We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, April 1. 2009
Here's a cruise I would enjoy
The pythons of the Everglades. Sheesh.
Sounds like a fine new Chaplin bio
What is it about American self-hatred? (I don't know - I don't have any of it.)
NY State once again attempts to drive people and business out of state. Why? Do they want to end up like Michigan?
They say "This is just the beginning"
We have Government Cheese, and now we have a Government Emotional Rescue Kit. Where would we be without those geniuses?
First-person accounts of the Revolutionary War, from common soldiers
NYT spiked ACORN story for political reasons. Duh. They were afraid the facts might affect the election.
Polygamy becoming legal in Canada? That should attract all of the Hollywood stars who used to threaten to leave America - but, sadly, never did.
Did socialized medicine kill Natasha Richardson? Probably
US spending is at the tipping point. Guess who gets to bail out the Feds when they make the nation bankrupt?
Yes, the fuel standards are part of what is killing Detroit. Nobody is buying those little cars and little hybrids, but they are forced to build them anyway.
Related, from Wilkinson: Are we flirting with Fascism?
But here's the real story behind the auto news, via the WSJ. One quote:
The Guardian seems to have missed the point that the life-preservers for Polar Bears was a hoax. These bears routinely swim vast distances.
Dem cabinet nominee tax cheat du jour. Taxes are for the little people.
Rush to NYC: Drop Dead. I would not have imagined that he has a per diem tax when working from NY.
Via Insty, some affordable fly-fishing gear
In praise of Capitalist exploitation. Front Page
Grandiose and power-hungry: The UN
Tracked: Apr 01, 07:21
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The "Government Emotional Rescue Kit" gives me a panic attack.
Fiat buying Chrysler is like the blind helping the blind. I would have preferred if Beretta bought Chrysler.
Get any Beretta gun plus 300 rounds free with the purchase of any Chrysler. Guarantee sales would increase right away.
There's a certain poetic justice in government stepping in to run these companies. They'll have to deal with their own rules, regulations and red tape.
Nobody is buying those little cars and little hybrids
This is missing an important qualifier; and while it might be implied from the context, I've heard the comment enough without context to want to make the point explicit.
The issue is not that nobody is buying little cars and hybrids. It's that nobody is buying little cars and hybrids from them. There's a market for small cars, and it's going to get bigger. It's just that people who want small cars demand good engineering and reliability. When those qualities are your top priority you are a lot more likely to look to cars from Toyko than Detroit, and Detroit has done little to change that. For a great many people, buying a car made by an American car company is perceived to carry risk, and when you are making a five-figure purchase that you'll use every day, risk is something to be avoided.
In 1979 I bought a Toyota Corolla. Back then that was a bold move. I was just a few years out of college. My wife and I went to the Christmas family gathering of her blue-collar ethnic relatives at one of their homes. When I pulled up and parked the car among their Chevys and Oldsmobiles and Fords it started critical comments that ran unabated the entire evening.
Meanwhile, the temperature dropped to the teens outside. When it was time to go, one by one they all went outside to start their cars. One by one those Chevys and Oldsmobiles and Fords ... wouldn't start. People came back inside and started trying to figure out what to do. I grabbed my coat. Comments really started to fly, then. What did I think I was going to do? Outside I went. My wife told me that when I turned my headlights on (which signalled that I had been able to get the car started) you could have heard a pin drop.
To pile insult onto injury, I then offered to jump start everyone else's car. There was a chorus of protests that my little $hitbox car couldn't possibly jump off their big Detroit iron. I proved that wrong a number of times, and each time I leaned into the driver's window and said "What do you think of my little $hitbox car now?"
The perception of Japanese cars vs. American cars changed in that family that night. Sure, people want big comfortable cars. But they also want them to start every time they turn the key.
Just want to say, you've still got one of the best blogs out there.
The speech on the auto industry confirms Obama as a master of the non sequitur and an economic illiterate with no regard for the Constitution.
We are on The Road to Serfdom.
Ahh, the '70s, a real time of P.O.S. American automotive ingenuity, all carburetor driven. I had one that cranked hard (1970 Plymouth Satellite, 383ci, 4bbl, 4sp) in the winter, but it did always start, mainly because I kept it in tune. I sold it for another fine specimen of Ford product.. the 1975 Mustang II (302ci, Auto).. and it started also...mainly because I kept after the tune. Those were the days. R.I.P.....don't miss them at all.
I'll take a modern computer controlled, fuel injected engine over those fine museum pieces any day. I can't fix most of the stuff on a modern vehicle because I lack the diagnostic tools required, but I'll trade off the busted knuckles, the every 10k tuneup, the quart of oil every 1000 miles, the hard starts, the bangs, pops, squeaks, the alignment issues, the leaks, the rust, the list goes on for a vehicle that a 1/2 second turn of the key in the ignition and the engine cranks and starts....every time.
And I don't get nostalgic over Toyotas, Subarus, Nissans, and other foreign makes. I remember also their early U.S. days when they too were rust magnets, had air conditioners that worked fine when it was 40 degrees out but couldn't handle a midwest summer, were rattle death traps, lacked power, lacked amenities, tiny econo boxes and all. I'd just say that the Japanese reacted faster (less bureaucratic inertia) to the complaints and improved their product faster.
But I think there are two valid points that the pols cover their eyes to not see:
One (as stated above by RonF) .."people who want small cars demand good engineering and reliability.." Detroit has never overcome this perception of poor engineering and may never be able to.
Two: Small cars do NOT FIT a lot of people's lifestyles. What the pols want to change is people's lifestyle (as the Won stated during the campaign with his S.U.V. and thermostat comment). And if the pols have to destroy an industry to change your (my) lifestyle, well, sorry 'bout that, can't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs, eh?
If we don't do something about correcting the education of our beloved brothers and sisters in Islam, Michelle, then everyday is MUSLIM FOOLS DAY.
If the British example is any guide, the most likely course (as opposed to the best course) is that these companies will remain wards of the state until the boomer retirees die off as a voting group or until the financial drain simply becomes unsustainable, at which point the remains will be sold to a Tata or Great Wall Motor or whoever else wants to expand in the American market two decades from now. But maybe only if these firms see advantage in re-badging their product as a GM or a Chrysler. That is, if the names GM and Chrysler still mean anything positive to American buyers.
Please let me briefly expand on my comment on the Cafe Hayek article.
Café Hayek has taken apart Mr. Obama’s speech on the auto industry. (Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom.)
The speech confirms Obama as the master of the non sequitur and an economic illiterate with no regard for the Constitution.
If you listen closely to Obama, he is always making factually incorrect statements, using misdirection when citing reasons for a problem or reasons for taking action or using incongruent or incoherent arguments.
Why all of this muddled thinking? This was you get when graduates from high school have limited or no ability to balance a checkbook much less understand economic fundamentals, little or no knowledge of American history (including the fundamentals of the Constitution and the structure of government) and no comprehension of the rule of law – that fine line in the sand between freedom and the tyranny of government.
But then again, you probably know where I would come out on this debate.
Quote from Skookumchuk "... the most likely course [as opposed to the best course] is that these companies will remain wards of the state until the boomer retirees die off as a voting group..." I disagree somewhat, SK. The most likely course is that wise grown-up folks who want their cars to work reliably will buy Toyotas, Hondas and BMWs which are made in factories located in the southern states of the U.S. They won't go anywhere near the sloppy products of the WhiteHouse supported Detroit producers. But we'll still have to pay our hard-earned tax dollars to keep supporting these hunks of junk.
I hope all you wise grown-ups read the devastating analysis,
linked above, of Obama's Auto speech. Pure Socialist, all the way, and not even disguised well.
Meanwhile, I'll keep my 18-year-old Volvo station wagon in good condition and continue to drive it. She always starts the first time I turn the key, even in cold weather.
"They won't go anywhere near the sloppy products of the WhiteHouse supported Detroit producers. But we'll still have to pay our hard-earned tax dollars to keep supporting these hunks of junk."
True. They won't. But Detroit will still keep cranking them out with government dollars - and there won't be any customers. And my point is that as these brands devalue further, no foreign car company will want them either, when the time comes that Uncle Sam has to unload them.
My sense is that since Obama and the dems have decided to politicize the bailout of GM by forcing out Wagner and demanding more green cars that somewhere around 48% of the population will find GM products now have a dem stink on them...If Ford can thread this needle as they have by avoiding government money then they will be big winners in this new game.