People my age and younger remember the Buick Rivera as one of Old GM’s many who-gives-a-shit mobiles, if they remember it at all, but for a long time, the Buick Riviera was a great car to have. The Buick Rivera was the embodiment of the personal luxury car segment that boomed in the US from the postwar era until the early 1970s. For the uninitiated that means two doors, four seats, a luxuriously appointed interior and a big, powerful V8 that almost always powered the rear wheels. In many ways they were the muscle car’s luxurious cousin. Other cars from that segment include the Ford Thunderbird, Studebaker Avanti and Rambler Marlin. These days, there’s not really anything like that in America that the middle class can afford, but for comparison’s sake, you’ll get the general idea if you imagine a Mercedes CL with a Ford Taurus price tag. Technically, the personal luxury segment lived on past the early 70s, but by that point, performance has been abandoned and luxury─or at least giving people the impression of luxury─ emphasized.
Anyhow, GM has just trademarked the Riviera name again. Last time GM used the name, it was for a 2007 concept car. This trademark may or may not point to the creation of a new model that would resurrect the storied Riviera nameplate. However, given GM’s renewed focus on Buick and the brand’s success in China, I wouldn’t bet against GM pulling a Lazarus on the Riv.
Jon Huntsman was easily my favorite candidate in the 2012 GOP Primary. His realistic worldview and pragmatic solutions were a welcome contrast to the ideological buffoonery to which American politicians have made us all grow accustomed. As a candidate, Jon Huntsman’s ideas were all grounded in reality and informed by his ideological views. Looking at the other candidates, I saw ideologues desperately trying to clinging to their political dogma, distorting reality to pretend their tired, old ideas even applied to today’s world. When other candidates where sticking to talking points and pandering for applause, Huntsman was speaking truth to power, no matter how unpopular. The people I talked to, at least the ones that knew of him, agreed with me. What confused me most about Huntsman’s failure to gain traction with the Republican party was the face that he had already gained so much traction with independents and Democrats. If there was one guy who had a chance to take voters away from President Obama, it was Jon Huntsman. Even the hacky, liberal blogger that is me was thinking, “I hope I get a chance to vote for this guy.” It’s a sad day when the man with the best ideas not only loses but loses so badly that he doesn’t finish the race.
After joining the Ford Motor Company’s board of directors and fairly low profile (for a guy who just ran for president), Huntsman continued to support the GOP (he still does), but when they disinvited him from a Florida fundraiser, took a moment to remind us why he’s so awesome:
“This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script,”
“A guy named Michael Moore who went on television and said ‘That Huntsman guy. He’s a Republican I think I could support’ to be followed up by Jimmy Carter who said ‘This Huntsman guy: I think he’s somebody I could support’ to be followed up by Bill Clinton, who went on television and said ‘He seems pretty un-hidebound. He’s a Republican I think I could’ — we were so toast in Iowa by then.”
What got him disinvited? He said it would be good if a third party candidate entered the race.
Republicans, you had the chance to save your party and nominate a man that seems to be the second coming of Eisenhower. Instead, you chose Mitt Romney.
As a huge fan of Pioneer One, I’m very excited to this news with you. The people behind Pioneer One, which was also funded by Kickstarter and is probably the best online-only series to date, is currently trying to raise funds for a new pilot for a show called Control. From the Control Kickstarter page:
An International coalition has come together to send the first humans to Mars–but a race is on with a Chinese mission to see who gets there first.
When a military stand-off between the US and China threatens to start a war, Flight Director Peter Lacey must fight to keep his astronauts from becoming pawns in the Earthly conflict. But a secret has been kept from him that threatens the lives of both crews, who hang in the balance 150 million miles from home…
The site describes the show as “a hybrid of Apollo 13 and The West Wing in style and tone”. This pilot is intended to be shopped around to networks and online distributors. I wish them the best of luck and hope that this is a huge success for them. You can donate to the project via their Control‘s Kickstarter page, and donating just $5 gets you access to watch the pilot streaming online. For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, Kickstarter is a site that allows people to give money to projects they believe in. In return, donors generally receive gifts, much like when you donate to public radio.
…And yes, the title of this post is reference to Brandtson’s 2009 album.
WordPress introduced a new tool that shows me which countries my readers are from, and I am stunned by my global readership. Thank you all for visiting my blog. I’m incredibly grateful to be heard. As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.
Authorities in China have seized just under 700 single-burner gas stoves from two warehouses in Wuhan in the Hubei province of Southeast China. The stoves were bore the Apple logo and the word iPhone. Oddly enough, the confiscation had nothing to do with the blatant trademark infringement. No, China doesn’t care about intellectual property rights. This is a safety issue. Apparently, when it comes to the iPhone Stove, the phrase “my iPhone is blowing up” is a bit more literal.
Using the Apple name where it doesn’t belong has become serious business in China. Just last year in Kunming, an American blogger living in China found a fake Apple store selling a variety of knock-off devices including the iPhone 5.
Apple didn’t make your iPhone. They designed and developed it, but they didn’t make it. Your iPhone was made in China by a company called Foxconn.
Over the last few years, Foxconn has become the poster boy for bad working conditions in Chinese electronics plants because of the headline making suicides at their facilities and the popularity of the Apple products they produce. It’s not just Apple who uses them, either. Sony, Motorola, Microsoft, Nintendo, Acer, and many others all have contracts with Foxconn. In fact, just last month 150 people (some media outlets are reporting 300) working in a plant that produces the Xbox 360 threatened mass suicide over working conditions. It can be easy rationalize things like this as “the cost of doing business”. We tell ourselves that having this kind of work done in factories like these keeps costs down and allows companies to pass the savings along to the consumer. Here’s a reality check: Apple makes nearly a 75% profit margin on the iPhone 4s and has $97.7 billion in cash reserves. The savings are not being passed on to you. Not only are they not saving you money, but companies that use Foxconn are choosing to support a system where people are literally worked to death instead of being slightly less profitable.
While I personally won’t be buying another Apple product unless some significant changes are made, I understand that not everyone is willing to make that same leap, and I get that. There are Foxconn-produced items that I won’t be giving up, but this isn’t an all or nothing scenario. If you love Apple and their products, you can keep buying them and contact Apple to let them know you find conditions at Foxconn to be unacceptable. The same can be done with any other company that has contracts with Foxconn.
[Update 3/16/2012: It has been revealed that some of the information revealed in "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory" was a fabrication for the purposes of making a good one-man show. Which parts of the story are fabricated will be revealed in This American Life's latest episode "Retraction". This doesn't clear Foxconn of all wrongdoing. They are still guilty of a large number of abuses against workers, and there is plenty of evidence to support that outside of Daisey's show. His show didn't invent the allegations of abuse. Those allegations inspired Daisey to create his show.]
Whatever you decide on this, whatever you feel on this, I encourage you all to follow the link to a This American Life episode called “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory”.