Big 3 troubles

January 31, 2009

A few things came to light that I thought others who don’t know should be informed of. So in no particular order I’ll cover some of them.

Latest sales records should give Congress a hint of what we, the American auto buying public really want. Records through November 2008 show that the Toyota Prius saw a sales drop of 32% from the previous year. The truck of the year for several years, the Ford F-150 saw a drop of 18.5%, and the popular Chevy Siverado saw a sales drop of 22% for the year.

Two main factors are the cause of this; the deep price slashing by the domestic automakers, and lower gas prices. If one shops around, you can buy a crew-cab pickup $5,000 cheaper than a Honda Accord!
Toyota sold just 8,660 Priuses in November while Ford sold 37,911 F-150s during the same month. So Barney Frank, Congress may have lost confidence in the American consumer, but the American consumer has not lost confidencein American iron.

One of the largest problems for the Big 3 has been government regulations and interventions.The automakers don’t know what will sell from month to month, but Congress wants to tell them what to build. Individual states are also passing higher emission standards than the Federal standards to further confuze the Big 3. In a little twist of irony, Toyota executives are jumping ship for employment with the Big 3.

Another hiccup that lawmakers, and some of us didn’t foresee, is that the Big 3, and Toyota, are about six months away from a heavy cut back in NASCAR programs. Can all other forms of racing be far behind? I’m sure NASCAR will survive, it may just have a differnet look.

Now there are people a whole lot smarter than me saying that only about 12% of the new stimulus package might even remotely help the economy. The other 88%? Pork. Even the tax credits don’t mean much when they take away the tax cuts we had when they expire.

I’ve said it all along, America doesn’t need more government, it needs
Comments are welcome.

Double feature night

January 30, 2009

This is going to be another post that if you put up with rambling for a
bit, I promise a double feature of videos at the end.

I’ve noticed the government is saying that times are tough. While telling us that they all took a pay raise, and some fly all over God’s green earth in private jets.

Some members of Congress are calling the bankers, that they gave billions to, greedy. Some members of Congress are calling the CEOs of the Big 3 automakers overpaid. I would like to say to Congress, YOU are overpaid. If the economy is so bad that trillions of dollars have to be spent to fix it; why don’t you work for $1 a year, idle the jets, and drive a hybrid?

If you made such an effort, then at least we could say we’re all in the same boat. Forget the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ form of government and debut a new form of leadership where you lead by example.

In this month’s SEMA newsletter is a good description of the Nationwide Scrappage plan that Congress is trying to get passed. To read it go here.

And now, the promised double feature. The first one is about the 60’s,
but does feature a few cars. The second one is almost entirely cars.

If you can play videos, here’s
a virtual tour of the 60’s. If you liked the music, or want to hear
what it was like, turn your speakers up.

If you’re a gearhead, or just like cars, you have to check out this one called
Burnouts worldwide.
Comments are always welcome


January 30, 2009

Anonymous posted a comment about the recent Pahcino Hill episode and I stated I didn’t do a post because he gets enough exposure in the media. But the more I thought I about it I had to get a few things off my chest.

Around 7 am Mr. Hill was seen driving an SUV involved in a break-in
and a police chase ensued. A woman who was a passenger was killed and another passenger was air-lifted to Iowa City when he ran into a tree. Besides his total disregard for fellow citizens of our city, being with another know criminal, and a death; when are the judges going to decide this guy doesn’t deserve to breath anything but prison air?

Our children are going to school this time of day, and people are heading to or from their workplace. The male passenger is wanted for the recent stabbing at Castlewood apartments, and all were involved in an early morning break-in. I say enough. Put this jerk in prison and pipe him in some sunlight! He’s danced with the devil long enough, it’s time to pay the band.
Comments are always welcome.

It was bound to happen

January 29, 2009

Some of us knew it was going to happen. Starting friday is launching
an anti-Rush Limbaugh radio ad campaign. The ads are designed to put pressure on the dreaded GOPs in the Senate who wouldn’t vote for President Obama’s very costly stimulus package.

It seemed funny to me that it passed with no Republican support, but the Democrats blamed the Republicans for the extension of the startup of Digital TV not passing. So much for ‘can’t we all just get along’.

Speaking of the stimulus package, I noticed one increase that is in the plan has to do with raising the Federal cigarette tax from $.45 to $1 a pack. We’re paying about $2 a pack tax now on cigarettes we buy for $3 a pack and they want to raise it another 55 cents? Good move. Just wait until they find out colas, cookies, and salty snacks aren’t good for us either.

Locally we got some good news yesterday for those of us who don’t mind a cruise before dinner. Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa is going to get rebuilt once again. Located about 10 miles northwest of Dubuque on some of the most scenic two-lane blacktop in our state, it’s a must visit when you’re in the area. It first burned down on Christmas Eve 2007, was rebuilt, and burned down again in October 2008. The original building had been there since the mid 1800s. Good to finally hear Mike Breitbach hasn’t lost his sense of humor. It should be ready to reopen later this year.
Save me some smoked ham Mike.

While I’m local I’d like to talk about the car show the wife and I attended last weekend. I’m the first to admit I’m ‘Old School’, but I never considered myself a prude. I also know that more and more women are attending these shows. I have to admit that when we
got home and the wife mentioned one of the booths at the show was selling sex toys, I was stunned. But I decided to keep and open mind and peruse the catalog she brought home.

It didn’t go well. I didn’t know that pleasure equated to how fast something spins, vibrates, oscillates, rotates, or wiggles. I also didn’t know that there were nubs, ribs, swirls, bumps and bulges involved. I was way out of my league. I was totally lost when the selling point of few of these things was the fact that they glowed. I didn’t
want to know. It sounded more like a bait shop to me, and
I’ll never look at a jelly doughnut the same way.

So if you go to the car show next year, you’ve been warned. Getting older isn’t for the faint of heart.
Comments are always welcome.

Must have been sleeping

January 29, 2009

It seems to me that the world I grew up in is being taught in a history class somewhere. So many things have changed that this old redneck is wondering if I slept through half my life. One of things that changed is our schools. When we went to high school there was a dress code. For those of us old enough to remember, a freind and myself were sent home for wearing surfer shirts to school. Surfer shirts didn’t have collars and that was against the dress code. We also got into trouble that day because the principal told us to go home and change.

What he didn’t tell us was to come right back. When we returned to school the next day with our shirts with collars, we got in trouble for not returning the previous day. When we explained to the pricipal that we found a loophole in his telling us to go home we found out he didn’t have a sense of humor. We survived the detention and learned our lesson.

Another thing I noticed that has pretty much left society is personal accountability. If we messed something up, we admitted it. We didn’t blame peer pressure, a conspiracy by law enforcement, or our parents. If we lost our job, we found another. If we couldn’t afford what we had, we downsized.

We also didn’t have the nanny state that we are quickly becoming. If someone asked us what corporate welfare was back then, we’d think it was a program a big company started to help the needy. We thought about how we could help, not who’s going to help us. When we had a car blowing blue smoke we either fixed it, junked it, or found a way to replace it. If things got out hand financially we took on
another job until things got under control. We didn’t expect anybody to bail us out. I have to admit I don’t like where it looks like we’re headed.
Comments are always welcome.

Get your button

January 28, 2009

Yesterday I mentioned that the PromiseDavenport group had a place that would hand out buttons. It should be up and running now, and here is a news release from the group-

Buttons showing support for a no vote on March 3rd, 2009 will be available after 12:00 noon at The Music Connection, located at 1414 W. Locust. The Music Connection is located in the lower (back) portion of the same building as Happy Joes, in the corner. Fliers will also be available for pickup. We ask that you limit yourself to two buttons and two fliers per person. Neither the owner, nor any employee of the Music Connection is affiliated with the PromiseDavenport movement. If you are pro-promise, we respectfully ask you not to take your frustration out on the owner or any of the employees. They are not there to debate or discuss any issues. They have simply agreed to distribute our pins and fliers. They have been told that if they feel the distribution of our fliers or buttons in any way, has a negative effect on their business, they are to stop the distribution immediately. They are the messengers. Don’t confuse them with the message. If you support the PromiseDavenport movement, we encourage you to stop and pick up a button, or two, and a flier, or two. If you have a few minutes, look around in their store. Their knowledge of their business is far greater than anything you will find at the big box stores. They are truly a family business. It is small businesses, like this one, that give stability to our economy in tough times.

Comments are always welcome.

Some promise thoughts

January 27, 2009

Before I get on to my thoughts about the Davenport Promise I’ve recieved and update from the people at PromiseDavenport. They’ve told me that within 24 hours they’ll release information on a location to pick up their nifty buttons. As soon as I get the location, I’ll post it so anyone who would like one can find out who is handing them out. I’m also told there should be a one-page information sheet on the subject.

Now a little on my thoughts. I’ve tried to always put it out front that I’m an opinionated, skinny, old, redneck. I also stated in other posts that my opinion and a couple of bucks would get you a cup of coffee in some places.

On different occasions myself and others have had the discussion about the fact that studies can be made to come to the conclusions the payee expects. I feel the UpJohn study is a case in point. I mentioned to several people that wouldn’t the worse case senario be that nobody moves to town? Also mentioned was the fact that it doesn’t address the current problems of high dropout rate and low graduation rate.

Then there is the financial side of it. Sales tax revenue is down for the simple reason people aren’t buying as much as in the past to cover the higher cost of living. Now we get told gas prices are going to hit $2 a gallon and it’s going to cost more to heat our homes. One has to wonder how all this will effect the bond rating or our city.

There are several other things, but I’ll leave them for another post. Comments are always welcome.

A couple of things

January 26, 2009

A few things have happened lately that I feel are worth mentioning. The owner of the Iowa Street Mart was arrested last week. This is the place that had over 220 police calls in a one year period, extra police patrols, and has been a topic of conversation for many. Those of us older residents remember this site as Cotton’s Standard Station. I don’t remember ever seeing a squad car at Cotton’s; how times change.

There was a story about teenage pregnancies being on the rise in Iowa. What I found more interesting than that was the fact that our state population dropped. Along with the drop in population was a drop in total pregnancies. To me at least this should make the rise in teenage pregnancies even worse than it appears. In 1906 Iowa was a state that had a bigger population than California; is that where everyone went?

Some are saying that if we have a problem in our schools, nobody is offering a solution. Well, I have a couple. The first thing to do is bring back truant officers. Then bring back a dress code. That would be a start. You have to walk before you run, and even a small step is better than none. There has to be something missing that so many kids aren’t graduating. Why not have a group, like UpJohn look into the problems within our schools?

I also mentioned that another website against the Promise would be up and running soon. As it turns out, it is a blog. We don’t know who is behind this one, so to us they are anonymous. If someone else is bothered by the fact I don’t know who runs it, they are free to try to find out who is behind it. If you haven’t seen the blog, go here to check it out.

Comments are always welcome.

Another bill

January 25, 2009

I mentioned it before, but it seems this thing won’t die. Congress is again trying to push an “Accelerated Retirement of Ineffient Vehicles Act”. Yes the dreaded nationwide scrappage bill is back. Members of Congress must have stayed up late to come up with this version. Instead of targeting older vehicles, this bill would take any vehicle with low fuel economy for any model year.

Cash vouchers would be given in the amount of $2,500 to $4,500 based on model year and how much better mileage the replacement gets. It also want replacement vehicles to be 2004 model year or newer vehicles. By doing this, the sponsors of this bill want to scrap 1 million cars a year for 4 years.

If you’d like to learn about this program go to the
SEMA newsletter.

Comments are always welcome.

Indoor car show

January 24, 2009

carshow-002Since we attended the car show this morning, we thought we’d share a little of it with you. The first car you see after entering isn’t a car at all, but Clayton Dodd’s nifty little pickup.  A little farther down the first row were a couple of rat rods that drew quite a crowd. carshow-004 carshow-005

Then we saw the “Highway to Heaven” motorcycle driven hearse. carshow-008

There were some neat vehicles there, and we don’t mean to slight anyone, but I’m only going to show 2 more vehicles in this post. The first got us thinking; when was the last time you’ve seen a streetrodded Huppmobile? carshow-016 And the last one I found interesting. If you look at the workmanship of this bike, it looks stock. But check out the motor. I don’t think Henry would put his V8-60s into one of these. carshow-012

We had a good time, stopped at several booths, and once again met a bunch of nice people. I got some information from the people at the Scott Community College virtual reality spray booth too. They should hold this is August so the batteries in the camera wouldn’t go dead so quick. That’s a little bit about the car show, comments are always welcome.