Woke up this morning to the grey skies and freezing drizzle/rain as predicted by the weather peeps. But things didn't look too bad. That is, until I noticed even the dirt in the driveway was all sorts of slick, with a good glazing of ice! It didn't seem to bad for driving, and everything was delicately covered in that layer of ice;
Once off the loose stuff of our road though... it became quickly evident that things were ugly. Magnolia was a solid sheet of ice. At the top even, there were skid marks from cars with studded tires, and even chains, that were trying for all their worth to dig into the ice. Still, it didn't seem too bad, since I had perfect timing and I was 3rd in line behind the plow truck, dumping tons of gravel. Until we reached the traffic jam at the first switchback. You know it's not going to be all that great, if you ever see a traffic jam on Magnolia. After waiting a few minutes, someone tried to walk down to see what the hold up was. They almost weren't able to walk back up the road because of the ice... and they reported a good 10-15 cars all stacked up, and or crashed out of the competition for the race to work. Right then, time for the long way to work.
The solid coating of ice, even on the dirt section;
There was even a pair of accidents in Ned, and then some happenings along the canyon down to town. Of course once near town, it was just wet.
It seemed like the entire long way to work, I had to listen to stories about pirates. They're very popular this month, since taking over that tanker, and increasing their activities off the coast of Somalia. Even after reading a letter from a listening on NPR, complaining that they were making pirating sound like a job path, rather than being the dirty thieves that they are, NPR wrapped the story up by playing the music to Pirates of the Caribbean. We don't need those goofy pirates, we have our own pirates right here... the United Auto Workers Union, and the big wigs running the "Big 3" automakers.
Still lobbying for a piece of the bailout, or event their own bailout, because their business is doing poorly... based mostly off of bad business decisions, not listening to their customers or their workers... and also on the fact that they do things like show up in individual private jets in order to testify before congress why they deserve free money. Face it, a bailout is going to lead to nothing but more of the same short-sightedness that has gotten them in this situation in the first place. More of the same crap, and the same multi-million dollar bonuses for executives, and shitty cars, with no real idea of evolving to a changing world or cars to fit into that evolving world. A bailout will just mean a delay, until we're back to this point again. Bankruptcy is about the only way the auto makers will fully be able to restructure their business to the extent that they should, and need, to.
They just want the money... today, with prospects of a bailout looking slim, GMAC, the financial arm of General Motors, filed the paperwork necessary to becoming a true bank. Sounds innocent enough, except that upgrading their status would then make them eligible for a portion of OUR 700billion dollar bailout program.
One of my favorite stats that I came across this week; GM and Toyota both hold about 20% of the auto industry in the United States. While GM does it with 8 brands, and 5000 dealers, Toyota upholds it's market share with just 3 brands and 1500 dealers. Which one sounds more efficient?
What is really going to change with the Big 3 if they get their money anyway? They've already received well over 5 billion dollars of government money, to spend on developing new technologies for more efficient cars. And they argue that part of their bailout would go towards the same. But what have they done? They've come up with a hybrid Escalade that gets a whopping 20mpg and costs $80,000!? I'd like to take that 5 billion dollars, keep a measley one billion for myself (as a finders fee) and give the other 4 billion to a company like Tesla, that is actually accomplishing something. Tesla is super-pumped about receiving a 40 million dollar investment... do you think with an investment 100 TIMES bigger, they couldn't make an even better car, with fewer compromises, and a much lower cost? I bet they could. A Tesla is about a million times sexier than a retarded Escalade too;
Sorry for the rant, I guess winter makes me cranky.