Tuesday, December 30, 2008
That Inbox again...
Dear Employees & Suppliers,
Congress and the current Administration will soon determine whether to provide immediate support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one of the most difficult economic times in our nation's history. Your elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is critical to our continuing the progress we began prior to the global financial crisis......................As an employee or supplier, you have a lot at stake and continue to be one of our most effective and passionate voices. I know GM can count on you to have your voice heard.
Thank you for your urgent action and ongoing support.
President General Motors North America
Response from: Gregory Knox, Pres. Knox Machinery Company Franklin, Ohio
In response to your request to contact legislators and ask for a bailout for the Big Three automakers please consider the following, and please pass my thoughts on to Troy Clark, President of General Motors North America.
Politicians and Management of the Big 3 are both infected with the same
entitlement mentality that has spread like cancerous germs in UAW halls for the last countless decades, and whose plague is now sweeping this nation, awaiting our new "messiah", Pres-elect Obama, to wave his magic wand and make all our problems go away, while at the same time allowing our once great nation to keep "living the dream"… Believe me folks, The dream is over!
This dream where we can ignore the consumer for years while management myopically focuses on its personal rewards packages at the same time that our factories have been filled with the worlds most overpaid, arrogant, ignorant and laziest entitlement minded "laborers" without paying the price for these atrocities…this dream where you still think the masses will line up to buy our products for ever and ever.
Don't even think about telling me I'm wrong. Don't accuse me of not knowing of what I speak. I have called on Ford, GM, Chrysler, TRW, Delphi, Kelsey Hayes, American Axle and countless other automotive OEM's throughout the Midwest during the past 30 years and what I've seen over those year s in these union shops can only be described as disgusting.
Troy Clarke, President of General Motors North America, states: "There is widespread sentiment throughout this country, and our government, and especially via the news media, that the current crisis is completely the result of bad management which it certainly is not."
You're right Mr. Clarke, it's not JUST management…how about the electricians who walk around the plants like lords in feudal times, making people wait on them for countless hours while they drag ass…so they can come in on the weekend and make double and triple time…for a job they easily could have done within their normal 40 hour work week. How about the line workers who threaten newbies with all kinds of scare tactics…for putting out too many parts on a shift…and for being too productive (We certainly must not expose those lazy bums who have been getting overpaid for decades for their horrific underproduction, must we?!?)
Do you folks really not know about this stuff?!? How about this great sentiment abridged from Mr. Clarke's sad plea: "over the last few years…we have closed the quality and efficiency gaps with our competitors."
What the hell has Detroit been doing for the last 40 years?!? Did we really JUST wake up to the gaps in quality and efficiency between us and them? The K car vs. the Accord? The Pinto vs. the Civic?!? Do I need to go on? What a joke! We are living through the inevitable outcome of the actions of the United States auto industry for decades. It's time to pay for your sins, Detroit.
I attended an economic summit last week where brilliant economist, Alan Beaulieu, from the Institute of Trend Research, surprised the crowd when he said he would not have given the banks a penny of "bailout money". "Yes, he said, this would cause short term problems," but despite what people like politicians and corporate magnates would have us believe, the sun would in fact rise the next day… and the following very important thing would happen…where there had been greedy and sloppy banks, new efficient ones would pop up…that is how a free market system works…it does work…if we would only let it work…"
But for some nondescript reason we are now deciding that the rest of the world is right and that capitalism doesn't work - that we need the government to step in and "save us"…Save us my ass, Hell - we're nationalizing…and unfortunately too many of our once fine nation's citizens don't even have a clue that this is what is really happening…But, they sure can tell you the stats on their favorite sports teams…yeah - THAT'S really important, isn't it…
Does it ever occur to ANYONE that the "competition" has been producing vehicles, EXTREMELY PROFITABLY, for decades in this country?... How can that be??? Let's see… Fuel efficient… Listening to customers… Investing in the proper tooling and automation for the long haul… Not being too complacent or arrogant to listen to Dr. W. Edwards Deming four decades ago when he taught that by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations could increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs. Ever increased productivity through quality and intelligent planning… Treating vendors like strategic partners, rather than like "the enemy"… Efficient front and back offices… Non union environment…Again, I could go on and on, but I really wouldn't be telling anyone anything they really don't already know down deep in their hearts.
I have six children, so I am not unfamiliar with the concept of wanting someone to bail you out of a mess that you have gotten your self into - my children do this on a weekly, if not daily basis, as I did when I was their age.
I do for them what my parents did for me (one of their greatest gifts, by the way) - I make them stand on their own two feet and accept the consequences of their actions and work through it. Radical concept, huh… Am I there for them in the wings? Of course - but only until such time as they need to be fully on their own as adults.
I don't want to oversimplify a complex situation, but there certainly are unmistakable parallels here between the proper role of parenting and government. Detroit and the United States need to pay for their sins.
Bad news people - it's coming whether we like it or not. The newly elected Messiah really doesn't have a magic wand big enough to "make it all go away." I laughed as I heard Obama "reeling it back in" almost immediately after the final vote count was tallied…"we really might not do it in a year…or in four…" Where the hell was that kind of talk when he was RUNNING for office.
Stop trying to put off the inevitable folks … That house in Florida really isn't worth $750,000… People who jump across a border really don't deserve free health care benefits… That job driving that forklift for the Big 3 really isn't worth $85,000 a year… We really shouldn't allow Wal-Mart to stock their shelves with products acquired from a country that unfairly manipulates their currency and has the most atrocious human rights infractions on the face of the globe…
That couple whose combined income is less than $50,000 really shouldn't be living in that $485,000 home… Let the market correct itself folks - it will. Yes it will be painful, but it's gonna' be painful either way, and the bright side of my proposal is that on the other side of it all, is a nation that appreciates what it has…and doesn't live beyond its means…and gets back to basics…and redevelops the patriotic work ethic that made it the greatest nation in the history of the world…and probably turns back to God.
Sorry - don't cut my head off, I'm just the messenger sharing with you the "bad news". I hope you take it to heart.
Gregory J. Knox, President Knox Machinery, Inc. Franklin, Ohio 45005
According to Snopes.com this is a legit e-mail. It's a little late in he game now. All the trillions we've borrowed...
We should be ashamed of what we've done to our grandchildren.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
"Es lebe heiliges Deutschland!"
With those words still on his lips, a German firing squad ended the life of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg following a failed assassination and attempted coup. With any luck, it will also end Tom Cruise's desire to play Wehrmacht officers in otherwise decent movies. As noted below, I suspected that Cruise was miscast for the role of von Stauffenberg in the film Valkyrie. Unfortunately, I was right. His performance was a bit stiff and his accent jarring. Everyone knows that Germans speak with English accents in "B" grade WW II movies and Cruise's accent was American. Nondescript American, at that.
The film suffered from a couple of flaws - one inherent and the other not. The story could only end in one way and stay true to history, so if you are historically literate at all there aren't any surprises. The other is that there wasn't enough focus on Von Stauffenberg to draw you into his character, although this may have been exacerbated by Cruise's performance. I would have been interested in seeing a little more of the relationship between Claus and Nina, his wife - played by Carice van Houten, who was largely wasted. And Dutch. She had a better English accent than Cruise too.
I don't think Valkyrie is the definitive movie on Von Stauffenberg, but I suspect that movie will be German, directed by someone like Oliver Hirschbiegel (of Der Untergang) and acted by Germans, in German.
With American subtitles.
Or maybe English subtitles for you purists out there.
Oddly, Christian Berkel and Thomas Kretschmann, both veteran German actors who appeared in Downfall (Der Untergang) had better English accents than Cruise. No-one had a better English accent than Kenneth Brannagh, though. Not even Bill Nighy.
The movie managed to overcome Cruise and actually was a fairly engaging thriller, easily comparable to the better WW II historical dramas of the 60's and 70's. It was competently directed and well acted - Cruise excepted - and the Germans all had commendably English accents. Except for the main character.
I do recommend Valkyrie, but don't be afraid to wait for video. If you must have stars ... 3-1/2 (out of 5)
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Of course there was food...
Friday, December 26, 2008
Both Iran and its Hamas proxy in Gaza have been busy this week showing Christendom just what they think of it. But no one seems to have noticed.
On Tuesday, Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.
Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday, Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Elise and Kiera and Baby Alive.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
What do bored mechanics do for fun?
Friday, December 19, 2008
At the Christmas Pageant
Andrew, the WiseMan.
Katelyn (now 3 months!) and Mom.
Katelyn takes a peek...
No, I didn't eat any of it...
Monday, December 15, 2008
I've been into movies a lot more than usual lately. This caught my eye at the local video store, and I'm glad it did. I'm just sorry I missed it at the theater.
The Fall is visually stunning - see it on good equipment - but it is the story and characters that carry the movie. The trailer will give you some idea of the film, but it must be seen in its entirety to really appreciate the effect of this magnificently shot work of art.
The story is relatively straightforward: A silent movie era Hollwood stuntman named Roy (played by Lee Pace) is in the hospital, paralyzed from the waist down with injuries sustained during a failed stunt (shown in a glorious black-and-white prologue.) Trouble ever comes with company, and he has also lost his lover. He plans suicide, but needs the help of an inquisitive little girl named Alexandria (wonderfully played by Catinca Untaru), to whom he tells stories of adventurers on a quest in order to manipulate her into helping him to commit suicide.
These stories are played out in the imagination of young Alexandria, and her imagination is the source of the stunning visuals, which were shot in 20 locations. The stories change during the interplay between Pace and Untaru, making for some light moments in an otherwise serious film, but make no mistake: the story is Roy's, even if it is playing out in the imagination of young Alexandria, and Roy is depressed.
The characters in the stories represent real-life people at the hospital, like the characters in the Wizard of Oz represented real people in Dorothy's life, but this is most definitely not a movie for children.
The soundtrack is outstanding. The main title is from Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, II. Allegretto, and is performed admirably, and the music written for the movie was spot on, and performed very well indeed. The soundtrack seems to be hard to come by, though. More's the pity.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Taken with all the zoom I could muster from about 50 yards out. These guys are very wary, what with being a constant object of a certain cat's attention.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
It's hard to tell from a trailer...
But Tom Cruise appears to be miscast.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I call BS on the BCS.
Before the BCS, the writers and coaches conspired to rob more deserving teams of a championship decided by writers and coaches and not on the field. It wasn't a championship then. Since the inception of the BCS, the writers and coaches have conspired to rob more deserving teams of a chance at winning a "championship" game whose participants are decided by writers and coaches. It ain't a championship now.
A "Mythical National Championship" game is still a just an overhyped bowl game that decides - wait for it - the winner of a single bowl game. In this case it's likely to include one team that lost to another eligible team in a head-to-head matchup. Even worse, the numbskulls in charge of the Big 12 allowed writers, coaches and computers to decide the conference's championship game representative. What kind of joke is that?
Until the NCAA decides to actually have a playoff based on criteria decided on the field and not by the whims of writers, coaches and computers - you know, like for Divisions II and III - there is not a Division I champion and never has been. The winner of the Division I "championship" game is still going to be a mythical champion. If you're going to crown a mythical national champion, the old way at least preserved the integrity and tradition of the bowls.
The championship should be decided on the field. Until it is, the bowl season is becoming less and less relevant. Don't give me any of that "and 1" crap either. When does bowl season end now? February?
Thursday, December 04, 2008
A good prophet is one who is wrong.
Think about it.
I call BS
As near as I've been able to figure, auto execs flying to Washington, D.C. in private jets doesn't cost me a dime I can't avoid by simply not buying their products. The cost of their private fleets are minuscule in the overall pricing of their products anyway.
The cost of the pinheads running the dog-and-pony-show in D.C. I can't avoid, and the show costs me a heckuva lot more than the flying habits of the CEOs of Chrysler, GM and Ford combined.
And then some.
And then some more.
It's probably a good thing I'm not the CEO of GM. I'd have told Pelosi & Co. to stuff their bailouts up their keisters and gone back to Detroit and filed bankruptcy and let the poseurs on Capitol Hill deal with the fallout, which is what needs to happen anyway. The auto industry can't get better until it reorganizes. Now is the chance.
Our father's God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Just say, "Nyet!"
#5) On November 21, 2008 at 4:59 PM, russiangambit (98.51) wrote:
I remember that when we had perestroika in Soviet Union, all kinds of US and IMF experts would come, look at our misery and say, it is OK, this is necessary pain to work out the excesses and inefficiencies and become a free market society.
Somehow, I find it ironic, that when it comes to the US itself, politicians and experts are doing everything possible to avoid even a bit of pain that is necessary to work out the excesses.
I don't need to tell you that Americans are not that popular in Russia anymore.
And the ultimate irony, of course, that it is impossible to stop the inevitable pain . All bailouts are accomplishing is making sure that the payback is going to be long and painful.
One of my coworkers asked me, so what are you going to do about it, about our gloomy future? And I said, I am making sure my kids are getting the best education they can. This is all I know to do. The capital in your head is something nobody can take away, which cannot be said about worldly posessions.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Just stop it.
Hark back to 2000, when, following a Bush victory, it was magically revealed that the economy was in recession. The Democratics and the lapdog media did their damnedest to pin the poor economy on Bush, never mind that he inherited it from Clinton. Those pesky Arabs managed to make the electorate forget about the economy long enough to allow Bush and Company to get us into two wars, one justifiable. One not so much. And get Bush re-elected. Thanks pesky Arabs!
Now, it is 2008 and Bush has decided that handing off a recognizably crappy economy to the new Panderer-in-Chief is fair play. Unfortunately, the lapdog press is going to allow Obama to leave this pile on the porch where it really does belong while the Obamessiah proceeds to throw borrowed money down an ever-increasing black hole of bad debt in an effort to reinflate our flat economy. It won't work. FDR tried it in the '30's. Every damned Keynesian for the past 40 years has tried it and it doesn't work. Trouble is,the media and the Obamessiah's spin machine are going to maximize positive coverage of Obama's economic "solution" while ignoring inconvenient bad news. This isn't really new; I lived through stagflation and malaise and the worst economy in 100 years and all the spin I could stand. There's lots more where that came from, and from what I've been seeing for the past year, our leaders in DC are failing to learn anything from past failure and are desperately looking for a balloon to blow up.
The "solution" to our ailing economy isn't an increase in taxes. It isn't an increase in spending for public works. Giving our money - actually our great-grandchildren's money - to bankers makes bankers happy, but - just like in the Great Depression and the Great Malaise - the bankers parked on it once they got it. Credit is still tight. Bailing out failing business isn't the answer.
So what is the answer?
Stop it! Ummm, no, wait! Just stop it! *
"So for the same reasons that Washington should not bail out General Motors, the world should not bailout America. Like GM, our economy is in desperate need of a restructuring. Spending must be replaced with savings, and consumption with production. The service sector must shrink and manufacturing must expand to fill the void. The dollar must fall, wages in America must be brought down to a competitive level, and hopefully government spending and burdensome regulation****
can be reduced.
This transformation will not be fun, but it is necessary. Our standard of living must decline to reflect years of reckless consumption and the disintegration of our industrial base. Only by swallowing this tough medicine now will our sick economy ever recover. By accepting a lower standard of living today, we will eventually be rewarded with a higher one tomorrow." (Peter Schiff)
This morning on Fox News, I heard Stephane Dion, the opposition Liberal Party leader from Canuckistan, make an extraordinary statement to the effect that a major reason his new opposition coalition was planning on usurping power from Prime Minister Stephen Harper - an unprecedented move - was because Harper's budget included next to no stimulus for the flagging Canadian economy. "Dion said the coalition would announce a robust economic stimulus plan that would include money for housing, infrastructure and the auto and forestry sectors." Well do tell. If true, then a politician has done precisely the right thing for the Canadian economy. Which is to say, nothing. This was undoubtedly an accident. Harper is after all a politician, and a Canadian politician at that. Of course, Harper caved; apparently the potential loss of power was stimulating enough to pump a little stimulus into the economy. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
*Not only is the Newhart sketch hilarious, our "leaders" in Washington should apply its lesson to the economy. Those three little words, "just stop it," could go a long way to making the world a better place.
Chiesa reports -
Hemmed in by the two forms of aggressive fundamentalism, Muslim and Hindu, the "little flock" of Christianity in India is distinguishing itself by its refusal to resort to violence. It is calling for the use of force by the constitutional authority, but this is failing in its duty to exercise it. The international community is providing only weak and sporadic support. Not even the Christians around the world are strong in solidarity toward victims who share the same faith, whether in India or in other regions of the globe. On Thursday, November 27, during the same hours when Mumbai was under attack, Benedict XVI issued a new appeal for the release of two missionary sisters kidnapped two weeks earlier by Muslim gangs between Kenya and Somalia. Also during those same hours, in Cairo, ten thousand Muslims attacked, with impunity, a church full of Coptic Christians in prayer, whose offense was that they had opened a new house of worship.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Rob Taylor at Red Alerts:
...the one religion on earth that can claim credit for more murders than Nazism and Communism combined** is the “Religion of Peace.” While the smoke had yet to clear on 9/11, when the train platforms still smoldered in Spain, while the British pulled bodies out of the twisted wreckage of double deckers, miseducated windbags from a thousand liberal Arts colleges were wagging their fingers at the rest of us for daring to think the inspiration for the holy war Muslims are waging comes from their “holy” book and the religion which spawned it.
And even now while the streets of Mumbai are awash in innocent blood there are those who cling to the delusion of peaceful coexistence with a religion designed to make peaceful coexistence impossible. Islam is not a “Religion of Peace” and Islam in fact means something closer to “submission” than peace. It is submission to Islam from the non-Muslim world that Muslims seek; to me this seems far from a peaceful goal. The West must decide if it will abandon thousands of years of social progress and embrace the depravity of Militant Islam or stand up and fight a foe more determined than any we have faced in the last 200 years. It is a delusion to think otherwise.
Muslims riot and burn churches and we do nothing. Muslims raised money for the Mumbai attacks in British mosques and Britain will do nothing. American Muslims are celebrating the attacks and we will do nothing. There is an “epidemic” of Muslim taxi drivers in England raping women fares, and England attacked the mother of a young girl who wanted to ensure her daughter’s safety rather than stop the rapes. Europe is allowing Islamic polygamy all in the vain hope that such wild accommodation will calm the excitable Muslim street and then we can finally get on with living together in harmony with our friends in the “Religion of Peace.”
As much as we've earned the approbation of the Muslim street for having taken on the terrrrists and supported Israel, we seem to get no points for coming to the aid of Muslims in Afghanistan, Kosovo and elsewhere. I don't think that even were we to - properly - withdraw our forces to our own borders and cease to be the world's police force that we would get much "peace" from the religion of peace. Muslims do not coexist with other religions. They convert or conquer. Ask the Christians in Iraq, or "Palestine" or the many conflict zones in Africa. Ask the Hindus in India - not that they are above a little persecution of their own - about the "religion of peace" and you'll begin to get an idea of the extent of the problem with Islam.
I suspect that in the end, it will be them or us.
And most of "us" don't even know we're in a fight.
Update: Up way too late cruising the net and I find -
Mark Steyn at NRO says, "It's the ideology, Stupid!" - "This isn’t law enforcement but an ideological assault — and we’re fighting the symptoms not the cause. Islamic imperialists want an Islamic society, not just in Palestine and Kashmir but in the Netherlands and Britain, too. Their chances of getting it will be determined by the ideology’s advance among the general Muslim population, and the general Muslim population’s demographic advance among everybody else."
*"While groups from all religions have engaged in various forms of violence and terrorism, the figures make it clear that in the past decade Muslims have been involved in far more of these activities than people of other religions. One of the things that attracted a lot of attention in The Clash of Civilizations was my use of the phrase "the bloody borders of Islam." But if you look around the Muslim world you see that in the 1990s Muslims were fighting non-Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kashmir, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Middle East, Sudan, Nigeria, and other places. Muslims have been fighting one another also. The International Institute for Strategic Studies surveyed the armed conflicts going on in the world in 2000, and its figures show that twenty-three of the thirty-two conflicts under way involved Muslims. Why is this?" - Huntington
**Given socialism's body count, I find this tough to believe.
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