Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Via HBL and Joseph Kellard comes what I agree is, for a change, an "honest report" about the viability of electric car technology. Joseph posts a few key excerpts at his blog.
I have always found the idea of an electric car interesting, but have been frustrated by the impression that the Greens want to cram this technology down my throat whether it really works or not. The answer from this more level-headed article is along these lines: The technology, promising, but still young, could soon help you save money on gasoline if applied properly. Interestingly enough, General Motors -- and not Toyota -- seems to have adopted the approach best-suited to the current state of the art:
[W]here should we look, realistically, for a mass-market electric vehicle? Believe it or not, Detroit. In fact, the quick-fix approach that strikes me as the most promising comes from -- surprise! -- General Motors, the chief villain of "Who Killed the Electric Car?" The Chevy Volt, which the company wants to bring to market in 2010, is a plug-in hybrid that aspires to be able to travel 40 miles before switching to gasoline power. But the best part is that the combustion engine will automatically recharge the battery -- so it can switch back even while you're driving.Forty miles is within the range of current battery technology and would work very well for short drives in the city. Were this car on the market now and I weren't facing the prospect of remaining poor because of my impending relocation to the insanely expensive Northeast, I'd seriously look at one of these. I hate throwing money away.
Live Free (as in Beer)
New Hampshire, whose state motto I have always loved, has tossed aside the principles that give it meaning to accept foreign aid from a tin pot dictator.
Two years ago, New Hampshire refused to accept heating oil from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the pro-Castro U.S. critic who once called President Bush "the devil." But with fuel prices rising, well, free oil is free oil.No. The only thing that changed was the price of oil. I doubt that New Hampshire's state officials ever really understood the deeper issues here beyond the level of paying them lip service in order to grandstand.
With the state's blessing, New Hampshire residents will be receiving some of the fuel this winter.
New Hampshire becomes the last state in the Northeast to embrace the offer.
But the idea galled some New Hampshire Republicans, including Sen. John Sununu, who called the it a "disgrace" and an attempt at grandstanding by Chavez, and Democratic Gov. John Lynch squelched the effort.
This year, though, "the state's role is to make sure people are aware of the program," Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said.
A lot has changed over the past two years. Back then, heating oil sold for about $2.50 per gallon in the Northeast. Last month, the average price was $4.61, with predictions of $5 per gallon oil by winter.
Taking the oil is understandable, but it would be acceptable only if the customers, businessmen, and state officials involved vigorously called for the United States government to act (at a minimum) to recover from Venezuela the assets of American companies stolen by the Chavez regime.
There are similar moral issues for two kinds of parties to consider here. First, there is the moral question for each businessman and customer to consider when thinking about whether to accept the oil. Second, there is the question for the government officials of granting official state sanction to a foreign leader pandering to American citizens by offering them loot stolen in part from other Americans.
This is a very disappointing development.
Groveling and Pandering
Brian Phillips, who also attended John Conyers' farcical single payer testimonial meeting in Houston last Friday addresses an aspect of the proceedings I hadn't:
The participants were unanimously in favor of universal health care. Individually their testimony took one of two different paths.People this scummy have no business dictating to you or me the terms under which we are to protect our health. This is pure evil.
The first path was one of overwhelming praise for the bill and its authors. America's health care system is in crisis, the witnesses said, and HR676 will address it. This was nothing more than blatant pandering to the egos of the politicians who were present. One in fact, pointed out that Lee was an excellent leader of a Boy Scout troop.
The second path was even more disgusting. While praising the bill, these witnesses said that it didn't go far enough. We need more money for training nurses, for mental health care, and for a number of other areas. These groveling witnesses wanted more for their particular pet projects. They weren't content to merely praise Lee and her cohorts, they wanted more public money thrown into their trough. [bold added]
You Have to Start Somewhere
Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors, and after recently watching The Bucket List, I remembered that among his first acting jobs was the role of "Easy Reader" on the PBS series, The Electric Company, a role he thought he played for too long.
It was my idea to just do The Electric Company for a couple of years and go on. But, you get trapped by that money thing. It's golden handcuffs. It gets a lot of people, including soap opera actors and commercial actors. Then, they don't want to see you in serious work. That was going to be me, having people come up to me saying "My kids love you!" I was there three years too long.Be that as it may, I remember smiling when, as an adult, I realized that I was watching Easy Reader.
If you're old enough, you may wax nostalgic. If not, try not to laugh too hard. This was, after all, the seventies!