FINN'S GARAGE-Do you love antique and classic vehicles?

By DENIS FINNERTY, Contributing Writer
MEREDITH — Over the course of my years in this business, I have encountered many people who love antique and classic vehicles. I have been fortunate to meet some passionate collectors, of fine vehicles. I have met people that have a strong connection with one type of car, perhaps vintage Corvettes. Others have love for only one car, let's say a 1965 Mustang because it's the car they went on their first date in. Emotions and memories fuel many people in this hobby. There is another side of the coin though, and this is something I have run into a couple of times recently that made me realize this was the topic for August. These are the people who are in love with the idea or thought of having an antique or classic vehicle. These people are easily spotted when they are looking at a car to purchase, they say things like, "This squeaks" or "This car has a old car smell." Why yes, yes it does. It's an old car. These cars don't accelerate, brake or handle like your modern day car you drove here in. They squeak, rattle, roll, and usually leak at minimum one fluid. We are dealing with technology at least 40 years old – or older, depending on which vehicle type you are looking at. The best example I had recently was a mother who brought her son to look at a 1940s truck. She said her 18-year-old loves these old trucks. I quickly asked if she or he had driven one. The answer was no, so we had established that they loved the "design" or look of old trucks. Once riding in the truck, Mom started complaining of inadequate brakes, tough steering (no power steering) and the rough ride. The next questions were: Can we put modern shocks on it? Modern brakes? Or add the power steering? This was indeed the perfect example. They loved the idea of an antique, they loved the look, they didn't love the truth of 70-year-old trucks. They promptly got back in mom's new BMW sedan and were never heard from again.

Now this isn't the end for those type of enthusiasts! There is a segment of this hobby, just for people that love the look, of antiques and classics. Restomods! These retain usually just the body of said vehicle. For example, we'll use the '69 Chevy Camaro, one of the most common restomods. The body is '69 Camaro, however everything under that shell is modern, Modern brakes, frame, suspension and drive train. The only caveat is: these are expensive. Anywhere from $50,000 and up, sky's the limit. How much horsepower, style or handling you want? The only limit to these builds is your imagination and your budget!

So next time you go by a car show, cruise night or dealership, ask yourself: Do I love antique or classic cars, or am I enamored with the thought of one? Either way, us real car lovers won't judge you, but please, don't expect our cars from the yesteryear to meet your modern demands. We love them, whether they leak, squeak, rattle or roll. Sometimes they even leave us stranded, but hey, that's what AAA is for! It's all part of the adventure. As always, hope to see you down the road.
Denis F.

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Why the world’s best are avoiding the Olympics

With golf making its return to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years, one would think there would be some interest from the world's best players to capture gold. Instead, the top players are all withdrawing for a majority of reasons from fear of Zika, along with scheduling issues, injury prevention and rest time. Lately there has been mention of a much more serious reason and one that could make all too much sense. Could the world's best players be withdrawing from the Olympics because of steroids and avoiding have to go through the Olympic drug testing?
Look at the players  – Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson, to name a few. Are they staying away in fear of a failed drug test? The Olympic drug testing procedure is much more rigorous and thorough than any of the other major North American sports. It's the major reason why there was never a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather in their primes. I'm not saying the players are all using it to get bigger and hit the ball further, but some could be using it in the form of injury prevention and injury recovery.
Players like McIlroy and even Tiger Woods have put their body through rigorous workouts and become more muscle-bound than any golfer in history, while players like Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott have been gaining distance off the tee at an alarming rate. Some golfers, like Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen, have been able to recover from injury faster than predicted, while Tiger has been trying to recover from injury for years now. People are claiming that is due to the fact that he has stopped taking steroids in his later years.
The PGA is very hush-hush when it comes to these types of instances on tour. They try to keep everything internal and preserve the integrity of the game. If one of the game's major stars went to Rio and failed a drug test, it would damage the tour's reputation, and open a major debate to the credibility to some of the game's champions.

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Nike exiting the golf equipment business


On Wednesday, Nike announced their departure from the golf equipment business, which means they will stop making golf clubs, balls and bags. In a move that caught the golf industry off guard, Nike explained in a statement: "We're committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel. We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike golf."

Since the economic recession in 2008, Nike has never fully recovered as a leader in the industry. Their top endorser was Tiger Woods, and now Rory McIlroy, who both have struggled with their golf games as of late and have not returned to the top of the golf rankings.
With a lack of winning athletes, Nike has not been able to convince many athletes and the public that their equipment is superior. Titleist has been able to successfully market that their ball is the No. 1 golf ball used at tour events each week, and golfers want to use what the best golfers in the world are using. It is hard for Nike's golf balls to compete against Titleist, Callaway and Bridgestone, who have a winning track record with their athletes.
Nike is known for their footwear, and it makes sense for the company to focus its golf line on footwear and apparel. There are many golf companies who flourish just on their footwear and apparel. Adidas has been partnered with TaylorMade golf equipment, but Adidas itself has flourished as just an apparel and footwear company. With companies like PXG making splashes on the PGA and LPGA tours, it is hard for Nike to try and win over endorsers. Nike unfortunately has never come to mind when thinking of new golf clubs, balls or bags. Nike will always come to mind when I think of new footwear, and I think they will do a great job focusing their mission on footwear and apparel for the foreseeable future.

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Michael Barone - Trump's 'opportunity cost'

Opportunity cost. That's an economist's term for what you lose out on when you divert your investments and attention to something less profitable. It's also a good term for the losses Donald Trump has incurred in the last six days — more than 6 percent of the 94 days between the close of the Democratic National Convention and the election in November.

Trump has spent much of that time attacking the father and mother of a Muslim U.S. serviceman killed in Iraq. He has made a point of refusing to support Paul Ryan or John McCain in their upcoming primaries. He accepted someone else's purple heart and said that his business investments amounted to "sacrifices."

Even if you think Trump's remarks were defensible, you should be able to see how a hostile press would feature them in the most damaging way. Mainstream media inevitably slants things against Republicans. You may not like it, but if you're a rational adult you take it into account.

The opportunity cost for Trump and for his party is that he failed to direct attention to what he could have made Hillary Clinton's glaring weaknesses.

One was highlighted by the GDP figures announced Friday, showing just 1.2 percent economic growth in the last quarter. Clinton, as the candidate of the incumbent party, had to promise to continue and extend its macroeconomic policies. The GDP figures make a powerful case against that.

Another was Clinton's performance on the Sunday talk shows. FBI Director James Comey "said that my answers were truthful," Clinton said. Of course, Comey said the opposite — repeated Clinton statements about her emails were just not true. Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave her a maximum four Pinocchios for her statement to the contrary.

She also said that the multiple family members of those slain in Benghazi who said, back then and now, that she attributed the attacks to protests at a video must have been mistaken about what they heard.

Trump thus had plenty of fresh raw material to fill multiple campaign days discussing the mendaciousness of "Crooked Hillary." He might even have raised the more unnerving possibility that, surrounded as she typically has been by sycophantic aides, she actually came to believe what she said. No one wants a president who is delusional.

The third opportunity cost for the Trump campaign is time missed attacking Clinton for the most leftward party platform and agenda ever, as Ross Douthat argued in his New York Times column.

For nearly 40 years, abortion has been allowed but not subsidized by taxpayers. Clinton now wants taxpayer funding. Large majorities of Americans disagree.

Voters don't want to see all 11 million immigrants here illegally deported immediately. But they also don't want Clinton's policy of deporting no one but convicted felons — an open border policy that incentivizes illegal immigration for decades to come.

Clinton also promises to crack down on fracking, which has vastly reduced gas and utility prices, and to put restrictions on gig economy services like Uber. Not much to like here for drivers and millennials.

Plus, she wants to amend the First Amendment to allow government to restrict and prohibit political speech and, in a breathtaking non sequitur, argues that this will stimulate economic growth. She may feel the need to argue that, inasmuch as almost none of her other policies would.

In other words, the nominee of the challenger has a target-rich environment here. But instead he launches a Hatfield vs. McCoy-type feud against two Gold Star parents.

So Trump is strengthening rather than weakening Democrats' argument that he is too erratic, impulsive and ignorant (doesn't he know Russia annexed Crimea?) to be president.

Hillary Clinton's strategy is to disqualify Trump and to attract high-education Republican voters to support her, as Lyndon Johnson did in 1964. She may remember this from the days she was a teenage Goldwater girl. She's hoping that, as in 1964, they don't notice she's supporting an expansion of government that promises to be both dysfunctional and unaffordable.

But remember that Johnson used his victory to bring in the Great Society. Clinton, if she is sincere about her platform, would probably try to do the same.

Now many will scoff at the idea she's sincere. She's a congenital liar, as William Safire wrote 20 years ago, and she showed that again in her mendacious — or delusional — replies to questions about her emails.

That said, let's consider the possibility that Clinton is sincere. Many have explained her journey from the triangulation of the 1993-2001 Clinton term as a necessary tactical concession to Bernie Sanders. But did she have to go as far as she did?

The Bill Clinton of the 1990s would not have so advised. He would not have advised bringing the mother of the felon Michael Brown to the public spotlights at the Democratic convention.

Yet, Bill Clinton doesn't seem to have set the course of this campaign. One worry, you would think, about a Hillary Clinton campaign is that she would seem to be a candidate to be manipulated by her husband. But neither her managers nor her opponents nor the public seems to give this much credibility.

One reason may be that she has made such a policy journey. Another is that Bill Clinton has, mostly, not chimed in on policy issues, or even on politics. A third may be that he's not at all in charge, and content to let Hillary take the lead, almost as much as the elder George Bush was content to take his son take the lead in his candidacy.

There's much in her platform that leaves her politically vulnerable. It's popular with a shrunken Democratic primary electorate, but not so much with the general public.

Maybe she is counting on voters to think that she, unlike Lyndon Johnson, won't be able to turn the bad parts into law. There's a lot of reason to assume Republicans will hold onto their House majority, and they have a good chance to hold onto their majority in the Senate.

But there's also the possibility that Hillary, liberated from Bill's strategizing and liberated by Trump's unacceptability to many voters, really believes she can get a lot of this done and set a course for the Democrats in the future. It seems unlikely, but maybe it's possible that the Hillary you can see (although lots of voters aren't paying much attention) is the Hillary you will get, if she is elected.

The media now are buzzing with speculation that that Trump backers like Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani are plotting an intervention and that Trump might drop out or be forced out of the race. That's not likely. He knows he won't increase his chances of winning by withdrawing. But does he understand that he'd increase them by concentrating on attacks on a vulnerable opponent?

Even free-market economists admit there are market failures in the real world. In the political marketplace this year, we're seeing market failures galore. A weak Democrat pre-empted her party's nomination and the incentives in a multicandidate field prevented opponents from deconstructing a weak front-runner.

Yet, Trump's eccentricities threaten to elect as president a congenital liar who is way to the left of the public. That's a big opportunity cost.

(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

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Jim Hightower - We won!

What an amazing Democratic primary season it was! And we now have this happy result: WE WON!

"We" being the millions of young people, mad-as-hell working stiffs, independents, deep-rooted progressives, and other "outsiders" who felt The Bern and forged a new, game-changing, populist force of, by, and for grassroots Americans. True, this progressive-populist coalition did not win the White House on its first go 'round behind the feisty Sanders insurgency (which the the smug political establishment had literally laughed at when he began his run). But they are not laughing now, for even they can see the outsider revolt against the power elites won something even more momentous than the 2016 election: The future.

Back in April 2015, when the blunt, democratic socialist from Vermont issued a call for disenchanted voters to join him, not merely in a campaign for the presidency, but in a long-term movement to "revitalize American democracy so that government works for all of us," even his more optimistic backers couldn't have dreamed the movement would come so far so quickly. Let's reflect on some fundamental changes this progressive uprising has achieved in the past 15 months:

— It yanked the national debate out of the hands of the Washington and corporate elites: both devoted for more than 30 years to rigging all the rules to further enrich the 1 percenters at the expense of everyone else — and proved that future success requires Democrats to abandon their effete namby-pambyism and embrace the vision, message, and issues of unabashed populism.

— It revived true bottom-up campaigning through innovative social media outreach, the empowerment of hundreds of thousands of engaged supporters and volunteers, instantaneous mass communication via cell phones, and turning people out by turning them on : by finally addressing inequality head-on and proposing bold policies that appeal directly to the workaday majority's interests.

— It lifted: from the political scrap heap up to the top of our national discourse — the concerns of middle- and low-income families: creating good, middle-class jobs through a national program of infrastructure repair and development of the green economy; enacting a $15 minimum wage; removing crushing education debt from the backs of students; coping with the imminent crisis of climate change; repealing the Supreme Court's democracy-destroying Citizens United edict; implementing pay equity for women; stopping the war machine's constant adventurism; expanding Social Security; providing Medicare for all; halting the unjust mass incarceration of African Americans and Latinos; defunding the disastrous drug war; demilitarizing our police forces; replenishing our public treasury by taxing Wall Street speculators; and generally restoring economic fairness, social justice, and equal opportunity for all as central purposes of public policy.

— It raised some $229 million in more than 8 million small donations (averaging only $27 each), including millions from low-income people who sent in $5 or even $1 thus debunking the myth that Democrats can only be competitive by joining Republicans in taking corrupting big money from corporations and setting up "dark money" SuperPACs.

More importantly, the Bernie movement created a hopeful, formidable and growing populist political channel that is both insistently democratic and independent of the Democratic Party. This state-based, national network of Berniecrats will keep building its connections, pushing its agenda; and backing populist candidates in the House, Senate and other races this fall. Then, on to next year's campaigns for mayor, city council, etc., which will be charged by the 20,000 Sanders supporters who have, according to Bernie, signed up to get info on running. Then on to the 2018 midterm congressional elections. And then to the 2020 presidential campaign. Onward!

(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)

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