Saw this on Fark the other day and loved it.

It goes to the tune of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” and apologies to The Proclaimers:

We’re the Big 3,
The Big 3 of the Big 3
We’re the three CEOs who farked shiat up for you

But don’t you worry
Because we know we’re gonna be
We’re gonna be the men who grovel up for you

Okay that first time,
Yes, we prob’ly shoulda drove
We shoulda drove the cars we try to sell to you

We’re driving this time
Yeah, you know we’re gonna drive
We’re gonna be the guys who drive a deal for you

But we would fly 500 miles
And we would drive 500 more
Just to be the men who begged for cash
From Congress like a dirty whore

We’ll cut our sal’rys,
Yes, we know we’re gonna be
We’re gonna be the men who sacrificed for you

And when the money
Floods in from taxpayers too
We’ll buy some mansions somewhere nice in Malibu

As for our bonus,
Yeah, we know we’re gonna get
We’re gonna get that cash whatever else we do

When we retire,
Well, we know we’re gonna be
On our estates so very far away from you

But we would fly 500 miles
And we would drive 500 more
Just to be the men who begged for cash
From Congress like a dirty whore

da da da (da da da)
da da da (da da da)
Da Da Da Dun Diddle Un Diddle Un Diddle Uh Da Da

When we cut costs,
Well, you know we’re gonna cut
We’re gonna cut the jobs of lots and lots of you

It’s ironic,
Cuz you know we’re gonna say
We need the cash because we’re “looking out for you”

When we’re bailed out,
Well, you know we’re gonna be
We’re gonna be the men that some will call “astute”

We’re not worried
Cuz you know we’re gonna be
We’re gonna be the men with golden parachutes

We’re gonna be the men with golden parachutes

But we would fly 500 miles
And we would drive 500 more
Just to be the men who begged for cash
From Congress like a dirty whore

via Trollhattan

So here’s a car that is not only a hybrid, but can also run on pure ethanol and run all-electric at low speeds. And it fits into their conventional body styling and provides a “sporty” ride for those who need that sort of thing. And what does GM do?

Kills the project.

This is the sort of car that could lead GM into the future. Not the idiotic Yukon or Tahoe that’s been chipped to run E85. A real, honest-to-goshness innovation. And GM killed it.


FYI Blog: Same Company. New Tune.

There are a lot of polls and research that show Americans are worried. Things like world conflicts, higher gas prices and natural disasters (just to name a few) are unsettling us. Americans are seeking reassurance. The nostalgic footage featured in “Then and Now” is engaging and reminds people of simpler times. Someone once told me, “When times are tough, the world looks better through the rear-view mirror.” “Then and Now” taps into that aspect of human nature.

World conflicts and high gas prices and natural disasters, oh my!

But you know what makes it better? Thinking about better times. Simpler times. Times when the darkies let us take our oil from under their sand. (They probably stole it in the first place, anyway.) When only dirty hippies talked about pollution. When gas was ten cents a gallon, just like Gawd Hisself intended.

Only beany-wearing eggheads want “solutions.” They’re the same ninnies who point out that high gas prices, world conflicts, and natural disasters can all be connected by the fact that people are burning fossil fuels at faster and faster rates. They’ll want us to do things like drive less, and drive smaller cars, and put solar panels on our houses and buy strange looking light bulbs. They’re just a bunch of spineless wimps. And probably Communists, too.

I say, buy that big-block V8! Put the hammer down and roll right over those tiny little cars! It’s your right. As an American. Because I don’t listen to my head, or my heart. I listen to my gut. And my gut’s hungry.

I was poking around Opel’s UK site today and saw something neat. Instead of posting fuel economy for the various engines and body styles, they post the CO2 emissions. For example, instead of 35 miles per gallon, they show 140 grams per kilometer. Aside from being metric, which is much, much better than imperial, this provides a way for consumers to make a better choice as to how their automobile will affect the climate. And because hydrogen or electric cars produce carbon emissions of their own, depending on how the electricity or hydrogen is produced, you can take that into account when comparing the two.

This is definitely something I think that the EPA should mandate for US cars.

via GM’s FastLane Blog

And finally, time-starved women are hungry for a chance to get away from it all – so our dealerships are hosting “ladies night out” events to create a relationship that goes beyond our products. Recently we’ve had dealers host a Bunco party and a Girl Scout Girl Power Clinic; we’ve also hosted many ATHENA events locally with our dealers.

Now, I’ll skip the parts about how the H2 and STS gas guzzlers got awards for their interiors. And I’ll skip the part about how the real thing women need are adustable pedals and seats that pull forward so you can placate junior whilst in traffic. But this, honestly, is rediculous. They say that women need a chance to get away from it all, so they give them another thing to cram into their schedules; one more thing to get into their car and drive to.

Let’s explore the real reason women are time-starved. The average daily commute in the US is 51 minutes. So women are losing almost one hour a day just getting to and from work. Now combine this with schlepping Brent or Ashley to soccer practice or piano lessons and picking them up when you’re done and they’re spending literally hours in their cars every day. And they wonder where all their time goes and why they’re too tired to cook when they get home. (Not that men shouldn’t have to cook. Men should know how to cook and clean just like women should know how to hang curtains and fix broken drywall, but that’s another topic.)

Now, imagine a world where your commute was a 20 minute walk or bike ride, stopping occassionally to pick up or drop off your dry cleaning or grab some food for dinner. Imagine a world where the kids don’t need you to get to and from practices, rehearsals, lessons or to see their friends. They carry themselves on their own two feet, and you know and trust your neighbors to keep and eye on them. Imagine a world where you get enough exercise just running errands that you don’t need to make time to drive to the health center and work out. (One of the most rediculous things I can imagine.) No more traffic, no more mechanics ripping you off, no more buying gas every other day.

GM thinks women need better cars. (Can’t blame them, though. They’re in the business of selling cars. If they proposed a different solution, they’d be violating their fiduciary duty.) I say women need what we all need; better communities that are designed around the person, not the automobile, as the basic transportation unit

GM’s FYI blog has a post up profiling Lori Wingerter. She looks like a nice enough person, and what I’m about to say has no bearing on what I think of her as a human being or a professional.

But have you read this stuff? It’s full of half-truths, omissions, disingenuous statements, and out-and-out lies. Here are a few examples.

They make little mention of where hydrogen or ethanol come from, instead focusing on how they’ll “replace” fossil fuels. Hydrogen isn’t an energy source, it’s an energy storage medium. It’s a fancy battery, and depending on the advancements in battery technology, a pretty mediocre one. And where do we get the power to generate it? Sure, we could use solar or wind or tidal or wave. But the cheapest power, and the industries with the largest lobbying budget, are coal and nuclear, which is where the hydrogen. Of course, that’s if we use electrolysis to crack water. The easiest way to get hydrogen now is by processing natural gas. So there’s another status quo industry who will benefit immensely from the hydrogen economy.

And what of ethanol? Well, there’s not mention of the fact that, since we get ethanol from corn, we’re using immense amounts of fossil fuels to grow it and fertilize it and also to process it. Ethanol isn’t carbon neutral if you use coal power to run the processing plants. And it’s only truly green if you farm the corn or switchgrass or hemp organically. And if there’s anything big agribusiness doesn’t do, it’s organic farming on a large scale. And that’s who’ll profit if we mandate ethanol. Them and GM.

Also, there’s no way to retrofit a car to run E85. That means people need to buy brand new cars! From who? GM of course. Because they’ve invested millions telling people that the Tahoe isn’t a gigantic SUV, it’s an earth friendly ecomobile because it runs on E85. If you can find it.

Finally, there’s no talk of energy conservation. This is the cheapest and easiest way to make more energy available. If our population grows by 20%, but we cut individual energy usage by 20%, we can support more people using the same amount of generating capacity. Is there mention of this anywhere on there? Of course not. Efficiency isn’t nearly as profitable as pie-in-the-sky technologies that make the corporation look good. Turn down the thermostat? Drive less? Use different light bulbs? Put on a sweater? Not in America, you commie pinko treehugger.

Essentially, this is a big GM ad campaign. Kids will learn about hydrogen and ethanol and will run home and tell mommy and daddy who will go out and buy a GM car because it runs on corn and think they’re ‘saving the environment’, but won’t be able to find an ethanol fueling station and will still get 20 miles per gallon. But they’ll have their big-block, pushrod, 300 horsepower V8. Just like every good American.

To their credit, GM has posted my questions on their blog. I can’t think of many other corporations that would allow dissenting voices to use their soapbox. Of course, they’ve deleted my trackback to the article.

Saab Aero X Concept Car. (c) 2006 Saab/GM/etc.
Ethanol is a red herring. It’s a way for GM to point to something and claim they’re being environmentally responsible. What good is ethanol if the car still only gets 20mpg? And the fact that this 100% ethanol car is a pie-in-the-sky sports car is just more evidence that ethanol and fuel efficiency is just a gimmick for GM.

Americans don’t need sports cars. They don’t need more SUVs. They need an efficient, inexpensive, reliable car. Gimmicks optional. Toyota and Honda and even Hyundai have been delivering them for years. I can’t point to a single GM car that’s comparable to the Civic or Corolla, let alone the Yaris, Prius or Fit.

Now, most people who frequent GM’s Fastlane Blog are folks who have something to lose if GM admits their mistakes. Their identity is wrapped up in the idea that GM is a wonderfully amazing thing, and that people want V8s and 300 horsepower. Sure, people say they want super powerful cars, but how often do they actually use that power? Sitting in traffic?

And, no, 34 miles per gallon is not especially efficient. It’s average. It’s a C. And striving for average is what got you into this mess.

GM’s trying to jump on the environmentalist bandwagon with their Live Green, Go Yellow campaign. The way I see it, they’re doing some minor engineering and hoping to get as much props as Toyota or Honda for releasing hybrid vehicles.

But, really, how much work does it take to get a car that runs off of something that explodes when vaporized to run off of something else that explodes when it’s vaporized? I can’t imagine it’s as much work as hooking up an specialized gasoline engine to an electric motor and using the motor as a generator and using braking to recover energy and managing power and charging on the fly.

And when people buy these huge SUVs and have nowhere to get ethanol, or the ethanol is made using coal and hence completely greenwashed, they’ll throw up their hands and say “How should we know that there weren’t going to be stations, or that the ethanol would be made with coal? We did the best we could!”

But GM isn’t doing the best they can. They’re banking on the huge profit margins of their body-on-frame SUVs and big-block V8s with minor engine tweaks to run E85. And they’re going to lose. I wouldn’t mind this, except I know that the executives will ride the company into the ground, hurting people who worked their whole lives, who lived right and followed the rules, while the execs go away unharmed. And not only that, but they will also pawn the pensions and health care for these workers off on society, shirking their contractual responsibilities.

But that goes to the heart of the corporate culture of GM: Let others do the work.