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I’m promiscuous – when it comes to what I read, that is. While I’m working my way through newspapers, blogs, etc. I come across occasional nuggets, often buried in larger articles, that, while they don’t deserve to be treated in depth, are still intriguing and bring up a point worth noting. A few examples from the week that has just passed:

  • The New York Times reports that Socialist French President François Hollande has decided to step down. His approval ratings are so low that his candidacy was likely to sink his entire party. Of interest to American Democrats who think that it’s smart to toe the center to center-right line, what brought Hollande down was the “ideological fuzziness” that led him to put financial and business interests before the interests of the folks who elected him. According to the Times, he “campaigned as an old-fashioned Socialist, with threats against finance. Once in office, he quickly veered to giving tax breaks to companies.” It didn’t help that he was squishy even after he changed his focus; he even backed off his business friendly labor “reforms.” Remember this the next time you hear a squish like Claire McCaskill cautioning us about principled socialists like Bernie Sanders who are “too liberal.”
  • A Reuters story reprinted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted automakers who want Donald Trump to repeal Obama administration vehicle efficiency rules. They whined that the rules not only impose costs, but are “out of step with consumer preferences.” Well golly gee. Let’s poison our children with pollution while we destroy the climate, but for God’s sake, don’t let us defy consumer preferences – much less make the jokers pay a little more if they insist on driving climate-destroying, energy hogs everywhere they go. Do these captains of industry know what the word “fatuous” means? And does any one think “fatuous” should drive energy policy?
  • And speaking of energy hogs, stop and think about what cheap gas has done for us. Business Insider reports that SUV’s and pickups are “crushing” the auto market, observing that there “will be a temptation with results like this for automakers to go back to the future and neglect small cars”because “Americans like big cars.”
  • And lest you believe that this re-emergent preference for automotive tanks is anything more than the marriage of misguided conspicuous consumption and cheap fuel, just consider that the largest share of the SUV market is for “luxury” SUVs that are mostly used in town and surburban driving. They aren’t working or rough-country vehicles. Even Jeep is planning to produce a luxury model.

And finally, there’s always the things that I don’t see while I’m reading around, but they’re still there in the background even if they are not always easily perceived – kind of like the Gestalt concept of the shifting figure where the black ground shows two candlesticks while the white ground shows two faces in profile. Today’s winner is a headline message that I haven’t seen, but which was there just the same:

  • Carrier sends 1,300 jobs to Mexico; disregards Donald Trump’s pre-election tantrums and gets a tax giveaway for doing it.