Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Running TONIGHT!!

I’ve pretty much committed myself, mentally, to running the marathon in January.  It might be a good warm up for the TIR (though I’m not guaranteeing an appearance there, or in any other running event, for that matter).  So, I’m going to once again drag myself out the door tonight and take a stab at another few miles to see how the old ticker, legs, lungs, and brain are coming along en-route to the OFFICIAL marathon training season.  Signups have moved to July from April, so that’ll be pretty much when official training begins.  I think I started in earnest on July 31 last time I ran.


The garden is loving the rain.  Plans are coming along nicely for the rain capture and irrigation systems I’ve been contemplating.  I can’t wait to break ground on that little big project.


And yes, I’m exceptionally troubled by the goings on with regards to GM and capitol hill.  The whole activist government taking an activist role in the running of a private company is very, very troubling indeed.  I have no problem with loaning entities dictating terms under which the loan will be made—those are called restrictive covenants in the business world.  But when the bank (or, in this case, the government) decides it will take an activist role in the operations of the company, then the situation begins to sit uneasily with me.  If Hugo Chavez were doing it, we’d call it what it is—nationalization.  I mean, the Venezuelan media wouldn’t call it that.  They’d call it a rescue or action to protect jobs or revitalize the community or something like that.  Then again, the Venezuelan media is completely controlled by and complicit with the Chavez government and wouldn’t dare criticize THAT leader, lest the offending reporter be separated from his head.  So, it makes one wonder why the (completely unbiased) US media is so complicit and compliant with the current administration when they so clearly demonstrated their ability to demonize the last administration.


All the same, I know how to fix GM.  Announce a 7 for 1 stock split.  General Motors becomes a holding company that maintains 30% holdings in each of the 6 divisions it will then create with the split—Saturn, GMC, Chevy, Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac, Hummer.  Sell all the rest.  Then, each newly independent division will be told to become viable or file for bankruptcy separately.  They’d become 7 car companies with 7 distinct cultures, 7 distinct marketing strategies, 7 accounting departments, 7 union relationships and at least 2 success stories.  There might be 5 complete failures, but each of those failures become feed for either a venture fund, another car company, or some enterprising turnaround artist.  GM meanwhile is merely a holding company that can be taken private and can officially get out of the business of financing car divisions and get into the business of targeting acquisitions for supporting the car industry.  GM can become Cerberus.


Now, this would certainly strengthen the unions.  At the same time, it would force the unions to help look for solutions to make these new, smaller auto companies viable.  As these companies either go by the wayside or learn to make cars that can be sold at a profit, the unions either get progressively weaker or also relearn how to build cars that can be sold at a profit.  As long as the key to making money in the auto industry is cheap financing so that the auto manufacturers can sell loans, the American auto industry will be doomed.  As soon as they figure out how to build a $25,000 car, they’ll be able to sell a $25,000 car.  As long as they build $17,000 cars that they’re trying to sell for $25,000, they’re going to be screwed.  It a lesson Chrysler COULD have learned from Dalmer, but they failed to figure that out. 


And, for what it’s worth, Chevy knows how to build a $50,000 car AND sell that car for at least that much.  It’s called a Corvette.


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