Happy Birthday, Mustang

This week Mustang turns 50. She looks pretty good for her age:

Yes, I know that’s a 2010, but that’s the picture I like!

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line about Mustang’s birthday (with a few comments on her history).

The article included the question, “Which gives off more air pollution, a 1969 Mustang parked in a driveway with the motor off or a  2013 Mustang, roaring down the road at 60 mph?”

The answer is surprising:

If you’re very clever (or keep up with Matt Ridley), you’ll know the answer is that the parked 1969 Mustang gives off more air pollution, in the form of unburned hydrocarbons evaporating through the old-school carbuerator and unsealed gas tank caps (among other places).  A good object lesson in the advancement of engine technology.  And the fact that the real heroes of environmental improvement were engineers with pocket protectors more than hippie environmentalists.

Amazing.

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The Final Chapter Of The General Motors Bail Out

Yesterday Yahoo News reported that the Treasury Department has announced that all government-held shares of General Motors will be sold by December 31.

The article reports:

…On Thursday, it (Treasury Department) announced it sold 70.2 million shares of General Motors (GM) stock and intends to sell its remaining 31.1 million shares by Dec. 31.

Once the final sale is complete, however, US taxpayers will have lost nearly $10 billion of the $49.5 billion the federal government used to prevent the auto giant from collapsing in 2008, Treasury officials say. The loss offsets a greater calamity that would have occurred – the disappearance of 1 million jobs – if the federal government had not intervened, says Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler.

I guess the question I have at the end of this is how did Ford Motor Company continue without the government bailout, and could General Motors have done the same thing? The taxpayers lost nearly $10 billion in this transaction. What would have been the result of simply dividing that amount of money between those Americans who pay taxes? I think in the long run, it would have had a more positive long term effect on the economy.

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Fools Rush In…

There is an old song, “Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread).” I feel as if I am about to be a fool by writing the following article.

Paula Deen admitted under oath recently that she used a word that is politically incorrect (it is also a racial slur, demeaning, and should never be used). However, she is under attack because the word is considered the ultimate sin in political correctness. I am not going to mention that the word is used in rap music and movies all the time and no one seems to care. But Paula stepped on the toes of political correctness. As a result of admitting to the use of this word (and possibly for telling inappropriate jokes at one of her businesses), the Paula Deen empire is collapsing. Walmart, Target, and the Food Channel are cutting their ties with her. She is no longer considered a “good person,” something our society seems to think is very important. I haven’t heard anyone comment (it may have happened, but I haven’t heard it) on how many people who were offended by her use of a politically incorrect word will lose their jobs as a result of what is happening. How many restaurant workers will be laid off because of reduced business? How many television production people will be out of work because her show is no longer being produced? What will be the impact on commerce in the State of Georgia. I’m not being funny–I suspect her enterprises paid serious taxes to the State of Georgia in various forms.

With all that on the table, I want to bring you back to a previous time in America. America has been, at various times in its history, a racist nation. I believe we are doing better now, but I also believe what is happening to Paula Deen is not helpful to the country.

PBS posted an article about Anti-Semitism in the 1930’s on their website which states:

By 1939, the anti-Semites had two causes: keeping America out of the European war, and keeping European Jews out of America. And they had two famous men in their ranks. Henry Ford was a true rags-to-riches hero. He was also an anti-Semite, who railed incessantly against “the Jewish plan to control the world” in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent (circulation allegedly 700,000), which Ford dealerships distributed free of charge. A collection of Ford’s ghostwritten columns was published as The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem — a best-seller in Germany.

The other famous American was Charles Lindbergh, who may have been an anti-Semite, but most certainly claimed publicly that Jews were trying, partly through their ownership of the media, to draw America into the war. Lindbergh represented America First, the powerful isolationist organization that, in fact, ejected Henry Ford for his anti-Semitic views. (See The Isolationist Movement.)

Henry Ford was also know to be distrustful of black people–that is why he hired immigrants from the Middle East to work in his manufacturing plants in the mid-West. That immigration during the early days of Ford Motor Company is one reason for the large concentration of Muslims in Michigan. I am sorry that Henry Ford was a racist, but I still love my Ford Mustang!

So what is the point? Racism and racists will always be with us–whether they are rightfully or wrongfully charged with racism. I believe that in most ways we are a more integrated society than we were fifty years ago, but I also believe that there are people among us whose livelihood depends on keeping the illusion of racism alive. Paula Deen needs to be allowed to continue her successful business ways without being condemned for reflecting the views of the time and place where she was raised. There is a true double standard here–the word she used is used routinely in rap music and movies. The politically correct police need to take a deep breath and get over themselves.

 

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What Are They Doing To My Car ?

When I bought my latest Mustang convertible two years ago, I planned on keeping it forever. I added a number of accessories that I normally would not put on a car. Detroit has just convinced me that I made the right decision.

Yesterday the American Spectator posted an article about what Detroit is about to do to the Mustang. It’s not pretty.

The article reports:

Ford‘s new “Evos” concept features gull-wing doors, a rounded, aerodynamic body, and a smaller design clearly inspired by Europe. When Ford officially unveils its new Mustang in 2014, company insiders insist it will embrace this visual transformation.

More pertinent than its changing look will be its changing feel. Rumors abound, to the chagrin of drag racers, regarding the introduction of independent rear suspension. The five-liter engine supposedly morphs into a two-liter one. There is even talk of a hybrid Mustang.

This is the rendering of the new Mustang from their Facebook page. It took me a few years to get used to the look of the 2010 Mustang, but at least it looked like a traditional Mustang. This just doesn’t look right. And just for the record–my convertible is a six-cylinder. On the open road, it gets about 24 miles per gallon. If America would develop her own energy resources and stop cowtowing to OPEC, that wouldn’t be a problem.

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I’m Really Not Making This Up !

1999-2004 Ford Mustang photographed in Washing...

1999-2004 Ford Mustang photographed in Washington, D.C., USA. Category:Ford Mustang IV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A group called Strategic Vision posted a story last week reporting research they did regarding which members of which political parties purchase which cars.

These are the results:

Democrats:

1. Honda Civic Hybrid
2. Volvo C30
3. Nissan Leaf
4. Acura TSX Wagon
5. Ford Fiesta sedan

Republicans:

1. Ford Mustang Convertible
2. Audi A8
3. Mercedes GL
4. Ford Expedition
5. Ford F-­‐150

I laughed when I read this–I drive a Ford Mustang Convertible. An article at Power Line, which reported the results of the study, concluded:

All of this adds up to one more illustration of the fact that it is a heck of a lot more fun to be a Republican than a Democrat.

I agree.

 

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On A Personal Note

2010 Ford Mustang photographed in Fort Washing...

Image via Wikipedia

For anyone who has been reading this blog for a while, I would like to update you on the rear window defogger on my Mustang Convertible. As you recall, the Mustang is a 2010 and had less than 14,000 miles on it when the defogger stopped working. The dealer told me that it was not covered by warranty and that I would have to spend $2000 out of pocket to replace the top. I was not happy with that answer and wrote to Ford. Initially Ford was not particularly helpful, so I wrote to the state Attorney General Consumer Affairs division and the Better Business Bureau. I did contact Ford again before I filled out the paperwork for the Better Business Bureau. The customer service person I got was very helpful, but the problem was still unsolved. After I contacted the Better Business Bureau, Ford called me to schedule an appointment with a “Ford Engineer” at the dealership. The rear window defogger is now working. The total cost to me was $7 (I put gas in the loaner car).

What have I learned from this? All future work on the car will be done at a different dealership–had I not pursued this, I would have spent $2000 that I don’t have and didn’t need to spend. The Better Business Bureau is there for a reason–don’t be afraid to contact them if you have a legitimate problem with a business. The Consumer Affairs division of the Attorney General’s office was also extremely helpful. As consumers, we do have certain rights, but we need to be willing to exercise them.

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I Guess It Depends On Your Idea Of A Good Investment

2010 Ford Mustang photographed in Fort Washing...

Image via Wikipedia

In my head I can hear my stockbroker yelling, “Dump that turkey!” What am I talking about? The current state of the government’s investment in General Motors.

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article about the current state of the stock in General Motors that the government still owns.

The article points out:

President Obama glowingly defended the $85 billion auto industry bailout during a speech to Detroit auto workers Friday, saying “the investment was worth it.”

But the government still owns 500 million shares of General Motors which, if sold at today’s market price of $20 a share, would leave taxpayers on the hook for $16.5 billion in losses.

And…under the law of unintended consequences (I’m not sure about the unintended part), the agreement the government signed with General Motors and Chrysler makes Ford (the company that is not partially owned by the government) the only company that the United Auto Workers (UAW) can strike against.  As reported in rightwinggranny.com on October 13, 2011, the UAW is already making plans to strike Ford Motor Company.

Where is this going? Unless someone throws a wrench in the works, it is leading to a nationalization of the American auto industry.

My husband, a drive-by reader of this site, just pointed out to me that if the UAW strikes Ford, forcing them to be bailed out, then the UAW will not be able to strike any American auto company. Payback is a *****!

 

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The End Of Free Enterprise In The American Automobile Industry

2010 Ford Mustang photographed in Fort Washing...

Image via Wikipedia

Today’s Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the union workers at Ford Motor Company’s Chicago assembly plan have voted to reject a new four-year contract proposed by Ford Motor Company.

I would like to repost a quote from an article posted at rightwinggranny.com on September 19, 2011:

Workers at Chrysler Group LLC, whose contract also expired on September 14, continue to negotiate for terms of their new deal.

The UAW is not allowed to call strikes for workers at GM and Chrysler under the terms of the federal bailouts which those companies received.

Workers at Ford Motor (which did not receive a federal bailout, which allows them to strike) are also in talks for a new contract.

One of the problems the union workers have with the proposed contract:

Some workers are angry that in the wake of Ford earning $9.3 billion in profits the last two years, the contract does not give back some of the things they lost in previous agreements, including cost-of-living raises. They are also mad about Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s $26.5 million pay package for 2010.

Also included in the proposed contract:

The deal would also commit Ford to hiring a total of 2,000 workers in the Chicago area, including 1,100 to be part of a new third shift at the company’s Chicago assembly plant. The contract agreement calls for Ford to hire 900 workers at its stamping plant and assembly plant within the next four years.

The most amazing statement in the article:

Morton (Grant Morton, United Auto Workers Union Local 551 plant chairman) said he still expects the 1,100 new jobs and new third shift at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant even if the contract does not pass. That is because the company plans to produce sedan and SUV versions of its new Police Interceptor vehicle at the plant. The vehicle will be launched in February. The plant has already produced a couple hundred of the Interceptors, according to Morton. The plant also produces the Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer.

Something has gone horribly wrong with the way people look at their jobs and the companies that hire them. I suppose heads of corporations make ridiculous money. They also work a lot of hours and carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, why shouldn’t they be paid for it? What relationship does that have to the man who does an honest day’s work on an assembly line and goes home when the whistle blows? As employees, we need to be concerned about making ourselves more valuable to the companies we work for rather than worrying what the officers of the company make. I guess this is a very old-fashioned idea, but generally speaking, people are paid for the jobs they do. Some industries pay better than others, and some jobs pay better than others, but usually if you want a really high-paying job, you either have to have skills that are unique and hard to find, or you have to work at a job that has a high risk of failure. Those of us who are ‘average’ are going to receive ‘average’ wages. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is, and no amount of labor disruption or strikes against companies will change that. The only thing a prolonged strike against Ford will do is create financial problems for the company and put jobs at risk. Considering the economics of the present time, that is probably not a really good idea.

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General Motors (aka Government Motors) and the UAW Have Agreed On A Contract (Or Why I Drive A Mustang)

Normally, I wouldn’t particularly care whether or not GM reached a contract agreement with the UAW, but since the government has made me a stockholder, I thought that maybe I should pay attention.

The International Business Times reported on Saturday that a new contract between GM and the UAW has been tentatively agreed on. The contract includes signing bonuses and better profit sharing for the employees.

The article reports:

Workers at Chrysler Group LLC, whose contract also expired on September 14, continue to negotiate for terms of their new deal.

The UAW is not allowed to call strikes for workers at GM and Chrysler under the terms of the federal bailouts which those companies received.

Workers at Ford Motor (which did not receive a federal bailout, which allows them to strike) are also in talks for a new contract.

Any bets on the possibility of a UAW strike action against Ford this year?

There is one aspect of this contract that I could not find any reporting on. In his book, Car Wreck, Mark Ragsdale explains an auto industry practice called ‘jobs banks.’ Jobs banks require that two and a half years of wages be paid to laid off workers. On February 10, 2009, Ford Motor Company announced it had negotiated jobs banks penalties out of its UAW contracts. Because Ford rejected federal bailout money, the UAW was forced to negotiate in order to avoid the company going bankrupt. I suspect the UAW will try very hard this year to put those jobs banks penalties back in.

Taxpayer bailout money is currently paying General Motors workers for work while they sit at the ‘jobs bank’ all day and do nothing–another example of a total waste of tax dollars. Obviously when this was done by a private company (GM), it was not practical–the company had to be bailed out, so why is the government allowing the nonprofitable behavior to continue? It will be interesting to see what happens to the jobs banks in the new contract and if the UAW decides to strike Ford to put the jobs banks back in there.

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