Trump's Latest Disgraceful Act

On September 11, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Donald Trump will be delivering ringside commentary at a pay-per-view boxing match in a Florida casino. What could possibly be more disrespectful to the thousands who died? How about his subsequent proposal to "box" Joe Biden?

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 to supporters 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 the deeply flawed response (or lack of same) by the White House to the emerging coronavirus early in 2020.


New York and California reopen (June)

With highly potent Delta variant active, not everyone is ready to ignore Covid-19 and return to "normal"

Governors of both states announced on June 15 that, with several exceptions, vaccinated New Yorkers and Californians could now eat in restaurants and attend crowded events, without concern for masking and social distancing. At the same time, the Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, expressed concern to CNN about "rapidly increasing" incidence of cases involving the more contagious Delta variant.

Well, some of us weren't pleased by these re-openings – in a partylike atmosphere, no less. We'll keep wearing masks and maintaining that 6-foot distance until the experts agree that the pandemic really is on the way out. Later in summer, rapidly rising case totals affirmed that caution was indeed warranted.



Democracy R.I.P.

Well, they've done it. By ousting Liz Cheney, the Republicans have 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 is "a major turning point in US political history."

One CNN columnist noted that a single line in Cheney's speech in Congress, before being removed from her House leadership position, "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."

The former president's response: "Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being .... I watched her yesterday and realized how bad she is for the Republican Party. She has no personality or anything good having to do with politics or our Country."


TOP TRUMP THOUGHTS

"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, he president implored his enraged army of thousands, gathered in Washington, 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 to the interior. Once there, they roamed the halls at will, entered and 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 were denouncing 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, and especially since Election Day, 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's actions and statements. 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 at least a dozen Senators) back 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.


TRUMPINIONS

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 is 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.


Rush to Supreme Court
Despite her impressive qualifications, Amy Coney Barrett should be ashamed of, not buoyed by, her forced-through confirmation to the Supreme Court, derived through the unconscionable hypocrisy of Donald Trump and his coterie of Republican Senators. She and her enablers should never be permitted to forget that her elevation to the Court barely qualifies as the act of a majority, achieved solely by votes from her own party.



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, in this space.


White House Woes

The Trump Presidency In News Briefs
(2017-2018)

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. Our chronicle begins with Inauguration Day in 2017, running to the end of 2018.

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.



GRETA'S CORNER

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.

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 progressives 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.
And still there never seems to be
a single penny left for me.
That's too bad....
In the rich man's world"
Song lyric, ABBA, "Money, Money, Money"



Words On Work

Surprise! Some of us like to pay taxes (2021 Update)

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

• 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.

• May: Volkswagen announces that vocational training program at Chattanooga plant is adding courses on electric-car technology, aimed at "preparing and upskilling auto workers for the EV revolution." The Tennessee facility produces VW's new ID.4.

• April 9: Vote count 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 the 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.

• March 2: In an editorial, The New York Times describes Biden's speech on labor as the most pro-union statement by a sitting president, at least since Harry Truman.

• January 1: Twenty states raise their minimum wage on January 1. So do more than 30 cities, to as high as $15 per hour; but many increases will be phased-in over a period of years. (The New York Times)


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 in the winning locale.

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. Nomadland, by Jessica Bruder, chronicles lives of "houseless" Americans, many of them 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 produced, directed by Chloe Zhao and starring Frances McDormand. Seen in a handful of theaters in December-January, the film was later released for streaming on Hulu and also offered in theaters. 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. At a facility near Indianapolis, one worker had died on the job, crushed by a forklift. The investigation cites allegations of inadequate safety training, coupled with a constant push for speed.



"[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, Roseanne Barr, 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 – declared the finest stage actress of her generation by John Malkovich.



“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: September 18, 2021

U.S. apologizes for drone strike that kills 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children ... survivors insist apology is insufficient


Opinion

Errant drone attack on wrong target is latest example of troubling actions by U.S. in Afghanistan, following Taliban takeover

Biden has declared evacuation and withdrawal an "extraordinary success." Critics in both parties disagree, charging his administration with inadequate preparation and abandoning Afghans who assisted U.S. military during 20-year war.

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

NEW! Used Car section is now open (bottom of page), starting with articles on used car trends and growing electric-car market.


New Covid-19 cases began to decline early in January, plateaued a month later, and reached a low point in June before rising again during summer. Total number of cases neared 41 million in early September, as death toll reached 659,000. (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 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; and by September, yet another variant (Mu) was developing.

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.

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.

July 31: Eviction moratorium is set to expire at midnight, leaving millions to face possible homelessness. Deadline for extension passes, allowing evictions to begin on Sunday August 1. Extension opponents complain that Congress has already allocated $47 billion, but only $3 billion has been spent.

July 30: Newly released handwritten notes pertaining to December phone call suggest that Trump pressured Department of Justice to declare 2020 election "corrupt," adding that they could "leave the rest to me" and Republican allies in Congress. DOJ officials refused.

July 27: Four Capitol police officers testify in House of Representatives about their experience during the January 6 riot, as part of committee proceedings initiated by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Officers describe being beaten, crushed, and subjected to taser. Also during hearing, one Democrat confronts Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) over his remarks comparing the Capital assault to an everyday tourist visit.

July 27: Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revise guideline, now recommending mask-wearing at indoor events.

July 21: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejects two of the five Republicans put forth by minority leader Kevin McCarthy to serve on committee investigating January 6 Capitol riot. Pelosi cited statements made and actions taken by Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Indiana), including their intense promotion of the baseless charge that the 2020 election was "stolen" from Donald Trump. McCarthy soon announced that no Republicans will serve on the committee. Previously, Republicans had rejected attempt to establish a fully bipartisan investigation.

July 16: White House releases video featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci (age 80) and pop singer Olivia Rodrigo (18), encouraging young people to get vaccinated. Rise in number of Covid-19 cases among young people has been worrisome, while the CDC director warns of "pandemic of the unvaccinated." (CNN)

July 13: "We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War." So said President Biden during a Philadelphia speech on voting rights.

July 13: After hosting Euro 2020 football (soccer) finals, United Kingdom sees daily Covid case rate shoot up to 42,000 – a figure unseen since January. Meanwhile, cases are surging in U.S. "hotspots," mainly among the unvaccinated. (CNN)

July 8: President Biden announces that American military will depart from Afghanistan by August 31, ending 20-year "mission." Critics blast his speech, warning that the Taliban will continue to gain strength.

July 2: Supreme Court denies access by House Democrats to secret grand jury records pertaining to Mueller investigation, which aimed to determine whether Donald Trump lied to special counsel Robert Mueller. (CNN)

July 1: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi selects Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to serve on commission investigating the January 6 rioting at the U.S. Capitol. Minority leader Kevin R-Calif.) claims to be "shocked," having warned that any participating Republican would lose his or her committee assignments.

June 30: C-SPAN poll of presidential historians ranks Trump one of worst ever. His highest ranking (for public persuasion) was 32nd. He ranked lowest (position 44) in moral authority, with administrative skills close behind. Overall, Abraham Lincoln ranked No. One, followed by George Washington. Trump ranked fourth from the bottom, ahead of Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan.

June 24: Accompanied by several Congressional Republicans, President Biden announces bipartisan "deal" on infrastructure, focusing mainly on "hard" items like roads and bridges. Price tag is $1.3 billion, down substantially from the broader $1.9 billion bill he'd favored. Later, the president states that he will not sign this bill unless he also submits an additional bill that would include "softer," socially-relevant items.

June 18: President Biden signs legislation establishing "Juneteenth" as national holiday, starting immediately. "Juneteenth" commemorates the last group of slaves in Texas, who did not hear about their release from slavery until June 19, 1865 – 2.5 years after Abraham Lincoln had signed Emancipation Proclamation.

June 17: In 7-2 vote, Supreme Court blocks third attempt by Republicans to overturn Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Two Trump appointees, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, join in majority opinion.

June 15: Twenty-one House Republicans vote against awarding four congressional gold medals to Capitol police officers who engaged with rioters on January 6.

June 15: Governors of New York and California announce re-opening of their states, citing percentages of people vaccinated and decline in Covid-19 case. See comment at right.

June 8: Bipartisan Senate report on January 6 assault on Capitol contains new details, but omits Trump's role as instigator and avoids the world "insurrection."

June 7: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) calls Trump's incendiary speech prior to January 6 Capitol riot "the most dangerous thing" any president has done, adding that it's the worst violation of the presidential oath of office. (CNN)

June 3: CNN reports that Donald Trump's fixation on his imaginary election loss has been intensifying, as he curtly dismisses warnings from close advisers that it's time to "move on."

Please Click Here for Post-Inauguration News Briefs, from February through May 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 JF@tirekick.com.

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!

Absurdities

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 JF@tirekick.com.


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 jf@tirekick.com. Please ask about printed copies, signed by the author.
Excerpts from Incompetent and Mr. Maurice ... may be seen at Bublish.com.



• 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 autoMedia.com, New Car Test Drive, CarsDirect, and Kelley Blue Book. He has written extensively for a variety of major outlets, including J.D. Power, cars.com, 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.


Clunkers & Creampuffs

A casual history of the used car

Introducing the Used Car

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 - Part 1: Rich Men's Playthings


NEW!

Used Car
World

Following a several-year hiatus, Tirekicking Today is 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 start 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 is 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 the Auto Intel Summit held in May. (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 is best, economically speaking: New or Used?

Comprehensive article providing latest news and opinion on electric cars and autonomous vehicles is in progress, based on presentations at Management Briefing Seminars in early August.

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 (at left).





News Headlines
in the Auto World

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) 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.

August 5: New York Auto Show is cancelled, two weeks before scheduling opening, due to Covid-19 concerns.

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. Edmunds.com notes that this phenomenon applies to models ranging from Chevrolet Corvette to Honda Civic and Subaru Impreza.

June 8: Ford reveals new compact pickup truck with full-hybrid powertrain, borrowing name from compact 1970s coupe. Claiming 40 mpg in city, 2022 Maverick will start at $19,995.

May 11: Subaru announces name of new SUV. Combining Latin words for sun ("sol") and earth ("tera"), 2022 Soltera results from joint venture with Toyota.




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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