Wednesday September 24, 2008
I Don't Want A Plug-In Hybrid ... that has a cord requires a wall socket. I want one with a charging dock that you drive up to. A dock that will also act as a bump-stop so that I don't hit the garage wall.
One with a blue charging light so I can impress my friends. And a little depression in the center where I can place cheese and electrocute garage rodents. Dance, Mickey, dance. (permalink)
Remember The Studebaker Riots Of '65? George Will asks, "What, however, is the excuse for the corporate welfare for GM, Ford and Chrysler?"
"Ford's assembly plant in Louisville is participating in that corporation's struggles. The Toyota plant in Georgetown, Ky., is flourishing as part of the other American auto industry. It is located largely in the South, employs 92,000 Americans, and is not in the toils of the cost structure Ford and GM negotiated with the United Auto Workers union.
Lemon socialism - the subsidization of the weak - is supposedly needed lest a U.S. automaker file for bankruptcy, causing the sort of civil disorder and social chaos that accompanied the disappearance of Studebaker, Packard, American Motors and others."
And who could forget the devastating Graham-Paige uprising of 1940?
Schoolyard Fight: Two kids decide to fight after school on a Friday. One kid, call him McCain, has to deal with an emergency - the school is in danger of falling down and Boy Scout volunteers are needed to help with emergency repairs. McCain, loyal Boy Scout, says, "I got work to do. I'll fight ya next week."
The other kid, call him Obama, is a wimp and a taunter and has declined earlier fistfight offers. But he replies, "Neener, neener, chicken. No next week. I'll be there Friday to fight." It should be noted that Obama is supposedly a Boy Scout - wears the uniform but doesn't show up for meetings very often. Or volunteer much.
McCain is acting like a good Scout and should either 1. ignore Obama or 2. send his younger sister Sarah, who will kick the crap out of him.
Politics, Corruption And Money: Kevin Hassett writes that if one had taken away Fannie and Freddie, or had regulated them more wisely, this whole mess would never have happened.
Back in 2005, Fannie and Freddie were, after years of dominating Washington, on the ropes. They were enmeshed in accounting scandals that led to turnover at the top. In 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commissions chief accountant told disgraced Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines that Fannie's position on the relevant accounting issue was not even "on the page" of allowable interpretations. In 2005, "a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets." Senator John McCain was one of the three cosponsors of that bill. But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: "Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter."
Many of the senators who "protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years."
PS: The Dems do not like Hassett's article, Kevin reported that "his e-mail and answering machine are getting filled up with howls of indignation and death threats."
Sturm Und Drang: Don't ask me the best way to solve the meltdown but I want any solution to this financial crisis to include televised scenes of heavily armed FBI agents in full riot gear taking axes to the expensive carved wood doors of the executive offices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and dragging everyone inside out of the building in shackles.
I also want Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick publicly handcuffed, frogmarched out to a waiting airplane and carted off to Gitmo for some serious interrogation.
And then let's hold public trials and start handing out jail sentences. (permalink)
Stuff My Parents Never Told Me: Joe Biden claims that FDR appeared on television to reassure the nation during the 1929 stock market crash. Now, I wasn't even alive then (and Roosevelt wasn't president yet but let's not let facts get in the way of a good Biden story) but my parents were. They never mentioned this event. Maybe they never saw the broadcast because it was only on the cable Premium Package which they didn't have.
Nobody Likes A Whiner: Victor David Hanson wrote, "I think it is much harder for a mother of three or four in an out-of-the-way Alaskan town to get elected to city council and the mayorship, then take on the entire Republican establishment and get elected governor than it is for a Barack Obama to emerge from Chicago politics into the Illinois state house and later Senate. The qualities that allowed a Palin to succeed without the power spouse, the identity politics, the Ivy-League cachet, the fawning New York editors and DC insider-press will ensure she does not implode on the campaign trail - and won't in office either.
Barack Obama, in contrast, on numerous occasions has complained how tiring, how hard, how unfair, how racist the campaign has turned out to be; Palin never."
39 Lies ... from Barack Obama are listed here. Interesting reading. Then there's the Democratic "morality." Why would anyone want to be associated with these miscreants?
The Long View: A well-known historian once said that you can't begin to write history for 40 to 50 years after an event - the details, consequences and context aren't really complete until that much time has passed.
Harry Truman is the perfect example of this. When he left office, he had the lowest approval rating of any siting president. Now, fifty years later, his presidency has been reexamined and historians are concluding that he wasn't such a bad fellow after all. I was two years old when Mr. Truman became president and don't remember much about him. He wore glasses and scowled when angry, so I equated him with Mr. Dithers, Dagwood's boss. So much for my childhood political insight.
I have remarked to friends that I believe that history will be kind to George W. Bush. Most are quite shocked - both my Democrat and Republican friends have developed a real distaste for W. While I disagree with the president on many things (immigration, not tough enough on the Axis of Evil, insufficiently vocal about congressional shortcomings, not firing incompetent people quickly, etc.), his legacy will be a good one, despite the continual thrashing by the left-leaning mainstream media. And Oliver Stone.
Charles Krauthammer has interviewed Mr. Bush and offers some interesting observations: "What the president did note with some pride, however, is that beyond preventing a second attack, he is bequeathing to his successor the kinds of powers and institutions the next president will need to prevent further attack and successfully prosecute the long war. And indeed, he does leave behind a Department of Homeland Security, reorganized intelligence services with newly developed capacities to share information and a revised FISA regime that grants broader and modernized wiretapping authority."
Charles notes: "In this respect, Bush is much like Truman, who developed the sinews of war for a new era (the Department of Defense, the CIA, the NSA), expanded the powers of the presidency, established a new doctrine for active intervention abroad, and ultimately engaged in a war (Korea) - also absent an attack on the United States - that proved highly unpopular."
He concludes, "So unpopular that Truman left office disparaged and highly out of favor. History has revised that verdict. I have little doubt that Bush will be the subject of a similar reconsideration."
Summarized Succinctly ... by Bernie of Planck's Constant via Eternity Road: "Islam is a perfect ideology for savages living in the 7th century. The Quran promises them that everything that is forbidden or unavailable to them in life - wine, women and song - is available to them in paradise. The Imams tell them that although America makes available wine, women and song on Earth now - that this is but the offerings of Satan.
Allah forbid that they learn America is indeed the paradise promised in the Quran."
Freeze Frame: The world is set for a "big chill," possibly a mini-ice age, according to the venerable and whimsical Old Farmer's Almanac, first published in 1792 and the United States' oldest continuously published periodical. The 2009 edition predicts that the earth already has entered a sustained period of global cooling.
Al Gore has gone into hiding somewhere in the Sahara.
Video Irony: Microsoft's new 'I'm a PC' commercial was actually produced using a Mac with Adobe Creative Suite 3.
Quote Of The Day is from The Simpsons' Montgomery Burns: "Pish posh, Oskar Schindler and I are like peas in a pod. We both made shells for the Germans. It's just that mine worked!"
Monday September 22, 2008
Standard of the World: It saddens me to see Muhammad Ali these days. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist is a shadow of his former self - a victim of the ravages of age, brain damage and Parkinson's Disease. I remember his greatness when he was in his prime.
I feel the same way about Cadillac. At TTAC, Sajeev Mehta slammed the 2008 Cadillac STS V6, stating that it "doesn't deserve to wear the crested wreath" and awarding it one star out of a possible five. Excerpt: "For all of GM's talk of world-class interiors, the new-for-'08 STS still has the shittiest cabin in its class. The vent registers' flimsy actions are worthy of Aveo real estate. The console, while positively Malibuian, fails to coddle like the padded, stitched panels on the Lexus GS. The only touch-point more pedestrian than the door panel's northern hemisphere: the hard plastic that envelops the gauge cluster, forcing the driver to make skin contact with Lumina-grade goodness with each activation of the keyless ignition system. This is a forty-five thousand dollar luxury car?"
In the old days, Cadillac really lived up to its slogan, 'Standard of the World'. If you look at period newsreel footage, you'll see potentates, dictators, popes, celebrities and gangsters being ferried about in shiny black Caddys.
When growing up, I lusted after Cadillacs. Caddys of the 1950s were easily recognized because of those gleaming red taillights perched atop those uniquely-shaped finned rear fenders. And the sparkling chromed, egg-crate front grilles. Cadillacs were distinctive and flashy, letting you know that the owner was someone who had 'arrived.' And who could forget the 'Dagmars' - those tit-shaped chromed front bumper guards on 1950s Cadillacs? They were named after a busty pinup and 'actress' of the day.
In 1984, when I could finally afford a luxury car, I considered Cadillac. The Eldorado was quite a looker, especially the Barritz model with the stainless steel roof. But I drove one with some miles on it and found that those Eldos were crap cars - bad cowl shake and assorted rattles after only 30,000 miles, the leather didn't hold up, etc. The Eldorado symbolized GM of the 1970s and beyond - lots of flash but, in a quest for cheap part prices, filled with poorly-made components and flimsy fitments that just did not hold up.
I never bought a Caddy, finding other luxury marques to satisfying my needs. The 9 year-old me still wants to buy a flashy, top-end Caddy with big, sensuous Dagmars. The grown-up me knows better. (permalink)
Mortgage Mess: Ever since the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (enacted by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed into law by Jimmy Carter), banks have been required to make loans to minorities in low-income areas, even if the clients can't make down payments, don't have good credit histories or even employment histories. This was the beginning of government interference in the free market process.
Then came Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ... (more >>>)
Scary Stuff ... about the near-meltdown of the financial markets last week: "Had the Treasury and Fed not quickly stepped into the fray that morning with a quick $105 billion injection of liquidity, the Dow could have collapsed to the 8,300-level - a 22 percent decline! - while the clang of the opening bell was still echoing around the cavernous exchange floor. According to traders, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, money market funds were inundated with $500 billion in sell orders prior to the opening. The total money-market capitalization was roughly $4 trillion that morning."
"The panicked selling was directly linked to the seizing up of the credit markets - including a $52 billion constriction in commercial paper - and the rumors of additional money market funds 'breaking the buck,' or dropping below $1 net asset value."
"Cracks started to show in money market accounts late Tuesday when shares in one fund, the Reserve Primary Fund - which touted itself as super safe - fell below the golden $1 a share level. It had purchased what it thought was safe Lehman bonds, never dreaming they could default - which they did 24 hours earlier when the 158-year-old investment bank filed Chapter 11. By Wednesday, banks sensed a run on their accounts. They started stockpiling cash in anticipation of withdrawals."
As Krusty the Clown has said, "Don't blame me .... I didn't do it."
Start Your Morning Right ... with Credit Crunch, the new cereal for these exciting times.
Congrats ... to my wife and daughter who participated in Sunday's Race for the Cure in Portland.
Biden Is A Chronic Liar: Since his vice presidential nomination, Joe Biden's 2007 statement that a "guy who allegedly ... drank his lunch" and drove the truck that struck and killed his first wife and daughter has gained national media traction. But alcohol didn't play a role in the 1972 crash, investigators found driver Curtis C. Dunn, who died in 1999, was cleared of any wrongdoing.
"The rumor about alcohol being involved by either party, especially the truck driver, is incorrect," said Jerome O. Herlihy, a Delaware Superior Court judge who was chief deputy attorney general and worked with crash investigators in 1972.
"If it were some part of a cause of the accident, there would have been a charge, simply because if you're driving under the influence and kill someone in the process - whether it's the wife of a U.S. senator or anybody else - there's going to be a charge," he said.
Herlihy said investigators discussed several possible causes for the crash, including that Biden's first wife, Neilia, turned her head and didn't see the oncoming truck as she exited the intersection of Limestone and Valley roads on Dec. 18, 1972.
More Proof That People Are Stupid: According to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll, people would rather watch a football game with Barack Obama than with John McCain. Don't they realize whose wife owns a beer distributorship? Which candidate is most likely to show up with a keg?
Horny People Have Rights Too: Last week, there was much local television coverage about a Stars Cabaret, a self-described "gentlemen's club" featuring nude dancers. The club's latest branch is scheduled to open in the now-closed Out of the Blues restaurant site in Tualatin, just south of Portland.
Oregon is a staunch Blue state and no doubt many of the neighborhood protesters are of Democratic persuasion, that party of individual rights and unfettered freedom of expression. It is difficult ... (more >>>)
On A Related Note ... a bar in Canton, IL has lost its liquor license after hosting "topless midget oil wrestling."
Emily Litella would have asked, "Where do you buy this Midget Oil? And why, if the top is already off the bottle, would you be wrestling with it? ... Oh. Never mind."
Thought For Today: The things that come to those that wait may be the things left by those who got there first.
Friday September 19, 2008
You Can Have My Washbucket And Garden Hose When You Pry Them From My Cold Dead Hands. The State of Washington, acting under its interpretation of the federal Clean Water Act of 1972, has told Clark County, Vancouver, Camas, Battle Ground and Washougal to forbid all residential car or boat washing that leads to the runoff of soap, detergent and drinkable water. Said Kim Schmanke, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Ecology, "Anything other than rainwater is, in fact, a pollutant." But she admitted that didn't know how much runoff there was and couldn't easily find out.
So, is my use of a dollop of Zip Wash in a water bucket hurting the little fishies in Salmon Creek behind my house? I doubt it ... but, hey, do your own test - does your salmon taste soapy?
Car Shark: I picked up a cool car last week - a 1:43 model of a one-off red Graham-Paige Sharknose convertible bodied by the Belgian coachbuilder, Vesters & Neirinck.
The Graham brothers were successful businessmen who purchased the Paige-Detroit Motor Company in 1927. Like many automotive businesses, Graham-Paige struggled during the depression.
In 1938, the firm offered a radically restyled automobile, the Model 97 which the company dubbed 'Spirit of Motion'. The new car looked like it was going 60 mph when standing still. The fenders, wheel openings and grille all appeared to be moving forward. The design was praised in the American press and by designers. It also won the prestigious Concours D'Elegance in Paris, France.
The public dubbed it the Sharknose and stayed away in droves. Part of the problem may have the limited offerings: a two door coupe-sedan and four-door sedan were the standard body styles available. The recession of 1938 didn't help either, nor did Graham-Paige's shaky finances. But the styling has been cited as the major reason for the Sharknose's flop in the marketplace.
The Sharknose was sold in the 1938, 1939 and part of the 1940 model year; less than 8,800 were produced. In comparison, there were over 4,100 Packard Sixes sold in 1938 alone. Over 81,000 Oldsmobiles were produced in '38. In 1939, the debut year for Mercury, over 75,000 examples were made.
Graham-Paige suspended manufacturing of automobiles in September, 1940.
The low production explains why I never saw a Sharknose in person when growing up. I always liked the look of these vehicles, have admired examples at car shows and am delighted to have this little model in my collection. (permalink)
Cheesy Move: Kraft Foods Inc., the world's second-largest foodmaker, will replace American International Group Inc. in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the biggest U.S. insurance company was taken over by the government.
Quote Of The Day is from the late Johnny Carson: "The only thing money gives you is the freedom of not worrying about money."
Wednesday September 17, 2008
Assault On Battery: I wanted to take the Plymouth for a spin but the battery was dead as a doornail. It wouldn't take a charge, either.
Jump-starting is quite an ordeal. The battery is in a metal box (with a wooden lid) under the seat on the driver's side. The seat bottom must be removed and the bolts holding down the lid must be taken off with a socket wrench. Then, after hooking up the jumper cables, you must contort your way into the car to reach the key while pumping the gas with your hand. And then reassemble the box, reinstall the seat and hope that the engine doesn't stall while you're performing these tasks.
I sighed, jump-started it and drove into town to get a new battery. When I got back home, I parked it and later tried to restart the car but it wouldn't crank. It turned out that the battery was a dual-use battery; it had both side posts and top posts. The side posts were supposed to be capped but the battery wouldn't readily fit in the metal part of the box (a little bit tight on one side) so the idiot installer apparently removed one of the screw-in plastic post caps to make his workload easier. Any time I tried to start the car, the high amperage from the exposed post shorted against the metal box and sparks shot all over the floorboard from the seat frame. Home remedy - several layers of clear polyester packing tape to insulate the metal part of the box. (Friday update: I have obtained the missing post cap and installed it.)
The problem now seems to be solved. I'm no longer sitting on a 12-volt electric chair.
Who Is That Woman? Sarah Palin seems so familiar to me. After much thought, I've finally figured out who she is. She represents every upbeat, can-do person with whom I've ever interacted in my life.
I've met Sarahs, male and female, in the workplace, at church and in volunteer organizations. Sarahs are ... (more >>>)
Stopping The Merry Go Round: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson finally said, "Enough is enough" and pulled the plug on the carousel of bailouts. Riders will now suffer dizziness and stagger around but it will pass. The collapse of Lehman Brothers will ultimately be a good thing. It is time for the government to cease propping up large mismanaged firms. On Tuesday, the Fed wisely held its ground and not did lower rates. (After this was written and posted, there were reports of a possible AIG takeover but no details were available.)
Business failure is a necessary ... (more >>>)
Politics Is A '70s Movie. Or A '90s Sitcom. Jonah Goldberg notes that "if you don't actually think Barack Obama is a higher life form, listening to the press talk like Princess Leia for a year - "Help us Obama Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope!" - can get really old. Republicans feel a lot like Elaine in that Seinfeld episode where she was the only person in the world who didn't understand why everyone fawned over 'The English Patient.'"
No Comment: At 'The View Through The Windshield', I don't have a 'comments' section. My blog is one man's journal rather than a community. I've always wanted my blog to be a writing outlet for my observations, many of them about cars. In the four-plus years I've been posting, I think that 'The View Through The Windshield' has remained true to my goals.
Too many bloggers have quit because they were deluged with hate and spam. It is a little-known fact that the great Abraham Lincoln was an early blogger ... (more >>>)
Headline Of The Week is from The Onion: 'National Endowment For The Arts Funds Construction Of $1.3 Billion Poem'. Excerpt: Government funding of the 14-line lyric poem will ensure that America's prose "remains the biggest, best-designed, and best funded in the world."
Bad Pun Of The Day: Energizer Bunny arrested and charged with battery.
Monday September 15, 2008
Coolest Pedal Cars Ever: I'll take the black '41 Packard Darrin at the top of the page.
Proof That I'm Wasting My Life: On Sunday, I actually watched an entire episode of Pimp My Ride International in which a Trabant got a makeover.
U R What U Drive. From an article in BrandWeek: Mindset Media found a correlation between Republicans and truck brands like GMC and Dodge. "Also, while Republicans have derided Democrats as 'Volvo drivers', that stereotype is no longer true: Dems now prefer Scion, Mini and Volkswagen." Why have Democrats abandoned Volvos for Scions? The answer is that "Democrats rank highly on measures of creativity and low on dogmatism. Scion is positioned as the quirky brand of the young outsider, and thus the two dovetail. Volvo, conversely, has abandoned the boxy look that was beloved by nonconformists, and thus liberals have lost enthusiasm for their cars."
"Welch's database has 25,000 respondents, and the Republicans in it over-index on trucks and minivans. Obviously, she admits, there are lots of conservatives who drive sedans, but the stereotype of the right-wing SUV driver is statistically significant." (hat tip - Tom McMahon)
When He Was A Little Kid ... didn't Obama's mom ever tell him not to make fun of a handicapped person? The Obama campaign released a campaign spot last Friday, noting derisively that John McCain doesn't use a computer. Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said, "It's extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn't know how to send an e-mail."
Here are the facts: McCain's severe war injuries - from the relentless beatings he received from the Viet Cong in service to our country - prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard or tying his shoes.
William Katz asked, "Obama serves with John McCain in the U.S. Senate. Didn't he ever know that? What precisely does Obama do in the Senate? Does he ever observe anything, except himself in a mirror?"
By surrounding himself with clueless idiots like Pfeiffer, Obama gives another reason to believe that he would make an incompetent president. 'A-players pick A-players, B-players pick C-players,' etc.
And Furthermore ... the Obama Campaign has suddenly changed its slogan from: 'Change We Can Believe In' to 'Change We Need'. Seems like a sign of desperation.
Advice For Charlie Gibson: Many computer word-processing programs allow one to change font size easily. Whenever I'm speaking in public, I print my outline notes in 16 point type so I don't have to use bifocals and risk looking like a condescending jerk to my audience.
If you are interested in seeing how clumsy and biased the editing was on ABC's Gibson-Palin interview, go here. The bold text indicates what was left on the electronic cutting room floor.
As Comic Book Guy would say, "Worst editing - ever!"
Is Charlie Biased? You bet. Check out the comparative list of questions Gibson asked Obama versus Palin.
Stop The Madness! A 4th grader has been suspended for sharpening his pencil with a broken pencil sharpener. The 10-year-old Hilton Head Island boy - described as a well-behaved and good student - cried during the meeting with his mom, a sheriff's deputy and the school's assistant principal. He had no criminal intent in having the blade at school the sheriff's report stated but was suspended for at least two days and could face further disciplinary action.
Broker's Yachts Not Included: Merrill Lynch is being purchased by Bank of America. Ivan Smith of Merrill was my broker 40 years ago. Wonder whatever happened to him? The friend who recommended Ivan to me has done very well and now lives in Zurich.
Meanwhile, Lehman Brothers is going belly-up. Lehman owned investment-management firm, Neuberger Berman. Back in the '90s, we owned a few of their mutual funds.
In a related story, WaMu has fiscal pneumonia. Heh. Serves 'em right.
Hot = Cold: Get this: "The amount of sea ice around Antarctica has grown in recent Septembers in what could be an unusual side-effect of global warming, experts say. In the southern hemisphere winter, when emperor penguins huddle together against the biting cold, ice on the sea around Antarctica has been increasing since the late 1970s."
Quote Of The Day is from the late Gracie Allen: "Build a better mousetrap than your neighbor and Kraft Cheese will beat a path to your door."
Friday September 12, 2008
Diversification & Patience: These are the keys to any successful business. Offer a fairly complete line of products, so that you gain broad appeal/acceptance in the marketplace. And, if one product suddenly becomes more popular, don't dump everything else. That sudden popularity jump may be just a fad (disco, bulk food, mood rings, mesquite-flavoring, generics, etc.).
Toyota's truck segment is hurting; the new Texas plant is eerily quiet these days. But Toyota is committed to being a truck supplier and is not abandoning the business. Nor did the company stop developing its passenger sedan business when trucks and SUVs became hot. Somehow, while they chased the escalating truck/SUV business, the company found the time and money to develop the Prius and offer improved versions of the Corolla, Camry and Avalon sedans.
Too bad Detroit didn't take the same approach. Auto writer Jerry Flint has noted, "It is astounding how weak the three Detroit carmakers are in the traditional passenger-car business. The media commonly states that the three U.S. manufacturers now hold less than half the total market - only 43% in July. If you look at cars only and exclude light trucks, such as sport utility vehicles, the numbers are even worse.
In July, for example, General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler accounted for only 32% of passenger car sales; foreign car brands grabbed 68%."
A good part of Detroit's current woes is due to impatience and a failure to stay diversified. By chasing trucks and SUVs almost exclusively, the Big 2.x choked off development funds for their car models, resulting in offerings which were antiquated and not class competitive.
It wasn't always this way. The economic depression of 1930s severely wounded all luxury car makers, especially Ford Motor Company's Lincoln, which had no mid-priced production model to offer. By 1935, annual sales of the big, expensive Lincoln K Series models (prices starting at $4,200 - eight times as much as a Ford coupe) had fallen to a mere 830 cars and Lincoln brand was on the brink of extinction.
The 1936 Zephyr - a much-needed, lower-priced addition to the Lincoln's product line - saved the marque.
But Lincoln didn't just discontinue the K-Series. Like many businesses, it was hoping for a decisive end to economic hard times and a return to the prosperity of yore. So the company hedged its bets. The K soldiered on until the end of the 1939 model year. By then, most of the custom coachbuilders were gone and the looming war caused the company to refocus its resources. Convinced that the chauffeur-driven custom-bodied era had truly ended, Lincoln quietly discontinued the K-Series and concentrated its efforts on the Zephyr and the new Continental. Meanwhile, Ford had broadened its offerings by introducing Mercury as a brand - which allowed the firm to maintain the Lincoln marque as a luxury offering.
If GM, Ford and Chrysler had continued to develop and improve passenger cars - large and small - in the truck-centric 2000-08 era, they wouldn't be hanging off a cliff peering down into a graveyard full of DOA, off-lease big trucks and SUVs.
Patience pays. So does a diversified portfolio of offerings. (permalink)
Not A 'Barn Find' ... but a 'lake find'. Police found a "stolen car graveyard" in a Washington lake. Authorities in Camas, Washington recently pulled five gutted cars from Lacamas Lake, all of which had been stolen: two Hondas, two Acuras, and a Chevy Tahoe. The lake's water level is low this time of year, which allowed boaters to see the cars underwater. It's the second time the police have had to do salvage duty in the same lake for the same reason.
Lacamas Lake is about 8 miles from here. I'll have to look closer and see if I recognize any of them (my trade-ins, friend's trade-ins, etc.).
Has The Obama Bubble Burst? James Pethokoukis has written: "Speculative bubbles have come in many different varieties: flowers, railway shares, Florida property, Beanie Babies, comic books, technology stocks, exurb McMansions. Does Candidate Obama qualify? Well, the candidate does sound a bit like a lot of the hot Internet companies back in the late 1990s. Not much of a track record. Lots of media hype. Parabolic ascent. And now a stomach-dropping decline."
In 'Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds', first published in 1841, by Charles Mackay noted: "We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first."
Or, as Bart Simpson said to Marge, "Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken! Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!"
Once Upon A Time ... the Frannie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle is explained in fable form.
Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "At one time, it was said "The truth will make you free." Today, there seem to be those who think that rhetoric and hype will make you free. It might even be called the audacity of hype."
Thursday September 11, 2008
Never Forget: September 11, 2001 - it was unthinkable and ghastly. After three solid days of being glued to the television in one of those "I Cannot Look; I Cannot Look Away" numbing spirals of horror, my wife and I decided to get out of the house and connect with real people. So we drove to central Washington state. In those pre-blog days, I recorded this journal entry:
"Just got back from a car car club meet in Yakima, Washington. Drove through the heartland - farming communities of Washington/Oregon. Lots of American flags flying from homes, car antennas, pickup beds, etc. Passed a prayer service on the athletic field of the Goldendale (WA) high school. (No separation of church and state there!) Ran into a Studebaker driving club along the way - lots of cool old Studies including a bullet-nosed, red 1950 Commander convertible with patriotic red/white/blue bunting. Everyone at the meet was talking about the events of 9/11 - somberly, but with a positive resolve - "we'll get through this" was the operative feeling. People felt good about Bush's response and demeanor. He is projecting confidence and hope."
It's been seven years and there have been no further attacks on U.S. soil. Divine Providence? Perhaps - but God helps those who help themselves. Despite some well-publicized flaws, the Department of Homeland Security seems to be effective. Meanwhile, Saddam is dead and Osama may be just a pile of bones somewhere along the Khyber Pass. Terror plots within our borders are being discovered and stopped. What some see as a President "projecting confidence and hope" is now perceived by others as "Texas swagger." We have reclaimed the luxury of becoming a partisan nation.
But Islamic terrorism has not disappeared. There is a global jihad being waged against all infidels - Americans, Europeans, Russians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and moderate Muslims - in order to re-establish the medieval Islamic global empire. America must continue to protect and defend itself from this violent jihad.
Be sure to vote this year. Search your heart. Cast your ballot for the candidate who will, in your estimation, never let another 9/11 happen again. Tax rates, health care, abortion, school vouchers, gay marriage and the economy will only affect you ... if you're alive.
Life itself - safety from terrorists - is still the only real issue in 2008.
Vote as if your whole life depends on it. Because it does.
PS: Gerard Van der Leun has written a somber essay about witnessing the fall of the twin towers.
Wednesday September 10, 2008
Dealer Incentives: Photos of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid have been released. Unfortunately, you won't be able to purchase one until the 2011 model year. Maybe. Several people have wondered why the car features large unpleasant matte black sills beneath the side windows. Especially since GM's 1980s window frames always lost part of their black coating on the third trip through a car wash.
Here's the answer: it's for the dealers. Car dealers can sell and install high-profit, meretricious accessory trim to cover it up. Things like padded vinyl (for elderly drivers), polished diamond plate (for rednecks), cane pattern (often applied to the window sills of 1949-52 Buick hardtops and convertibles), fake wood (welcome to 1971), gold anodized aluminum - first seen on the '56 Plymouth Fury (now known as a Gold Package - one that matches the front bowtie emblem) or fake zebra skin (a favorite with early 1950s customizers).
I think I'll have my Volt fitted with faux leopard skin. (permalink)
Ask Yourself, "Would It Be Any Worse Than Bob Nardelli?" Headline from The Onion: 'Chrysler Names '83 LeBaron CEO'. "Praising the vehicle's 25 years of experience, its proven dependability, and its 2.2-liter internal combustion engine, Chrysler announced Monday that it has appointed a 1983 four-door LeBaron sedan as the company's new CEO. When asked how Chrysler plans to shift toward more energy-efficient models in order to compete in a changing marketplace, the LeBaron honked its horn for 35 seconds."
Satan's Holding A Room For Ya: North Korea's Kim Jong Il suffered a stroke in mid-August, according to various news reports. He's either dead or gravely ill.
Gettin' Wood: James Lileks provides a tidbit from his DNC coverage in Denver. "The clerk gave me a card-key; it felt odd. "It's wood," he apologized. "They made us use wood keys." They being Denver, or the DNC, or Paris and Nikki. The writing on the key said it was made of SUSTAINABLE WOOD, which sounds like some sort of Viagra sold in co-ops."
Fear Factor: Greg Gutfeld writes: "I know the real reason why every single elitist media type is so scared of her. They have never met her. And by her, I don't mean Sarah Palin - I mean "her" - an actual normal woman with a bunch of kids, an average husband, no desire to watch 'The L Word' and definitely not up on her Chakras. She's scary to these folks the way Wal-Mart is scary to them: both are alien to someone accustomed to blogging about Project Runway and alternative medicine. They won't go there, because they've never been there.
To them, hating Sarah Palin is a symptom of larger bigotry against "the rest of us." The normal. If they saw her at a cocktail party, they would run away from her with a smirk. She's the anti-Obama, the anti-New York Times, the anti-Alec Baldwin, the anti-"everything that can be ordered in the back pages of the Utne Reader."
Which is why I love her - and you should too." Amen.
Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "If you took all the fraud out of politics, there might not be a lot left."
Monday September 8, 2008
On The Hook: Chrysler is now touting that it's making good quality cars, despite sub-par ratings from J.D. Power, Consumer Reports and just about every car guy I know. Last week, I saw a nearly new white Dodge Caliber being towed. I never see new cars broken down or being towed, unless they're in an accident and have significant body damage.
Most of the non-runners on tow hooks or on the side of the road are 20 year-old something-or-others with dull paint, Bondo and/or cracked windshields.
Best South Park License Plate Ever ... here.
No Credit? No Problem! Come on down to Freddie & Fannie's. We got just got a shipment of $200 billion and we don't know what to do with it. Our overstock is our problem and your opportunity. Ask for Crazy Hank Paulson ... he's giving money away to everybody! Can you say 'New Deal'?
Wine Report: Last Friday, we had homemade pizza along with a very interesting wine - a lightly-carbonated slightly dry rosé from Italy. Described as "The Lightly Sparkling Wine", this Rosato Del Veneto was named 'Il' and is produced and bottled by Mionetto, SPA from Valdobbiadene, a town in the province of Treviso - near Venice. It is made from Raboso, Cabernet and Merlot grapes from the Veneto region. It is described as a "well-balanced and fruity wine has lively notes of cherries with a long and dry finish. Its pleasing aroma recalls the romance of roses, raspberries and peaches."
I purchased this wine from the 'clearance/discontinued' rack at World Market. I was sucked in by the interesting shape of the bottle and the matte finish on surface of the clear glass. The bottle design is by Minedivine, a graphic and product design firm in Mogliano. My recommendation: if you can find it, buy it.
You're Cancelled! Us Weekly magazine did a hit piece on Sarah Palin. Unlike People and OK!, Us chose a caustic cover line - 'Babies, Lies and Scandal' - and lost thousands of subscribers in just the first 24 hours after printing. "I'm hearing it's 5,000, maybe more," said one well-placed source in the industry. Another claimed that as many as 10,000 readers have already cancelled their subscriptions.
Last week, a two-page Us spread explained how chic (their word) Michelle Obama is. There were lots off glamor shots of her with her daughters and husband. Us proclaimed that Michelle has "the grace and beauty of a dancer ..."
Present Tense: Last week, Rudy Giuliani said this about Obama: "Then he ran for the state legislature - where nearly 130 times he was unable to make a decision yes or no. He simply voted 'present'. "Oh, I just can't make a decision - I don't know whether to vote yes or no. It's just too tough." As mayor of New York City, I never got a chance to vote 'present'. And you know, when you're president of the United States, you can't just vote 'present'. You must make decisions."
God Bless America: Please take two minutes out of your life and watch this video.
Flag On The Play: Democrats tossed 12,000 American flags in the garbage following their Denver convention. What idiots! Have they never heard of the fine people of the VFW and American Legion who proudly help dispose of worn and otherwise useless flags with dignity? Were none of them in the Boy Scouts where proper flag disposal is taught?
The McCain people 'rescued' the flags from the landfill and used them in a Colorado Republican rally Saturday. Heh.
Shake, Baby, Shake: Paul Mirengoff has observed: "At the Democratic convention, Obama and Biden remained on the stage with their families, basking in the glow of mass adulation. After several minutes of this, the two candidates and their wives came forward for what I called "one more bow - before they ascend to the heavens."
Thursday night, McCain looked rather uncomfortable on stage during the celebration. Before long, he descended into the crowd to shake hands. Only then did he look at ease.
The contrast could not have been clearer, and I think it tells us a good deal about the two presidential candidates."
I noticed that Sarah Palin was out there signing autographs for at least five minutes after McCain left the stage. Star Power. (permalink)
Music Of Your Life: Jim Treacher has written that "the Wilson sisters sent a cease and desist to McCain/Palin because they used 'Barracuda' by Heart at the end of the RNC. It makes sense: For a rock musician, affiliation with a Republican campaign could be a career-ender. Whoops, too late!" Treacher titled the piece: 'When that song came out, McCain was only 90.'
Hey, since Barack seems to flit around on his positions and 'ol Joe Biden can't seem to be taught any new tricks, I wonder if Ann and Nancy will let the Dems use 'Dog and Butterfly' as theme music? (permalink)
Sarah Compared: Barry Warsch, lifelong Democrat, former Florida Democrat executive committee member, notes that - according to the media - a woman running for office with five kids is a bad mother.
But a man who ran for national office with ten kids at home (including a six month-old and a pregnant wife), became a hero, a martyr, and an icon to which all dreams of what liberalism might have been were attached for a generation.
Was Robert F. Kennedy ever vilified for ignoring his family? Did anyone sneer at his failure to abort or use contraception? Of course not. (permalink)
Better, Equal, Lesser? Don Luskin has weighed in on McCain's choice of Palin: "But doesn't it take a real man to pick a subordinate who outshines you? Who was it who said, 'A-players pick A-players. B-players pick C-players?'" (permalink)
Another Difference: Barack Obama attended a Muslim school in Indonesia. Sarah Palin attended a Mooselim school in Alaska. (permalink)
Bad Pun Of The Day: A pessimist's blood is always B Negative.
Thursday September 4, 2008
How I Saved The Volt: As you know, the Chevrolet Volt is in crisis - overhyped, late to market and overpriced. And still waiting for someone to develop a low-cost, lightweight battery.
My wife just bought a big-button calculator at The Dollar Store for a buck. It even came with a battery - a nice compact little disc-shaped one that weighs almost nothing. And it works!
I think General Motors should head for the nearest Dollar Store and buy millions of these calculators. Take out the batteries out and use as many as needed to power the Volt. If it takes 1,000 of them, who cares? They're cheap. Take the plastic cases (which are pretty decent, by the way), grind them up and injection mold some nice interior trim. Then use the LCD readouts for gauges.
See? I've just cut the cost of the Volt from $45,000 to probably $20,000.
Who says America can't compete? (Well, yeah, the calculators are made in China ... but everything would be stripped-out and reassembled into a Volt in the U.S. Using UAW labor. That's got to count for something.)
Note to GM: You don't have to send me a thank you letter. A bonus equal to Lutz's annual paycheck will do nicely. (permalink)
No Surprise: People aren't buying as many vehicles as they used to. No wonder ... high gas prices have scared off buyers, the lease market is in turmoil, credit has tightened and the truck market is returning to pre-craze levels. Unfortunately, a lot of traditional truck buyers - contractors - aren't buying anything because the housing market has flatlined. (But it's now easier to find a parking spot at Lowe's.)
Specifically, FoMoCo sales (including Volvo) were down by 27% - versus a year ago - in August. Cars were off by 9%, SUVs by 53%, trucks & vans by 39%. Sales of the gas-miserly Ford Focus were up by over 23% but - a surprise to me - Fusion sales were off by almost 28%. Its siblings did even worse - the Lincoln MKZ was down 27% and the Mercury Milan was off by 40%. On the bright side, sales of the Ford Escape mini-SUV were up over 17%. That surprised me too.
Nissan and VW were up, although Nissan is reportedly offering some very hot incentives on the hoods. Honda sales were off over 7%. Toyota was down 9% overall. Yaris sales were up 21% but Corolla declined by 3%. Camry rose 3% while Avalon dropped 41%. Scion sales were down overall. All Lexus sales were off, except the small IS which soared upwards over 17%. Sales of the flagship LS were down 44% to 1,772 units.
General Motors' sales were down over 20%, led by big declines at Hummer, Saab and Pontiac. Chevy Aveo sales were down a startling 21% and Cobalt sales were off almost 27% but sales of the thirsty Corvette were up over 47%. And the pretty-big Buick Enclave SUV had a 60% sales increase. Go figure. Saturn's entry level offering, the Astra had 41% lower sales that the appalling Ion which it replaced. I guess 'now improved' just isn't good enough these days.
Chrysler vehicle sales were off 35%. And you just know a lot of their stuff went to low-margin fleet buyers. How do those guys stay in business?
On the upside, most manufacturers sold more vehicles than in July 2008. And Mini sales were up 34% over the prior year.
Traffic: I haven't done anything special - not motivated to do so, since this blog is not a revenue producer for me - but visitor traffic to the main page of The View Through The Windshield has increased 44% in the last six months - growing steadily every month.
Important News: Maybe not to you, but it's important to me. The remodeling of our family room is now complete.
About Last Night: Wednesday evening was a homerun night at the Republican convention. I wasn't sure what to expect; Fred Thompson's moving speech on Tuesday night was his finest performance. Wednesday started off slowly. Carly Fiorina just sucked - in content and delivery. No wonder HP booted her.
Michael Steele enthusiastically warmed up the crowd: "Drill, Baby, Drill!" He gave a killer speech at the 2004 convention and is well-liked in RNC circles. A good guy.
Mitt Romney gave a fairly standard anti-liberal speech; it came across as well-crafted boilerplate, delivered in a competent and workmanlike way. But it offered little excitement for me, although the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Mike Huckabee was good and, at times, moving, although too wordy for my taste.
Next came Rudy Giuliani. He was spectacular and brought down the house. Here's Rudy on Obama's many flip-flops: "On the single biggest policy decision of this election, John McCain got it right, and Barack Obama got it wrong." And: "If I were Joe Biden, I'd want to get that V.P. thing in writing." Rudy's incredible speaking ability concerned me; I was worried that he would be tough speaker to follow because he was soooooo good.
I needn't have fretted; Sarah Palin did just fine. And then some. Sarah didn't just read the text; like any exceptional speaker, she owned it. You could tell that she was inhaling the enthusiasm of the audience. I sensed that she ad-libbed a couple of things and that made her speech even more personal and sincere. (Update: she had to ad-lib ... the teleprompter malfunctioned.)
Sarah sliced Obama with a finely-honed scalpel: "To seek the presidency is not to be a journey of personal discovery." I think "styrofoam Greek columns" is a phrase that will stick around for a while.
Speaking of Obama, the woman who attempted to storm the stage last night during Palin's speech has been identified as Jodie Evans, a prominent financier in the Obama campaign. Evens wore a pink dress with 'Palin's not a woman ...' on the front. Secret Service men grabbed her at last minute and had to drag her out of the convention. Evans co-hosted Obama's breakout Hollywood fundraiser at the start of his campaign in 2007. As a money raiser, Evans had been given perks that included regular briefings by top campaign staffers on policy and private meetings with Obama and Joe Biden.
Another Palin slice carved up the elite media and entrenched D.C. insiders: "Here's some news for the Washington political class: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion, I'm going to Washington to serve this country."
Over 37 million people watched Sarah's speech, almost as many viewers for Obama's acceptance speech last week. You know ... the one with the styrofoam Greek columns.
Jim Geraghty described her performance as "the most striking and graceful debut in our nation's political life, and a national introduction that makes Barack Obama's 2004 convention address look like small potatoes."
Victor Davis Hanson, writing about Sarah Palin's appeal, believes that: "millions of Americans are simply tired of being lectured at by smug elites. Jetting Al Gore made tens of millions finger-pointing at us about our global warming. Obama's America, apparently unlike Rev. Wright's Trinity Church, is a cruel, downright mean and dysfunctional place. John Kerry's United States is one of the half-educated in need of Ivy-League enlightenment and tutorials. ... Palin's symbolism is the antithesis of the metrosexual wind- or body-surfing politician, and hair-plugged, neurotic TV pundit So at this time, right now, millions apparently like Palin's atypical 19th-century profile. Again, it's a pleasant change of pace from Harvard Law School, DC politics, "community organizing" and the can't-do, 'they raised the bar on me' collective complaint. ... Right now, there are millions rooting for her in a way not true of Biden - and many who are criticizing her don't have a clue why that it is so." Indeed.
Double BO: Barack Obama will appear on The Factor Thursday night, the same night John McCain accepts the Republican nomination. This proves to me that His Pompousness, Bill O'Reilly, is just another media whore.
Over at Ace, Slublog invites people to Compare and Contrast: "On the night of Barack Obama's speech, John McCain released an advertisement congratulating him on his achievement. On the night of John McCain's speech, Barack Obama is going on Bill O'Reilly's show in an attempt to grab some headlines."
Class will tell. So will the lack of it.
Bad Behavior ... as exhibited by the mainstream media is inexcusable. Yuval Levin of the Ethics and Public Policy Center wrote: "I have always tended to think that conservative complaints about the media are a little exaggerated. ... But this week has changed my view. I have never seen, and I admit that I could never have imagined, such shameful, out-of-control, frenzied, angry, condescending, and pathetic journalistic malpractice. The ignorant assault on Palin's accomplishments and experience, the breathless careless airing of deranged rumors about her private life, the staggeringly indecent mistreatment of her teenage daughter in a difficult time, the ill-informed piling on about the vetting process, the self-intensifying circle of tisking nodding heads utterly detached from a straightforward political event, have been amazing and eye-opening. ... The spectacle reveals a deep rot at the heart of the political press, and has been among the most shameful chapters in the history of modern American journalism."
The Little Town Mayor Thing: In berating Sarah Palin, the Democrats have made much of the "former mayor of a town of 9,000." As if we'd want a mayor of a big town ... like Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, currently under indictment and out on bail. Or former D.C. Mayor and crack addict, Marion Barry. Or former Philadelphia
losers mayors Wilson Goode or John Street. Or former mayor Dick Murphy of San Diego.
In 2005, Time named the worst mayors in America. All were from big cities. (permalink)
To Those ... who are attacking Sarah Palin personally, I submit the words of another great female leader, Margaret Thatcher: "When they attack one personally it means they haven't a single political argument left." (permalink)
Sad Sack Nation: Christopher Hitchens (via Kathy Shaidle) notes: "Every four years, we suddenly discover that the only people worth noticing or mentioning in the United States are those who are ill, or unemployed, or uninsured, or underpaid, or homeless, or some combination of the above. Bill and Hillary Clinton went on about these unprotected and wretched millions on two successive nights last week, apparently never reflecting that some of them at least must have been alive and suffering under the two Clinton administrations. How can a thinking person sit still and listen to such piffle, let alone get up and wave their arms about when they hear it again and again?"
He's Baaaaack: Obama's former pastor and buddy, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is at it again: "This ordinary boy (Obama) just might be the first president in the history of the United States to have a black woman sleeping at 1600 Pennsylvania legally."
Guitar Man: Legendary singer/actor Jerry Reed, of 'Smokey and the Bandit' and other car chase movies, has died 71.
Reed did the guitar solo on Elvis' version of 'Guitar Man' (Jerry Reed wrote the song) because none of the session players could get it right.
My favorite Jerry Reed recording is 'When You're Hot, You're Hot'.
Rest In Peace, Jerry.
Global Warming? No, Clearasil. The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.
Another Metric System Disaster: A Malaysian welder had to have a metal nut removed from around his penis after a botched attempt to lengthen his member. The nut got stuck on his penis, forcing him to seek help at a local hospital.
Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "How many in the media have expressed half as much outrage about the beheading of innocent people by terrorists in Iraq as they have about the captured terrorists held at Guantanamo not being treated as nicely as they think they should be?"
Tuesday September 2, 2008
History Repeats Itself: Studebaker failed because ...
• It had high labor costs, hindering its ability to compete.
• It had a long history of quality problems which drove the public to other, more reliable makes - even though the company offered some cool-looking cars.
• Its managers stressed short-term earnings rather than long-term vision.
Studebaker during the '50s and '60s. General Motors during the last 25 years. Some things never change.
Sweet Coupe: I'm posting this for those who didn't see the link on AutoBlog. Produced in 1951, Disney's 'Susie the Little Blue Coupe' is worth eight minutes of your time. Narrated by Sterling Holloway, it was originally reseased as a theatrical short in mid-1952 and was included as a special feature on the DVD release of 'The Love Bug'.
Sterling Holloway was the voice of the Cheshire cat in 'Alice in Wonderland'. His most famous vocalization was the title character in Disney's 'Winnie-the-Pooh' featurettes. Holloway was a character actor who appeared in over 150 films and television shows, in addition to furlongs and furlongs of voice-over work.
New Tech Vs. Old Iron: At the beginning of Motor Week's show, a Honda Accord coupe with a 271 horsepower V-6 engine and six-speed manual transmission was tested. Then there were the usual forgettable middle segments - Pat Goss tells you how to operate a door handle, etc. The show closed with a test of the Dodge Challenger with the 425 hp, 6.1 liter Hemi V-8 and 5-speed autostick. The performance numbers were interesting:
||13.9 sec.@ 101 mph
||13.5 sec. @ 108 mph
|EPA mpg - city/highway:
The sticker price for the Accord is about $9,000 less the Challenger's. In the real world - given the current 'Dodge Dealer Gouge', you could buy at least two new Honda Accord coupes for the price of a single Dodge Challenger.
On an objective level, one has to wonder why anyone would opt for the Dodge? (permalink)
Lady Sarah: Wondering if Palin's tough enough? In high school, because of her fierce competitiveness while playing basketball, she was known as Sarah Barracuda. "She briefly worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations while also working as a commercial fisherman with her husband, Todd, her high school sweetheart. One summer when she was working on Todd's fishing boat, the boat collided with a tender while she was holding onto the railing; Palin broke several fingers." Owwwww.
She's tough enough for me. But does she know any good sea shanties? (permalink)
"The Hostess With The Moosest": Mark Steyn weighs in on Sarah Palin: "What other country in the developed world produces beauty queens who hunt caribou and serve up a terrific moose stew? ... And for the gun-totin' Miss Wasilla then to go on to become Governor while having five kids makes it an even more uniquely American story. Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of "community organizer" and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy."
More: "Governor Palin has what the British Labour Party politician Denis Healy likes to call a "hinterland" - a life beyond politics. Whenever Senator Obama attempts anything non-political (such as bowling), he comes over like a visiting dignitary to a foreign country getting shanghaied into some impenetrable local folk ritual. Sarah Palin isn't just on the right side of the issues intellectually. She won't need the usual stage-managed "hunting" trip to reassure gun owners: she's lived the Second Amendment all her life. ... Energy? Unlike Biden and Obama, she's been to ANWR and, like most Alaskans, supports drilling there." (permalink)
Naughty Alaskan Librarian ... according to Craig Ferguson anyway.
Has Anyone Else ... pointed out that Sarah Palin has more years of experience than Barack Obama because, in the summer, the days are much longer in Alaska than in Illinois or D.C.? (And, in the winter, everyone in Alaska works at night which makes it seem even longer.) (permalink)
Little Known Facts ... about Sarah Palin: There are hundreds posted here. I've selected several for your amusement:
• Sarah Palin drives a Zamboni.
• Sarah Palin knows 280 words for snow.
• Sarah Palin uses her DVR to record 'Ice Truckers'.
• Sarah Palin has visited all seven of McCain's houses.
• Sarah Palin thinks your kids have stupid first names.
• Sarah Palin always orders the Bambi Platter at Denny's.
• Sarah Palin uses whale blubber to heat the governor's mansion.
• Sarah Palin can catch salmon swimming upstream with her teeth.
• Sarah Palin is so hot she melts the ice on Alaskan roads on her way to work.
• Every day, Sarah Palin clicks her heels and says, "There's no place like Nome." (permalink)
Here's A Great Hypothetical Scenario: Gail Collins writes: "If she's only on the ticket to try to get disaffected Clinton supporters to cross over, it's a bad choice. Joe Biden may already be practicing his drop-dead line for the vice-presidential debate: 'I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine, and governor, you're no Hillary Clinton.'"
Kathryn Jean Lopez offers this answer: "To which Palin could reply: 'There you go again. Plagiarizing.'" I love it. (permalink)
Quote Of The Day is from Charles Krauthammer: "Barack Obama is an immensely talented man whose talents have been largely devoted to crafting and chronicling his own life. Not things. Not ideas. Not institutions. But himself." Reminds me of The Al Franken Decade.