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)

August 12: Rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, turns violent. Trump condemns violence and racism, but insists that "both sides" share blame.

August 15: During press conference, Trump turns combative, blaming both "alt-right" marchers and "alt-left" counter-protesters for Virginia violence.

August 22: Addressing avid supporters at campaign rally\, Trump appears to ignore scripted remarks, verbally attacking media and other Republicans.

August 23: Speaking to American Legion, President Trump adopts a considerably more conciliatory tone, expressing hope for a unified America.

August 26: Trump pardons "Sheriff Joe" Arpaio.

September 3: North Korea tests hydrogen bomb. Nuclear device presumably could be carried on a missile, aimed toward U.S. target.

September 4: Nikki R. Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, asserts that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is "begging for war."

September 5: Trump orders halt to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

September 14: North Korea launches another missile across Japan.

September 14: Trump reverts to original position on Charlottesville violence, blaming "both sides."

September 15: Two top Congressional Democrats, after dining with the President, report that he intends to protect "Dreamers" from deportation.

September 18: Trump lawyers argue about level of cooperation the administration should provide to Mueller investigation of possible Russian collusion.

September 19: Addressing the United Nations, President Trump expresses willingness to "totally destroy North Korea" if necessary.

September 20: Newsweek reports that Trump's popularity has risen in latest poll, crediting his responses to hurricanes in Texas and Florida, and instances of "bipartisanship."

September 21: Trump insists that any talk of Russian election interference is a "hoax."

September 22: Senator John McCain announces that he will vote against latest bill to attempt repeal of Obamacare. President Trump then lashes out at McCain.

September 23: Trump attacks professional athletes who kneel when the National Anthem plays, suggesting that a "son of a bitch" who protests should be removed from the game.

September 23: Warriors basketball star LeBron James reacts vigorously to Trump’s Tweet, which rescinded an invitation to the White House issued to Cavaliers' player Steve Curry. "U bum," James tweeted, "going to the White House was a great honor until you [Trump] showed up."

September 23: U.S. warplanes fly near North Korean coast – farther north than planes had venyured since 20th century.

September 30: Trump attacks mayor of San Juan for her anguished comments on the delay of federal aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

October 3: Visiting Puerto Rico two weeks after Hurricane Maria, Trump praises the relief efforts of his administration, while critics decry slow response of the federal government.

October 8: In exchange for reviving protection of 800,000 young “Dreamers,” Trump insists on tightened immigration, including erection of Mexican “border wall.”

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

October 8: Senator Bob Corker warns that Trump’s belligerent statements could incite World War.”

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

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

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 (August 4).

• On Labor Day, "Fight for $15" and union groups march for minimum-wage hike (September 4). Click here for coverage of Chicago protest.

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: October 20, 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

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 in autumn 2017.

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.

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 the Trump Administration.

For details on protests, news and commentary, please click here.

For latest news on Trumpland, please click here.

For commentary on the Trump Administration, 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 sellf-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)

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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