05/20/09

Chrysler Dealers Talk About Being Robbed (Updated)

By: Bob McCarty
Bob McCarty Writes

Below are three videos which capture some of the emotions of Chrysler dealers in Georgia, Michigan and New York who’ve been told their dealerships are set to close:

Video #1 (above): Daniel Womack, owner of a Claxton Chrysler in rural Claxton, Ga., warns the loss of his dealership in a town where everyone knows each others’ names, will be devastating to his small town.

Video #2 (above): Colleen McDonald, owner of Holiday Chevrolet, Livonia Chrysler Jeep, and Century Dodge, was told last week that all three of her dealerships in the Detroit area will have to be closed. She says “They can take away my franchise, but they cannot take away 30 years experience in the car business and they cannot take away my faith.”

Video #3 (above): Erika Koehler, whose family has owned and operated Scotia Motors Dodge in Scotia, N.Y., since 1946, urges her fellow New Yorkers to contact their elected officials about the federal government’s involvement in the effort to destroy their family business — and those of others. (Hat tip: Nice Deb)

Since parting ways with my 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme two-door after graduating from college, I’ve been “out of love,” so to speak, with the Big Three automakers, mostly because of the greed displayed by the United Auto Workers over the years. Still, I empathize with the 1,100 Chrysler dealers who will soon lose their dealerships and for their employees who will be let go as a result of Big Government run amok. And I can’t help but think about which industry is next on the fed’s chopping block.

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See also: American Thinker’s Letter from a Dodge Dealer

05/20/09

Air Force to Retire Nearly 250 Fighter Aircraft

By: Bob McCarty
Bob McCarty Writes

Following the May 7 roll-out of the fiscal year 2010 budget proposal for the Department of Defense, Air Force officials announced in a news release today plans to retire legacy fighters to fund a smaller and more capable force and redistribute people for higher priority missions.

The Combat Air Forces restructuring plan would accelerate the retirement of approximately 250 aircraft, which includes 112 F-15 Eagles, 134 F-16 Fighting Falcons and three A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. This does not include the five fighters previously scheduled for retirement in FY10.

“We have a strategic window of opportunity to do some important things with fighter aircraft restructuring,” said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. “By accepting some short-term risk, we can convert our inventory of legacy fighters and F-22 (Raptors) into a smaller, more flexible and lethal bridge to fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 (Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter). We’ll also add manpower to capabilities needed now for operations across the spectrum of conflict.”

Under the plan, cost savings of $355 million in FY10 and $3.5 billion over the next five fiscal years would be used to reduce current capability gaps. Air Force officials would invest most of the funds in advanced capability modifications to remaining fighters and bombers. Some would go toward procuring munitions for joint warfighters, including the small diameter bomb, hard-target weapons and the AIM-120D and AIM-9X missiles. The remainder would be dedicated to the procurement or sustainment of critical intelligence capabilities such as the advanced targeting pod as well as enabling technologies for tactical air controllers and special operations forces.

“We’ve taken this major step only after a careful assessment of the current threat environment and our current capabilities,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. “Make no mistake, we can’t stand still on modernizing our fighter force. The Air Force’s advantage over potential adversaries is eroding, and this endangers both air and ground forces alike unless there is a very significant investment in bridge capabilities and fifth-generation aircraft. CAF restructuring gets us there.”

The CAF restructuring plan, which will require appropriate environmental analyses, would enable Air Force officials to use reassignment and retraining programs to move approximately 4,000 manpower authorizations to emerging and priority missions such as manned and unmanned surveillance operations and nuclear deterrence operations.

This realignment would include the expansion of MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and MC-12 Liberty aircrews; the addition of a fourth active-duty B-52 Stratofortress squadron; and the expansion of Distributed Common Ground System and information processing, exploitation and dissemination capabilities for continued combatant commander support in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other adjustments.

Secretary Donley and General Schwartz have committed the Air Force to initiatives that will reinvigorate its nuclear enterprise and field 50 unmanned combat air patrols for ongoing operations by FY11.

“What we’re looking for is a force mix that meets the current mission requirements of combatant commanders while providing a capable force to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” Secretary Donley said.

05/20/09

Inhofe Wants GITMO Commitment Made Permanent

By: Bob McCarty
Bob McCarty Writes

Today, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called on his Democrat and Republican colleagues in the U.S. Senate to stand by their commitment to prevent Gitmo detainees from being transferred to the U.S. by signing on to his legislation (S.370).

Senators Inhofe and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) yesterday introduced a bi-partisan amendment to prevent funding in the current War Supplemental bill, which passed today by an overwhelming vote of 90-6. Though a temporary victory occurred when Senate Democrats conceded to Senator Inhofe and other Senate Republicans to remove funding for any such transfers from the War Supplemental Appropriations legislation and voted against the funding today, Senator Inhofe’s bill would prevent this funding in any future appropriations bills as well.

“Though I am very pleased that Democrats in the Senate reversed course and voted today against including the $80 million in the war supplemental to close Gitmo, it is very likely that this funding could be included in future appropriations bills,” Senator Inhofe said.

“I am encouraging all of my colleagues to sign onto my legislation to prevent any future funding for detainee transfers to the U.S. President Obama’s Executive Order to close Gitmo failed to take into consideration the monetary and security costs accrued by closing Gitmo such as what happens to current detainees at GITMO, what the military would do with detainees held in other military prisons around the world, how the military should handle terrorists captured in the future, and what judicial process is going to be used.

“I’ve long said, the detainee complex at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is the only complex in the world that can safely and humanely hold enemy combatants that pose the highest level of threat to the US.”

Republican Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday praised Senator Inhofe’s efforts to protect Americans from any transfers to U.S. soil of terrorists, saying, “I particularly want to thank Senator Inhofe who’s been one of our leaders on this subject for a long time and reminded everyone today that he was down at Guantanamo not too long after 9/11, has been there a number of times. I have been there myself. We all know it is a state-of-the-art facility in which the detainees are appropriately and humanely treated.”

05/20/09

Prediction: DIY Car Manufacturing Within 10 Years

By: Bob McCarty
Bob McCarty Writes

Prediction: Americans will, within the next 10 years, begin designing and manufacturing their very own vehicles using in-home three-dimensional printing systems, services and consumables.

Why do I believe such an outlandish prediction?

For starters, it’s because others believe it, too!

Almost a month ago, someone predicted that, by 2013, the global market for 3D Printing systems, services and consumables will reach $782.6 million. In other words, they believe a lot of people and companies will be using rapid prototyping — a.ka., “3D printing” or “desktop manufacturing” — technology to design and “print” their own things up to and including objects the size of homes and buildings.

In addition, I believe home-based do-it-yourself manufacturing will happen because others, including President Barack Obama, are creating an environment within which it will be both feasible and necessary.

Yesterday, the president announced he plans to raise auto gas mileage standards to 39 miles per gallon for cars and cut the emission of greenhouse gases in what he called the start of the “clean energy economy.”

Because cars manufactured to the new higher-mpg, lower-emission standards will have to be smaller, it takes no stretch of the imagination to conclude that at-home DIY manufacturing of automobiles is definitely in our future — if, knock on wood, our economy survives.

Assuming our economy survives the Obama years, our next challenge will involve figuring out how to fit into the micro-cars cars we build.

05/20/09

Financial News Update – 05/20/09

GMAC to Get $7 Billion From Gov’t, Surrender Control

Funds move to halt CHRYSLER restructuring; Indiana pension takes court action

Central bankers consider adding to Treasury, mortgage debt

LET THE CUTS BEGIN!

NEW CALIFORNIA TAX REVOLT

UPDATE: Senate votes to block funds for Guantanamo closure

Dems seek financial rescue of minority-owned broadcasters

GE’s Immelt: Global Warming ‘Compelling’; Cap-and-Trade Most ‘Effective’ Way to Go

Schwarzenegger says he’s heard voters’ anger

Consumers face higher prices

PENNY ON EACH SODA: New York resurrects obesity tax

NIH Spends $178,000 to Study Why Prostitutes in Thailand Have High HIV Risk

Fed’s economic forecast worsens

Credit card crackdown a done deal

Why Raising State Taxes Will Fail

Pulp Fiction: On Page 781 of Waxman Cap-and-Tax Bill, a Response Guide for Mass Unemployment

Conservative Advisers: Inflation is the Answer

Former head of pension agency takes the Fifth

A Bit of Advice on Waxman-Markey: Beware the Lobbyists

Global Warming Bill Isn’t About Saving the Environment or Protecting the Consumer

The Waxman-Markey Global Warming Tax

Too Many Lobbyist Hands in the Cap and Trade Cookie Jar

Nasty NACA: The Housing Shakedowns Continue

Son of Waxman-Markey: Why More Politics Makes for a More Costly Cap and Trade Bill

New Progressive America or Tea Party Nation?

Morning Bell: The Waxman-Markey Pay to Play

From SurvivalBlog:

Brazil and China eye plan to axe dollar

The Destructive Implications of the Bailout – Understanding Equilibrium

Tax Revenues Tanking

Stocks waver after surprise drop in housing data

GM Bankruptcy Seen as All But Inevitable

Notes from Another Credit Card Crisis

Economy Limiting Services of Local Police

Obamarket Update #80: Jussssttt a Bit Outside

New Rules: Work ’til You Die

Condo Associations Dying as Fees Dry Up

Chrysler Expands Buyouts, Early Retirement Packages

Geithner: Economy Expanding But Jobs at Risk

US Workers Paying More For Healthcare

Hotel Crime Rises In Recession, But Hotels Say They Are Still Safe

Stocks Waver After Surprise Drop in Housing Data

Housing Construction, Permits Hit Record Lows

Oil Prices Bounce Above $60 in New York

American Express to Cut 4,000 Jobs

Jobless Horrors

05/20/09

Scandal at Saint Louis Brewery — Or Not?

By: Bob McCarty
Bob McCarty Writes

In an investigative report that aired last night on NBC affiliate KSDK Channel 5, reporter Leisa Zigman tried to stoke the fires of anger and discontent that have been brewing in St. Louis ever since the 2008 purchase of Anheuser-Busch by Belgium brewer InBev. She went so far as to compare the actions of executives at Anheuser-Busch InBev to those of their corporate counterparts at AIG. It’s amazing what a local television news team will do for ratings.

What exactly did the AB InBev execs do?

In a report she said was based on a month-long investigation, Zigman raised questions about the behavior of the brewing company executives — including four vice presidents and five department leaders — responsible for eliminating thousands of U.S. jobs, slashing salaries and freezing pensions. They were “caught” partying at the company’s Lake of the Ozarks luxury retreat in southwest Missouri one day before 20 people in the company’s human resources department lost their jobs.

Zigman’s report included interviews with anonymous AB InBev employees and cited documents obtained as incriminating evidence of AB InBev executives behaving in a manner reminiscent of their counterparts at bailout recipient AIG months ago. Notably, Zigman cited sources who said the retreat cost the company a whopping $100 per person — a figure that doesn’t even register on most corporate ledgers.