Donal's picture

    Obama attends DC Auto Show (before me)

    I stopped by Light Street Cycles today to buy a brighter taillight. The weather's been so unseasonably warm that I'm riding to the light rail, but it's really dark in the morning. The owner showed me all sorts of rechargeable blinkies, and I bought a Knog Boomer. I also signed a petition to complain about building a new street with no bike lanes right next to two college campuses, UMB & MICA. Then I told the owner that I was planning on visiting the Washington Auto Show tomorrow, and being a bike person, she looked puzzled. When I told her I wanted to see the Leaf, she seemed satisfied.
    Geoff Styles at Energy Collective went last week, and was impressed by the efficiency:
    Last week I attended the media preview of the Washington Auto Show. ... I was pleased to find that the emphasis on fuel economy and technology in carmaker presentations was matched by a broad array of efficient and attractive new products. They still don't quite constitute the new car fleet needed for the 54 mile-per-gallon target the federal government requires them to meet by 2025, but in my opinion they're off to a very good start.

    No one listening to the presentations I sat through last Thursday could have missed the shift in focus from previous years. Performance and drivability were still mentioned prominently, but in most cases the innovations allowing those attributes to be delivered along with improved fuel economy, instead of at its expense, received top billing.
    “On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.” 
    President Barack Obama offered the above quote at the auto show on January 31st, and spent his time looking at some American muscle cars, Mustang, Corvette, and at the new Ford Energi hybrids and EVs. One would think that was a wise move with elections looming - why give his opponents pictures of him with a foreign car? But the press found stories anyway.
    The Washington Post fact-checked whether anyone really wanted to let the auto industry die, and Bloomberg spun the story into Obama snubbing foreign automakers. Bloomberg claims that someone on the white house staff asked the overseas firms to bring their most fuel-efficient vehicles to the show. So Obama didn't see the Honda FCX Clarity (natural gas), a Mercedes (fuel cell) and a Kia Optima (hybrid). As reported by Bloomberg and repeated by AutoNews:  
    Representatives of Honda, Kia Motors Corp., Mercedes-Benz and other automakers waited in a "bullpen" to be called upon to answer Obama's questions about their vehicles. None were, said Michael Stanton, CEO of the Association of Global Automakers. 

    "Many of our members bent over backwards to meet the request from the White House," Stanton said. "We were just terribly disappointed that the president refused to recognize the commitment that our members and others have made to the manufacturing base of the United States."
    I'd chalk it up to a staffer making sure the Prez had plenty to see:
    "I don't believe it was an intentional snub," said John O'Donnell, executive vice president of the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association, which organizes the Washington auto show. "I think he was checking up on the investment that he made from kind of fiduciary standpoint. He made the investment in the domestics."
    But a few outlets followed Bloomberg with the cheap shot.
    Anyway, with my new taillight, and advice on the best bike routes, I skipped the light rail, and rode home up a dedicated lane on The Fallways, the bikepath along Falls Road, and a dedicated lane on Roland Park Avenue. It took me an hour to ride ten miles (there was some walking) and I'm a bit saddle sore, but I plan to ride home as often as possible - so I don't have to buy a car.


    Good for you!  Wish we could do that here, but all the ice on the ground and wind chills at minus 10 prohibits bike riding in Winter here.  But during the summer many ride bikes and walk. 

    Glad President Obama went to auto show.  Got in discussion yesterday with an assembly member here who is a good friend and terrific guy, but (get ready for it) he is a Repub, but more like one of thirty years ago.  Anyway, debated the auto companies 'bailout' and he griped, but understands the necessity of it and grudgingly admitted it worked.  (Truth is for the longest time I just assumed he was an Independent, was stunned when discovered he was Repub.)

    Obama, with the current political climate, is going to be damned if he does or doesn't no matter the situation/issue by the far right media and those of the same 'peer-suasion'.


    Obama supporter Al Sharpton , on his MSNBC "Politics Nation" show, has an occasional segment called "Here are the Jobs!"--it has follow ups on the show's website where people can get info on job openings.

    Today I caught a "Here are the Jobs!" segment he did, which started with a word about the good economic numbers today, followed by a short clip of Obama at the auto show, and then the Rev told his viewers how the big 3 American auto makers are doing so well they will be hiring 15K soon.

    And then he introduced the Vice-President for human resources of NISSAN. A handsome and pleasant youngish blond fellow, who gave a nice talk (with a deep soothing TV commercial voice) about how his company had a tough time but rebounded and how it's doing very well now, and because of that they have lots of job openings (!) in their U.S. plants, and went on to mentioning where those were and what they were looking for.

    On Sharpton's website home page, the link is "Nissan sales surge/Mark Stout of Nissan talks about the factors that contributed to the comeback of the auto industry."

    I really almost had a hard time believing he was working for NISSAN, and not the Obama administration's Labor Dept. or Obama's presidential campaign, but then he did throw in a plug in for the Leaf . Here is the segment:


    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Since Sharpton is so pro-Obama, and probably gets the Obama campaign's talking points, I'm wondering whether this is the start of a theme for them of "corporations are not people but they can still be very nice, and mostly not evil".cheeky

    Either that or it's sinking in with the more savvy corporate PR chieftains that now's the time to move, that if they take some of that cash they've been sitting on to hire people, and then publicize that they are doing it, they will get extra benefit in public good will.. The whole thing was strange and intriguing, in a "something's happenin' here, what it is ain't exactly clear" kinda way. Not the least of which it was Al Sharpton (and not a more corporate-friendly Charles Rangel type, ) doing it.

    I also signed a petition to complain about building a new street with no bike lanes

    So you're with the United Nations plot? surprise

    Yes, but don't tell anyone. ... In my ride home, I had to turn off the Fallsway and ride half a mile on Preston and Charles, two busy city streets without bike lanes. As I snuck on to Preston via sidewalk, a lovely young woman on a full size bike rode by and said, "I love your folding bike." She wore no helmet, and rode the lane lines fearlessly among the three crowded lanes of auto traffic on Preston. If there's room I will drive between stopped cars and the curb, but riding the lane lines among cars seems like a bad idea to me. Bike lanes keep the cars away from the bikes and the bikes away from the cars.

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