• Don't put another $30 billion into the coffers of GM to build cars. Instead, use that money to keep the current workforce -- and most of those who have been laid off -- employed so that they can build the new modes of 21st century transportation. Let them start the conversion work now.
• Announce that we will have bullet trains criss-crossing this country in the next five years. Japan is celebrating the 45th anniversary of its first bullet train this year. Now they have dozens of them. Average speed: 165 mph. Average time a train is late: under 30 seconds. They have had these high speed trains for nearly five decades -- and we don't even have one! The fact that the technology already exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 17 hours by train, and that we haven't used it, is criminal. Let's hire the unemployed to build the new high speed lines all over the country. Chicago to Detroit in less than two hours. Miami to DC in under 7 hours. Denver to Dallas in five and a half. This can be done and done now.
• Initiate a program to put light rail mass transit lines in all our large and medium-sized cities. Build those trains in the GM factories. And hire local people everywhere to install and run this system.
• For people in rural areas not served by the train lines, have the GM plants produce energy efficient clean buses.
• For the time being, have some factories build hybrid or all-electric cars (and batteries). It will take a few years for people to get used to the new ways to transport ourselves, so if we're going to have automobiles, let's have kinder, gentler ones. We can be building these next month (do not believe anyone who tells you it will take years to retool the factories -- that simply isn't true).
• Transform some of the empty GM factories to facilities that build windmills, solar panels and other means of alternate forms of energy. We need tens of millions of solar panels right now. And there is an eager and skilled workforce who can build them.
• Provide tax incentives for those who travel by hybrid car or bus or train. Also, credits for those who convert their home to alternative energy.
• To help pay for this, impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline. This will get people to switch to more energy saving cars or to use the new rail lines and rail cars the former autoworkers have built for them.
Well, that's a start. Please, please, please don't save GM so that a smaller version of it will simply do nothing more than build Chevys or Cadillacs. This is not a long-term solution. Don't throw bad money into a company whose tailpipe is malfunctioning, causing a strange odor to fill the car.
...60% of GM is ours. I think we can do a better job.
Elsewhere thorough and depressing reports on the FBI's failure to prevent the entirely avoidable death of Dr. George Tiller. Why Obama hasn't yet reinstalled the Clinton-era, abortion-rights hotline is an outrage. Surely that would seem like the kind of specific thing an effective netroots could actually succeed at lobbying for, were they interested in more than cheer-leading and the seductive fantasy of playing inside baseball, Markos Moulitsas.
Update: Ok so there was this buried bit by Hunter. Why not a full campaign to hammer the hotline number issue? It seems such a little thing, with such enormous potential remedial impact.
Update II: Fuck. Goddamn fuck.