Coming Up Short in a World of Achievement
(paperbound) by
James M. Flammang

Available NOW at these and other retailers:
Barnes and Noble

White House Woes

The Trump Presidency

First 7 Months in Trumpland

Volume II - September onward


Early Trump News (January-August)

October 8: New York Times journalists report on visit to North Korea, advising that officials and citizens are girded for war and “complacent.”

October 8: Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) assails recklessness of presidential behavior, tweeting that “White House has become an adult day care center.”

October 9: The New York Times publishes long list of ethics-challenged conduct by Trump.

October 16: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) denounces the “spurious nationalism” that prevails in the presidency, fearing that U.S. will “abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe.”

October 19: Trump's phone call to widow of slain soldier draws harsh criticism, alleging insensitivity and "disrespect."

October 24: Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announces that he will not run for re-election in 2018, citing, Mr. Trump’s “flagrant disregard for truth and decency.”

October 27: Financial guru Lou Dobbs conducts uncritical “interview” of Trump by fawning and flattery, praising his numerous achievements as president.

October 27: Following emergency surgery, disabled 10-year-old girl – brought to U.S. without documentation as a baby – is snatched by immigration officers and detained for deportation.

October 29 The New York Times reports that on October 30, Robert Mueller will release criminal indictments against unnamed person(s), stemming from investigation into Russian influence on 2016 election.

October 29: A day before indictments are to be released, Trump attacks Hillary Clinton via Twitter.

October 30: One-time Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and an associate are indicted for financial misdeeds, with no mention of possible Russian collusion.

November 4: "Trump/Pence Must Go" protest rallies take place in 22 cities.

November 7: Syria joins Paris Climate Accord, as does Nicaragua, making U.S. the only non-participating country.

November 7: Trump administration begins to curtail Temporary Protected Status program, which has allowed undocumented immigrants from 10 troubled countries to remain in the U.S.

November 7: In off-year election, Virginia voters elect Democratic candidate Ralph Northam, by wide margin.

November 9: After friendly meetings with Chinese President Xi, Trump turns combative at APEC Forum in Vietnam, hailing "America First" policies.

November 9: Stream of sexual harassment accusations hits politics; woman charges that 38 years ago, when she was 14, Roy Moore (Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama) made inappropriate advances.

November 12: While in Philippines, Trump issues stream of combative tweets, calling those who suggest Russian collusion "haters and fools."

November 16: Even though some top Congressional Republicans urge Roy Moore to quit Senate race, Moore digs in, backed by Alabama's Republican party.

November 27: During ceremony to honor Navajo veterans of World War II, Trump mocks Senator Warren, calling her "Pocahontas."

November 29: Trump retweets violent video issued by far-right, anti-Muslim British group.

December 2: Senate passes massive tax bill in late-night session, with last-minute changes handwritten.

December 4: After period of silence about Roy Moore, accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s, Trump endorses him in Alabama’s Senate race.

December 6: Trump announces that U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, drawing quick rebukes from global critics.

December 12: Democrat Doug Jones beats Roy Moore in Alabama Senatorial election, by 1.5 percentage points, narrowing Republican majority.

December 15: Senate and House approach agreement on tax bill, as two reluctant Senators promise “yes” vote. Final vote is expected before Christmas. Critics insist that tax cuts still go primarily to corporations and the ultra-wealthy, adding $1.5 trillion to deficit over next decade.

December 15: Asked if he plans to pardon Michael Kelly, convicted of lying to F.B.I., Trump replies, “We’ll see what happens.” During same impromptu news conference, according to The New York Times, Trump intensifies his criticism of the F.B.I., while insisting that he has “nothing to do with Russia.”

For additional details, as well as previous News items, please click here.

Toil & Trouble

Countdown to Trumpland, our new section on the Trump phenomenon and its potential impact on so much of American life, was our main story until Inauguration Day on January 20. Since then, we've provided news and commentary on the Trump presidency, in a section called White House Woes. Mr. Trump's candidacy and election has led to a crucial urgency among progressives and others who feared a barrage of disastrous decisions from his Administration.

Meanwhile, Tirekicking Today has been developing this section on work, labor, and consumer concerns. Toil & Trouble builds upon the uncommon views in Work Hurts, one of our Books in Progress. In addition to notable news items related to work and labor, this section will feature critical essays and editorials.

"No man is good enough to be another man's master."
George Bernard Shaw,
in Major Barbara

Work/Labor News Headlines

• "Fight for $15" campaign for minimum-wage hike looks back on a string of victories in 2016, as new wage floors emerge in several regions of the country.

• While Fight for $15 campaign strives to raise minimum wage sharply, 21 states stick to current federal minimum ($7.25 per hour).

• By wide margin, Nissan workers at Mississippi plant vote down representation by United Auto Workers union.

• On Labor Day 2917, "Fight for $15" and union groups march for minimum-wage hike. Click here for coverage of Chicago protest. • 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 to survive.

Additional Labor news items will be posted soon. Please check again,

The Dunning-Kruger effect: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
Charles Darwin

“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

Labor-related Essays:

Own Nothing, Owe Nothing
10 Ways to Keep Occupy Movement Alive
Surprise! Some of us like to pay taxes
Reject! For some applicants, job search is futile exercise
Overview: All too often, Toil Is Trouble
Needed Now: Jobs, Not Careers
New Ways To Look at Work
Solidarity Forever?
Quit calling us consumers!
Let's break the chain of consumer debt
Prioritize! Living with Less and Liking It

"He that has to obey the will of another is a slave."
Samuel Fielden (1886)

UPDATED: December 15, 2017

After 23 years of covering cars, Tirekicking Today has shifted gears, with a new focus on social issues and current affairs - led by the unprecedented ramifications of the Trump presidency

During November, this page will be modified to reflect the change in featured subject matter.

Third book from TK Press Is Now
On Sale in print and e-book form ... and it's Incompetent

TK Press, the book-publishing division of Tirekicking Today, has issued three titles since 2014. The latest is 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.

Incompetent is available in print and e-book form. Please see ordering details at right. Excerpts may be seen at

Also On Sale:
Mr. Maurice Knows It All ... and tells you so. Available as print or e-book at various retailers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
In 78 concise chapters, the 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, from money to citizenship, from status to guilt.
Note: Mr. Maurice ... was re-launched in 2016 by a different distributor and printer.

Books in Progress (outlines and excerpts)

Editor Jim Flammang, the author of more than two dozen books (including six for children), is at work on several more. Each title views its subject from an oblique and lighthearted – yet serious – perspective. Preliminary outlines and excerpts may be seen by clicking on each title.

Absurdities: Logical Lapses in everyday life and thought is a comprehensive collection of stinging essays that gaze with disbelief at various aspects of modern life. The 86 chapters are arranged in sections, including Work, Money, Identity, Communication/Technology, Consumption, Politics and Law, Pastimes, Sex, and Transportation. Scheduled to go on sale early in 2018.

Untied Knots - Fiction by Flammang: two groups of short stories, each with a tangy twist. One group is travel-based; the other focuses on stay-at-home folks.

Fraidy-Cat: Surviving a lifetime of unwarranted fear and fright. A personal look backward, focusing on lessons learned about debilitating fear and anxiety, including ways to cope and survive.

Work Hurts: Reflections on a wasted life 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.

Hotel Life, subtitled "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.

Also under consideration for future publication:
Steering Toward Oblivion is a caustically critical but humorous observation of the car culture and auto business. Note: Outline will be updated to reflect current conditions.

For further information, please contact us at

• Articles and essays on topics related to current affairs, and occasionally about relevant automotive subjects, will be posted here periodically.

• New editorials, automotive and non-automotive), will be posted periodically.

• Occasional reviews of current vehicles will appear in this space.

Reviews of 2016-2018 vehicles by editor James M. Flammang may be seen at and

Tirekicking Today editor Jim Flammang, a veteran independent auto journalist, has contributed countless product reviews and feature articles to such publications as, New Car Test Drive, CarsDirect, and Kelley Blue Book. He has written extensively for a variety of major outlets, including J.D. Power,, and the Chicago Tribune. Flammang is a member of the Freelancers Union, the International Motor Press Association, and Midwest Automotive Media Association (past president). The author of more than two dozen 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.

"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

Countdown to Trumpland

Early January, 2017

Leading Up to Inauguration

Delight or Disaster?

Trump presidency signals either his promised return to a “Great” America, or the demise of Constitutional Democracy, with economic tragedy for lower and middle classes.

As the New Year begins, Americans face a political scene that can only be called unprecedented. To about half the voters in November’s election, the arrival of Donald Trump as president-elect demonstrated a fresh start for the country. To the other half, seeing this willfully ignorant, ill-behaved, flagrantly self-absorbed bully prepare to take the reins of government – despite fierce distaste for so many of the principles and values upon which this nation was founded – is an occasion for dread, distress, and abject hopelessness....

Click here for more.

As soon as Donald Trump entered the White House, Tirekicking Today halted its section “Countdown to Trumpland." Our follow-up series (at right, above) is titled “White House Woes: The Trump Presidency."

In addition to articles on specific issues that President Trump deals with, we include news items on the latest actions and words emanating from, and about, the Trump Administration.

For latest commentary, as well as details on protests and resistance, please click here.

For commentary and protest reports from the first seven months of the Trump presidency, please click here.

For Latest News on Trumpland, please click here.

For news from the first seven months of the Trump Administration, please click here.

News Headlines
in the Auto World

• Ford cancels plan to build new factory in Mexico, following criticism from president-elect Trump. Mr. Trump also chastises General Motors for producing Chevrolet Cruze hatchbacks in Mexico, asserting that GM should pay hefty tax to send cars across the border. (1/3/17)

• Taking on another automaker, Trump threatens Toyota with border tax. (1/5/17)

• Volkswagen pleads guilty to criminal charges of falsifying diesel-engine emissions, and is fined $4.3 billion ... six executives charged. (1/11/17)

• Automakers seek easing of future fuel-economy standards, under Trump administration. (2/23)

• Attorneys for families of airbag victims allege that four automakers (Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota) knew "for years" about risks of Takata airbags. (The New York Times, 2/28)

• Self-driving Volvo crashes and rolls in Arizona; vehicle was part of Uber pilot program.

• White House plans drastic cuts for EPA, curtailing fuel-economy and emissions testing. (The New York Times, April 4)

• Volkswagen sees strong sales in U.S., despite huge fines and criminal charges resulting from diesel-engine emissions falsification. (May 11)

• Ford removes Mark Fields as corporate CEO, after three years in that role. Fields, a 28-year Ford veteran, was considered a "car guy." His replacement, Jim Hackett, headed Ford’s self-driving division, but previously came from outside the auto business. Ford’s stock has fallen 40 percent since 2014. (May 22)

• Volvo announces that it will stop building passenger vehicles with gasoline or diesel engines by 2019, issuing only hybrids and pure electric models. (July 5)

• Volkswagen plans to drop Touareg SUV, according to Automotive News. (July 11)

• Environmentalists fear that Trump administration, as part of its program to roll back regulations, will ease fuel-economy requirements for the future.

• U.S. Volkswagen executive sentended to seven years' in prison for diesel emissions cheating.

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 coverage of automobiles, and take the publication on a completely different track - focusing primarily on topics that had become far more crucial than cars.

©All contents copyright 1997-2017 by Tirekicking Today.
Material may not be reused in any way without express permission from Tirekicking Today.
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