Do not be alarmed!

Posted On: Saturday - November 16th 2019 3:58PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity

Well, that exclamation point sure doesn't help! [ nor that one - Ed.] This site is too simple (for now) to go down, but Peak Stupidity was "off the air" for a few hours. The message from the hosting company could be seen as ominous, but it's just that they don't like to say "He didn't pay his money this month".

There's more to it than that. While switching accounts, it turned out that I had some difficulty with the software on the new one. I'd intended to get this fixed by, say, yesterday, but missed my deadline, and those guys missed my money for the old account. I'm trying to get the new account running before I pay another monthly fee, and today had some success with a nice job by a good-old American technical support guy (2nd tier - no less! I got the big cheese.)

I had intended to put 2 posts up today. I have 15 or so in mind, so there's no lack of material. I'm gonna mess with the software while I'm making headway though. Have a great Sunday, readers! Peak Stupidity might not have anything more till Tuesday, from what I see of my schedule.

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Junk mail under Idiocracy

Posted On: Friday - November 15th 2019 12:20PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Salesmen  Curmudgeonry  Artificial Stupidity

I've seen more junk mail in the past. A long time ago in a State far, far away, I lived in a rental house with about 5 other rental units nearby. The landlord kindly left a 13 gallon trash can right under the set of 6 outdoor mailboxes. It would fill up in a coupla weeks!

I don't know if it's worse or better that most of this "work" is being done on-line or on the phone nowadays. Most of the junk snail-mail, that without any plastic, is good for starting fires in the fireplace. Still, I've got to take a quick look, to see if it's junk mail or something actually important. The banks I have been a customer of have annoyed me to no end, suckering me into opening mail that I think is important, but is sales material.

The most frequent sender of junk mail to our place is a bank (I think) that is continually offering credit cards to my wife. It's just about weekly and has been going on for a few years now, saving me a few BTUs here and there. I just have to wonder what the hell runs their junk-mail-ad department. After 25 non-replies, you'd think a flag would get flipped in the database - |Unresponsive household = 1|, END ROW, END TABLE or something (I'm no SQL guy, so pardon me.) Some of this stuff probably only touches the human hands of the mailman and me. What's inside it comes from a printer, is never seen by eye, than turns into ash. What's the point?

Just imagine this mail-advertising "factory", mass-printing and collating material, with machines folding, spindling, mutilating, and nicely getting those 3 pages of wonderful offers into the printed envelopes. Other machines stack and pack these. Paper, lots of toner, and a digital signal from output of some old database could go into a black-box of a building, with junk-mail stacked on pallets coming out the other end. Who's in charge?

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"the right of the people peaceably to assemble ..."

Posted On: Friday - November 15th 2019 11:12AM MST
In Topics: 
  US Police State  Liberty/Libertarianism  ctrl-left  Anarcho-tyranny  Educational Stupidity

Some semi-peaceably assembling, 14 years before the ratification of the US Constitution:

Straight from the horse's Founders' mouths, Amendment I, the start of the Bill of Rights, of the document:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I don't really talk politics to any of the younger generations, Millennials in particular, if I even talk to them at all - they aren't into talking so much so long as they still have battery power. (This is not really personal, either, but they are not in my crowd.) It's just from what I've been reading, some on the answers to various questions from the GSS, (General Social Survey*) presented almost daily by the Audacious Epigone, and then the political news regarding events such as the Charlottesville street battle > 2 years back.

My general feeling is that young Americans, even of the not-foreign persuasion, are no longer rock-solid down with the basic concepts of freedom and the rights of men, as understood by the Founders of the US, The 1st Amendment covers a lot of what the Federal Gov't was NOT to do, and per Amendment XIV interpretations, limits other jurisdictions the same way, if the constitutions of the various States don't already cover it (most do). In particular, this post is about the right to peaceably assemble for, when it comes down to it, raising hell. I'll cover another part in an upcoming post.

Pretty much most Americans seemed to (more on this near the end) agree with the Founders and understand the principles enshrined in the Constitution until fairly recently. What has changed the minds of young people today compared to people of the same ages in, say, 1985?

The schools are a big culprit. They don't teach anything resembling the old civics, any serious American history or Western Civilization. After all the emphasis on the woke racial, genderbender, and feminist bullshit, the big picture of history will be distorted completely out of a normal perspective for our school kids, and there's no time left to go over real history and civics. You've got to teach them this stuff at home - if you can
Homeschool, Homeschool, Homeschool! (Ron Paul not only agrees, but he's got his own curriculum.)

When it comes to the particular question of whether people are within their rights to mass together in ANY public place and hold signs, yell and scream, make chants (hopefully some new ones!), we know where our Founders stood on this. The famous Boston Tea Party protest, as depicted above, is above and beyond even this. Those were private ships. The Captains and crew were likely innocent of anything the Colonists were up in arms about. They were just shipping tea, for cryin' out loud. That was some hell-raising and destruction, yet it is seen as a great step in the roots of the Revolution that founded our country.

After that, it seemed to be common sense that any group of people could assemble wherever they desired, other than on private property without the owner's consent. The "peaceable" part is a bit tricky, as blocking traffic is not so peaceable, or questionable, at least. Either way, through American history, and in a large way in the 1960s people understood this. There were no "protest permits" ALLOWING your group to stay within this boundary, or inside this little caged area about 2 miles away from anywhere.

During the turbulent 1960s, this was an everyday thing almost, and groups of 1,000s raising hell, blocking this, barricading and taking over buildings (see, not too peaceable, some of that) was considered normal for a while. Yeah, some even got arrested, but as I've written "you can't arrest all of us!" Even though the conservatives in society wanted to end all this, it was about the radicals' demands and destruction, not about their right to assemble in the first place.

See the ctrl-left at the time had not yet infiltrated the institutions. They needed, and one could say abused, the US Constitution to keep out of too much trouble. All that due process, rule-of-law-not-men, the Bill of Rights, and so forth? Yeah, the rest of the country still understood and agreed, and the left used it to the max. Habeas Corpus, "he forgot to read me my rights" (not in the Constitution), technicalities, and "this whole trial's out of order", yeah, the left of the 60s LUVED LUVED LUVED that US Constitution, or so it seemed. What happened?

I'll tell you what happened. The ctrl-left IS the establishment now, you know, the one they used to complain about in words and song. They really don't need all that Constitutional mumbo-jumbo now to get their way. It may even be an impediment.

A few dozen or so conservatives wanted to peacefully assemble in Charlottesville in August of '17, not even in anyone's face or on the street, to simply display their concern for the desecration of Southern heritage. There should have been no problem with that from all parties in understanding of Americans' rights. The left could have just let them be, like conservatives would have a group of radicals having a sit-in on the Washington Mall - let 'em be! This was not 1965, though. In 2017, the deal was that the left would not let this stand. Those guys at the Robert E. Lee statue had to be made to understand, in no uncertain terms. that this wasn't permitted. To defend their rights, these guys were rightly prepared to fight back, for a change, I should say.

After the anarcho-tyranny was all said and done, you've got guys on the right still in legal trouble and a Mr. James Fields in jail for some kind of 400 year sentence for what is at worse case manslaughter. (Did he purposefully back the car up into that specific girl? Sure, I know she was a big target.) A cold-blooded murderer of a whole family would get less than that. More to the point here, if he was a lefty in 1967, he'd get the usual shyster lawyer, who'd bring up some technicalities, and probably spend only a few months in jail.

The left is not playing the same game anymore. They want nothing to do with Constitutional rights. Young people, even not of the left, are not being taught enough to understand why our wise Founders prescribed the right to peaceably assemble wherever we want. I'll get to freedom of speech in another post. This is not gonna end too well.

* Per wiki here, the General Social Survey is a sociological survey created and regularly collected since 1972 by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

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Nick Fuentes, Charlie Kirk, and Social Media Conservatism

Posted On: Wednesday - November 13th 2019 4:11PM MST
In Topics: 
  Race/Genetics  alt-right

I'm just sayin', it's hard to keep up. Here I was, just learning a few weeks ago who this alt-right youtuber Nick Fuentes is. I can see he's giving hell to the Conservative establishment (the GOPe, if you will). This recent post on VDare - Charlie Kirk Tries To Appease Nationalists At University of Florida—Fails to Satisfy Immigration Demands
- has 3 videos showing some bold young alt-right conservatives giving the guy on-stage some hell.

It was very encouraging to see people speak out. (Go to VDare for those 3 videos, as I couldn't find those specific ones on youtube.) Note what Peak Stupidity has been writing for years. There's power in numbers. If one brave soul speaks out with his unorthodox question and the audience sits quietly in fear of standing out, then this one guy will be embarrassed, possibly dragged out even, and won't speak up again. Here you see the audience get loud with appreciation. This greatly encourages and emboldens the next guy, and anybody in the next such event. Nobody is sitting there scared to speak anymore, even the meekest.

Now, in these videos, this annoying character placed by computer in front of the scene was cackling and running his mouth while I was trying to watch. That guy was Nick Fuentes, it turned out. He's the guy with the youtube channel that started all this radical Q&A! I can't tell him "down in front". OK, i'm with the program now and appreciate this young agitator for the cause of the true alt-right and patriotic Americans.

I figured the guy on stage, one Charlie Kirk, is a politician. Especially because the video I've just seen were at the U. of Florida (Gainesville), I somehow had Charlie Christ in mind, or for that matter ANY "Conservative, Inc. poliitcian. From my wiki reading just now on Charlie Kirk and his widespread network of campus conservative groups, Turning Point, he seems to be a young go-getter Conservative too. Who to root for? What I have below is a 38 minute compilation of the grilling of Charlie Kirk. You may not have time for it, so go to VDare for samplings as advised above, in that case.

Mr. Kirk may not be alt-right in beliefs, but he's also no old-time Washington beltway Conservative either. It's only wiki, but from what I read about the man "Turning Point", I'd have supported him wholeheartedly before watching the videos. Well, the Nick Fuente crowd, his "Groypers" that is, (no I DO NOT have any idea where the term comes from.) are not satisfied with "good enough". They are ready to raise hell, and I envy any young people being in that position today.

After having duckduckgone for 10 minutes, inputting "Charlie Kirk vs. Nick Fuentes" (I know, just like "Shark Mania") gave me a pretty informative and balanced post, "The campus civil war on the right. Nick Fuentes and the "groypers" vs Charlie Kirk and Ben Shapiro.", by one Jeff H. of Politics, War, & Culture. From my 15 minute perusal of the site, I'd say author is a bit naive and not informed of the all the political history but still a good and very civil and fair writer. I'll try to get back to his site.

One thing about this YCCW (Young Conservative Civil War ?) is that everything going on is all talk and social media. That is the mode of operation with young people of all views, but it gets a bit gossipy and silly sometimes. This guy's tweet got followed by this guy, and so-and-so has banned so-and-so from his channel, etc. Granted, I don't want to see people bashing each other with bike locks (at least not WITHIN the right), but how about some pushing, shoving, and an occasional good punch out? The videos are great though. Two thumbs up!

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Commies through the Ages

Posted On: Tuesday - November 12th 2019 8:48PM MST
In Topics: 
  Commies  Music  The Russians  History  ctrl-left  World Political Stupidity

I'd promised in yesterday's post, called Bizarro Communism, to explain why I call lots of people Commies. It does sound like an old-fangled Cold-War era term for people, and a flavor of stupidity, that can only be found in world history.

Commies of old:

I don't think there's any question that people of a left-wing bent, let's call it, have infiltrated all the institutions of the United States over the last 50 years. That means the Universities, the Media, Government at many levels, and even lower education. Peak Stupidity sees this as the successful campaign on the internal front in the Cold War, of which we won the campaign on the external front exactly 3 decades ago. We don't claim the people involved to be part of armies or any organizations that are related to those on the other side of the external Cold War. It's just that the results are the same as if America had been overrun during an operation Red Dawn, with the Reds having taken control of the whole show here, just the same.

We wrote yesterday:
... they don't know a struggle of the classes from a bunch of holes in the ground, they don't quote Karl Marx, and they don't go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao.
This isn't about that Socialist utopia, at least in most of the modern Communists' minds. They just want to destroy traditional society. That's what the Commies of old wanted. If you don't want traditional society to grow right back up like a weed, well, you need total government control. The most important thing was and is to squash religion and the nuclear family, as they are always a big impediment to getting the population under total government control.

The Soviets experimented with all of this in Russia, for 70 years. China underwent their hard-core period for 40 years. We here in America still had real Conservatives in government (in BOTH parties, if you go back a century), even some in the Media (watch Fidel Castro on Meet the Press!), and our population had been steeped in conservative values and reverence for freedom since more than a century BEFORE the founding of the United States. We resisted pretty well, right though the winning of the Cold War. We'd neglected the internal war against traditional America though, figuring this was just politics as usual. Is it?

Modern Commies, going by the name "Antifa":

Some call these people "cultural marxists". For some Peak Stupidity background, please read "Who are these Antifa guys?".

They've been destroying on a social and political level for years, and now they are ready for some literal destruction. The Establishment has their backs. That's an advantage they didn't have, back in Soviet and Chinese days. On the other hand, back in century-ago Russia and 70-something year-ago China, the people really had something to complain about. Nowadays, even the poor live more prosperously than the Czars and the elites of the last Chinese dynasty. Yet, young people see ills in society that are were wrought by their cohorts over the last 1/2 century, blame these problems on "capitalism", and now tell us it's time for a change. Commies are crawling out of the woodwork again.

Just under a century ago, when the Communists were hell bent for Germany, the reaction from the right, which was what it took to defeat them, got, well we all know history, call it "out of hand". The alt-right and any other conservatives with the courage to try to stop these people have not gotten to that point. As we wrote in that post on the Antifa linked-to above, though:
Peak Stupidity hopes that the alt-right, real conservatives, and constitutionalists can keep these antifa's from doing any more real damage to American society before things get out of control. The alt-right and other must be allowed to speak out, so this intimidation of them better be stopped soon. Most people know not to corner an animal even as small as a squirrel. If the ctrl-left keeps holding a lid on free speech, free assembly, and other rights, they will box the other side into a corner. At that point some of the alt-right may just go and turn into real Nazi's, as there'd be no other recourse. That won't be good for anybody.
Yes, we are dealing with the same kind of people that the Russians failed to deal successfully with, the Chinese succumbed to, the Cubans, the Cambodians, and so on. We are much more heavily armed*. We need to understand this 2nd front of the war and who the enemy is. They will not be parachuting into Colorado. They don't need to. Those in the picture above are the enemy. No, don't ask them about the struggles of the proletariat and, no, they don't go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao.

Peak Stupidity already featured John Lennon's Revolution with its advice: "... and if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow."** so we won't embed it again. Therefore, with the line "it's time for a change" in my head, let's hear The Rolling Stones*** with their Sympathy for the Devil from their album Beggar's Banquet of 51 years ago!

"I stuck around St. Petersburg
when I saw it was a time for a change.,
killed the Tsar and his ministers.
Anastasia screamed in vain."

"Pleased to meet you.
Hope you guessed my name.
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game."

I don't care about your names, but I get the nature of your game. Unlike Mic Jagger, I've got no sympathy.

* This reminded me of another bout of anarcho-tyranny by the Commies of the Antifa, early this year in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Some of those looked well armed, though maybe not "regulated".

** No Mao pictures, just bike locks, spray cans, feces, and the whole legal system behind them.

*** Featured previously only once so far.

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Dragged across Concrete - Movie Review

Posted On: Tuesday - November 12th 2019 5:40PM MST
In Topics: 
  Feminism  Movies  Race/Genetics

The only reason I watched the 2018* movie Dragged across Concrete to begin with is that a commenter on had embedded one scene from it of a pretty realistic family (Mel Gibson's movie family) about race, neighborhoods, and "good schools". Truth in a full-length feature film?! I gotta see this!

It turns out I didn't hafta see this, after all. The movie was entertaining enough compared to the comic book movies or the endless sequels and prequel rehashes and prehashes that are about all else that comes out of Hollywood. It's one of these cop partner/buddy movies. This theme never gets old, I guess. The cops can be the Constitution-abiding good guys as on Adam-12 or C.H.I.P.s, the white/black comedy duos as seen on Sanford & Son and Beverly Hills Cop, or the tough-ass guy with newbie partners who get killed each movie just when they are getting the hang of it (Dirty Harry and sequels). They can turn into bad copes too, as is the case in this movie.

Any which way, there is the back-and-forth banter during the stake-outs in which you see how close the 2 are from working together so long. I don't know how many real cops have the same partners for long periods of time like this. Lately it's just a matter of both of them being able to fit into the squad car. In Dragged across Concrete Mel Gibson is the older, experienced cop who is perhaps getting sloppy due to old age, while Vince Vaughn is brighter one but has a lot to learn. The two get in trouble with the media early on in the movie, are suspended for a good while (without pay, but don't they usually get that pay in real life suspensions, even if they've unjustifiably beat the crap out of someone?), and decide to go crooked in an intended non-violent way to help Mel Gibson shore up his family finances.

That's where the movie may or may not be believable. Wouldn't a guy with decades on the police force, even with a disabled wife, but only ONE kid, have some money saved up and a good cash flow? It's all seniority, seniority, seniority. Gibson's character went crooked for his family, but that would mean he must have been a financial idiot for years to not have the money to get out of the hood, for the sake of his teen-age daughter (the one discussed in the realistic scene mentioned at the top). Are people really that bad with money?? Yeah.

Now comes the racial angle. See, the black main character, movie-named Henry, who got out of prison for a decent stint for something he did hanging with the wrong people, whose Mom had to become a hooker, and kid brother is in a wheelchair, is the other sympathetic guy. Yes, they'll be some blacks who really are decent smart guys who "didn't do nuthin" and never had a chance going to prison. It's pretty rare. As bright as this character is in the movie, Affirmative Action and hopelessly hopeful white support for his type should have gotten him a long way in life.

What are the chances of this one criminal being one of the good ones? The idea of "what are the odds?" is a running theme in this movie as cop Gibson would give odds to partner Vince Vaughn while discussing the nefarious and non-nefarious deeds they were involved in. He never really vocalized the odds of this noble black fellow, being a bright cookie and just doing what HE had to do also for his family. What, 1 in 50 maybe? It turned out to be important near the end of the movie.

Lastly, just as a kind of interesting scene that was not at all relevant to the story, yet strangely very conservative, there was one bit of anti-feminism in Dragged across Concrete (hence that topic key attached to this post). For the life of me, I cannot figure out from the tee-tiny IMDB character pictures which actress/character it is, but this lady, a new Mom on the slightly-older side, was shown leaving for her first day back at work at the bank after having her baby. In this scene, the woman is paranoid and almost sick to leave her apartment and baby to go to work. She had put off going back for months, using up all her sick time, etc. per the conversation with her house apartment-husband. I don't know how the script writers got this under the radar, as it does not at all fit in with the feminist agenda. (Film editors' strike, perhaps?) Not to be a spoiler, but it turns out that, no, she'd been better off staying at home with her baby. Any conservative could have told her that, and she'd be alive today .... OOPS!

Yes, there's an agenda in this film. It's fairly entertaining and suspenseful, and a tad funny. Don't pay any hard-earned money to see it. I don't want our readers going crooked ...

*See, as Peak Stupidity ranted about in a 3-fer movie review summer before last, usually movies made past the early 1990s just, well, don't work out for me.

** Another little thing that continues through the movie is that Henry Jones the black participant in the robbery (oh, forgot to say, there's a big robbery, which is a big and suspenseful part of the movie***) often says "aight" for "all right" as an affirmative. That pronunciation is a white Southern thing. I think this director is not hip.

*** What kind of freakin' movie review is this, right?!

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Posted On: Monday - November 11th 2019 7:04PM MST
In Topics: 
  Genderbenders  University  Political Correctness  Socialism/Communism

Red Dawn?

We won on the OUTSIDE front, but lost on the INSIDE front.

Well, Peak Stupidity has used the expression "Bizarro-Germany" before, with Herr Merkel over there being a sort-of Bizarro-Hitler (More here). If you've ever watched Jerry Seinfeld relate things in his NYC world to that in Superman cartoons, or, more directly, read Superman cartoons, you'd know that the term is used for a world in which everything is opposite from ours.

Bizarro-Communism? In some ways, no, things are simply rhyming with the history of a century back. However, we read, from The College Fix website*, "Columbia professor who fled communism resigns, says university is becoming communist". So what? I'll tell you what: The professor in question is formerly from Communist Romania, that's what! Does it take a man who lived under Communism to actually recognize incipient Communism? Actually, the phrase by Andrei Serban, as translated from a Romanian TV interview, is "on its way toward full blown ..".
A Romania-born academic says he recently left his tenured position at Columbia University because the Ivy League school is “on its way toward full blown communism,” according to a Romanian TV interview translated by a Romanian-American immigrant.

Prof. Andrei Serban, an award-winning director, complained about the increasing social justice demands he faced in the theater department in the interview, which aired on Romania’s TVR1 Oct. 26. One prominent example he gave: pressure to admit a transgender applicant who auditioned as Juliet from “Romeo and Juliet.”
Note also the bit about "an award-winning director". It's not the "award-winning" I mention here, but the "director" bit. Andrei Serban is a Theater Professor at Columbia. Theater people are well-known for their ... well... theatrics. What's the drama this time?
Serban says in the interview that after a faculty member retired, the remaining professors in the department were called in to a meeting to discuss a replacement.

It was at this meeting that the dean of the art school told them that there were “too many white professors, too many heterosexual men,” and that it would be best to hire a minority or a woman, or a gay man.

Serban, who was the director of the hiring committee, says that he was told that it could not be someone like him because he is a man that has been “married, a heterosexual man who has children.”

The professor says that he then asked if they could choose a straight white male if the most qualified candidate happened to be so, and was promptly told that they could not. “I felt like I was living under communism again,” he said.
"Join the party, pal!" is some more modern-day American theatrics, courtesy of Die Hard and Peak Stupidity.

Mind you, even 50 years ago, before America was "woke", the movie and theater businesses were pretty nutty already with the gay and genderbender business, though "Trannies" back then (at least as far as I'd ever heard about it were men that looked like women, but they got better. They could always just change clothes. Somehow I don't think we're in Kansas anymore it works that way today. In 2019 America, though, this Professor of Theater has had it with the new casting and this is his Final Act.
A second incident involving a male-to-female transgender student was the final impetus for Serban to resign, according to the translated video.

While reviewing applicants to the theater school, the transgender student prepared Juliet’s monologue from “Romeo and Juliet.”

Serban says that he could not believe that this person could become Juliet. After his colleagues expressed displeasure with him for stating as much, Serban resigned, saying that he could not violate his principles.
Good on him. It's not like it's really that difficult to say "you people are sick" to some of this stupidity. This is NOT 1960's Romania, where you'd better damn well not argue with the Commies in charge under threat of death. We here, are at incipient, not full-blown Communism yet. It is amazing to me how much people will take, as this brand-new serving of stupidity is shoved down their throats. Just regurgitate this stuff back at 'em! I've written it before, and I'll write it again: There's great power in numbers. Those numbers don't have to be that awful large either, in this case.

Is it not a bizarro world in which we have Romanians of the East Bloc pointing out the coming of full-blown Communism to Americans?

Now, I'd really want to explain to our readers why I do often use the term "Communist" to describe the types of people in the American institutions, such as those Professor Serban just got done dealing with. I know, I know, they don't know a struggle of the classes from a bunch of holes in the ground, they don't quote Karl Marx, and they don't go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao. That's not what it takes, though... more in an upcoming post.

* As referenced by Paul Kersey of in Romanian-Born Ivy League Professor Warns: Anti-White Mindset Infecting USA “on Its Way Toward Full Blown Communism". Go there for more comments, though College Fix has 250 comments already, and that's where we stole the above photo from.

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California Mourning ... on such a winter's day

Posted On: Saturday - November 9th 2019 9:40PM MST
In Topics: 
  Immigration Stupidity  Music  The Dead  California  Economics  Environmental Stupidity

More here on that damn ridiculous Bloomberg article - lots of data and graphics, very poor reasoning ... along with some music tonight on, of course, California.

I won't link to the same stupidity twice. I learned my lesson from that mistake in the previous post that this one continues. First a scatter-plot type graph:

Sorry, I couldn't get the size down for the site without losing lots of resolution:

BTW, the graphics are interactive - if you do go to the article, you can hold the cursor over a dot and see what city that is.

Yes, these "journalists", or their IT guys, make some cool graphics. Maybe they should have stuck to that and not written any text - the stupidity comes about in their interpretations of the data. One thing I can tell you, for a household making < $15,000, they are "cost burdened" even for Snickers bars.

Here's a bit from the young and dumb Bloomberg pair of "journalists":
California also has a distinct burden: Proposition 13, a measure approved by voters in 1978 that limits property-tax increases on homes until they’re sold. That’s been a boon for Baby Boomers who’ve lived in their houses for decades and aren’t assessed at anything close to their property’s market value. But it’s especially unfair to their children, who are in effect subsidizing their parents’ generation.
Their children can perhaps be nicer to the parents and inherit the house. More importantly, maybe these children won't vote like normal rat bastard Californiains for every new city bond issuance, seeing as property tax pays for that sort of thing. Unfortunately for places like Idaho, Oregon, Washington and now Texas (per the Brenda Walker article, the emigres tend to still vote like they did in "the old country" which only Californicates their new homes.
For decades, many Californians have just moved farther out of town to find cheaper places to live. But as climate change increases the intensity and frequency of wildfires—leading to devastation and billions of dollars in costs—officials may decide to put some areas off-limits for new construction.
OK, OK. What can't Global Climate DisruptionTM do?! [/Homer Simpson] Yeah, lets put the blame on that, not the treatment of forests like parks where nothing's been left to burn in the wild, the many fires accidentally started by illegal Mexican pot growers (OK, we're at least done with that one), and having a population TWICE as large as in 1970, with that much more water needed. Continuing with the stupidity ...
That could exacerbate the housing shortage, said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto. “At some point, the regions that are under pressure to build more housing are going to find areas that are prone to more frequent fires,” he said.
What if there were still 20,000,000 people in California? Remember, they've always been big, big treehuggers. Could they have left almost all the remaining land alone, and kept their ranch houses until they needed to be re-built? Oh, but the poor developers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and bankers! How would they have been able to make bank? The poor F.I.R.E. industry - those people may have had to get REAL JOBS making stuff!

Let me turn over a new leaf try again with this article. I'll just press harder: CTRL-F "Imm"!. Nope, NADA! Enough of these dim-wits, back to Brenda Walker:
A Fox show noticed the same article and discussed the big picture. Economist Steve Moore asked, “How do you screw up California? Beautiful weather, beautiful mountains, the technology capital of the world, and yet I just have to say, the high taxes, the high regulation, the high housing costs are just driving middle class people out. And by the way, it’s the middle class that’s leaving, so California’s becoming a state of super rich people who live in Silicon Valley and very poor people and homeless people who live in the cities. It’s a sad situation.”

California residents leave for many reasons, like the aforementioned high taxes, crushing traffic, skyrocketing cost of housing — and also to escape demographic changes that tear at the cultural fabric.
California could have remained the closest thing to Paradise the world has seen. Doubling the population via immigration, including mostly those who aren't the same Californians that can take care of it, has caused a great demise from Paradise to a shithole in 5 decades.

I've included one of these songs already (in the "Paradise" post), but the rest are new for Peak Stupidity. These are from the old time California. If not in the 1950's which my friend said would have been the best time/place ever to have lived in this world, even the 1970's Jim Rockford California would have done.

This Joni Mitchell song, just California, is from her 1971 album Blue. Remember, Joni never did worry about the lyrics fitting into the meter of the song. Don't mind that, from a crazy Canuck transplant to the 1960's Golden State:

Going to California was said to have been written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin about the girl above, "out there, with flowers in her hair". It's from 1/2 year later than the Joni Mitchell song, in 1971 off Led Zeppelin IV (most famous for Stairway to Heaven.

San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) was written by John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas - 52 years back! - sung by a guy named Scott McKenzie. (Yes, The Mamas and Papas sang California Dreaming, but I've heard it too many times. I'll leave it out of this one.)

Estimated Prophet is by The Dead, of course, and has been featured before.

This last song, by The Eagles off their album Hotel California, was sung right at the beginning of the demise of California, and I suppose that's what it was about. Don Henley was another flaming lefty, so his lyrics make not so much sense. The basic theme, that Americans had conquered the continent, and there is no more new frontier, is a good one.

All the new trends and ideas used to seem to come out of California. Is California's demise a trend that's coming to all America? I'd guess so, but then there's no more new frontier. We have got to make it here.

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More on the Demise of California

Posted On: Saturday - November 9th 2019 4:34PM MST
In Topics: 
  Immigration Stupidity  California  Global Financial Stupidity  Economics  Media Stupidity  Environmental Stupidity

After our previous post pointing out the nice work by Ann Coulter on the "state" of California, Peak Stupidity may as well finish out the week's blogging on that same theme. Additionally, this one has a tie-in with economics, the stupidity of which this site has a big interest in.

We've discussed the new housing bubble version 2.0, along with the 1.0 version already. Due this time to not only the big Chinese money influx we've written about, but also just the huge population increase due to legal/illegal immigration along with strict environmental rules, housing costs are going though the red-clay-tiled roofs out there. The Bloomberg financial site explains How California Became America’s Housing Market Nightmare.

Great thematic map design here from Bloomberg:

(This "cost-burdened" bit is a really lame-ass term though, but, per the legend, it means the spending of > 30% of income (gotta be gross income) on housing by a household.)

Per the writers, Mr. By Noah Buhayar and Mr. Christopher Cannon:
The median price for a house now tops $600,000, more than twice the national level. The state has four of the country’s five most expensive residential markets—Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Orange County and San Diego. (Los Angeles is seventh.) The poverty rate, when adjusted for the cost of living, is the worst in the nation. California accounts for 12% of the U.S. population, but a quarter of its homeless population.
There's the facts. I really, really hate linking directly to stupidity, as it was only the thematic map and the couple of facts that I wanted. Against all wishes to not sidetrack this post, dammit, now I feel obligated now to fisk this crap from Bloomberg's finest young idiots. Bear with me, please.

If you are a Steve Sailer reader, or Steve Sailer himself ("the man's like ... a phenomena...I can't even ..."), you'll be so proud of me here. After my mentioning the huge effect of immigration on California's housing prices, not to mention other problems, I did a virtual ctrl-f (this is a table) for the text "immig" anywhere in this Bloomberg article. No joy - ZERO hits! Need I go on about the stupidity of Noah Buhayar and Chris Cannon? Sure, why not?

I assume these guys are young socialists now. They made the venerable California Proposition 13, which saved millions of established Californians from having to move or being evicted for their homes for non-payment of city/county property taxes that would have ended up higher than any mortgage payments, into one of the culprits. Besides the fact that this great, successful effort by real Californian's of the 1970's kept them from having to make hellacious payments until death, they also limited the scope of government, at least at that city/county level.

The State government of California is another story. Its profligate spending of the white middle class of California's tax money, along with the extremely financially-burdensome condoning, and nowadays outright SUPPORT, of illegal immigration*, and the environmentalist brinkmanship (about the only thing the authors do correctly mention as a culprit.) has put California in the sorry state it's in.

Conveniently, the wonderful, more-calm-than-this-guy, Californian VDare blogger, Mrs. Brenda Walker**, just got finished with Conservatives Leave California For A More Recognizable America. Please read this one. The numbers are staggering. (691,000 conservatives left in one year? I'm not sure how they got this so precisely, but still..) Mrs. Walker states that the only reason California has not reached that huge 40,000,000 in population is that the big amount of emigration from fed-up (mostly) conservatives balances out the immigration of foreigners.

This State is GOING DOWN. It's one thing to try to deal with the environmental and financial problems that exist NOW, from what Socialism and immigration has wrought. Were the state still majority white, as if it were the early 1990s still, the problems could possibly be dealt with, in a 1st-world, civil, and somewhat unified manner. There'd be some major pain involved, of course.

That state is beyond that. With the white middle class tax-mule/1st-world-competent-working-man leaving in droves, does anyone think the melting-pot-of shit-fondue that California has become is capable of anything but internal squabbling about who gets the gimmes. "Sorry, we're all out, folks. You chased out the white middle-class, so... uhhh, stand in line in the morning, and maybe some kind of delivery truck will show up..."

PS: Now that I've read over the Bloomberg article more carefully, at the cost of a 15 mm-Hg rise in systolic blood pressure, I may continue the fisking of this article in another post. The stupid - MAKE IT STOP!

* See, do a ctrl-f on "immig" here. You'll be a lot more successful!

** In our website reviews (man, the blogroll could use some updating) we mentioned this great lady on our VDare review. Her area of expertise is the human factors - environmental, cultural, and some financial - from the immigration invasion, especially concerning her home State of California.

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Good work by Peak Stupidity's 2 favorite literary pundits

Posted On: Thursday - November 7th 2019 8:18PM MST
In Topics: 
  Immigration Stupidity  California  Trump  Pundits  Globalists

They both happen to be women too, so feminists, get off our ass!

As usual, I like to read the work of Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, both good conservatives, the former more Libertarian in principle and the latter becoming Libertarian due to having kids in government schools.

Ann Coulter's column this week is about a favorite topic of Peak Stupidity, the state of California. Note the absence of a capital "S" on state there, as my meaning is the "condition" of California. California is in a bad state, and what a rapid demise from being nearly Paradise. Let's just go straight to Miss Coulter from California Dems Show Us The Future. Run For Your Lives!:
California is wholly controlled by the Democratic Party. The governor is a Democrat. The lieutenant governor is a Democrat. The attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer are Democrats. All these positions have been held by Democrats since the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger (who was a Democrat). The state Senate is just under two-thirds Democratic, while the assembly is more than two-thirds Democratic. Both U.S. senators are Democrats, as are 46 of 53 members of Congress.

And what a paradise they’ve created! For the last several years, with a direct pipeline to the fifth-largest treasury on the planet, California has been waging war on decent people in favor of drug addicts, the mentally ill, criminals, the homeless and transgenders.

In the last century, every great thing started in California: surfing, jeans, Disneyland, tax revolts, McDonald's, movies, car culture, the Grateful Dead, right on red turns, Merle Haggard, skateboarding, Apple computer and the last two elected Republican presidents not named “Bush.”

Big political movements used to begin in California. Proposition 13’s cap on property taxes led to President Ronald Reagan and a nationwide tax revolt. Proposition 209’s ban on affirmative action was followed by Supreme Court rulings restricting the government’s ability to discriminate on the basis of race. California’s anti-crime rebellion, including a massive prison expansion and the voters’ removal of liberal lunatic Rose Bird from the state’s highest court, foreshadowed an anti-crime pushback across the country.

These days, the only California-originated idea to sweep the nation is: banning plastic straws. The state is a calamity. Its optimism and vigor are gone. Instead of “The Golden State,” California is now “The Human Excrement State.”

Let’s just pray that California is no longer a window into our future.
That's about 1/2 the article. The 2nd half goes into some examples of how the single-party Democrats there rule outside of the law. Would you ever expect otherwise?

Oh, sure, back in the 1960s, well, yeah, they had their free speech movements and sit-ins, and lots of other big 1st-Amendment sanctioned gatherings and other un-civil disobedience. That was then; this is now. The ctrl-left had great respect for the US Constitution (excepting Amendment II) back when due process and the letter of the law (technicalities) kept them out of jail many a night after being arrested for inciting riots and destroying buildings. The left RUNS THE INSTITUTION now. They have absolutely no need for rule of law and that kind of crap anymore.

Rant 1 being over, lets note what PS literary pundit number 2 has to say.

Michelle Malkin's latest column, Three Cheers for Refugee Reduction! is good not mainly due to her writing but just the small piece of good news she brings. President Trump had (for now!) approved a refugee cap of 18,000 yearly into the US. The numbers have been over 100,000. Foreigners from these places bring relatives as soon as they can afterward, for brides, slave labor, you name it, so these number mean LOTS of strange people after a while into your neighborhood. Mrs. Malkin describe the lamentations of the Globalists here along with a little history of this program:
CNN International led the open borders funeral procession last week, with a report decrying, "No refugees will be resettled in the US in October, leaving hundreds in limbo around the world." U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., hyperventilated that "Donald Trump is trying to destroy the very heart of this nation. I won't let him." Social justice group CARE bemoaned this "dark moment in our nation's history." Human Rights First complained that Trump's proposal is "crippling the United States' status as a global leader in refugee resettlement."

Heaven forbid citizens in a sovereign nation have an effective say in who comes here, from where and how many. Is one refugee-less month in America such a catastrophe? Calm down, Chicken Littles. Get some perspective.

It is most certainly true that America has a legacy of embracing people from around the world fleeing persecution and war. After World War II, the U.S. helped lead efforts to assist 650,000 displaced Europeans who had fled in fear, were expelled and were victims of Nazi crimes and terror. Congress passed the 1948 Displaced Persons Act to accommodate them. Five years later, the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 aided refugees from Italy and East Germany escaping Communist regimes, adding another 250,000 refugees over four years. In the 1950s and 1960s, we welcomed Hungarians, Cubans and Czechoslovakians also escaping Communist oppression. In the 1970s, we opened our doors to an estimated 300,000 political refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The Refugee Act of 1980 created the Office of Refugee Resettlement and office of U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and raised the annual ceiling of admissions to 50,000.
The big lie being spread around by the left is that these refugees are coming specifically from places that the US has had a hand in destroying. The reader should know by now that Peak Stupidity is against both arms of the "Invade-the-world/Invite-the-world" strategy of the Globalists. Even with the unconstitutional American invasions all over the Middle East and so on, the people coming over as "refugees" are not often from related countries. How about those Africans, coming through Mexico to get here? How about the Somalians imported for the plain hell of it? Are we going back 30 years with this? The millions of Mexicans, is this about Santa Ana?

Regarding the Africans, along with others, the idea of taking in refugees is supposed to be that they end up in the NEAREST safe country. The US is not any kind of nearest country. Then, from said nearest country, when things get safer at home, they are supposed to COME BACK. There is no way these people plan on coming back, except for 6-month ISIS TDYs. There is too much free stuff here, and 1/2 of them will be on it for life, per this Michelle Malkin column. Here's more on the perpetrators of this ruination, many being the nice church ladies:
A tiny cabal of government contractors, mostly religious groups cloaking their profit-seeking in compassion and Scripture, perpetuates the refugee resettlement racket. Openly hostile to American sovereignty, these people spread their tax-subsidized syndicate's wealth to a vast network of subcontractors, often tied to billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, which promote global governance and unfettered migration espoused by the United Nations, European Union and Vatican. These special interests have systematically blurred the lines between legitimate refugees seeking asylum from oppression and economic migrants from Central America clamoring for higher wages or better welfare benefits. They're indifferent to the national security risks of absorbing large numbers of Muslims whose adherence to repressive sharia and religious jihad is utterly incompatible with our constitutional principles.
Oh, and I almost forgot. There are now "Climate Change Refugees". Now that's getting ahead of the game. Perhaps these people come from countries with better mathematical models of the Earth's climate than what we get here. I mostly mentioned this last piece of stupidity to work in Mrs. Malkin's best zinger of the column:
Doesn't America have enough residents in need of shelter and support? If we let in millions of "climate change refugees," where do Americans seek refuge when they render our climate uninhabitable?

Good work, pundit # 1 and pundit #2!

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Car Guys vs. Bean Counters - Bob Lutz - Part 3

Posted On: Thursday - November 7th 2019 1:05PM MST
In Topics: 
  Cars  Books  Big-Biz Stupidity

(continued from Part 2, and Part 1)

You know, I'd thought I'd finished the book, but I noticed a bookmark and saw that I hadn't read the last 20 pages! Luckily, that doesn't change anything for the previous parts of this review of Bob Lutz's Car Guys vs Bean Counters. After this brief history of the American auto industry, the part about the gas crises and the foreign completion, GM's forays into alliances all over the world, some discussion of the innovative Saturn division, and just a bit about the author's time at Chrysler, the book gets to his final 10 year-long stint at General Motors. He started back in on September 1, '01, after 3 decades away, as a vice-Chairman reporting to the CEO Rick Waggoner.

Much of the rest of the book is about Bob Lutz's problems with GM's management style, that of conformity, harmony, and reliance on data, rather than that of the semi-autocratic leadership he'd have liked to have been. The car guys were being stifled. As I've written, these "car guys" per the author, are not what you'd think. Bob Lutz was good at marketing (and leading, of course), and his type of marketing expertise is just pure "feelz". What do the customers really think in the showroom? Where should we put the chrome to make this car look the coolest? How should the grill look? (I doubt he understands the first bit about the heat exchanger behind it - erroneously called a "radiator" vs. a "convector".)

Bob Lutz's car guys were the ones developing the clay models of the car bodies and placing all the exterior and interior details having a little knowledge of stamped parts vs. machined ones, types of materials, etc. along with it. Even early on, the GM execs realized "these guys are just artists". It does take a feel as opposed to hard data, for which you only get from surveys that really can't be trusted, part of Mr. Lutz's problems with what he calls the "bean counters". It's not like hard data from the engineers as to "this change in ignition and injector timing will result in oil temperature 5 C lower at the reservoir", "this torsion rod is specified for anything up to 220 ft-lb", "the new changes from the 'car guys' resulted in a drag coefficent 0.025 higher", etc.

I mean, the car's got to not break regularly at under 120,000 miles, as this ain't the 1970s. The car's got to get the gas mileage the 'car guys' are advertising. The car's got to be manufacturable for a cost that let's GM make money at 100,000 units annually. I don't think the author really has a problem with that stuff, so I'll generously say that his "bean counters" are the ones on the MBA side of things at GM that he noted loved to institute meetings, metrics, and more management, resulting in a "Performance Management Process" and lots of other bureaucracy that is rightly derided in this book. Without them, letting the car guys run things, you can get this:

1970 Chevy Corvette:

There were definitely people there at GM, Ford, Chrysler, and AMC - I'm not so sure about - that knew how to create beautiful functional vehicles back in the day. The Corvette even gets damn good mileage for the 2 people and maybe one small duffel bad that can ride - it's got that low drag coefficient that I wouldn't be surprised brings its best mileage speed up toward 70 mph. There were and still are the Ford Mustangs, the Dodge Chargers, etc., and for the foreigners, that Datsun 240-280-Z(X), the 1980s-'90s Toyota Celicas. Perhaps these sports cars, not near the majority of the vehicles made by each manufacturer, just give the companies a good name. The rest of the vehicles have to to be economical and functional though and make money. You can't run the company based on a few beautiful vehicles the car guys got lucky with.

When you don't have these "designers" running things enough, you can get products like the GM Aztek. I personally care about function over form, but even I noted that as an ugly vehicle the first time I saw one. I thought better of doctoring up an image of this monstrosity for this post in fear of it bringing down MS Paint. Bob Lutz brings up this very vehicle, "the Quasimodo of crossovers"*, in the book in a section on what not to do. You might also get this:

A decade later and another 'Vette:

"When you said we were gonna go for a ride in your 'vette, this is NOT what I pictured. How dare you? Drop me off back at school, behind the bushes, where no one can see me get out!"
"But Greta, I thought you loved me?!"

Now, we get to that big contradiction. Of all the projects, good and bad, that Mr. Lutz was involved in during that recent 10-years at General Motors, the Chevy Volt was the one he sounds most proud of.** On the Volt, well, Mr. Lutz and his car guys "designed", meaning determined the body shape and the styling of the exterior and interior, of the car that was a smash hit at the Detroit auto show in '07. The Japanese executives had blown it off as just for show, and of course, it somewhat was, as the show car had 2 old-fashioned lead-acid batteries just to let it drive in! This was just a concept car, and that kind of thing was the norm at the auto shows. Toyota had decided this would be a good time to show off their newest monster SUV. Japanese treehuggers were confused.

The author devotes quite a few pages to the real development of the Chevy Volt. As it turned out, to bring the drag coefficient down to where it needed to be to get the Volt the electric-powered range desired, the body shape had to be changed drastically from that of the concept car show at the '07 auto show. Mr. Lutz goes over some of the basic engineering problems that were solved by the, well "non-car guys". After all was written about it, the Chevy Volt sure does not prove out Bob Lutz's point that the car guys should be running things.

Chevy Volt:

That was the big contradiction to the title of this book. As we review this almost another decade later, we can see that the whole "car guys" theme is almost a moot point now. The vehicles are ALL boxy little sedans, similarly looking "crossovers" or big monsters that will soon require ladders for entry. (Wait until gas goes back up - I don't pretend to know when - to get a steal on one of these, ladder included.) Young people don't even care about driving a cool vehicle, or ANY vehicle, anymore, being more urban, and with Lyft and Uber around.

As I read the last of the book, the idea that this book is mostly Bob Lutz's defense of the worth of his 47 years in the American auto industry has been solidified. He does a decent amount of tooting of his own horn, from "Oh-oooh-ga" to the modern "Beep beep".

Still, his criticisms of management by committee are well justified, in my opinion, his insight from his 5 decades of time in the industry are great, and the book is humorous and not too preachy. It's worth reading, but don't take the guy as your management guru.

* Yes, the author is quite humorous at times.

** There is a lot more background in the book, especially on GM's big amount of research into hydrogen-fuel-cell power (that I had known nothing about) and the politics involved in the "carbon-free"*** vehicle manufacturing.

*** Yes, though Mr. Lutz agrees with Peak Stupidity on the Global Climate DisruptionTM being a big political scam, he ends up using these terms. Most likely he's just tired of bucking the system, and, again, he's proud of Chevy's hybrid-electric vehicle. (Again, per the author, the press was highly biased against the American companies.)

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"Goin' Green" with 2-strokes and dualies

Posted On: Wednesday - November 6th 2019 3:33PM MST
In Topics: 
  Treehuggers  Curmudgeonry  Environmental Stupidity

I'd have attached the Peak Stupidity Roadshow (formerly "Traffic Stupidity") topic key here too, but that part wasn't too bad. It was just the usual driver that waits for 5 seconds, I suppose for his eye accommodation*, then decides, "yeah, I guess I got time" and pulls into my lane. This guy could have gone into the 2nd lane and not gotten in my way at all, but I'll give him credit for knowing I was closing in and gunning it.

That was just it, though. It was a large pick-up with labels somewhat like the truck pictured above, "Green-Pros", "Go green", or some such thing. I could hear that engine roar as the big V-8 pulled that truck with it's dualies (4 wheels on the back axle, like on a semi), temporarily making 5 mpg. I imagined it blowing out smoke too, but I won't exaggerate just for the post. OK, it was probably a hard-working landscaping guy with his 2 or 3 Mexicans. They probably had lots of equipment in the truck too. I don't have a problem with all that - good on them for the hard work.

It's the hypocrisy of this constant "green" this and "green" that everywhere that irks me. You may tell me that the "green" is in reference to the yards these guys work on. Nah, but then, why the crap like "the responsible way to a green lawn"? I know the answer though. These guys themselves aren't really hypocrites (I doubt they really keep track of the science of Climatology, for example). They just know that this sort of silliness is good for business. It won't be every customer that falls for this green crap. Maybe 1 in 5 women though, that hire these guys to run 3 high-revving** loud-ass 2-cycle engines burning gas AND oil, will FEEL BETTER that this particular company is as green as her lawn. At least the truck is bright green. This is the mindset we're dealing with: "So what that these guys charge $20 more a month than Joe's did? What's 20 dollars compared to saving the whole planet?! Joe's has a couple of older rusty brown trucks and his black & white paper flyers don't even MENTION the planet. Joe, HOW DARE YOU?!"

Oh, and if you're REALLY GREEN (raise your hand if you mean it), you'd pick up a damn rake rather than running the leaf blower and waking up the neighbors at 7 AM. I myself, no, I'm NOT that treehugger. I raked for years, and then quit one day cold turkey, and got a small electric blower. Greta, I am so, so sorrry!!

* I theorize that it's the small screens of the phones and tablets, held 8" to 16" from our eyeballs, that are causing lots of people, even the young, to not be able to focus at the distance and quickly.

** Yeah, it's not just the volume but the pitch. A medium volume-level edger to me sounds more annoying than a the big loud diesel and hydraulic pump on the cherry picker.

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Car Guys vs. Bean Counters - Bob Lutz - Part 2

Posted On: Wednesday - November 6th 2019 11:00AM MST
In Topics: 
  Cheap China-made Crap  US Feral Government  Environmental Stupidity  Books  Big-Biz Stupidity

I'll continue right where I left off yesterday.

You can't even get THIS color anymore!

The Japanese automakers had always made vehicles on the smaller side for their market, just as the Europeans did (for the most part) for 2 big reasons:

1) These places have always been more crowded than the US by far.
2) Gas is taxed so much more than it is, even now, in the US.

Due partly to the lack of contentious unions, but also due to a different mindset of the Japanese management, the quality of the Japanese autos had well-surpassed that of the American cars. We've all heard stories about "don't buy a car made on a Monday or Friday" and the purposeful sabotage of quality during union troubles. I can remember hearing that guys on the auto lines in Detroit were making $17/hour in the late 1970's and being AMAZED at that - minimum wage was $2.85 or so!

Therefore, when this gas "crisis"* hit the first time, the Japanese were just in a great position. Mr. Lutz writes lots about the bias toward foreign makers and the vilification of the US automakers for being these polluting, wasteful bastards. This was back when we worried about emissions of ACTUAL pollutants, such as the Nitrous Oxides from inefficient combustion, and the particulate matter that made 70's vehicles visible across 10 miles of California desert via their smoke clouds alone. I agree with Mr. Lutz on some of this. Eric Peters on his great Auto/Libertarian blog Eric Peters Autos**, mentioned how especially Consumer Reports used to bad-mouth American car companies and completely biased in their ratings system.

However, it was the US Government that was the big problem for the big 4 (at the time) American automakers. The authoritative C.A.F.E. standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) on fuel mileage were a Soviet-era method of trying to force gas mileage up against the wishes of consumers. Buyers could read the mileage numbers and choose for themselves. Nope, but Big Gov. forced these companies into a very expensive re-tooling, putting them at a serious disadvantage against the foreign companies.

Now, here's one weak part of Mr. Lutz's track where he went off the rails. What was his suggested solution, per Car Guys vs Bean Counters? Raise the gas tax, massively, to force people to drive less! Now, keep in mind that this guy was an auto executive for 47 years, much of this when America was a fairly free-market society. I guess his MBA from Berkeley*** did not preclude any forays into deep stupidity. Yeah, he's a car guy, but all for a huge tax on gasoline?! Really? Screw that. I'm glad nobody listened to him on that score.

The C.A.F.E. government meddling just caused the US companies to build cars that were not optimal and didn't make a lot of money, to bring their gas mileage averages up, while they made money off the big vehicles. A slightly different loophole was what started the SUV craze in roughly the end of the 1980s and through the long gas price ramp-up (Part 2) through summer '08. See, built upon truck-type frames, the SUVs (till possibly the modern crossovers) were counted as trucks, and therefore not counted in that average-mileage standard required (and upped continually) by the C.A.F.E. law. What a break, indeed! The gas had been down and steady for > 1/2 a decade already, people loved these vehicles, and the auto companies made much more profit per unit on them. Per Bob Lutz, at least, the Japanese automakers could never compete well with the American SUVs, as far as tastes go - remember he was a "car guy", meaning all about style.

After discussing other causes of the decrease in competitiveness of the US automakers vs. Japanese and European (still early on in the book) including union troubles, massive pension obligation, etc., Mr. Lutz gets to a couple of issues dear to the heart here at Peak Stupidity. On the bad press against the US companies, the author rails on the stupidity and bias of the journalists. Hey, you're preaching to the choir here, Bob. He then gets into the Global Climate Stupidity business, with digs at Al Gore and a pretty reasonable take in one direction - just the almost-negligible amount of "excess" CO2 emitted from autos - only one factor, but not bad for a non-math guy. In fact, going by the wiki article on Bob Lutz linked-to in one footnote here, Mr. Lutz is still against the Global Climate DisruptionTM religion (his term too). Let me put it this way: I don't think young Greta Thunberg is ever gonna make it as one of those models that sits on the hood of the concept car at the next Detroit auto show!

Then there is the author's hilarious take on the Saab owners, a company General Motors bought in 1989 and finally sold in 2010... it then went bankrupt. Mr. Lutz knows his marketing, and the 100,000 units sold yearly by Saab was a number that he figured couldn't be raised to bring an economy of scale just due to the eclectic group of buyers that were the only people that liked them. They really liked Saabs though, but were too small a market:
If you add up all the professors of sociology and political science, all the leftish intellectuals who admired the failed Swedish experiment in 90 percent tax rates and womb-to-tomb welfare, all the well-to-do who for some reason eschewed Mercedes, BMG, and Audi, you still couldn't get 150,000 sales.
Haha! After this, I forgave Bob Lutz for that "raise the gas tax" crap.

Well, I can't get into this many details and finish this thing anytime soon, so Peak Stupidity will finish this review tomorrow, with a real wrap of of the gist of Bob Lutz's them of "Car guys" vs "Bean Counters". Spoiler alert - there's a big contradiction by the end of the book.

* It was just a political thing more than the "crisis" it seemed, as in "OMG! We are running out of oil!" Granted, with the gas station lines and odd/even day purchasing, it did seem like a crisis at the time.

** I haven't read it regularly in 3 years or more, but I should get back to it. It was good reading, and he had decent commenters when I used to keep up with it.

*** This should have been in the first post, but wiki has this biography of Bob Lutz.

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Same as it EVER was!

Posted On: Tuesday - November 5th 2019 7:02PM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  Humor  Trump

I've kinda lost track of the direction I planned on going in for posts this week, sometime over the weekend. I'll get back on it, but I just ran across this great video. This was made a year ago. Man, that's what I get for not being on Facebook, I guess! Hat tip to Dtbb.

I am very impressed by the amount of work involved, simply because one would have to have a great memory to keep the phrases needed for the song in one's head while going through a whole bunch of Trump speeches. I'm not sure if there is any political agenda with this one - it'd be great if it was made just for the pure fun of it.

As a reference for those born well after the era in which MTV did not suck, the video had Donald Trump's words made into the lyrics of Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads, headed by big-suit wearing semi-weirdo David Byrne. The song is from that band's album Remain in Light from just under 40 years ago! I believe it was the first music video I ever saw, on a Black&White TV sometime in the summer of '81.

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Car Guys vs. Bean Counters - Bob Lutz - Part 1

Posted On: Tuesday - November 5th 2019 8:28AM MST
In Topics: 
  Cars  Books  Big-Biz Stupidity

I just read this 2011 book written by Bob Lutz, a 47-year career executive in the American auto industry (GM, Ford, Chrysler, and also BMW). As Peak Stupidity noted in "Master Bullshit Artists", the guy's long career as a muckety-muck alone doesn't convince me that he knows a whole lot about cars. He was not a guy that came up from the assembly line or engineering, as is more the case in Japan. (There's discussion of the Japanese auto industry in the book.)

Just in review mode here for a bit, Car Guys vs. Bean Counters is a fairly short (230 small pages) book that is very readable. One doesn't need to know too much background on the US auto industry, as Mr. Lutz gives a nice summary of the history of it going back a century or so (lots that I've always wanted to know there, too). I learned a bit about the management and different "parts" of these big car companies, and a lot about the struggles from the 1970s onward. However, to me, the very theme of the book was not really proven, and the author has a big contradiction about it near the end.

Bob Lutz had written one of those "How to succeed..." type books before, Guts: 8 Laws of Business from One of the Most Innovative Business Leaders of Our Time, 8 years earlier than this book. I believe he wrote this one just to defend his whole career. It's not that he admits no mistakes, but he's always the good guy, no matter what the results were of the product decisions.

My big problem, starting with the very title of the book is Mr. Lutz' definition of who these "car guys" are and who the "bean counters" are. Of course, by "car guys" he refers to people in the industry who love cars, but that's kind of broad. In this book, these are the people that like the cars for STYLE. Yeah, they may like the sound of the big V-8s and understand something about horsepower and torque, but Mr. Lutz doesn't refer to the engineers that UNDERSTAND cars. The guys on this side are what the industry calls "designers", but that term is not a good one.

In aerospace, the designers would be technicians that work on the CAD system to virtually place all the parts that the engineers have specified. One might think it would be the engineers themselves, who decide how the engine will sit, the configuration of the suspension, and everything. In Mr. Lutz's and the auto industry's terminology, these are the people that determine what the body of the car will LOOK LIKE - it's pure aesthetics. They are the ones that put the tail fins on those late 1950s cars, place chrome here and there, and determine the placing of the Mustang horse emblems. Is that all there is to being a "car guy"? That's the way this book reads.

Now, on the other side, Mr. Lutz thinks of the marketing people and some of the engineers that must make these cars pencil-out economically, with reasonable manufacturing costs (commonality of parts, reduction of complicated stamped parts, etc.) as the "bean counters". There are always people putting a damper on grandiose plans - sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are wrong. Mr. Lutz leans on the side of making the cool cars that stir up the buyers based on emotion, and let sales due to emotions get to where the models ARE worth making.

All this conflict within General Motors (Bob Lutz's management there being the main part of the story) was not an existential threat to the company and the industry until... the 1st oil "crisis" of 1973. Things became much more serious when the Japanese automakers made big inroads with their smaller vehicles, and the politics of this for the next 40 years is the subject of the rest of the book and the 2nd part of this review - tomorrow, I guess.

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