|Saturday, May. 18, 2013
Brice Hutchins, just another 26-year-old hoping to make it in Hollywood in 1934, was also a man of secrets. In the worst days of the Great Depression, having heard that the movie industry was looking for “Western types,” he was seeking work under a stage name and falsely claiming Texas as his birthplace. But Charles was really from Joplin, Missouri. And his real past was far more impressive than his dubious claim of being a Texan.
| Friday, May. 03, 2013
As a nation we spend far too much time focusing on shooting wars and far too little time considering the impact of economic battles - despite the fact that both are more than capable of producing mass casualties. At the moment many of the world's non-industrialized countries seem to be involved in some sort of civil war; and this has certainly been true of the Middle East over the past few years. But for all intents and purposes, what is happening in the world's developed and developing countries economically is what will have the most impact in the future on our lives and those of our children.
| Friday, Apr. 26, 2013
Elon Musk is America's greatest living visionary. Across our country his SolarCity is moving homes off the power grid; his SpaceX holds the promise of cutting the cost of space exploration by 90 percent. And his Tesla S electric car is not only the benchmark of what is possible with an alternative powered vehicle, it has also been the darling of the automotive media. But all great visionaries, whether it's Henry Ford, Walt Disney or Steve Jobs, sometimes need somebody to say, "Stop." Because no matter how brilliant your latest work is, there are always pitfalls to making it succeed in the real world.
| Friday, Apr. 19, 2013
"How come some tiny little California startup, run by guys who know nothing about the car business, can do this, and we can't?" - General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, Newsweek, Dec. 22, 2007
Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013
It should no longer be news to anyone that today the United States is getting by on 2 million fewer barrels of oil per day than we did just a few short years ago. While much has been made of the fact that overall gasoline demand in this country has fallen almost every year since late 2005, the economic media keeps chanting its mantra, that somehow supply and demand for oil worldwide, thanks to an ever-improving global economy, is what's primarily driving today's high oil prices. You can imagine which group continues to push that logic. As for our particular situation, using less gasoline than we have in the past, the common public position seems to be that this is due to the public's shift to ever more fuel-efficient vehicles.
| Friday, Apr. 05, 2013
In its March 27 issue, the Wall Street Journal ran a short piece reporting that automakers are wondering how to deal with car owners' frustration and constant complaints about the fuel efficiency their vehicles apparently aren't providing. This seems to tie in with Hyundai's and Kia's recent admission that they fudged their highway mileage tests slightly, and some of their vehicles may be a tad less fuel efficient than the figures posted on their window stickers. Piling on, Consumer Reports magazine recently claimed that it had tested Ford's new hybrid electrics and couldn't get anywhere near those vehicles' posted mileage figures.
| |Friday, Mar. 29, 2013
We all know, down in our suspicious hearts, that there's a miracle vehicle or propulsion system out there that, for some probably profit-related reason, has been kept a deep, dark secret. That's why we're so ready to believe in gas pills, cars that create their own hydrogen from water and run forever on nothing, and other such rabbits plucked from invisible hats. But until now, no respected automaker has promised something so esoteric.
| Friday, Mar. 22, 2013
For British teenagers who fell in love with rock and roll, the 50s and early 60s were tough times. The conservative government and liberal songwriters' union had all but conspired to keep young Brits from even hearing the new youth oriented music genre that was sweeping the globe. The BBC declined to cater to this rowdy generation, while the songwriters' union had a rule in force that kept the BBC from playing any record more than once a day, regardless of its popularity.
| Friday, Mar. 15, 2013
Five years ago, almost to the day, I debunked the widespread national coverage at the time announcing that the world had hit Peak Oil and that crude production was already falling, and therefore oil prices were skyrocketing. Doing so meant flying in the most visible face of the Peak Oil crowd for the previous few years, that of T. Boone Pickens.
| Friday, Mar. 08, 2013
For several years after the 2008 Financial Meltdown I immersed myself in every book I could find that covered the events leading up to it. And, while the two topics may not seem related, I also read two biographies of Paul Volcker; our former Federal Reserve Chairman who was willing to make the tough, unpopular decisions that cleared the way for real and substantial economic growth in the two decades that followed. But in reading I discovered something truly surprising about his career choice: During Volcker's tenure at the Fed, I was earning almost twice as much selling Hondas in Fort Worth as he was, charting the troubled waters of the American economy.