General Motors – The Walls Crumbling Down

General Motors is in a sad state. It is hard to imagine the maker of the Camaro, Cadillac, and Trans Am to be in such a mess. As GM approaches 100 years old, Toyota has recently passed them in worldwide sales for the first half of 2008. Toyota has sold 4.8 million vehicles between January and June, which is up 2 percent from the same period a year ago. General Motors only sold 4.5 million vehicles in the same period. We hear the same diatribe every year when sales fall, economic pressures and labor disruptions in the U.S. market. GM recently posted the second largest quarterly loss in U.S. history, a $39 billion loss.They have also sold off 51 percent of the profitable finance arm of the company. GMAC division was sold, the controlling interest for about 14 billion to a conglomerate of investors headed by Cerberus Capital Management. GM stock has also tumbled this year hitting a 54 year low, it has been as low $8.81 and it has a 52-week high of 43.20. Then we find out they are shopping the Hummer to find a buyer in Russia or China. This is an effort to raise around $4 billion through asset sales. That number seems only like a drop in the bucket compared to the $51 billion they have lost over the last three years. This is a fitting end (if that is true, as most believe federal bailout is coming) to the company that has not been run correctly in years. We point back to CEO Roger Smith from 1980 to 1990. The decisions that were made during this stretch, are what have drove the car company into the ground. We have an unfounded belief that also the creation of ACDelco parts is another reason; GM saw a cash cow in selling parts and no longer was concerned about high quality coming from the factory. When it breaks they could replace it with “Genuine GM Parts.” This made moving manufacturing out of Michigan easier and gave a career to Michael Moore. Out of all this news it is hard to feel sorry for this company even though in 2003 they employed 326,000 people worldwide. The story of the Hummer, which is the car they choose over the EV-1 electric car featured in the movie “Who killed the Electric Car?” is a just another bad choice by poor leadership. In a company with a history of great people like the founder William c. Durant in 1908, great inventor employees like John DeLorean and Charles F. Kettering, it is sad that a board of directors running the company today are no longer car people, but hacks, and have they run the business just that way.

I put the pen to the paper
Because it’s all a part of me

W. Axl Rose 1991


SAG strike Update

Tea512 has been watchnig for important news on the SAG talks since first post SAG Here We Go Again. The strike that has not happened yet is getting to a point of critical mass. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has now become divided against itself. Hollywood large studios and talks with SAG broke down over a month ago. They received the final offer on June 30. The contract talks broke off in July and have not resumed. So there is a motion to change the board members of SAG with 11 openings. The results will not be in until September 19. There is no way SAG can show they have any unity amongst their members with this change of events. This is slowing movie production as the studios do not want to start filming in the even there is a stoppage. The studios are holding onto a trump card as they believe the there is not enough votes for a strike, The SAG has 120,000 members and 75% would need to be in favor. Disney is in production with three films, Universal and Sony seem to be dormant with nothing scheduled for September or October and Fox only has one feature scheduled for production. SAG leader ship was called into question when it tried to kill the deals American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) when it tried to settle with the studios individually, this action was the first of it kind in 30 years and could be a reason for the infighting.  So there is news but no good news and the waiting continues it looks like until the end of September.

You can find it all inside
No need to wrestle with your pride
W. Axl Rose 1991

Wal-Mart spreads the scare to Managers

Thousands of Wal-Mart managers and department heads have been ordered to attend mandatory meetings, where the retailer emphasizes trouble ahead if store workers unionize. Wal-Mart is trying to organize the U.S. store managers to vote against Democrats in the November presidential election. The told the attendees they would have to pay hefty union dues and may have to go on strike without compensation. They also planted the seed that unionization could result in job cuts. Wal-Mart is under the impression that Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, would be a red carpet for unionization. Is this another example of Wal-Mart threatening their employees as they fight to keep unions out of the operation. This nothing new the right leaning Wal-Mart has always favored Republicans, although since the change in congress the money balance has changed as well. Wal-Mart donates about 2.2 million in political contributions. The legislation that has Wal-Mart running meeting and scared of Barack Obama is the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to unionize by signing a card rather than holding a vote. We are not sure if Wal-Mart is more scared of a secret vote or any vote at all. This is one to watch over the next year. An anti Wal-Mart website stated that 2003 wage analysis reported that cashiers earn approximately $7.92 per hour and work 29 hours a week. This brings in annual wages of only $11,948.

Don’t you know I feel the same
Because nothing lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change

W. Axl Rose 1991


3..2..1..and done!

The Internet multimillionaire’s privately funded rocket was lost on its way to space Saturday night, this was the third time this mission has failed. The company SpaceX is not giving a warm fuzzy feeling about low cost space delivery.  Elon Musk founded SpaceX based in Hawthorne, CA after selling his PayPal creation to eBay for 1.5 billion dollars. Two minutes after the launch the two-stage Falcon 1 rocket seemed to be moving back and forth before the signal from the on-board camera went dead. It appears from the press conferences held after the rocket preformed as expected in stage one, stage two the separation never happened keeping the rocket together. The first Falcon 1 launch, in March 2006, failed about a minute into its ascent because of a fuel line leak. A second rocket, launched in March 2007, made it to space but was lost about five minutes after launching. The odd thing about this flight is carried three satellites, one for the Department of Defense, two for NASA.  Does our government need to do this as is their budget not carries enough for satellite delivery? To offset the cost of this experiment there were 208 ashes of people who paid to have remains shot into space. Have no fear as the deep pockets will keep the Musk’s dream alive for at least three more attempts already scheduled.

Livin’ on the run for oh so long
I got to go collect

W. Axl Rose 1991


Plug In America

Tea512 would like to draw everyone’s attention to the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and to the website Plug in America, these people are doing great work against massive odds, which they have encountered from the jump. The movie was a lesson in how Car companies, oil companies, state government, federal government, and consumers can be so off the mark and blinded by their own interests. There was no good outcome and due to the lack of support, only a handful of people appeared to care. The best part is they are all documented in this movie, as it will be around for years to come. After reading last week that General Motors has been losing money since 2005. Every talking head seems to believe they are heading toward asking the Federal government for a bailout. You are kidding right? After watching “Roger & Me” by Michael Moore and the above-mentioned film “Who Killed the Electric Car?” how can anyone have any pity for the company that ran itself into the ground. Plug in America did everything they could to help GM but they would not listen, so this is the result. The particulars are to vast to go into and the movie does a much better job of explaining then we ever could. This is just a public record that we want to recognize the acts of PIA directors mainly Chelsea Sexton, and Paul Scott, they are only a few of the many people, but the cause they fight is epic and deserves to be seen by all as well as kept for prosperity.

 

When you feel the fire, and taste the flame

W. Axl Rose 1991

Free gas

Tea512 came across a story out of Fort Worth, Texas, a driver of a Cadillac hatched a plan to get free gas. The driver would pull his car to the side of the road and claim to be out of gas. He would stop near a gas station, so it is convenient for people to get him some the plan is another driver pulls ask if he needs help and that he had run out of gas and was broke. For that reason, the unsuspecting driver decides to do a good thing for the day. Then purchases a gallon of gas and even a gas can for the guy. When the Police seen him broken down for third time in the same spot, they started to ask questions. While they were, asking him questions one of his victims pulled up and told the Police what he had been told. The man was holding a brand new gas can, with a gallon of gas. The police ran the man license and he had an outstanding warrant, which lead to a search of the vehicle. When the officer opened the trunk there were four more gas cans inside. He was convincing people to either give him money, gas and sometimes both. This is not a crime but more of, what goes off in your head that makes you do this. There was no way to tell if he was even out of gas as the gauge in the car was broken. There is always someone out there relaying on the kindness of strangers for their own personal gain. Some days you just cannot believe the things you hear.

He said you ain’t special, So who you fooling

Don’t try to give me a line

W. Axl Rose 1991