I like reading Rick Berg. I like Rick Berg and I feel that I have to give some love to a fellow member of the Brotherhood of Isthmus Political Writers Who Lost Their Last Attempt At Elected Office (3 members and growing!).
When I read a Rick Berg article, I can count on the make-up being 80% conservative think-tank boilerplate served up in a genial manner, 18% swipes at the local left and 2% flat-out raving wingnuttery. And when I read "Wisconsin's woes are part of grand scheme of fiscal irresponsibility", I was not disappointed. The pearl in the sand of this article was this little paragraph:
"And I suspect we haven't heard the last from Chrysler and GM dealers who are wondering who or what gave President Obama the power to force the closure of thousands of dealerships across the country. Can you spell l-a-w-s-u-i-t?"
Friends, this is your brain on right-wing blogs and it's not pretty. This is referencing a conspiracy theory bouncing around the wingnutosphere that not only is the President and his Automotive Task Force responsible for dealership closings, but has been cherry-picking which dealerships to close based on political donations made by dealership owners. This Washington Examiner article (with the subsequent updates walking back from the conspiracy theory) and this analysis from Think Progress (complete to a link to Michelle Malkin peddling this on Fox News - there's a big waving red flag if there ever was) provides the background on how this theory is evolving.
And there's an excellent piece by Nate Silver breaking the contributions angle down to the simple fact that a vast majority of auto dealers are Republicans (which should hardly be a shock to anyone - especially those who remember the epic U.S. Senate campaign of Russ Darrow).
But never mind all that. Why don't we just cut to the chase - who's making the decisions on the dealership closings? Reuters reports [with my emphasis]:
Chrysler [CBS.UL] notified its dealers this month it plans to eliminate 25 percent of its retail showrooms and is seekingpermission from a U.S. bankruptcy judge to terminate franchiseagreements with 789 of 3,181 dealers as of June 9.[ID:nN25534875]
A spokeswoman for Chrysler said the decision to cut a quarter of the dealers was "not coming from the task force."
"Our position is that the market can't support the number of dealers that are out there," said spokeswoman Carrie McElwee."This has been our plan for more than 10 years to combineChrysler, Dodge and Jeep under one roof."
The decision about cutting dealers took into consideration factors like location, customer satisfaction, and sales potential, she said. Nearly half of the terminated dealers also carry non-Chrysler brands, and most rely on used vehicles for the bulk of their sales.
Case closed. Can I spell lawsuit? Yes. Can Rick Berg spell u-n-h-i-n-g-e-d? I can't wait to find out.
Spin City Deep Thought of the Day
Reuters reports of Al Qaeda making noise in advance of the President Obama's trip this week to Saudi Arabia:
...bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, called Obama a criminal and warned Muslims not to fall for his polished words, part of a propaganda effort to pre-empt Obama's Cairo speech.
Hmm...calling President Obama "a criminal" and warning people "not to fall for his polished words." bin Laden deputy addressing Muslims or Vicki McKenna addressing teabaggers? The rhetoric's almost interchangable.
Very good guy, very bad idea
Oh Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike...are you kidding me? We can't license landlords in Madison, but we're thinking about licensing musicians?!? How far is this going to go? Do we set up an MLRC? Do we make musicians audition in front of them? Is Ald. Schumacher going to go over their CCAP histories (and, considering that musicians are among society's biggest reprobates, those would be some looooong meetings)?
You can barely count on musicians to pay the rent (I know! I tried that path in life once!) and you want to hit them up for a $50 annual license fee? Whenever some longhair is yelping at me about gentrification and the sterilization of downtown, I'm going to think about this nutty idea and start nodding in agreement.
And so help me, if this passes, I will personally hold a fundraiser to pay for Joanne Pow!ers' licenses fees. As long as I'm breathing, I will resist efforts to stop Joanne from providing the vital service of unleashing aural reality upon the comfortable Overture Center patrons as they exit onto State Street.
A Bonus Spin City Deep Thought
In Kristin Czubkowski's good piece in the Cap Times on Mayor Dave, he displays more tortured reasoning surrounding his decision to not renew Carl DuRocher's appointment to the Transit and Parking Commission and the controversy surrounding the Metro fare increase saying,
"To infuse too much authority, to make final decisions in people who are unelected is really anti-democratic because you might like the outcome in this case, with regard to say, for example, bus fares, but what if the TPC were populated with other kinds of people who actually could impose a fare increase without council approval?" he says. "How would you feel about it if it were reversed? My guess is that a lot of the folks who objected to that would feel differently about it."
Uh, and this is the guy who wants to be a point man advocating for the RTA? I'm sure that quote won't be used against the cause.