Nov 30, 2011
In the wake of the National Highway Safety Administration opening a formal investigation into tests that show the Volt catches on fire, General Motors has responded in a manner that seems to us to be slightly contradictory.
In what appears to be a case of “spinning” and limiting damage to the reputation of Chevrolet and the Volt, Chevrolet has announced they will loan vehicles to owners of Volts until the investigation is complete.
The Volt is the subject of a probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after its batteries, supplied by LG Chem Ltd., caught fire in three crash tests conducted by the agency. GM will give any Volt owners a free loaner until the end of investigation, which was announced Nov. 25.
“GM and Chevrolet believe in the safety of the Volt,” Mark Reuss, president of the automaker’s North American operations, said on a conference call today with reporters. “We will take every precaution to ensure the driving public of the safety of the Volt.”
The Volt is one of GM’s most-promoted models in the U.S. and one key to its push to meet tightening U.S. fuel-efficiency standards. The Volt has been on the market for a year and went on sale in all 50 U.S. states last month. In January, the world’s largest automaker plans to boost production to 60,000 a year from a rate of 10,000 annually.
GM is sending a letter to all Volt owners and dealers. If any owners have concerns, GM will give them another car as a loaner to drive until the probe has been resolved, Reuss said.
We are confused.
Nov 30, 2011
After much internal debate, we decided to give Bill O’Reilly’s book on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln a try.
Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by FoxNews pundit Bill O’Reilly and author / adventurer Martin Dugard is a difficult book to review because of the two prominent names on the dustcover – Lincoln and O’Reilly.
O’Reilly is a polarizing figure in America today. Despite being seen as a conservative by most people, he claims to be a moderate independent. His style is bombastic and confrontational and sometimes that gets him into a spot of being “factually challenged.” His previous books have been successful, although we have always found them to be somewhat superficial. Perhaps it is because O’Reilly is used to seven minute segments where one cannot get into great depth on any subject, but his writing style tends to have short chapters that often skim the surface of any issue.
The second problem is, of course, the other prominent name on the book – Abraham Lincoln. There is no other individual in the world who has had more books written about him than Lincoln. Books on Lincoln have outsold every other topic other than the Bible. When one writes about Lincoln, one is writing in a crowded field where it is difficult to stand out.
“Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever” seems to be as polarizing as the Lincoln and O’Reilly themselves. As of this writing, reviewers at Amazon.com have given the book 1,065 “five stars” ratings and 1,071 “one star” ratings. Only 243 people gave the book a two, three or 4 star rating. That means out of the 2,379 total reviews, a little over 10% of the reviews rated the book somewhere in the middle of the available ratings. The other 90% are at polar opposites of the spectrum.
To us that is a indication the controversy and strong opinions surrounding Bill O’Reilly may be driving the reviews.
To that end, we suppose we should say that we are not fans of Bill O’Reilly. Neither are we antagonistic toward him. O’Reilly has a certain style and demeanor that many people enjoy. We are not one of those people. At the same time, his show covers a great many stories and items that other commentators do not discuss. This means that we like the topics of his show, but rarely like the way those topics are presented and discussed by O’Reilly. At best, we are lukewarm to O’Reilly. We neither hate him nor would he be our first choice (or second, third, fourth…) for dinner.
Which finally brings us to the book itself.
Nov 29, 2011
Andy Williams, the president of Freedom Bank in St. Petersburg, Florida, finds himself at odds with the city council and the city’s code enforcement.
At issue is the digital sign out in front of the bank.
The sign not only advertises the name of the bank, interest rates, specials, etc, it also has the ability to display the image of an American flag.
That, says the city council, is against the law.
To be fair the regulation does not target just digital images of flags, it targets any image on a a digital sign. In St. Petersberg, if you have a digital sign that rotates messages, that sign may not display images.
The rules are aimed to limit possible distractions to drivers and to keep the city’s streets from becoming cluttered with lighted pictures.
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say the idea that a sign with a flag on it being distracting is not even in the equation. That is just an excuse. The real reason is that someone decided they do not like the signs, and therefore wanted them to be be restricted.
We have several issues with this type of restrictions. First, we have a strong belief that a person or company should be able to do what they want to on their property unless it directly affects or infringes on the rights of others. Dumping chemicals into the ground affects others. A sign with graphics doesn’t affect anyone. Frankly, if you are distracted by a sign with the image of a flag, you shouldn’t be driving to begin with.
This type of restriction leads to the government being able to ban just about anything:
Nov 28, 2011
One of the the great things about blogging is that you get to talk to a lot of people. One such person is an author who goes by the name of William Teach and writes on The Pirate’s Cove. Teach has been around the blogosphere for a long time and was one of those who encouraged us to start Raised on Hoecakes. (The others being two good friends and Steve Bussey over at SteveBussey.com)
Teach’s blog covers subjects that we don’t delve into as much here. He is quite good and quite active in covering the global warming issue. His watching and comments on the OWS people are timely and great.
Teach also runs a weekly post called “Sorta Blogless Sunday.” It is a compilation of articles he has found around the net that he recommends. To be honest, it is a deceptively simple post. It takes a long time to read and compile the articles and to give the correct links, citations and comments.
For awhile now, we here at Raised on Hoecakes have managed to make his list of posts to read. It is an honor to see our little blog mentioned with some of the really big sites.
Every Sunday, whether or not we get mentioned, we make sure to read his “Sorta Blogless Sunday” post and the excellent articles he has linked therein.
The Pirates’s Cove and the “Sorta Blogless Sunday” post should be on your reading list.
Nov 27, 2011
Remember those tee-shirts that have an arrow pointing to the left or to the right with the caption “I’m with Stupid?”
Here is a case where that arrow should be pointing right back at the moron wearing the shirt except for one thing – he might be wearing a prisoner uniform.
A 16 year old kid broke into a home north of London, England. He ended up stealing a Playstation, a camera and some televisions. The brainiac was caught by the police and sentenced to what is described as an “intensive supervision program.” As part of the program, he was required to write a letter to the victims of his crime.
In what comes off as a smug sense of superiority, the letter actually has the exact opposite effect – it exposes the writer as an ignorant punk.
We lost count of the spelling a grammatical errors in the kid’s letter. While the kid derides the victims for “dumb mistakes,” he doesn’t notice or care about the mistakes he makes.
Nov 27, 2011
We are going to step away from our series on Rock for the Ages and early Contemporary Christian Music artists and for the next month or so, concentrate on Christmas music and albums.
First up is the classic “John Denver and the Muppets – a Christmas Together.” This little gem of an album was released in 1979 and stars all of the best Muppets we had come to know and love. Singing with them is country music / pop star John Denver who appeared on the original Muppet Show several times, as well as appeared in the original Muppet Movie.
The album works for a variety of reasons. First, the Muppets are not great singers. They will never be mistaken for a great choir or collection of voices. It is therefore a perfect Christmas album to sing along with. Maybe that is the best thing the album does – it makes singing Christmas songs un-abashadly fun. At the same time, the “A Christmas Together” seamlessly weaves classic Christmas songs such as “Silent Night” with newer songs written by Denver such as “A Baby Just Like You.”
Whatever is was, the album was a commercial success and continues to sell well today.
That same year, Denver and the Muppets collaborated on a made for TV special of the same name. Two of our favorite clips from the show are below.
Nov 26, 2011
The National Highway Safety Administration has opened a formal investigation looking into cases where the Chevy Volt has caught on fire.
And by “on fire,” we don’t mean “sales of the Volt are hot.”
Federal safety regulators announced Friday that they have opened “a formal safety defect investigation” into the Chevrolet Volt over concerns the electric car’s battery may pose a significant fire risk.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been looking at the car for months, explaining in a press release that this includes crash-testing the Volt in May and conducting three tests last week focused specifically on the vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries.
“The agency is concerned that damage to the Volt’s batteries as part of three tests that are explicitly designed to replicate real-world crash scenarios have resulted in fire,” the administration said. “NHTSA is therefore opening a safety defect investigation of Chevy Volts, which could experience a battery-related fire following a crash.”
The announcement was made on Friday – Black Friday – when most people had the day off and were watching football, shopping, or wondering how they ate that much turkey yesterday. Any “news” was not on the radar as most major newspeople were at home. Analysts were home too. This means the results of the tests were known last week, but not announced until a day when they could be buried.
You don’t think there might be a reason for trying to bury bad news about the flagship car of GM and Obama’s dream for reshaping the way America travels, do you?
You aren’t that cynical, are you?
Well, we are.
Not only has the NHSTA opened a formal investigation, it is the only one related to electric and electric hybreds.
Nov 26, 2011
Ah yes…. “Black Friday.” The day when shoppers go nuts trying to get a deal on the “perfect Christmas gift.”
You remember Christmas, don’t you?
Jesus. Mary and Joseph. Baby. Manger. “Peace on earth. Good will toward men?”
So why is it that when we are looking for presents to give to friends and loved ones on a special day, the worst comes out in us?
Why is it that we are willing to use pepper spray on others to get those “deals?”
Twenty people, including children, received minor injuries after a woman reportedly pepper sprayed other shoppers at a Los Angeles-area Walmart store on Thursday as late-night Black Friday sales turned violent in the United States.
Calling it an act of “competitive shopping,” a fire captain told the Los Angeles Times the woman had intentionally taken the pepper spray with her to the department store in Porter Ranch to get the edge on her fellow shoppers.
She used the pepper spray in several areas of the store, Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson said.
Why even wait for the store to open? Let’s just break into it!