Obamacare

Reason Morning Links: The Surgeon General, General Motors, and Motorcycle Stores

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• Sayonara, Sanjay Gupta.

• Sayonara, General Motors.

• Unemployment reaches 8.1 percent.

• New financial resuscitation plan: a trillion-dollar "public-private partnership" with hedge funds and private-equity firms.

• One-eyed director plans to make a statement about surveillance by installing a camera in his prosthetic eye. Coming soon: a documentary about blinking.

• A law aimed at protecting children from lead is now hurting motorcycle shops.

• A West Virginia lawmaker calls for a ban on Barbie.

• A sneak preview of Watchmen.

NEXT: Recently at Reason.tv: Obama, You're no stranger to the bong

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  1. So Gupta got torpedoed because he’s made some comments where he’s skeptical of government-run health care. Super. Maybe they can bring Daschle back for SG instead. The taxes thing is so over–I mean, everyone Obama nominates didn’t pay taxes, so what’s the big deal?

  2. That little Watchmen short caused a noc98c75169*(^%uhG67[SYNTAX ERROR]

    …in my brain.

  3. DOOM
    DOOOM
    !!!!!DOOOOM!!!!!

  4. It’s possible that Dr. Gupta didn’t want to give up the dual income he’s earning as a high-powered physician and as a prominent TV personality. I would guess that the salary at each of these jobs is huge – combine the two and he may as well have free access to Fort Knox.

    Thus, there is a fully plausible personal reason for him not to take the job. But the “scandal” of his skepticism about socialized medicine may have been a factor as well.

    If that’s the case, then we can compare and contrast.

    You are *not* disqualified for Obama’s cabinet for violating the tax law (Treasury Secretary), or being a Catholic-for-Choice of the late-term variety (Sebellius), but you *do* have a strike against you if you aren’t a cheerleader for the further socializtion of the U.S. health-care system.

  5. GM is toast

    After today’s annual report, I don’t think there’s any question of GM’s staying out of bankruptcy.

    After the Obama and Bush administrations has dumped billions into a failed corporation (I read Detroit paperrs and I can’t keep up with it all, ~15 gigabucks for GM so far?) will we cut our losses or continue to flush cash down the drain.

    If GM dies, Ford is saved. Probably in the black and paying overtime next year.

  6. Here’s to GM going down and taking the UAW with them!

    Huzzah!

  7. Unemployment reaches 8.1 percent.
    11.6% in Michigan. We haven’t reached bottom yet.

  8. Who will make the Caddy and the ‘vette?
    I don’t really care about the other GM marques.

  9. West Virginia lawmaker calls for a ban on Barbie.

    I could support that. At least until Mattel includes genitals and nipples.

  10. ‘public-private partnership” should really read “the governing-high influence rich folk partnership”

  11. That Saturday morning Watchmen bit is really making the rounds– and rightfully sort. Very, very clever.

  12. Crap. I meant to say “rightfully so”.

  13. Job losses were widespread across industries. Only education and health services reported job gains.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

  14. I find it interesting that the two most significant areas of our economy – housing and health care – are the subject of what is usually called a government industrial policy.

  15. (Hey Chris!)

    I loved the Watchmen article. Though I agree that one potential problem is too much compacted into 2 hrs. and 43 min. Watchmen, originally was a 12 issue limited series monthly comic. So it took a whole YEAR to tell the story.

    In any event, I’m going to see the 1:00pm showing (I have Fri off). So I’ll know soon enough.

  16. Who will make the Caddy and the ‘vette?
    I don’t really care about the other GM marques.

    As long as there are Lincolns, who really gives a rats ass about Cadillac?

    When GM is boken up to partially repay creditors, Corvette wil have bidders. The nameplate for certain, probably the production and engineering assets as well.

    Nobody sane will bid on the Pontiac or Buick lines.

  17. Nobody sane will bid on the Pontiac or Buick lines.

    Apparently, Buick is very popular in China.

  18. J sub D,

    As far as I can tell, the government is just trying to fight the inevitable break up of GM and Chrysler. Now I could see how one could justify efforts to create a soft landing for such (I wouldn’t want that to be the policy, but it is a better policy IMHO than what we are doing now), but trying to reorganize them as they are seems fruitless.

  19. Yo. What do you guys think of this: http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/ex-leaders-of-countrywide-profit-from-bad-loans/

    I’m a bit conflicted. On the one hand, these people are establishing a market for the “toxic debt”.
    On the other hand, they are basically profiting from government takeovers, starting a cottage industry of businesses living off of the bailout bonanza.

  20. J sub D | March 6, 2009, 10:07am | #

    “West Virginia lawmaker calls for a ban on Barbie.”

    I could support that. At least until Mattel includes genitals and nipples.

    Just do what I do: draw them on with a Sharpie.

  21. Apparently, Buick is very popular in China.

    The cars sold as “Buicks” in China are mostly Holdens (Australian), as far as I can discern. Although I think they sell a version of the Century, or whatever they call it.

    *********

    I keep hearing this refrain about how the carmakers can’t make any money unless their factories are running at full capacity. If that’s true, it’s just more evidence of how completely incompetent the management is.

    And, as much as I enjoy motherfucking Rick Wagoner, the Congress has helped push GM down this dead end road for decades. If Wagoner had any hair on his chest, he would have pointed that out to them, instead of groveling and kissing the hems of their regal finery.

  22. As far as I can tell, the government is just trying to fight the inevitable break up of GM and Chrysler. Now I could see how one could justify efforts to create a soft landing for such (I wouldn’t want that to be the policy, but it is a better policy IMHO than what we are doing now), but trying to reorganize them as they are seems fruitless.

    Soft landings are what bankruptcy courts haphazardly do. Chapter 7 seems* most appropriate for GM and is most appropriate for Chrysler. The choices are written on the wall for all to see, bankruptcy now or bankruptcy later for those two. Responsibility means manning up, facing facts, and doing unpleasent and unpopular tasks that must be done.

    I certainly agree that the feds actions so far is just pissing money down the drain.

    * You want to give GM a chapter 11 shot, I’ll not bitch too loudly.

  23. I’m a bit conflicted. On the one hand, these people are establishing a market for the “toxic debt”.
    On the other hand, they are basically profiting from government takeovers, starting a cottage industry of businesses living off of the bailout bonanza.

    But- Obama ended the rein of the crony capitalists!

    Right?

  24. Goddammit!

    REIGN

    Stupid keyboard.

  25. I liked the watchmen video. It is good to see the networks have taken a subversive comic and turned into a family friendly show. We don’t need to have more smut peddled to us by the homosexuals in hollywood. I’m sure the un-american perverts and degenerates on this board like elemenope would disagree though.

  26. Chrysler/Cerberus should spin Jeep off to anybody dumb enough to take it, and either dynamite the rest of their facilities, or turn them into roller rinks and indoor rollercoaster parks.

  27. I’m sure the un-american perverts and degenerates on this board like elemenope would disagree though

    Hey! What about NutraSweet?!?

  28. I’m sure the un-american perverts and degenerates on this board like elemenope would disagree though.

    I feel like I’ve finally made it. Thank you, juanita!

  29. Too bad Elemenope is probably too busy whackin’ it to old Enya videos to listen to such such sensible advice.

  30. I’m an All-American pervert, thankyouverymuch!

  31. A law aimed at protecting children from lead is now hurting motorcycle shops.

    Lead can’t be bad for you- it’s 100% *natural*.

  32. Don’t you mean to say you’re an AllAmerican pervert, SugarFree?

  33. The AllAmericanPervert is he who cannot be named. You know this.

  34. Raivo Pommer
    raimo1@hot.ee

    Luftgeld

    Finanzpolitik und Steuerwesen sind oft so furchtbar abstrakt. Nehmen wir zum Beispiel die Zahl 100 Milliarden. Was sind 100 Milliarden? Seit einiger Zeit treibt uns der Gedanke um, wie man die guten Taten veranschaulichen kann, die wir als Steuerb?rger notleidenden Geldabfackelvereinigungen aus der Finanzbranche zukommen lassen sollen.

    Die L?sung ist der Artikel “Geldregen”, den das Versandhaus Tom Wet im Katalog hat (www.tomwet.com). Die monet?re Pappr?hre f?r 13,75 Euro ist eigentlich als Partygag gedacht, kann aber durchaus f?r ernsthafte Aufgaben eingesetzt werden. Durch einen Dreh an dem 60-Zentimeter-Rohr werden viele Geldscheine – standardm??ig handelt es sich um Spielgeld – mit einem sch?nen Knall per Druckluftpatrone meterhoch in die Luft katapultiert.

  35. Sadly, the tom wet story post made 3000% more sense than the latter stages of the Chavez thread from last night.

  36. juanita,

    Are you available for dinner or a drink?

  37. Lead can’t be bad for you- it’s 100% *natural*.

    Only organic lead. That corporate lead is the problem.

  38. TofuSushi, stay away from J sub D’s woman!

  39. Sadly, the tom wet story post made 3000% more sense than the latter stages of the Chavez thread from last night.

    Blame it on the meat shortage.

  40. TofuSushi, stay away from J sub D’s woman!

    She should not be anybody’s property.

  41. Way the hell off-topic –

    Hindsight being 20/20, Home and Logout commands should have function key shortcuts that are common to all websites.

  42. “The Barbie Ban Bill, proposed by Democratic Delegate Jeff Eldridge (D) Lincoln County, says such toys influence girls to place too much importance on physical beauty, at the expense of their intellectual and emotional development.”

    Gosh, the lengths some men have to go through just to get a BJ from their wives.

  43. TofuSushi, stay away from J sub D’s woman

    She should not be anybody’s property.

    ‘Tis not the internet siren that has stolen my heart upthread.

    TofuSushi is welocome to court the likely pre-op transexual imposter.

  44. “A sneak preview of Watchmen.”

    A Roman poet (perhaps Juvenal) famously asked, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” Translated, this means “Who watches the watchmen?”

    Now we have an answer – geeks and nerds!

    Juvenal would not have been surprised.

  45. TofuSushi is welocome to court the likely pre-op transexual imposter.

    You write that as if it were a bad thing. Limiting your horizons limits your possibilities for pleasure.

  46. Yes thank you epi, I forgot about sugarfree. Numerous times I’ve seen him promote his pro-homosexual agenda on this board.

    You’ve always been one of the few good eggs on this board, epi. Please keep up the good work.

  47. I apologize – I should have been more mature than to make that Juvenal pun.

  48. “Who will make the Caddy and the ‘vette?”

    I don’t know about Cadillac but there’s already talk of spinning of the Corvette as a stand-alone privately owned brand.

  49. The only worthwhile Chrysler mark (Jeep) will probably be bought up by Ford.

    I just hope they don’t fall victim to the “Jeep curse”.

  50. You’ve always been one of the few good eggs on this board, epi. Please keep up the good work.

    How dare you!

  51. I don’t think Mulally is dumb enough to buy Jeep. Wagoner, however….

  52. P Brooks, it sort of makes sense. Ford has been trying to dump its SUVs from its brand and stick to cars and cross-overs. So they buy Jeep, re-christen the Escape, Explorer and Expedition as Jeeps, and kill every other Jeep model except the Wrangler.

  53. juanita, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Epi is, shall we say, ‘flamingly deviant’.

  54. Why not add Hummer to the acquisition list and go for the trifecta of gas-guzzling monsters

  55. But what about the prized Dodge brand!? Who will buy the enormously successful Caliber!

  56. Hummer is dead. Terrible image with shitty cars.

  57. According to the morning rag, unemployment in my county is almost TWELVE PERCENT.

  58. “Reinmoose | March 6, 2009, 12:04pm | #
    But what about the prized Dodge brand!? Who will buy the enormously successful Caliber!”

    HAHAHAHAHA!

  59. SIV, No tears for the Caddy.

    I’m not sure I’ll miss the Corvette. I might. But when I see Corvettes these days I think they don’t look like a Corvette should look. For decades Corvettes were distinctly Corvettes and there was no mistaking what just blew by you. Not so anymore. Or maybe I’m just getting old.

  60. juanita, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Epi is, shall we say, ‘flamingly deviant’.

    Yeah! Hey, wait a second…

  61. Chrysler?

    I’m old enough to remember when Chrysler was innovative and made go-fast mother effin’ cars. That was before St Iacaca drove the company into the ground. What a stupid putz.

    And who keeps sending me that got dam email about how brilliant old Lee is and how he has the answers to our problems?

  62. Isn’t Corvette completely self-contained already? If they’re profitable I can see them doing pretty well on their own. They would have room to move both up-market (supercar) and down-market (cheap, fun, RWD coupe) without the baggage of GM.

  63. I shed no tears for Chrysler’s demise as I roll down the street in my Honda Accord.

  64. BDB – I rented one once by mistake (I was “upgraded” to it) and it was the weakest P.O.S. that I’ve ever driven. And this one had the upgraded engine. Yikes!

  65. Does saab decouple and float back to Sweden?

  66. TWC, now Chrysler makes abominations like a href=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9oU6gOK8PyA/RwouPmEou_I/AAAAAAAAAEc/HKyMkAH3l8s/s400/2007_Chrysler_Sebring.jpg>this.

    I rented one once, it’s an ugly, nearly undriveable piece of shit.

  67. Epi,
    You know it’s true.

  68. “Reinmoose | March 6, 2009, 12:16pm | #
    BDB – I rented one once by mistake (I was “upgraded” to it) and it was the weakest P.O.S. that I’ve ever driven. And this one had the upgraded engine. Yikes!”

    Just be glad you never had to drive the Jeep Compass–it’s a Caliber with AWD and a Jeep badge. Awful. Just awful.

  69. “Does saab decouple and float back to Sweden?”

    I’m guessing they’ll be nationalized by the Swedes.

  70. Hummer is dead. Terrible image with shitty cars.

    The H-1 is a great vehicle if you have a use for a real off road machine.Too bad they stopped selling them.The H-2 and H-3 were nothing more than GMC truck chassis with “Hummer” bodywork on them. They are very competent out-of-the-box off road vehicles though.Unfortunately the H-3 has no more interior room than an old Jeep Cherokee.
    They all suck on the highway.I wouldn’t be surprised to see the marque either survive or be revived by another maker.

  71. Moose, I got upgraded from a Charger to a 300 in Vegas, and though that didn’t tout the “powerful” V-8, its 6 was woefully underpowered. And if that’s supposed to be a luxury car, there’s no wonder Toyota beats the shit out of them. The Avalon Limited is 265 horse, and insanely comfortable. The back seat is like a couch.

  72. GM destroyed SAAB.Far worse than what Ford did to Jaguar.

  73. Yeah, only an asshole would buy an H2 over a Yukon or Suburban. The latter two are the same truck but faster because they aren’t plasticked out with shit.

  74. The 300 is good only if you get the 300c V8, and then it’s a gas guzzler.

  75. Just be glad you never had to drive the Jeep Compass–it’s a Caliber with AWD and a Jeep badge. Awful. Just awful.

    Truly awful.Worse they killed the NEON to build them.NEONs were competent, very cheap econoboxes with superior performance in their class.They actually turned a profit too unlike most American compacts.The sports and HP models were actually great cars.

  76. Speaking of getting destroyed, what Mercedes-Benz did to Chrysler was the worst of all. From the most profitable car company in North America at the time of the “merger” to Chapter 7 in ten short years.

  77. Dodge Neon SRT-4, FTW!

  78. I’m not sure I’ll miss the Corvette. I might. But when I see Corvettes these days I think they don’t look like a Corvette should look. For decades Corvettes were distinctly Corvettes and there was no mistaking what just blew by you. Not so anymore. Or maybe I’m just getting old.

    Learn to say it now, so it burns less later on:

    2011 Tata Corvette.

  79. Once Ford gets rid of Volvo (which apparently is getting close), I don’t see them getting involved in something as distracting as trying to resurrect the horribly damaged Jeep brand.

    Mulally has spent his time trying to get Ford focussed [sorry]; I don’t see how Jeep helps.

  80. The 300 is good only if you get the 300c V8, and then it’s a gas guzzler.

    It still rode like shit compared to (I’m just using this as an example) an Avalon, didn’t have climate control unlike the Avalon, and just felt sparse.

  81. Chapter 7 seems* most appropriate for GM and is most appropriate for Chrysler.

    I believe *now* is the part where Chrysler should “get the hell out of the way.” “Lead” or “follow” are long gone options.

  82. I remember when Mulally took over a lot of people shit bricks thinking this was it for Ford, “What the hell would the CEO of Beoing know about cars?” and stuff like that.

    Turns out this is exactly what they needed, someone from outside Detroit.

  83. Looks better than an Avalon, though!

    Avalon is Japanese for “Buick”.

  84. Corvettes are overrated. They’re too heavy. Lotus all the way, baby.

  85. The H-3 has superior off-road capabilities to the Yukon.I have first hand experience with both as rentals.If they only knew what I do to rental SUV/trucks. Well they kinda do, some put them up on the rack when I return them before saying they are OK.Most everything that ever broke was the manufacturers fault:)I catch hell from my employer for anything other than a severe cleaning charge.

  86. Lotus all the way, baby.

    Are you mental? Lotus? Lambos eat them for lunch and spit out the plastic-y parts like seeds.

  87. I agree with P Brooks – the Jeep brand has been FUBARed in just a few short years. If you ask me their main problem is having too many models. A Jeep used to be, more or less, a model, and now it’s a make. This is a problem. Do you ever hear anybody brag about their Jeep anymore? Case closed.

  88. “If they only knew what I do to rental SUV/trucks”

    I abused the hell out of a shitty 2002 rental Malibu “classic”. I’ve never heard a Chevy four-banger scream like that before.

    And that’s why no one should ever, EVER buy a used car that was once a rental!

  89. Corvettes are overrated. They’re too heavy. Lotus all the way, baby.

    Can’t put the golf clubs and skeet/trap guns in the Lotus trunk.The corvette is an incredible value.Supercar performance at a fraction of the price.

  90. I have an idea; somebody should form an investment vehicle to build a new car company around Jeep, Hummer, and the Pontiac Aztek.

  91. These peoblems are caused by big business forcing people to drive horrible, planet destroying vehicles.

    When the government increases incentives for eco-friendly transportation then everything will work out.

  92. Episiarch and Juanita. A love for the ages.

  93. Are you mental? Lotus? Lambos eat them for lunch and spit out the plastic-y parts like seeds.

    Lotuses don’t cost a million Euros. Let’s compare apples to apples, shall we?

    Colin Chapman founded Lotus on the idea that weight is performance’s greatest enemy. That is entirely correct, and Lotus makes great performers at realistic prices.

  94. Lotuses don’t cost a million Euros.

    Oh, going to nitpick are we?

    Loti are OK, they’re just too damn small for me.

  95. That is entirely correct, and Lotus makes great performers at realistic prices.

    The Fiat 500 Abarth S could probably give it a run. Assuming that it’s not in the shop at the time.

  96. I’m okay with a Lotus if it can operate underwater.

  97. Corvettes are overrated. They’re too heavy. Lotus all the way, baby.

    I totally agree about the Corvette.

    I did some work on a Lotus Seven for a guy, a long time ago [you have to “test drive’ the thing afterwards]; serious fun.

    But the motor in the Porsche 914 is behind the seats, where it belongs, and it has four wheel disk brakes. That project is making good headway; no Lotus necessary.

  98. The Fiat 500 Abarth S could probably give it a run.

    Jeremy Clarkson tested a Mitsubishi Evo on Top Gear and was tripoding the fucker with one finger. He was impressed, let me tell you. Looks like a serious performer for a really cheap price.

  99. I’m okay with a Lotus if it can operate underwater.

    Not if it’s driven by Roger Moore.

  100. Episi,

    Lotus rocks the hp/weight aspect of performance.Drag racing a porky Viper with a sleek Lotus will remind you very quickly of the American dictum of ” there’s no replacement for displacement” however.

  101. If all of those cars were converted to bicycles then we would have a happier planet.

  102. I saw that one. If I didn’t have kids, I’d probably get one.

  103. The warm weather is giving me new-bike fever. Does anyone here have a VFR800? I’ve been thinking about getting one.

  104. Typical of you, Episiarch, to overlook who sits in the passenger seat of the Lotus Submersible.

  105. If everybody in the UAW was put to work pulling rickshaws, the world would be a cleaner, happier place (for me, anyway).

  106. Drag racing a porky Viper with a sleek Lotus will remind you very quickly of the American dictum of ” there’s no replacement for displacement” however.

    Driving in a straight line is for douchebags and people with neck braces. Put the Lotus and Viper on a back road and see what happens.

  107. I always thought Dodge made a decent truck, but I’m not a truck person, so I could be wrong.

    And without the big 3, where will we get our panel vans?

  108. Driving in a straight line is for douchebags and people with neck braces.

    And Harley riders. DURRRRR LOUD PIPEZ SAVES LIVES HURRRRRRR

  109. Cars are for hoi polloi. I simply jaunte.

  110. Driving in a straight line is for douchebags

    As is racing with only left turns.

  111. Bwahahahahahahhahahahahahahahaha!!!! Behold!!! The new face of car evolution! Link.

  112. Pro Lib,

    Just make sure you aren’t awake when you jaunt.

  113. ProL doesn’t jaunt, he prances.

  114. Naga–I’m not clicking on any of your links.

  115. And Harley riders. DURRRRR LOUD PIPEZ SAVES LIVES HURRRRRRR

    I’m a 55 year old insurance salesman but I’m still a rebel! Honey, can I go bike riding with the guys?

    As is racing with only left turns.

    Since they’re not so much turning as doing controlled slides, it’s basically going mostly straight. Thus, douchebag.

  116. That’s jaunte. You know what’s wrong with kids today? They don’t read adequate quantities of Bester.

  117. *gives JW the digitus impudicus*

    Pro Lib,

    I was refering to a Stephen King story with same concept. He spelled it jaunt.

  118. they’re not so much turning as doing controlled slides

    Take some left front weight out, and put a bigger wicker in the rear wing.

  119. I like King okay, but jaunte is Bester’s. Bah.

    Warty,

    I’m not the resident prancer. Or dancer. Or donner or blitzen.

  120. Comet, cupid, Donna Dixon?

  121. For decades Corvettes were distinctly Corvettes and there was no mistaking what just blew by you. Not so anymore. Or maybe I’m just getting old.

    I still get people stop and stare at my 3-year-old 350Z.

  122. I watched a friend of mine destroy a brand new Corvette (1988) with his completely stock 1970 Porche 911T. Corvettes are junk.

  123. Yeah, only an asshole would buy an H2 over a Yukon or Suburban. The latter two are the same truck but faster because they aren’t plasticked out with shit.

    They all get about the same gas mileage – similar to a full sized van. But, if you drive a Hummer you’re a big fat republican pollution-loving rich jerk.

    I watched a friend of mine destroy a brand new Corvette (1988) with his completely stock 1970 Porche 911T. Corvettes are junk.

    Yeah, but the corvette is going to be about the same speed with four adults in it. Oh wait….there might be something wrong with that statement. I hear from my stepson about the IROCs and whatnot he has beat with his various rice burners (RX-7’s, Civic’s), but the differnce is the car with the V-8 can race almost daily and still last a very long time. Meanwhile, the rice racer is swapping out engines every three months. But they can really scream if you’re willing to punish them like that. Or you can drive them like you’re supposed to and they can last 200,000 miles.

  124. A law aimed at protecting children from lead is now hurting motorcycle shops.

    I wonder how it’ll hit Daisy.

  125. ProL doesn’t jaunt, he prances.

    Pish. Then ProL must be an arriviste. Mr. Dean sashays, or if the weather is particularly fine, he may promenade.

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