Feud Fuels Bill O'Reilly's Blasts at GE

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 19, 2008; Page A01

Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News star, is mounting an extraordinary televised assault on the chief executive of General Electric, calling him a "pinhead" and a "despicable human being" who bears responsibility for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq.

On the surface, O'Reilly's charges revolve around GE's history of doing business with Iran. But the attacks grow out of an increasingly bitter feud between O'Reilly and the company's high-profile subsidiary, NBC, one that has triggered back-channel discussions involving News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, NBC chief executive Jeff Zucker and General Electric's CEO, Jeffrey Immelt.

Ailes called Zucker on his cellphone last summer, clearly agitated over a slam against him by MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. According to sources familiar with the conversation, Ailes warned that if Olbermann didn't stop such attacks against Fox, he would unleash O'Reilly against NBC and would use the New York Post as well. Read Full Story

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the Rope that will hang Capitalists

Karl Marx once remarked, “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.” However, Marx had no idea the rope would be corporate social responsibility (CSR) and not greed.

In keeping with CSR doctrine, CEOs are opening their doors to activist groups with great fanfare in hopes of maximizing both “the social good” and corporate profits. Regrettably, these CEO’s are maximizing neither."Read more...

U.S Says New Find Shows Iran Still Sends Arms to Iraq

U.S. Says New Find Shows
Iran Still Sends Arms to Iraq
April 25, 2008; Page A1

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military says it has found caches of newly made Iranian weapons in Iraq, leading senior officials to conclude Tehran is continuing to funnel armaments into Iraq despite its pledges to the contrary.

Officials in Washington and Baghdad said the purported Iranian mortars, rockets and explosives had date stamps indicating they were manufactured in the past two months. The U.S. plans to publicize the weapons caches in coming days. A pair of senior commanders said a presentation was tentatively planned for Monday.

The allegations, which couldn't be independently verified, mark a further hardening of U.S. rhetoric on Iran, which senior American officials now describe as the greatest long-term threat to Iraq. Read article

Toxic Lightbulbs

February 17, 2008

That Newfangled Light Bulb

Across the world, consumers are being urged to stop buying outdated incandescent light bulbs and switch to new spiral fluorescent bulbs, which use about 25 percent of the energy and last 10 times longer. In Britain, there is a Ban the Bulb movement. China is encouraging the change. And the United States Congress has set new energy efficiency standards that will make Edison’s magical invention obsolete by the year 2014.

Now, the question is how to dispose of these compact fluorescent bulbs once they break or quit working.

Unlike traditional light bulbs, each of these spiral bulbs has a tiny bit of a dangerous toxin — around five milligrams of mercury. And although one dot of mercury might not seem so bad, almost 300 million compact fluorescents were sold in the United States last year. That is already a lot of mercury to throw in the trash, and the amounts will grow ever larger in coming years.

Businesses and government recyclers need to start working on more efficient ways to deal with that added mercury. Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, is raising the cry about the moment when millions of these light bulbs start landing in landfills or incinerators all at once. The pig in the waste pipeline, she calls it.

Even when warned, public officials are never great at planning. The Environmental Protection Agency now focuses mostly on the disposal of one bulb at a time. If you break a fluorescent bulb, there is no need to call in the hazmat team, the agency says. Just clean it up quickly with paper (no vacuuming or brooms), keep the kids away and open the window...


Cap and Trade: A Bad Trade-off for the Economy and Company Earnings

To address global warming concerns many business leaders are calling for the United States to implement a carbon dioxide emissions cap on U.S. industries – or a “cap and trade” system. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) – a coalition of environmental organizations and corporations including major corporate members such as GE, Alcoa, BP, Caterpillar, DuPont, Lehman Brothers, and PG&E – are encouraging the U.S. to impose a broad carbon emissions cap and trade scheme. Despite the publicity surrounding corporations seeking global warming regulations, a Clinton administration study found that a cap and trade regulatory scheme would severely harm the U.S. economy. Paradoxically, corporations lobbying for cap and trade are seeking regulations that will likely jeopardize future earnings.

Under the best scenario the cap and trade will:

• Raise gasoline prices by nearly 53 percent
• Raise energy prices by more than 86 percent
• Reduce economic growth by 1.9 percent, which is $256 billion of 2006 GDP
• Reduce economic activity across most industries including the construction, manufacturing, transportation and finance industries
• Raise interest rates because higher energy prices will exert upward pressure on overall prices and contribute to inflation

Read full report

Friends With Benefit Packages

Grist Magazine
Romance blossoms between big biz and enviros over a candlelit dinner
By Amanda Griscom Little

"The on-again-off-again flirtation between big business and the mainstream environmental movement seems to be progressing into a full-on steamy love affair -- and perhaps even a committed, long-term relationship.

On Tuesday morning, a handful of Fortune 500 execs joined Jonathan Lash, president of the environmental think tank World Resources Institute, to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in favor of a mandatory federal cap on greenhouse-gas emissions. "Voluntary efforts alone will not solve the [climate-change] problem," DuPont CEO Chad Holliday told the assembled senators. He added, "We see a whole suite of technologies to solve these problems, and we think the uncertainty of what regulations will do are holding companies back."

Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) had invited the corporate and environmental leaders to explain why they're increasingly concerned about global warming. Their unified testimony made an impact on at least one prominent Republican, Virginia Sen. John Warner, who could be a swing vote on climate legislation in the committee. "A group like this, you've got my attention," Warner said."Click to read more....

How Plastics Went From Byword to Bye

As Costs Rise, Prices Don't, GE Tries to Sell
Storied Unit That Bred Products, Leaders

Forty years ago, the future seemed to belong to plastics, as captured in the one--word career advice offered to the young Benjamin Braddock in "The Graduate." Plastic was replacing glass, metal, and wood in products ranging from milk cartons to furniture to automobile parts.

At General Electric Co., a young manager named Jack Welch was making his name creating a market for new materials, such as Lexan, a hard plastic invented by a GE scientist in 1953. When astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, they wore helmets made with Lexan.

Today, plastic isn't as special. Its makers are caught between the high cost of their raw material -- oil-based benzene -- and the low price of the final product, ceding ground on basic plastics to lower-priced rivals. And the man who succeeded Mr. Welch as GE chairman, Jeffrey Immelt, is shopping all or part of GE's plastic business for as much as $10 billion. Read more..

Nardelli's Ouster Shows GE Picked Right With Immelt

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- When former General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch named Jeffrey Immelt to succeed him over Robert Nardelli and James McNerney six years ago, he said Immelt ``has stuff, he has real stuff.''

This week's ouster of Nardelli as CEO of Home Depot Inc. suggests Welch picked the guy with the right stuff.

``Welch figured out what the organization needed,'' said Robert Spremulli, an analyst at TIAA-CREF, which owns more than 95 million GE shares. ``Immelt has the people skills to motivate the troops. It's a good transition from Jack. Welch's judgment is borne out.'' Welch declined to comment.

Unlike Nardelli, Immelt has courted investors and customers while wrestling with the same problem as his former rival: a dropping share price. GE shares have fallen 5.6 percent since Immelt took over, while the stock of Home Depot, the world's largest home-improvement retailer, declined 12 percent under Nardelli.Read more..

China Bans Imports of GE Generator

2006 The Associated Press
Sept. 29, 2006, 9:43AM

BEIJING — China has banned imports of a gas-fired generator made by General Electric Co., saying it has design defects that could cause large-scale accidents, a government news agency said Friday.

A GE spokesman said the company is fixing the problem. He said that while the defect is a safety concern, GE does not believe it could cause a large-scale accident.

China's State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said four PG9171E generators in the southern city of Shenzhen were found to have problems and warned consumers to stop using that type of generator, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.Click to read full article

GE's Caged Peacock Should Be Set Free

The Wall Street Journal
July 29, 2006

"What do steam turbines and television studios have in common? Nothing, of course, but General Electric insists there's value in owning both businesses.....Perhaps the hardest obstacle would be selling the idea to GE executives. In some ways, NBC is the ultimate corporate perquisite. After all, steam turbines and dishwashers get dull pretty quickly. Hobnobbing with celebrities and accompanying clients to the Olympics is a whole lot more fun." Click to read full article

Free Enterpriser Comment
Diswashers are boring topics with the Hollywood crowd but lobbying for global warming regulaitons makes good cocktail conversation. It's just another example of CEO Immelt's priorities - public relations and fun over shareholder valule.

Free Enterprisers View on GE's Lobbying for Carbon Dioxide Limits

FreeEnterpriser.com Editor's Comment
April 24, 2006

Senator McCain, The New York Times and The Economist mentioned General Electric’s decision to support carbon dioxide (CO2) limitations.

Mr. McCain's press release also mentioned that Mr. Immelt, CEO of General Electric, cited the importance of establishing carbon dioxide emission targets.

This is a dangerous precedent that has been set by the head of one of the largest companies of the world. GE is asserting its enormous political clout to set a standard on carbon dioxide emissions that can impact the entire economy.  One very effective way of reducing carbon emissions is to raise the price of carbon dioxide producing products such as heating oil, diesel fuel and gasoline. The rational is that the more expensive these products are, the less people and companies will use, and therefore the less carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere.

We have all recently witnessed over $3 per gallon price tag on gas lately, with no sign that it will get cheaper any time soon. Imagine the impact to your wallet and the US economy if gasoline prices move to $5 or $6 per gallon in an effort to reduce your “Carbon Footprint”.

Such a price increase would make it difficult to perform some of the essential functions that we now take for granted such as commuting to work and heating your home. To add insult to injury, there is no evidence that reducing carbon footprints will have any effect on global warming.

You have the freedom to speak-out against bad decisions like this. Send a letter to CEO, Jeff Immelt to urge him to stop lobbying for higher gas prices.

Tell Jeff Immelt to stop lobbying for higher gas prices.

Victory at GE

FreeEnterpriser.com Editor's Comment
May 3rd 2006

Global warming shareholder resolution wins sufficient support to be voted again in 2007. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt refused to justify GE’s lobbying for global warming regulation at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on April 26.  Click to read full report.

Misguided Social Responsibility at General Electric

Paul Driessen
April 21, 2006

"Companies should always be honest, ethical and devoted to the well-being of our environment and the publics they serve: employees, investors, customers and communities alike. It’s good business. It’s socially responsible.
Unfortunately, many companies have succumbed to a siren’s song that takes them far beyond these basic truths – into the dangerous shoals of “corporate social responsibility.” Click here to read the full article.

G.E. Chief Urges U.S. to Adopt Clearer Energy Policy

The New York Times
May 10, 2005

"Senator McCain, Republican of Arizona, issued a news release thereafter saying that Mr. Immelt had called for emissions caps and market mechanisms ..." Click here to read the full article.

The Greening of General Electric

The Economist
December 8, 2005

"...Mr Immelt is not wasting shareholders' money is one that he perhaps might not advertise openly. He is asking for government intervention on carbon emissions..."
Click to read the full article .

Senator McCain Applauds Move by General Electric

Senator McCain Press Release
May 10, 2005

“In his speech, Mr. Immelt cited the importance of establishing carbon dioxide emission targets..." Click to read the entire press release.