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

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Needed Upgrade

The online version of Roanoke Times (roanoke.com) has a new look. I love it. Clean. Colorful. Dynamic. User-friendly. And much-needed.

Check it out.

Now You've Done It

Paula doesn't often get riled up. But she was spitting fire yesterday. Over this:
Beaver pair eradicated from Blacksburg park
Tonia Moxley, Roanoke Times

BLACKSBURG -- A beaver pair that moved into Heritage Community Park and Natural Area in December was eradicated over the holiday weekend.

Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Department Director Dean Crane confirmed Tuesday that Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Services of Roanoke trapped two beavers in Toms Creek.

The Blacksburg Town Council approved the trapping a week ago after hearing from Ruby Dove, a neighbor of the park, about extensive beaver damage on her property. (link)
Tonia, for some reason, avoids using the word "slaughter," preferring the less harsh "eradicated." Either way, the beavers were snuffed.

And Paula and thousands of animal lovers around Southwest Virginia are asking the question, "If the fuzzy little beavers (a loving pair at that, preparing to bring a young one into this world) were trapped, why kill them? Why not transport them to one of the blazillion acres of national park we have around here and release them?"

My guess is the Blacksburg Town Council is laying low about now. They've upset the women-folk.

You don't want to upset the women-folk.

They're Coming Around To My View

When General Motors announced in 1985 that it was launching a new division, Saturn, to compete with a rising tide of foreign imports, I said, "Are they nuts? "They need to do just the opposite."

What GM needed to do to compete head-to-head with Nissan, Honda, and Toyota back then was to get lean and mean, to reduce its broad (and duplicative) assortments of brands and pour money into R&D and into streamling production. Not increase its array of offerings.

Odd, they didn't hear my admonition.

Today GM stock is barely worth the paper its printed on and Toyota is crushing the once-proud Detroit auto maker. And experts are taking my advice - if ever so slowly. In this morning's American Spectator:
GM's Accelerating Death Spiral
By Eric Peters

Despite a slew of genuinely appealing -- and genuinely well-built -- vehicles, the automaker's death spiral toward the hard, cruel earth continues to pick up speed.

HERE'S A FACT TO PONDER: In 1970, GM's Chevrolet division alone had more market share than the entire GM lineup has today. That's Buick, Pontiac, Cadillac, GMC, Saturn and Hummer -- combined. Yet each of these GM divisions (excepting Hummer and GMC, which are truck/SUV-specific) is still trying to market and sell a full line of vehicles -- as many as five or six different models per brand. There are six or seven GM minivans alone -- the Chevy Uplander and Venture, the Pontiac Montana and Torrent, the Buick Terraza and Rendezvous and the Saturn Relay.

This is madness.

Toyota, Honda, and Nissan each have exactly one minivan; they compete against each other -- and against GM.

GM also makes half a dozen mid-sized sedans -- but can't make money selling them.

GM has spent more than a decade trying to make a go of its small car spin-off, Saturn -- which now competes for resources and customers with emergent Chevy small cars like the Cobalt. (link)

I disagree with the author about GM being in its death-throes. The USA won't allow it - we cannot afford to let it - go under. But the GM that is going to emerge from the wreckage a few years from now is going to look a whole lot different from the bloated, unwieldy company we see today. And between now and then there is going to be a lot of pain inflicted - on workers, on stockholders, on the economy.

But Eric Peters is helping get my message to General Motors: You have too many brands and too many models. Cut them by half. Before Toyota does it for you.