Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Helping the Hungry

One week from today, I will lead my colleagues at WACH-TV in Columbia in our annual effort to help the Harvest Hope Food Bank. The 11th Annual Share Your Holiday Food Drive takes place on December 2 at First Baptist Church (Downtown), Palmetto GBA (Northeast Richland County) and Food Lion (Lexington) to raise food and money for Harvest Hope.

When this event started, we set a humble goal of raising 57,000 (our channel number x 1000) pounds of food. I think we doubled that. The following year, people in the community really got behind the effort and ever since, we've been able to raise the equivalent of up to 500,000 pounds of food.

It's testament to the power of the Midlands community and the resolve of the good people at Harvest Hope to make sure families-- down on the their luck, struggling to make ends meet, particularly this year when we are enduring the worst economic time since the Great Depression-- do not go hungry. On Monday, Harvest Hope provided assistance to more than 2,000 families. On a cold, rainy morning, the line stretched from the front door, around the parking lot, out to Shop Road. A similar scene played out on Tuesday.

The need is always great during the holidays. The current economy has pumped up that need dramatically.

If you are blessed to still have your job, a decent salary or wage, and a healthy family able to eat good, hot meals every day, please take a moment to think about those who find themselves in less fortunate positions by no fault of theirs. Find it within yourself to donate to Harvest Hope Food Bank this week; next week; regularly, if possible. You will help the organization help so many others in your community, some of whom may be your neighbors.

Oh, Good Evening!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lou Dobbs Quits CNN

Lou Dobbs' longtime presence at CNN has ended, again. During his Lou Dobbs Tonight broadcast on November 11th, Dobbs announced to viewers that he reached agreement with CNN to leave, immediately, with two years remaining on his contract.

Dobbs joined CNN, at its inception, in 1980 as chief economics correspondent and anchor of Moneyline. He also served as corporate executive vice president. Dobbs left the network in 1999 after clashing with then-CNN president Rick Kaplan. After Kaplan's 2000 departure, Dobbs returned to CNN in 2001.

Back in the day, I always admired Dobbs' smooth and virtually unflappable anchoring style. But, in recent years, the inclusion of his often overbearing personal opinions into his broadcasts really turned me off and as a result, I turned him off. I can't tell you how many times I cringed while watching him put CNN correspondents in awkward positions by asking them leading, opinionated questions in crosstalk forcing them to sidestep in order to maintain their own on-air, unbiased credibility as journalists.

Whatever Dobbs decides to do moving forward, I'm sure he'll have a loyal following of like-minded viewers and listeners (he does a daily radio show) and he will continue to have influence and impact on America and the world. But his departure from CNN is a welcomed move for this news person.

Oh, Good Evening!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Everything on Silver Platter

I was stunned on Sunday to read an Associated Press story on Jenna Bush-Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, being hired by NBC News as a correspondent for the morning "Today" show. WOW! A few weeks earlier, it was ABC News hiring comedian Steve Harvey as a special correspondent for "Good Morning America." WOW! Great gigs if you can land them. Bush-Hager and Harvey did, but on what crednentials were they hired? AP actually wrote that NBC had hired someone "with White House experience" in reference to Jenna Bush-Hager. I am amazed.

When I got into broadcast journalism more than 20 years ago, I was told-- and pretty much already knew-- that I would have to pay some dues to get where I really wanted to be in my career. I would graduate from college, likely secure my first newsroom job at a small market television station and build from there. The notion that I would walk across the stage at Southern University, receive my diploma, then walk right on to the anchor desk or the executive producer chair, or even the news director's office was a pipe dream.

Well, that was 1988. Clearly, things have changed in 2009. We have managers running news operations with no news backgrounds; we have news executive producers who have never been news producers; and, we have egomaniac "millennials," as they're called, coming out of colleges, not only thinking they should immediately get a big job, paying big money, they expect to get a big job and big money right away. The sad thing is-- they're getting them. It has become quite obvious that paying dues is a dead concept and viewers are the big losers. The journalism is not of the caliber it should be and people tune out, not in.

Jenna Bush-Hager and Steve Harvey have no backgrounds in journalism. They got their news jobs based on celebrity. Knowing several colleagues who have lost jobs at networks and television stations across the country, I don't have to think very long or very hard about how many qualified, experienced broadcast journalists are available who would love to have the NBC "Today" and ABC "Good Morning America" opportunities. All I can say is, if things continue down this horse path, it's going to be tough to avoid all the manure piles.

Oh, Good Evening!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Would You Like A Pony?

Ally Bank is a new online institution using a great series of commercials to drum up business. The pony commercial is of particular interest.

While it is funny, it includes what some believe are subtle hints at discrimination. The favoritism shown to one girl over the other is obvious and understood in conveying the message of the spot. Both "customers" are girls, they both appear to be white but the "favored" one is blonde and the "less favored" one is brunette.

This also has some feeling the subtle undertone has racial connotations with the blonde girl representing white customers (favored) and the brunette girl representing black customers (less favored). What do you think? Watch the commercial and comment.

Oh, Good Evening!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hurry Up and Wait!

Don't you just love rushing to the airport to arrive well in advance of your scheduled flight only to find out while checking in that your departure is delayed two hours? That's my situation as I sit here at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas typing this entry. The red eye flight scheduled to leave at 10:25 PM will not leave until, at least, 12:40 AM.

Oh, Good Morning!

Monday, June 08, 2009

An Apple a year...

Apple does it again. First, the company introduced the iPhone and priced it at $600.  A year later, it released the more powerful iPhone 3G model and reduced the price to $199 for an 8GB version and $299 for a 16GB version.  Now, a year after that, it's introducing an upgraded iPhone 3Gs with new features, including video capabilities, at the same prices, but with more (16GB/32GB) capacity! Plus, the iPhone 3G, which I bought less than a year ago, will now sell for $99!

This really comes as no surprise.  Technology companies have been doing this for years.  They put out the hot, new, must-have gadget with an introductory price that makes it affordable only to those with an abundance of disposable income, then within a year they release a better version at a lower price and either discontinue the original model or they slash the price making its resale value next to nothing and, in this case, the cell phone companies make it even more expensive to upgrade if you haven't completed your mandatory two year contract commitment on the original purchase.

Why do we allow them to get away with this?  If you ask me, it would make more sense for the $99 version to be the first version released with all subsequent upgrades adding features which would then justify price increases.

Oh, Good Evening!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Michael Vick Released from Prison

Suspended NFL quarterback Michael is out of a federal prison and on his way to Virginia to complete his sentence under two months of home confinement.  What's next for the one time star of the Atlanta Falcons?  Can he return to the NFL?  Should he be allowed to return to the NFL?

Video from: Network

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wanda Sykes at the 2009 White House Correspondents' Dinner

We conducted a web poll on the WACH-TV website about Wanda Sykes' performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington last weekend. Her jokes about Rush Limbaugh have drawn considerable criticism.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Oh, Happy Day!

The City of Detroit has new leadership after businessman and NBA great Dave Bing won a special election to complete the remainder of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's term.  Bing defeated interim Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. who moved to the mayor's office from his position as city council president when Kilpatrick resigned last September.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Photo: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Karen Livingston sent me this photo of her brand new Chevrolet Camaro SS via the WACH-TV website.  She and her husband have Metro Columbia's first new Camaro, delivered last week.

Congratulations, Karen!!!  Let us know your thoughts about the car.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's Official: Lions Get New Look

The Detroit Lions introduced their new modified logo and uniforms at a news conference this morning.  Read the release.  See the photos.  

Now, if they can do something else new-- WIN!

Oh, Good Evening!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Image Overhaul

The Detroit Lions are, in fact, introducing a new logos and uniforms for the 2009 season.  The announcement will come on Monday.  "Bubbles," the leaping lion looks more aggressive.  The uniforms appear to have only minor adjustments.  We'll see what they look like on the players.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

GM News from New York Auto Show

General Motors makes big announcements at the New York International Auto Show including pricing for the 2010 Buick Lacrosse sedan.  I saw this vehicle on display at the recent Atlanta Auto Show and it really looks good.  This may be the first Buick that I would consider driving.

Oh, Good Evening!

Here's the GM release:


New Buick LaCrosse Offers Generous List of Standard Equipment in a Package Priced Less Than $28,000

NEW YORK – Buick today announced pricing for the 2010 LaCrosse luxury sedan. It starts at $27,835 for the CX model, including a $750 destination charge.

Standard equipment includes a new, technologically advanced 3.0L direct injection (DI) V-6, premium cloth seats and 17-inch wheels. The 3.0L engine generates 255 horsepower (190 kW) and 217 lb.-ft. of torque (294 Nm) and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

“The new LaCrosse, with its luxurious interior, premium craftsmanship and personal technologies, represents a strong value in today’s changing market,” said Susan Docherty, Buick-Pontiac-GMC vice president. “It is the next step in Buick’s renaissance that is drawing all-new customers to this revitalized brand.”

Pricing and details for LaCrosse’s other models includes:

  • $30,395 for CXL FWD (including destination). Building on the CX model’s equipment, it includes the 3.0L DI V-6 and six-speed automatic, but adds leather heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lamps, outside rearview mirror with LED turn indicators and puddle lamps, and 18-inch alloy wheels
  • $32,570 for CXL AWD (including destination). Equipment is similar to the CXL FWD model, but includes a fully automatic, intelligent all-wheel-drive system that works in tandem with the anti-lock braking system and StabiliTrak electronic stability control system to deliver sure-footed traction in almost all driving conditions
  • $33,765 for CXS (including destination). Equipment includes a 3.6L direct injection V-6; perforated, leather heated and cooled seats, and chrome-plated 18-inch wheels (19-inch wheels are optional). The 3.6L engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and generates 280 horsepower (209 kW) and 259 lb.-ft. of torque (351 Nm)

The 2010 LaCrosse’s sculpted design is instantly recognizable as a Buick, with signature ‘sweep spear’ body-side styling, a waterfall grille and portholes,” said Docherty. “Inside, premium materials create an inviting and comfortable environment, with ice blue ambient lighting used throughout – from the center console to the instrument panel and door panels.”

A roster of standard and available features delivers a responsive, refined driving experience that is complemented by personal technologies. Examples include:

  • European-designed chassis and suspension systems that deliver a confident driving experience
  • Real-time damping suspension system
  • High-intensity discharge headlamps with adaptive forward lighting
  • Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity
  • Rear-seat DVD entertainment system
  • Six standard air bags, including roof-mounted head curtain side air bags
Complementing all of LaCrosse’s features is Buick’s signature QuietTuning, an engineering process that reduces, blocks and absorbs interior noise to provide a distraction-free passenger environment.

LaCrosse production begins early this summer at the Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kan.

# # #

Randy Fox
Buick Communications
Phone: 313-667-4128
Mobile: 313-378-5872

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Apple - iPhone OS 3.0 Preview

Apple is preparing to release the latest iPhone operating system. OS 3.0 will include several upgrades inspired by iPhone users. For a preview, click the link below. The presentation is nearly 90-minutes long with the first 60-70 minutes directed more at software developers. If you just want to know the great upgrades iPhone users will enjoy, fast forward through the developer stuff.

Apple - iPhone - iPhone OS 3.0 Preview: "Watch the presentation"

Monday, April 06, 2009

2009 Final Four Championship

I'm disappointed Michigan State couldn't pull off the win, but congratulations to North Carolina. The Tar Heels played an outstanding game.  And, a HUGE congratulations to the City of Detroit for successfully hosting another major sporting event. 

Friday, April 03, 2009

Iowa Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Iowa becomes first Midwestern state and fourth in the U.S. to allow same-sex marriage.

Oh, Good Evening!

Sen. Jim DeMint's effort to block future TARP help for automakers fails

Southern lawmakers who have foreign auto plants in their states do not support helping domestic automakers through these difficult times.  Republican U.S. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, whose state is home to a BMW plant, offered an amendment to the budget resolution that would have barred future Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money from being distributed to automakers to help them restructure and avoid bankruptcy.

The amendment failed, 31-66 with 2 senators not voting.  Click to see roll call results. You will notice that fellow Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker from Mississippi (Nissan), Sens. David Shelby and Jeff Sessions of Alabama (Mercedes Benz, Honda, Hyundai), and Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia (Kia), all joined DeMint and fellow South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in voting "Yea."  Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee (Nissan, Volkswagen) were the only Southerners with foreign auto plants in their state to vote "Nay."

Oh, Good Evening!

The below release details DeMint's effort.

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2009
Office of U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina)
Contact: Wesley Denton (202) 228-5079

DeMint to Force Vote on Ending Auto Bailouts
Budget Amendment would ban further use of taxpayer funds to prop up failing auto manufacturers

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, announced plans to offer an amendment to the budget resolution to end bailouts for automobile manufacturers like General Motors and Chrysler. Specifically, the amendment prohibits the use of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to provide further bailouts to auto manufacturers.

“The auto bailouts have made a bad situation worse by wasting billions of dollars and delaying inevitable restructuring for these failing companies,” said Senator DeMint. “We reached a point of absurdity this week when the nation’s highest office was turned into a car dealership. It’s time to end this embarrassing socialist experiment.

“America is founded on free people living under established laws, but this administration is changing the laws of our economy on a daily basis and it’s anyone’s guess which business is next in line for a government takeover. This vote is about drawing a line in the sand to tell the administration it can no longer micromanage our economy with unchecked power. We must put the brakes on this out of control socialization of our economy.

“Not only are the bailouts unlawful and unfair to taxpayers, but they haven’t improved the economy and are corrosive to private industry. The administration has used the bailouts as an excuse to oust the CEO of a private company, while ignoring the unions that dragged the automakers to the market floor. The union bosses who forced inflated wages and unsustainable legacy costs onto GM and Chrysler have curiously escaped the administration’s all-powerful grip.

“Congress never gave the President the authority to take over the American auto industry. Instead, Congress rejected the auto bailouts last year and urged GM and Chrysler to enter bankruptcy to manage their crises under the same laws used by other companies.

“Now that these companies have burned through more than $17 billion from taxpayers, they are brazenly asking for at least $21 billion more. Americans are fed up with their tax dollars being wasted on failed companies while their families struggle to make ends meet.

“I’m pleased the administration’s auto task force has finally agreed that bankruptcy is necessary, but I’m afraid their version of bankruptcy will be guided by politics not economics or the rule of law.

“America did not become the world’s leading economic power by allowing Washington bureaucrats to centrally manage our economy. We became strong and prosperous through free-market capitalism that rewards innovation, competition and hard work. We cannot reward failure and expect our economy to succeed.”


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ford announces consumer confidence plan

Ford Motor Company has also announced a consumer confidence plan.  Executives announced the Ford Advantage Plan designed to spur consumer sales. At quick glance, this program is similar to the GM Total Confidence plan, also announced this morning, and the Hyundai Assurance plan announced earlier this year.

I notice key differences in the respective Ford and GM payment protection aspects of the programs.  Ford offers to make up to 12 monthly payments of $700 or less if a customer loses their job due to economic issues.  The GM plan covers up to nine payments of $500 or less during the first two years of ownership. However, Ford does not appear to offer equity protection for trade-ins or a service comparable to GM's one year of OnStar protection.  

The Ford news release is below.


Ford leads the industry in boosting consumer confidence with the new Ford Advantage Plan Ford will cover payments for up to 12 months on any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle if customers lose their jobs. 0 percent financing is also offered through Ford Motor Credit on select Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.
Ford also is working with its dealers to introduce a local charity support program
Click here to watch Ford Advantage Plan video.

DEARBORN, Mich., March 31, 2009 – Ford Motor Company is introducing the most comprehensive program available to boost consumers’ buying confidence and begin rebuilding the American economy with the new Ford Advantage Plan.

The plan gives customers another reason to “Drive One” with payment protection of up to 12 months on any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle, 0 percent financing on select vehicles and added local charity support.

“Consumers remain anxious about the economy and their own outlook for the future. We at Ford want to do our part to rebuild faith in the marketplace by offering payment protection on every new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle for up to a year if our customers lose their jobs,” said Ken Czubay, vice president of Sales and Marketing.

“Just as important is additional charity support we will provide in conjunction with our local dealers, who are mindful of how non-profit organizations are struggling during this economic downturn,” Czubay said. “Ford and our dealers have always stepped up to take an active lead role in the community, and that’s why we are also including a charity element as part of the Ford Advantage Plan.”

Ford Commitment to Local Communities
In 2008, more than 18,000 Ford U.S. employees volunteered 100,000 hours to help people in their local communities – that’s the equivalent of nearly $2 million dollars of in-kind corporate contributions. To continue the momentum, in April, Ford will introduce a program in partnership with its dealers throughout the country to assist local charities impacted by the economic downturn. Ford will announce complete details of this expansive community outreach effort in April.

All Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles are covered under the Ford Advantage Plan. The program runs from today through June 1.

In addition to providing 12 months of payment protection of up to $700 per month, customers can take advantage of 0 percent financing on select Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles through Ford’s financing partner, Ford Motor Credit.

Additional Peace of Mind – Ford Quality, Safety and Fuel Efficiency
When selecting their next Ford vehicle, customers also can take comfort in knowing that Ford’s newest vehicles are the best or among the best in fuel economy and cost of ownership.

The Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan are America’s most fuel-efficient mid-size sedans, and the Fusion has a higher residual value than the Toyota Camry after three years of ownership, according to the Automotive Leasing Guide (ALG).

Ford maintains strong residual values throughout its product lineup. Vehicles with strong residual values retain more of their value at the end of their lease contract period. The 2009 Ford F-150 recently received a “Residual Value” award from ALG for retaining the highest percentage of its original price among 2009 full-size light duty pickups at the end of a conventional three-year lease, based on ALG projections. The Ford Escape has a 10-point residual value advantage versus the Chevrolet Equinox after three years of ownership, and the Ford Focus has the highest residual value of any domestic product in the small car segment.

“Ford’s improvements in quality have contributed significantly to our year-over-year improvements in residual values,” added Czubay.

In addition, Ford’s quality is now on par with Toyota and Honda, and Ford continues to have more top safety picks than any other brand.

“This is the strongest product lineup we have ever offered,” Czubay said. “When you combine these great products with payment protection, 0 percent financing and support for local charities, customers can feel confident about getting back into the market for a new car or truck.”

# # #

Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 213,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s wholly owned brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit

Saving the U.S. Auto Industry

After watching satellite interviews that President Obama did with each of Detroit's major news broadcasts, I glanced through the government's "Path to Viability for GM and Chrysler" document.

If I worked for Chrysler or one of its suppliers or dealers, I would start looking for a new job immediately.  The Obama Administration is very blunt in saying, "Chrysler is not viable as stand alone company."  If the merger with Fiat is not completed within the newly mandated 30-day window, bankruptcy is likely inevitable for Chrysler.

As for GM, it appears the Administration would like to do all it can to save GM but not under its current structure or the structure described in its February 17th viability report to the government.  For instance, the Administration says GM needs a more aggressive operational restructuring and that plan "must rapidly achieve full competitiveness with foreign transplants and more aggressively implement significant manufacturing, headcount, brand, nameplate and retail network restructurings."
That sounds like more plant consolidation, additional layoffs, even fewer brand and model offerings, and closing down dealers.

In its February report, GM indicated that it would sell or phase out HUMMER and Saturn, sell Saab, and likely phase out Pontiac.  That would leave GM with four core brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.   But, with the government calling for even fewer brands, it is very possible that we could see Buick and GMC go away, too. With only Chevrolet and Cadillac surviving, GM would operate much like Toyota, Honda and Nissan which each market two brands in North America-- a standard bearer and a luxury line.

The Obama Administration plan also calls for technology leadership stating that "the new GM will have a significant focus on developing high fuel-efficiency cars that have broad consumer appeal because they are cost-effective, have good performance and are reliable, durable and safe."  General Motors already delivers on good performance; reliability and durability are dramatically better than they were in the 80's and 90's; and safety ratings are good.  Fuel efficiency is debatable.  GM boast 17 models that get 30+ MPG, but most of those aren't models that I would buy.  There is no thrill derived from driving a Chevy Aveo.  I'm not interested in driving a car with a four cylinder engine that only produces 106 horsepower and takes forever to get to 60 miles per hour.  Give me a V-8 equipped, 400 horsepower Camaro any day!

I also don't want a nerdy looking Toyota Prius.  Don't get me wrong.  The Prius is a good car. Everyone I know who has one, loves it.  I would love getting 48 MPG too. But, only if the car looked and drives like a Pontiac G8.  Also, while trucks and SUVs-- once popular and top-selling-- are not longer the darlings on dealership lots, there will always be a market for them because of their roominess and versatility. 

The bottom line: I really don't want the government telling me what kind of car I can or can't buy. Which means I don't want the government telling the auto companies what kinds of cars they can or can't manufacture.

Oh, Good Evening!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama Administration forces GM CEO Rick Wagoner out

It appears The White House is laying down the gauntlet on General Motors and Chrysler as the U.S. auto industry tries to remake itself. Chrysler has 30 days to work out a partnership deal with Italian automaker Fiat or it can forget about additional government help. General Motors, on the other hand, has 60 days to complete a restructuring plan and the company will do so without Rick Wagoner at the helm.

Associated Press and NBC News report the Obama Administration on Friday asked Wagoner to step aside as chairman and chief executive officer. He complied on Sunday issuing the below statement to GM employees.  President Obama, speaking from the White House this morning, said this move "is not a condemnation of Mr. Wagoner" whom the President acknowledged, devoted his career to General Motors.  Mr. Obama calls this a necessary step forward for the company. 

My family ties to General Motors drive my deeper interest in that company's future. However, knowing and understanding the importance of Chrysler and Ford to the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan, and this nation, I want all three companies to survive and once again thrive.

If this latest move is in the best interest of GM, then so be it. But it will be interesting to see if the Obama Administration now lights the same type of fire under the big banks and other Wall Street companies, like AIG. It seems unfair that one industry receiving federal help to survive is treated differently than another on the same dole.

Oh, Good Evening!

Rick Wagoner's Statement to General Motors Employees

For posting: March 30, 2009 6:10 am

GM Message from Rick Wagoner

On Friday I was in Washington for a meeting with Administration officials. In the course of that meeting, they requested that I “step aside” as CEO of GM, and so I have.

Fritz Henderson is an excellent choice to be the next CEO of GM. Having worked closely with Fritz for many years, I know that he is the ideal person to lead the company through the completion of our restructuring efforts. His knowledge of the global industry and the company are exceptional, and he has the intellect, energy, and support among GM’ers worldwide to succeed. I wish him well, and I stand ready to support him, and interim Non-Executive Chairman Kent Kresa, in every way possible.

I also want to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who supported GM and me during my time as CEO. I deeply appreciate the excellent counsel and commitment of the GM Board and the strong support of our many partners including our terrific dealers, suppliers, and community leaders. I am grateful as well to the union leaders with whom I have had the chance to work closely to implement numerous tough but necessary restructuring agreements.

Most important of all I want to express my deepest appreciation to the extraordinary team of GM employees around the world. You have been a tremendous source of inspiration and pride to me, and I will be forever grateful for the courage and commitment you have shown as we have confronted the unprecedented challenges of the past few years. GM is a great company with a storied history. Ignore the doubters because I know it is also a company with a great future.

Renee Rashid-Merem
313-665-3128 (o)
313-701-8560 (c)

Tom Wilkinson
313-378-6233 (c)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Possible New Lions Logo

According to a blog posting on The Detroit News website, an item showed up on on Tuesday with what appeared to be a new variation of the Lions' longtime logo. Also included in the story, the above logo which includes a trademark indicator.

Nobody will confirm or deny that the team is getting a marketing makeover. A new logo would be nice, but what Lions fans really want is a new team with a new attitude and new results-- WINS! A logo will do nothing to provide those things.

Oh, Good Evening!

Mayhew: Lions open to trading top pick


Mayhew: Lions open to trading top pick

Oh, Good Evening!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


GM is recalling more than 1700 HUMMER H3T pickup trucks because the gas tank could fall off. Affected customers should receive notice from HUMMER. Dealers will fix the problem at no charge beginning April 10, 2009.

This not good news at a time when General Motors needs everything to go right.

Oh, Good Evening!

Twitter Tweets Out!

A sign that Twitter may need to grow beyond Tweety size.

Oh, Good Evening!

DirecTV Agrees to Pay $4B to Extend Exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket Deal

The National Football League clearly knows the power of its brand and DirecTV clearly knows the power of exclusivity.  The two entities have reached a deal to extend the contract allowing the satellite television provider the sole rights to carry NFL Sunday Ticket for four years.  The agreed upon price: $4 billion!  According to the Wall Street Journal, that is an increase of $300 million over the current deal, which expires after the 2010 season.

I am a longtime DirecTV subscriber.  I signed up in February 2000, shortly after the conclusion of the 1999 NFL season.  The driving force behind my decision was a substandard cable service within the apartment complex where I was living.  It was not Time Warner Cable which serves the rest of the local community.  Equally important in my decision-- NFL Sunday Ticket.  I relished the notion that I could watch my beloved, however mired in sub-mediocrity, Detroit Lions from the comfort of my living room each week.

To this day, DirecTV keeps my business because of NFL Sunday Ticket.  But with each contract renewal between the provider and the NFL has come subscription price increases.  I seem to remember paying about $170 per season when I first signed up for Sunday Ticket.  Now, it's pushing $300.  If this 43% rights fee increase translate into a 43% subscription fee increase, fans are looking at a possible $429 per season tab.

The NFL has already priced most fans out of the stadium experience.  I hope they don't do the same to Sunday Ticket customers.

Oh, Good Evening!

Monday, March 23, 2009

NFL Draft: The Lions Are On The Clock

The NFL Draft is next month.  The Detroit Lions, who went 0-16 last season, have the #1 pick.  There are reports that team management has already started negotiation with their choice, they just aren't saying who that choice is at this point.  All I can say is, THEY BETTER NOT SCREW THIS UP!!!!!

Oh, Good Evening!

Lions begin negotiating with No. 1 overall draft pick

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, March 19, 2009

GM Puts Light Duty V8 Turbo Diesel Engine on Hold

Another casualty of General Motors' financial crisis is the Duramax 4.5L V-8 turbo diesel engine. GM released a statement last week saying the engine is now on indefinite hold. "GM remains optimistic that the Duramax 4.5L V-8 diesel may be a viable option in its future portfolio," the statement, released March 11th, said.

GM had planned to introduce this engine in the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. Chevrolet and GMC will continue to offer a heavy duty Duramax 6.6L V-8 diesel, which GM claims is class-leading in both horsepower and torque.

I was eagerly anticipating this light duty diesel because it had also been mentioned as a likely engine option on the HUMMER H2, possibly an Alpha model. But, we all know that won't happen since HUMMER isn't going to survive, at least not with GM.

Oh, Good Evening!

Monday, March 16, 2009

GM Launches 2010 Chevy Camaro

The chief engineer for the Camaro provides a video tour of the new muscle car.

This car is HOTT! Check out the Camaro Microsite.

Oh, Good Evening!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Boston Legal

Best Buy has the first four seasons of "Boston Legal" on sale for $19.99 each this week. So, I took advantage of the discount and bought seasons One and Four (I already had Two and Three) and I'm not watching the first season. I have always liked this show. Great stories with just the right mix of drama and comedy. James Spader is great as Alan Shore and William Shatner is the bomb as Denny Crane!!!!!

Oh, Good Evening!

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Daily Show Ruffles CNBC's Feathers

The video speaks for itself.

Oh, Good Evening!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Farewell Circuit City

The end of an electronics retail era is just days away.  Circuit City, now in liquidation, shuts down completely on Sunday.

It saddens me to see the chain shut down, mostly because 34,000 people lost their jobs.  While Circuit City was not my primary destination for electronics purchases, I bought three digital televisions and many other smaller items over the years.  I always got good service from the Columbia stores and the times when I had problems with one of the televisions I purchased, they resolved the problems in ways that exceeded my expectations.

Having said all of that, the liquidation sale was disappointing from the standpoint of being able to find great deals.  I seriously considered buying another television but when the liquidation prices were higher than the former regular prices, I passed.  But, I was able to enhance my fledgling Blu-Ray disc collection.

Oh, Good Evening!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Kitna Katapulted

As I expected, quarterback Jon Kitna will not suit up for the Detroit Lions again. Detroit has traded Kitna to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for starting cornerback Anthony Henry. Kitna suffered a back injury and played in only four games last season before the Lions placed him on injured reserve; a move the veteran QB said was not necessary.  Now, moving to Dallas, the 36-year old Kitna could find himself once again throwing passes to receiver Roy Williams.  Of course, Tony Romo would have to break another pinkie.

Oh, Good Evening!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I know times are tough and General Motors is struggling to stay afloat, but news of the company's viability plan to the government is very disappointing. I have found it difficult to accept that I will probably not be able to get another HUMMER when my current H3 Alpha lease ends. Now, with news that GM will likely only keep the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC divisions active, my choices for sticking with GM are drastically reduced.

I love having an SUV, but don't want to return to a full-sized model. I did the HUMMER H2 for almost three years and though I really enjoyed the vehicle, I hated what I had to pay to keep gas in the tank. I suppose I can switch to a Tahoe or Yukon.

As for cars, when and if I trade in my Mercedes-Benz SL500, I will consider a Corvette or Camaro from Chevy or a CTS from Cadillac. If GM decides to continue the Pontiac line, which is a slim possibility, the G8 becomes an option, too. I'm a year away from an SUV decision and who knows what the situation will be for GM and for me, personally. At this point, we'll just have to wait and see.

Oh, Good Evening!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2009 Inauguration: 44

Thank you, Mister President, for taking on the burden of leadership.  May God guide each of your steps along the path you now walk.  Amen.

2009 Inauguration: Emotions Flow

We are still two hours from Barack Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States and I can tell that I will need to keep tissue handy.  Seeing him and the future First Lady step out of car to be greeted by President and Mrs. Bush and welcomed into the White House for coffee produced my first tears of the day.  It's really happening.  A man not much older than I, whose skin is not much darker than mine, elected by a majority of all the people of this nation, is about to become our president.  God is good!

Oh, Good Evening!

2009 Inauguration: Presidential Wheels

When Barack Obama rides down Pennsylvania Avenue during his inaugural parade, he will do so in a brand new limousine that the Secret Service calls "The Beast."  I prefer to call it "Cadillac One."  Look at it! Absolutely stunning!  Truly befitting the world's most powerful leader.

Built on a GM heavy duty truck platform, with at least five inches of armor plating and glass so thick you almost can't see through it (exact specifications are classified), this latest presidential limo is said to weigh more than 10,000 pounds.  It carries forward Cadillac's new, younger appealing, progressive look including the grille and headlights design first seen on the Escalade SUV and CTS sedan.  Just perfect for a young, progressive, historic commander-in-chief.

The new "Cadillac One" was to be a prelude to the next generation full size DTS sedan.  However, GM has reportedly shelved development due to lackluster sales of the current DTS, brought on by sky-high gasoline prices in 2008 and the economic downturn.  We will have to wait and see if things change and a variation of this shows up on Cadillac dealer showroom floors.

With President Obama receiving the brand new model, look for Vice President Biden to inherit the 2005 DTS limousine that President Bush used during his second term.  Not a bad hand-me-down!

Oh, Good Evening!

Transition of Power: The Bush Dynasty

Consider this-- A Bush has been in the executive branch of American government for 20 of the last 28 years and in the Oval Office for 12 of the last 20 years.

Reagan Administration:  Vice President George H. W. Bush, 1981-1989 (8 years)
Bush (41) Administration:  President George H. W. Bush, 1989-1993 (4 years)
Bush (43) Administration:  President George W. Bush, 2001-2009  (8 years)

Oh, Good Evening!

Transition of Power: The George W. Bush Administration Ends

In a matter of hours President Bush and Vice President Cheney leave office after eight years on their jobs.  

President Bush is only the fourth commander-in-chief to complete two full terms since ratification of the 22nd amendment.  But, he leaves office with a dismal 22-percent approval rating, the lowest since President Harry Truman departed The White House in 1953 and among the lowest in history.  That figure is a stark contrast to Bush's record high approval rating of 92-percent after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  The president says he does not pay attention to these polls or the criticism he has endured over the years.  Somehow, I doubt that.

When it comes to POTUS 43 and VPOTUS 46, some people love them, others hate them, many are in the middle.  One thing is certain-- both men volunteered themselves and their families to live and work in the prison-like fish bowl that is the Executive Branch of our government.  I would like to think they did what they thought was best for the nation, always giving their all in making difficult decisions.   As we prepare to welcome POTUS 44 and VPOTUS 47-- Barack Obama and Joe Biden-- I want to thank President Bush and Vice President Cheney for their years of service and wish them and their families all the best as they move on to the next phases of their lives.

Oh, Good Evening!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009 AFC Championship: Steelers Win!

Two AFC titles in four years-- the Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the Super Bowl!  Congratulations to the new AFC champions!  Three years after winning Super Bowl XL in Detroit, the Steelers will go for their sixth title against the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa, Florida.  Mike Tomlin becomes the youngest coach to lead a team to the Super Bowl and he will look to become the second African-American coach to win the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Oh, Good Evening!

2009 NFC Championship: Cardinals Win!

What a difference a year can make.  From hosting the Super Bowl in 2008 to playing in the Super Bowl in 2009, congratulations to the new NFC champions-- the Arizona Cardinals!  Maybe there's hope for my Detroit Lions.

Oh, Good Evening!

2009 Detroit Auto Show: Volkswagen BlueSport

Volkswagen unveiled a hot concept at the North American International Auto show call the BlueSport Roadster.  It's a sleek, open-air sports car with a clean diesel power plant.  VW says the 2.0 liter turbodiesel engine puts out 180 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque and gets 50 miles per gallon on the highway.  

Right now, there are no plans to produce the BlueSport Roadster but the Detroit Free Press reports VW executives are excited about the car.  From its looks and specs, I'm excited, too!

Oh, Good Evening!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009 Detroit Auto Show: Buick LaCrosse

General Motors has another winner with the newly redesigned Buick LaCrosse.  The 2010 model was introduced at the North American International Auto Show this week.  In a word-- GORGEOUS!  In another word-- LUXURIOUS!

It appears GM is looking to attract new, younger customers to Buick. LaCrosse joins the Enclave crossover as models I would seriously consider based on their visual attractiveness.  Certainly not my grandfather's Buick, and he loved them.

The new LaCrosse model moves to the same global platform as the award winning Saturn Aura and Chevrolet Malibu models.  My guess is, the LaCrosse will follow those tire tracks and garner a trophy or two of its own.

Oh, Good Evening!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 Detroit Auto Show: Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz is introducing the new E-Class sedan in Detroit.  This is the last of the German automaker's sedan models to get the latest redesign.  The flagship S-Class and entry level C-Class were redesigned for 2007 and 2008, respectively.  The popular midsize E finally gets its new look for 2010.

Like the flagship, the new E-Class lines borrow heavily from the Benz's ultra luxury Maybach sedans.  I also see shades of the hot CLS four-door coupe in the side panels.  At first glance, I love everything except the tail lights.  But, since I am a big fan of Mercedes Benz, I'm sure they will grow on me.  It will be interesting to see what the AMG division does with this model when they introduce the super-tuned version.  The interior appears to maintain current dimensions and amenities with one noticeable improvement-- the COMAND system video screen is higher, level with the main instrument panel.  Other nifty safety features include drowsy driver and blind spot warning systems and a night vision camera that displays hard to see objects on the dash mounted screen.

Mercedes is also showing off three concept vehicles, all variants of what it calls BlueZERO.  The common denominator is electric power and zero emissions.  The BlueZERO is all electric with a reported range of 125 miles on a single charge.  The BlueZERO E-cell has a reported electric range of 60 miles and adds a small gasoline engine that kicks in to recharge the batteries and extend the driving range.  The BlueZERO F-cell, according to reports, uses a fuel cell to convert compressed into electricity to produce a more than 300 mile driving range with zero emissions.

On the opposite end of the fuel efficiency/emissions spectrum is the ultra exclusive Mercedes Benz-McLaren SLR Stirling Moss.  One look at this and you think massive power, massive thirst for gas, and massive money needed to buy.  This car has a 650-horsepower, supercharged V8 engine that pumps 650 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels.  That kind of power sounds awesome!  But I know I'll never drive one.  The darn thing costs 750,000 euros.  As of this writing, that's $988,050 based on the current exchange rate.  Not to worry.  Mercedes will only make 75 of these and none will be sold in the States.  But, since Jay Leno bought the first SLR-McLaren a few years ago and only current SLR owners will be able to buy the Stirling Moss, I'm sure if Jay wants to add this to his collection, Mercedes will sell him one.

Oh, Good Evening!

2009 Detroit Auto Show: Chrysler Electric Cars

There is much speculation about whether Chrysler, LLC will survive as a stand alone automaker, but clearly the company is moving forward as if it will be around for a while.  That considered, it is no surprise that like its GM and Ford counterparts, Chrysler is developing electric vehicles.

The Dodge Circuit EV is hot looking sports coupe and one of four electric models Chrysler has plans to produce.  According to reports from the NAIAS floor, the primary propulsion for the EV models comes from an electric engine which can take you 40 miles with zero emissions.  A small gasoline engine is onboard to recharge the batteries and extend travel range to as much as 400 miles with far less emissions than a larger, gasoline-only propulsion system.  The other EVs on the drawing board are a Jeep Patriot, Jeep Wrangler, and Chrysler Town & Country. Chrysler hasn't said which model might hit showrooms first, but the conventional wisdom from Detroit is at least one 2011 EV model introduced in late 2010.

Chrysler also introduced a new electric concept called the 200C-EV.  The sedan is based on a shortened version of the company's rear drive platform that underpins the popular Chrysler 300C and Dodge Charger models.  I like the look.  The exterior has a refined near-luxury look on the level of Lexus or Infinity.  Photos of the interior show a very luxurious cabin with futuristic touch screen controls and hot looking leather seats, all of which will never make a production model, at least not in the immediate future.  (This is what I hate, most, about concept cars!)  If they can maintain the overall look in production and install an interior that-- at least-- equals the 300C, I think this would sell.  See the auto show introductions below.

Oh, Good Evening!

Chrysler's Electric Lineup
Chrysler's Electric Lineup

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 Detroit Auto Show: Toyota Prius

The world's top selling hybrid vehicle gets a redesign for 2010.  At first glance, the new Prius looks a lot like the previous model.  But, according to reports filed from the North American International Auto Show now underway in Detroit, they cosmetic changes may be subtle but less visible changes are not.  And, those changes result in less weight, more power, and even better fuel efficiency.  How does 0-60 in 9.8 and 50 mgp sound? 
Pricing has not yet been announced.  With all of the R&D that went into creating the new technology (100 new patents), I would normally expect a price bump.  But, with the global economic crisis pushing sales down the drain, that could be risky.  

Word on the street is that despite what some would call brisk sales of Priuses in recent years, Toyota does not make money on the model.  The company is said to be developing a dedicated Prius-sibling for the upscale Lexus lineup which would distribute costs over another model.  From what I've seen of the Lexus HS250, it's a hottie.  Far more attractive than the Prius.  Judge for yourself below.  The question is, will it be worth the likely markup becuase it's a Lexus?

Oh, Good Evening!

Lexus' Luxury Hybrid
Lexus' Luxury Hybrid

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 Detroit Auto Show: Cadillac Converj & SRX

The 2009 version of the North American International Auto Show is underway in Detroit.  The economic downturn is preventing me from attending in person this year but I am watching from afar by way of the internet.

On Sunday, General Motors previewed plans for several vehicles then unveiled a hot Cadillac concept car called "Converj."  It's a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle which utilizes the Chevrolet Volt technology.  As you can see in the photo, the car looks great.  But then, so did the Volt in concept form.  My fear is that GM will do what it often does after teasing the public with a hot concept-- turn down the heat in production leaving us with a ho-hum, uninspired, run-of-the-mill looking vehicle that evokes about five percent of the excitement of the concept.

I was in love with the Volt until GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner unveiled the production version late last year.  When the car rolled out on stage, it sucked all of the wind out of my sails.  The biggest reason given for toning down the design was aerodynamics and safety regulations.

One of the problems I have long had with GM is the propensity to design concepts that can't be produced.  You can't unveil something that people get excited about, decide to produce and sell it, and when it arrives in dealer showrooms the car looks nothing like what people saw at unveiling.  In recent years, GM got it right with the HUMMER H2 and Chevy Camaro, and Buick Enclave models.  The concepts were all production-ready, for the most part.  GM blew it with the old Pontiac Montana and Aztec, and now the Chevy Volt.

In this day and age, I wouldn't waste time developing concepts that only work in a designer's imagination.  If it can't be produced, move on to the next project.

Cadillac also introduced the new 2010 SRX crossover vehicle.  It has been totally redesigned and now appears to share a platform with the Chevrolet Equinox/Pontiac Torrent/Saturn VUE.  I like it.  Learn more in the video below.

Oh, Good Evening!