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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Car Only Balph Eubank Could Love

Will the last person leaving General Motors please turn out the lights?
Chevy Volt: The Car From Atlas Shrugged Motors
Patrick Michaels, Forbes

The Chevrolet Volt is beginning to look like it was manufactured by Atlas Shrugged Motors, where the government mandates everything politically correct, rewards its cronies and produces junk steel.

This is the car that subsidies built. General Motors lobbied for a $7,500 tax refund for all buyers, under the shaky (if not false) promise that it was producing the first all-electric mass-production vehicle.

At least that's what we were once told. Sitting in a Volt that would not start at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, a GM engineer swore to me that the internal combustion engine in the machine only served as a generator, kicking in when the overnight-charged lithium-ion batteries began to run down. GM has continually revised downward its estimates of how far the machine would go before the gas engine fired, and now says 25 to 50 miles.

It turns out that the premium-fuel fired engine does drive the wheels--when the battery is very low or when the vehicle is at most freeway speeds. So the Volt really isn't a pure electric car after all. I'm sure that the people who designed the car knew how it ran, and so did their managers.

Why then the need to keep this so quiet?

... Volt sales are anemic: 326 in December, 321 in January, and 281 in February. GM announced a production run of 100,000 in the first two years. Who is going to buy all these cars? [link]
It was this same Forbes magazine that once crowned the Ford Edsel as being one of the "worst cars of all time." But that distinction was handed out mostly because the buying public - and the Forbes critic - considered the car to be really ugly. The Volt isn't ugly (or any uglier than all the other subcompacts coming off the line today). It's just woefully designed, terribly inefficient, unreliable, and expensive as all git out.

Is the Chevy Volt on its way to becoming "The Worst Car of All Time"?

And can General Motors afford to achieve that distinction?

* For more on Balph Eubank, go here.

Try To Reconcile the Unemployment Numbers

I can't.

The nation's unemployment rate plunged to 8.9% in January.

The unemployment rate rose dramatically in 351 of the 372 metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. in January.

Huh?

Time to scratch your head:
Unemployment rises in nearly all metro areas
Associated Press

Washington (AP) — Unemployment rose in nearly all of the 372 largest U.S. cities in January compared to the previous month, mostly because of seasonal changes such as the layoff of temporary retail employees hired for the holidays.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose in 351 metro areas, fell in only 16, and was unchanged in 5. That’s worse than December, when the rate fell in 207 areas and increased in 122.

Other seasonal trends, such as the layoff of construction workers due to winter weather, also contributed to the widespread increase.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate dropped to 9% in January from 9.4% the previous month. [link]
Unemployment is up, but unemployment is down.

Here's the official explanation for the discrepancy: "The national data is seasonally adjusted, while the metro data isn’t."

Since the vast majority of jobs in this country are to be found in metro areas, shouldn't the "national data" and "metro data" be derived from the same set of parameters?

Outside of the bean counter world, where common sense doesn't factor, this makes no sense.

How Times Have Changed

George W. Bush, September 21, 2001:

"The Taliban must act and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate.

"We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.

"And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."

2011: European governments “completely puzzled” about U.S. position on Libya

Good grief.