Monday, December 22, 2008


Just a short note. When bashers of the American auto companies bash GM, Ford, and Chrysler, they often point to Toyota as the kind of company the Americans should be emulating. That argument has just gotten a little weaker. Toyota is not only on the verge of reporting an operating loss, the company is also saying:
"The tough times are hitting us far faster, wider and deeper than expected," he told reporters at Toyota's Nagoya office. "This is an unprecedented crisis requiring urgent action."

Watanabe vowed Toyota would grow so lean it would realize profitability even if its worldwide sales slid to as low as 7 million vehicles — what he called the basic "bottom line" for Toyota.

"We must change to become more slim, muscular and flexible," he said.

So, it turns out that even companies selling Priui (?) and Camrys are not assured of actually making money in 2008-2009. Does this mean that GM and Chrysler cannot possibly draft a plan that makes them "sustainable?" We'll see.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


A friend sent me this video of Hitler previewing baseball's winter meetings. I understand that youtube has Hitler on the Reds, Cowboys, and who knows what else. However, the Kerry Wood bit at the end of this one is brilliant.

By the way, there *is* adult language, as you would expect when discussing Sammy Sosa, Cliff Floyd, Jacque Jones, and Fukudome in right field for the Cubs.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


It seems that this is still a national story. What do you know about that? Now that he's been arrested and a criminal complaint has been filed against him, G-Rod's approval rating in Illinois stands at 8%. Who are these 8%? I mean, I assume his wife and kids, plus a Deputy Governor or two, but seriously, who approves of Blago's performance?

For those of you all Facebooky with me, you know that I wondered yesterday whether Winston & Strawn would defend Blago gratis, as they did prisoner George Ryan (a.k.a. Blago's immediate predecessor both as governor, and apparently corrupt hack). The answer to that seems to be a resounding NO, since it was reported today that Blago no longer uses Winston and, in fact, owes them $500,000 for past work. After supposedly eating $20 million defending the last governor, it seems as if Winston should think about whether its Corrupt Politician practice group is really working out.

So, for the time being it appears that the deal to provide Federal loans to GM and Chrysler is dead. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says "A lot of struggling Americans are asking where their bailout is. They wonder why one business would get support over another. When it comes to the auto industry, many Republicans in Congress have asked these same questions."

Exactly. When it comes to the union-heavy auto industry, many Republicans in Congress don't see the point. When it comes to Wall Street, and the heavy Republican donors who work there, Republicans saw the point very, very clearly. Save the banks, and not a PENNY for the middle class!

This issue has been discussed here in the past. Reasonable people can disagree as to the best solution. However, I expect the Congressional Republicans to have serious proposals to deal with the fall out if GM and Chrysler fail and take manufacturing in the Great Lakes basin down with it. If the plan is to just let the market deal with it, they are looking at spending decades in the political wilderness, hoping and praying for a Dwight Eisenhower to bring them back.

Apparently Kerry Wood is about to sign a $20 million, 2 year contract with the Cleveland Indians. This is as good as it could have gotten with Woody. He's getting paid, he is in the American League, and if we are lucky he will spend two years tormenting the White Sox.

Win, win, win.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I could write for hours about the humor of the Blago indictment. Instead, there are five or six new, post-New York pictures on the fotoblog.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Apparently the governor of Illinois was taken into custody today by the Feds. That would be two consecutive Illinois governors taken into Federal custody. George Ryan was convicted and is in Federal prison. Blago (the current governor) has not yet been convicted of anything.

The criminal complaint is here. It seems as if the main allegations have to do with Blago bullying the Tribune, and bullying the state into offering to buy Wrigley Field. That is interesting. Especially since the Tribune broke the story of the arrest.

Also, the last substantive paragraph has some real doozies:

116. In addition, in the course of the conversations over the last month, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has spent significant time weighing the option of appointing himself to the open Senate seat, and has expressed a variety of reasons for doing so, including frustration at being “stuck” as governor, a belief that he will be able to obtain greater resources if he is indicted as a sitting Senator as opposed to a sitting governor, and a desire to remake his image in consideration of a possible run for President in 2016, avoid impeachment by the Illinois legislature, make corporate contacts that would be of value to him after leaving public office, facilitate his wife’s employment as a lobbyist, and assist in generating speaking fees should he decide to leave public office.
Wait, wait, wait. Blago is contemplating SIMULTANEOUSLY whether it is better to be an indicted governor or Senator, while also positioning himself to run for President in 2016? Holy shit!

UPDATE: Apparently Blago was unabashedly trying to auction off Obama's Senate seat. At one point he is alleged to have said that a Senate seat is a "fucking valuable thing" and that it ought not be given away for "nothing." Of course, it looks like Blago's chief of staff HAD to be arrested so that the Feds could build a conspiracy case. Obviously Blago could not have conspired alone. Check out a reasonable explanation of conspiracy law here.

I rarely write about U. There are plenty of mommy blogs for that, and if you know us, you know that we have a page about the child. However, in writing about last weekend I will make an exception.

So, first of all, I made most of the food for a few friends to come over on Saturday. I made, among other things, Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guiness cake. The whole thing is basically mixed in a saucepan. It was a big hit, and I would totally make it again.

With regard to boy, can anyone explain this to me? When he acts like a daredevil on the bed, on a futon, on wall-to-wall carpet, or otherwise well-protected places he doesn't ever seem to fall. When he acts daredevils in a chair on a hardwood floor he falls before we can get two steps toward him. Why is that? I'd like to know, because I feel like my life is being shortened every time this happens.