Archive for auto industry

Tesla channels Youngman: Take my patents, please!

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henny youngman take my patents please tesla

Tesla is doing something extremely cool. Tesla is that brand of extremely cool autos that run on extremely cool, clean electricity and figured out how to go miles (literally) beyond other electric automakers when it comes to how far they travel on a single charge-- double or triple the driving range of other electric cars, to be exact. Their groundbreaking ways continue.

For example, Tesla sells their cars directly to consumers out of their own showrooms. They've gotten some blowback for that (hence the image at the bottom of this post).

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Tesla is offering something else extremely cool, something very surprising:

The Tesla Model S just became the world's first open-source car.

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc., said Thursday that he was opening up the electric car company's patents to all comers. "Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor," Musk said, "but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world's most talented engineers."

And if that's not impressive enough, Musk wants to encourage the use of electric cars for all the right reasons:

Opening up Tesla's technology could increase sales of electric cars and move the world away from oil-burning vehicles that contribute to global warming.

Plus, his strategy won't hurt business in the least. But it will help our environment and kick car manufacturers in their polluting trunks to keep up with the times.

"We think the market is plenty big enough for everyone," Musk said. "If we can do things that don't hurt us and help the U.S. industry, we should do that."

He's channeling Henny Youngman in the best way ever.

Take my patents, please!

Then again, he can afford it:

"Even if other competitors copy Tesla's design, Tesla still gets to sell them batteries, and that's pretty awesome. Tesla's decision isn't entirely altruistic," said Jacob Sherkow, patent law expert at the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School.

"I don't think people quite appreciate the gravity of what is going on," Musk said. "We need to do something. We would be shortsighted at Tesla if we kept these things close to our vest."

Tesla benefits, other car makers benefit, we benefit, the environment benefits, and everyone works together as one, big happy, healthy family. That, by the way, is The American Way.

the american way

chris christie tesla free market

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GM's Mary Barra Fires Employees But Spares Herself

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GMGeneralMotorsTowerw276h222

Doesn't it seem to always be the case when there's a corporate problem, the first thing the bosses do is point fingers? The toppers never want to take responsibility themselves. It was some low-ranking employees and the CEO was left out in the dark. Somewhere along the line, after they've fired those who were directly hands on, the light starts to reflect back at them. Then there's very few places they can hide.

Well today, the lights at General Motors were shined on 20 key employees, 15 of whom were fired and 5 who were reprimanded over the company’s failure to disclose a defect with ignition switches that is now linked to at least 13 deaths.

This all stems back to 2001 and has continued up until recently -- both in General Motors lethal inactivity in responding to an issue they were totally aware of as well as their attempts to sweep this deadly flaw under the carpet.

Washington Post today reports:

Mary Barra jpeg

“I hate sharing this with you just as much as you hate hearing it,” [General Motor's CEO] Barra told employees in a town hall meeting at GM’s suburban Detroit technical center. “But I want you to hear it. I want you to remember it. I want you to never forget it.” Barra promised to “fix the failures in our system.”

Does Barra really mean what she's saying? Consider this, she's not among the 20 people singled out for firing or discipline.

Why should she be? Because a quick look at her employment at GM. She started working for General Motors at the age of 18 in 1980 and subsequently held a variety of engineering and administrative positions, including being manager of the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly. Is she trying to say she had no idea what was going on? I suppose it's possible, but...

From General Motors website:

Prior to her current position, Barra served as Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, Purchasing Supply Chain since August 2013, and as Senior Vice President, Global Product Development since February 2011. In these roles, she was responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of GM vehicles around the world.

Previously, Barra served as GM Vice President, Global Human Resources; Vice President, Global Manufacturing Engineering; Plant Manager, Detroit Hamtramck Assembly; Executive Director of Competitive Operations Engineering; and in several engineering and staff positions.

Hello. The ignition catastrophe was an engineering design problem. That falls right under Barra's purview which brings us all back to the beginning. Finger pointing and assigning blame when it's really the guilty who should be taking the fall. I don't think Barra directly was responsible for the design flaw. But was she aware of it if these other 20 people were? Apply some simple logic here and decide for yourself-- in this case, did a guilty co-conspirator get promoted in order to put out the fire?

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"What is #Christie doing if not trying to control the free market?" He's protecting monopolies.

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chris christie tesla free marketImage via.

Oh that scamp New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, he says he is all about the free market. He's so supportive of a free market that he's doing whatever he can to stomp all over it in the name of "protecting consumers." Isn't that just like Governor "Heartbroken"? Always so concerned about his people; why, he's so concerned that they're still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy due to his broken promises and (alleged) nefarious deeds.

Gee, when you think about it, his position is about as hypocritical as that of pro-forced birthers who demand that Big Government stay out of our lives as they force trans-vaginal ultrasounds up women without their permission while denying them the right to choose what to do with their own bodies. To protect "children." But they're not "children," they're zygotes and fetuses. But I digress.

Both are the kind of "protection" we can do without.

And with that, here is today's Los Angeles Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "The car dealers' racket," Opinion, March 17

So New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed a decision last week by the Motor Vehicle Commission to "protect consumers" and effectively kick Tesla out of the state by prohibiting it from selling its electric vehicles directly to consumers.

It appears, however, that the Christie administration is actually protecting long-established dealership monopolies.

Christie recently huffed, "We have an opportunity problem in this country because government is trying to control the free market." What is Christie doing if not trying to control the free market?

Another Christie talking point: "We need to talk about the fact that we're for a free-market society that allows your effort and your ingenuity to determine your success; not the cold, hard hand of government determining winners and losers."

I challenge Christie to come up with a better example of the free market at work than Tesla Motors, the first successful new American car company in more than half a century.

Linda Nicholes

Huntington Beach

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Climate change? Pfft! say deniers. But money talks, and right now it's screaming.

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climate change Jack and Jill

Climate change, schlimate change, what a bunch of hooey, because, brrr, it's cold! Clearly, that means there's no global warming, right? Wrong.

Psst! Weather is not the same as climate, denier geniuses:

weath·er
noun \ˈwe-thər\

: the state of the air and atmosphere at a particular time and place : the temperature and other outside conditions (such as rain, cloudiness, etc.) at a particular time and place

: bad or stormy weather

vs...

cli·mate
noun \ˈklī-mət\

:  a region of the earth having specified climatic conditions

a: the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation

Now that that's settled, let's take a little peek at how increasingly extreme weather conditions, likely caused by overall climate change, are affecting more than what we wear. As we speak, we are seeing an alarming economic impact. As I read my morning Los Angeles Times, several articles scattered throughout the Business section caught my eye, and not in a good way:

1. Stocks dive on fresh growth worries:

Stocks were pounded by discouraging data released Monday on manufacturing, auto sales and construction spending.

You're probably asking, "Yeah? So? What does that have to do with climate change?" Plenty:

2. GM, Ford, Toyota auto sales plunge with January's cold weather:

Arctic-like weather across much of the nation put a freeze on January auto sales. [...] General Motors said Monday that its U.S. sales fell 12% in January to 171,486 vehicles compared with the same month a year earlier. [...] The automaker said its sales were the worst in the South, Midwest and Northeast, all areas that suffered from the extreme cold. [...]

Ford Motor Co. said its January fell 7% to 154,644.

Given the difficult weather in our largest sales regions, we are fortunate to have held in at retail as well as we did,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. [...]

Toyota reported January sales results of 146,365 vehicles, a 7.2% decrease from what it sold in the U.S. in the same month a year earlier.

“January was off to a solid start, but the weather conditions slowed industry sales in key markets late in the month,” said Bill Fay, Toyota’s division group vice president and general manager.

but wait there's more smaller

3. Manufacturing activity slows in January; stocks slump:

"A number of comments from the panel cite adverse weather conditions as a factor negatively impacting their businesses in January," said Bradley Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

4. California citrus season shortened by December freeze:

Consumers will have less time to get their hands on California citrus this year because of a cold snap in early December that damaged $441-million worth of fruit in the San Joaquin Valley, an industry study released Monday said. [...]

An estimated 40% of the [mandarin orange] crop that remained on trees were lost. That amounts to 4.7-million 40-pound cartons and $150 million in lost revenue. [...]

About 30% of the navel crop was lost in the valley, the heart of the state’s agriculture industry. That amounted to 22 million 40-pound cartons or $260 million worth of navels.

Valley lemon producers lost 20% of their crop, equal to $24 million in lost revenue.

And finally...
tadaa35. 'Polar vortex' wallops fliers' wallets:

Flights canceled in January's "polar vortex" inflicted $2.5 billion in costs on stranded travelers, according to a new analysis. The $2.5-billion figure represents lost productivity, hotel expenses and meals, MasFlight reported. The airline industry lost $75 million to $150 million. [...]

To avoid the hefty fines, airlines are now more likely to cancel flights during bad weather. [...] [T]he weather woes could take a bite out of the bottom line for some of the nation's biggest airlines.

"They'll definitely take a financial hit," Counter said.

All of those stories appeared in just one day, in one section of my paper.

And while all this is taking a financial and emotional toll, we have the filthy, "game over," disaster-in-waiting Keystone XL tar sands pipeline looming.

Hope the weather's good wherever you are, because the overall climate-- whether economic, psychological, political, or meteorological-- is chilling.

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Women Power, Not Horsepower

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fiat

The "making of" this Fiat ad drives me crazy -- totally amazeballs as my kids would say. If you start watching it, you won't stop. So here's four minutes of mind boggling fun, beautiful women and some vastly creative and talented body artists.

This is a country of ingenuity and imagination. We need to provide for the education as well, so we can develop and generate creative minds and a more productive future. Let the GOP know that we're not going to allow them to cut education funds. After all, we want to go forward, not backwards. Who'd want to see a commercial done this way for a horse and buggy?

Red Neck Haven

And in a related matter, Good Ol' Texas, that state that keeps on giving, has provided us with some body-painting related fodder from their franchised Red Neck Haven Restaurant. Seems body paint isn't enough of a "cover up" at their establishment, so they've decided to ban female servers who just cover their breasts with body paint. In the HuffPo article about Redneck Haven Restaurant or as the locals were calling it, the Redneck Breastaurant:

A Lewisville, Tex., restaurant must decide what their breast move is after the city banned it from allowing their waitresses to wear body paint while serving food.

After complaints to police about the waitress' attire (or lack thereof) at Redneck Heaven restaurant, the city council voted to change an ordinance so that it's now illegal for women to cover their breasts with just body paint, according to KDFW.

So, I guess what's good enough for a television commercial, the naked body-painted Fiat women, isn't up to your high standards to serve you a beer and nachos in a facility that you must be 21 or older to enter. Ah, Texas, you just have too much time on your hands and you're going to use it to minimize women's rights of all kind.You find the female body is yours to control. Just how much longer before rape becomes decriminalized? You've taken women's rights almost totally away with your GOP forced anti-women's reproductive rights measures.You're shutting down legal abortion clinics. Now you're targeting adult eating establishments? When do you drop the charade and go with having women legally declared sex objects or banning them outright?

Oh, and while were on the subject of controlling bodies, how about looking into regulating places that serve food that can kill?  Doesn't the epidemic of obesity concern you at all?

greasy burger

Redneck Heaven patrons may no longer be able to see women with no clothes on, but they can still tuck into one of the restaurant's signature "Border Patrol Belt Busters" or chomp down a "Double-Bubba Pounder" Nolan Ryan Burger.

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Video- Fox's Bolling: Weaker Unions "May Be Actually One Of The Best Things That Could Happen" To Michigan

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Via MM.

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VIDEO: Romney manages to unite corporate America and unions with his false Jeep ad

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Image via DemocraticUnderground.com.

: Fact checkers break down Mitt Romney's misleading and false Jeep ad. Romney is desperate and deceptive in Ohio.

President Bill Clinton called Romney’s Jeep Ad the “biggest load of bull in the world.”

A Chrysler executive called out Donald Trump's lies about sending Jeep productionto China by saying, “You are full of sh**!”

But none of that stopped Willard M. Romney and Paul Ryan from perpetuating the lies at their campaign stops. This is who Republican voters are supporting? This is who they call patriotic and want as role models for their kids? Really?

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