Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Thinking Outside The Box

The proposals for rebuilding the city of Madi Gras were coming hard, fast and furious before Rita put them on hold. This time the machine was oiled, prep and ready. The media did its job admirably. The actors were well prepared; they played their parts well and when Rita finally made ladfall, its winds were classified as CAT-2; certainly much less catastrophic than hyped all week long.

In short: we were so promised such wantom destruction that when she finally petered out, we missed the biggest story of the past two hurricanes. Praises sung to our good fortunes, including the sparing of oil rigs and the efficiency of our military in handling the impacted area shielded our eyes to the obvious BUT it was there for all to see.

New Orleans was the test case and our masters performed quite admirably; they did even better in Texas, which was the unexpected second chance. Twice in one month and yet no one noticed because non spoke out BUT, as sure as night is different from day, it happened in these united states of america.

I am referring to complete relocation of a particular segment of our society. True, the circumstances were deemed urgent, disaters have a habit of doing that but nethertheless, the government dispersed tens of thousands of people within these lands and the saddest thing about it was there wasn't any outcry from the self appointed watchdogs. In fact, the press lauded the effort, calling it humanitarian.


In the east, a city kicked a bunch of people off their land before handing it to another group of individuals. They call that economic.

In the south, a city has just been relocated and they called it humanitarian.

What would we call it, if both of these factors ever be combined? Humanitarian Economis?

Anyone up for college 101...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Here's A Novel Idea For Rebuilding New Orleans

It has been on the news so many times that I am coming down with the case of news fatigue. I mean New Orleans, the Big Easy: the city that sits below lake level. The president has been winning friends and influencing people with an open check book the size of the congress of the united states. They are spending money, hand over fists in order to prove whi is more compassionate than the other.

The mayor of New Oleans has had his say also. He is talking big about letting people back into a still-flooded city while keeping one eye on the approaching cat-5 Rita. At present, the mayor is in a quandry. He wants the people to return but at the same time, he wants them to stay away.

Tough choices!

The govenor is probably the smartest of the trio. She has stayed off the idiot box more than the other two, and as such, out of sight: out of mind rules...

But even as they talk about rebuilding the Big-E with such wonderful things as dual-layer levees, stronger and higher concrete walls including the importation of Dutch technology: Holland is below sea level, here is a simple idea...

Why don't they try raising the city?

We could ship tons of rock from all over this country to New Oleans and raise the city: block by block, street by street, until the whole city is above sea level.

It certainly beats the other ideas that are currently being proposed: at least, the city won't be flooded again...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Different Problem, Same Analysis

David Welch wrote this piece for Business Week, in which he argued that Detroit must, somehow rekindled the spirit of love with the American car buyer and while I agreed with the tenure of man, love and automobiles, I think that Mr. Welch has approached the issue of Detroit and dwindling car sales from the wrong end of the stick.

First of all, there IS NOT any lost love affair between man and his car. GM recently proved that with their employee discount sales program. I suspect this may have sold better in other parts of the country than here in Detroit because almost everyone in this place already uses the program. Most people that I know, have two or three family connections within the three car companies and it's only a matter of picking which offer to use when they're buying a new car.

Point: People in America love their cars but THEY ARE NOT IN LOVE WITH THEM!!!

No ANDS, IFS or BUTS: They do...

However, to understand what I am about to say, I must look at an different industry: the personal PC and see what is going on within that business. For a miramid of reasons, the personal PC is known as a "throw-away" item.

This point is made more obvious whenever MicroSOFT releases a new operating system: Vista is no different. Consumers are being told they will have to upgrade the hardware to take advantage of the added features. Dell, HP and the software manufacturers are pushing the same line: Upgrade!

This is just another marketing hype to sell a new PC. Round and round it goes.
Where it stops, no one knows.

Similarily, people love their cars BUT there being seen, more and more, as a "throw-away" item: Drive new for a few years. Trade it in. Drive another. That two year lease agreement has helped this concept along nicely.

Additionally, in their drive to create the perfect closed-loop system, the automobile manufacturer has cut out the one person that should matter most to them: the consumer.

The consumer cannot do anything with his car except take it to a dealer when it breaks. He doesn't have the expensive diagnostic tools to help with the slightest suggestion of what is wrong: so to him, the car has become a "throw-away" item.

The car is no longer useful if it is not working BECAUSE he cannot fix it: he CAN ONLY PAY to have it fix and therefore, like the man contemplating a software upgrade, the car lover's choice has come down to always getting a new one.

When a man cannot put love into something, he soon discards it. We see this play out every Christmas when we give toys to our children.

How long do they play with them?

Yes. People do love their cars BUT only in this sense that they have become tools: shuttle kids around, commute to work or even take a vacation. However, people do not spend weekends fixing their cars in their garages anymore, except the car is an antique and there are very few of thoses.

Yes, sir: Americans still have a love for their cars. We see it all the time. 18 million times annually, in fact. Unfortunately for the bunch, Toyota is the Dell of the automobile.