Posts tagged ‘Henry Payne’
I will tell you that no matter how confidence in one has in his own intellectual ability, it's hard not to experience an "am I crazy?" moment when one reaches a conclusion different from everybody else's. Case in point is my critique of the EPA's mpg numbers for electric vehicles. The EPA's methodology strikes me as complete BS, but everyone, even folks like Popular Mechanics, keep treating the number like it is a serious representation of the fossil fuel use of vehicles like the Volt and Leaf.
Sot it was therefore nice to see a mechanical engineering professor independently make the same points I did in this Pajamas Media article. Also, my Princeton classmate Henry Payne, who often writes on automotive issues, linked my article at the Michigan View.
Years ago, I wrote a novel (still available at Amazon!) wherein a key plot point was a conspiracy between a Senator, a law firm, and a media company to create a high-profile tort case out of thin air.
Today, we may be seeing something similar with the Toyota sudden acceleration case. In this case, we have the Senate calling stooges of the plaintiff's bar as "expert witnesses" with the whole thing getting a third of the air time on nightly news programs. In my book, the whole thing was kicked off by a media company afraid of a new competitor - in this case it was kicked off by the US government, which controls GM, trying to sit on a competitor.
It is hard to spot the lowest behavior in the affair so far, but that honor can arguably go to ABC and the lengths to which it went to pretend it had recreated the problem. In fact, they had to strip three wires, splice in a resistor of a very specific value and then short two other wires. They made it sound like this is something that could easily happen naturally (lol) but this is an easy thing to prove - and inspection of actual throttle assemblies from cars that have supposedly exhibited the sudden acceleration problem have shown no evidence of such shorting. So the ABC story was completely fraudulent, similar to the old Dateline NBC story that secretly used model rocket engines to ignite gas tanks. Its amazing to me that Toyota, acting in good faith will get sued for billions over a complex problem which may or may not exist in a few cars, while ABC will suffer no repercussions from outright fraud.
Basically ABC proved that if you bypass a potentiometer with a resistor, you can spoof the potentiometer setting. Duh. The same hack on a radio would cause sudden acceleration of your volume.
Couldn't have illustrated the new corporate state that Obama is building better than this -- at state where large corporations, unions, and government officials conspire to use government power to enrich their contituencies to the detriment of smaller businesses, consumers, and taxpayers. WSJ via Tad DeHaven:
The government has taken on a giant role in the U.S. economy over the past year, penetrating further into the private sector than anytime since the 1930s. Some companies are treating the government's growing reach "” and ample purse "” as a giant opportunity, and are tailoring their strategies accordingly. For GE, once a symbol of boom-time capitalism, the changed landscape has left it trawling for government dollars on four continents.
"˜The government has moved in next door, and it ain't leaving,' Mr. [GE CEO Jeffrey] Immelt said at the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal in June. "You could fight it if you want, but society wants change. And government is not going away.'
A close look at GE's campaign to harvest stimulus money shows Mr. Immelt to be its driving force"¦ Inside GE, he pushed his managers hard to devise plans for capturing government money.
By January, Mr. Immelt had become a leading corporate voice in favor of the $787 billion stimulus bill, supporting it in op-ed pieces and speeches. Reporters who called the Obama administration for information on renewable-energy provisions in the legislation were directed to GE.
When the stimulus package was rolled out, Mr. Immelt instructed executives leading the company's major business units "to put together swat teams to get stimulus money, and [identify] who to fire if they don't get the money," says a person who heard him issue the instructions.
In February, a few days after President Obama signed the stimulus plan, GE lawyers, lobbyists and executives crowded into a conference room at GE's Washington office to figure out how to parlay billions of dollars in spending provisions into GE contracts. Staffers from coal, renewable-energy, health-care and other business units broke into small groups to figure out "how to help companies" "” its customers, in particular "” "get those funds," according to one person who attended.
From Henry Payne, in an article on the auto industry:
The Left likes having Big Industry straw men to bash whenever their socialist plans run aground, but the fact is, Big Industry is embracing the U.S.'s leftward lurch. Better to secure your place at the Rentseekers Roundtable, to lock out new competition and guarantee a never-ending stream of government welfare.
In an extraordinary speech, Lane laid out how market socialism can guarantee profits for politically connected VC firms like Kleiner -- far more preferable to the old model of "throwing a dart at a dart board," as Lane has put it. While Silicon Valley-based Kleiner made its reputation as a financier of tech startups like Netscape, Lane confided that they are inherently risky ventures in uncertain, fast-moving markets.
By contrast, Lane expressed admiration for communist governments like China and market-socialist economies like France where government determines new markets, thus providing a more certain investment climate for rent-seekers. With Kleiner partner Al Gore lobbying for federal mandates from wind to electric cars, Kleiner would be assured of a return on otherwise risky investments like Fisker Automotive, a California electric car company.
There has always been a slippery slope to trade protectionism -- if it makes us all richer to draw a line around the United States and prevent more goods from crossing that line one way vs. the other, shouldn't it make us even richer to draw that line even smaller? What about around a state? If the US is better self-sufficient, shouldn't the same thing apply to Missouri? Or St. Louis? Or University City? Or the Delmar Loop? Or just the house on corner of Waterman and Kingsland?
We see this idea in full flower here, from Michigan's Governor Granholm (via my Princeton classmate Henry Payne):
At its conference here last week, the Midwest Governor's Association (MGA) -- chaired by green queen Jennifer Granholm of Michigan -- said it wants to claim the future by transforming the Rust Belt into the Green Belt. But in calling for energy independence from other U.S. states and embracing a 30 percent renewable energy standard by 2030 (up from 2 percent today), the MGA's prescription is a giant leap backwards.Governor Granholm and Gov. James Doyle of Wisconsin seem to be tormented by the fact that the Midwest industrial engine imports much of its energy needs from coal states in the east and west. "Doyle has estimated that $226 billion leaves the region each year in energy costs that could be saved with alternative-energy installations and support jobs here," reported the Detroit Free Press.
My personal view is that Granholm actually hates Michigan. How else to explain why she keeps doing things like raising the minimum wage and keeping taxes high to fund goofy energy schemes in a state with the highest unemployment in the country.
From the grasping at straws file, Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm has been talking for a while about remaking Michigan as an alternative energy powerhouse. Henry Payne reports on her breakfast talk yesterday morning at the DNC Convention:
At a breakfast talk, Michigan's deeply unpopular governor
Jennifer Granholm explained that she was chosen to moderate Tuesday
night's energy panel from the convention stage because of the Wolverine
State's efforts in renewable power. The idea that windmills will rescue
one of America's great manufacturing states is absurd on its face, but
she persisted in spinning a fairy tale that Michigan is perfectly
positioned to take advantage of alternative energy manufacturing
because of the "Five Ws" (I'm not making this up) in abundance in the
state: "Wind, water, waste, workforce and wood."
That's terrific - they have all the key inputs needed for setting up an early 19th century business. What is left unsaid is that Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the country, driven by fussy and high cost unions and a crushing taxation and regulatory burden. The only message I take from the governor's talk is that if one is not in an alternative energy business, it's time to get out of Michigan, as the majority of businesses are about to face higher power costs and more taxes to support the governor's preferred industrial investment. Which, come to think of it, is a message most businesses have already internalized about Michigan, seeing as the population of its largest city has dropped by more than 50% over the last several decades.
It is highly entertaining to see people who have never even worked in, much less have run, a real business (including Obama, Clinton, and about everyone else on the DNC rostrum) express the hubris that only they know what the right industrial investment plan for the US is and that only they know how to build a major new industry. In particular, we saw last night the repetition of Obama's ridiculous made-up 5 million jobs number that I critiqued in depth several days ago.
Disclosure: I actually run a few campgrounds in the UP of Michigan, but since sleeping in tents seems to fit the governor's industrial policy, I'll probably be OK.
Henry Payne has an interesting tidbit: The government is now concerning itself with what cars its employees purchase.
Your tax dollars at work. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week sent an email urging its 67,000 employees not to buy SUVs, lecturing that fuel efficiency should be their "top priority" when buying a car.
new sport utility vehicle on the road produces 60 percent more climate
threatening CO2 emissions than a smaller vehicle," said Energy News,
a quarterly newsletter from a department that has nothing to do with
energy, but everything to do with energy morality apparently.
toll that vehicles take on the environment includes air pollution, oil
spills, pollution of our water supplies, and damage to natural
habitats," continues the HHS sermon. "In order to really cut CO2
emissions, higher fuel efficiency in all vehicles will be essential."
American auto makers were not amused by the recommendation to buy Toyotas or Hondas.
This surprises me not at all. A few weeks ago, I had an EPA audit of a marina and store I operate in Colorado (the report in all its glory is here). In that audit, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended that we begin selling fair trade coffee in our store. What that has to do with emissions into the lake, I have no idea. They also recommended that I put an environmental message on our shopping bags, replacing the current boating safety message. The audit did say that they could not require these two things. Well, give them some time, they will probably make it a requirement soon.