Absurd! Outrageous!

2,000 Children Abused by Priests

You read that figure correctly. Over the past 70 years, 2,000 children in Illinois alone were abused by Catholic Clergy. Instead of punishment in any form, many priests were shunted around to various parishes, in an outlandish cover-up.

We've said it before, long ago, when such offenses first came to light. We must say it again. The absolute maximum number of abuses committed by any priest, anywhere, should have been ONE. That person should have removed from his position immediately, and the Church should have made it perfectly clear that such an atrocity will never, ever be tolerated.

Gunshots: Not Again ... and Again and Again!

One week in mid-April was a big one for gun-wielding homeowners. When a 16-year-old Black boy went to the wrong house in Kansas City to pick up his siblings and rang the bell, the 84-year-old white man inside answered with gunshots, firing through the glass door. Days later in upstate New York, a 20-year-old woman riding in a car was shot and killed by a 65-year-old man, after the driver inadvertently into the wrong driveway. Saturday night in Alabama, a Sweet Sixteen party for a 16-year-old girl ended with four young people killed and 32 injured. Late Tuesday night, two teenage cheerleaders were shot in a Texas supermarket parking lot when one of them tried to open a car door, mistakenly thinking it was her own vehicle.

In Nashville on March 27, a shooter fired 152 shots inside a Christian elementary school, killing six: three 9-year-olds and three adults in their 60s. Two mass shootings took place in California within a two-day period in late January. Eleven lay dead, with nine injured, in attack on dance studio near Los Angeles, as elder Chinese-Americans celebrated Lunar New Year. Near San Francisco, a farm worker shot workmates.

In the first three months of 2023, about 130 mass shootings took place, according to the Gun Violence Archive. NPR reported that 89 incidents involving a gun occurred at schools during that period. The nation's killing spree continued into early May, in Texas, where a man killed eight at an outlet mall, raising the nationwide total of mass shootings to 199.

When Will We Finally Learn: GUNS KILL!

Thinking About the Unthinkable

Could Mid-term 2022 Be Our Last U.S. Election?

Yes, the future (or demise) of democracy was on the November 8 mid-term ballot; and for many Americans, its prospects didn't look good. Two years earlier, as the 2020 presidential election drew to a close, voters for both candidates – but especially for Biden – expressed fear for the future.

Some of us began pondering possibilities that would have seemed ludicrous a few months previous. With the potential for political disaster looming in the 2022 Midterm election, searching for a way out seemed more compelling than ever. Subsequent events in January, as Republicans opened Congress with a slim House majority, added to the concern for American democracy. By April, two days after Donald J. Trump was indicted in New York, with nearly all Congressional Republicans taking his side, the country appeared more divided than ever, with no potential solution evident. What can we, as individuals on the liberal or progressive end of the political spectrum, do to survive?

• Leave the country (not as easy as many Americans think).
• Intensify peaceful protests.
• Turn our attention to the states.
• Tune out: Strive to ignore the worsening political scene.
• Weigh the merits and drawbacks of splitting the country into red and blue nations: a drastic and difficult action, obviously, but possibly the only real solution.

If the latter still sounds too far-fetched, forming state coalitions could be a workable alternative. States with similar leanings might band together for their mutual benefit on such issues as trade, health care, abortion – and especially, the future of America. A Pacific States of America coalition, for instance, might include California, Oregon, Washington – and possibly, Hawaii. In the same vein, groupings of several red states in the center of the country could appeal to anti-liberal conservatives.

Gun Advocates: Don't forget Annabell and Xavier

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez and Xavier James Lopez, both age 10, were best friends who texted "I love you" to each other. Acknowledging the young sweethearts' affection, their mothers had them buried next to each other at Hillcrest Cemetery in Uvalde, Texas. They were among the 19 children and two teachers murdered in schoolroom.

For more on Uvalde shooting and aftermath, as well as a report on an abortion-rights protest in May 2022, Please Click Here

The Ukrainian Cause

Early opposition to the Russian assault on Ukraine took many forms. ABC News introduced a Polish man who ran a wedding venue/hotel, but took in 20 refugee families (at least 40 women and children) fleeing the country. A woman was shown playing a piano on the sidewalk, to "make people happy." Relief efforts for the Ukrainian refugees were said to be getting "more organized," but the need for supplies and temporary residences remained immense.

Putin faces global condemnation

Except for China and a handful of other countries, few supporters of the Russian president's belligerent assault on Ukraine can be found. Sanctions initiated by President Biden had a quick impact on Russia's economy. Valor and courage of Ukrainian fighters, including thousands of ordinary citizens, has drawn near-universal admiration. Cultural and sporting events involving Russia have been cancelled. "Saturday Night Live," NBC's long-running comedy program, began its February 26 show not with the usual skit, but with a hymn sung by a Ukrainian choir in traditional dress. Another choir sung the Ukrainian national anthem to lead off a Metropolitan Opera performance.

Many Europeans opened their homes to refugees who managed to cross the border between Ukraine and Poland. Videos of frightened children in Kyiv subway stations or horribly crowded train stations, many of whose fathers stayed behind to fight the Russian forces, grabbed the hearts of concerned – and infuriated – humans across the world.

Could American billionaire halt global starvation?

David Beasley, director of the United Nations' World Food Programme, recently claimed that just 2 percent of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' multibillion-dollar wealth could halt global starvation. Rival billionaire Elon Musk quickly responded, vowing to sell some Tesla stock to donate $6 billion to the cause of world hunger. With one proviso: that Mr. Beasley explain exactly how such a result could be achieved.

How much is that, anyway? Sounds like a lot, but $6 billion buys about 170,000 new cars; or half a million high-end iPhones. Those totals are a bit easier to grasp than a "6" followed by nine zeroes.

We, too, look forward to details on the calculations made by Mr. Beasley, who has expressed willingness to meet and elaborate. The World Food Program tweeted that a "one-time donation from the top 400 billionaires in the U.S. could help save the lives of 42 million people this year." If so, who else will step forward?

Democracy R.I.P.

By censuring Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, Republicans proclaimed the death of their party and the imminent demise of democracy in America. As CNN's main headline put it, May 12, 2021 was "a major turning point in US political history." One columnist noted that a single line in Cheney's speech to Congress "will haunt Republicans" from now this point forward. That line, referring to the "Big Lie" perpetrated by Donald Trump:

"Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar."


Donald Trump:
Partial President

Unlike any predecessors, Mr. Trump never even pretended to be president of all the people; only his followers and loyal Republicans. Everyone else was deemed an enemy, subject to verbal abuse. As his utterances, tweets, and actions made perfectly clear for four years, he was emphatically not the president of Democrats and progressives.

For a selection of Trumpinions, please Click here.

Books On Trump

One of several books on the finale of the Trump administration, Frankly, We Won This Election states that after Trump was moved to a secret bunker during Black Lives Matter protests in D.C., he wanted the person who "leaked" that information to be charged with treason and executed. Early chapters of I Alone Can Fix This are packed with details about the deeply flawed White House response to the emerging coronavirus, early in 2020. Betrayal, by Jonathan Karl of ABC News, is among the most insightful and easily-read observations of the defeated president's final period in office. All 652 pages of The Divider, penned by New York Times chief White House reporter Peter Baker and New Yorker staff writer Susan Glassner, are crammed with vivid details and tidbits about Donald Trump's four frantic years in office.

Click here for reviews and information on books by Mary Trump, Maggie Haberman, and more.

White House Woes

Trump's Presidency In News Briefs

During first two years of his presidency, we compiled news items outlining the outrages committed by the Trump administration against American laws, values, and principles. We revived coverage for his final year in office, as the Covid pandemic erupted, concluding in January 2021. A PDF chronicling the three-week period prior to 2017 Inauguration also is available.

Click here to download White House Woes (PDF)

Click here for 2020-21 News Briefs

Click here for Countdown News Briefs (PDF)


Since 2019, teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has been speaking out forcefully about the lack of action on global climate change.

Ms. Thunberg has spoken at such events as the UN Climate Action Summit and the World Economic Forum, berating world leaders for doing "basically nothing" to reduce carbon emissions. In 2020, Greta returned to school, having dropped out for a year, but she continued her protest activities.

Greta mocked world leaders at Youth4Climate forum in Italy, asserting that for the past three decades, climate action has amounted to no more than "blah, blah, blah.... empty words and promises" that failed to lead to action. In February 2022, shortly after Russia attacked Ukraine in what it called a "special military operation," Greta joined a group of "Stand With Ukraine" protesters at a Russian embassy. Early in 1923, Ms. Thunberg was pictured being carried off by police officers in Germany, following her participation in a coal mine protest. Not long afterward, she was briefly detained by police during a protest against wind farms in an indigenous area of Norway. Wind farms are said to adversely impact grazing by reindeer, which are herded by the Sami people in the region.

Click here for additional details on Greta's activities.

Toil & Trouble

NEW! A Century of Pay and Prices

Chronicle of workers' wages and commodity prices, 1886-1986

How much did Studebaker Starliner coupe cost in 1953? What was average worker earning? Click here to find out.

While chronicling the Trump phenomenon and its impact on American life, starting in 2015, Tirekicking Today began this section on work and labor. It builds upon the singular views in Work Hurts, one of our Books in Progress.

"No man is good enough to be another man's master."
George Bernard Shaw,
in Major Barbara

"I don't like to work. It tires me out."
Actor James Garner, portraying the reluctant lawman in Support Your Local Sherrif.

"Only suckers work."
Actor John Derek, portraying criminally-inclined Nick Romano in film version of the Willard Motley novel Knock On Any Door (1949)

"I work all night, I work all day,
to pay the bills I have to pay.
Ain't it sad....
In the rich man's world"
Song lyric, ABBA, "Money, Money, Money"

Words On Work

Surprise! Some of us don't mind paying taxes

New Ways To Look at Work

Overview: Imaginative Approaches Required ...

Reject! For some applicants, job search is futile exercise

Quit calling us consumers!

Solidarity Forever?

Prioritize! Living with Less and Liking It

Own Nothing, Owe Nothing

Let's break the chain of consumer debt

Needed Now: Jobs, Not Careers

New essays on labor, work, money, and related topics will be added soon.

Work/Labor News Headlines

$#149; May 18 Strippers performing at Los Angeles topless bar form a union, affiliated with Actors' Equity Association. It's thought to be the only such labor connection in the U.S. (though not the first).

February 20: CNN reports that remote workers can apply for special one-year visas to live and work in Spain or Portugal, without the usual bureaucratic “red tape” and potential rejection when applying for long-term stay in a foreign country.

February 3: Monthly jobs report notes that more than half a million jobs were created, while unemployment rate (3.4 percent) is lowest since 1969. Some experts express concern that surprisingly high job growth might heighten possibility of imminent recession.

January 25: CNN reports that several major fast-food restaurant chains, including McDonald's, are spending millions of dollars on thwarting union organizing efforts of their workers.

October 27: Dollar General stores accused of repeated safety violations, included blocked exits. (Dept. of Labor)

October 22: During previous week, about 217,000 workers filed initial claim for unemployment compensation, an increase of 3,000 from a week earlier. (Dept. of Labor)

October 7: In September, average weekly wage of all private employees was about $1,120. Except for an upward blip in April 2020, wage figure has been rising at steady pace since 2006. In March of that year, average weekly wage was $685. (Dept. of Labor)

October 7: Average wage in September for all private nonfarm workers was $32.46 per day (up 5 percent from Sept. 2021). For private-sector and non-supervisory employees, it was $27.77.
Unemployment in September dipped a bit, to 3.5 percent of work force (5.8 million people). The rate for Blacks was 5.8 percent; for teens, 11.4 percent; for whites, 3.1 percent. Unemployment differed little by gender: 3.3 percent for men, 3.1 for women. In June, the number of unfilled jobs dropped to 10.7 million. (BLS)

August 30: More than 200 Starbucks locations are unionized, but none has a union contract and management has declined to talk. (PBS)

Looking Back: Twenty states raised their minimum wage on January 1, 2021. So did more than 30 cities, to as high as $15 per hour; but many increases were to be phased-in over a period of years.

Additional Labor news items, especially related to low-wage, contract, and temporary work, will be posted periodically.

"No Human Being Is Illegal"
Sign carried by protester marching in support of "Dreamers" on January 19, 2018

Work/Labor in Print

In January 2018, Amazon announced that 20 cities were on the "short list" of possible sites for the company's second headquarters. Each city had offered massive incentives in its quest to attract Amazon, which promised to create 50,000 jobs.

Before a final decision was made, residents of those cities might have benefited from reading a vivid description of the working life in an Amazon warehouse, in one chapter of Nomadland. Jessica Bruder chronicles lives of "houseless" Americans, many elderly, who live in vans and RVs, working at seasonal and short-term jobs (including Amazon warehouses) to survive.

During 2020, a film version of Nomadland was directed by Chloe Zhao and starred Frances McDormand. Seen briefly in a few theaters, the film was later released for streaming on Hulu and, eventually, saw greater theater distribution. Nomadland won Academy Awards for Best Director, Picture, and Actress.

On the Clock, another book dealing with low-wage toil, paints an even bleaker picture of worklife within an Amazon warehouse. Laid-off reporter Emily Guendelsberger spent an exhausting, painful month at a massive warehouse in Kentucky. Afterward, she traveled to North Carolina for a job at a call center. Not only does Ms. Guendelsberger report in fascinating detail about her experiences and her fellow employees, she provides an excellent chronicle of aspects of labor history that led to today's low-wage worklives. Her observations on Henry Ford and Frederick Taylor, a pioneer in industrial efficiency, are especially illuminating.

Late in 2019, the PBS NewsHour aired an investigation of safety records at Amazon warehouses. In October 2021, as many employers faced serious labor shortages, Amazon announced a plan to hire 150,000 temporary workers for holiday season.

"[W]hile there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
Eugene Debs (in 1918 court statement)
Five-time Socialist candidate for president

Work On Film

12 Vintage Movies About Work and Labor that should not be missed:

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
I'm All Right, Jack (1957)
The Organizer (1963; Italian)
Wages of Fear (1953)
Office Space (1999)
The Misfits (1961)
Death of a Salesman (1951)
Bachelor Party (1957)
They Drive By Night (1940)
No Down Payment (1957)
Greed (2019); scathing satire on extreme wealth and poverty
The Good Boss (2021) Spanish film starring Javier Bardem

Please Click Here for details on each film.

Turning to TV...
Revival of the Roseanne TV sitcom, renamed The Connors following the forced departure of the principal actress, again serves as a reminder that TV shows about working-class families can demonstrate excellence along with witty humor. The original series (1988-1997) was adeptly written and expertly performed, realistically depicting the troubles and joys of an economically-challenged family. Initially, the current iteration retained much of the flavor and laughter of the original and featured five original cast members, though later episodes have been less compelling.

“You know what the weirdest part about having a job is? You have to be there every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it.”
Jemima Kirke as Jessa Johansson, in episode 4 of the HBO series Girls, created and written by Lena Dunham

"He that has to obey the will of another is a slave."
Samuel Fielden (1886)

“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Typically attributed to Winston Churchill, but actual source is uncertain.

The Dunning-Kruger effect: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
Charles Darwin

"I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops."
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002)
Paleontologist, The Panda's Thumb

"Anyone who is willing to work and is serious about it will certainly find a job. Only you must not go to the man who tells you this, for he has no job to offer and doesn't know anyone who knows of a vacancy."
B. Traven - Author, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

UPDATED: May 24, 2023

Criminal Court date set for Donald Trump, in New York: March 25, 2024. Judge warns ex-president about what he can, and cannot, say about the case prior to trial.

Miami-Dade school district limits acclaimed Amanda Gorman poem, read by the poet during Biden Inauguration, to older grade-school students, following complaint by one parent that poem contains "hate messages." Ms. Gorman said to be "gutted" by the decision.

While awaiting decision on New York indictment, in April, former president had warned of “potential death and destruction” if he were indicted.

NOW ON SALE: Autobiographical Fiction by Flammang

Untied Knots

Tales of Travel and Back at Home

Three groups of short stories, each with an offbeat twist or two, make up Untied Knots. Nearly half are travel-based, focusing on second-class journeys through everyday life, steering around the posh and the touristy. Several stem from real-life journeys and random residence within Mexico, undertaken as far back as the mid-1970s.
"Back At Home" tales are more fictional, though inspired at least in part by real people and places. The collection also includes several early stories, strictly fictional and previously unpublished, from the author's archive.
Untied Knots was placed on sale in March 2023 and is available through major retailers, in print or ebook form. The printed paperbound book may be ordered directly from the author, for a discounted price.
Review copies, in PDF form, also are available. Please e-mail all requests to
Excerpts from Untied Knots:Contents ... Introduction ... Excerpts: Night Train Out of Queretaro ... Scandal in the Dayroom ... Bad Sports ... Desk Duty ... Ready? Go!

After 23 years covering auto industry, Tirekicking Today shifted gears in 2016 to focus on social, political and economic issues - led by unprecedented ramifications of the Trump presidency and its election-denying aftermath.

Please see Used Car section (bottom of page) for articles on used car trends and growing electric-car market.

All 20 chapters of Clunkers & Creampuffs, editor James M. Flammang's comprehensive history of the used car (1900-85), are now available. See details below.

Also online: Easy Shifting: a detailed history of the automatic transmission ... Part I of our two-part history of Gas Rationing, covering World War II period (1942-45). Part II will deal with threat of rationing during 1970s.

News That Matters ... Covid Update

Asked about Covid in mid-September 2022, President Biden asserted that the "pandemic is over," but added that considerable "work" must still be done. In April 2023, the president declared that the Covid-19 "national emergency" was terminated.

Early in May 2022, U.S. death toll from Covid-19 passed one million. By mid-July, two new variants of the virus, more contagious than before, were accounting for most of new cases. Vaccine that claimed to repel Omnicron variant became available (free) in September. In late October, according to The New York Times), daily average of new Covid cases was 37,412, with 27,002 hospitalized and 3,193 in Intensive Care. Death toll averaged 358 daily. Only 8 percent of seniors had received the updated bivalent booster shot. As of May 2023, about 1,100 patients were dying each week from the virus.

For previous Covid news and opinion please Click Here

National and Global News Briefs

Selected news items highlight some of the most worrisome events and statements from the past few weeks, accompanied by periodic essays on the bitterly partisan U.S. political scene.

March 19: Former president Trump claims he will be arrested on Tuesday March 21, in connection with an indictment regarding payment of $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels. He also asks his supporters to protest that indictment, in order to "take back your country." Critics point out similarity of this request to his statements prior to Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.

March 6: On his Fox News show, Tucker Carlson runs what some critics call a “cherry-picked,” small selection of security videos that purport to demonstrate that January 6 insurrectionists were actually peaceful tourists.

March 4: In 100-minute speech to annual gathering of Conservative Political Action Conference, ex-president Trump recalls his declaration in 2016 that "I am your voice." Now, "I am your warrior, I am your justice; and for those who have been wronged and betrayed, your retribution." Mr. Trump also advised that even if he is indicted, he will continue to campaign. To date, Nikki Haley, another CPAC speaker, is the only other Republican officially in the running for the presidency. February 20: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gives Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson massive collection of (40,000-plus) security videos from Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021.

March 6: On his Fox News show, Tucker Carlson runs what some critics call a “cherry-picked,” small selection of security videos that purport to demonstrate that January 6 insurrectionists were actually peaceful tourists.

February 20: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gives Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson massive collection of (40,000-plus) security videos from Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021.

February 7: Several Republicans interrupt and heckle President Biden during State of the Union address ... Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene shouts "Liar" in response to comment on threats to Social Security and Medicare ... Fentanyl comment draws accusation that "It's your fault!"

January 25: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy removes two Democrats from prominent committee assignments, claiming "new standard" for admission. Both Democrats had participated in impeachment proceedings against the former president.

December 21: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky comes to America -- meets Joe Biden at White House and addresses U.S., Congress ... first visit to U.S. by wartime president since Winston Churchill, at beginning of World War II.

December 21: Donald Trump's tax returns to be released to public ... former president's longstanding claim that his returns were "under audit" proves to be false ... IRS failed to audit those returns, as required by IRS rules, during first half of his presidency.

November 30: After fighting for years and initiating numerous lawsuits to keep his tax returns secret, Trump turns six years' worth over to House Committee.

November 23: Department of Justice asks former vice-president Mike Pence to testify against Donald Trump. Pence has already indicated that he will not testify before January 6 committee.

November 22: Supreme Court rules that Trump should provide his tax returns to Congress; for years, former president has rejected similar requests.

November 22: Trump dines at Mar-a-Lago with rapper/antisemite Ye (Kanye West) and noted white supremacist/election denier Nick Fuentes; Democrats and others condemn his guest choice, but most Republicans remain silent.

November 11: Donald Trump said to be furious at losing Republicans, led by Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. Trump tells interviewer that if Republicans win, he deserves all the credit; and if they lose, he should not be blamed at all.

October 30: ABC/Ipsos poll shows top issues for registered voters: inflation, 22 percent; economy, 28; abortion, 16; and gun violence, 7 percent. About 62 percent of voters want abortion to be legal. At least 200 Republicans running for office are election deniers, and two-thirds of them are likely to win. (ABC News)

October 27: In Reuters/Ipsos poll, about 40 percent of respondents worry about intimidation when attempting to vote in midterm election.

October 24: Math scores of eighth-grade students taking national exam tumble from 34 percent in 2019 to 26 percent this year. Reading scores have fallen in half of the states.

October 21: After six weeks in office as her economic plans crumble, British prime minister Liz Truss resigns.

October 20: Russian president Putin imposes martial law on four areas of Ukraine that were claimed to be annexed illegally.

October 20: Poverty rate for older Americans (65-plus) rose from 9.5 percent in 2020 to 10.7 percent in 2021. In 1960, more than one-third lived in poverty. (The New York Times).

Please Click Here for Post-Inauguration News Briefs, starting in February 2021.

News Briefs from the Trump Years Are Available

Please Click Here for News Briefs from mid-March through December 2020 – plus the final days of the Trump presidency (January 1-20, 2021). Two years of Trump News Briefs (January 2017 to December 2018) may be downloaded as a PDF file. News Briefs from the period prior to Trump's 2017 inauguration also are downloadable in PDF form..

2022-23 Book Publication Schedule (tentative)

TK Press (a division of Tirekicking Today)

Tirekicking Today editor James M. Flammang, the author of more than thirty books (including six for children), has been working for some time on additional titles. Some are nearing final stages of pre-production. Untied Knots went on sale in early March. Each views its subject from an oblique and often lighthearted – yet serious – perspective.

Note: Preliminary outlines and/or unedited excerpts may be accessed by clicking on each link below. Additional excerpts will be available soon.

Inquiries from book publishers or agents are welcome. Please send e-mail to

Fraidy Cat

Surviving a lifetime of unwarranted fear and fright

A personal look backward, focusing on lessons learned about living with debilitating fear, anxiety, and panic, includes ways to cope and survive. Unlike some self-help books on the subject, Fraidy Cat isn't just about fear in general, recounted and analyzed by an impartial observer. No, this is personal, agonizing, overpowering fear – the sort that constricted and devastated a decades-long chunk of the author's own life and continues to do so, if to a less ferocious degree.

This personal memoir covers more than half of a lifetime, starting in adolescence. It concludes with warnings and pleas for fearful young folks to get help now, or be doomed to look back upon a lifetime of regret.
Fraidy Cat: Contents ... Outline ... Excerpts: Chapter 1 (Childhood) ... Chapter 3 (Sex) ... Chapter 5 (Addiction)


Logical Lapses in everyday life and thought

Comprehensive collection of stinging essays gazes with disbelief at dozens of aspects of modern life, from self-driving cars (left) to heroism, job searches to ownership, political division to economic inequality. Chapters are arranged in sections, including Work, Money, Identity, Communication, Technology, Consumption, Politics and Law, Pastimes, Sex, and Transportation.

Work on this book began well before the 2016 election of Donald J. Trump. Therefore, the final chapter focuses on his bizarre, unprecedented presidency and its worrisome aftermath.
Absurdities: Contents ... Overview .. Chapter Outline ... Excerpt from Section III - Work (Our Biggest Myth)

Work Hurts

Reflections on a wasted life

Aptly titled, Work Hurts questions the conventional wisdom on work and careers. For untold millions, including many with "good" jobs, each day's toil delivers no joy and little reward. In addition to scrutinizing workplace issues in the past, Work Hurts considers viable alternatives to conventional employment – led by the fast-growing "gig" and "temp" economy, and its impact on less-than-happy toilers. Along the way, we illuminate the prospects for not working at all, potentially made possible by establishing a guaranteed income.
Work Hurts:Contents ... Chapter Outline ... Chapter 1 (Without a Paddle)

Hotel Life

Living small in an age of large

Assesses the satisfactions of simpler living and minimal consumption, while chronicling the joys (and drawbacks) of residing in low-end accommodations. Hotel Life considers such relevant topics as the guaranteed income, shrinkage and change in the labor movement, older suburbanites moving back into the city (or pondering the RV life), and the recent small-house movement.
Hotel Life:Chapter Outline ... Overview ... Contents

Steering Toward Oblivion

A caustic look at the history and future of the Car Culture

A vividly critical – but frequently humorous – observation of the car culture and auto business, including the automotive media. Steering examines automotive history as well as today's (and tomorrow's) cars, emphasizing their impact on daily life, the transportation network, the economy, popular culture, and the environment. Author James Flammang has covered the auto business as a journalist and historian since the 1980s.
Steering:Chapter Outline ... Overview ... Excerpts: Chapter 1 (Media) ... Chapter 13 (Motoring Manners)

For further information on any title, please contact us at

Books by Flammang ... already on sale

TK Press, the book-publishing division of Tirekicking Today, has issued three titles since 2014. Each was written by James M. Flammang, author of more than two dozen previous books. Click Here for a list of his books and other publications.

Incompetent: Coming up short in a world of achievement

Whether it's sports, business, personal relationships, the arts, or any other area of life, some of us score a flat zero in the skills and talents department. Blending serious concerns with a humorous tone, each chapter covers a specific area of incompetence with which the author, amazingly, is all too personally familiar.

Incompetent is available at: Amazon ... and Barnes and Noble
ISBN (print): 978-0-9911263-2-3 ($10.50)

Mr. Maurice Knows It All ... and tells you so

In 78 concise chapters, the debonair yet down-to-earth stuffed pig known as Mr. Maurice – who just happens to know everything – unleashes a torrent of acerbic, humorous, delightfully wise words on subjects ranging from work to movies, money to citizenship, status to guilt. An emigrant from Britain, with obviously French heritage, Mr. M. manages to combine strictly contemporary attitudes and piercing opinions with a gallantry and sophistication reminiscent of the era of Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce.

Mr. Maurice ... is available at: Barnes & Noble ... and Amazon.
ISBN (print): 978-0-9911263-3-0 ($8.50)

Both titles may be purchased directly from TK Press. PDF review copies are available FREE. Just e-mail Please ask about printed copies, signed by the author.
Excerpts from Incompetent and Mr. Maurice ... may be seen at

• Articles and essays related to current affairs, including relevant automotive subjects, will appear periodically.

Tirekicking Today editor James M. Flammang, a veteran independent auto journalist, has contributed countless product reviews and feature articles to such publications as, New Car Test Drive, CarsDirect, and Kelley Blue Book. He has written extensively for a variety of major outlets, including J.D. Power,, and the Chicago Tribune. Flammang is a member of the Freelancers Union and the International Motor Press Association, and is a past president of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. The author of more than thirty books, mostly on auto history, also has contributed extensively to Consumer Guide publications and to such trade publications as Ward's Dealer Business.

TK Press, established in 2014 as a division of Tirekicking Today, has already published three books by Flammang. Several more titles (described above) are well underway, scheduled for publication starting in late 2022.

Clunkers & Creampuffs

A casual history of the used car

1: Early Days
2: Ford's Model T
3: Production and Prosperity
4: "Easy" Payments
5: Family Cars and Family Life
6: Five-Dollar Flivvers
7: Rise and Fall of the Used Car
8: Saturation and Salesmanship
9: A Global Blowout (1930s)
10: Selling In Hard Times
11: Wheels for the Workingman
12: Okies, Nomads, & Jalopies
13: Motoring in Wartime
14: The Postwar Boom (1946-54)
15: Chromium Fantasies (1955-59)
16: Dealers Face Image Problem
17: Wheels for the Fifties Workingman
18: Teens, Rods, and Clunkers
19: Everybody Drives
20: Personal History of Clunker Ownership

Ever since the first automobiles began to age, early in the 20th century, the used car has been a notable yet seldom-heralded element of American life.

Used Car

Following a several-year hiatus, Tirekicking Today has been reviving coverage of the used car market – again adopting a consumer focus. Relevant reports on new vehicles and other aspects of the automobile business and car culture also will appear in this space.

Editor James M. Flammang has been reporting on used cars since the 1980s, not only for this website but for Consumer Guide's used car buying guide and a variety of other consumer publications.

This section began with a report on the gradually growing market for electric cars, including a brief history of EVs and a rundown of some new entrants. Next came a detailed look at the volatile used car marketplace, Used Car Trends, featuring comments from experts attending the annual pre-owned car conference (dubbed Used Car Week and presented by Auto Remarketing magazine.)

Subjects covered in this section include:
Are EVs finally ready for prime time?
Used Car Trends
Cars vs. Trucks in the sales race (Hint: Trucks have strong lead.)
What's happened to used car prices?
Whatever happened to the Repo Man?
• State of and expectations for auto financing
• Which vehicle makes more sense, economically speaking: New or Used?

A comprehensive article providing latest news and opinion on electric cars and autonomous vehicles is in progress.

Note: In addition to news items, occasional articles on automotive history and the car culture will be featured in this section, starting with Easy Shifting, a history of the automatic transmission.

NEW! Part I of our detailed, two-part history of gasoline rationing, covering the World War II period (1942-45), is now available. Part II, coming soon, will deal with the threat of rationing during the 1970s oil crisis.
Click here for Gas Rationing during World War II

News Headlines
in the Auto World

What's New for 2023-24 ...

March 6: Tesla raises prices of its electric cars for fifth time since start of 2023. (Reuters)

Coverage of latest auto news will resume shortly.

All editorials, essays, and articles are available for reprinting.
Editors are invited to contact us for rates and full details.

TIREKICKING TODAY began in 1993 as a monthly print publication. Created by widely-known automotive writer/editor James M. Flammang and associate editor Marianne E. Flammang, it went on the Internet in 1995. TIREKICKING TODAY has given consumers, enthusiasts, and industry leaders an abundant supply of valuable automotive information, incuding new-vehicle reviews, used-car buying advice, editorial commentary, and feature articles. By 2016, we were ready to ease away from coverage of automobiles, and take the publication on a completely different track - focusing primarily on topics that had become far more crucial than cars.
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