| Saturday, Jun. 15, 2013
In 1962 Ronald Reagan, future president of the United States, was already building his official platform that, one way or another, government was the cause of all this country’s evils. In speeches he gave that year he would refer to the Tennessee Valley Authority, a government-controlled electric utility, as one evil consequence of the U.S.’s having a “big government.” At the time he was the host of General Electric Theater on CBS, but taking this position on the TVA cost him that gig. True, GE’s management might have contained some of America’s most reliably free-market conservatives — but the TVA was also a huge purchaser of GE Turbines for electricity production. So GE fired Reagan.
|Saturday, Jun. 08, 2013
Some of the issues I read about in the last two weeks of May just made me want to pull my hair out, but I refrained; Propecia® is expensive, and I didn’t want to take any more blood pressure medication either.
|Saturday, Jun. 01, 2013
A couple of years ago in this column I suggested that the automobile industry badly needed to start its own cable network, something along the lines of HGTV. On this automotive network, every featured customer’s trade-in would always be worth far more than its real market value; and cars would sell so quickly that making a top-dollar bid would always be the smart move — even smarter long term.
|Saturday, May. 25, 2013
Six weeks ago in this column I discussed what our automobiles’ current computerization could but does not do for us. I pointed out just how much more cars could help drivers — particularly in reducing what they cost to own and run — if auto manufacturers simply aligned themselves with the best app developers and brought our cars truly into the 21st century.
|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.