You've seen this picture from Buffalobeast everywhere else, and now you're seeing it here.
Which brings us to today's head-scratcher.So we had this hideously awful auto bailout package, which suffered most obviously from the fact that (a) the Big Three still have no real plan of how they're going to spend the money, and (b) the Car Czar would not be able to make enforce decisions, but could only "negotiate" with the various interest groups involved, who once they had their bailout might well have told the Czar to take a flying leap.
So then the hideously awful bailout package was then shot down by the Republican Senator from Honda--- sorry, from Mercedes--- sorry, from Hyundai--- sorry, from Alabama, where all those companies have assembly plants, and who could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that his own state would prosper all the more once the Big Three were out of the picture.
Though that's not what he said. What he said was that he wanted the workers to agree to cut open their chests, remove their still-bleeding hearts, and place them on altars to be smashed by sledgehammers weilded by himself and other Deep South Republicans, and do all of this before any negotiations took place. (They had obviously learned this "We demand that you surrender before we will even talk to you" negotiation strategy from George W., who is now probably wondering why no one ever talks to him.)
So now, because the catastrophe of a bailout looks to be followed by yet another economic catastrophe as the Three and all their suppliers and dealers die, throwing even more millions out of work, it looks as if George W. will have to rescue the Three on his own, without help from his own party.
(Who knew that George W. would end his presidency as such a leftist? Certainly not I.)
But while this drama is being played out, a company called Better Place is doing an end-run around the whole miserable automobile infrastructure, using a strategy derived from--- get this--- mobile phones.
The plan works like this:
1. Generate electricity from renewable wind and solar.
2. Sell the power to electric cars at power stations set up throughout the country. You can either plug the car into a socket or swap out the old battery for one that's fully-charged. The user buys miles for his car in the same way he buys minutes for his cellphone.
The car you use is either bought or leased from Renault or Nissan, who are participating in the program.
Charging and battery-swap stations are even now being set up in Denmark, Israel, Australia, the State of Hawaii, and the Bay Area. Stands are also going to be set up in Yokohama, which is Japan's Detroit.
According to this article by Thomas L. Friedman, "our bailout of Detroit will be remembered as the equivalent of pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the mail-order-catalogue business on the eve of the birth of eBay. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into the CD music business on the eve of the birth of the iPod and iTunes . . . "
(Friedman's overstating here. No matter what your energy model, somebody still has to make the cars. In a factory, we presume.)
"What Agassi, the founder of Better Place, is saying is that there is a new way to generate mobility, not just music, using the same platform. It just takes the right kind of auto battery — the iPod in this story — and the right kind of national plug-in network — the iTunes store — to make the business model work for electric cars at six cents a mile. The average American is paying today around 12 cents a mile for gasoline transportation, which also adds to global warming and strengthens petro-dictators . . . "
"If we miss the chance to win the race for Car 2.0 because we keep mindlessly bailing out Car 1.0, there will be no one to blame more than Detroit’s new shareholders: we the taxpayers."
Do I hear an Amen, somebody?