Friday, February 27, 2009

Car Stuff

Toyota Prius has won an award for Consumer Reports magazine for a new award, Best Car Value. I have driven them. I own a Honda Hydrid. The Prius is a wonderful car, even better than mine. I just couldn't afford a Prius with no money down at the time.

And GM has lost $82 billion in the past four years. OW!!!!! It burned through $6.4 billion in the 4th quarter 2008 alone, including $4B from the bail out. What a conumdrum. They deserve to fail, but if they do, 3,000,000 become unemployed. They expect to burn through $14B this year, the losses are staggering and will need more governement assistance.

Yeesh. What do you do? Who wants Hummer? Who wants Saturn? I actually went to purchase a Chevy Malibu when I purchased my Honda. I drove both. The Malibu Hybrid had fold down rear seats, more power and was roomier. But it just felt cheesy. and the mileage was 30 mpg! I get 45 in my Honda. What a drag. I even had a GM employee discount and it still did not make it worth it. and the sales staff sucked. Here, wait and my manager can make you a better deal. Then the sales manager may sweeten the deal. Oh but that has to approved by the bigger manager. Fire some of the fucking managers, make the cost lower and you might have a deal, idiots. I bought my Honda at the dealership, but did most of the heavy lifting, including pricing and credit approval in line at home drinking tea. Probably in my sweats or shorts. Comfy and easy.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Kiddie Table

After seeing Bobby Jindahl last night I almost felt sorry for him. Kind of like a little leaguer facing Randy Johnson in his prime. Except, I had to remember he exorcised the eeveel spirits out of his college sweetie. Just what we need is an exorcist in the White House, or any level of government. "Throw her in the water and if she floats, she is a witch and we will kill her. If she sinks and drowns..." Great, huh. And he had to follow someone who gave one of the best speeches since Kennedy. Go back to the kiddies table, the adults are here.

Also, Media matters put out a list of congress members who voted against the jobs bill. Maybe it is time for area activists to pull out recall petitions for these lucky guys, or anyone who voted against jobs. That might put the fear into some of the more provincial types.


Friday, February 20, 2009

It's A DayQuil Kind od Day!

After a fun-filled three days in Las Vegas, the most unreal town in America, I have have to do routine work. I did have a desultory epiphany or two there. 1) As much fun as the water show was to observe at the Bellagio, I had to wonder how the nature spirits of the desert really like having such egregious disregard for their home. I mean a water wonderland in the desert? How fitting! and I observed this with fellow water and wastewater operators, so we all walked away going "ooh" and later realized we were all thinking how many psi the pumps had to develop to get that height, what type of solenoid valves are being used to withstand the pressure and such. In fact, I was relieved that I was not the only nerd/geek wondering that. The questions came up as we relaxed in the bar afterwards.

2) Had dinner and drinks in Margaritaville. It is amazing that flip flops, shorts and hawaiian shirts (oh yes, and booze--no one mentions weed, or other drugs even though there are LOUD videos of Buffet and other jambands being pumped out continually. No one smokes weed at a String Ceese show) have been turned into a glorified life style, which attracts so many people for a brief drunken break into their routine lives. combine that with mediocre food and more booze and a floor show with men on stilts, a pirate captain and a bikini clad babe whose arms were better developed than mine--the show repeats every X amount of minutes and the babe changes her bikini, fake blonde hair still the same. Part of the floor show is to raise your drinks and chug. Imagine a bar that features ritualized drinking. what a great business plan.

More honest than Hooters, home the great wings! and I read Penthouse for the articles.

Well, I dive through life today in a Dayquil haze and try my best at mitigating the fines of a sewage overflow my firm had nothing to do with--a city broke a sewer line and fixed it themselves, did not tell us and the County and EPA found out about it and asked us. Boy, did we look honest when we said "What?" We really did not know.

Before I go through that maze, I have to comment on the Swiss Bank and the scandal brewing there. They had code words for country of currency origin, animal names for denominations, really cool superspy stuff. But now the FBI wants them to turn over to the IRS the names of investors to see who was evading taxes in fake corporations that they set up. They made no bones about setting up fake corporations for tax-free investment for offshore profits.

Wait, wasn't that Phil Gramm's (McCain's economic advisor) bank and employer?

Kind of makes you wonder who invested in off shore accounts and tried to dodge taxes? Democrats or Republicans? Middle class (I know everyone in my family has a swiss bank account, how about yours?) How many of each? Upper class, lower class or Bush's base (upper 0.5 of 1%, as he joked). So who is using what are called the commons (defense, roads, subsidy for Post Office, etc.) in a disproportionate way as they try to escape taxes that pay for them? Another way of putting it more bluntly, who hates America and really is unpatriotic by being a greedy bastard and not paying their fair share? the lower classes or the mega rich? Yes, these are class generalizations and many in lower classes would do this if they could and many rich folk set up great trusts and things, but....

I hope they make the unpatriotic bastards serve time for tax evasion during a time of war!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Is This Car News or a Management Rant?

"There was anger today as BMW confirmed that 850 jobs were being cut by ending weekend working at its Mini car plant near Oxford.

The cuts will mostly affect agency workers when they come into force from 2 March when the plant begins operating five days a week, instead of the current seven.

Union sources said workers booed and threw apples and oranges at managers after being told they were losing their jobs.

Agency workers leaving Cowley this morning expressed their fury at being given just one hour's notice of the redundancies.

"It's a disgrace. I feel as though I've been used," said one worker. "We should have been given one month's notice, not one hour."

Axed agency staff were given the grim news in meetings at the factory following weekend speculation that hundreds of jobs were to go.

Almost a third of the Cowley workforce are agency staff and some complained today they would not receive any redundancy pay.

The contract staff, who have few employment rights, were brought in to work alongside full-time employees on the production lines, which built 230,000 vehicles last year."

This story bothers for a number of reasons. The first and foremost is my business experience and my past bosses. I had one that in a managers' meeting, stated "Hire more women, they will work for 15% and raise our margins." another always wanted us to hire temps so we did not have to pay benefits, or at least delay the payment of benefits. and here we have contract labor (temps) working alongside full-time employees. This story does not give enough details. Were they hired to make Minis while the market was hot, soon to be discarded? Were they paid more than full-time workers to make up for no benefits? What were the promises made to them as they were hired?

Temporary workers should not be used as "scabs" to fill labor needs, and raise profit margins because they are paid less. That is unethical and shows no integrity of character. They are a viable labor alternative for short-term from a management stand point. Still, they need respect. Contract labor has become a predominant cheaper labor source because they seldom get benefits and can be discarded like "things". Workers are people and as such deserve a level of treatment that you would provide to a family member. Management wonders why morale is down. Because workers are treated as things. not people. They can sense this. The subconscious is an amazing organ of perception. (I won't go off on this today, but many drug and alcohol problems are brain chemistry, but others are an attempt at shielding and self-medication because subconsciously people can feel how vicious others really are.)

What is wrong with management that people are treated as disposable things? and why is this taught as a viable alternative to offering full-time jobs with benefits to workers? I can think of many "Joe" jobs my daughter has had that offer full-time employment when available, but employment often stays with 10 people working 24 hours/week so they don't have to offer benefits. And then employers wonder why they get ripped off by ungrateful employees!

Many companies now offer benefits after 90 days of employment, but if you hire an employee as a temp, or less than full time, that time does not go towards the 90 days. Bend over and spread them, we want to use you.

Sometimes management training and policies in this country just offend me.

Well, there will be no car czar, but a Presidential commission. Yep, to oversee the bailed out GM and Chrysler a committee oversee some of the worst run businesses in the world. Well, Wall Street is so poorly run that they deserve complete nationalization and firing of all the yahoos who ran it into the ground. I am sure there are plenty of talented business grads who could do no worse for a lot less money. Here is hoping the committee has LABOR representation. Otherwise the workers will be screwed and the unions broken. If that happens, kiss the vestiges of a middle class good bye!

and in other news, the Associated Press has stated that there is a whole bunch of life under the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans and ice caps that were unknown. Thousands of species. One specializes in eating snails. How slow must a snail move in that cold of water, one dares to ask? and if they get in your plankton garden, how do you place a saucer of beer there? Here is a link from the Canadian Press. and one with some pictures.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Too good a story not to be true-

The Two Americas

Honestly, I read the news today and wonder why there are two sets of rules for Americans based upon the economic class that they are from. I wondered this a long time ago during the Jon Benet Ramsey murder investigation. What would have happened to me if I said I would not respond to the police or "come downtown". The Ramsey's have said no and were honored. Try this as an Hispanic in East LA. Think it would work?

And now we have a clown,(sorry, no makeup) on the Falafel King's show stating that if the truth of the Bush administration and if the laws they broke were released for the public to know, it would be deadly. Huh? But they should be honored as heroes. Hello, they committed genital mutilation on at least one person. Genital mutilation--such a nice way of saying slicing up someone's dick and nuts with a knife. It sounds so less coarse because it was done with a scalpel, obviously making it professional. Oh My God!!!!! How do you get out of bed in the morning.

And now Conyers subpoenas Rove for the THIRD time through his lawyer, but his lawyer and the lawyer's assistant just can't reached until after the date of the subpoena. How convenient. Try that with your local court. Given the size of the game they are playing, there must be something to hide.

So, who has the stones to find the arrogant son of a bitch and let him meet Bubba in a dark cell somewhere? Or in Rove's case (and I firmly believe this), a woman. It is still a pet theory that the past administration had many sexual identity dysfunctions that came out in torture and bullying as a means of satisfaction, gratification and really was an expression of sublimation.

and on the other end of the spectrum, you can't pay for the cost of your registration, you lose your car, that was doubling as your house because you lost your roommate to cancer and can't afford the rent by yourself.

There is a large disconnect in America today!


And I quit writing for a while about the auto industry--There has been so much news. Toyota lost 30% of its sales, GM 49+%, Chrysler over 50% and GM is laying off 20,000. OW! An average worker makes $70,000-$80,000 with bennies. An average bonus on Wall Street is over $1,000,000 or about 15 workers.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Why Getting things Done Quickly Matters

This is part of a stream of comments that came from my other blog--

It is just maddening. as with any new boss, Obama had a 2-4 week window to get most of his new programs passed and in place. Then public opinion maybe could help push for more. His insistence on bipartisanship instead of civic duty is ridiculous. The lackeys who are obstructionist need to be called out in public by name, as well as defining the consequences of their action in a way even the village idiot can understand. The republicans are just gettting to grind everything to a halt because if these reforms and public works projects do help stimulate the economy; Reagan, free markets, Ayn Rand and Friedman are no longer saints, but discredited philosophers who just spout off. They cannot afford that as it discredits their party and its dubious achievements over the past 30 years.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Yes, we are living in bizarro world, except they don't speak backwards. Joe the Plumber, fresh from his stint as a reporter, where he said reporters should not have access is now political consultant to the GOP and Sarah "Caribou Barbie" Palin is a leader. And Rush is the de facto propagandizer.

Goldwater and Buckley must be shitting in their graves! It has come to this, an airport named after St. "Get Rid of Government" Reagan, who broke the air traffic controllers union (to hell with safety, seems like the kind of job for OJT). Making burgers is now manufacturing jobs in labor counts.

And I thought my acid dreams from the 60s were unbelievable.

I did not include the links. look up this sorry state of existence for yourself.

On another issue, I went to see the orthopaedist today and he said no more injections on my left knee. Replace it when my pain tolerance has hit its limit. I already moved to a one foor house becasue stairs were too much and walking 0.5 miles requires icing and a beer ot three. My boss asked for 6 more months. We'll see.