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 of his 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. In a Tweet, the World Food Program stated 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?

Trump's Latest Disgraceful Acts

October 29: After Rep. Adam Kinziger (R-Ill.), one of 10 House Republicans who'd voted to impeach Trump, announced that he will not run for re-election, the former president warned: "Two down, eight to go." (Another Republican who voted to impeach had already said no to re-election.)

October 21: Nine House Republicans join all Democrats to charge former top Trump advisor Steve Bannon with criminal contempt of Congress. Bannon had refused to comply with a subpoena, attempting to cite "executive privilege." Meanwhile, the former president claimed that the real insurrection took place on November 3 (Election Day), and the assault on the Capitol on January 6 was the "protest."

On September 11, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Donald Trump turned up at a Florida casino to deliver ringside commentary on a pay-per-view boxing match. What could possibly be more disrespectful to the thousands who died? How about his venomous verbal assault on Colin Powell, following the widely admired former top general and diplomat's death on October 18.

Trump continues to draw sizable crowds to rallies that push his "big lie" about a stolen election. Resolution of the partisan "audit" in Arizona in early fall, affirming Biden's election, hasn't slowed down or restrained the former president. Additional Republican-governed states are involved in comparable legal proceedings, challenging the 2020 results.

Texas has busy day, rushing rightward

September 1: Texas legislators pass most far-reaching anti-abortion law in U.S., enact one of most stringent voter-restriction bills, and ease open-carry gun law. What's next?

MTG Update (August)

Speaking in Alabama, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) congratulated the crowd for its low vaccination rate. According to CNN, she also suggested that government volunteers who knock on a door to promote vaccination be greeted by a resident with gun in hand.

One of three recent 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 deeply flawed White House response to emerging coronavirus early in 2020.

Anti-vaxxers face angry critics

After remaining mostly quiet for months, vaccinated Americans are increasingly expressing outrage at Americans who refuse to get the jab and/or wear masks. Many of us weren't pleased by the re-openings that occurred over the summer. We'll keep wearing masks and maintaining that 6-foot distance until experts agree that the pandemic really is on the way out.

Democracy R.I.P.

By ousting Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republicans proclaimed the death of their party and the imminent demise of democracy in America. As CNN's three-column 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 in Congress "will haunt Republicans" from now on. That line, referring to the Big Lie perpetrated by Donald Trump:

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


"Trump incites mob"

Who could ever have imagined such a headline on the front page of The New York Times? But there it was, in large type, in the January 7 edition of the legendary newspaper.

Across the country and around the world, similar words were being used to describe, succinctly, the deplorable actions and statements from Donald Trump as Congress began the process of certifying the votes from the Electoral College. At a late-morning rally, the president implored his enraged army of thousands to head for the Capitol building and forcefully pursue their fevered dream of overturning the election in Trump's favor.

Shortly after their arrival, the boldest of his supporters led a charge toward the Capitol itself, scampering up the steps, breaking windows to gain entry. Once there, they roamed the halls at will, vandalized some legislators' offices, took selfies of themselves engaged in acts of desecration – while legislators were quickly herded out of the Chamber and into safe locations.

This is America? No, this is Trumpland, where the activities of January 6 are variously deplored as "insurrection" (by Mitt Romney, among others), and an attempted "coup." At last, significant numbers of Republican officials denounced their president for his monstrous behavior. Even though his term would end in less than two weeks, many proposed a second impeachment, or invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office immediately.

Where have they been all this time? Anyone, apart from Trump acolytes, who's been paying attention since 2016 could easily have predicted an assault on democracy. Implicitly endorsed if not instigated by the president himself, it was a virtual certainty somewhere along the timeline of his term.

Watch Out for Marjorie!

NO, NO, NO! A U.S. Representative who nods at the notion of shooting top officials should not be allowed anywhere near Congress. If American democracy is to have any chance at survival, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), the ardent backer of dangerously depraved, reality-deprived QAnon conspiracy theories, must be expelled.

Contrary to feeble and nonexistent responses from all but a trickle of Republicans, there is no middle ground this time. This Is Wrong. The D.C. Capitol Insurrection was Wrong. Period. If You Can't See That, What In Blazes Is Wrong With You?!


Trump Goes Too Far in Push to Overturn Election

Of all the Trump outrages over the past four years, his January 2 phone talk with Georgia's secretary of state is easily the worst. To further promote his utterly baseless allegations of voter fraud, he demanded that a major state official commit a criminal act – which would itself constitute voter fraud. He even went so far as to threaten that official if he declined to follow the order of the "president," suggesting that refusal would amount to a "criminal response."

At this point, democracy is not under threat from Trump. No, democracy and the rule of law met their demise hours after the New Year. Worse yet, a shocking number of shamefully complicit Congresspersons (more than 140 Representatives and a dozen Senators) backed this venomous behavior, which easily deserves to be be deemed seditious; indeed, treasonous. Their names need to go on record for future historians, as those scholars struggle to understand how such a travesty could ever have occurred in a country long viewed as a pinnacle of democracy.

Donald Trump:
the 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.

Thinking About the Unthinkable
As the 2020 election drew to a close, voters for both candidates – but especially for Biden – expressed fear for the future. Some of us began pondering some intense possibilities, which would have seemed ludicrous a few months previous:

• Leave the country (not as easy as many Americans think).
• Intensify peaceful protests.
• Turn our attention to the states.
• Tune out: striving 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.

Meanwhile, we can simply declare that Donald Trump was never our president. As his utterances, tweets, and actions made perfectly clear for four years, he was emphatically not the president of Democrats and progressives.

Attn: Working-Class
Trump Supporters

Wake Up! He doesn't care any more about you than about Democrats, progressives, liberals, or the media. He cares only about himself and re-election.

Mary Trump (Ph.D) chronicles her uncle's early years

Click Here for Book Review

Watch for review of Ms. Trump's latest book, The Reckoning.

White House Woes

The Trump Presidency In News Briefs

Now available in PDF form

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.

Click here to download Trumpnews PDF

A PDF version of "Countdown to Trumpland," chronicling the three-week period prior to Inauguration, also is available.

Click here to download Countdown PDF

Reports about protests and essays on various aspects of the Trump presidency, mostly from early 2017, may be seen at White House Woes.


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

Ms. Thunberg has spoken at such events as the UN Climate Action Summit and the World Economic Forum in Davos, berating world leaders for doing "basically nothing" to reduce carbon emissions. Starting with individual protest in Sweden, she quickly became the fearless face and voice of demands for real action on the climate crisis.

September 28: Greta mocks world leaders at Youth4Climate forum in Milan, Italy, asserting that for the past three decades, climate action has amounted to no more than "blah, blah, blah." Plenty of words that sound admirable have been uttered, she added, but these "empty words and promises" have failed to lead to action. "We can no longer let the people in power decide what hope is. Hope is not passive.... Hope is telling the truth. Hope is taking action." (CNN)

Click here for additional details on Greta's activities.

Toil & Trouble

Prior to Inauguration Day in 2017, we developed Countdown to Trumpland, detailing the Trump phenomenon and its impact on American life. For the next two years, White House Woes provided news briefs and commentary on the Trump presidency. His election led to crucial urgency among liberals who feared – then faced – a barrage of disastrous decisions, lies, and malicious tweets. Meanwhile, Tirekicking Today began this section on work and labor, building upon the uncommon 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 like to pay taxes

New Ways To Look at Work

Overview: Imaginative Approaches Required ...

Reject! For some applicants, job search is futile exercise

Quit calling us consumers! (2021 Update)

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 during 2021.

Work/Labor News Headlines

• November 12: Continuing what's been called "The Great Resignation," 4.4 million workers quit their jobs in September. Employers across the country report a shortage of labor, despite such incentives as sign-up bonuses. Lack of truck drivers is especially worrisome, with some 60,000 more needed.

• October 21: More than 1,700 workers at Amazon warehouse in New York City have signed onto plan to establish an independent union, according to The New York Times. Last April, Amazon toilers in Alabama voted against a proposal to join an existing union of retail/wholesale workers.

• October 18: Labor Action Tracker at Cornell University reports that 183 strikes have taken place during 2021.

• October 17: Ten million jobs are said to be vacant, led by critical shortage of truck drivers, as employers turn to "signing bonuses" to entice applicants. Some critics are pointing to the obvious: that thousands of capable and willing workers are stranded at the border, many with truck-driving or restaurant experience.

• October 15: Dubbed "The Great Resignation," 4.3 million workers left their jobs during August.

• October 8: Ipsos poll finds that seven out of ten employees would like a four-day week.

• October 8: Unemployment dropped from 5.2 to 4.8 percent in September. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh cites resources for working families, along with worksharing success in Maine. Only 194,000 new jobs were added in September, but Department of Labor says the U.S. has now recovered 78 percent of jobs lost during pandemic.

• September 21: New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams promotes turning shut-down hotels into permanent housing for homeless. (The New York Times)

• August 6: Labor Department announces that 943,000 new jobs were created in June. Many employers continue to report shortages of workers, even though millions remain unemployed. Critics charge that inadequate wages are a major reason. Restaurants and other employers in tourist areas, which operate seasonally, have been among the hardest-hit.

• August 3: Spending too many hours on the job? The New York Times reports that for Chinese workers, a "996" schedule has become the norm: working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 6 days a week.

• July 14: CEOs of S&P 500 companies made 299 times as much as average workers in 2020, according to annual Executive Paywatch report issued by AFL-CIO. Average CEO received $15.5 million in total compensation, CNN reports, versus $43,512 for average worker.

• July 1: In June, 850,000 new jobs were created, according to the Department of Labor – far above May total. Growing number of employees working remotely because of pandemic say they don't wish to return to the office, or prefer not to return to the job they had before.

• June 7: CNN reports that Amazon warehouses and stores are among the employers offering "sign-up" bonuses to new workers. Traditionally, such bonuses went only to new employees far higher on the wage scale.

• June 4: Labor department reports that 559,000 new jobs were created in May, more than double the April total.

• May 7: Only 266,000 new jobs became available in April, far short of predictions. Official unemployment rate is 6.1 percent; though, as always, many experts believe the real total is considerably higher.

• April 9: Vote at Amazon warehouse in Alabama gives the monolithic company a victory. Had workers voted in favor of forming a union, it would have been the first one at an Amazon facility in U.S.

• April 2: More than 915,000 jobs were created in March, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, at least 8 million jobs that existed a year ago have not yet resumed – and may or may not do so.

• April 2: The official unemployment figure dropped slightly in March, from 6.2 to 6.0 percent. Critics have long insisted that the "real" figure is considerably higher, when taking into account people who have given up looking for work. Nearly 4 million workers lost jobs over past year, and have not returned to labor force.

Note: 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 make some 50,000 jobs available.

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 a recent book by Jessica Bruder. Nomadland 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 handful of theaters, the film was later released for streaming on Hulu and, eventually, saw greater theater distribution. Nomadland was nominated for four Golden Globe awards and won Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Actress.

On the Clock, another recent book dealing with low-wage toil, paints an even more troubling picture of worklife within an Amazon warehouse. Laid-off reporter Emily Guendelsberger spent an exhausting, painful month on the job 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 of the contributions of Henry Ford and of Frederick Taylor, a pioneer in methods of industrial efficiency, are especially illuminating.

On November 29, 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 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

10 Vintage Movies About Work and Labor that should not be missed, including:

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
I'm All Right, Jack (1957)
Wages of Fear (1953)
Office Space (1999)
The Misfits (1961)
Death of a Salesman (1951)
Bachelor Party (1953)
They Drive By Night (1940)
No Down Payment (1957)

Plus Greed (2019), a scathing satirical depiction of extreme wealth and poverty.

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. Running from 1988 to 1997, the original series was adeptly written and expertly performed, realistically depicting the troubles and joys of an economically-challenged family. Initially, at least, the current iteration retained much of the flavor and laughter of the original and featured five original cast members, including John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf.

“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: January 17, 2022

January 6: Insurrection Anniversary

President Biden makes powerful speech, condemning the "defeated former president" for his "web of lies" and defiance of American principles

News & Opinion

As New Year began, U.S. death toll from Covid reached 826,000

Case count in Florida rose by 948 percent in just two weeks (CNN)

After 23 years covering auto industry, Tirekicking Today shifted gears to focus on social/political issues - led by unprecedented ramifications of the Trump presidency.

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

NEW! First four chapters of Clunkers & Creampuffs, editor James M. Flammang's history of the used car, are now available.

New Covid-19 cases began to decline early in January 2021, plateaued a month later, and reached a low point in June before rising again during summer. Total number of cases neared 45 million in mid-October. (U.S. population tops 331 million.)

By September, more than 168 million vaccinations had been administered in the U.S., and 63.6 percent of the population had received at least one dose. Only 54.2 percent were fully vaccinated. Yet, millions – especially Republicans – continue to refuse the jab. Early in summer, medical experts began to warn of surges in Covid cases, especially among the unvaccinated, due to the more contagious Delta variant. Those warnings proved correct. By December, new Omnicron variant, first seen in South Africa, was found to be considerably more contagious than previous Covid versions, though possibly less likely to lead to hospitalization or death.

Post-Inauguration News Briefs

Selected news items from the Biden administration and the pandemic will be added periodically. So will short essays on the bitterly partisan U.S. political scene.

January 13: Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Minority Leader, refuses to comply with request for voluntary appearance before committee investigating January 6 insurrection.

January 11: During appearance in Congress, Doctor Anthony Fauci jousts with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and reports on death threats against himself, as well as harassment of his family. At conclusion of his comments, Dr. Fauci is heard to mutter "What a moron" under his breath, after an altercation with Sen. Robert Marshall (R-Kansas).

December 19: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) says unequivocal "no" to Build Back Better bill.

December 14: Infectious-disease experts warn that Omnicron variant of Covid is spreading much faster than Delta version, noting that total number of cases is doubling every two or three days.

December 14: Senate votes to extend federal debt limit by $2.3 trillion.

December 13: Texts sent to former president's chief of staff Mark Meadows reveal that during January 6 insurrection, Donald Trump Jr. and others pleaded with the former president to condemn the violence immediately. (CNN)

November 9: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweets modified animated video that depicts him killing fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) and attacking President Biden. Gosar tries to defend his action, but blowback is swift.

November 6: House passes $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill, despite several defections from both parties, including Democratic progressives. Build Back Better Act for "social safety net" infrastructure development is delayed.

November 5: More than 100,000 protesters march in Glasgow, Scotland, demanding climate "action," as COP26 meeting continues.

November 1: West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announces that he might not vote for $1.85 trillion "social" infrastructure bill, dampening Biden Administration's hope for a legislative victory by enacting Build Back Better program.

October 20: Once again, Senate Republicans block Democrats' voting-rights bill. Among other issues, Freedom To Vote Act would expand early voting, modify methods of mapping Congressional districts, and declare Election Day a public holiday.

October 18: Trump sues committee investigating January 6 assault upon the Capitol, to prevent release of related documents by National Archive.

October 17: Covid-19 cases have been declining, but data still affirm that pandemic is far from over.

October 8: In recent Pew Research poll, almost two-thirds of Republicans said the GOP should not readily accept elected officials who criticize Donald Trump in public.

October 7: Senate Judiciary Committee issues 400-page report titled "Subverting Justice." Based upon eight-month, still-ongoing investigation, the report indicates that on nine occasions, Trump asked the Department of Justice for help in overturning the 2020 election, with the assistance of a top DOJ attorney. (CNN)

October 6: Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell proposes temporary extension on debt ceiling, expiring in December. Democrats agree to the short-term measure.

October 2: In wake of new abortion restrictions in Texas, reproduction rights supporters march at some 600 rallies around the U.S.

October 1: Substantial numbers of unvaccinated workers decide to accept the jab when threatened with job loss, as variety of employers adopt vaccine mandates. Still, many continue to resist, including thousands of teachers in New York and other cities.

October 1: President Biden meets with House members to urge passage of bipartisan "hard" infrastructure bill. Progressive House members have been opposing its passage, unless the more costly "soft" infrastructure bill is introduced at same time.

September 26: Prospects for passage of either "hard" or "soft" infrastructure bill look bleak, due to intense disagreements between and within Democratic and Republican parties. Two moderate Democrats continue to reject the $3.5 trillion "soft" bill, as do all Senate Republicans.

September 24: Migrant encampment at Del Rio, Texas is cleared of asylum seekers ... at least 2,000 are deported to Haiti, others head for Mexico, while thousands are sent to U.S. destinations.

September 24: Arizona Senate issues report on highly-criticized, partisan "audit" conducted by CyberNinjas group ... report declares that Biden won 2020 election in Maricopa County and the state, by even greater margin than previously stated.

September 21: Biden administration deplores behavior of U.S. Border Patrol agents, on horseback, aggressively "chasing down and blocking" Haitian migrants at border town of Del Rio, Texas. Vice-president Kamala Harris calls video images of the scene along Rio Grande "horrible." (The New York Times)

September 21: Texas governor approves barrier made up of police vehicles, stretching for miles, to deter migrants from crossing border. Most of thousands of asylum-seekers are Haitian, but 97 percent have been living in Central or South America since leaving the troubled Caribbean island. (CNN)

September 21: Memo shows Trump campaign knew claims of election fraud related to Dominion voting machines were baseless.

September 9: President Biden announces national vaccine mandate, which may affect 100 million Americans, including health-care and federal workers. "We've been patient," he said, regarding the unvaccinated. "But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us."

September 1: Afghan war is officially over after 20 years, as Taliban prepare to establish their own version of government.

August 30: During late August, 116,000 people are evacuated from Kabul before last American general departs.

August 24: House passes Biden's $3.5 trillion "soft" infrastructure bill, which faces strong opposition in Senate from some Democrats as well as all Republicans.

August 24: Taliban refuses to allow any Afghans to leave the country, orders everyone in huge crowd at airport to return home.

August 15-23: Massive, chaotic crowd fills Kabul airport and surrounding area in Afghanistan, as Afghans who assisted U.S. military plead for evacuation from the country. Chaos reigns for more than a week. Americans remaining in the country also need to be evacuated.

August 15: Taliban fighters enter Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, following takeover of various cities along the way.

August 21: Nearly 200,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported on August 20. The new-case count has showed a steep rise since July 4th, which had only 2,922 new cases.

August 21: News sources report that as many as 14,000 people are still crowded into Kabul airport, desperate to be evacuated from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Biden administration hopes to compel commercial airlines to help speed up the evacuation.

August 7: For fourth day in a row, U.S. reports more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases. Most infections are tied to Delta variant, and affect the unvaccinated.

August 7: Trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, focusing on "hard" items like bridges and highways, awaits final vote in Senate.

Please Click Here for Post-Inauguration News Briefs, from February through August 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..

2021-22 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. 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, including 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)

Untied Knots

Fiction by Flammang

Two groups of short stories, each with a tangy twist, make up Untied Knots. Those in "On the Go" are travel-based, taking place largely in Mexico. Much of the inspiration stems from real-life journeys and random residence within that country, undertaken as far back as the mid-1970s.

"Here At Home" tales focus on folks whose escapades are more localized. Though fictitional, most are based at least in part upon real people and places. The collection also includes several early stories, previously unpublished, from the author's archive.
Untied Knots: Contents ... Introduction ... Excerpts: Night Train Out of Queretaro ... Scandal in the Dayroom ... Bad Sports ... Desk Duty ... Ready? Go!


Logical Lapses in everyday life and thought

Comprehensive collection of stinging essays gazes with disbelief at dozens of aspects of modern life. 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 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, 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 send e-mail to 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 during 2021-22.

Clunkers & Creampuffs

A casual history of the used car

Introducing the Used Car

Chapter 1, Early Days:
Rich Men's Playthings, Poor Men's Dreams

Chapter 2: Ford's Model T and the Masses

Chapter 3: Production and Prosperity

Chapter 4: "Easy" Payments

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.

Next – Chapter 5: Family Cars and Family Life
... and more to come


Used Car

Following a several-year hiatus, Tirekicking Today has been reviving coverage of the used car market – again emphasizing a consumer focus. Relevant reports on new vehicles 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, along with a variety of other consumer publications.

We 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 – as well as an Auto Intel Summit. (Both events presented by Auto Remarketing magazine.)

Subjects to be 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 a 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, stemming from presentations at annual Management Briefing Seminars.

Note: In addition to news items, occasional articles on automotive history and the car culture will be featured in this section, starting with a multi-part history of the used car (see links at left).

News Headlines
in the Auto World

January 13: Selling prices for used cars jumped 37 percent over the past year.

October 8: Wholesale used car prices increased by 5.3 percent in September, according the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index. Compared to 2019, the figure has risen by 27.1 percent. Retail (dealer) prices tend to reflect such changes after two months or so.

September 1: Historic British automaker revives iconic AC Ace sports car, now running on electricity. Meanwhile, Morgan – another legendary marque – confirms a redesign of its 3-wheeled model.

August 31: IDTechEx, a British research firm, predicts that driving will be outlawed by 2050, as autonomous (self-driving) cars become capable of operating with near-zero collisions.

August 5: President Biden signs executive order establishing path toward dominance of electric cars, including massive construction of charging facilities. Currently, barely more than 2 percent of cars sold are battery-powered.

July 31: CarGurus establishes instant Max Cash Offer platform, allowing dealers to obtain used cars online, directly from consumers.

July 25: Toyota resists plan to reduce emissions by promoting EVs, citing preference for expanded sales of hybrid vehicles. (The New York Times)

July 15: Slimmed-down version of Chicago Auto Show opens.

July 13: Average used-car price rose by 10.5 percent in June, versus 1-percent hike in overall prices.

July 2: Shortage of new cars has pushed late-model used-car prices to record heights. Some models purchased during pandemic are actually worth more now than when they were new. notes that this phenomenon applies to models ranging from Chevrolet Corvette to Honda Civic.

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.
Tirekicking Today accepts no advertising and receives no funds from any organization.

©All contents copyright 1997-2021 by Tirekicking Today.
Material may not be reused in any way without express permission from Tirekicking Today.
For information on reprinting and syndication rights,
please contact us at
If you would like a response to a question or comment, please provide your e-mail address.