"Dues" related to this exclusive hobnob snob club showed up on Allegheny's account detail under "Certain Civic & Political Activities". Allegheny's claim regarding the portion of its corporate membership cost allocated to the PATH project states, "Dues related to the Duquesne Club allocated to all companies and PATH receives its share." A good friend of mine immediately asked me if the word "receive" has recently been re-defined. "Receive" indicates something collected or given. PATH isn't "receiving" its share of a company cost allocation, it's paying its share, which is the acting of giving. And whose wallet does PATH's giving come from? Yours! Gotta love PATH's spin doctors, they take double entendre to new heights every day!
Okay, so you're paying for Allegheny Energy's corporate membership in a private club (and also their membership in a private golf club, but we'll save that fun for another occasion). The membership in this club has been categorized as a "civic or political activity". How is membership in a private club civic? So, it must be political, then. I guess it's a place where old, rich, white men can influence politicians who are also old, rich, white men while they pretend not to conduct business at all. The Duquesne Club's "policies" (aka rules) prohibit anything as crass as public display of briefcases or business papers or cell phone conversations. I can kind of agree with them on prohibiting cell phones in restrooms though... that's just weird! Ever been in a public restroom and had someone enter, plunk their posterior down in the stall next to you and proceed to loudly say, "Hi, what are you up to?" Immediate reaction is to run screaming from the room, but usually they're just double-tasking and making cell phone calls from their throne. The rest of the rules and dress code just make me laugh! My, my, my, aren't we special!
Imagining all the hoity-toity, la-di-da pretense going on at The Duquesne Club is like the parody that writes itself and brings to mind the similar pretense I've observed during Allegheny Energy's Earnings Calls, and this inevitably leads to our friends, Burns and Smithers. Allegheny CEO Paul Evanson (aka Charles Montgomery Burns) and CFO Kirk Oliver (aka Waylon Smithers) are probably quite at home here at The Duquesne Club, and in a remarkable display of life imitating art, the resemblance is uncanny.
Burns: Smithers, a peon is trying to enter the club wearing spandex and informal leather attire! Release the hounds!
Smithers: Yes, sir, Mr. Burns, sir. Shall I charge the ratepayers for the labor of the hounds?
Burns: Can we do that, Smithers? Would anyone notice or care?
Smithers: Yes sir, we've been getting away with billing the ratepayers for all sorts of imprudent costs for years.
Burns: Excellent! Now help me to the solarium, Smithers, it's time to do a little sunbathing.
Smithers: Right away, Mr. Burns, sir! Can I hold your towel?