What Detroit Should Have Understood Sometime In The Mid-Eighties:

It’s kind of sad. I would not be shocked to find out that the Obama GM/Chrysler “Rescue (yeah,right)” plan was a sting set up so the creditors of the car companies get all their stuff while the Stockholders get nothing and the Unions get EVERYTHING (retirement and insurance, as well as other things) LOOTED from their coffers. And I would not be surprised if the voice of America would be a moment of Celebration.

But worries and smartass comments aside: While listening to NPR following the news of Wagoner’s ouster by Obama, I heard that people in Detroit didn’t understand why everyone hated Detroit.

Now…pause a moment and consider that.

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Now; my comment as a GM son who’ll end up going down with this ship (And I expect it to go down. Suicide? Nah, a matter of extreme loyalty and a remembrance of my past.):

GM and Chrysler, Listen Up:

You’ve been putting out crappy cars for what the public sees as the past forty years or so. You learned to put out crap, pass the buck and blame your customers for stuff you did (or didn’t do). And you did so while under pressure from Japan, Europe and South Korea.

All this time, you’ve always shot for the least common denominator. Your stuff was always less economical than the Japanese stuff, less fun than the European stuff, less stylish than even the South Korean Stuff; and often worse quality than the whole (outside of a few aberrations, like Buick and Mercury). You had your moment in the sun in the nineties with the SUV boom, but you chose to profit lazily from it and when that passed you guys were unable to respond.

And now you’re asking for help. All the while proving again and again that you STILL DON’T GET IT!

Well guess what: You had forty years to fix your cars and your image. You could have at least learn what Ford did with their issues with the Ford Focus: Fix things, get them right and keep up with it. You also had forty years to learn how to put out small cars and keep them out there despite their seeming inability to make you money (Not like you made money off your other cars…never was an industry so dependent on its lending arms to make money as the Automobile Industry was.).

But instead you sat by, let things fall apart and tried to profit off the remains.

And what have we got left? The Minivan Leader (Chrysler) doesn’t have a car that a Consumers Union tester would choose over walking. And GM keeps finding ways to piss off its remaining steady clients (look up “Piston Knock GM” in a search engine, or better yet follow this link to the website). GM can’t even get its headroom issues right; the cars you import for sale fit tall people better than the cars you make.

Is it any wonder people would rather throw money at AIG and Citicorp than you? AIG has to work hard to look like they’re wasting taxpayer money to get people angry; all you have to do is show up!

And I’ll tell you why that is: Sometimes people just get enough of something, and they leave it behind. People will wade through issue after issue trying to hold onto a love they remember; once they give up on that love there is no going back, as you now have an enemy. And once you make enough enemies, it becomes impossible to redeem one’s self.

And you’ve made enough enemies over the years that you’ve pretty much become a backwater company for those who either don’t know of any alternative or have been in some way compensated for their loyalty. And I know of no company (okay, I know one company; and they live on despite the hatred) that survives on monies given to them by their employees or sales force alone.

Hear that roar? It’s the masses of Americans cheering over your coming demise! They’d rather buy Tatas from India and Cherys from China than buy your offerings. You’ve wrecked too many relationships, burned too many bridges and made too much crap for the nation to forgive you! They’d rather watch you die EVEN WHEN THEY KNOW THEY’RE NEXT than have you survive to make another car – that’s how strong the hatred is.

Just a voice in the wilderness. One who’s listened to other voices while in said wilderness.

Prices Up Fifty Percent Over Four Years for Food

Here’s the difference between the inflation rates that the United States has been reporting and the inflation rates we’ve been experiencing:

Is it any wonder people look at the official inflation rates and laughcry?

The official inflation rates, which include such warped items as hedonics (adjusting for “pleasure” gotten by the higher priced purchase) and purchase shifting (This month powdered vegetable powder is cheaper, so we’ll use that to figure out prices. Last month is was pork, before McD’s decided to do their MacRib thing.), calculates the yearly inflation rate between Jan 2005 and Jan 2009 as around 3.3%. Not really that bad, although the occasional raise would be nice.

But the fact is, people don’t always throw money at clothes, cars or other things. People generally pay for food, fuel and electricity; and the one thing that the jumping-around in fuel prices has done is jack up the price of food and other necessities. And with food jumping up at 10% a year the past four years, there’s been a lot of belt-tightening.

It also shows the farce that is the Official “Consumer Price Index.” They change things to make sure prices stay as low as can be gotten away with. The Sun-Times article has the same things being bought each day, and to the degree that can be done, the same products across all stores. Hence, we’re not talking about a shifting basket that can be massaged to effect (i.e. Steak is changed to Hamburger, Hamburger is changed to risky chicken, and risky chicken is changed to Doritos and Lays). Store Brand Orange Juice is always Store Brand Orange Juice, Ritz Crackers are always Ritz Crackers and a T-Bone Steak is always a T-Bone Steak.

The fact is, the increase in prices has been understated since the Clinton years, mainly to insure that people on fixed incomes and retirees would end up losing money and status. That’s right, it’s been a war on the elderly poor and those unable to work due to disability.

A class war. With the rich (again) winning.

Remember that.

Right Now We’re Talking About a Big Game of Chicken

So what’s going on with the right and their slaves in the media? It seems that all I hear about is How Obama Is Wrecking Our Economy and How Obama Is Wrecking Our Foreign Policy and Obama Is Waging A Class War and  Obama Is Out To Rape Our Babies (And Abort The Unborn That Come About). And you can tell he’s really threatening everyone because even the “liberal drive-by media” is joining in the criticism.

Here’s my guess: We’re seeing a big game of Chicken, where the rich are, behind the scenes, doing everything to scare the greatest portion of the nation shitless in order to mess up Obama’s time in office. Amazing that the stock market starts its massive drop-off in October, when it becomes obvious to all but the most-eager-to-keep-their-heads-in-the-sand that Obama was going to win the election.

It reminds me very much of one story I read (a short story, not one that covered 1000+ pages in 6 Point Eyestrain Font) where a manager decided to strike and shut down the machinery in the factory he ran. I remember quite a few details about the story (It made products out of steel and iron, the workers flooded the market with garbage cans on the first day of the strike, the Union Leader’s name was Torkleston or something like that (and it’s assumed he’s overmonied and undereducated, seeing as the workers earn the same amount of wages after Union Dues than what they would have earned without the union), and in the end the workers beg the manager for their jobs back (and kill Mr. Torkleston as proof of their contriteness, I’m guessing).) but don’t remember the Author’s name at all.

My guess is this is what the right wants: We suffer for four years, then beg the right back. They take over, then proceed to finally fix things so that there’s no thought of a return to the mixed economies of the fifties through seventies, but only a system where the workers thankfully give their excess monies (and their necessary monies) to their bosses, who are given life-and-death powers over their employees. The United States is turned into a company town along the lines of the old mining towns in West Virginia before they were unionized. Leftists and left-leaning peoples are killed off, not by the army but by an army of self-armed citizens desperate to curry favor with the boss class. Classes become castes, complete with a philosophy (new-age stuff refitted for a now-officially rigid class/caste system) that views the poor as unworthy of anything but slavish service in various forms.

Thing is, at this point I’d rather die than fall into that sort of system.

May I suggest something for the liberals who read this blog: learn to shoot guns, own a gun or two. At the very least, it’s time to make the upcoming slavery-system work hard; maybe the people will figure out a way to fight and defeat the rich.

But I’ll tell you this much: Obama can’t do it alone. Right now he’s just a target waiting for the 9 milligram injection to be done by some idiot looking for glory.

Steroids 3: Pain, anyone? Injuries, perhaps?

While catching up on Tony Mandarich, I found out that not only was he was now admitting that he did Steroids at MSU, but he was also doing other drugs. Painkiller type drugs, and plenty of them.

Now of course, we can be cynical about all this: Tony’s coming out only because the silence of the Steroid users is coming to an end. People who once kept silent are now singing, so the world’s second most obvious steroid freak might as well come out.

However, I find it interesting that he felt the need to take the painkillers and alcohol so much that it made his life in Green Bay a living hell. And part of me wonders whether his decision to take Steroids was what led him to do alcohol and painkillers.

Seriously: With Steriods, HGH and Extra Testosterone, we’re talking about a decision to extend your muscles and reactions further than your body was meant to handle them, and in a way that cannot be kept up without outside intervention. Meanwhile your muscles are doing what they weren’t meant to do at the time, and in a way that you weren’t meant to handle.

And what do you get? Pain…and injuries.

Think of it: Bonds may have bludgeoned his way in three years from 500 to 700 home runs, but the rest of the way was an injury-laidened long march complete with the last few homers coming after weeks of absolute rest.

And it’s amazing that Canseco may have had enough power to come close to hall-of-fame numbers, but we’re talking about someone who was injured so much and badly for much of his career. I can’t help wondering if he would have lasted as long (or longer) without the juice. Sure, he might have been a journeyman (or an AAAA player) for his time, but I can see it as a longer time than what happened, and probably injury-free for that time as well.

And Wood and Prior…one has to wonder about them, with their constant habit of getting injured. And we know about Corky Sosa, of course (since one form of cheating wasn’t enough).

(As for my thoughts on Mandarich admitting his steroid usage during college, I believe part of it is because he can. Never mind his ability to play for three years in Indianapolis, but he now has a photography business which I’m guessing is successful enough so that he no longer has to define himself by football…and stare down the fact that he got his millions through dishonest means that he couldn’t keep up. He can now say “I’m beyond that, I can admit to stuff.” Stuff that failures are forced to hide.)

Steroids 2: What are, say, the drawbacks?

Okay, I understand why the normal Joe Jock would consider shooting up with Steroids, Testosterone, HGH and other helps: It improves their game in many ways, from sheer strength to reaction and twitch time to speed. Stronger muscles means harder hits (on bats or players), quicker twitch time means longer time to wait, faster reactions means quicker actions and better mistake correction.

However, I can’t think that Steroids, Testosterone and HGH are ALL positives. Not only that, but I also find it a bit suspicious that whatever drawbacks there are only work in the long-term. Also consider that it makes sense that people would be willing to gamble the (always iffy, even if the iffy part is vanishingly small) future for massive immediate gains, and that sometimes that gain is the difference between starting and being cut (as minor league teams are more focused on developing young talent than winning championships).

So…what’s a drawback of Steroids/HGH/Testosterone?

How abut nerves?

Think of it: You have quicker twitch times and the ability to cover mistakes quicker. While this stuff may make you a better player in the day-to-day world, it could easily lead you astray when the pressure is on. A twitch may be not quite fast enough when you need to be a bit faster, or you twitch when you should hold off. What would normally be a walk turns instead into a ground-out, and what would normally be a ground-out becomes a ball thrown past the first-baseman and a two-base error.

In other words, the pressure times end up being the times when you fall back onto your non-steroided self. Batting averages drop during playoffs, errors start popping up on the field and “superhorses” become suddenly nags.

Nor admittedly football is a different animal in that the parts played are more specific. Blockers generally block, rushers rush the passer/runner, receivers try to catch the ball, QBs job is to insure the football moves forwards towards the goal, and kickers/punters try to boot the ball as far/well as they can. Each part has its place, and rare (and funny sometimes) is when the players have to go outside their space of expertise. That’s why football and Steroids/HGH/Testosterone seem to go better together.

But in a game that requires a more general, more complete skill-set (baseball), it’s possible to see that over-concentration (or cheating) on one set of skills would lead to a diminishment in some way of other aspects.

And that’s why Sosa would go from sleek and quick to rooted in place at the field (while able to pound the ball out of the ballpark). And why Barry Bonds would, towards the end of his career, end up being paraded out only when it was time for him to hit another home run. And why Jose Canseco, with the numbers he ended up producing, would end up playing for seven different teams (and one could argue that he more rode along with World-Series winning teams than was an active part of them).

So maybe this should be the tag line: Steroids: Drug of Chokers?