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 2 - September onward

Trump News Highlights


July 29: Speaking to police group, Trump advises officers: "Don't be too nice" to arrested persons.

July 31: After 10 days as White House communication director, Anthony Scaramucci is forced out.

August 8: President Trump threatens to unleash "Fire and Fury" against North Korea, in response to further threats against the U.S. To some experts, escalation of belligerence by both countries may constitute greatest risk of nuclear war in decades.

August 9: Kim Jong-un, head of North Korea, threatens to attack island of Guam if Trump persists with threats of U.S. action.

August 10: President Trump escalates verbal threat against North Korea, suggesting that his previous statement, promising "fire and fury," might not have been "tough enough."

August 11: Trump warns North Korea that U.S. is "locked and loaded."

August 12: Rally and march by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, turns violent; one participant drives car into crowd, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer.

August 12: President Trump condemns violence and racism at Virginia march, but insists that "both sides" share the blame.

August 14: Two days after Virginia debacle, an unanimated President Trump quietly reads a speech condemning racism and white supremacism.

August 15: During press conference at Trump Tower in New York, Trump turns combative, reverting to his original opinion on the Virginia violence, blaming both "alt-right" marchers and "alt-left" counter-protesters. Trump’s revived responses draws harsh criticism, even from Republicans.

August 17: Trump bemoans loss of "beautiful statues" commemorating Conferate generals and leaders, insisting that those who want them removed are destroying the country's "history and culture."

August 18: Mitt Romney issues strong condemnation of President Trump’s responses to the Charlottesville rally. Trump, he insists, should say "racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville."

August 19: In Boston and other cities, counter-protesters greatly outnumber right-wing "free speech" rally participants. President Trump chooses to "applaud the many protesters ... speaking out against bigotry and hate."

August 19: A group of graduates of Liberty University return their diplomas to protest school president Jerry Falwell Jr.'s support of Trump.

August 22: Addressing avid supporters at campaign rally in Phoenix, Trump appears to ignore scripted remarks, verbally attacking media and other Republicans during 77-minute tirade.

August 23: Speaking to American Legion in Reno, Nevada, 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 an intercontinental missile, aimed toward U.S. target.

September 3: President Trump says he will announce his decision on dismantling DACA (the "Dreamers" program) on Tuesday, September 5.

September 4: Labor Day protests in various cities promote hike in the federal minimum wage.

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.

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

News Headlines:

• Congressional session begins on January 3; on that same day, first steps are taken on road to dismantling President Obama’s most notable legacy, the Affordable Care Act.

• "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: September 9, 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.

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.

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.

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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