Toyota plans ultra-inexpensive car

January 22, 2007

Toyota plans ultra-inexpensive car

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to build a low-cost car undercutting Renault’s emerging-market Logan through a “radical” rethink in design and production, the president of the fast-growing Japanese automaker said.

“The focus is on low-cost technology,” Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe told Britain’s Financial Times newspaper in an interview published Monday.

He declined to set a price for a low-cost car but said it would be “at least” less than the Logan.

Renault has started production of the Logan, which will cost from 5,000 euros (6,200 dollars) on up, touted as a budget model for consumers in emerging economies such as China and Russia that conforms to European standards.

Watanabe said that Toyota could slash the price by targetting costs throughout production.

“Everything from design to production methods will be radically changed and we are thinking of a really ultra-low-cost way of designing, using ultra-low-cost materials, even developing new materials if necessary,” he said.

The plan would create a new challenge to struggling US automakers.

Toyota is set this year to overtake General Motors as the world’s largest automaker.

The Japanese automaker has cashed in by pioneering environmentally friendly hybrid cars and has also seen success with its luxury Lexus line.

This would totally rock the small car market.   Would I buy a $6000 car with the reputation of Toyota to zip around town and save gas?  Absolutely.


Better ideas to deal with property taxes

January 21, 2007

Fargo Forum – January 21st, 2007

For all the debate surrounding how the state can provide relief from rising property taxes: Numerous alternatives to Gov. John Hoeven’s absurd “trust the counties that are overtaxing you” plan in no way guarantees that the taxpayers themselves will actually see tax relief.

On the state level, an idea worth considering would be to abolish the practice of annual assessments altogether. Properties should be reassessed for tax purposes only when sold or ownership is otherwise transferred. The current system poses problems for senior citizens who are forced to pay more and more each year, on a fixed income, with no idea where they will find the money.

What happens when senior citizens start to follow the youth out of the state when they simply cannot afford to continue to shell out more each year to the government?

On the federal level, Congress can allow taxpayers to deduct every penny paid in property tax without itemizing and still utilize the full standard deduction. This will allow average and low-income taxpayers to take advantage of the same deduction that high-income taxpayers with complex deductions already receive.

A government of the people just should not have the ability to increase the living costs of its people on a whim. The people themselves need to wake up to the way their local officials are spending their money, but until that happens, it is the duty of state legislators to do what they can to create long-term relief from rising property taxes.

(Don’t bother asking why the first paragraph is so bad, I don’t know why I sent it that way. The bigger question is why did they print it that way?)


The Case Against Lower Student Loan Interest Rates

January 20, 2007

Sam at SavetheGOP has about the only logical point against cutting the rates.

As long as there is a strong demand by students to attend a university there is no incentive for administration to get their costs under control. If you can raise tuition 5% every year for some new pet project and the students continue to pay and enrollment thrives, why not keep raising it every year? Want to build a new football stadium with all the latest and greatest amenities? Raise the tuition. Want to add a new set of worthless classes and pay a pompous professor to pontificate about the power of the penis? (No, seriously) Raise the tuition. I can go on, but you get the idea.

Students will pay the increased costs for the same reasons the universities raise them. They too, can, which is why I am troubled by this cut in the interest rates making these loans more affordable. As long as it keeps getting easier and easier for college students to buy their education on credit, the higher tuitions will continue to increase making it more and more expensive. We’re already at the point where tuition at some schools surpasses the cost of a house. While those with a degree do generally make more money over their lifetimes than those without, at what point will the cost of obtaining the degree outweigh the financial advantage in the workplace?

Essentially, tuition rates are the easiest taxes to raise. The people that pay them have zero political power and no one in power seems to care how much debt they have to start life with.

So by lowering in the interest rate, the government makes it easier for schools to finance their tax increases on people that don’t make or have any money.

It’s definately a more convincing argument than lower finance rates = higher subsidies.


Maliki denies helping U.S. in Sadr Raid

January 19, 2007

So why are we supporting this guy?

CBS News

U.S. and Iraqi forces arrested one of Muqtada al-Sadr’s top aides Friday in Baghdad, his office said, as pressure increased on the radical Shiite cleric’s militia ahead of a planned security crackdown in the capital.

An adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, however, denied the government knew in advance about the raid, in which Sheik Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji was captured and said the detention was not part of the new operation aimed at quelling Baghdad’s sectarian violence.

“There was no coordination with the Iraqi political leadership and this arrest was not part of the new security plan,” the adviser, Sadiq al-Rikabi, told Al-Arabiya. “Coordination with the Iraqi political leadership is needed before conducting such operations that draw popular reactions.”


Chinese missile destroys satellite in space

January 19, 2007

UK Telegraph

The prospect of “Star Wars” between China and the West loomed last night after Beijing used a ballistic missile to destroy a satellite in space.

The missile, which hit a 4ft-wide obsolete Chinese weather satellite 530 miles above the Earth, is thought to have been launched from the Xichang space centre in -China’s Sichuan province.

It suggests that the Chinese have developed a major new capability that underscores the communist regime’s desire to use its military might as well as burgeoning economic power to expand its influence.

“The US believes China’s development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of co-operation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area,” said Gordon Johndroe, spokes-man for the US National Security Council, yesterday. “We and other countries have expressed our concern regarding this action to the Chinese.”

It is understood that Australia and Canada have also protested to China.

The ability to destroy satellites with such precision could undermine the US National Missile Defence programme, a network of rocket interceptors, computers and satellites intended to protect America and its key allies from nuclear attack. It became known as “Son of Star Wars” after President Ronald Reagan’s so-called “Star Wars” programme proposed in the 1980s.
[…]

China is seeking to challenge American military strength in the Far East, including its vital trade routes in the South China Sea and Straits of Malacca.

Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles have been developed with the potential to take on American aircraft carriers.

There has also been investment in new nuclear submarines. The People’s Liberation Army Navy has launched as many as 60 ships in the past five years and last March announced that it would build an aircraft carrier.

Chinese military spending more than doubled between 1997 and 2003 and is now estimated to be second only to the US as a percentage of GDP.

One study last year projected that China’s annual military budget would be $185 billion by 2025.

Yeah, neo-cons, lets keep doing business with these people. Good Plan!

If we didn’t treat Russia and China with kid-gloves, maybe these tin-pot dictators would think twice.

 


Oliver North: Buy American, Save Jobs

January 19, 2007

Human Events

It’s going to be one of the biggest “single buy” Air Force acquisitions since World War II: 179 aircraft at a cost of $200 billion over a 20-year period. The plane — a “flying gas station” — will replace the half-century-old U.S. fleet of KC-135 and KC-10 refueling tankers. Designated the KC-X by the Air Force, it’s been on the drawing board for years. Not one of the new tankers has been built, but it’s already in serious trouble. The problem: Some Americans seem intent on ensuring that a foreign aircraft manufacturer is awarded the contract to build these planes because it will bring a handful of jobs to their state. If they succeed, it will be a major disaster for American taxpayers and American jobs.

For more than a decade Air Force wonks have been tinkering with the design and specifications for a new aerial tanker. The planes are an absolute necessity for the kinds of worldwide deployments being conducted in the global war on terror — or “The Long War” — in Washington’s new vernacular. In fairness, there are numerous factors beyond size, speed, range, payload and price that must be considered by the decision makers, including arcane procurement rules and regulations dictated by the Office of Management and Budget, Congress and even the World Trade Organization (WTO). Not the least of these is the Berry Amendment, which mandates that our armed forces must “Buy American” unless no U.S. product or equipment is available.

I for one can’t wait to see the “Free Trade at Any Cost” crowd has to say about this.


Congressman battles North Americanization

January 17, 2007

Introduces resolutions aimed at stopping SPP from integrating continent

World Net Daily

Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., is preparing to introduce a series of House resolutions aimed at stopping the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America from integrating the continent into a trilateral U.S.-Mexico-Canada structure of administrative law.

Goode also intends to block the previously undisclosed, but already signed, Social Security agreement to “totalize” U.S. Social Security benefits with legal and illegal Mexicans working in the U.S.

“I hope our effort will be successful in stopping the implementation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership,” Goode told WND. “If we are not successful in stopping SPP, we are going to see further erosion in the sovereignty of our country.”


Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va. (Photo: University of Virginia)

Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., is preparing to introduce a series of House resolutions aimed at stopping the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America from integrating the continent into a trilateral U.S.-Mexico-Canada structure of administrative law. Goode also intends to block the previously undisclosed, but already signed, Social Security agreement to “totalize” U.S. Social Security benefits with legal and illegal Mexicans working in the U.S.

“I hope our effort will be successful in stopping the implementation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership,” Goode told WND. “If we are not successful in stopping SPP, we are going to see further erosion in the sovereignty of our country.”

As WND previously has reported, SPP has laid out plans for increased regulatory cooperation between the three nations in new, full-color, trilingual publications of the 2005 and 2006 SPP Reports to Leaders, which is archived in electronic form on the Department of Commerce SPP website.

Goode objected that the open borders philosophy of the Bush administration “will level down the United States. SPP will enhance neither the security of the United States nor the prosperity of our economy.”

Goode also told WND that he plans to re-introduce in the 110th Congress H.C.R. 487, a resolution he introduced previously to block both NAFTA Super Highways and the formation of a EU-style North American Union.

In an e-mail to WND, Goode’s office affirmed the re-introduction of H.C.R. 487 can be expected perhaps as early as today.

“The NAFTA Superhighway will bring more trucks and vehicles from south of our border into our country,” Goode explained to WND. “It will cost American jobs and decrease safety for our traveling public. The NAFTA Super Highway will end up opening further opportunities for illegals to be smuggled into the United States.”