Journalism in the Public Interest


Quick Picks: Where Art Thou, Car Czar?

Quick Picks focuses on a select few of the day’s stories from “Breaking on the Web.”

  • Special dispensations from state regulators have allowed some of the nation’s largest insurers to pad their bookkeeping by hundreds of millions of dollars, the Washington Post reports. Insurance companies are using the boon to make their finances seem artificially strong.
  • Even though there are less than two weeks before automakers are required to submit detailed plans for use of $17.4 billion in federal loans, the Obama administration still hasn’t designated a car czar. Inside sources told the Wall Street Journal this is undermining the automakers’ ability to negotiate with bondholders and unions, putting their plans in jeopardy.

Check out more of our roundup of the best investigative stories around the Web.

Was there a story we missed? Please keep sending us stories from your local paper, favorite blog or magazine, etc. via e-mail or Delicious.


Autos and trucks have been my hobby for 50 years.
I learned the machinations of GM, Ford & Chrysler after reading Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed and other dry tomes about the Big 3.

A Car Czar, a stay at Gitmo or a firing squad will NOT change the way GM, Ford and Chrysler do business and the vehicles they make.

Break up those 3 behemoths into small car companies competing for customers.
It used to be Lewis Chevrolet, Ransom Olds and the Dodge Bros.  Bring that back and watch the car business flourish.

The carrot? A 20 billion dollar PRIZE for Hybrid, Electric & Hydrogen vehicles from the Fed. gov’t. Vehicles that are can be purchased by comsumers and used daily.

The stick? No certification for gasoline only powered vehicles unless 50% of the fleet is alternative powered.

We can do this if we apply ourselves and stop our fixation on profit and Wall Street.

John Fitzgerald

Feb. 8, 2009, 2:59 p.m.

Without a car Czar, with total autonomy and power, nothing will be accomplished.
And that might never hapen
On the other hand, it might be better to let the market place sort auto industry out.

John Fitzgerald