- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bush seeks redemption? ブッシュの罪滅ぼし

President Bush seems to have found religion and seeks redemption as he doggedly refuses to bail out automakers:

Detroit rescue may have to wait for Obama administration
Faced with hardening opposition from President George W. Bush and Republican members of Congress, Democratic leaders said it is unlikely that they would get a bailout for automakers passed in the upcoming lame-duck session. They are increasingly accepting the possibility that a rescue for the Detroit Three, along with economic-stimulus measures targeted to middle-class families and workers, would have to wait until the inauguration President-elect Barack Obama. The New York Times (13 Nov.)

Why is it that politicians seem do the right thing when they have nothing to lose?

...on the other hand, Obama has a lot to lose (political support from auto workers). He probably does not need their support really, but has the boy from Chicago already sold out? -

Obama wants $50 billion for automakers
Faced with warnings that General Motors is on the verge of bankruptcy -- a shock that would echo through the entire U.S. economy -- President-elect Barack Obama is asking Congress for $50 billion to rescue the auto industry. Obama's plan includes creation of a czar or supervisory board to oversee the rescue. To have any chance of passage, said people familiar with the matter, the measure would need the support of President George W. Bush, who has opposed the idea of giving government money to automakers Bloomberg (13 Nov.)

Sounds like a lot of empty threats to me. Hands up those who think that we would all be better off if one or two of the automakers just went under. Well what do you know, even some of the shareholders seem to think so:

Some say GM bankruptcy preferable to bailout: Some experts said a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by General Motors might be better for the company and the nation than a government bailout that is gaining support in Washington. They said the money might do nothing more than put off a transformation that GM must go through to become a profitable, competitive company again. One activist investor said he would rather see the money used to help GM workers and train them for new jobs. The New York Times (12 Nov.)

Well, heck - if even shareholders are saying that it should be allowed to go bankrupt, who are we to argue?

Let the company fail, and support the workers in retraining for new jobs. Now you're talking sense.

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