Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Trouble for the Auto Industry Bailout

Reports indicate that there is less confidence that the auto indusrty bailout will be passed. Many Republicans and some Democrats question whether the bailout bill will use taxpayer's dollars effectively. The Bloomberg article Democrats Back Off Prediction of Automaker Bailout Approval describes the latest version of the bill.
The Democratic proposal would let the president appoint a so-called car czar to oversee industry restructuring, and give taxpayers stock warrants equal to 20 percent of the loans. It would prohibit the automakers from paying dividends and owning or leasing corporate jets, and pay and bonuses would be limited.

This, however, does not address the inherent problems with these businesses. Preventing the "paying dividends and owning or leasing corporate jets, and pay and bonuses" addresses none of the major problems with these companies. A limit on excesses misses the basic fact that these are failed companies, who can't garner loans from anyone other than Congress. The only check or change that this bill implements is 'a car czar'; the powers of which Chairman Barney Frank tried to explain...

Frank told reporters today the bill would give the car czar “a great deal of head-knocking ability” with “a lot of the powers that you would get in bankruptcy.”

The official would have the power to veto participating automakers’ plans to invest abroad, Frank said. Lawmakers want to ensure the companies don’t “take American taxpayer dollars and expand in other countries rather than here, or shut down a plant in America while expanding a plant elsewhere,” he said.

Because Bush and President-elect Barack Obama are unlikely to agree on a czar, Obama will likely replace Bush’s pick as soon as he takes office, Frank said. The Bush administration has said the official should come from the Commerce Department.

So this 'car czar' a likely member of the Commerce Department will be apparently appointed by President Bush then replaced by the future President Obama, and he shall be granted 'head knocking abilities'.

Chairman Frank went on to state that the auto industry will likely need to be granted more money in the future, something Speaker Pelosi has also stated. This does not instill confidence that this bailout will be anything but a waste of money.

A few basic questions for lawmakers...

How will this money fix the failed business policies of the auto industry?

How many bailouts and/or how much money will be paid to the automakers total?

What's wrong with bankruptcy?

What are the requirements for being granted a government bailout?

This is still not an rational solution. Ask your representatives not to support this bailout bill, and make them at least answer the basic question, 'how will this money fix the problems that the auto industry faces?'

Contact Your Senator

Contact Your Congressman

Continued Problems with the Automaker Bailout

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Blogs

I started blogging this election cycle as a way to support Senator McCain for President. Now that race has ended, I'm interested in blogging at different sites for different purposes. I will continue my original site Broad Side of the Barn as a light hearted site with some useful resources, however, it is in serious need of updating. Blog topics typically will fall under the heading of internet or politics, but other topics will be addressed as well. Some of these sites are derivatives of ones set up during the election, many of them still need significant work. Here are the blogs I plan on posting to and developing at this time. Thank you for visiting.

Experimental Blogging Trial and Error Site
StatesLocal Theme
Surround the Web Random
Purple People Vote The old version Purple People Vote
Divied Up Random
Cracked Back Random
Linked the Web Random
Web Driven Web Topics
U.S. Independent Politics - Independent
Circle the Web Random
Blog Gobbers Fun / Random
Practical 1 PoliticsPolitics
More PolsPolitics
Independent VotersPolitics
Local Republican RacesPolitics...only if contributors want it to continue
Indie-Site Politics / Independent
McCain Blogger Resources Internet? - Form? - Maybe?
Battleground States 08Politics
Web InquiryInternet
Independent VotersPolitics / Independent
Who Do I Vote For?Politics
Round FourRandom
Broad Side of the Barn StoreInternet / Sales - Affiliate Programs
Change Candidates Politics
Scienceless Tech and Science Interest
Fiscally Conservative Socially Moderate Independents Politics / Independent
BroadSideoftheBa... Humor Random
The Online VolunteerPhilanthropy
Blue Collar VotersPolitics
Independent Voter ResourcePolitics / Independent
Rambling WebPhilanthropy
In New HampshireNH Local

Here are a variety of other sites of interest. The Maine Tool Room, Dr. Dog Health Care, Blogs for Victory,, Network for Good, The Red Cross, The Smithsonian, Zannel, AARA News Service, Real Clear Politics, Joe Lieberman, Righty Blogs

Bailout Opposition Continued

Yesterday's article Oppose the Auto Bailout was not intended to be anti-union or anti-auto company, it's simply the opinion of an old fashion cheapskate. If the government is going to spend taxpayer dollars they need to ensure that those funds are not being wasted. There has been little effort to explain why pumping money into failed businesses will fix that failed business model. Voters should contact their lawmakers and let them know they will hold them responsible if they give automakers billions of taxpayer dollars only to see those business collapse in the future.

Contact Your Senator

Contact Your Congressman

Similar sentiments we're expressed by Senator Mitch McConnell (R - KY).
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding proposed auto legislation:

“The auto industry is vitally important to our nation’s economy and it is vitally important to my home state of Kentucky. This is not in dispute. The question before us is how to reverse the decline of some of these auto manufacturers after decades of complicity between management and labor.

“I understand congressional Democrats sent a revised proposal to the White House late last night. We will reserve our judgment until we see the latest text. But the proposal we saw yesterday afternoon fails to achieve our goal of securing the long-term viability of ailing auto companies.

“I want to support a bill that revives this industry. But I will not support a bill that revives the patient with taxpayer dollars yet doesn’t secure a commitment that the patient will change its ways so future help isn’t needed.

“To do so would be a betrayal of the millions of hardworking taxpayers who are not at fault for the troubles in the auto industry. And it would be unfair to the millions of Americans who depend on these companies.

No Auto Bailout Part 2

Monday, December 8, 2008

Buy an AeroCar

From Wired Get Your Own Vintage Flying Car for $3.5 Million
"Just six Aerocars were ever built, and they did fly when they were built. Marilyn Felling bought Aerocar No. 2 more than 25 years ago, but never restored it. She insists it has been examined by a mechanic and could be made airworthy in a few hours. Of course, N103D hasn't flown since the Ford Administration, so that may be optimistic.

Still — how cool would it be to own a flying car that'll do 60 mph on the highway and 110 in the air? Just think of the joy you'd feel. And if you can't think of enough good reasons to own it, the folks at have spelled them out for you.

You can pick one up "for inclusion in your private collection." Or if you're feeling philanthropic, buy one "for a donation to your favorite museum." Maybe your kids or grandkids would appreciate it "as a legacy for the heirs of your estate. "Our favorite is the promise of "a 1031 property exchange," though we have no idea what that means. "

Auto Bailout Protest has posted a couple pieces on opposing the government bailout of the auto industry. The first by Representative Michele Bachmann opposes not just the auto bailout, but the concept that Washington should be spending tax payer money to prop up failed businesses. The second article by Francis Cianfrocca discusses how contract renegotiations with the United Auto Workers union need to be included any proposed bailout as failure to so will result in the eventual failure of those companies with or without a bailout. Excerpts below.

One main reason the auto bailout is facing such opposition is that there has been no attempt to explain why pumping money into a failed business will fix that business. If these company continue on their current path this bailout will simply prolong the time before before failure, and will result in simply wasting a huge sum of tax payer dollars.

For those who oppose bailing out the auto industry, folllow the links below to contact your Senators and Congressmen to let them know that you do not support this bill, and that you will hold them responsible for wasting your money.

Contact Your Senator

Contact Your Congressman

No More Bailouts by Rep. Michele Bachmann
Washington needs to stop handing out your money like its Monopoly money. Each dollar is hard-earned and the men and woman who worked so hard for it deserve more respect from their government than to be treated like an ATM. Our economy grew strong on the backs of Main Street; from the ideas and sheer sweat of innovators and entrepreneurs flush with the American spirit. Risk-taking is part of that adventure. But when government guarantees against failure, risk and reward becomes meaningless. Eventually, that will crush our economy- and that eventually may not be that far down the road.

The Critical Missing Piece in the Automaker Bailout by Francis Cianfrocca
There will be no significant cost-cutting or pain imposed on the UAW in the restructuring of the domestic auto industry, unless it happens right now, this week.

The UAW must agree to a labor-cost structure that, in Sen. Corker’s words, is no higher than that faced by foreign (“transplant”) automakers who assemble vehicles in the United States. The union must agree to very painful concessions on wages, healthcare, work rules, and retiree benefits.

Gettelfinger, playing to the galleries, has assured lawmakers that he will indeed be open to doing whatever he can to seal the deal. Among other things, he’s signaled willingness to end the so-called “job bank.” You know, that’s where an automaker closes a production facility that no longer makes sense, but continues to pay the workers full wages and benefits to play video games all day, for years into the future.

But what Gettelfinger has pointedly not said, is that he’s willing to re-negotiate the contract that the UAW currently has with the automakers. In short, he’s not preparing to compromise at all, or to ask his people to take any real pain.

Oppose the Auto Bailout

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Crack Pipes Being Sold in Convenience Stores

There are several reports of 'glass roses' which are used as crack pipes being sold in convenience stores around the country. The following report comes from Georgia Georgia Police Chief Suggests Ban on Glass ‘Rose’ Pipes
"Police Chief Dennis Bell of Arcade, Georgia, is asking lawmakers to ban the three-inch glass pipes with a fake rose inside, the Associated Press reports. Bell says the novelty items, sold in many convenience stores, masquerade as crack pipes.

Known as “The Rose,” the pipe has a piece of cork on one end with a flower in the center. Bell said he is hoping the other police chiefs in Jackson County and the local sheriff will join him in seeking legislation to outlaw the pipes, the newswire reports."

On the VH1 reality show 'Celebrity Rehab' they show former patient Seth Binzer going to the 'Corner Mini Mart' in Pasadena, California and buying a 'glass rose' for drug purposes. This is seen in the following clip...

The store in this clip is
Corner Market
342 E Orange Grove Blvd.
Pasadena, CA
(626) 792-5256

Crack Pipes Being Sold in Convenience Stores

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

From Food Network / Grilled Chicken with Mustard Dill Sauce

1/2 cup coarse-grained mustard
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup white wine, Champagne, or aged Sherry wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 to 3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
4 (1/4-inch thick) chicken cutlets (1 1/2 pounds total)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, combine well all sauce ingredients and season with pepper. Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and kept chilled, covered. Let sauce come to room temperature and whisk before serving.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in enough oil to make a smooth dressing with a balanced taste. Stir in garlic and shallots. Place the cutlets in a glass pan, pour the marinade over, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard the marinade). Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken on an oiled rack set over glowing coals 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through.

Serve chicken with sauce.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shades of Gray

Seeing a campaign up close this past election was an excellent learning experience. However, one of my biggest disappointments in viewing our current two party system is that there is little tolerance for anyone who breaks with the party line, and that appears to be the case for both parties. In real life it's fairly rare to come across people who wholly subscribe to one party's platform. However, in political circles it seems rare to find people who break with the party line. This is one of the major hang ups in making the government truly representative.

In each party's defense, it's the ideologues who participate and volunteer; so it makes sense that their views would be the most prevalent. However, there are a myriad of issues that are simply not black and white. In my case, I opposed the death penalty up until the Oklahoma City bombing. While I still would not categorize myself as pro-death penalty, that tragedy made me believe that there may be some circumstances where the death penalty is appropriate. I give this example, because I don't see this as a particularly abnormal or radical view, but it is one that is not represented by either party. Instead of issues receiving a full hearing, party politics often result in viewing issues as either black or white, when shades of gray often exist.

Shades of Gray