People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, December 31, 2004

GM Resurrecting the Love Machine

When Paula and I were young and spent a good bit of time travelling, we owned what I used to call my "love machine." It was a 1975 Chevy baby blue over white full-size window van. It had two bucket seats in the front, one bench seat behind and was carpeted in the back for the kiddies. It was powered by a poundin' 350 V-8 and could sprout wings when I needed it to. We went everywhere in this van and had great fun with it. It finally succumbed to rust damage after several years (a serious problem GM had with many of its models back then) - despite my masterful attempts with a product called Bondo and a pretty darn good hand with a spray gun. We eventually sold it to someone who, last I heard, had goats living in it. Sigh.

Well, my heart got to pumping when I read this:

GM tries to foster comeback of large vans popular in '70s, '80s

By John Porretto / Associated Press

DETROIT -- No longer decorated with beads and shag carpeting, conversion vans have evolved into sophisticated vehicles for families and groups alike -- and
General Motors Corp. and two dozen outfitters are spending a couple of million bucks to spread that message as they try to revive demand for the big, souped-up rides. (link)

GM may be able to foster a comeback of the big conversion vans of old but until they are able to make me thirty years younger, I think I'll have to pass. But, oh the memories...

This Is Not Good News

Apparently interest in the new Chevy SSR pickup truck is underwhelming.

SSR truck stockpile idles plant in Lansing
GM has enough pickups to last 300 days, exceeding the industry's ideal of 65.

By Ed Garsten / The Detroit News

A growing stockpile of Chevrolet SSR models is forcing
General Motors Corp. to cut production and idle its Lansing Craft Centre -- where the sporty convertible pickup truck is built -- for five weeks early next year.

At current sales rates, GM has enough SSR models to last nearly 300 days -- far more than the industry's ideal 65-day supply target. (link)

The SSR is a sleek, stylish vehicle that serves absolutely no purpose. With a price tag into the 40's (when fully loaded), you certainly wouldn't want to use it to haul horse manure. And I don't see it getting Britney Spears' attention. So you're left with a pricey show car that you pull out of the garage once a month, tool around the countryside in, and then park once again. For those of you with loads of disposable income, more power to you.
Graph courtesy of the Detroit News
Click on image to enlarge. Posted by Hello

A Strange Need To Be Liked

I have always had this feeling that what drives people on the left to oppose American actions of any kind overseas is this mindless need to be liked by non-Americans. They so often come across as apologists. You probably heard the news yesterday that former Attorney General Ramsey Clark has decided to join Saddam Hussein's legal defense team. He and Jimmy Carter lead the pack of apologists. With Bill Clinton right behind them. Remember how the boy-President went to Africa to apologize to the world for slavery? Not only was it transparently shallow, it was silly on its face. Occasionally I will read about Americans who feel the need to apologize for our seeming indifference to the the Holocaust that took place in the 1940's.

Somehow these strange people think that our foreign policy should be centered around our being contrite. On all matters. At all times.

Take for example the south Asia tsunami disaster. Yes, I'm referring to that wall of water that swept away as many as 145,000 people. As the editors at the New York Sun point out, the usual suspects are surfacing to blame us:
Leave it to the American left to find a villain of the tsunami disaster - not Mother Nature but President Bush. The Washington Post on Wednesday trotted out the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Leslie Gelb, to pronounce that Mr. Bush was, as the Post conveyed it, "missing an opportunity to demonstrate American benevolence." The New York Times editorialized yesterday that American aid offers were "stingy" and "miserly." Rep. Joseph Crowley, a Democrat of Queens, declared that the Bush administration is "asleep at the wheel." Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan who runs an anti-Bush Web site, wrote, "If Bush were a statesman, he would have flown to Jakarta and announced his solidarity with the Muslims of Indonesia."

This is contemporary American leftist illogic distilled to pure hypocrisy: When America tries to depose a dictator like Saddam Hussein who put tens of thousands of Iraqi Shiites in mass graves and who was trying to acquire weapons that would allow him to kill tens of thousands of Israelis or Americans, the left complains that America is trying to be a global policeman and needs to learn humility. But when a naturally generated tsunami hits Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, killing hundreds of thousands, it is somehow assumed that the American government must take the lead in the disaster relief efforts. (link)

There are actions that I have taken over the years for which I occassionally feel the need to apologize. My actions. To those my actions have affected. An argument could be made, I suppose, that there are incidents that the United States government could legitimately apologize for. The internment of Japanese-Americans comes to mind. The sanctioning of slavery by our government from 1789 to 1865 (it is written into the Constitution; look it up).

But we owe no apologies to anyone anywhere in the world for anything we - or our ancestors - ever did. And to act as if we were supplicants to anyone on this earth is wrong-headed and beneath us.

We will be there to help the people of south Asia get through this disaster (I donated to the American Red Cross again yesterday). We will - as always - have a greater presence there than any other people on the planet. Including the French, the darlings of the left. Especially the French. But to think our reaching out to Muslims after this calamity will somehow soften the hearts of one single Arab exhibits a very soft brain. We went to war in Kosovo a few years ago to protect the Muslim minority there and I don't remember one Arab or Muslim leader thanking us. And to act under current circumstances with the expectation of receiving good wishes in return is callous - and a bit goofy.

We will help the suffering people of Indonesia and Sri Lanka and Thailand because that is what we do. And we will do it in spite of the fact that people on the left - both here and in Europe - will criticize us for having done it wrong. Or too late. Or not enough. Or for the wrong reasons. We will give aid and comfort and get on with our lives. That's who we are.