12.27.2008

GM Cars and Trucks - I'm Not Convinced Yet

A while back I got two emails from GM executives - not directed at me, I'm not quite that important yet - but generic emails with their signature touting their good products and asking for support to pressure Congress. I'd post the entire email, but it's not all that interesting nor convincing. Basically the emails stated that GM makes many fuel efficient cars - some over 30MPG, they tout their award-winning trucks/SUVs and such - but nothing in the letter tells me why I should buy a GM vehicle.

I wrote them both back and explained that I don't buy GM vehicles for several reasons:

1) I like the unique (PT Cruiser, PT Prowler, Nissan Skyline, Toyota Prius) and the exotic (any Lambourghini) - GM has neither.

2) The few cars I would like by GM are too small (I'm very tall, need lots of leg and head room)

3) With the exception of Saturn and Cadillac - their brands have no identity as each competes against themselves

4) GM does not think ahead

Not sure if they listened. Judging from their performances on Capitol Hill, I highly doubt it. Their fuel efficient cars aren't sytlish, nor can I fit in them - with the exception of the flexfuel Silverado. But FlexFuel is a biofuel and I'm not convinced that's the answer to our energy needs. If we ALL ate well and still had extra food available for our cars and trucks, then yes I would consider it. But since we don't all eat well, using soybeans and corn for fuel only drives up the costs of those commodities for everyone.

The Volt is coming - but it's been coming for years and even wiped off the drawing board only to be resurrected once the gravy from truck sales stopped flowing. Great idea for a concept car, but what they plan to do with it won't meet my needs at all.

I'd be curious to hear from my readers what they think of GM cars. Do you own one? What would you say to someone like me who has never purchased a GM product? Would you be a good salesperson for GM? Let me know and as always -

Thanks for listening.

12.08.2008

Stop Hating, Start Congratulating

I knew this was coming, just didn't know what form it would take. Don't people have more things to do than to challenge Barack Obama's eligibility for the presidency? Apparently, this has been ripe fodder for bloggers, fact-checking sites, and certain newspapers. I just wonder what's taken so long for the chain letters to start. Maybe it started and I fortunately haven't seen it yet.

This was in the New York Times (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/08/supreme-court-rejects-appeal-over-obamas-citizenship/?hp) following the US Supreme Court's very wise decision not to hear a case from a New Jersey man claiming that Barack Obama isn't eligible because he was born of dual nationalities (Mom is from the US, Dad is from Kenya/Great Britain). Another case still pending claims that his childhood spent overseas in Indonesia also makes him ineligible. Did these people ever read the US Constitution? Can these people read? If not then they should be glad Obama is in office because he is focused on education and that will help these people read and understand what the Constitution says.

Just in case anyone needs any help, the US Constitution spells out these eligibility requirements for President of the Unites States of America:

1) Must be a natural born citizen of the USA
2) Must be at least 35 years old
3) Must have resided within the USA for at least 14 years

* Please note - it says nothing about the legal standing of a person's parents, nor does it say they have to live in the USA their entire lives, nor does it say they have to live in the USA for 14 consecutive years. Obama meets all of these criteria. End of game, stop wasting your time. If you wanted to keep blacks and Hispanics out of he White House you should have sought to change these rules years ago. Good luck with that now cause it won't happen.

***

On another note, Mr. Obama was on Meet the Press on Sunday (I missed the original airing, but thank goodness for the Internet).




I was struck by his consistency, there seems to be no disparity between his campaign message and his post-election message - although the numbers are a lot bigger because we now know a lot more than we did then.

The Big Three

He was right on the auto industry, they've brought a lot of this stuff on themselves and I personally think they are only asking for this loan because the credit markets soured. They were failing long before the current economic crunch and would have continued sliding with or without a stock market collapse.

Since Rick Wagonner, CEO of GM, and his cohorts apparently have no real, sustainable plan, I favor a structured bankruptcy. As much as I hate for my fellow countrymen to lose their compensation, I'd rather see them lose their pension, health insurance premiums, etc. than to lose their jobs. Union members will have to start grappling with the same issues the rest of us face. It should be known - union members are NOT the cause of the calamity. They are merely pawns of a larger dysfunctional organziation.

GM in particular has the means to form some identity in their lineup. They don't need so many brands, and even if they did, each should have their own identity. Hummer has its identity. Saturn HAD an identity, as did Pontiac and Oldsmobile in years gone by. The top brass hasn't figured that out yet, and I highly doubt they will. They don't learn from others because they think they have figured everything out already. They pay no attention to Toyota or Honda regardless of the fact both companies seem to have American's attention. Therefore I'm not fond of giving them any cash (except to provide their workers with a comfortable severance package), unless they come up with something more than "focus on fuel efficient cars". They should have done that 35 years ago.

The Economy

Not sure if his housing plan will work, but it does make sense. It sounds like the plan is still being worked out, so I'll give Mr. Obama the benefit of the doubt.

Mr. Obama has clearly done his homework. He has taken note of when we are most prosperous - when the Great Divide between rich and poor isn't as polarized as it is today. His plan to incorporate infrastructure projects harkens back to Dwight D. Eisenhower's interstate highway project and FDR's many public works projects, both of which met its goal of putting people to work. I read in the Kansas City Star on Sunday that Republicans including the President don't like this idea because they are concerned about the $1T national deficit. No WAY?!?! They are concerned about the national deficit? Where did they get religion all of the sudden? The deficit was coming down under the Clinton administration. Mr. Bush didn't have to go through with tax cuts in 2002 when we knew darn well that war was coming (war is expensive you know). Now that a Democratic president is coming in January 2009, the GOP is concerned about the national deficit. Ladies and gentlemen, this is hypocrosy at its finest!


The World


The world should get ready for an all-new America to deal with. We are on the way back to what makes America great in the first place - our diversity, our desire for peace, and our strength of character. No more unilateral decisions without the support of our allies - with the possible exception of those that won't act when action is required (that means you Pakistan). If things go anywhere close to what Obama seems to have in mind - Osama bin Laden's days may be numbered.

Iran is a player in the Middle East, they have influence in Iraq even if they say nothing, do nothing. It is unrealistic for us to believe that Iran can have no influence in Iraq, much as it is impossible for the US not to have influence on Mexico, Canada or any other nation in the western hemisphere. So I feel that Obama is justified in wanting to talk to Iran - something that the Bush administration refused to do.

I still don't understand, Mr. Bush. How do you resolve differences without talking to the other person?

The Appointments

I told you in a previous blog that he would name a well-qualified Republican to his team. Welcome Robert Gates.

So far, the cabinet and other appointments have been impressive actually. He's following his own advice. I'm always impressed by anyone who does what they say, they say what they mean, and they mean what they say.

***

Thank for listening, I'd be very interested in what others say, so please leave me a post!

12.03.2008

Guilt by Association is Simply Stupid

This popped up on our local news, but it is of national stature, so maybe you've heard of this situation.  Virginia Republican Chairman Jeff Frederick claims that President-Elect Barack Obama has friends who bombed the Pentagon.  He was of course referring to Bill Ayers, a 1960s radical who bombed US targets in the 1960s (when Obama was just a child), but later in life gained a doctorate from the University of Chicago and was a professor there when Obama first made his acquaintence when they were both members of a school board.  


And, he won't apologize.   Mr Frederick says it was "just a stupid joke", but yet claims it is absolutely true.    Fortunately, his statements were dismissed by both Democrats and Republicans.  Even still, I find this comment divisive and very symbolic of just how low some conservatives have become.  

Mr. Obama has made clear the relationship he had with Mr. Ayers.  They were colleagues on  a project, not much more.  They certainly weren't bosom buddies.   But let's just say he was for sake of argument.  So what???

I work with a skinhead.  Does that make me a skinhead?  No.   I ride the bus with a gay male.  does that make me gay?  No.  My point should be obvious but has apparently been lost on certain people.   Who I associate with does not dictate who I am.   When people only associate with those like them we wind up with the segregationist society we've known for 300 years.  We all know, work with, play with or are even closer to people who do not share our views nor do they speak for us.   

Or maybe, that's Mr. Frederick's point.  He and others like him don't know how to befriend or accept those who are different.  Maybe Mr. Frederick is trying to say that his friends dictate who he is.  So if his neighbor embezzled $1M, then Mr. Frederick would also be a crook.  Maybe if his pastor/priest is a pedophile, that also makes Mr. Frederick a pedophile.  That's a shame if that's the world he lives in.   So let us assign his principles to other people.  

According to this logic, all of the following people are also crooked and/or criminal:

Anyone who ever worked with Congressman Tom Delay (R).
Anyone who ever worked with Senator Ted Stevens (R). 
Anyone who ever worked with President Richard Nixon (R).
Anyone who ever worked with Congressman William Jefferson (D).
.
.
.

That covers just about everyone in Washington, DC and in most states and probably includes Mr. Frederick.  So then, what is the point of trying to equate one person with another?  Why is he trying so hard to make Obama into Bill Ayers?   

A scientific theory goes that we are all connected to one another by no more than six people.  In other words if we all were to list 6 people, we could connect the dots from anyone in the world to anyone else in the world including all world leaders, the famous, and the infamous.    So that makes any "guilt by association" a rather moot point.   

Mr. Frederick ends by saying the GOP has to broaden its appeal, they cannot continue as the "old white guy party".    I guess he's making a real good start, huh?  

That's all I'm going to say on this topic.

NPR Topics: News