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Big 3 hit hard at the House today


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Am listening to CSPAN today. A rep from NY asked "raise your hand if you flew here commercially" of course nobody did..."raise your hand if your going to sell your personal jet and fly home commercially", of course no hands raised. I know that would be kinda hard to do but it's the point. He continued on with "you flew in with a private jet then walk off it with a tin can".

Another rep asked Wagoner if he was willing to work for $1 for '09. He said he had no thoughts on that at this time. Mullaley was asked the same thing and basically said the same thing. They just dug their graves. I'm sorry, but being in this type of mess I would've already planned on working for $1 for '09 if I was in that spot.

I think it's going to take Chapt. 11 for GM to really get on the right track. GM !!!NEEDS!!! a car got in the top seat. GM's engineering/design dept's are fabulous and are being held back by exec's and bean counters. The beaurocracy has to go! And the bailout/loan will not fix that.

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Am listening to CSPAN today. A rep from NY asked "raise your hand if you flew here commercially" of course nobody did..."raise your hand if your going to sell your personal jet and fly home commercially", of course no hands raised. I know that would be kinda hard to do but it's the point. He continued on with "you flew in with a private jet then walk off it with a tin can".

Another rep asked Wagoner if he was willing to work for $1 for '09. He said he had no thoughts on that at this time. Mullaley was asked the same thing and basically said the same thing. They just dug their graves. I'm sorry, but being in this type of mess I would've already planned on working for $1 for '09 if I was in that spot.

I think it's going to take Chapt. 11 for GM to really get on the right track. GM !!!NEEDS!!! a car got in the top seat. GM's engineering/design dept's are fabulous and are being held back by exec's and bean counters. The beaurocracy has to go! And the bailout/loan will not fix that.

not defending them or anything but how does this cat from NY travel? if NY's economy was in the toliet what would he sacrifice for his state? its easy to point fingers when one isnt in the hotseat themselves. at least they arent throwing weekend getaways like the sorry SOB's at AIG.

for the record our governor drives a crown vic and when our governor's mansion was being renovated instead of living in a posh hotel for the time being he elected to stay in the 900 sq ft pool house.

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sadly there is a link on the front page of yahoo.com touting "big 3 CEO's continue to live in lavish as companies flounder"

:nono:

The video shows Mullaley getting off the private jet and getting into a Lexus.

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the board of directors and the management needs to be renewed, and replaced. wagooner has cut the fat on the company, but there still remains some expenses that could be removed, that he wont do.

wagooner has removed so many subsiderarys of GM... and i dont think that is good... companies like delphi should still be with gm... but whatever. if thats how a company makes its money by selling the accumulation of wealth then i cannot see this company being dominate any longer.

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not defending them or anything but how does this cat from NY travel? if NY's economy was in the toliet what would he sacrifice for his state? its easy to point fingers when one isnt in the hotseat themselves. at least they arent throwing weekend getaways like the sorry SOB's at AIG.

for the record our governor drives a crown vic and when our governor's mansion was being renovated instead of living in a posh hotel for the time being he elected to stay in the 900 sq ft pool house.

Your exactly right, but is extremely bad PR. Even thought they have the jets, considering who they are dealing with (gov't and media) they should've came to DC knowing they had to ride in a commercial flight and take an extremly minimal salary for '09. Right or wrong, it's just the picture it paints. This move alone could effect their sales.

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Is that what we want - more optics or more substance?

I don't give a rats ass if GM or Ford have a private jet on standby. Considering both companies have global operations, I certainly feel better if Wagoner and Mullaly can (and do!) visit their plants, offices, etc. to see first hand what is going on, rather than getting an edited report from a flunky. Considering the delays and BS at most major airports these days (and the cost of a ticket when you book it the day before), I don't think it is unreasonable to have them (and their attendant staff) fly together so they can conduct business (or sleep) while in-flight.

It's the same kind of $h! we see in politics: the media focuses on the salaries of the politicians and their office perks, but the real waste in politics is with the 'committees' and the 'commissions.' Toronto, for example, is currently spending $11 million taxpayer's dollars to 'study' tearing down a 1.5 mile chunk of our only downtown expressway. I once asked a prominant lawyer at Exxon how it is possible for politicians to spend that kind of money 'studying' something. His reply: in the public sector there is no limit to the number of silly questions or scenarios that can be posed.

Mullaly's handlers should have made sure a Ford was waiting to pick them up at the airport, though. That is stupid.

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What a sad sight to see, the leader of GM sitting there begging these clowns for money. All the news clips I saw of this made me sick to my stomach. The three of them looked like students being scolded in front of the principal. The next time they go to Washington they should play it safe and car pool.

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Wagoner looked weak in front of the House committee and the Senate committee. Nardelli looked at least like he was willing to work for $1 or do whatever it takes. Ford isn't in as bad a shape, so Mullally seemed not as desperate and like he had a plan, but none of them were convincing. Wagoner was especially bad, not being able to answer when they would run out of money or how big of a loan they need. They aren't going to get a loan if they look incompetent and that is how they looked.

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Nardelli looked at least like he was willing to work for $1 or do whatever it takes

prolly cause he does already... that was in his contract not to make any money until Chrysler was out of the red. which after his 250 million check from home depot he donesnt need anything for the rest of his life if you ask me.

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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Says Saving Auto Industry Must Be a Priority

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) releases the following statement on the auto industry:

“Collapse of the auto industry will produce an extensive and prolonged impact on America. Millions would lose their jobs and the long term effects on our economy would be devastating. The federal government must step in to assist the car makers with a well crafted and thoughtful plan to bring solvency to the industry. The plan must include fuel efficiency standards that propel the Big 3 to be major contenders in the global market. If government funds are used to help the auto makers, then taxpayers should be the ultimate beneficiaries with better designed and more fuel efficient vehicles.”

Don't these people ever learn—if they want fuel efficient vehicles they need to raise fuel taxes, a lot. On global markets GM and Ford already build and sell vehicles as least as fuel-efficient as anyone else. To be global contenders they need money, not higher hurdles.

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Wagoner looked weak in front of the House committee and the Senate committee. Nardelli looked at least like he was willing to work for $1 or do whatever it takes. Ford isn't in as bad a shape, so Mullally seemed not as desperate and like he had a plan, but none of them were convincing. Wagoner was especially bad, not being able to answer when they would run out of money or how big of a loan they need. They aren't going to get a loan if they look incompetent and that is how they looked.

He can't answer that question. It all depends on sales, whether the banks start lending etc.. The whole point is that it is not something under their control. If fuel prices drop they can sell more trucks, but can't sell cars, if fuel prices rise, they can sell more cars (perhaps twice as many of some models), but not as many trucks. They certainly could have done better, but this was a setup meant to make these senators look tough at the expense of the Big3 and give them an excuse for letting the economy collapse, not a hearing. The real work was going on elsewhere in Washington behind their backs (perhaps that was the point of the CEOs going to Washington—to keep the opposition like Shelby distracted while a deal was made).

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Update from AN:

WASHINGTON -- Democratic leaders of Congress today blocked action on legislation that would provide $25 billion in emergency federal loans to the Detroit 3.

Instead, the leaders directed General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC to submit plans showing how they would use the aid. They scheduled hearings on the plans for the week of Dec. 2, and said Congress would return Dec. 8 to consider aid measures.

The announcement upstaged moves by a bipartisan group of senators to get action this week on a compromise that would redirect $25 billion in funds already approved to help automakers build more fuel-efficient vehicles. Instead, they would let the Detroit 3 use the money to bridge their cash crises, but with extensive conditions.

Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Michigan Democrats, scheduled an afternoon news conference with Republicans from automaking states to discuss the compromise.

But before they arrived at a Capitol studio, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and seven other Democratic leaders entered the room and announced their decision to demand viability plans from the Detroit 3 and hold more hearings.

"It's their agreement," Reid said of the compromise's supporters.

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Again, from AN:

John Wolkonwicz, analyst for IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., said Waxman's ascent was "the worst news of the week for the domestic auto industry. That's going to increase of the cost of autos for all Americans. Waxman is a Beverly Hills guy. He's going to give us the Beverly Hills version of a green agenda."

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Again, from AN:

John Wolkonwicz, analyst for IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., said Waxman's ascent was "the worst news of the week for the domestic auto industry. That's going to increase of the cost of autos for all Americans. Waxman is a Beverly Hills guy. He's going to give us the Beverly Hills version of a green agenda."

This is the guy...what a mug

0_61_waxman_henry.jpg

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Good synopsis of the days activities.

Why Democrats gave Big Three a reprieve Detroit executives blundered into PR fiasco but got another chance

By Tom CurryNational affairs writer updated 1:49 p.m. PT, Thurs., Nov. 20, 2008WASHINGTON - One thing professional politicians are expert at judging is public relations.

The bipartisan consensus here at the Capitol Thursday was that the Big Three auto executives had failed spectacularly in their testimony this week to House and Senate committees. And by flying to Washington on private, corporate jets they created a monumental public relations fiasco.

In the wake of this disaster, it would have been political poison for the Democratic-controlled Congress to hand them a $25 billion subsidy to stay afloat.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid knew he did not have the 60 votes needed to overcome a likely filibuster against the bailout.

He also knew that any "bailout" is likely to be unpopular right now. The $700 billion bailout, or rescue plan, for financial firms has become even more unpopular than it was when Congress passed it last month.

There are some members of Congress, such as Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. who won their elections Nov. 4 partly because they voted against the Wall Street bailout. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R Ga., was forced into a runoff election partly because his vote for the bailout gave his Democratic opponent, Jim Martin, a stick with which to beat him.

Risk of rejection

Reid did not want to put the proposed $25 billion loan to a vote and have his colleagues reject it because that would have further spooked the stock markets. As it was, the stock market tumbled Thursday after congressional leaders announced the bailout vote had been delayed.

"We don't need to go through a bunch of votes here that fail," Reid told reporters. "The stock markets, the credit markets are having a lot of difficulties. What kind of message do we send to the American people by having a bunch of failed votes here? We do not have the votes."

Alluding to the PR fiasco, Reid summed up the obvious: "What happened here in Washington this week has not been good for the auto industry."

Executives flying to the Capitol on corporate jets to seek a loan "doesn't send a good message," he said.

What the Big Three leaders utterly failed to do this week, said Senate Banking Committee chairman Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., was to give "any willing admission of their own culpability in the situation they're in."

But while Democratic leaders wanted to be tough on the CEOs, that inevitably entailed hurting workers as well.

The Democrats didn't want to appear as if they were shrugging their shoulders in indifference about the jobs at stake in Michigan and other states. "We are here to help," said Reid. "We are not against the auto industry. We want to help those people keep those jobs."

So Reid reverted to the practical rule in politics: "When in doubt, delay."

How to define 'viability'

Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted in a joint press conference that executives of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler must present a business plan after Thanksgiving.

On Dec. 2, Democratic leaders will begin hearings to judge those plans. The buzzword that Reid and Pelosi kept using as they faced a horde of reporters Thursday was "viability."

Reid said it would be up to Dodd and House Financial Services Committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., to judge what "viability" was and whether the automakers had it.

When a reporter asked Dodd if he and Frank had a common understanding of how "viability" could be determined, Dodd joked, patting his heart, "It's all right here."

Dodd said the plans that will be submitted by the Big Three would be analogous to a firm approaching a venture capitalist and presenting a business plan. The taxpayers are the venture capitalists, Dodd said. "They are coming to us to submit a plan on what they're going to do if we decide to invest," he told reporters.

But how to define "viability"?

Dodd replied, "Well, I don't know; that's a great question. Obviously those are the important issues and we'll have to sort that out ourselves."

Asked whether GM for example, would have to tell Congress what product lines it would phase out and what new models it would unveil over the next few years, Dodd replied, "Certainly we want to hear about retooling and reorganization. There will be some detail to this. We are going to want to get as much of a sense (as possible) of where this industry is heading."

But the decision by Democratic leaders to insist on the auto industry executives proving viability raises this question: if most members of Congress found the Detroit executives so unskillful in their presentations this week, are these really the men whom Congress trusts to chart the future of their firms?

If they cannot manage PR, can they manage retooling, market strategy and all the other challenges of competing with Honda, Toyota and Hyundai?

Those questions will be waiting when Dodd and Frank return to the Capitol after Thanksgiving.

© 2008 msnbc.comURL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27827392/

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>>"Reid said it would be up to Dodd and House Financial Services Committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., to judge what "viability" was and whether the automakers had it."<<

Hopeless. Frank can't even see the end of his nose, no way in hell is he going to grasp an understanding of the automobile industry from a presentation.

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New Study Finds Americans, Including Elected Officials, Earn a Failing Grade When Tested on American History and Economics

Third Intercollegiate Studies Institute Report on Civic Literacy Suggests There is an Epidemic of Historical, Political and Economic Ignorance in America; Colleges Must be Main Part of Cure

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Are most people, including college graduates, civically illiterate? Do elected officials know even less than most citizens about civic topics such as history, government, and economics? The answer is yes on both counts according to a new study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). More than 2,500 randomly selected Americans took ISI's basic 33-question test on civic literacy and more than 1,700 people failed, with the average score 49 percent, or an "F." Elected officials scored even lower than the general public with an average score of 44 percent and only 0.8 percent (or 21) of all surveyed earned an "A." Even more startling is the fact that over twice as many people know Paula Abdul was a judge on American Idol than know that the phrase "government of the people, by the people, for the people" comes from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Complete results from ISI's third study on American civic literacy are being released today in a report entitled Our Fading Heritage: Americans Fail a Basic Test on Their History and Institutions. The new study follows up two previous reports from ISI's National Civic Literacy Board that revealed a major void in civic knowledge among the nation's college students. This report goes beyond the college crowd however, examining the civic literacy of everyday citizens, including self-identified elected officials. But according to ISI, the blame and solution again lie at the doorstep of the nation's colleges.

"There is an epidemic of economic, political, and historical ignorance in our country," says Josiah Bunting, III, Chairman of ISI's National Civic Literacy Board. "It is disturbing enough that the general public failed ISI's civic literacy test, but when you consider the even more dismal scores of elected officials, you have to be concerned. How can political leaders make informed decisions if they don't understand the American experience? Colleges can, and should, play an important role in curing this national epidemic of ignorance."

A large majority of respondents agree colleges should prepare citizen leaders by teaching America's history, key texts and institutions. Seventy-two percent of respondents with a high school diploma believe colleges should teach our heritage as do 74 percent with graduate degrees. However, the impact of college in advancing civic knowledge, as evidenced in ISI's first two studies, is minimal. In the new study, this trend is confirmed. The average score among those who ended their formal education with a bachelor's degree is 57 percent or an "F", which is only 13 percentage points higher than the average score of 44 percent earned by those who hold high school diplomas. And when you hold other non-college influences constant, the gain from a college degree drops to about 6 percent, quite consistent with past ISI findings.

Further demonstrating the minimal influence of college in advancing civic literacy, ISI discovered that the civic knowledge gained from the combination of engaging in frequent conversations about public affairs, reading about current events and history and participating in advanced civic activities is greater than the gain from an expensive bachelor's degree alone. Conversely, talking on the phone, watching owned or rented movies and monitoring TV news broadcasts and documentaries diminish a respondent's civic literacy.

"People may be listening to television experts talk about economic bailouts and the platforms of political candidates, but they apparently have little idea what our basic economic and political institutions are," observes Dr. Richard Brake, ISI's Director of University Stewardship. "Our study raises significant questions about whether citizens who voted in this year's landmark presidential election really understand how our system of representative democracy works."

For example, Brake points out that less than half of all Americans can name all three branches of government. And only 21 percent know the phrase "government of the people, by the people, for the people" comes from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which President-elect Barack Obama cited in his acceptance speech on Election night.

Following is a sampling of other results from several basic survey questions:

* 30 percent of elected officials do not know that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are the inalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence; and 20 percent falsely believe that the Electoral College "was established to supervise the first presidential debates"

* Almost 40 percent of all respondents falsely believe the president has the power to declare war

* 40 percent of those with a bachelor's degree do not know business profit equals revenue minus expenses

* Only 54 percent with a bachelor's degree correctly define free enterprise as a system in which individuals create, exchange and control goods and resources

* 20.7 percent of Americans falsely believe that the Federal Reserve can increase or decrease government spending

"The nation's ignorance of the kind of knowledge necessary for informed and responsible citizenship --- and the failure of our nation's colleges to effectively address and fix this problem --- would certainly be unacceptable to our founding fathers, who believed that the university would create leaders to preserve liberty," asserts Dr. Brake. "Our report demonstrates that Americans today expect no less from our colleges than our founders did."

The report calls upon elected officials, administrators, trustees, faculty donors, taxpayers and parents to reevaluate collegiate curricula and standards for accountability. Some of the questions ISI believes need to be asked are the following:

* Do colleges require courses in American history, politics, economics and other core areas?

* Do colleges assess the civic or overall learning of their graduates?

* Do elected officials link college appropriations to real measures of civic or overall learning?

"Citizenship is a life-long commitment," says Bunting. "Colleges need to do their part to help young citizens keep their commitment. In the process, they will be helping to preserve the civic vitality of our nation."

The ISI test was administered in conjunction with Dr. Kenneth Dautrich of the University of Connecticut and Braun Research, Inc. All 33 questions and ISI's Our Fading Heritage report are available at www.americancivicliteracy.org.

About the Intercollegiate Studies Institute

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) (www.isi.org) was founded in 1953 to further in successive generations of American college youth a better understanding of the economic, political, and ethical values that sustain a free and humane society. With ISI's volunteer representatives at over 900 colleges, and with more than 65,000 ISI student and faculty members on virtually every campus in the country, ISI directs tens of thousands of young people each year to a wide array of educational programs that deepen their understanding of the American ideal of ordered liberty.

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