We were told that the bailouts and the massive federal interference was going to save GM and Chrysler, but Chrysler files for bankruptcy and now this from both Chrysler and GM:
General Motors Corp. told 1,100 U.S. dealers Friday they will be phased out by October 2010 but acknowledged the plan could be difficult to execute outside of bankruptcy-court protection.
The move marks the first phase of efforts by the company to cut its U.S. dealer network by 40% by the end of 2010, part of wider restructuring efforts it needs to win further U.S. government backing by a June 1 deadline.
"Without a legal [bankruptcy] filling, these [dealer cuts] would be hard to enforce," said GM sales chief Mark LaNeve during a conference call with reporters. "They may want to take legal action. We're not looking to get into a legal battle."
The company said 18% of its U.S. dealer network received letters informing them of the auto maker plans to phase them out over the next 18 months. They have a combined inventory of 65,000 cars and trucks and employ tens of thousands of salespeople, mechanics and other personnel.
When dealerships begin to close en masse, it impacts literally hundreds of thousands of jobs. It isn't just the dealers, staff, salespeaople, and mechanics at each closed dealership that stand to lose their jobs. The workers at GM dealerships will have at least a small reprieve until next year when their contracts expire, although I am sure that some of them will walk the line now to begin trying to rebuild their lives, and because some dealers will just close their doors now to hasten the inevitable and ease their pain.
Local charities and school extra-curricular programs in many of the local communities where dealers are being shut down will suffer because car dealers are traditionally their biggest supporters. Tens of thousands of jobs in small towns may fade away because they are related indirectly to the presence of these dealerships.
The bailouts didn't stop the bankruptcy, but we may lose a whole lot of taxpayers who won't be working who can't pay for the failure. Congratulations, Mr. President.
A lot of people have asked me my opinion of the legislative session in light of Kent Williams being Speaker of the House, and how I think things have gone so far. The question is especially timely since The Tennessean did a story on Williams this week.
I don't think I will ever completely get over what happened on January 13th. It is one thing to have heard about it on the news and shrugged one's shoulders, but it was quite another to have actually been there. No one who witnessed the three-ring circus that day can realistically believe that Kent Williams is Speaker of the House because, in his words, he "changed his mind" about voting for Jason Mumpower. It was clear that he did everything in his power not only to lie to Mumpower, but far more importantly to deceive the House Republican Caucus. If Williams had simply admitted the plan, which he had known about since last November, no one on the Republican side would have liked it, but they could have better dealt with it, in much the same way as if a Republican might have voted for Jimmy Naifeh.
It would be wrong to claim, however, that this session has been a disaster because Williams is Speaker. Disaster and daily discord is what many of us feared after the debacle in January. Readers likely recall that I feared that the General Assembly would become unworkable, because the atmosphere of that first week (which I said was akin to what the feel of the chamber is said to have been like shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War) would remain for the entire year and perhaps for the entire sitting of this General Assembly. I am compelled to admit that this isn't what has happened, and that in fact it hasn't even come close to being anything like it was in the history books.
An entire slew of bills has passed the House that would not have passed under the previous Democratic Leadership, largely because they never would have made it to the floor. Republicans have gotten huge portions of our collective agenda passed, including nearly every gun bill that we wanted, and will pass (for the first round) a Constitutional amendment that will be but the first step in the protection of every life in this State from conception until natural death.
Furthermore, Kent Williams has breathed new life into the ability of my own Representative to serve Jefferson County and our district:
"I think it's worked very, very well," said Rep.Frank Niceley, an East Tennessee Republican who believes Williams' approach harkens back to the bipartisanship in the state legislature a generation ago. "I think he's done a good job with that. There's nothing really fair about one person having control over everything."
Frank has good reason to feel the way that he does. Kent Williams has ended Frank's long isolation in the legislature under Jimmy Naifeh, who despised Frank Niceley, and returned Frank to the House Agriculture Committee from which Naifeh stripped him. Furthermore, Representative Niceley is now Mr. Chairman Niceley, Chairman of Agriculture's General Subcommittee.
Everything hasn't been sweetness and light under Williams, however. He hasn't voted with the Caucus at times when the Caucus has needed his decisive Speaker's vote on key legislation in committees after asking to be readmitted to the Republican Caucus in the wake of his own betrayal. At the very least he should stick with the Caucus after the Caucus stuck with him. Worse, however, Williams is allowing the Democrats to use him like a prophylactic-because they plan to throw him away like yesterday's trash if they get a majority:
Leaders of both parties, however, say that they would prefer to put their own people in charge and that they have the discipline to do so in the next election. "Given the choice, we'd rather be in power," [House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike] Turner said. "I think we're going to take it back."
It seems that despite Williams' dreams to the contrary, the Democrats who put him in power will throw him to the wind as soon as they have the chance. People in Carter County should pay attention, because any benefit they thought they could get from Kent Williams being Speaker could be short-lived.
Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey apparently wants to insure that he is not elected Governor of Tennessee next year, because he has once again backpedaled on the issue of whether or not Tennesseans should elect our Supreme Court justices as the Constitution requires:
Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he’s backing off of a proposal to have Tennessee Supreme Court justices stand in contested re-election campaigns.
The Blountville Republican tells The Associated Press that the contested elections have been a sticking point in negotiations on changes to the way the state appoints and retains its appeals court judges.
If Ron Ramsey continues on his present path of backpedaling to the trial lawyers and the political elitists in this State, he will very quickly lose his credibility with the conservative movement-something that he has banked on in order to have any hope of being our next Governor.
It is no secret that I like Ron Ramsey (in addition to being spot on about a number of important issues, he has the added advantage of being an incredibly nice person), and as several other people have pointed out to me this week, Ramsey is still by far and away the most conservative choice we have for Governor next year. However, I can't help but feeling that we are being thrown the good crumbs in this case.
It seems as though the Lieutenant Governor is hoping that conservatives will simply be satified with the crumbs we have gotten and to Hell with the rest of it. We got the gun bills we wanted, we will get SJR 127, and we should apparently just shut up and be happy with that. The difference between those things and the matter of State judicial selection is that anyone with a brain who understands Tennessee politics knows that if bills loosening gun laws and allowing for future pro-life legislation actually make it to the floor, they pass no matter which party controls the House and Senate-because as much as the liberals hate it, a Tennessee Democrat would be a Republican in many other States in this Union.
Judicial election, as opposed to selection was the great difference maker. The Tennessee Constitution says that we are supposed to elect our judges, so until we change the Constitution, Ron Ramsey and our legislative leadership need to keep their promise to the people of Tennessee and uphold the law.
I am watching the replay of Monday's House session, in which former House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh called House State and Local Government Committee Chairman Curry Todd "the Czar" for requesting that members hurry along their local government charter revisions before the Committee shuts down next week.
The Tennessean loves to print deceptive headlines such as "Abortion limits expected to pass," about a constitutional amendment which in and of itself contains precisely no limits on abortion:
The measure has already passed the Senate, where it has had minor trouble in previous sessions. But it had often stalled in the House, particularly in subcommittee.
The resolution was read on the House floor Monday evening, and will be read two more times before it's voted on by the full House.
"Ultimately, I think you're going to see that it will pass very easily," said Senate sponsor Diane Black, R-Gallatin.
Part of the reason for the expected passage is that the mostly Republican-backed proposal is receiving support from across the aisle.
"I think everybody knows where we are about this bill," said House sponsor Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville. "I think everyone knows it's going to pass."
It must be admitted that if the amendment passes, its language would definitely allow for the restrictions which it claims are passing to be enacted at some future point after the amendment is added to the Tennessee Constitution, which it would be if it passes a referendum that would be held on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, over five years from today. The same Tennessee Constitution that proponents of SJR 127 seek to amend requires that amendments to that Constitution must be approved on two separate occasions by two separate General Assemblies, and must pass the second time by a super-majority.
While it seems clear that 127 stands an excellent chance to pass the General Assembly twice, and then be placed before the voters for their approval, if the voters approve it (which in Tennessee is still a likely prospect), the earliest that the Legislature could even submit proposals to restrict abortion in this State is sometime afterTuesday, January 13th, 2015, when the 109th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee convenes under Lieutenant Governor Wedontknow and Speaker of the House Whotheheck.
Yet, proponents of abortion are being told by The Tennessean that they should panic now, because abortion restrictions which unfortunately do not exist have just been passed by both Houses of the Tennessee General Assembly.
When Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey said a couple of weeks ago that federal stimulus money was not going to solve Tennessee's budget crisis and that we had to prepare for deeper budget cuts, Democrats essentially called Ramsey a meanie who is out of touch:
"Anyone who suggests that the stimulus package is going to make things worse is out of touch with reality," said House Democratic Leader Gary Odom of Nashville.
Governor Ramsey warned that Phil Bredesen would make the "stunning" announcement that many of the cuts that he said would be off the table because of stimulus money would suddenly reappear. Well, lo and behold-
It appears Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey was on to something when he said about a week ago that the Bredesen administration would soon be announcing that the state’s budget is in such bad shape, because of the worsening local economy, and despite the federal stimulus money that still more cutbacks would be necessary.
Sure enough now the Associated Press (May 7) is quoting Governor Bredesen as saying that layoffs and employee furloughs are back on the table as possible new cuts in the state’s spending plan. AP also quotes Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz saying that the state is still looking for the bottom of this economic downturn.
And here I thought Ramsey was out of touch, but it was Ron Ramsey who said that this is what we would see occur before the budget was even deliberated. Ramsey is not a psychic, he merely understood what any of us who has a yeoman's knowledge of economic reality is forced to face-that the President's "stimulus" isn't going to stimulate anything but more government spending, and in the end will leave us in an even deeper rut than that in which we currently find ourselves.
I'm not sure Ramsey should get credit for stating the obvious, but it is wrong of the Democrats to pretend that this federal money that is coming to us on the backs of the next generation is going to change one single solitary thing about our State budget situation. Delayed reality is still what is actually happening, and to attempt to tell the people otherwise is to perpetrate a fraud upon them.
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