Daily Archives: December 24, 2009

Chavez channels Obama

Wants to expropriate Toyota.

“We’ll take it, we’ll expropriate it, we’ll pay them what it’s worth and immediately call on the Chinese,” Mr. Chavez said. Chinese companies, he said, are willing to make vehicles made for the countryside.

In recent years, Mr. Chavez has nationalized dozens of foreign-owned companies and sometimes entire sectors of the economy, including cement companies, coffee companies and oil-services firms. The moves were part of his effort to move Venezuela toward “21st century socialism.”

Toyota’s assembly plant in Venezuela has more than 2,000 workers, and has been in the South American nation for more than 50 years.Attempts to reach Toyota’s local office weren’t successful.

Venezuela’s auto sector is in tatters amid recurring labor problems that have led to a lack of productivity. Analysts say many auto workers hope their company is nationalized so they can become de facto government workers and enjoy the extra job security that comes with that status.

As a result of low productivity, demand for automobiles far outstrips supply in Venezuela. Demand is also enhanced by subsidized gasoline in this oil-rich nation that makes a gallon of gasoline cost about seven cents.Eduardo Blanco, who manages a Toyota dealership in the Los Palos Grandes neighborhood of Caracas, said last week that he has 600 people on a waiting list for vehicles, and that only a half a dozen cars arrive at his lot each month.

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Bottom story of the day: Many believe Santa is real

The Washington Post, expending all its remaining resources, has discovered children who still believe in Sanity Clause. They could have saved their time an effort by merely wandering down to the nation’s Capitol and interviewing the adults there who still hold that same belief.

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It’s Kit Carson’s 200th birthday!

Didn’t know that until just now. Born today, December 24th, in 1809. My earliest hero, for an odd reason: the first book I remember reading on my own was about Davey Crockett and that set off a life-long interest in the west , fur-trappers and Indians. Who knew?

I was in Taos back in 2000, working on a book about my own ancestor, Col. Albert Fountain, and met Kit Carson’s great (great?) grandson, who runs a museum there. Col. Fountain and Carson had both waged war, against their wishes but under orders of their commanding officer, against the Navaho and it was an interesting experience rejoining the two lines more than a century later. The latter day Carson, by the way, has the same small, bantam-build his ancestor is said to have had. Pretty neat.

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65 years on, Battle of the Bulge still reverberates

As we celebrate Christmas Eve today in the warm comfort of our Greenwich homes, it’s proper to reflect on the men who helped make our present conditions so pleasant. Sixty-five Christmases ago, 19,000 Americans died, 250,000 (more?) fought to defeat the Germans in the Ardennes. Good history of the battle here. As a baby boomer, I was privileged to grow up in an era where almost every family’s father (and, in my case, mother, too) had served in WW II – We never heard war stories, but the fact that these men had gone off to protect us when they were just kids themselves was an abiding inspiration for a lot of us.

So thank you, gentlemen (and ladies) and Merry Christmas.

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Outrage! Government bailout companies award executives millions in bonuses!

And in cash, because the execs don’t want to be paid in their crappy stock. We should just take these companies over and … oh, wait, we already own them. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Ours, all ours.

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