Daily Archives: May 16, 2010

Toile Keds


What is by default public on your Facebook profile. May 2010 edition.

can be seen here

If that’s too small, click on this. As you can see: quite alot.

Buick: it’s what old people drive (although GM wants to change that)

I had always suspected that our oldest citizens drive Buicks. It was confirmed in this article by David Olive on the surprising rebound of GM and Chrysler in the Toronto Star.

Recently, it turns out…

“GM’s decision not to renew its Tiger Woods endorsement contract is a key sign of a culture change essential to GM’s long-term prospects.

Tiger Woods and golf were the wrong message for Buick. During Woods’ long association with Buick, the average age of Buick owners rose to 72.

Liberated from appealing to older consumers, GM has outfitted its latest Buick LaCrosses and Regals with satellite navigation systems and DVD players important to the younger couples and family buyers to whom Buick strongly appealed only two decades ago. Thanks to that and sharper design, the average age of Buick owners has quickly dropped to 65.

So, the average age has dropped from 72 to 65. I guess that is progress of a sort. But I also had the morbid thought that maybe the older owners just, well, died. Or the owners in their 70s didn’t like all that stuff GM was putting in their Buicks and switched to something else. (Cadillac?)

Actually, I have rented Buicks before and I liked them. But I also thought: I can see why older people like to drive them. Soon enough, I will be older too: perhaps I will buy a Buick then.

Interestingly, according to the wikipedia entry, Buicks are big in China. In fact, the entire wikipedia entry is interesting. Take a look. And also, David Olive’s column is typically good.

On how the hung Parliament/minority government is working in Canada

John Ibbitson makes two mistakes in his otherwise good article, Parliament takes another step toward being a true arm of government inThe Globe and Mail. First up, he says this:

For 24 years, from 1980 to 2004, majority governments ruled at the federal level. Successive prime ministers used those majorities to expand their own powers at the expense of their party caucus and Parliament itself….

Cabinet ministers were turned into ciphers; parliamentary committees became rubber stamps; the opposition was demonized or ignored.

It’s the part in bold that I think was a mistake. While PM have expanded the powers of the PMO, ministers, at least in the Chretien government, were anything but ciphers. As I recall, Chretien was consistent in having his ministers be front and center on the files that they were working on. I saw an awful lot of Allan Rock and Paul Martin in the days that the Liberals held consecutive majorities. In general, good ministers have a way of getting out there. Bad ones, not so much. (Or in a bad way).

Second, he says this:

There have been mistakes. The attempt in 2008 to force a coalition government on the Canadian people was an adolescent effort by the opposition to wield its newfound power. As coalition negotiations in London this week demonstrated, voters expect the party with the most seats to be part of the government.

I don’t think this is true, either. Stating categorically what voters want is a losing game. But in terms of preferences, I think what voters want first is good government. And if good government can come as a result of the smaller parties joining together, most voters would prefer that.

I also find this mistake ironic, since I believe Ibbitson is not a big fan of first past the post. I thought he would have said, voters expect the party with the most votes to be part of the government.

Otherwise, a good article.