Presty the DJ for Nov. 13

The number one album today in 1965 received no radio airplay on any pop radio station:

The number one British single today in 1968 was based on, but didn’t directly come from, a movie made in Italy with an American star:

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Trump vs. the media, and vice versa

Politico:

White House correspondents and media outlets widely view the Trump administration’s decision to pull CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass as an assault on the free press.

They also agree that it’s a trap.

And it’s one particularly well set by a president seeking to escalate his feud with the media — and fully aware that the reporter he’s sprung it on, Acosta, has a showy, aggressive style that is divisive among his peers.

What’s not clear is what the White House press corps will do in response. Some on Twitter have called for a mass walkout or some other protest at the next media event, while Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote Thursday that CNN should sue the White House. But many reporters fear that such bold action would only give President Donald Trump the fight with the press that he and his base crave.

“There’s been a lot of email traffic and conversation among reporters and news media executives as far as New York and California,” one reporter said, adding that no clear answer has yet been reached. The only agreement so far, the reporter said, is that “this is unacceptable.”

“I don’t know what the next steps are or should be,” NBC News chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson said in a tweet Wednesday night that captured the dilemma. “But I do know that the @whca and White House press corps — of which I’m a proud member — should stand up against this.”

There has been some action, albeit behind the scenes: White House Correspondents’ Association officials met with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday. And New York Times Washington bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller circulated an email earlier in the day to several top D.C. media figures, gauging interest in arranging a meeting with the White House to discuss the issue. That type of discreet background lobbying currently seems like the most likely response from a press corps that wants to avoid a public brawl but also feels it cannot let a true offense slide.

“We don’t want to give him ammunition,” one White House reporter said of the president. “At the same time, we don’t want to be a doormat and just lie down … Part of it is doing it in a way that doesn’t feed into the narrative that the media is the enemy, and that’s real hard to do.”

The reporter said the issue had been discussed at his outlet, but people were wary of taking Trump’s bait. “That’s one reason we’ve decided to keep a low profile,” the reporter said. “I think we would prefer to litigate this quietly behind the scenes with Sarah.”

Tensions between the White House and its press corps, always high in this administration, spiked Wednesday night when Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on” a White House intern when she reached for his microphone at a presidential press conference earlier in the day. Video of the incident showed the contact between the two was much less dramatic. Sanders later posted a video that appeared to many to have been doctored to make Acosta appear more aggressive.

The “hard pass” Acosta held makes it easier for reporters to quickly enter and exit the White House complex. Those who don’t have the permanent badge can still get permission to enter, but the process can be cumbersome. It was not clear how long the White House planned to withhold Acosta’s pass or whether it would issue him daily passes.

The WHCA and CNN issued statements Tuesday night decrying the White House’s decision, as did numerous reporters and editors. But some reporters said the White House likely felt more emboldened to go after Acosta because his style turns off many of his press corps colleagues. Acosta’s profile has risen as he’s beefed frequently with Trump and Sanders and become, in return, their favorite target.

“They are going after him because they know he’s a divisive figure among White House reporters,” one member of the press corps said, adding, “Sarah and POTUS want this fight more than anything.”

One administration official said the White House was unified against Acosta and not worried about whether the video Sanders posted was doctored. The official described Acosta as a lightning-rod figure with the public, saying, “Defend his conduct at your own peril.”

Multiple reporters said the press corps needed to defend Acosta on principle — as one said, “You have to defend him because they could do it to anyone.” But they also agreed that it would have been easier to unite behind a less combative reporter.

“He has a way of getting under Trump’s skin, and he knows how to exploit that,” said one reporter who is against any sort of walkout or protest. “It’s important, I think, for all White House reporters to be at their most professional in this administration.”

The reporter made clear, however, that nothing Acosta did Wednesday justifies pulling his pass. Some other reporters expressed additional outrage because the hard pass is a security tool used by the Secret Service to regulate access to the White House compound and is not supposed to be used as some sort of bartering chip.

‘We don’t want to give him ammunition,’ one White House reporter said of the president. ‘At the same time, we don’t want to be a doormat and just lie down.’

ed that it would have been easier to unite behind a less combative reporter.

“He has a way of getting under Trump’s skin, and he knows how to exploit that,” said one reporter who is against any sort of walkout or protest. “It’s important, I think, for all White House reporters to be at their most professional in this administration.”

The reporter made clear, however, that nothing Acosta did Wednesday justifies pulling his pass. Some other reporters expressed additional outrage because the hard pass is a security tool used by the Secret Service to regulate access to the White House compound and is not supposed to be used as some sort of bartering chip.

As Times White House reporter Julie Davis tweeted on Thursday, “@Acosta’s behavior here, like it or not, does not disqualify him from the First Amendment-protected freedom to ask questions. Otherwise, how are we different from a place that has no freedom of the press at all?”

Davis‘ Times colleague Maggie Haberman added, “As Julie says, people can disagree with how he handled himself, and many do, but the White House has now unilaterally decided a reporter they don’t like can’t come into a government building, while sending around a misleading video about him, because it will please Trump.”

To date, press corps shows of solidarity have mostly consisted of reporters pitching questions back to each other if Sanders or another administration official cuts off a correspondent. In Tuesday’s press conference, NBC News’ Peter Alexander defended Acosta’s character after Trump insulted him.

In February 2017, some news outlets skipped a briefing in then-press secretary Sean Spicer’s office after others were barred. And there was widespread outrage in July when the White House barred CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from covering an event after it took issue with questions she asked during an Oval Office photo op, but her credentials were not revoked and the incident passed.

During his presidential campaign, Trump also pulled reporters’ press access, including those from The New York Times, Washington Post, BuzzFeed and POLITICO. He could do the same on his next campaign — and, more gravely, continue the practice in the White House.

“Regardless of how we feel about Jim,” another reporter said, “White House reporters should be alarmed that the White House is lying about what he did and using what looks like doctored video.”

The reporter added, “It’s hard to encourage solidarity inside this group — and our competitiveness is something the White House exploits on a daily basis — but I think it’s going to be necessary.”

Two people from the Poynter Institute are not as impressed with Acosta as Acosta is impressed with himself:

We want journalists to ask questions and seek truth. But Jim Acosta’s encounter Wednesday at a White House press conference was less about asking questions and more about making statements. In doing so, the CNN White House reporter gave President Donald Trump room to critique Acosta’s professionalism.

In this time of difficult relations between the press and the White House, reporters who operate above reproach, while still challenging the power of the office, will build credibility.

This is in no way a defense of Trump’s suspension of Acosta’s White House press credentials. Rather, it’s a caution to not hand your critic the stick to beat you with. There’s no doubt that Trump will continue sowing doubt among his followers about the press’ ability to accurately document the administration. Had Acosta phrased his question in a more neutral tone, he likely would have had more information for his audience to digest.

Acosta asked the president if Trump had demonized the caravan of Central Americans trekking toward the United States, ending his exchange by stating, “It is not an invasion.”

If Acosta had asked “What about that seems like an invasion?” he could have both sought an answer and avoided becoming bigger than the event he was covering.

Good questions are powerful tools for reporters. When addressed to a public official, good questions force the subject to explain and explore, giving the public more insight into the official’s reasoning process.

If you look closely at the video, when Acosta was asking questions, his exchange with the president was on track and normal. Acosta asked. “Do you think that you demonize immigrants?” To which the president answered, “No.” A better question might have been, “How do you respond to the criticism that you are demonizing certain types of immigrants, namely poor immigrants?”

But then Acosta’s questions ended and his statements began.

“Your campaign had an ad showing migrants climbing over walls,” he said. And then, “They are hundreds of miles away, that’s not an invasion.” The heated exchange grew from there.

Press conferences can be high stakes because they are frequently an attempt to control the message. Reporters who prepare with neutral questions avoid revealing bias or creating unnecessary conflict.

Things got uncomfortable when Acosta refused to turn over the microphone to an intern who reached out to remove it from him, and then stood up to continue his banter without the microphone.

This was a White House event and he was talking to the president of the United States. A briefing is not the same as a cable news wrestling match, where sides shout at each other.

Acosta should have handed over the microphone.

That said, The White House accusation that Acosta manhandled the intern trying to retrieve the microphone is nonsense. It makes us wonder if the White House was looking for an opportunity to pick a fight.

Acosta’s “hard pass” that allows him easy access to the White House as a working journalist was revoked that same night.

The White House Correspondents Association said Wednesday night, “Journalists may use a range of approaches to carry out their jobs and the WHCA does not police the tone or frequency of the questions its members ask of powerful senior government officials, including the President. Such interactions, however uncomfortable they may appear to be, help define the strength of our national institutions. We urge the White House to immediately reverse this weak and misguided action.”

President Trump deftly used the Acosta incident to play the victim of unfair press treatment. Journalists should not give more fuel to such accusations. Ask tough questions, avoid making statements or arguing during a press event and report the news, don’t become the news.

Those who favor Acosta’s actions should ask themselves if they would also favor them against a president they supported — say, Barack Obama or a Republican not named Trump. Everyone should ask what Acosta is trying to do, report or promote his own career.

 

 

Presty the DJ for Nov. 11

Besides the end of the War to End All Wars (which didn’t end all wars but led directly to the next war) and the day Americans remember and honor those whose service and sacrifice allow me to freely write this and you to freely read this, what else happened Nov. 11?

Today in 1954, Bill Haley got his first top 10 single, “Shake Rattle and Roll,” originally a Joe Turner song. Haley had changed the name of his band, the cowboy-motif Saddlemen, to His Comets.

Imagine what the Transportation Security Administration would have done with this: Today in 1969, the FBI arrested Jim Morrison for drunk and disorderly conduct on an airplane. Morrison and actor Tom Baker had been drinking and harassing stewardesses on a flight to Phoenix. Morrison and Baker spent a night in jail and were released on $2,500 bail.

Today in 1972, an era when pretty much everything would go in rock music, listeners got to hear the first example of what might be called “yodel rock”:

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35 years ago

Today in 1983, I was a freshman at UW–Madison. My first-semester schedule — a horrid screwed-up mess because, in the troglodyte days of assignment committees to register for classes — I had just one comparative-literature class and marching band practice on Wednesdays. That’s what I remember, anyway.

A lot of people on the politically overstimulated UW–Madison campus were discussing ABC-TV’s upcoming movie “The Day After,” which depicted the U.S. following a nuclear war.

Unknown to us this day, the day of the movie (which I missed because that was also the night of the UW Marching Band banquet, a far more important event) or for years afterward was that apparently the U.S. and the Soviet Union came close to preempting “The Day After” for the real thing.

The Economist reviews 1983: Reagan, Andropov and a World on the Brink:

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was terrifying, but at least both sides knew the world was on the brink of catastrophe. As Taylor Downing’s snappily told account lays bare, what arguably made the near-miss of November 9th 1983 worse was that the West had almost no idea the Soviet leadership believed war was imminent.

East-West relations had been in dire straits for years. Ronald Reagan’s soaring anti-communist rhetoric, terming the Soviet bloc an “evil empire”, inspired freedom-lovers on both sides of the Iron Curtain, but panicked the Politburo gerontocracy. So too did his idealistic belief that missile-defence (“Star Wars”) might keep the peace better than MAD (mutually assured destruction). A hi-tech arms race spelled doom for the Soviet Union.

As communication had shrivelled, misunderstandings mushroomed. When the Soviets shot down a Korean airliner that had veered drastically off course into their airspace, nobody in the American administration could countenance the idea that the tragedy might be (as it was) a blunder, not an atrocity. The Soviets were certain the plane was on a spying mission.

NATO’s “Able Archer” exercise was also wildly misinterpreted. The Kremlin was convinced it masked war preparations. A routine change of NATO codes made the Soviets assume a nuclear first strike was imminent. In fact the KGB had an agent in the heart of NATO, Rainer Rupp. In response to an emergency request, he assured Moscow, with some bemusement, that everything in the alliance’s civilian bureaucracy was ticking along as normal. But the spymasters discounted the information, while “toadying KGB officers on the ground…sent back alarmist reports.” If the Soviet misreading of NATO intentions was a colossal intelligence failure, so was the inability of Western intelligence to realise just how jittery and ill-informed the Communist leadership had become.

As the Soviet Union put its nuclear forces on high alert, Lieutenant-General Leonard Perroots, the American air-force intelligence chief in Europe, reacted with puzzlement. A quid pro quo might have triggered an all-out nuclear war, which would, as Mr Downing puts it, leave only “cockroaches and scorpions” alive. Luckily, Perroots did nothing. After a sleepless night, the Kremlin leadership, huddled in a clinic outside Moscow with the ailing general secretary, Yuri Andropov, realised nothing was going to happen.

Mr Downing’s book gives abundant historical background, perhaps too much for readers familiar with the period. A useful later chapter depicts how realisation of the Soviet panic unfolded in the West, first in classified assessments and eventually, long after the event, in the public domain—not least thanks to Mr Downing’s television documentary, screened in 2008. He wisely avoids questions of the morality of nukes. Instead he focuses on the shortcomings that made accidental nuclear war far too plausible.

That’s a Ford what?

Motor Junkie has an interesting piece about familiar-brand cars that you may not recognize if you’ve never left the U.S.:

Everything began when Ford started selling their Model T cars worldwide, establishing assembly plants on several continents. The Model T was a utilitarian product people all over the world loved. But to continue selling cars in different countries, Ford needed to develop models to suit each specific market. This started the idea of founding subsidiary companies independent from Detroit.

So, Ford concentrated on engineering and building specific products under well-known American names. And here are the most interesting cars by U.S. companies they sold in various parts of the world. Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet offered everything including right-hand drive muscle cars, luxury sedans and even pickup trucks. And they sold them in Europe, Australia, Africa and South America.

Ford Falcon GT HO 351

Probably the most famous Australian muscle car was the mighty Falcon GT HO 351 Ford introduced in 1971. Despite its performance portfolio, it was a four-door sedan with proper muscle car equipment. And it came with Ford’s 351 V8 with a shaker hood and beefed up suspension and brakes.

The power output was 300 HP for the standard version, but Ford also offered Phase II and Phase III options. The car looked the same, except with upgraded mechanicals. And in the ultimate Phase III version, the Falcon GT HO produced over 350 HP. The performance was astonishing with 0 to 60 mph in the six-second range and top speeds over 140 mph.

The Falcon GT HO was successful at racing, dethroning its arch enemy, the Holden Monaro GTS 350. In the U.S., the Falcon was an economy car. But in Australia, it was a well-respected four-door muscle model with racing pedigree.

It’s true that the American Ford Falcon was an economy car (except for the Falcon Sprint), but the Falcon’s underpinnings made up the first Ford Mustang.

Chevrolet Firenza CanAm

One of the craziest, rarest Chevrolet muscle cars is the Chev Firenza CanAm. Chevy introduced it in 1973. They based the Firenza CanAm on the Vauxhall Firenza, a two-door sedan they designed and constructed in England. However, they built it in South Africa under the Chevrolet badge.

But, the best thing about this car was the engine. It was a 5.0-liter Chevrolet V8 straight from the Z28 Camaro with performance intake and heads producing close to 400 HP. Since the Firenza body was light, the V8 could launch this homologation special in 5.4 seconds to 0 to 60 mph.

These acceleration figures were closer to a Ferrari than a Chevrolet. They only produced 100 Firenza CanAms, almost by hand and mostly for racing. Today, surviving examples are quite rare and expensive.

The Firenza on which the CanAm was based had four-cylinder engines of 1.2 to 2.2 liters. To stuff a V-8 into small car is such an American thing to do.

Ford Capri

The success of the Mustang inspired many American brands to offer a pony car model of their own. Even in Europe, the Mustang was popular and common. However, Ford wanted to explore the market further with a smaller, European version. It would be less expensive and more suited to the needs of their European buyers.

And this is how the Ford Capri came to be in 1969. They designed in the UK, so the Capri was a European Mustang in every way. Using the “long hood-short deck” formula and semi-fastback styling, the Capri had a fantastic stance. Although they based it on the standard Cortina floor plan with the same engines, the Capri looked like a thoroughbred sports or muscle car.

In fact, people often confused it with U.S.-built Ford. This affordable coupe proved almost as successful as the Mustang, selling in millions during its 16-year lifespan. Interestingly, they imported it to America as the Mercury Capri in the mid-70s.

Want proof that a Capri was a hot car? Watch this scene from the John Wayne-as-cop movie “Brannigan,” set in London:

Chevrolet Opala SS

The Opala SS is the typical example of a Brazilian muscle car Chevrolet produced in the height of the muscle car craze. They introduced this handsome fastback coupe in 1969. It came in a wide arrange of formal body styles as Chevrolet’s main mid-size model for the Brazilian market. However, the name, “Opala,” was controversial because customers thought it represented a mix between the names, “Opel” and “Impala.”

Germany’s Opel was a part of GM and produced a model they called the Rekord. While it was visually the same, the U.S.-made Chevrolet Impala used the 4.1-liter straight six, like Brazil’s Opalas. Either way, Chevrolet decided to introduce the performance version of the Opala using the same 4.1-liter straight six tuned to produce 169 HP.

Although not much by today’s standards, it was enough to give the Opala SS decent performance figures, attracting many customers. The Opala SS was even successful on the race tracks and won many events in Brazil during the 1970’s. And the Opala SS had a distinctive appearance package that included a vinyl roof and racing stripes. Also, it came with cool graphics and sporty wheels to differentiate it from its lesser cousins.

The Opala certainly does look like an Opel Manta of the early 1970s.

Dodge Charger R/T

Most people know what the Dodge Charger looks like since it is one of the most popular classic muscle cars in the world. However, the Brazilian version is different even though it carries the same name and model designation. In the late 1960’s after the demise of the Simca operation, Chrysler introduced the Dodge Dart to produce locally.

The car was modern and among the most prestigious Brazilian models. But in 1971, Chrysler surprised Brazilian performance enthusiasts with a new model they called the Charger R/T. It was a dressed up two-door Dart with a new front design and cool graphics. They also gave it a vinyl roof and a 318 V8 engine with 215 HP.

The new Charger R/T was immediately one of the most desirable cars in Brazil. It came with optional air conditioning and a plush interior. The front disc brakes made it highly advanced for the time. The high price meant it was relatively rare, but it was a hit with Brazilian car fans.

Ford Falcon Cobra

In 1978, Ford was getting ready to introduce a new body style for its popular Falcon. They wanted to produce a new model in a sedan or station wagon because the two-door coupe was out of production. After closing down the assembly lines of the old model, Ford was left with 400 coupe body shells to scrap. However, Ford decided to turn the leftover bodies into a special version they called the Falcon Cobra.

The 1978 Falcon Cobra came with a 5.8 or 5.0 V8 engine and automatic or manual transmission. Also, it came in two colors, white or blue. Each car had racing stripes as an homage to the Shelby Mustang, which was popular in Australia. Today, the Falcon Cobra is a valuable and popular car in Oceania.

Ford here did do something sort of like the Torino Cobra, building a Torino Cobra Jet with a 429 V-8. Ford also tried to build a later counterpart to the Dodge Charger Daytona and Plymouth Road Runner Superbird (both reactions to the Ford Torino Talladega) by building a prototype King Cobra Jet whose purpose was to be run in NASCAR.

Chrysler Valiant Charger

Chrysler Motor Company wanted to participate in the Australian muscle car class, so in 1971, they introduced the Valiant Charger. They based it on a regular Valiant platform but gave it a sporty new two-door body. The Charger got its name from its American cousin, the Dodge Charger. To be able to keep up with mighty Falcon GTs, Monaros and Toranas, the Valiant Charger came with several performance engines.

The most popular engine came from a hot version of Chrysler’s six-cylinder engine featuring new cylinder heads and updated intake systems. In the R/T version, the 4.3-liter six delivered over 240 HP, but the most powerful version was Charger 770 SE E55. Under the hood was a well-known Mopar-built 340 V8 with 285 HP and three-speed automatic. This engine was common in Dodge Challengers and Plymouth Barracudas in America.

The concept of a hemi Slant 6 probably would have been a bit mind-blowing here 50 years ago. With few exceptions like the Ford 300 six (which was only used in trucks because big cylinders are great for torque) and the Pontiac Sprint overhead-cam six, the answer to “we need more horsepower” always ended with the number eight.

Ford Sierra Cosworth

Ford UK is a popular economy car manufacturer. However, occasionally, they produce a machine with amazing performance and power at affordable prices. Some say that fast Fords are perfect examples of “blue collar” sports and muscle cars since they attracted mid-class buyers.

One of the most legendary British muscle cars is the fantastic Sierra Cosworth, which they introduced in 1985. And the Sierra was an ordinary family sedan Ford produced in numerous versions. The car featured rear-wheel drive and an independent rear suspension. However, when Ford decided to contract Cosworth tuning house for a performance model, a legend was born.

Cosworth took a three door-body and added a special body kit with spoilers, unique wheels and colors. Under the hood was a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 225 HP, propelling the car to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. For 1985, those were fantastic numbers, so the Sierra Cosworth immediately became one of the hottest British cars on the road. Also, it was successful on the tracks, winning many races.

Ford brought this car to the U.S., calling it the Merkur XR4ti, with the same engine that would be later put into the Ford Probe GT. An ex-girlfriend of mine had one. All I remember about it is that it mechanical issues. As for the Probe GT, I drove one. It was fast once the turbocharger spooled up, but it had the most torque steer of any car I’ve ever driven.

Chevrolet Veraneio

Lots of American manufacturers produced trucks and vans abroad using identical platforms and designs as in America. Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge produced pickups for the South American and Mid-Eastern markets similar to their domestic models except for the engine and trim options. However, for the big Brazilian market, Chevrolet decided to go with unique styling and somewhat of a different concept than in the U.S.

The best example is the cool-looking Chevrolet Veraneio. It was just one SUV/crossover model they produced from the late 1950s to early 1980s in Brazil. Chevrolet realized Brazil needed trucks as well as a local version of the Chevy Suburban. The Suburban model could carry up to nine passengers and their luggage and still could tackle those rough Brazilian roads.

They built the Veraneio on a truck chassis and equipped it with standard six and V8 engines. But, they covered it in a groovy looking SUV body. Despite having a unique design, the Veraneio was identical to other Chevrolet truck products underneath the body. Today, it is hard to find one in good condition since most people used their Veraneio as a work vehicle.

They could have called this the “Suburbano,” which is Portuguese for “Suburban,” but no Brazilian may have understood the reference.

Ford F-1000

When Ford realized Chevrolet was building special models for the Brazilian market and winning buyers over, so they decided to do something similar with their truck operation. And that is how the interesting and quite strange F-1000 came to be. Ford introduced the F-1000 in 1979 and it was outdated in styling but advanced in construction.

It featured an extended cab but came with two doors and a short truck bed. They equipped it with an all-wheel drivetrain, which local buyers needed for driving through the jungles of Brazil. However, the most interesting thing was the engine.

All F-1000s came with diesel six cylinders and later, turbodiesel engines. The engine choices limited the F-1000’s appeal to commercial users. But almost all buyers used them as dependable work trucks. Production ended in 1998 but those interesting trucks are still roaming through Brazilian roads.

The first four-door short-box pickups I remember seeing were on a family trip to Minnesota, where we were staying at a house next to a train station, where four-door Dodge Stepsides were parked. They also could be driven on the tracks, which blew my four-year-old mind.

Chevrolet SS

Behind this strange name is the Australian built Holden Monaro GTS. They exported it to South Africa and sold it under the SS badge through their dealerships. The car was basically the same as the Monaro GTS except for the front grille. Also, the South African SS had four headlights. Buyers could choose between two V8 engines.

The standard powerplant was 308 V8, but most customers wanted the 350 V8 with 300 HP. With this engine, the SS could accelerate to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and top 130 mph. Interestingly, despite relatively high production figures, the Chev SS is rare. This is because drivers either crashed most of them or sent them back to Australia.

Between 2004 and 2006 Pontiac took the last Holden Monaro, put Pontiac badges on it, called it a GTO, and brought here. The styling kind of doomed it, which is too bad, because that car was fast, as I found out when I test-drove one. Sadly, it had only seats for four, and we have five in the house.

Ford Escort Mk1

Although the British car industry was always known for its luxury and sports cars, their economy models were just as interesting and unique. And this was the case with the Escort Mk1, a mass-produced economy car that became one of Ford’s global bestsellers. Also, it was a fantastically successful motorsport legend.

Ford introduced in the Escort Mk1 in 1968. It was a compact rear-wheel-drive saloon they aimed at family buyers. And the basic version used the forgettable 1.1 and 1.3-liter engines. But for those who wanted more, Ford offered the hot 1600 RS and RS 2000 models. Those cars had special suspensions and engines.

They also had a lot of power and a small weight. And this combination made them capable of defeating much more expensive cars. Also, they were proper racing monsters.

Not here, though, I had a 1991 Escort GT, which was a great car, though it had merely a 1.8-liter DOHC four with 127 horsepower. The hairiest British Escorts had 200 horsepower and all-wheel drive.

Ford Landau

Ford presented the Landau in 1971 as the biggest and most expensive car they sold in Brazil. However, the Landau was basically an upscale mid-60s Ford Galaxie. They produced it until 1983, make few changes during that time. So, the Landau was common and a car the government officials used.

Under the hood was a 302 V8 engine the mated with a three-speed automatic or manual gearbox. Interestingly, in the late ‘70s, Ford Brazil produced several thousand Landau models they modified to run on alcohol rather than gasoline due to the oil crisis. They built over 77, 000 Landaus during its 12-year production run.

As you will notice with the previous car and the next one, South American vehicles of this vintage look like updated 1960s designs, which is a strange effect.

Ford Falcon Sprint Argentina

Ford unveiled the Falcon in America in 1960 as their bestselling compact model. And it came with a range of six and eight-cylinder engines and several body styles. So, to reclaim its position as the market leader in Argentina, Ford decided to present an Argentinean version in 1962. It was basically identical to the U.S. model featuring just a few design differences.

In 1973, Ford Argentina wanted to explore the muscle car market, so they announced a new performance model they called the Falcon Sprint. This was the same 10-year-old four-door sedan. However, it came with an appealing graphics package, a different front end and a 3.6-liter straight six delivering 166 HP.

Ford Capri Perana

Basil Green was an accomplished racer turned tuner and dealer. So when Ford introduced their affordable and cool-looking Capri coupe in late 1969, he realized the potential. And soon, he introduced the Capri Perana. Green took the 3.0-liter V6 Capri they delivered from England and installed a 5.0-liter Ford V8 from Mustang.

To make the car handle properly, Green had his engineers modify the suspension, chassis, brakes and steering. So, after some thorough work, the Capri Perana was born. The power output was around 280 HP. But in the lightweight body of the standard Capri, the Perana was able to reach 60 mph in just six seconds.

See the comment about the Firenza CanAm.

Ford Taunus

The Taunus was a line of mid-size, family sedans and wagons Ford Germany built from the late 1930s to 1982. Over the years, Ford Germany produced numerous models and versions. And they sold well in Europe as well as in other parts of the world, too.

The Taunus didn’t share any components with American-built Fords. But Dearborn often used the same compact V4 engines they produced in Germany for some of their show cars and prototypes.

That’s Taunus, not Taurus.

Chevrolet Calibra

In 1989, the GM subsidiary Opel introduced an advanced sports coupe they called the Calibra. The car featured modern, aerodynamic styling. Chevy built a lineup of four and six-cylinder engines and front wheel drive. And at the time, it was one of the best affordable sports cars on sale in Europe.

However, GM decided to reintroduce this car in South America, and not as the Opel but as the Chevrolet Calibra. They sold the car with minimal modifications. The top brass at GM even considered bringing it to America, but that didn’t happen.

It looks sort of like a Geo Storm or a Saturn SC.

Ford Granada

American car enthusiasts will recognize the Granada name since Ford introduced it on a series of mid-size cars from 1975 to 1982.  However, you may not know about the European Granada. It was a different model Ford produced from 1972 to 1985.

Ford conceived it as a luxury model, so the Granada was the biggest car they sold in Europe. It was also powered by four and six-cylinder engines and featured a long list of optional extras. The model came in two distinctive generations and they later replaced it with the Ford Scorpio in 1985.

For the next Congress

Daniel J. Mitchell wrote this before Tuesday’s election:

President Trump thinks he can boost Republicans next Tuesday by promising a new round of tax relief for the middle class. …

At first, I wasn’t going to bother writing about this topic for the simple reason that Trump isn’t serious (if he was, he wouldn’t have meekly allowed the big spenders to bust the spending caps).

But then I saw that Tom Giovanetti of the Institute for Policy Innovation wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal explaining how reforming Social Security would be great news for lower- and middle-income taxpayers.

…44% of Americans no longer pay any federal income tax at all, and many more pay very little. …On the other hand, low- and middle-income workers do send the government a large share of their earnings in the form of payroll taxes. That same family of four pays $12,240 at the 15.3% combined rate for Social Security and Medicare. If you want to cut taxes for middle-class and low-income workers, that’s where you have to do it. …instead of…a payroll-tax cut of 4% of income, why not redirect that same 4% into personal retirement accounts for every worker? …With no decline in disposable income, American workers would suddenly be investing for retirement at market rates in accounts they own and control, instead of relying on Congress to keep Social Security solvent.

Not only would personal retirement accounts be good for workers, they also would help deal with the looming entitlement crisis.

America’s entitlements are on a path to collapse, and few politicians—including Mr. Trump—have an appetite to do anything about it. When the crisis comes, no tax increase will be big enough to solve the problem. Knowing the U.S. government is eventually going to fudge its commitment to retirees, policy makers should at least give workers a fair chance to amass the savings they will need to support themselves. The back-door solution to the entitlement crisis is to make workers wealthy. Will you worry about Social Security’s solvency or a Medicare collapse if you have more than enough money in a real retirement account to buy a generous annuity and cover your health insurance?

At the risk of stating the obvious, this is the right approach. Both for workers and the country.

To be sure, I don’t think it’s likely since Trump opposes sensible entitlement reform. But Tom’s column at least provides a teaching moment.

I’m not sure when we’ll have a chance to address this simmering crisis. But if you’re wondering whether changes are necessary, check out this chart I put together earlier this year showing Social Security’s annual shortfall (adjusted for inflation, so we’re comparing apples-to-apples).

P.S. This video has more details on the benefits of personal retirement accounts.

P.P.S. And this video shows why the left’s plan to “fix” Social Security would be so destructive.

The retirement age for people born the year I was born is 67. Four years from now, though, Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes. By 2034, Social Security’s asset reserves will be completely used up, according to the Motley Fool. According to the Social Security trustees, a 23-percent benefit cut will be required to keep Social Security supposedly solvent.

Presty the DJ for Nov. 8

First, today in history, from the National Weather Service: Today in 1870, one week after the creation of the meteorological division of the Signal Service (which became the National Weather Service), the first “cautionary storm signal” was issued for an impending Great Lakes storm. They’re called storm warnings now.

The number one single today in 1969:

The number one single today in 1975 …

… on the day David Bowie made his U.S. TV debut on Cher’s show …

… and Elton John’s “Rock of the Westies” debuted on the album chart at number one:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Nov. 8”