Friday, May 23, 2008

The American Car Industry, sob

Somewhere in the late 2006 range, I had a post about Ford Motor Company pinning their hopes and dreams and profitability on their soon-to-be-successful marketing of SUVs and F250s. Yup, the American public wants huge penis (substitute) mobiles. As an aside, I am amazed the diesel F-250s don't come with a lifetime supply of magnums. Yes, they unveiled the master plan, stating unequivocally that profitability would return by 2009. Yessirree bob!

The great prognosticators that they were, they forgot that gas prices really would impact 12-15 mpg vehicles. In full disclosure, I just bought a Honda Civic Hybrid and bitch when I get less than 38 mpg. and know I will need to rent pickups or vans occasionally. Heck. to drive to CA when we moved from CO we rented a Ford Excursion to contain our bags, some knickknacks, some plants 2 cats and 2 dogs and a litter box. There is nothing wrong with trucks when needed.

But to stake the profits on gas prices staying as they were or rolling back was just stupid. Today in an Associated Press story Ford stated that they will cut production of trucks and SUVs because they are not being bought. Let me get this straight. You are being paid millions per year as executives and thought gas prices would go down. Then you gambled the jobs of thousands of line workers on your good judgment. Let's see, your current stock price is $7.16. I am too lazy to do research this morning (they were $60 in 1977) , but I bet in the hey-day of Ford, stock was near $100. GM's sure was and it now at about $18. So the company is still continuing to go down the tubes, workers are losing their jobs. I wonder how many Board members and executive management team members are going to lose their jobs. Will the Golden Parachutes be comparable?

Management is not inherently evil. It is easy to criticize. It is a dangerous position. And whether or not it is taken seriously, a manager holds the livelihood of many families in their hands! You would think that they could make better market predictions at the American auto industry. But betting your company and the lives of all your workers on trucks that get crappy mileage and not seeing the writing on the wall for gas prices? Let's just say I would not give them my family nest egg to bet on the Super Bowl. Or maybe in their minds it is time to bring back the Edsel or the Crown Vic.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Toon for a Day

Now, if she could only dance as well as Britney.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Today's Paper

In today's Sacramento Bee, there was a very good article on conservative versus progressive talk radio. It is worth the read.

I had the dubious distinction of having the drive of Denver, CO to Cactus, TX routinely for a period of 6 months about 5 years ago. I often played radio roulette to see what the rest of the country was thinking. On that trip, there was the choice of the American Family Network and the American Freedom Network on AM radio. That was it. 300 miles covered only by conservative and biblical conservative conversation. NPR existed when you got closer to Amarillo. Kansas is much the same, Nebraska a little better. Iowa has had enough NPR on AM radio to break up the conservative monopoly. Colorado Springs now can get KKZN out of Denver during the day, but at night it is an endless stream of Hugh Hewitt, Glenn Beck, Doctor Michael Savage and Bill Cunningham. O yes, Focus on the Family, too.
If this is your only cultural and political reference and major source of information, it is a very narrow band of filtered information you can get. It limits your conscious choices as there is so much you do not hear. If you are not at all affluent, XM or Sirius radio are not there for you. Yes, people in rural areas, or even even urban areas, may have access to the internets, but will they check or Not if they are told over and over again that these are at best "feminazis" or "the devil's minion."
Reagan did a disservice when the fairness doctrine disappeared. I am afraid that is out of the bottle forever, particularly with any first amendment challenge to this Supreme Court. Clinton did not help when he opened up ownership. CNN and Fox helped clinch the deal when the news division became a profit leader.
When my wife and I moved to Sacto recently, we wondered how 1240 could stay on the air given the lack of commercials. To this day, I do not understand why tattoo parlors, massage therapists, the Sacramento Food Coop, etc. were not hit up for small commercials at a reduced rate just to get some money coming in. Harlow's rock and roll venue, local organic wineries, many others have to have progressives coming there. Buying advertising on a progressive talk radio station should not alienate their primary target audience. I don't get it. UC Davis is right near by (and yes, you could hear it there). There had to be places to buy advertising.
I have often wondered if the Sacramento Coop could sponsor an ownership group through their mailing list and owners to get a radio station started to carry liberal or progressive broadcasting. Why not? Won't restaurants that believe in local food advertise? It probably is time for progressives in marginal markets to think of ways to get their message of hope out and the airwaves are the most accessible.


Monday, May 05, 2008

There is a good string about Kent State, May 4th, on But I am amazed at how few people even have the energy to look up the event on wikipedia. or Jackson State.

We have been here before and have learned little. Getting a tax rebate to help buy a big screen TV is more important, I guess.

Yesterday was the anniversary of May 4th. My wife lived next to Allison in the dorm. She lost her head going to math class. People were shot over a damned invasion that made no sense. as she stated on her blog, there was no reason to shot to kill, except that Governor Jimmy Rhoades, public opinion and Richard Nixon wanted to make a point. You have to remember that the county seat, Ravenna, had the Voice of America radio blaring down the downtown street sound system. The modern day equivalent would be having a town broadcast America Freedom Network, where Rush would be the liberal host. This is the atmosphere those protests were under. It is no wonder that there was meaningless spilling of blood. Nothing like armored personnel carriers on the campus to make you feel wanted.

I can recall on the 20th anniversary NBC news did a story that the only person photographed with a gun pointed at the National Guard was identified as an FBI agent (provocateur). The story soon disappeared. Infiltration of radical peace-loving groups was a regular occurence. Now we have wiretapping by the folks who tried to quell the last social revolution. How fast we forget and how public outrage disappears. many of the rights we take for granted and those which are rapidly stripping away were earned by the death of students in the 70s. God, what a shame. and waste of lives.

I was on a plane on Saturday and I spoke with the people I shared the row with and no one had ever heard of Jackson State or Kent State. and the May 4th Memorial at Kent is tucked away in the corner. Like no one wants to remember.