30 May 2009

A response to Stephen "VodkaPundit" Green's Money³ post

In which I pick nits over one small detail

so anyway, Stephen Green has a very good post up over at VodkaPundit titled "Money Money Money" discussing the pending GM bankruptcy. Stephen explores the details of the primary and secondary markets, the differences between bondholders and stockholders, and he covers some economic and market confidence issues. It's educational! Do go read the whole thing. In addition to his command of the subject matter at hand, he's the only blogger that I know of who's not employed in the Stoopid Business™ who reads Autoextremist (which is rather "inside baseball" for the auto industry), yeah, Steve's a "car guy".

He had me nodding in agreement, right up to this:

"If GM goes belly up (which it’s going to do anyway, duh - they’ll file C11 on Monday), millions of jobs will not be lost. Let me repeat: GM could disappear tomorrow, and not much would change. GM barely employs 50,000 people anymore...."

Yes, it's true that barely 50,000 people draw a paycheck directly from General Motors, but as I said back in January:
"...after all, we suppliers make the parts that the automakers merely assemble to make cars..."
Asserting that GM only employs 50,000 people overlooks the "ripple effect" that their bankrupcty will cause (and it's already started).

Case in point: my former employer was (they went Chapter 11 yesterday) a supplier to Chrysler, somewhere around 10% of their business was Chrysler work. Chrysler declares bankruptcy, and two weeks ago the downsizing at my former employer began. (Yes, I was one of the "downsized") In my division alone, 84 out of 122 people were given their walking papers: we're talkin' blood on the floor and growd men crying. And, no, these people aren't going into the UAW (Usually Ain't Workin', AKA: The Gettlefinger Crime Family) "jobs bank" and drawing 85% of their base pay. All we got was two cardboard boxes and thirty minutes to clear out our desks.

Years ago, in my rage piece about michael moore, I made the following observation:
"(in moore's view)...the evil GM Board of Directors had decided to close the Buick City facility of plants in Flint, Michigan and because of their evil and self-serving decision, you could stand on Saginaw Street in downtown Flint and literally watch the merchants go out of business in real time."
The last bit was, unfortunately, true. Dozens of resturants, dry cleaners, hair salons, hardware stores, ect., the list goes on and on, closed within weeks (if not days) of the Buick City shutdown.

Here in the Peoples' Republic of Michigan, for every one directly employed in the Stoopid Business™, there are seven people who's livelyhoods are dependant on the auto industry. If my trusty HP 12C calculator (in all of it's RPN glory) is right, those "barely 50,000" now-out-of-work GM employees ripple into some 350,000 "other" job losses. And that's just here in the Peoples' Republic of Michigan. Granted, Michigan is heavily squewed towards the Stoopid Business™, so naturally the effect is much worse here.

350,000 unemployed in the Rust Belt alone is a substantial downpayment on "millions unemployed" nationwide. A lot would change.

I'll have more on this topic soon.

23 May 2009

We have new C.A.F.E. standards

Thank you, TelePrompter Jesus

so anyway, this week has seen The President signing into Law a new C.A.F.E. standard of a corporate average of 35.5 mpg by 2016. That great and all, except for one small nagging over-looked fact: a lot more people will die because of the new standard.

Steve Milloy recognizes the cold, hard light of the real world:

Obama’s standards will require automakers to meet a 35 miles-per-gallon standard by 2016 — four years earlier than the same standard imposed by the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007.

As discussed in my new book Green Hell, the only way for carmakers to meet these standard is to make smaller, lighter and deadlier cars.

The National Academy of Sciences has linked mileage standards with about 2,000 deaths per year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every 100-pound reduction in the weight of small cars increases annual traffic fatalities by as much as 715.

(h/t to Gabe at Ace of Spades HQ for the linkage.)

Right on, Steve. I opined on the subject back in January of this year:
Increasing the C.A.F.E. standards has two immediate impacts: first, more people will die in car crashes. The quickest, cheapest way to improve fuel economy is to reduce vehicle weight; the lighter the vehicle, the less likely it (and it's occupants) survives the crash. Period. Full Stop. Second, higher C.A.F.E. standards points to "downsizing" for the automakers and their suppliers.
(As I just got "downsized" from the Stoopid Business™ on 13MAY09, you can take all of this with a grain of salt.)

You ask, just what sort of car will you'll be driving by 2016? I offer up a couple of examples. First off, Ragin' Dave of Four Right Wing Wackos fame:
If the most corrupt, incompetent Congress EVAH would mandate more changes to the automotive industry, thus helping complete the destruction of said industry.

Oh, wait.
That's taken care of.

Some soccer moms will have to give up hulking SUVs. Carpenters will still haul materials around in pickup trucks, but they will cost more. Nearly everybody else will drive smaller cars, and more of them will run on electricity.

The higher mileage and emissions standards set by the Obama administration on Tuesday, which begin to take effect in 2012 and are to be achieved by 2016, will transform the American car and truck fleet.

These worthless, stupid, ball-gargling ass-cannons have just written the death warrant for US Auto companies. Hell, they've just damaged the auto industry period. Remember what I wrote about the Chevy Aveo a few months back? Imagine every new car being sold is JUST LIKE THAT PIECE OF SHIT.

Dave's comments on the Chevy Aveo are not to be missed.

Also not to be missed are Jeremy Clarkson's comments on the new Honda Insight:
Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days.

So far, though, you have not been told what it’s like as a car; as a tool for moving you, your friends and your things from place to place.

So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

It gets a whole lot funnier from there, do go read the whole thing.


16 May 2009

It's FMJ Saturday

"Full Metal Jacket" to the uninitiated

so anyway, in keeping with The Other McCain's Rule 2, I link back to everyone who has linked SupplySidePolitics 2.0 in the past week:

(crickets chirping)

OK, so I haven't blogged enough this week to merit linkage, I've been otherwise detained. Did I mention I lost my job this week? It's been a stellar week here at Casa de Miguel.

more soon

13 May 2009

I lost my job today

we should organize a search party....

so anyway, the cold stainless steel hook of unemployment has once again snatched me good. Tell me again why didn't I study marine biology or go to Culinary Arts school?

If you're seeking coherence, you are invited to look elsewhere.

It was a brutally ugly day, even by Stoopid Business™ standards. Eighty-four (84) people out of one hundred twenty two (122) are out of work tonight. And that's just my division. As I was being walked through HR during the exit process, I saw several foot-tall stacks of the "termination packages".

I resisted the urge to ask TheMissus™ "So, how's that Obama vote working out for you?".

TheMissus™, of course, did not resist the urge to bash GWB, this being all his fault, don't you know. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink and all that rot.

I've been down this road before: I've been dealt the "reduction in force" card now four times in the past twelve years. Let's see how it all played out:

1997: Clinton as POTUS / Company re-org: ThenGirlFriend™: "you hated that job anyway, there's plenty of opportunity....." (there really wasn't "plenty of opportunity"; I took a job at a 10% pay cut)

2004: Bush as POTUS / company downsizing: TheMissus™: "jebeezus, what are we going to do? It's all that fother mucker's Bush's fault......" (yet I was only out of work for six weeks, and then resumed working at a pay rate that was 30% larger than in 1997)

2005: again, Bush as POTUS / company downsizing: TheMissus™: "IF YOU EVER VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN AGAIN, I'M TAKING THE KIDS AND LEAVING YOU. DOG GAMN THAT GEORGE W. BUSH, BECUASE OF HIM, YOU'VE LOST TWO JOBS!!!!eleventy!!!!" (I was back at work within two weeks, only 6% off the 2004 pace)

2009: (today) Obama as POTUS / company downsizing: TheMissus™: "you know, it's gonna be all right...Obama's got the plan and is actually going to help people UNLIKE THAT FOTHER MUCKER BUSH, WHO ONLY WANTED THE OIL!!!!!!!eleventy!!!!!!!!eleventy!!! Barack is actually putting people to work, and in "green" jobs; he has people out there, employed, building bridges, fixing roads, picking up garbage......you should really look in to jobs in the solar industry....did you see it? A unicorn just jumped over the backyard fence. It was beautiful. Where did this all these Skittles™ come from? A unicorn! In our own back yard! Thank you, Barack!" (TBD)

I'll say it again: And you people wonder why I drink.

To paraphrase Animal House: "My advice to you, Flounder, is to avoid 'mixed marriages' and to start drinking heavily".

Stock tip: shares of Val-U-Rite Vodka Industries are gonna go way up. Trust me......Now that I'm not an active participant in the Stoopid (Automotive) Business™, maybe I can finally start to 'splain to yous people what it's actually all about.....

more soon

08 May 2009

The Week In Review

regular blogging will resume soon

so anyway, yet another week has sped by, and I'm left with a yard's worth of links and very little time to address them properly. As soon as I can figure out the whole "life / blog balance" dealio, I'll let you know.

As I'm sure you're aware, R.S.McCain declared this week National Offend A Feminist Week, and in the spirit of the occasion offers up a wide ranging post on How to Argue with A Woman. He's all over the map and spot on with this one; this line stuck with me:

Just because you don't know what I'm doing, don't jump to the conclusion that I don't know what I'm doing.
Well played, Sir! Read the whole thing.

Over on the OUTLAW fields, Protein Wisdom (actual) opines on the pending SCOTUS vacancy in his post "Obama wants a social engineer for high court":

".....Perhaps you’ve heard me mention this before, but it matters when some literary theorist or lawyer argues that context, rather than intent, grounds meaning. Context is ever shifting — giving interpreters license to argue that meaning, too, shifts with context, and that it is therefore their job to determine meaning rather than to interpret what was intended and apply that interpretation as a matter of law.

I’ve described that kind of “interpretation” as a rewriting of the original text by the interpreter, who then replaces the original text with his or her new text. And these new texts, under the guise of interpretation, pretend to attach themselves to the law as written, even as they often times are merely deconstructing the law’s original intent in terms of reach and use, if not extending it to the point where it becomes unrecognizable.

Such a maneuver enables “interpreters” to take control of that which is not theirs....."
Jeff is glossing a Washington Examiner piece by Chris Stirewalt:
When legal scholars talk about a pragmatic justice, they’re talking about someone who isn’t bound by the law as written. In rendering a decision, he or she considers the context of the case and outside factors, like the greater social good.
Goldstein's emphasis, I concur.

I do not concur with Jeff's lament "Hell, we hardly even get links anymore." I realize that for a blog of his size, SupplySidePolitics 2.0 is well below the radar (OK, he'd need an electron microscope to find me), but I link him often. When I'm actively blogging. Which has been a bit thin, of late. I'm working on it.

Moving on, we come back to R.S.McCain on Joe the Plumber:
The elite recoil in horror whenever some Ordinary American type (e.g., Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck) gets anywhere near the levers of power. What the elite are trying to do to Joe Wurzelbacher, they have done to many others: Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, Pat Buchanan, to name just a few.

What they're trying to do is to imply that Wurzelbacher's beliefs are dangerous, that he is ignorant and guilty of a "hatred" that endangers his fellow citizens. Nonsense. There are tens of millions of decent, law-abiding Americans who believe exactly like Joe the Plumber believes, and none of them has ever harmed anyone.

I'm Joe the Plumber.

On the scary side of the news, I'm sure you've all seen this running 24/7 on CNN, Fox, MSLGBT, and all the other breathless "news" outlets:

“Apparently, his intent was to rape and murder us all…”

What? You haven't seen this story? Curious....
COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — A group of college students said they are lucky to be alive and they’re thanking the quick-thinking of one of their own. Police said a fellow student shot and killed one of two masked me who burst into an apartment.....

said he thought it was the end of his life and the lives of the 10 people inside his apartment for a birthday party after two masked men with guns burst in through a patio door.

“They just came in and separated the men from the women and said, ‘Give me your wallets and cell phones,’” said George Williams of the College Park Police Department.....

.....That’s when one student grabbed a gun out of a backpack and shot at the invader who was watching the men. The gunman ran out of the apartment.

The student then ran to the room where the second gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Calvin Lavant, was holding the women.

“Apparently the guy was getting ready to rape his girlfriend. So he told the girls to get down and he started shooting. The guy jumped out of the window”

There's a happy ending buried in the opening 'graph: "shot and killed". doG, I do so miss Kim du Toit on days like this.....although it's not mentioned in the linked story, the second, undead perp was apprehended shorty thereafter.

A brief pause, whilst I do the Happy Dance™.

On the lighter side; Ace snarks about Dijon-gate:

I'm pretty sure Dijon mustard has made it to the Heartland by now and ordering it is not necessarily considered a homosexual act.

And in closing, probably the most erotic thing that James Lileks has ever written:

Look at the way the base of shaft undulates to echo the form of the shell.

It just struck me as weird; although taken in context, it makes perfect sense. Still waitin' for the next "Diner". Just sayin', that's all.....I understand the concept of "free ice cream"

Oh! It just struck me that I've made no effort to offend a feminist in this post. Please let me give it a go: I could trot out Rush's old "So, you're a feminist....isn't that cute?" line, but I'd rather offer up my favorite male chauvinist pig joke:

Q: Do you know why men back in to parking spaces?

A: Because they can.

more soon

03 May 2009

A Week of Blogging

lost due to real life kicking my ass

so anyway, it's been another stellar week in The Stoopid Business™, capped off with yet another "Black Friday" at the aforementioned Stoopid Business™ job. As I've mentioned before we're talkin' blood on the floor and growd men crying. I don't have a body count to share with you tonight, suffice it to say it was massive.

Real life has grossly interfered with my ability to blog properly for the past several weeks. It really sucks being a growd up.

anyhoo, here's a small taste of what I would have blogged over the past week:

As I'm driving in to my thankless Stoopid Business™ job on Monday, I listen to a report on the Swine Flu and I keep hearing (in my brain) "never let a crisis go to waste". I'm not alone: "Vintage" has similar thoughts over at doubleplusundead.

On Tuesday, I neglected to blog the fact that Mr. & Mrs. Other McCain celebrated their Twentieth Anniversary. Belated congratulations to The Other McCains.

[Note to self: Dude! "Blog it whilst it's fresh" is one thing, but missing an anniversary is just not right ]

Wednesday found me not blogging RSM's

All great rock music was recorded by the time John Bonham died, which I completely agree with. I've been using 1978 as my cut off year for great rock music, but Robert has a point. 25SEP80 is the cut-off date, henceforth. Some other time I'll tell you of how I came to be such a huge Led Zep fan, and my nine month long study of Stairway To Heaven. It's a long-ish story.

I also missed linking S.Weasel's most excellent post on Arlen Sphincter.

Then on Thursday I missed the chance to blog on RSM's post on this "Swine Flu" that all the kids are talking about:
"Obama's lackeys in the media know exactly what they're doing. Turning an ordinary virus into a Code Orange national-security threat is political gold for Obama."

Friday, as I mentioned, was a dark day. Just under 500 people lost their jobs. The only note I recorded on Friday was this:
"I cant find my shoes, my wallet, or my keys, but i know where your sister is."
I did manage to lift the pic of the little girl french-kissing the pig (from Clever S.Logan via RSM) and have used it as the background on my freakin' ginormous monitor at the office since. I'm starting to get complaints....I should probably shift to one of the Scare Force One pics, just to piss off the leftards around the office. 'Cause that's what I do.....

more soon