Trashed: Formula One No Longer Made In Japan

As you all might know, we here at Emptywheel are car people. And one annoying thread ran common as a persistent undercurrent through all of our auto and auto bailout coverage over the last year, and that was how pitiful and incompetent the American marques were, how much they deserved their fate and how awesome the Japanese brands, especially Toyota and Honda, were in comparison. This was incredibly disturbing because, as rudimentary as rolling iron seems on the surface, the automotive industry is incredibly complex and vertically integrated; it simply is not amenable to to simplisms and truisms that were bandied about in those tumultuous days.

Sadly, it is a meme that persists even today in spite of the fact that all manufacturers, very much including those in Japan, are sucking air and taking on water. And, no, their cars are not that much better either, they have quality and safety problems too.

For all of its ballyhooed efficiency, quality control and supposed relative superiority, the Japanese auto industry always was built on the shoulders and technology of the American manufacturers; they wanted the sales sector of the Americans and the aura of the Europeans. Since the Japanese marques first started their meteoric rise in prominence in the 70s, the holy grail for them was to compete and win on the highest stage in the world. Formula One. But the wake of the global financial meltdown has trashed their fortunes, and their goals, every bit as hard as it pounded the American car business. The pursuit of the holy grail is over, first for Honda last December, and now for Toyota:

Toyota announced Wednesday that it would give up its prized Formula One racing team in an effort to slash costs, refocus the company on green cars and turn a profit amid continued weakness in the auto sector.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, joins a growing exodus of Japanese auto companies from racing, highlighting the woes facing the country’s once cash-rich manufacturers. Honda pulled out of Formula One racing in December, while the tire-maker Bridgestone said this week that it would not renew its exclusive deal to supply tires to the series when its contract expires in 2010.

Subaru and Suzuki pulled out of the World Rally Championship before the season, citing concerns about the global crisis, while Kawasaki is quitting MotoGP, the top motorcycle competition.

“I hope you will understand that based on the current business environment we have no choice but to make this very painful decision,” Akio Toyoda, the Toyota president, said at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. “To all fans, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

Akido Toyoda literally cried as he made the announcement. Make no mistake, there was cause; he, Toyota and Japan had all lost face with the withdrawal from Formula One. The Japanese do not take Read more

Trash Talk: Big Dick Edition

image1Hey, if ya got it swing it; and that is exactly what the Big Dick in the White House did between January 2001 and January 2009. Obviously I am not talking about Georgie Boy Bush. I’m talkin Cheeeney (as Chris Matthews insists on pronouncing it). But the thing about big dicks is they are usually con men and liars. Guess that has been proved up again.

What with all that hard work late in the afternoon and early evening, it is time to take out the Trash. And we gots enough for a landfill this weekend.

Cheesesteaks v. Big Apple Boppers: Crossed you up eh? That is right, we lead with beisbol. Beisbol been berry berry good to me. So sez Chico Esquela. And it is World Series time, with the Phillies and Yanks tied up at one game a piece. The wisdom seemed to be the Yanks should just be crowned, but not so fast. Cliff Lee did a number on the Bronx Bombers in game one and Pedro, despite taking the loss, pitched a very good game in game two. A loss is a loss though, and they move on to the City of Brotherly Love now. Pettitte versus Hamels in game three Halloween night and back to Sabbathia and Cliff Lee Sunday. I figure Philly can win two of three, but then has two back in the Bronx. Not good for Broad Street, Yanks are gonna win the Series.

College Futbol: There is only one huge game this weekend, and it is the Quackers v. the Trojans. Game is at Autzen Stadium, and if you have never been there, you don’t know. Brutal place to be the road team. Seriously. And Oregon has been on a big roll since the opening loss to Boise State (Boise State should really get more love than they do). But USC has been rolling too, and the offense is starting to gel behind Matt Barkley. Kid is the real deal and he is just starting his career. If this game were at the Coliseum, it would be a no brainer; but in Eugene, it is a toss up. Hellofa game though. Georgia at Florida and South Carolina Gamecocks at Tennessee both ought to be excellent games. Lane Kiffin and the Volunteers do not have a great record, but they have played very well this year. If they had a quarterback worth a fuck, their record would be very different and they might even be at the top of the SEC. But they don’t. Even match with SC. Texas at Oklahoma State should be interesting; the Cowboys are going to miss Dez Bryant against a quality team like the Longhorns. Texas wins. Virginia Tech has already been upset tonight; they have been disappointing.

National Favre League: Let’s be real. There is only one game this weekend, and it is on the not quite yet Frozen Tundra. Old Man River returns to Lambeau. Nuff said. I have no real idea who wins this game, but it ought to Read more

Trash – Jerkin Crocus Edition

Well, I have had about enough of that Ayn Rand crap; time to let loose. At Casa de Bmaz, that means margaritas and rock and roll. Today I have whipped out an oldie, but very goodie. From Mott the Hoople’s 1972 classic album All The Young Dudes, its Jerkin Crocus, a thoroughly kick ass song that is mostly forgotten now. Let yer hair down and let’s get down to some football.

Pros: Hmmm, this Atlanta at Dallas game looks interesting. The Dirty Birds are on a roll, absolutely killed the 49ers that had looked so solid prior to last week. It was hard to find a flaw in their game. Dallas needs a signature win to make something of a season that looks shaky at best so far. I do think the ‘Boys are better than people give them credit for; but really do not seem particularly well coached or consistent. The way Dallas has been able to run the ball, and with the game in the new Jerry Dome you would have to give the edge to the ‘Boys. You would, but not me; I’m staying on the HotLanta train.

Two other games of note are New Orleans at Miami and Arizona at the New York Giants. Miamai looked really good last time out with Chad Henne passing, the wildcat offense and a solid defense. The Saints are killing people; the defense is lights out this year and we all know what Drew Fookin Brees can do and does do. There has even been a Reggie Bush sighting. This bodes ill for the Fish. The Cards that closed out the season last year and took the Steelers to the final seconds of the Super bowl have started to rear their ugly heads finally after a slow funk start. They will be running into a pissed off set of Gents still smarting from that egg they laid in the Superdome. It is in NY though and the Cards are famous for not traveling well to eastern cold climes; slight edge to the Gents but this could be a great game.

Oh yeah, there is one other game of interest. That Old Man River dude and his Norske friends are going up to Pittsboig to visit Big Ben and the Stillers. The Steelers have rediscovered their running game now that Rashard Mendenhall has taken over for No Longer So Fast Willie Parker, and Big Ben is throwing the ball all over the field with great success. And they get Troy Polamalu back for the first time in weeks. With Antonio Winfield likely out or hobbled in the Vike’s defensive backfield, it looks grim for the Purple People. Never count out the Old Geezer though. This is a tossup, could go either way and should be a great game. The rest of the matchups are too lame to bother going through.

College Joes: The game of the week is, believe it or not, TCU at BYU. Yeah, yeah, I know, but it really is. The Horned Frogs knocked the Cougars out of BCS Bowl contention last year; and kicked the snot out of them doing it. Bad. BYU would love to return the favor to the undefeated and 10th ranked Frogs this year. The game is in Provo and I will take the Cougs in an upset. Iowa at Michigan State is an upset special; nobody likes playing the Spartans, especially in Lansing. The surprising Hawks should survive though in their last big test of the year before they play Ohio State.

Oregon at Washington and Penn State at Michigan should also be good games. The ducks have been really tough since that initial loss at Boise State. Washington is playing much better this year under Steve Sarkisian, but the Quackers have way too much for them. The JoePas at the Wolvereenies on the other hand, is too close to call. On paper Penn State should win; but they don’t play these things on paper and Michigan could pull off an upset. Oklahoma at Kansas could be close too. Bradford is out and Mark Mangino fields a good squad. Sooners better stiffen up or they will get whacked.

Baseball: It is over. The Dodgers are Bums again and the Phillys are in the Series. It is over in the Junior Circuit too, the Halos just don’t know it. Now all we have to do is wait for a couple of weeks for the World Series to start.

Movin Trash

Marcy has been moving, and moving sucks. I hate moving. Only positive thing about it is that it makes you sort through your stuff and get rid of crap that you should have thrown out a decade or two ago. Other than that, bleech.

Kobe is movin on too, and that sucks in a profound way. In case you didn’t know, Kobe was Jane Hamsher’s beautiful standard Poodle and was a big part of FireDogLake, its history and, of course, Jane. So raise a toast to the wonderful life he led and picture him running and gamboling in his endless new field.

College Ball: As I am getting a late start here, and I know Freep is jonesing, let’s start with the student athaleets. First up, Aggies er, Longhorns v. Sooners. I woke up and this game was already in the third quarter; looks like a good one. 13-13 as I type and fourth quarter just started. Bradford out eight plays into the game, that hurts the Sooners. But since I love monkeywrenching the BCS, GO SOONERS! Hmmmm, looks like the Sooners are going alright; going down that it. The other huge game today is USC-Notre Dame. Will this be the year the Fightin Irish live up to their hype? Yeah, and the Cubs are gonna win the World Series too. Nuff said.

Ryan Mallett can really throw the ball, but Florida should take care of Arkansas. The Virginia Tech Hokies at the Ramblin Wreak should be a really good game, but I think the Hokies are coming on strong and should take it. Iowa has already beaten Wisconsin; man, people better start taking the Hawkeyes seriously, they can ball. And in other Big Ten, er Eleven, news, Ohio State has lost again; Purdue this time.

The Pros: The top shelf game for the pros is Gents v. Saints. Most of the so called experts seem to think NY is the most solid all around team in the league and will be too much for Nawlins. I dunno about that. Drew Brees and Sean Payton have had a bye week to prepare and are at home; I’m taking the Saints. The surprising 5-0 Denver Broncos visit RanDiego’s Bolts at Jack Murphy Stadium (screw Qualcomm). Too tough to call; I just dunno. It is usually not until the second half of the season that Norval’s teams start to pay attention, and we are not there yet. And young Josh McDaniels really seems to have a disciplined and cohesive team; they are not flashy, but the Broncos have been playing solid ball in every phase of the game. Against my better judgment, I will take Denver.

Chicago visits Hot’Lanta. Great young quarterback matchup here Cutler versus Matt Ryan. But Matt Ryan has Tony Gonzales, excellent wideouts and Turner the Burner. Dirty Birds can play defense too. Game is way down south in Dixie, so I’ll take Da Falcons over Da Bears. The only other halfway interesting game this weekend is Ray Lewis and the Ravens visiting Old Man River, Adrian Peterson and the Norske in the Giant Baggie. Adrian Peterson has been relatively quiet lately, letting Favre carry the team. Now that the vertical passing game is dialed in, it seems about time for All Day to explode again, and I think he will. It is unheard of, but this will be the second game in a row (Bengals’ Cedric Benson last week was the first in 34 games) a back exceeds 100 yards on the vaunted Ravens defense. The Vikes defense isn’t bad either and they should be able to escape a good game at home with a win.

F1: Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend. Normal time zone race for once; 11:30 am EST and 8:30 am Pacific on Speed. We’ll see what happens in Brazil and then get ready for the season ending race in Abu Dhabi on November 1st.

Trash Talk – Angels In The Outfield Edition

Well another week has come and gone and people are still talking about the Most Interesting Man In The World and what he has been doing up in the land of the Norske. Well enough about that, let’s talk football.

National Favre League: This is a horrid week for NFL matchups; none of them are great and most are downright lame. The best to my eyes is Marcy’s newfound love, Mike Singleterry and the Niners hosting HotLnata’s Dirty Birds. This actually has the makings of a very good game. The Niners are solid and need to be taken seriously. Their defense is tough and disciplined, and offense has been sufficient, if somewhat underwhelming, so far this season. Atlanta plays well on both sides of the ball too, and young Matt Ryan is just learning what he has got with Tony Gonzales. Frank Gore is out for Frisco though, so give the edge to the Falcons. The other game that has a little bit of sex appeal is the Pats visiting the comfy confines of Mile High in Denver. Now, you have to take the Pats here, but never underestimate the Broncos at home and Denver’s defense has been fantastic so far. Brady should end the Donko’s fantasy start of the season though.

I will take the Jets to rebound and beat the Fish in Miami and the Cards to play with more passion than they have so far this year and take care of business at home against the Texans. Again, though, never underestimate the ability of the Cardinals to suck. Baltimore puts a crimp in the joy of Ochocinco and the Bengals in Baltimore and Buffalo continues the Brownie’s suck in Buffalo. Pittsburgh has too much for Detroit, but Detroit will continue to improve and will at least make it a game. The indianapolis Peytons contue the woeful start of the Titans. I have no idea what kind of bad mojo has consumed Tennessee this year, but they won’t quit sniffing that glue this week. Jeff Fisher must be beside himself; his team has been sloppy and that is just not characteristic of his teams.

Jags/Squawks and Skins/Panthers are both toss-ups. Look for the Vikings to go back to Adrian Peterson heavy against the woeful Rams and rest the arm on the old guy. Read more

Big Game Trash

With September out of the way, the rust is off the gridiron and we are getting into the heart of the football season. Heck, we even got a cold snap going here in the desert. Got down to 72 degrees last night, and the hight today will only be in the low 90s. Brrrrr. Smells like football weather. It is time for some big games.

The Student Athletes: In the Big Mitten, the Wolvereenies are taking on the Spartans. Nothing would crash Rich Rodriquez back to earth faster than a loss to Michigan State. This is the first real test Big Blue will face this year; to win in Sparta, they are going to have to do better than scrape by with last second victories over also rans like they have the first four games. Smells like an upset. Oklahoma versus Miami will either be a great game or a Sooner blowout; it is up to the Hurricanes to decide, and they sure looked mediocre last weekend. Young Landry Jones for the Sooners is looking very good substituting for Sam Bradford. Oklahoma is safe. LSU at Georgia is too close to call and should be a really good game. The game I am most interested in is USC and Cal. Both teams seem to be less than advertised so far this year, but this game will have huge ramifications for the conference crown and likely the Rose Bowl matchup for January. Who knows which Bears and Trojans will show up, but if pressed, I guess I will roll with USC here. Matt Barkley is back, and the freshman may still be getting his sea legs, but he is clearly critical to the Trojans offense, they looked very pedestrian without him.

National Favre League: Clearly the game of the weekend is the Lions and Bears. Okay, just kidding. The Pats host the Ravens in a real early season gut check. The Pats are 2-1 and have looked only so-so through three games. Tom Brady really is a little tentative, and opposing defenses have been blitzing the bejeebies out of him with success. They really need to get Fred Taylor and the Law Firm untracked. Bill Bel needs to use the Law Firm more I think. Hard to pick against the Pats at home, but I will. Joe Read more

Trash Talk – Crazy Pete’s Miranda Edition

Hello Americans, it’s Friday! Since that no longer means Paul Harvey is coming on the radio, it means it is time for Trash. Speaking of trash, we have the garbage from Crazy Pete Hoekstra and J-John Shaddegg (article with quote in it here). So, what is it with these wild ‘n crazy conservatives? They are always so fixated on Miranda; did they grow up having wet dreams about a C Street encounter with Carmen Miranda or something? It is all really hard to figure, so lets move along to the action for this weekend.

NFL: There are a lot of missing B’s this weekend, as in QBs, RBs and CBs. Donavan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck both look to be out, Marion Barber and LaDanian Tomlinson are out and the Jets have a pair of cornerbacks, Lito Shepard and Don Strickland out. Not good for any of those teams.

The best games, in no particular order, are the Niners v. Old Father Time and the Vikes: It is in the Metrodome for starters, so even though both teams are 2-0, give the home edge to the Vikes. Neither team has a flashy passing game, but the Norske have Adrian Peterson and I’ll take Favre and AP over Shaun Hill and Frank Gore; going to be a great game though. Titans v. Jets: Seems hard to think the Titans could go 0-3 as talented as they are, but I think they are going to. They really miss Haynesworth on defense. Jets still have their best corner, Reavis, and are on a roll. Falcons at the Pats: This is a tough call on paper, but Belichick isn’t going to lose again this soon; take the Pats. They really need to get a ground game going. Saints at Buffalo: Buffalo is way better than anybody thought, and they will make this a close game, but Drew Brees and company are just too much. TO will have a big game. Colts at the Cards for an extremely rare Monday Night game in Arizona: Cards are going to score some points without Bob Sanders patrolling on defense for the Colts. Peyton can clearly still take over a game. This is a toss up.

In the other games, the Ravens put some more hurt on the Brownies, the Lions upset the Skins Read more

Trash Talk – Spooks And Jukes Edition

Hi there Wheelies and Lugnuts, we have reached the end of another week. So now the fun starts!

Marcy and I kind of have a lot of the same interests, that is how I came to be here. Today she wrote about the Ambinder Atlantic article on top spooks caterwauling about the lame ass, to start with, Holder "preliminary review" on the beyond the criminal guidelines, set out by even the tortuous Bush/Cheney Administration, torture.

Yowzah, that letter, and article, was the definition of hubris, both as to the letter from the Head Spooks and Ambinder’s article. But the fact is it was a predictable juke on the part of the spooks, meant to feint the supposedly rookie Obama in a misdirection. The spooks are not as slippery as Darren Sproles though and, hopefully, nobody will fall for that bunk.

That was the spooks, lets look at the jukes on tap. First up, college football; and there are few really big games this weekend. The first is, believe it or not, Boise State v. Fresno State tonight. Boise State is up by two touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter. Since Jacory Harris and the U Hurricanes decimated the Ramblin Wreck last night, the only real top matchup is the Cornhuskers v. Va Tech. I’ll take the Hokies in that one. If you got other interests in the college ranks (Hi Jim White and Freep) talk em up.

National Favre League: The biggest game this weekend is the Jerry Jones Bowl. Jerry has a brand new scoreboard and Bad Eli’s punter wants to take it out. Godspeed punter dude. Bad Eli is missing his weapon, Plaxico, who is headed to the real big house because he, ignorantly, had a weapon (and shot himself in the freaking thigh). Eli wil miss Plaxico, more than Romo-eo misses TO, but the Gents have too much (remember Osi Umenyiora? He’s back). Sorry Jerry, ‘Boys get spanked.

It is a fine line between love and hate, but the Panthers are done; Dirty Birds take em in Hot ‘Lanta. Matt Stafford ain’t no Brett Favre, even a forty year old Favre; Vikes hand the Lions yet another loss. Rams versus Skins – I dunno, Skins ought to win, but I take the Goats in an upset. Houston at the Titans – I took the Houston Tejans as a sleeper this year, Read more

Surplus Trash Talk – Trojans And Vikings

We got off to an early start on Trash Talk because of the first game of the NFL season Thursday night. Just so everybody has an easily accessible place to jaw about the games, and especially the big Ohio State-USC tilt and the rest of the Sunday and Monday NFL games, here is another Trash thread.

A couple of comments are in order. That was a great season opener Thursday with the Stillers nipping the Titans in overtime. I still wish the NFL would give both teams a shot before ending overtimes in sudden death – it just isn’t right that one team can own the ball, kick a field goal and the other team never gets a shot – but that was a great game. Polamalu getting injured may haunt Pittsburgh though. Despite the loss, the Titans look solid.

The big Wolvereenie-Domer matchup in da Big House has, somewhat surprisingly, been great to watch. Not much for defense, but both offenses have gotten a lot of exercise and it has been fun. A far cry from the pitiful matchup up the unvictorious and untieds that took place last year. And Big Blue has won a thriller 38-34. Oh Masaccio, I think you need to sing Hail To The Victors to Marcy! If Weiss also gets blown out by USC again, how does he survive? So far, the rest of the college schedule has gone as expected. BYU just obliterated Tulane and really looks good on the heels of their upset of ex-trollkiller Freepatriot’s Sooners. A shoutout is also owed to GulfCoastPirate for his call on the Houston Cougars (William Ockham’s hometown team too) for their big upset of number 5 rated Oklahoma State. Very impressive.

As to the pros, nothing new until tomorrow except the Tequila charges against Shawne Merriman have been dropped and RanDiego is now crowing about the inevitability of the Bolts winning the Super Bowl. Oh, and some old geezer has apparently been named captain of the Vikings ahead of the season opener against Mannotsogenius and the Brownies.

There is also tennis via the US Open from Flushing Meadows. Nadal and Federer appear on a collision course and a young girl named Caroline Wozniacki looks to overcome an unseeded opponent to take on the winner of Serena Williams versus Kim Clijsters (in a great comeback run) for the women’s final.

And last, but never least, for the F1 Circus afficionados, the always exciting Italian Grand Prix from Monza will go off at 8 am Eastern time with the Read more

Trash Talk: The Regular Season, at Last!

We made it the vast wasteland of baseball hell back to football season! Congratulations one and all, especially you baseball nuts cursing my heresy right now.

Titans-Stillers: Things kick off tonight with scribe’s Stillers taking on masaccio’s Titans, the Super Bowl winners against last year’s winningest team. Gotta go with the Stillers, easy, in this, because I still haven’t washed my hand since I shook Franco Harris’ hand at Netroots Nation. Plus, Mike Tomlin did something really classy this off-season–he said, as a friend of Michael Vick’s, he might have ordinarily considered pursuing him, but given Big Ben’s drama in the off season, he didn’t want to do anything to get in Big Ben’s head. The Stillers are pretty much the team that won the Super Bowl, whereas the Titans have lost both Albert Haynesworth and Jim Schwartz. Plus, it’s in Pittsburgh.

Irish-Wolverines: Yes, this college game merits discussion in the first pro Trash Talk of the year. When’s the last time this game actually mattered? How long since it has it featured two undefeateds? There was an interesting stat on ESPN the other night–one of those insta-polls on which coach needed the win more, Charlie Weis or Rich Rod. The entire country, save two states, said Weis. One exception, of course, was MI. The other? WV, which appears to still be pouting. I gotta go with the Wolverines here, because if I gotta deal with game day traffic, then I sure as heck am owed a win. Go, um, Forcier!

USC-OSU: I might make the effort to muster some Big 10 jingoism over this game, to claim that OSU can stay with USC in the Horseshoe.  But … Navy?!?! So consider this the first opportunity of the year for bmaz to boast about how much better the Pac 10 is than the Big 10.

Merriman-Tequila: I frankly had never heard of Ms. Tequila when this whole nightmare for Shawne Merriman came up (yeah, you guys know my problems with pop culture, I get it). Read more

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