I just discovered Jim Hightower’s Lowdown. (Yes, I’ve been reading and listening to Hightower ever since Molly Ivins wrote about him.)
Hightower began his political life as a legislative aide to Senator Ralph Yarborough. He returned to Texas to become the editor of the magazine, The Texas Observer. Later  Hightower was elected Agricultural Commissioner. He became leading national spokesman for populist and progressive Democrats.  (By the way, if all you know about Texas politics is George Bush and Rick Perry, you should look at Barbara Jordan, Ralph Yarborough, Ann Richards (Whose famous quotes include “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth,” “…two women in 160 years is about par for the course. But if you give us a chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels ” and “When we pay billions for planes that won’t fly, billions for tanks that won’t fire, and billions for systems that won’t work, that old dog won’t hunt. And you don’t have to be from Waco to know that when the Pentagon makes crooks rich and doesn’t make America strong, that it’s a bum deal.”), Molly Ivins (Sorry, I can’t pass her name without give a handful of quotations.). . .

  • Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.

  • Everyone knows the man has no clue, but no one there has the courage to say it. I mean, good gawd, the man is as he always has been: barely adequate. [on George W. Bush]

  • Let me say for the umpteenth time, George W. is not a stupid man. The IQ of his gut, however, is open to debate. In Texas, his gut led him to believe the death penalty has a deterrent effect, even though he acknowledged there was no evidence to support his gut’s feeling. When his gut, or something, causes him to announce that he does not believe in global warming — as though it were a theological proposition — we once again find his gut ruling that evidence is irrelevant. In my opinion, Bush’s gut should not be entrusted with making peace in the Middle East.

  • Last week, I began a sentence by saying, “If Bush had any imagination …” and then I hit myself. Silly me.

  • [On then-candidate George W. Bush, in a 2000 book on his “short but happy political life”] If, at the end of this short book, you find W. Bush’s political resume a little light, don’t blame us. There’s really not much there. We have been looking for six years.

  • [On George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush] If you think his daddy had trouble with “the vision thing,” wait till you meet this one.

  • [Molly Ivins quotes George W. Bush in one of his “Bushisms”] “What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate, quotas, I think vulcanize society. So I don’t know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that’s my position.”

  • [On then-President George H. W. Bush] Personally, I think he’s further evidence that the Great Scriptwriter in the sky has an overdeveloped sense of irony.

If you think Texas has no redeeming social value, you need to look again. It’s just not much in evidence at this moment.


THE PRICE OF GLOBALIZED PAINT

Tuesday, April 5, 2011   |   Posted by Jim Hightower

I don’t know why the chicken crossed the road, nor whether the chicken came before the egg. But I have learned that a new car can’t roll down the road until paint is applied, and paint pigment definitely comes before paint.

Such is the zen of CortprateWorld’s delicate supply chain. Philosophy aside, Ford Motor Company recently announced that it cannot fill orders for black vehicles and must limit production of red ones. It’s a case of three “becauses” – Ford can’t deliver cars in these colors because it can’t acquire the pigment to mix the paint, because Ford’s pigments are made in Japan, which isn’t making any now because of its nuclear disaster.

Who knew that America can’t even make paint anymore?

However, in the hazy, crazy maze of globalization, America does make some Japanese pick-up trucks, though this has suddenly become uncertain, too. Hino Motors of Japan has a factory in Arkansas that makes rear axles for Toyota’s Tundra trucks, which are assembled in San Antonio. But a 10-inch gear is a key component of the axles, and Hino imports this part from its factory in Japan, getting just-in-time deliveries of the gears to the Arkansas facility every other day. Unfortunately, the Japanese factory gets its power from the now-destroyed nuclear plant at Sendai, so no gears are being made.

Follow the bouncing ball here: With the Japanese-made gear unavailable, the Japanese company in Arkansas can’t assemble the axles for Toyota’s made-in-America Japanese truck, which means 2,800 workers in Texas could be idled.

A globalized supply chain is inherently splintery, and about a third of the world’s auto production is expected to be lost this year to the spasm in Japan. Why are we allowing a handful of corporate interests tie our economy to such a frangible system?

“Crises in Japan Ripple Across Global Economy,” The New York Times, March 21, 2011.

“Japan parts shortage could hit all automakers,” Austin American Statesman, March 25, 2011.

“Demands of Supply, The New York Times, March 24, 2011.

“Lacking Parts, G.M. Will Close Plant,” The New York Times, March 18, 2011.

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