism whatsoever at the utter ridiculousness of Akerson’s assertion, drily observing near the end of his report that “New products from GM were noticeably absent from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year.”

For the record:

  • GM filed for bankruptcy on June 1, 2009. It emerged from bankruptcy with an opening cash balance in the tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money on July 10, 2009. That’s 40 days, or less than one-ninth of a year.
  • The company has been out of bankruptcy for exactly 18 months, and it’s admitting that it’s still a year behind in product development.
  • There was not a hint that R&D would be compromised when the company emerged. In fact, the company clearly made representations to the contrary.

Pertinent to the final point just made, here are a few paragraphs from a July 10, 2009 bankruptcy emergence report by — imagine that — the Associated Press (Krisher was involved in earlier versions of this dispatch; bolds are mine):

At a news conference, CEO Fritz Henderson said the revamped automaker will be faster and more responsive to customers than the old one. It will generate cash and repay billions in government loans ahead of a 2015 deadline.

The new company will build more cars and trucks that consumers want and launch them faster than in the past, the CEO said. GM also announced a partnership with online retailer eBay to test auctioning vehicles online.

… Known for its sluggish decision-making process and bloated management ranks, GM will create a single, eight-member executive committee to speed up day-to-day decision-making, replacing two senior leadership forums.

… Top executives at the new company will focus on business results, new vehicles, brands and consumers.

… The new company will focus on customers, cars and culture.

What a load of rubbish that was — as was Krisher’s failure to note the obvious contradictions in Akerson’s excuse-making today.

It’s worth asking, especially if other products have been or are still being shortchanged, which presumptively appears to be the case, if the surely lavish level of resources the company has thrown at the Chevy Volt — never mind the awards pouring forth from the green-crazy driving press — has been worth it. Financially, I doubt it. To keep President Obama’s car czars off their backs, it was probably necessary.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Bill Whittle: Obama At Halftime

Ten epic fails, as delivered by the proprietor at Declaration Entertainment.com:

Okay, here are the Cliff’s notes for those who make the mistake of avoiding Whittle’s outstanding delivery:

Obama10promisesNotKept0111

At NYT, Former Congressman Who Called for Rick Scott’s Shooting Wants ‘Atmosphere of Civility and Respect’

Oh c’mon, this is too easy.

Here’s a paragraph from former Congressman Paul Kanjorski’s op-ed in the New York Times, published online yesterday, in the print edition today (“Why Politicians Need to Stay Out in the Open”):

We all lose an element of freedom when security considerations distance public officials from the people. Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.

Here’s Kanjorski, when he was still a Congressman, discussing Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott last year (HT Mark Hemingway at the Washington Examiner):

“That Scott down there that’s running for governor of Florida,” Mr. Kanjorski said. “Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he’s running for governor of Florida. He’s a millionaire and a billionaire. He’s no hero. He’s a damn crook. It’s just we don’t prosecute big crooks.”

The same column at the Scranton Times-Tribune recalls other gems from Kanjorski, who called the health insurance industry “blood suckers,” and “said at a town hall meeting that Democrats ‘sort of stretched the facts’ to sound as if they would end the Iraq war.”

Kanjorski also said the following while defending last year’s “financial reform” law:

We’re giving relief to people that I deal with in my office every day now unfortunately. But because of the longevity of this recession, these are people — and they’re not minorities and they’re not defective and they’re not all the things you’d like to insinuate that these programs are about — these are average, good American people.

You don’t have to be a genius to see the racism inherent in that statement, but in case anyone needs help: If the people Kanjorski “deal(s) with in my office everyday” are “average, good American people” because “they’re not minorities and they’re not defective,” then those who are minorities and “defective” in some way are not “average, good American people.”

This is the guy to whom the New York Times goes for an op-ed on civility.

The Old Gray Lady, which has been obsessed with partisan “vitirol” (right-wing only, of course) since Saturday’s Tucson murders, is turning itself into a sick, sad joke. No further commentary required.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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BizzyBlog Update: Other NYT examples are cited at NewsBusters here, here, and here.

Lickety-Split Links (011111, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:52 am

Ford plans to hire 7,000 more workers in the next two years, including 750 engineers. The jobs are slated for Michigan, Louisville, and Chicago.

I suggest that Ohio Governor John Kasich make two phone calls:

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Last Friday, Best Buy reported that December’s same-store sales dropped 4% from a year ago. That’s on top of a 5% revenue miss (vs. expectations) in the quarter that ended in November.

The Reuters story says that Best Buy is losing business to Target. Target? I think Best Buy’s difficulties represent a symptom of a deeper problem, namely that retail traffic for hard goods, especially electronics, is in the doldrums.

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Hiring is supposed to pick up this year, but “the 2% payroll gains, though healthy, will be about half the additions that followed similarly severe recessions in the 1970s and 1980s.”

That’s because the architects of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy chose “stimulus” — a zero-impact “triumph of Keynesian wishful-thinking over practical experience” — over tax cuts, which produced the Seven Fat Years.

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Speaking of the Seven Fat Years, policymakers today seem all too willing to accept mediocrity. Here’s an example, from Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President and CEO Dennis P. Lockhart:

Lockhart: Economy could surprise in ‘11

Then the economy hit an air pocket in the middle of 2010 as these forces played out and were not sufficiently replaced by sustained private demand. Importantly, though, the economy did not go into a nosedive as the year progressed. The third quarter of last year steadied to a modest rate of growth around 2.5 percent, which is in the range of the widely perceived long-term potential of the economy.

Says who? 2.5% growth was barely acceptable when the economy hadn’t suffered a deep recession (annual GDP growth averaged 2.6% from 2002-2007). It’s absolutely unacceptable coming out of one. If we had the right policy recipes, we should be seeing 5%-plus quarterly growth readings.

During Reagan’s Seven Fat Years, annualized quarterly growth averaged 4.3%. There’s no reason that can’t be replicated; failure to do so explains why the job market is in a 5-year recovery mode, when it should have recovered by now.

Accepting mediocrity has inflicted terrible consequences on millions of workers and their families. It didn’t have to be this way. The Party of Faux Compassion and its statist fixations made it this way. “Party of Compassion” my a**.

Positivity: Founder of Catholic homosexual support group passes away

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:59 am

From Denver:

Jan 11, 2011 / 05:40 am

Fr. John Harvey, known for founding Courage, the international support group for Catholics who experience same-sex attraction, passed away recently at the age of 92.

Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a Catholic psychiatrist who worked with Fr. Harvey for 30 years, remembered the priest as a “brilliant moral theologian” whose life was a “gift to the Church.”

Father Harvey died on Dec. 27, the feast of St. John the Evangelist, at Union Hospital in Elkton, Maryland. Born in Philadelphia, he was priest for 66 years and an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales for 73.

In New York City in 1980, Fr. Harvey helped found Courage, the Church-approved ministry devoted to helping Catholics who experience same-sex attractions live in accordance with Catholic moral teaching.

The apostolate is aimed at strengthening chastity, religious devotion, healthy friendships, and a spirit of fellowship and support among Catholics who experience same-sex attractions. Courage incorporates a modified version of the “Twelve Steps,” traditionally used in the treatment of substance-abuse, in its work helping Catholics who struggle with homosexuality to lead chaste lives.

With the endorsement of the Vatican, Courage now has more than 110 chapters and contact people world-wide.

“Fr. Harvey responded to the needs of those with same sex attraction in the Church through the development of Courage,” Dr. Fitzgibbons said.

He called Fr. Harvey’s prominent book, “The Truth about Homosexuality,” a “great gift to the Catholics” that should be “required reading” for clergy, educators and laity.

Dr. Fitzgibbon’s praised Fr. Harvey as a “brilliant” moral theologian, but explained that more importantly, the priest defended the Church’s teaching on sexual morality “with great wisdom, love and gentleness.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.