Time once again for some of the inane, inept, and otherwise incomprehensible aspects to living "down under", and I mean no disrespect to my Aussie "mates" out there.
I'm talking the "down under" of the normal confines for what passes as the city of Fort Wayne these days.
I was "looking out my back door" (there's a CCR song in there somewhere) when something caught my eye, and in this neighborhood, you have to be on top of things 24/7/365, for they tend to change by the minute some days.
I started to laugh and I went into the other room to get the missus to take a gander at what I had seen.
The one (new to the area - less than 6 months) neighbor down and across the side street had CHRISTMAS LIGHTS in their damn picture window (goes nice with the bed sheet drapes they have)...!
Now I'm all for the holidays, in spite of the fact that I celebrate with a LOT less fol-de-rol than in years past, but c'mon now. Isn't this just pushing things a tad too far?
It's NOT even Thanksgiving yet.
And I'll wager that there will be the SAME people that will STILL have those lights up LONG after New Years until about....EASTER (maybe).
Yeah, I really love those people with no sense of TIME.
They're the ones with holiday lights up all damn year (too lazy to take them down), and ALSO the same people who almost run you off the road because they happen to be in some God-awful hurry. They're also the people that spend time jaw-jacking in the middle of the street with their friends while you sit and idle behind them burning fuel that YOUR JOB is paying for (and not the illegal drugs you're selling in the same area).
Oh, yeah...gotta love that.
Y'know...after moving here, and being witness to some serious cases of TAB (Typical Asshat Behavior), I've come to the conclusion that there ARE people who simply do not belong in possession of a house...OR a vehicle...OR children...OR even a pet.
Hate to say it, but the evidence IS overwhelming.
Kinda speaks volumes to the whole "entitlement" issue, doesn't it?
Give people everything, and they WILL become slothful, if not totally stupid along the way.
Would have been something to see if such programs were available to those who colonized this nation...or the pioneers as they settled the old West.
Hell, we'd probably be speaking some foreign tongue by now.
And this nation would NOT be called AMERICA.
But I digress...
Let's swing a hard right and sneak a peek at this "Big Three" auto bailout.
First off, I like the idea of helping the auto makers (provisionally-speaking)...they employ a pretty good sized chunk of our working force, and having them go under would not help the unemployment rates NOR the economy.
Second, I don't mind having the "gub'ment" help them AS LONG AS some caveats for all that cash are provided...and adhered to BY those car makers. Spell it out, plain and clear to these people.
Third, the car makers themselves are to blame for their financial woes.
A) These companies diversified too damn much, and got their fingers into too many pies.
B) The oil embargo of the 1970s was a wake up call to the auto makers...but they just rolled over and went back to sleep apparently.
C) Our government allowed unrestricted importing of FOREIGN cars (unlike other nations).
D) Our government allowed building of facilities to MANUFACTURE those "foreign" cars.
Now even I can see the writing on the wall here, I'm sure as hell NO damn economics major (or minor).
Sure, America has always imported cars from other countries, but they were only for those with a few more bucks to rub against one another. Can't say that TODAY, can we?
Most of you drive FOREIGN vehicles, and that's fine with me, if you've made the effort to derive the best "bang for your buck".
My problem comes with allowing SO many cars into this country (and that includes those foreign plants that have opened here producing "domestic" vehicles made BY those foreign companies...but I won;t banter semantics right now).
Cripes, even the "Big Three" have close to 40% of THEIR vehicles' parts supplied by foreign companies. Many "domestic" cars are sub-assembled in either Canada or Mexico...have been for over 20 years.
What used to be a "home-grown" Chevy...just ain't so these days.
We've pretty much priced ourselves right out of the competitive market with criminally high wages for assemblers..thank the UNIONS for helping to screw that up. We've pushed Toyotas, Mitsubishis, Hondas to the relative exclusion of Fords, Dodges, and Oldsmobiles (the last two nameplates no longer exist, btw). GM was even looking at doing away with the PONTIAC nameplate (sacrilege) for a while.
They were even talking merger with a foreign company.
Then they talked about merger between TWO of the Big Three.
Finally, they're agreeing on a hunk of this "bailout" money the government has lying about.
And during ALL this time (and several decades), the consumer has been hit with higher-priced vehicles with worthless bells and whistles, cheaper construction, costly repairs (if they can be fixed at all these days), higher insurance premiums, and a competition that has all but driven (pun intended) the "locals" into the roadway with THEIR products.
Oh, for the days of the independent car maker...like Preston Tucker.
Poor guy built 50 cars that were YEARS ahead of their time, but the nasty old "Big Three" called in the SEC and trumped up charges against Tucker, sending him into insolvency. It was over twenty years until Tucker's innovations somehow seeped into mainstream car manufacturing.
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, eh?
More like shoving the barrel up the old alimentary canal and emptying the mag!
In the end, this whole bailout gig for the American automakers will be another band-aid on a rather large compound fracture.
I can't see it any other way.
Ethanol plants are closing already, so this hybrid crap is just another flash in the pan as well.
Will America's car makers bounce back?
Not unless they've got some MAJOR tricks up their sleeves, or someone pulls a rabbit out of their butt.
Or how's about that HYDROGEN FUEL CELL tech we've "heard" about?
Seems to me that something TRULY innovative is needed...and soon.
In the meantime, let's recall what the old ESSO ads used to say: