June 06, 2009

I don't blog in May. It's a religious thing, or something.

So now that that's over, I make a promise.  If Penske or the Chinese fire the UAW, I'll buy a Saturn or a Hummer.

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April 02, 2009

Detroit as a hunter's paradise

This fine fellow is the shape of things to come and I honor him for his work ethic and can-do attitude. Detroit needs more like him.

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March 03, 2009

How the auto industry got here

“One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.”

—Ayn Rand, 1975

CAFE, crippling taxes, and government-backed organized crime (i.e. UAW), leading right up to now, when articles like this can be written and taken seriously. Deliberate? No, I'm not saying there's a conspiracy here, but damned if it didn't just sorta end up that way.

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March 02, 2009

Surprising upsides to the population doughnut of Detroit

On a positive note, Detroit's homicide rate dropped 14 percent last year. That prompted mayoral candidate Stanley Christmas to tell the Detroit News recently, "I don't mean to be sarcastic, but there just isn't anyone left to kill."

More here.

Upside? My '02 Altima has a higher blue book value than the median December home sale price for Detroit. This is a city run by democrats for longer than any of its residents has been alive. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that it's an absolute shithole.

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November 19, 2008

If I were a less-principled man...

I'd be all for a bailout of the Big 2.5.  My house is in Michigan, and I'm rarin' to get the Hell out of here, so any short-term bump to the state economy would be to my advantage.  In fact, if it does happen I recommend anyone with the opportunity take that same advantage that I plan to take.

The great big things that would actually help the Detroit auto industry aren't even under discussion: loosening of CAFE standards, and busting the UAW with right-to-work (preferably at the national level).  Any outpouring of Fed funds (i.e. money from the pockets of hundreds of millions of Americans that had nothing to do with the crapping out of Ford, GM, and Chrysler*) without impossible alteration of the regulatory environment or the way Detroit does business would be the equivalent of setting the money on fire.

UAW and management walked into this poopstorm hand in hand, with the expectation that the good times for Detroit would never end.  Neither of them has any chance of fixing this now without the binding arbitration of Chaper 11 bankruptcy.  Without UAW holding management's hand in a death grip, we might not have got to this point.  Look around on the blogs right now, and find plenty of UAW astroturf.  Sentiment against them is growing, and they're waging the same sort of PR war that Axelrod waged on behalf of Obama during the election.

If we're very, very lucky, DC democrats will crap on Michigan.  Most of them have nothing to lose by doing so (and plenty to gain in their home states by being "against the bailout"), and there's already a good chance that Dingell will lose his commitee headship.  We'll see how this plays out, I suppose.

*for limited meanings of the word "Chrysler"

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October 18, 2008

The Titanic Rescuing the Lusitania?

Not a bad analogy.  Looks it'll be the Big 2 soon.

Major plus?  Nissan might get the Jeep brand, and I might finally be able to buy a Wrangler with a clear conscience.  Unless they screw the pooch and leave it in UAW hands, of course.

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October 06, 2008

Has-been throws concert for wannabe

It's free, not fundraising, so I suppose it's probably skirting the edge of legality.

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October 02, 2008

One time, I tripped while stepping over a chain-rope fence...

...and hurt my right shoulder pretty badly. The muscles tightened almost immediately and I was in excruciating pain. So much pain that I didn't notice for almost two days that I'd hurt my knee. If I'd just hurt my knee, I'd have known right away.

I note this story because the big 2.5 are getting their sweet loan. Thanks Debbie, I feel sufficiently kneecapped.

For the record, I'm against the big bailout, which Debbie voted against (shock), though her vote against was because it wasn't quite socialist enough for her.  A stopped clock...

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September 19, 2008

Man, I wish I could take an out-of-state vacation before I go to prison

But I guess I'm not as cool as Kwame-man.

I need to take a look at InTrade and see if I can get anyone to bet me he'll actually come back to do his jail time.

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September 10, 2008

Kwame-man!

This is the single best capsule summary of the rise and fall of Kwame Kilpatrick I've seen. I have little doubt that he'll run -- and win -- shortly after his five year prohibition against seeking public office ends. You can't keep a bad man down.

Many thanks to Deideldorfer.

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September 04, 2008

Useless, wasteful loan idea moves forward

At least CNN calls it a bailout. Where, exactly, is the money coming from for this, and why are Bush, McCain, and Obama all on board? Guys, buy a principle, I'll lend you a few bucks if you're short this week.  Freedom to succeed requires freedom to fail.  Let them fail -- or recover -- on their own merits.  MI and America suffer the longer they are propped up and protected by lousy politics.

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Ken Cockrel Jr., Mayor of Detroit

Breaking. Kwame's packing up his desk, but WJR is reporting this at present. Kwame's pleading guilty to two felony charges.

Update: jail time! 4 months in prison, cannot run for public office for 5 years! Still no link, listening to the radio.
Update: I neglected to mention, this makes Monica Conyers the City Council president.
Update: link.

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September 03, 2008

Our long, regional nightmare is almost over

Kwame's taking the deal. Sort of a shame, I was hoping he'd choose to face the Wheel ("Gulag!").

Apparently he saw the writing on the wall during his hearing with Jenny (from the block) that he might get removed from office before the conclusion of the criminal trial. Since that'd pretty much eliminate his only bargaining chip against a series of dead-to-rights charges, he took the only way out that might not put him behind bars. If this bastard walks free and gets his pension at the end of all this, it's all been nothing but a farce. Plea deal becomes public tomorrow, I guess we'll know then.

What really kills me is that he could probably run for another term as mayor, and win.

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September 02, 2008

It's a loan, see, not a bailout. Really.

Yeah, this'll help fix what's wrong with the American Auto industry. Let's hope the EFCA passes too, then we'll be in utopia for sure!

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August 07, 2008

Breaking: Detroit mayor jailed

For violating the terms of his bail.
No link yet, heard on the Frank Beckman show.

Update: Detroit Free Press. H/T IreneFingIrene in AoSHQ comments.

Cackling is encouraged by all the staff here at ASM (i.e. me).

Update, the sequel:  I forgot to mention that Mr. Kilpatrick is a Democrat Party Superdelegate, who supports Obama.

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August 03, 2008

$300 M "investment fund"

Jenny swoops in to encourage local business by pledging to risk the state employees retirement funds on it. So somewhere, a bureaucrat will decide whether to invest money from the state employees pension fund into your "high growth" business, or not. Because it's important for the State to be able to pick winners and losers, play favorites, and facilitate quid pro quo. Hey Jenny, I can think a half-dozen ways to jump-start business in this state while decreasing -- or at least not increasing -- opportunities for graft and corruption among state officials.

Let's start with the easy one. You're term-limited anyhow, you've got nothing to lose, so why not announce that you're willing to sign legislation making MI a right-to-work state. I'm guessing the state legislature can have that law on your desk in a matter of days. MI wins by breaking the Big Labor stranglehold, you get to be on the side of freedom and prosperity for a change. Of course, you may want to get as far from MI as you can after your term ends.  Possibly back to Canada.

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August 01, 2008

How long before Jenny suggests a bailout?

GM posted a $15.5 Billion loss in the second quarter of this year. Could be the high cost of oil making imports more attractive, could be UAW making it unprofitable to manufacture cars in Michigan, could be the retooling needed to meet higher CAFE standards, could be a lot of things.

I'm wondering how long it will take Granholm to push for a state or federal bailout. I fully expect the state to "loan" huge amounts of money to GM and Ford, driving up the state debt even more, probably counting on revenues from the asinine "Michigan = Hollywood" plan. Why? GM is "too big to fail" in common parlance. Employs too many people, owns too much real estate, generates too much tax revenue; too big to fail. All of those are value judgments about what constitutes "too many" or "too much", and none of them are reasonable. Michigan's auto industry is dying, for a lot of reasons, and Michigan will not and cannot succeed by keeping them on life support.

In fact, I strongly suspect that GM and Ford are committing "suicide" at this point. Knowing that they are too big to fail, they're counting on the bailouts, and deliberately setting themselves up to be as unprofitable as possible... for the moment. I'm sure they aren't profitable, of course, but any legitimate accounting procedure or suboptimal plan that lets them be even less so increases the chance they'll be bailed out. The government bailed out Chrysler in 1979 (thanks Jimmy!), and look how well that turned out. The precedent is set, the fix is in. Further, the execs and GM and Ford have literally nothing to lose. If they somehow aren't bailed out, they get to declare bankruptcy, and maybe -- just maybe -- shed MI and the UAW once and for all. The real winner in all this could be Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, or some other Right-to-Work state.

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