Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union Progression or Regression

I have to thank Colette a reader from Capetown South Africa for the cartoon I used above. I may not have used the F word and would rather have used the S word but the cartoon says it all and is a pretty hilarious commentary on how we have messed up the world. This week I followed an auction on Ebay for a fully restored Porsche 914 from the mid 70s. What interested me was the fact that the owner had converted the Porsche to be electric powered. He installed over 23 kilowatt hours of lithium ion batteries and removed the engine and replaced it with a large electric motor. He even installed a 2 kilowatt electric heater so the motorist would not die of exposure in the winter. The condition on the car of the body, paint, chrome, interior, wheels, and tires were flawless and was so clean that one could have eaten off the floor.

The seller had a reserve price for the car and stated that he had spent $100,000 to restore the car and change the drive to the state of the art electric system. The final offer made by a potential purchaser was $18,100 and this bid did not meet the reserve price. I also followed an auction for a stock model 914 Porsche that had not been restored but was in good working condition. This car did not meet its reserve price either and the bidding ended at just over $7,000. My guess of the price for a pristine fully restored Porsche with a stock internal combustion engine, that the bidding may have reached $11,000. Therefore the US public was willing to pay the owner of the 914 a premium of approximately $7,000 for the conversion of the propulsion system from gasoline to electric. I too think the electric conversion was worth only a few thousand dollars and I would have paid $13,000 for the electric Porsche.

I think that the results of the auction of the electric Porsche is a metaphor of the upright man walking back towards the apes and saying go back. The owner of the car thought he was pushing a worthwhile envelope of technical improvement by taking out the internal combustion engine. No doubt he spent a lot of money on the restoration and conversion and no doubt he did a fine job of engineering the system. What he did not contemplate was whether his endeavor had any real value? The auction proved the efforts of the owner had very little real value and simply throwing $100,000 and a lot of human labor at a hair brain idea still means the final product was a low valued item. I admire the owner of the Porsche for using his own money and not relying on the department of entropy for a handout. I do not admire him for his final product, it was simply dumb to spend all this money.

The President delivered his state of the Union address. He never had the guts to turn around and say to the apes in congress to back up. The Apes applauded his hollow words because the words are as American as Apple Pie. Last week the President sang some Al Green lines from Let’s Stay Together at the Apollo. Perhaps he should have belted out some Don McLean Bye Bye American Pie to the joint session of Congress. He can also tell the apes who want to ride the elephant to DC in November that a McLean is not a low calorie burger that is served under the Golden Arches. The McLean is the actual state of the Union where there are few jobs and the primates on both side of isle dole out billions to Tesla, Fisker, Nissan, and Coda who like the owner of the Porsche 914 will turn $100,000 into $10,000 on each car they sell. I do like Al Green but the song Let’s Stay Together is quite the opposite of turning around and telling the apes following you how it really is. This is from the Al Green song “Let me, be the one you come running to I'll never be untrue”. This from the Don McLean song “Bad news on the doorstep, I could not take one more step.” The political system requires the President to sell hope and sing Green (note the pun), but I want leadership that can deliver the bad news, change course and then bake a tasty pie.