Not exactly the new generation

Gwin Ifil’s phrase “not exactly the new generation” is as good a description as any for the appointment of Roland Burris to become Illinois’ junior Senator.

While I’m skeptical of symbolic appointments in the first place, there’s no question that the choice of Burris is particularly bad. Burris harkens back to the sort of race-based campaign that many people voted for Obama to banish. Further, a figure of the past, Burris is yet another “back to the future” candidate.

A better choice would have been Tammy Duckworth.


While as a Republican I of course favor a statewide election in Illinois (which would give my party some chance to win the seat), Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran and like Obama has a gripping personal story. This post is not an endorsement of Duckworth’s policies or positions. Rather, it is a statement of my regret that once against the Democratic Party has let itself be maneuvered into the politics of the past rather than building a bridge to the future.

No More Saudi Arabia of Oil Consumption?

America is the United States of oil consumption. Just as oil revenues my legitimate governments in much of the gap of the global economy end up supporting terrorism, oil expenditures by the United States has the effect of powering the Taliban, fueling Putin’s armies, and financing Chavez’s destabilizing schemes in Venezuela.

One way to create a better future is a gas tax.

Hybrid Cars: Gas tax gaining momentum, or at least air
A gas tax is an idea that has been floated around this blog many times over the last few years. My gas tax – really an oil tax – was always a way to help fund credits for more fuel efficient vehicles. Likewise, the tax helps drive investment in non-oil fuels and technologies, while also changing consumer behavior.

Lately, the drumbeat behind a new gas tax has been increasing. MotorTrend, the LATimes, and the New York Times, for instance, have each covered the idea in the last few days.

There are other ways of weakening oil producers and the wars, terrorists, and schemes they fund. We can plusing-up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by simultaneously buying oil and moving to a flex-fuel fleet. We can create tax-breaks for hybrid cars and looking at biojetfuel.

President Bush should be praised for the advances in alternate fuel technologies that took place on his watch. Let’s hope Barack Obama will be even better for breaking the power of oil!

The Third UAW Bailout of 2008

The first was for $25 billion.
The second was for $17 billion.

And now, as predicted, GM and Chrysler (cash-conduits for the UAW) are back for more. The only surprise is that they managed to squeeze the third one into 2008.

As Treasury Bails Out GMAC, Is It Overdrawing Federal Bailout Funds? – BusinessWeek
GMAC might not be the end of it for auto financiers and manufacturers: Within a couple days, a Treasury official says, the agency will post guidelines for loans to auto companies generally. No word yet on how broad eligibility might be.

The federal government’s latest bailouts of GM and GMAC will be the Third (of 3) Detroit Bailouts in UAW, as opposed ot the First (of who knows how many) Detroit Bailouts in 2009:

In another curious twist, the GMAC bailout appears to include a loan to let General Motors increase its stake in GMAC — even as Federal Reserve banking rules appear to require it to shed ownership.

Of the $6 billion announced tonight, $5 billion goes to purchase preferred shares in GMAC (with an 8% coupon for the government, a nice bump up from the 5% banks are paying).

But the remainder, of up to $1 billion, is a loan to General Motors — a loan that allows GM to participate in a rights offering from GMAC. That rights offering, of course, is being presented as part of a make-or-break strategy by GMAC to refashion itself into a bank holding company and avoid bankruptcy. The Federal Reserve approved GMAC’s application to become a bank holding company on Christmas Eve — but GM, and co-owner Cerberus, has to give up control of of the lender to comply with bank ownership rules.

You won’t buy the products the UAW builds… so they’ll be taking your money anyway.