Another Saturday Sampler

On this day in 1925 Tennessee Governor Austin Peay signed the Butler Act into law. The bill was introduced by Tennessee House of Representatives member John Washington Butler prohibiting public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of mankind’s origin. The law also prevented the teaching of the evolution of man from what it referred to as lower orders of animals in place of the Biblical account.

The law was challenged later that year in a famous trial in Dayton, Tennessee called the Scopes Trial that included a raucous, and now famous, confrontation between prosecution attorney and fundamentalist religious leader, William Jennings Bryan, and noted defense attorney and religious agnostic, Clarence Darrow.

Incredibly, the Butler Act wasn’t repealed until 1967. Maybe that’s not so incredible…a sizable minority of Americans (usually polling at about 40%) do not believe in evolution. As Louis Armstrong is supposed to have remarked, “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”


On this day in 1996 General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a settlement in a 17-day brake factory strike that idled more than 177,000 employees and brought what was then the world’s top automaker to a virtual standstill. Only about 3,000 workers actually struck, but the de facto closure of the GM Delphi Chassis Systems brake plants in Dayton, Ohio forced GM to close 26 of its 29 assembly plants and cut back work at 90 parts factories. Independent suppliers also laid off tens of thousands of workers.

While the Dayton strike was over local issues, including safety, excess overtime and other contract disputes, its focal point became GM’s desire to award in-house work to outside suppliers, a.k.a. outsourcing.

The most recent UAW strike in combination with the coronavirus led to a reduction in 2020 C8 production from the original goal of 40,000 to probably just 5,000. In fact, as of March 18 it was no longer possible to order a 2020 Corvette. When orders resume in May, customers will be ordering model year 2021 Corvettes. I suspect most of the customers who ordered 2020 models will be receiving 2021 models instead and will have to wait even longer to receive their car, maybe a car like this:


See the source image


From Motor1 a picture of a 2020 Corvette.


On this day a year ago I—with the help of my wonderful wife—wired the money to pay for my 2016 Corvette Z06. It’s almost incomprehensible that acquiring that car is already a year in the past. I didn’t receive the car until the 27th; I have only driven it about 2,670 miles. Since I am “retired” I do not drive that much, but that’s still a shame in my eyes. Let’s say I’m at an even 2,700 miles on the 27th, that would still be just 225 miles a month. I drove my Z4 almost 300 miles a month in the 29 months I owned it. Maybe the Z06 will get to stretch its legs more after the move to the desert.










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Monday Musings

On this day in 1809, Charles Darwin AND Abraham Lincoln were born. Americans would disagree, but Darwin had a larger impact on the world. It is surprisingly difficult to ascertain what percentage of Americans believe in evolution. The Huffington Post, which I will admit is not one of my favorite organizations, published a poll in 2013 that about a third of Americans don’t believe in evolution. Other published polls have shown an even larger percentage. Not surprisingly, older and more religious Americans have a greater level of disbelief. I believe in evolution and think the evidence is overwhelming. Of course, as Satchel Paige is supposed to have said, “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”

February 12 has seen some very bad days in the automotive industry. In 1957, a fire destroyed much of the Jaguar Browns Lane factory in Coventry including some vehicles that were being transitioned from D-type race cars to street-legal XKSS autos.

On February 12, 2008, in a prelude of what was to come, General Motors offered a buyout to its entire US hourly workforce: 74,000 workers. Today, GM is actually doing quite well although its future is uncertain as the automotive industry transitions to electric and/or autonomous vehicles. In the Basque language: “Ez niretzat.”

As a Corvette fan, this day also has a bad connotation as it was on February 12, 2014 that a large sinkhole swallowed eight historic Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Three of the eight—the ZR1 Blue Devil prototype, the 1,000,000th Corvette, and a 1962 model—have been restored, but the others are on display as they were recovered.

See the source image

From a picture of an example of the last year for the C4 Corvette, a 1996 model. Five years ago the C4 did not appeal to me, but its clean lines and the introduction of the modern LT1 engine in 1992 have made it a favorite of mine, now.

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