Monday, September 24, 2007

The UAW are Making a Big Mistake

It is difficult as an American to look at the state of our automotive industry and not shake my head. We invented the horseless carriage, the process to mass produce automobiles to make them affordable, and we lead the world for years in quality and affordability. Today, GM is struggling to maintain its grasp on the title of #1 and clings to this title due in large part to its rental fleet program, but even that marketing is shrinking as foreign automakers have made serious inroads to this market.

What I do not understand is why are we not learning from our mistakes? What has prevented us from developing new products that are technologically advanced and are miles apart from the rest of the world’s product? It is all because we can only look at the short term. Rather than invest in our future, we sit back and demand what is best for everyone in the short term.

It’s not just GM, it is all of the US automakers. I have a cousin who works for Ford and he plans is life around layoffs. Tell me the Union is working for him and his family? Of course, it is not just the unions that are the cause of the problems, I am sure management has problems too, but we are getting our behinds kicked and all we can do it point fingers at each other. It’s like the Republicans and the Democrats; it one way or the other and there is nothing in between. We can’t even make fuel efficient cars to take our dependence away from the Middle East. Did we learn nothing in the 70’s?

We should be the leaders in hybrid technology but even our hybrids are made by Japan. When Ford announced the Explorer hybrid, they had to use the Toyota hybrid technology. We should be the leaders in fuel economy but we continue to build these monster cars and trucks with 16-18 MPG. We should be the leaders in innovative concepts and design and build vehicles that are reliable and not fall apart in a few years. Granted, the engines are more reliable, but the interiors are cheap and fall apart all the time.

And as they continue to get their butts kicked by foreign automakers, our workers are complaining that they are not getting enough benefits. For Pete’s sake! Wake up! The American automotive companies are getting beaten and are losing money, ground, and credibility and your solution is to go on strike?

Unions had their place when there was no protection for workers, but today with global and domestic competition for workers, there is no more need for unions. They take the money of the workers and do nothing but create strife between management and the workers. It automatically creates an Us vs. Them mentality and prevents the two sides from working together to accomplish anything.

What happened to American ingenuity and pride? What happened to being #1 in manufacturing? The foreign automakers looked at what we were doing right and modeled their plants and companies after us; it is about time we did the same and getting rid of the unions should be the first thing to go.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Tony Dungy Curse

Once again, Buc fans are off to another year of lousy offense. After the first quarter, I was thinking maybe the fabulous Chucky and Jeff Garcia was going to deliver us to the promise land. Then I remembered, “oh yeah, it’s just the first quarter of the first game of the season.” Alas, the Dungy curse is alive and well in Tampa.

I know some of you are going to say it can’t be a curse since the Bucs won a superbowl after Coach Dungy left, but that is the beauty of the curse. It is an evil, sick, twisted curse that lulled us fans into a false sense of security. On October 6, 2003 the curse reared it’s ugly head and has never looked back. That was the day Dungy and the Colts came into town and mounted one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. They scored 28 second half points against the vaunted Bucs defense and things at One Bucs Place have never been the same.

Okay, so I know Coach Gruden brought us a Super Bowl and that is certainly an accomplishment, but it was with a team Dungy built. I still don’t know Dungy got fired. What was ownership thinking when we dumped Tony? He only turned a losing franchise into a consistent winner. It’s just as dumb as firing Marty Schottenheimer after a 13 win season. I mean come on, it is only this year that Gruden has started using the shotgun. This year! That’s crazy talk. Here is what’s crazy, Tony Dungy had a 56% win percentage and Gruden only has 49%. 4 out of 6 of Dungy’s seasons were winning seasons, while Gruden has only had 2 out of 5.

I will grant you that the Bucs had to give up a lot to get Gruden and it is possible that those losses have lead to the problems the Bucs have had. I also know there have been salary cap issues that have only recently been resolved, but come on. There should be signs of life but once again, the Bucs lost 20 to 6. Surprise! The defense held a high powered offence to just 20 points and the offense did nothing. Unfortunately, this sounds way too familiar; and while I may be jumping the gun (it is the first game after all) it looks like nothing has changed. To add to our misery, look at the upcoming schedule: New Orleans, St Louis, North Carolina, and Indianapolis. The Bucs could be 0 and 5 before you know it.