What I’m Looking At, January 28, 2009
* TTAC elevates a reader comment telling Detroit what it has to look forward to as the Big Three become the Big One (or none). It’s not a fun subject to think about, but given Washington’s total failure to analyze and address the financial crisis, we’re all likely to know a lot of people going from good jobs to welfare.
* A collection of quotable quotes from Overcoming Bias. My personal favorites:
People want to think there is some huge conspiracy run by evil geniuses. The reality is actually much more horrifying. The people running the show aren’t evil geniuses. They are just as stupid as the rest of us.”
“Truth is not always popular, but it is always right.”
Clint’s (presumable) favorite:
“Rule of thumb: Be skeptical of things you learned before you could read. E.g., religion.”
— Ben Casnocha
* Elsewhere in the real estate industry, Home Depot will do a moderate (by today’s standards) layoff and close the Expo Design Center chain.
“Even during the housing boom, Expo never reached our financial goals,” Chairman and Chief Executive Frank Blake said during a conference call with investors.
Maybe because it was the most expensive source of house parts I’ve ever personally seen? Even in good times the base of customers who throw money out the door without a care isn’t big, and it dries up suddenly and completely when economic conditions get sporty.
* DCist expresses interest in Bombardier’s PRIMOVE tram system, which appears to use induction to power streetcars with a third rail safely out of sight under pavement. As much as I like trains and streetcars, I think hybrid buses are a better solution. You don’t have to do anything to the street to run them, so you can change or extend the route as needed. And without a doubt, they’d be cheaper to buy and operate.
* And speaking of total government failure, I’m boldly predicting that California will be the first state ever to go into receivership. Why? Surprisingly, direct democracy is a big culprit – certain spending programs and tax caps have been taken out of the legislature’s hands by various referenda over the years, leaving limited options for cost-cutting. Though, not quite as limited as this…
Eliminate Inspection and Maintenance Review Committee — This would result in saving of up to $165,000.
Eliminate Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine — This elimination would result in a savings of up to $130,000.
Eliminate Telephone Medical Advice Services Bureau — This elimination would result in a savings of up to $157,000.