Skip to main content

I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official: General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled.

As I sit here in GM's birthplace, Flint, Michigan, I am surrounded by friends and family who are filled with anxiety about what will happen to them and to the town. Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost every other house is empty. What would be your state of mind?

It is with sad irony that the company which invented "planned obsolescence" -- the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one -- has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh -- and that wouldn't start falling apart after two years. GM stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives arrogantly ignored the "inferior" Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the corporation. Beginning in the 1980s, when GM was posting record profits, it moved countless jobs to Mexico and elsewhere, thus destroying the lives of tens of thousands of hard-working Americans. The glaring stupidity of this policy was that, when they eliminated the income of so many middle class families, who did they think was going to be able to afford to buy their cars? History will record this blunder in the same way it now writes about the French building the Maginot Line or how the Romans cluelessly poisoned their own water system with lethal lead in its pipes.

So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company's body not yet cold, and I find myself filled with -- dare I say it -- joy. It is not the joy of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown and brought misery, divorce, alcoholism, homelessness, physical and mental debilitation, and drug addiction to the people I grew up with. Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a job.

But you and I and the rest of America now own a car company! I know, I know -- who on earth wants to run a car company? Who among us wants $50 billion of our tax dollars thrown down the rat hole of still trying to save GM? Let's be clear about this: The only way to save GM is to kill GM. Saving our precious industrial infrastructure, though, is another matter and must be a top priority. If we allow the shutting down and tearing down of our auto plants, we will sorely wish we still had them when we realize that those factories could have built the alternative energy systems we now desperately need. And when we realize that the best way to transport ourselves is on light rail and bullet trains and cleaner buses, how will we do this if we've allowed our industrial capacity and its skilled workforce to disappear?

Thus, as GM is "reorganized" by the federal government and the bankruptcy court, here is the plan I am asking President Obama to implement for the good of the workers, the GM communities, and the nation as a whole. Twenty years ago when I made "Roger & Me," I tried to warn people about what was ahead for General Motors. Had the power structure and the punditocracy listened, maybe much of this could have been avoided. Based on my track record, I request an honest and sincere consideration of the following suggestions:

  1. Just as President Roosevelt did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the President must tell the nation that we are at war and we must immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices. Within months in Flint in 1942, GM halted all car production and immediately used the assembly lines to build planes, tanks and machine guns. The conversion took no time at all. Everyone pitched in. The fascists were defeated.

    We are now in a different kind of war -- a war that we have conducted against the ecosystem and has been conducted by our very own corporate leaders. This current war has two fronts. One is headquartered in Detroit. The products built in the factories of GM, Ford and Chrysler are some of the greatest weapons of mass destruction responsible for global warming and the melting of our polar icecaps. The things we call "cars" may have been fun to drive, but they are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature. To continue to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet.

    The other front in this war is being waged by the oil companies against you and me. They are committed to fleecing us whenever they can, and they have been reckless stewards of the finite amount of oil that is located under the surface of the earth. They know they are sucking it bone dry. And like the lumber tycoons of the early 20th century who didn't give a damn about future generations as they tore down every forest they could get their hands on, these oil barons are not telling the public what they know to be true -- that there are only a few more decades of useable oil on this planet. And as the end days of oil approach us, get ready for some very desperate people willing to kill and be killed just to get their hands on a gallon can of gasoline.

    President Obama, now that he has taken control of GM, needs to convert the factories to new and needed uses immediately.
  1. Don't put another $30 billion into the coffers of GM to build cars. Instead, use that money to keep the current workforce -- and most of those who have been laid off -- employed so that they can build the new modes of 21st century transportation. Let them start the conversion work now.
  1. Announce that we will have bullet trains criss-crossing this country in the next five years. Japan is celebrating the 45th anniversary of its first bullet train this year. Now they have dozens of them. Average speed: 165 mph. Average time a train is late: under 30 seconds. They have had these high speed trains for nearly five decades -- and we don't even have one! The fact that the technology already exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 17 hours by train, and that we haven't used it, is criminal. Let's hire the unemployed to build the new high speed lines all over the country. Chicago to Detroit in less than two hours. Miami to DC in under 7 hours. Denver to Dallas in five and a half. This can be done and done now.
  1. Initiate a program to put light rail mass transit lines in all our large and medium-sized cities. Build those trains in the GM factories. And hire local people everywhere to install and run this system.
  1. For people in rural areas not served by the train lines, have the GM plants produce energy efficient clean buses.
  1. For the time being, have some factories build hybrid or all-electric cars (and batteries). It will take a few years for people to get used to the new ways to transport ourselves, so if we're going to have automobiles, let's have kinder, gentler ones. We can be building these next month (do not believe anyone who tells you it will take years to retool the factories -- that simply isn't true).
  1. Transform some of the empty GM factories to facilities that build windmills, solar panels and other means of alternate forms of energy. We need tens of millions of solar panels right now. And there is an eager and skilled workforce who can build them.
  1. Provide tax incentives for those who travel by hybrid car or bus or train. Also, credits for those who convert their home to alternative energy.
  1. To help pay for this, impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline. This will get people to switch to more energy saving cars or to use the new rail lines and rail cars the former autoworkers have built for them.

Well, that's a start. Please, please, please don't save GM so that a smaller version of it will simply do nothing more than build Chevys or Cadillacs. This is not a long-term solution. Don't throw bad money into a company whose tailpipe is malfunctioning, causing a strange odor to fill the car.

100 years ago this year, the founders of General Motors convinced the world to give up their horses and saddles and buggy whips to try a new form of transportation. Now it is time for us to say goodbye to the internal combustion engine. It seemed to serve us well for so long. We enjoyed the car hops at the A&W. We made out in the front -- and the back -- seat. We watched movies on large outdoor screens, went to the races at NASCAR tracks across the country, and saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time through the window down Hwy. 1. And now it's over. It's a new day and a new century. The President -- and the UAW -- must seize this moment and create a big batch of lemonade from this very sour and sad lemon.

Yesterday, the last surviving person from the Titanic disaster passed away. She escaped certain death that night and went on to live another 97 years.

So can we survive our own Titanic in all the Flint Michigans of this country. 60% of GM is ours. I think we can do a better job.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

Join Mike's Mailing List | Join Mike's Facebook Group | Mike on Twitter | Become Mike's MySpace Friend

Originally posted to Michael Moore on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by I follow Michael Moore @ the Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  What, bullet trains? (129+ / 0-)

    But that would be TEH SOCIALIZMZ!!

    Or so we're being told, apparently.

    Dear republicans: teabagging is when the gogo-boy slaps his balls into your face. Thanks.

    by MBNYC on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:47:17 AM PDT

    •  We could use a little more of teh (158+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, Marek, coral, Odysseus, eugene, decisivemoment, XOVER, Geenius at Wrok, existenz, BigOkie, Sherri in TX, cotterperson, Byron from Denver, lzachary, mataliandy, scribe, bronte17, BlackGriffen, mmacdDE, Cassandra77, sfgb, MD patriot, highacidity, SkiBumLee, buckhorn okie, Miss Blue, CocoaLove, oldjohnbrown, Miss Jones, gmb, Silverbird, KayCeSF, eve, rambler american, bibble, Big Tex, rapala, bloomer 101, 3goldens, escapee, NoMoreLies, el dorado gal, socks, truong son traveler, dogemperor, catleigh, Mr X, jimreyn, Ice Blue, Phil S 33, Cyber Kat, nevyn, neroden, zinger99, Cory Bantic, Flippant, Hirodog, BachFan, vigilant meerkat, Ky DEM, Gorette, InsultComicDog, tbetz, 4Freedom, imabluemerkin, max stirner, MBNYC, Nedsdag, Turbonerd, CA Nana, zhimbo, Stripe, nannyboz, crystal eyes, CharlieHipHop, Granny Doc, etrangere, Friend of the court, Hedwig, out of left field, lightfoot, high coup haiku, Mom to Miss M, Trial Lawyer Richard, profmom, Jimdotz, Immigrant Punk, jnhobbs, Moderation, Poom, Bikemom, Terra Mystica, GANJA, JaxDem, Blackacre, rontun, spacejam, mamamedusa, elwior, Cat Servant, Jake Williams, pademocrat, mofembot, mattc129, Radical Moderate, Diogenes2008, Leo in NJ, mamamarti, wv voice of reason, FudgeFighter, JGBfan, cameoanne, prettygirlxoxoxo, Pris from LA, loftT, aufklaerer, holger smed, An Affirming Flame, JesseCW, sillycilla, Virginian in Spain, Texas Revolutionary, sanglug, Deoliver47, kevinpdx, Losty, citisven, ruscle, ppl can fly, BrighidG, Liberal Pagan, diamondqueen, Vacationland, LaughingPlanet, dditt, leftywright, marsanges, Interceptor7, chrome327, wvmom, snaglepuss, freedapeople, dissonantharmony, axel000, Grumpy Young Man, pateTX, Johnny Q, cocinero, bluebuckaroo, AbnLefty, nicethugbert, tresgatos, KelleyRN2, Billdbq, teloPariah, Miggles, Book of Hearts

      socializm right about now. We need to move forward on alternative energy or we are at the mercy of folks like the Saudis. And we need some real alternatives to car and air travel.

      •  We will have to start by reeducation. (89+ / 0-)

        Americans must learn that everything they want can not be given to them right now!

        They must learn to plan ahead, expect to wait, not jump in their cars the moment an idea takes them, and speed off to what ever destination they dream of as the nirvana of the day.  

        They must learn to wait for the bus, schedule their activities around a train schedule, and stop thinking that they, alone, have the right to move freely, at a moments notice, to what ever destination takes their fancy.

        There will be screaming involved.  And, yelling.

        "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved." John Sifton

        by Granny Doc on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:14:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  First, reeducate the Execs at GM... (65+ / 0-)

          When gas was $4.50 a gallon, GM was getting ready to unveil their new-for-1980 Camaro.  Wagoner was driving the company by looking in the rear-view mirror, and only worried about near-term results (to fatten his next bonus).
          My guess is that GM is filled with executives like Wagoner, and they've taken lessons from him for the past five years.
          The first step is to put all the idiot executives on a strict salary (no options or bonuses), and then tell them that the "bonus" they'll receive in five years (if things go well for the new GM) is that they won't get their asses canned.

          Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

          by godwhataklutz on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:39:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We need a re-education facility.......... (3+ / 4-)

            ......hmmmn, Gitmo perhaps?

            Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

            by snaglepuss on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:15:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, We can't wish that on anybody.. (11+ / 0-)

              I seem to remember this group..

              Not in Our Name..

              •  Hayek killed the concept of (27+ / 0-)

                "Central Planning" in his On the Road to Serfdom, several years ago.

                With the depletion of key resources, specifically oil, it is going to take central planning of the type outlined by Michael Moore if we are to keep civilization taped together.  As oil depletes even more, coordination and central planning will become even more crucial.

                Such social planning is, however, anathema to capitalism under the current political climate.  It doesn't have to be, at all levels of production, but it is.  Capitalism can coexist with a planned economy, but the fascists will never allow this to happen in the near term.

                Hence, as oil and other key resources continue to deplete, adding more and more to global warming, with no central plan or goal in sight, civilization is moving toward the endgame: eventual collapse.

                Enjoy the ride because you have no other choice what with the way the fascists control the political agenda.  Onward through the fog.

                To a Democrat, "democracy" means "free elections." To a Republican, "free markets."

                by XOVER on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:37:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                  •  I wish I could rec you a thousand times (25+ / 0-)

                    for reminding everyone of this, Olds88. My husband was born and raised in Flint. My father-in-law was an inspector on the lines at the big GMC Bus and Truck plant on the corner of Dort Hwy. My husband's uncle worked at the Flint tool and Die. His cousins worked at the AC Delco/ Dephi plant on Center Rd. Just about everyone on both sides of his family worked in every GM plant around Grand Blanc and Flint. All of my husband's cousins are out of work now and I hear the Delphi plant has been torn down along with the transom across Center St. When I watched an interview of Michael Moore so angry and upset on the day the demolished the Buick LeSabre plant, I too was angry and crying for the plight of my in-laws.

                    Michel Moore's very prophetic movie, Roger and Me back in the late 80s was so very accurate. Many of my husband's family refused to watch it and remained in denial that Flint was dying. But yet when we drove my 87 Toy 4Runner to Flint for our semi-annual trips, my father-in-law moved his own car out of the garage so we could park mine there and would not let us drive the Toyota anywhere for fear that it would be vandalized or someone would confront me. As he would say to me, " With your mouth, I'm afraid half of Flint would beat you up in front of Meiers if someone made a comment about your car." Many of my in-laws called me unpatriotic because I drove a Toyota. But I wanted something with good gas mileage and back in the late 80s, we were already having this discussion about gas mileage and cafe standards and had been for 10-12 years.

                    But it wasn't the fault of the employees. I don't think they could deal with the fact that the company they had given their hearts and souls to working first second and third shift was betraying their loyalties. It was the fault of the GM Board not to go with the flow and start making more fuel efficient cars since so many people were buying Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans (nee Datsuns) for that reason. The CEOs and the corporate boards have been so very stubborn and they themselves killed GM.  The introduction of the newer foreign car companies, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Isuzu, kept pushing down the American car sales but GM and Chrysler still didn't get it.  

                    I just hope many of those plants in Flint can be converted for green energy manufacturing or something similar. The workforce is right there in Flint and those people are desperate for jobs.

                    The beatings will continue until morale improves. -8.50, -6.92

                    by ferallike on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:57:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This is a great comment. Should be a diary. (9+ / 0-)

                      Heartfelt, first hand, interesting. I'd like to hear more from you. This line in particular sums up something for me very well:

                      I don't think they could deal with the fact that the company they had given their hearts and souls to working first second and third shift was betraying their loyalties.

                      I'd love to hear more about your family's perspectives then and now.

                      Amnesty for torturers? Trillions to Wall Street? Crumbs for homeowners? Mountain top removal? Single payer off the table? Change we can believe in, my ASS!

                      by expatjourno on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 12:30:18 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Detroit has been betraying the American consumer (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        sfgb

                        and workers since the 1940's.  Do you actually think that the Japanese invented fuel efficiency first?  Detroit has been buying up or stealing innovative solutions since at least the 40's.  My Dad worked for Ford Motor company and he used to tell me stories about their bad behavior.

                        •  What does your comment have to do with mine? n/t (0+ / 0-)

                          Amnesty for torturers? Trillions to Wall Street? Crumbs for homeowners? Mountain top removal? Single payer off the table? Change we can believe in, my ASS!

                          by expatjourno on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:32:41 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  No the Japanese didn't invent (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          expatjourno

                          fuel efficiency first and I never said they did.  My father tells me the used Ford Model T he and his brother bought before either was 14 yo got great gas mileage. However, the far more fuel efficient Japanese, German and other foreign manufactured cars were available when we had the very bad fuel shortages during the Carter era just after OPEC was formed and you had to wait in lines for 2-3 hours to get gas.

                          I remember sitting in very long gas lines in 1977 in my father's 1963 Plymouth Valiant with a straight 6 cyl motor that did not get the gas mileage as my uncle's 1972 Datsun Convertible or his girlfriend's MG-B. I remember my other uncle's various late 50s early 60s Corvettes did not get good gas mileage at all and were parked during the gas crunch. My mother rarely drove her '63 Ford Thunderbird or her '65 Chevy Caprice (which they bought after the Thunderbird was totaled by a drunk guy driving a big plumbing truck.)

                          The point is that the Japanese cars were here in the 50s 60s and 70s while Ford, GM and Chrysler  were pumping out "Land Yachts" like the Chrysler Newport and the Cadillac DeVilles and Chevy Bel Airs. The fuel efficient Japanese cars were available when the gas shortages of the seventies occurred and Ford was still pumping out cars like the LTD which was very heavy, very long and got 10-12 mpg. My mom inherited a 75 LTD that I used to park in Georgetown (in DC) in the early 80s which required serious skill to maneuver into a parking spot.  

                          The beatings will continue until morale improves. -8.50, -6.92

                          by ferallike on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 05:28:58 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

                        I probably should have put this in a diary but I've been so time constrained because of my father's disabilities and heath issues that writing and tending to a diary has become almost a fantasy. But I very much appreciate your encouragement! I need to get on the ball and start writing diaries.

                        The beatings will continue until morale improves. -8.50, -6.92

                        by ferallike on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 05:34:18 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  I agree 100 % with you and with Moore (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ferallike, Billdbq

                      and I do believe we could use the infrastructure of GM to do those things.

                      But I won't be holding my breath. That's the kind of change we believe in and that I voted for, but our Congress and our government, primarily the lobbyists that run them, won't allow it to happen.

                      And I sincerely doubt Obama's ability to effect that level of change. I just can't see it. I'd love to be surprised.

                      There are times where guilt doesn't work, and then you have to use fear. - Barack Obama

                      by The Lighthouse Keeper on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:27:18 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  "Creative Destruction" (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sfgb, ozsea1

                    Amazing how some people never grasp what blatant doublethink this concept is...

                    •  It is very far from doublethink (0+ / 0-)

                      Perhaps it could be viewed as an oxymoron but the fact remains, "creative destruction" is good and necessary.  I'm personally not too sad that we have grown out of an agrarian economy (and in the process destroyed many family farms).  I'm not too sad that we don't have many buggy whip or type writer manufacturers.  I don't mind that certain chemicals or pesticides are banned and that has "destoyed" some companies.

                      That companies that build over-sized, non-fuel efficient cars are being "destroyed" is a good thing for the country, the environment and future generations.  It just would have been nice if they had evolved instead of become obsolete.

                      We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                      by theotherside on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 02:08:40 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  When we use scientific principles to (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        sfgb

                        enhance our material conditions by developing new physical economic processes and products (economic progress), those new technologies replace the older ones. That is accurately described as destructive creation rather than creative destruction, however.

                        What I object to is the notion that shutting down productive industrial capacity ("destruction") will itself bring about the creation of new wealth. It's a rather nonsensical notion, but one which is often arrived at by those who don't realize what wealth is, or how the economy really operates.

                        That companies that build over-sized, non-fuel efficient cars are being "destroyed" is a good thing for the country,

                        Why must they be destroyed? Why can they not be reorganized and retooled to produce needed things, such as mass transit systems, high-speed rail, new water systems, the component parts for nuclear reactors and other energy technologies, etc?

                        •  It was not fore ordained that GM, Chrysler and (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sfgb

                          Ford would all be, to some degree, in jeopardy of financial ruin and I certainly do not wish it upon them.  At the same time, these companies made conscious decisions to base their financial success on vehicles that are not well suited to a post-peak oil world.

                          My preference would be for American companies building post-peak oil cars in America.  My next preference would be for foreign companies building post-peak oil cars in America.  But alas the Big 3 chose different paths.

                          As for why can't they be retooled and reorganized I would state something important and yet profound.  GM/Chrysler were car building companies.  At their core competencies they failed.  Why would you expect a company that failed in the thing that they know best to suddenly be able to compete in other fields (mass transit, rail, nuclear, etc.) that they know nothing about?

                          That observation is why Moore's detailed thrust is wrong.  Yet, the direction he wants to go in is, IMO, undeniably correct especially when one fully contemplates what a post-peak oil world will be like.

                          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                          by theotherside on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:45:05 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Yes! We need a national industrial policy (27+ / 0-)

                  As I wrote near the end of January, Saving the financial system without a national industrial policy is worse than useless.

                   

                  Without a national industrial policy, saving the financial system really makes no difference. The underlying problem is that the financial, economic, and monetary arrangements of the past half century – creating financial paper which is traded for oil, which is then used to build suburban and exurban sprawl, the value of which underpins the creation of the financial paper and the dollar – has, since summer 2007, collapsed into smoldering ruins. We need to return to a production-based economy, not try to resuscitate the speculation based sprawlconomy. The key is to move the U.S. economy off of its base of burning fossil fuels, and into the future. That requires a national industrial policy - whatever you want to call it to calm the demons of free market ideologues doesn't matter. . . .

                  Whatever we end up doing with the financial system will only succeed if we tailor what we do to this objective of moving the U.S. economy away from burning fossil fuels and into the future. The financial system should be serving that great national purpose. But for the past three decades, it has been obstructing it, by channeling credit into the building of suburban sprawl, and by financing speculation on the trend of peak oil - which just a few months ago delivered us gasoline at nearly five bucks a gallon.

                  So, we must fuse together these two questions: how to save the financial system, and how to get the U.S. economy going again. It makes no sense to try and keep alive utterly failed the financial, economic, and monetary arrangements of the past.

                  A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                  by NBBooks on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:58:36 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Glad I found your post, NBBooks. I subscribed to (5+ / 0-)

                    your diaries. You are beyond the curve where Jerome and bonddad go.

                    Finance capitalism has spent decades undermining our producers, giving producers tax benefits for seeking cheaper labor markets, then rewarding the financeers at present with trillions in bailout money. Our automotive producers are pikers compared to the take of AIG and their ilk.

                    I think Mike has only a partial take on the takedown of our automotive industry. Yes, management greed and bottom-line mentality has helped destroy the industry. But this would not have happened without deregulation and tax advantaging aided and abetted by congress and varying administrations.

                    Mike, I agree that until we become a producer nation again we are hanging by our thumbs. Until we change the deathgrip the financial sector has on our economy, we will continue our financial decline, and re-establishing our country as productive remains a pipe dream.

                    Republicans aren't a political party anymore, they are a private interest group.

                    by 4Freedom on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:38:48 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I like Obama and I voted for Obama but........... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Miss Jones, ppl can fly, Billdbq

                    .....I don't believe that he'll be the one to give us the strong leadership needed to bring about the type of seismic changes called for in this diary and the relevant comments.  Obama has too much of the "let's not rock the boat" approach.  

                    The needed changes will receive a great deal of opposition from the established power structure with its invested interests.  Hopefully, in the near future, the courageous leadership that we'll need for future survival will surface.  The alternate is that we'll all go down together.

                •  Civilization will collapse w/o central planning? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Helpless

                  I thought central planning was already tried in the U.S.S.R.  I recall that their civilization DID collapse a few years ago.

                  Why would you think that central planners are any smarter than the GM planners?

                  •  Economic overextension doomed the USSR. (0+ / 0-)

                    That is, their inability to spend equally with the US on military hardware and wars.  The last straw for the USSR was the exorbitant expense of Afghanistan.

                    Ironically, it may well be Afghanistan that proves to be America's undoing as we sink our treasure into that bottomless pit.  The last person to successfully invade and hold Afghanistan was a guy named Alexander the Great.

                    Regardless of your economic system, if you spend far more than you accrue in taxes, you've got problems.

                    That was true for the USSR, and it will be true for America as well if we continue down the road of insufficient income, too many expenses.

                    Which is why you need central planning as resources deplete, which they are.  Not ineffectual central planning, as that which doomed the USSR.  But realistic, democratically elected legislators who are committed to making government work.

                    Since the US is not committed to central planning, and cannot likely embrace the need for central planning, we are all doomed.  So . . . .

                    Party on.

                    To a Democrat, "democracy" means "free elections." To a Republican, "free markets."

                    by XOVER on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:13:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Rec'd not support of a "re-education" facility... (4+ / 0-)

              just to counter the HR.

              We should not be scared of references to fascist ideas.  We can't shove down the memory hole that WE TOO are committing horrible crimes.

              •  Thanks, my comment was half snark and (3+ / 0-)

                half in jest.  Evidently some people took it too seriously.

                Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

                by snaglepuss on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:46:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  We don't tend to even like half-joking about (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BlackGriffen, snaglepuss

                  such a thing, here.

                  Unless the comment is within a diary context that's intended as fantastical and unreal, it will easily be seen as somewhat endorsing a really bad idea.

                  At least for now, I think that's a good level of sensitivity for us to maintain.

                  "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                  by wader on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:29:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Appreciate the advice. I enjoy a bit of gallows (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sfgb, wader

                    humor and I understand it’s not for everybody, but I think HRing my comment is being hyper-sensitive and I don’t mind saying so.  On the other hand I begrudge no one their opinion but expect no to begrudge me mine.

                    Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

                    by snaglepuss on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 03:14:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  My typical sense of humor is dark or slaptstick (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      snaglepuss

                      expressed in silly or dry manners.

                      Lack of taste isn't an issue for me, for example.

                      As for HRs . . . in some cases, it's meant as a way to let someone know that they just chose a door others don't want selected at the time, I feel - nothing more, really.

                      I wish that common etiquette for the sight not only offered guidelines for when to acceptably submit an HR, but also to respond with the reason why each HR is given.  That could go a long way towards mutual sharing that can get folks beyond future such things.

                      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                      by wader on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:26:40 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  People are afraid of allusions to anything nazi. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  snaglepuss

                  It forces them to look at their own similar crimes, policies, and support.

                  I pity those that are so afraid.

            •  "Who Killed the Electric Car?" Is a (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Leap Year, msdrown, JGBfan, snaglepuss, Billdbq

              great place to start.  Rent it on DVD.  Just think where GM would have been today if they had not destroyed their fleet of EVO's and instead had promoted them.  I know of one electric pick-up truck that still exists -- belonged to Disney and was saved from salvage.  It is a remarkable car.  I don't know why there hasn't been more conversation about the GM's past electric car successes.  The technology exists, only the will is lacking.

              "My speech is not for sale at any price."

              by annie em on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 02:09:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The main thing that killed the electric car (4+ / 0-)

                was that fact that it was introduced by GM in a year (1998) when the price of gasoline was only $1 per gallon.

                If you want to see sustainable modes of transportation then the price of gasoline must reach a level of at least $4 per gallon.

                A stiff tax on imported oil that is rebated through the payroll tax would cause a revolution in the US transportation system and be the best thing we could do for our economy, our national security, and the future of the planet.

                11/4 Changed Everything - Now, Henceforward, and Forever.

                by Sam I Am on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 03:26:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's not true, according to the film (0+ / 0-)

                  I saw it when it came out on DVD and I believe the case they were making in the film was GM didn't really give it backing.

                  The demand was there but they didn't want to meet it. They wouldn't even let people buy the cars. I doubt it would have sold as well as petrol car but new technology often takes time to catch on. If they'd supported it then it would probably outsell the Prius today.

          •  Why can't we just fire them, and bring in (5+ / 0-)

            executives that believe in conserving fuel, building durable vehicles, etc?

          •  Hell! Put them in Guantanamo. n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  well there's that (22+ / 0-)

          and also making the schedules work.

          too many small/moderate cities don't have workable schedules, so their services don't get used. Of course if more people use their services then they'll have reason to make their schedules work.

          (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

          by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:41:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The call for mass transit often seems (12+ / 0-)

            to presume larger population densities in most of America than actually exists.

            There's a whole lot of people and very, very small communities between New York and LA.

            Mass transit would need to visit every town in every part of America making frequent enough trips to make it attractive...though that would still be more efficient than everybody having two or three cars.

            Moore suggests busses to smaller communities, which makes sense. I WISH there was a frequent bus line between Muskegon and Grand Rapids.

            Back in the day there used to be trains all over the damn place...there were train lines between small cities. A trainline opened up between Muskegon and Laketon back in the late 1800s which now seems ridiculous. You could ride a bike between them in a half hour.

            See my application for a Netroots Nation scholarship. If you're inclined, I could use an endorsement.

            by Muskegon Critic on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:52:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I live in rural Iowa (14+ / 0-)

              We had a rail line in town many years ago, but it was ripped out, since the railroad determined it wasn't a cost effective route.
              Train service would be nice since I commute 100 miles a day to get back and forth to work. But it isn't going to happen in my lifetime.

              •  Trains and busses (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MD patriot, Miss Jones, neroden, Amber6541

                I live in rural NC.  When I was a child, we had a train that ran through this town.  I don't know exactly when it stopped.  About 25 years ago, there was a Trailways Bus that came through here daily.  I rode it several times to VA to visit family.  But the company was allowed to stop coming here and now we have no way to go anywhere without a car.  A relative of mine spend the better part of a year in Australia a few years ago, and he was thoroughly impressed by the trams that he could ride to work and other places.  He said you never had to wait very long for one.  

              •  Well, *rural* Iowa isn't a top priority.... (0+ / 0-)

                On the other hand, train service to the Quad Cities, Dubuque, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and so forth is eminently reasonable.  And streetcar service within those cities is also eminently reasonable.

                We don't have to repeat the excesses of the railway mania era, with a train in every village of 500 people; we should, however, get trains to far, far more places than we have now.  We could easily have 75% of the population using train service for both commuting and long-distance travel.

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:53:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  as you said (20+ / 0-)

              we had 250,000 miles of rail lines in the US in 1920. The hamlet my mother grew up in in southern Wisconsin had less than 500 residents, yet it had passenger rail service. The population was far lower than today and yet, it was possible to serve nearly all of them by rail. We can do it again today. Granted, some of our suburbs indeed, are built for cars, but a lot of that can be overcome by using demand service neighborhood electric vehicles to get people to the nearest public transit facility, and change zoning laws to allow local businesses to provide neighborhood food and essentials. There is also the possibility of repurposing road rights of way for rail. And, over 75 percent of American residents live in areas dense enough to support commuter rail (>1 resident per acre).

              "There's a bailout coming, but it's not for me, it's for all the creeps watching the ticker on TV"-Neil Young

              by NoMoreLies on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:25:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  While you are right asserting that (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theran, neroden, bluesheep

              he call for mass transit often seems to presume larger population densities in most of America than actually exists

              it is also true that the overall trend in highly developed societies seems to be toward some form of urban pattern of settlement. Not necessarily 'the city', rather a formation of an urban core and suburban and exurban rings. At least this was the dominant pattern of the last 50 years in most industrialized countries.

              As per the 2000 census, roughly 80% of Americans lived in metropolitan areas.(http://www.census.gov/...) They could use a city train.

              "Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." Franklin D. Roosevelt

              by aufklaerer on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:13:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I was a brakeman for Canadian Pacific in the 70's (6+ / 0-)

              and it was only the last 2 years that I worked on the 'mainline',the 3 other years were on 'trunk lines' that feed the mainline. In the Kootenays, running out of Nelson B.C.,we were going to Mills (and Cominco mine in Trail)and bringing back loads to Nelson where they got gathered up to go to Cranbrook to access the mainline, so we served little towns keeping those company towns alive. So it's not just a matter of 'mainline' or nothing,everything need not migrate to one 'line' position if you can have smaller 'trunk lines' feeding into 'the Big road', keeping communities alive, AND where they are.

              It's sad to google Nelson B.C., and see the rail yard now,the roundhouse (including a big part of the 'Yard')is gone, along with track to communities that died when the trains stopped going there.What cant be overlooked is that a lot areas that we serviced by train were not accesible by road in some parts of the year, and no matter how much snow falls...a 'work train' pushing a snowplow solved that problem. My point is basically there is work to be made in getting things to the mainline , keeping people in their 'small towns' producing what we were there to shuttle out to the rest of the world, they dont have to be high speed and ,unlike where I worked, they should have passenger service as well.

              This you might find interesting..Canadian Pacific was given so much land to areas as  long they maintained passenger service, but the kicker was that 'you cant force losses on a company..so you let the track conditions deteriorate to where the cost per mile makes it a losing arrangement ( in Slocan Valley we were on a 15 mph speed limit for 35 miles!..that we slowly 'rocked along on,it's worth adding here that  you are paid by the 'mile'-not the hour) so they had rid themselves of Passenger service before I hired on, and the freight service was ended basically by the same method.

              without the ants the rainforest dies

              by aliasalias on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:51:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Interubans used to traverse the country! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TomFromNJ, Muskegon Critic

              Every town had an electric trolley system, and fast long-distance extensions of them (interurbans) interconnected many rural towns, running quite frequently.  Steam trains ran to every town too!

              Electric trolleys/trams/streetcars are still more comfortable and popular (10% or more increase in ridership) than buses, and they last longer.  "Mass transit" for lower population towns wouldn't be subways, but streetcars are suitable for a huge percentage of the country.

              As for getting from town to town, personally I favor the return of the interurban; but any form of reasonable-speed daily rail service makes a huge difference in how many people choose to drive long distance.

              In upstate NY, for instance, we could easily support far, far, far more train and trolley lines than we have now (though rather less than the number we reached in the 'railway mania' peak in the 19th century).

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:49:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  This is key. (14+ / 0-)

            I live in a small city in New England, with a barely adequte public transportation infrastructure. We are at the northern tip of the busy Northeast Corridor, so we do have a busy regional jetport, the northernmost segment of Amtrak service (the profitable Downeaster service to Boston and points South), and two bus services (Greyhound & Concord Coach) that also service Boston, Logan Airport, and connections to points South. Many of the services that connect less populated areas of my state, including most of the college towns, are seasonal or geared toward tourists rather than residents.

            There are a couple of commuter bus services (mostly servicing park-and-ride set-ups) and a couple of city bus systems, but there are quite a few things that discourage commuters from using them.  

            The big issue is that there are too few buses for the area being covered (larger, but lower population than Metro Boston), which in turn leads to very infrequent service. Buses that run on the half hour (during rush hour) or once an hour are not uncommon.  Most of them have limited runs outside of traditional working hours and there is no late night service at all in most of the city; everything's pretty much stopped by 10 PM, which doesn't help shift workers. Each route tries to cover too much ground so the end-to-end route time can take hours. Schedules don't necessarily fit together well and  there are often long waits between connections.

            Older roads, even in the city, are frequently not pedestrian-friendly; "bus stops" sometimes consist of a faded orange slash of paint on an old telephone pole, and the stops can be very far apart. Plowing sidewalks after storms outside of the city center can take hours, if not days.  Every year, we lose a few people to car vs. pedestrian accidents when someone has to walk in the road because the sidewalk is not cleared, or simply doesn't exist in their area. In a place like Maine, long walk to bus stop + no bus shelter + inadequate sidewalks + typical winter weather = no riders. They also have very limited or nonexistent service on Sundays, which for many of the working poor, is the only day off they have to run errands and do their shopping.

            It's not all bad, of course.  Most new buses are more energy efficient and handicap-accessible. They make sure the accessible buses are used on routes that include senior or adaptive public housing complexes, and factor in stops at grocery stores, municipal offices, hospitals and other places seniors or disabled folks are likely to need to access. Seniors, children, and the disabled ride at reduced fares, and even full fares are reasonable. The large city Metro bus service has reciprocal agreements and allows transfers with neighboring city bus systems. Drivers are friendly and know you by name.  

            However, despite all the cons, those city buses (and intercity buses, and trains, and regional bus services) were running full, and some city buses were standing room only, the minute gas prices spiked last year. When it became cost-prohibitive to drive, people were willing to suck it up and take the bus, even when it was not convenient. When gas prices dropped, so did ridership. There seemed to be a kind of "sweet spot" where people decided it was worth the inconvenience.  I can't help but think, however, that it would not take spiking gas prices to lure more people to public transport if it were more convenient for the average commuter.

        •  As a person who really (27+ / 0-)

          likes to move spontaneously, this one gave me a moment's thought.  As in 'hell no'.

          And then, I thought about living in countries which havedense, efficient mass transit.

          It didn't SEEM like having to wait.  Because most people moved about that way, scheduling was frequent, and you just went.  

          So, yes.  And no.

          In the age of the internet every citizen is the constituent of every elected official. It is SO easy to make small dollar donations now.

          by pvlb on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:06:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We have good public transport in the NYC (31+ / 0-)

            metro area. I can ride the train to NY in much less time than it would take me to drive. the rail fares, while not cheap, are much less expensive than gas, tolls, and parking.

            •  Yep, and you forgot insurance costs! n/t (11+ / 0-)

              I really don't understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. - John Cole

              by Gorette on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:45:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yes - if you're going TO NYC (4+ / 0-)

              I live in NJ as well and to get to my job in Whippany, which is 25 miles on Rte 80 to the west of where I live, I would have to take 2 trains EAST into New York city.  Then when I got there, I still probably would be able to get a train west to Whippany, because in the morning all the trains are going EAST - same with the buses.

              I used to live in one town and to get to my job in another town less than 10 miles away, I had to take 2 buses and it took an hour.  Took me 10-15 minutes by car.

              Therein lies the problem - at least in NJ.  Michael Moore's plan would probably help.

              Dear conservatives, Please explain how my 40 year marriage will be damaged if gay couples are allowed to marry, 'cause I don't get that argument.

              by Cyber Kat on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 02:06:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Reverse-peak on the Boonton Line? (0+ / 0-)

                So, it sounds like reverse-peak service on the (Montclair-)Boonton Line combined with a connecting bus or tram from Boonton (or Denville) would do it for you.  Right?

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:00:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I would still have to go to Hoboken (0+ / 0-)

                  to get the Montclair Boonton line.  It doesn't go anywhere near where I live.  Then I would have to take a bus from Boonton to Whippany.  Total trip would probably take 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

                  Average car ride is 35-45 minutes.

                  Plus the Boonton line trains are doing the same thing the Bergen County lines are doing - going East in the am and West in the pm.

                  Dear conservatives, Please explain how my 40 year marriage will be damaged if gay couples are allowed to marry, 'cause I don't get that argument.

                  by Cyber Kat on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 11:43:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  yes, that's what i mean (27+ / 0-)

            in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere you don't really have to wait. In the bigger cities here in the US you really don't have to schedule your time around the transit system--you show up, wait a couple minutes, and your transportation shows up. I grew up near Philadelphia and the longest I ever waited for a bus/train was 10 minutes (even at midnight, and let me tell you, SEPTA kinda sucks).

            If that mode of transit was everywhere (which, due to our low-density diffusion, isn't always possible) then everyone would use it. So basically what will happen in our future is 1. people will gradually move to hybrids and electrics, especially suburbanite homeowners who pretty much don't have to do anything to accomodate either 2. the move back into cities will accelerate (for the better, hopefully) and 3. metro areas will become more dense.

            (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

            by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:14:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It only makes sense in population dense areas (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sam I Am, Rei

              It really doesn't make sense trying to foist more public transportation on people who neither need it nor want it.

              "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

              by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:47:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  i noted that (8+ / 0-)

                but even my rural area has a bus to get people to the city to get to work. 2 55 passenger buses, always full.

                (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

                by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:53:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I would love something like this. (6+ / 0-)

                  I live in a rural area with suburbs growing all around me, and I drove (when I wasn't laid off) 20-25 minutes to my job.  I would be happy to drive to a lot on the main highway, about 2 minutes from my house, and catch a bus or a commuter train instead.  

                  I love the smell of failed conservatism in the morning.

                  by snazzzybird on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:01:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  i wish i could do that too (7+ / 0-)

                    there's a rail line (single tracked, hasn't seen passenger service since the 1960s) that runs right through town that if it had passenger commuter service into Harrisburg, it'd be well used (based on the bus service we do have.) Problems are that it's single track and the small towns it'd service don't exactly have room for parking (although they still have their train stations, they're just historical monuments now.)

                    actually I'd rather just move back to the city but it is highly unlikely that will ever happen.

                    (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

                    by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:05:31 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  That's the only case (8+ / 0-)

                in which car travel should be the primary mode of transportation.  For me, I live in a rural area, but there's no reason I shouldn't be able to drive 10 minutes to a bus stop to get wherever I need, be it the city or anywhere else in the country.

                •  No reason? Why do you say that? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sam I Am, wishbone

                  No reason?  How about the economics of it?

                  Are you willing to pay for the true cost of such a bus trip?  If you and a few other people are the only ones on the bus, are you willing to pay a hundred dollars for a trip into the city?  Because that's what it costs, when you factor in the cost of equipment, fuel, upkeep, and driver salary and benefits.

                  I'm sure as shit not willing to pay to subsidize you burning 50 gallons of fuel on a bus with a few people riding it just to make you feel like you are doing the environment some good.

                  "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

                  by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:29:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  you already do (0+ / 0-)

                    (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

                    by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:35:22 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm not willing to add more routes (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Rei

                      to underused public transportation.  Really.  Unwilling.. like so unwilling we will oust any politicians who try to force us to pay for more unused and underused public trans.

                      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

                      by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:39:36 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  i'm not sure what state you're in (8+ / 0-)

                        but the majority of states also won't build new roads. There's no will to raise the revenue to pay for them unless you want more toll roads run by the private sector.

                        Mine pretty much has said "sit in traffic. We can't pay to mitigate your congestion, unless you're willing to pay a lot more at the pump, or accept the leasing of our assets to the private sector." No one's willing to pay a lot more at the pump. Some states tax the privilege of driving through property taxes on cars, but I doubt there's much will to raise those taxes or create them in states that don't have them.

                        Roads are just as heavily subsidized as mass transit is. Fact is, all forms of transportation are very expensive. Are you willing to pay more at the pump? You're going to have to, if you expect a transit rider to pay 100 buck a ride (a number I'd like to see quantified by a need blind study, that is.)

                        (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

                        by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:48:37 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  from Texas, a state with giant sprawling metros (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          theran, highacidity, neroden, miss SPED

                          A major feature in the public debate about toll roads has been the issue of when or whether a road has been "paid for." To better understand this discussion, it is helpful to ask two questions:

                          1. What is a traveler paying for when he or she pays state gas tax at the pump?

                          State motor fuel tax is collected from all over the state and goes into a single pool of revenue—about one quarter of which goes to fund education, and about three-quarters of which goes to the state’s highway fund, where it is spent on transportation uses and some non-transportation functions of government.

                          Then the state receives federal funds as the state’s share of the federal fuel tax; about 70 cents of every gas tax dollar Texans send to Washington comes back for road use.

                          The significant point here is that historically the fuel tax paid in any locality of the state is unrelated to the road projects in that locality. Every fuel taxpayer in the state paid something for any given road—which leads to the next issue.

                          1. When is a given road actually "paid for?"

                          Just like your car, it never is. You may have paid the note, but maintenance and fuel costs go on as long as you own the vehicle. Once a road is built, maintenance and rehabilitation costs last its entire life, generally about 40 years.

                          The decision to build a road is a permanent commitment to the traveling public. Not only will a road be built, but it must also be routinely maintained and reconstructed when necessary, meaning no road is ever truly "paid for."

                          Until recently, when TxDOT built or expanded a road, no methodology existed to determine the extent to which this work would be paid off through revenues.

                          The Asset Value Index, was developed to compare the full 40-year life-cycle costs to the revenues attributable to a given road corridor or section. The shorthand version calculates how much gasoline is consumed on a roadway and how much gas tax revenue that generates.

                          The Asset Value Index is the ratio of the total expected revenues divided by the total expected costs. If the ratio is 0.60, the road will produce revenues to meet 60 percent of its costs; it would be "paid for" only if the ratio were 1.00, when the revenues met 100 percent of costs. Another way of describing this is to do a "tax gap" analysis, which shows how much the state fuel tax would have to be on that given corridor for the ratio for revenues to match costs.

                          Applying this methodology, revealed that no road pays for itself in gas taxes and fees. For example, in Houston, the 15 miles of SH 99 from I-10 to US 290 will cost $1 billion to build and maintain over its lifetime, while only generating $162 million in gas taxes. That gives a tax gap ratio of .16, which means that the real gas tax rate people would need to pay on this segment of road to completely pay for it would be $2.22 per gallon.

                          This is just one example, but there is not one road in Texas that pays for itself based on the tax system of today. Some roads pay for about half their true cost, but most roads we have analyzed pay for considerably less.

                          To conclude, in the SH 99 example, since the traffic volume for that road doesn't generate enough fuel tax revenue to pay for it, revenues from other parts of the state must be used to build and maintain this corridor segment. The same is true across the state, meaning that, as revealed by the tax gap analysis, overall revenues are not sufficient to meet the state’s transportation needs.

                          Texas has chosen the
                          toll everything route.

                          (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

                          by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:54:48 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Exactly! (5+ / 0-)

                        Public transit works great on Point A to Point B routes where both A and B have large numbers of people that need to travel.

                        It works awful when either A or B does not.

                        To take public transit to and from work -- and I live in suburban neighborhood in a college town of ~60k -- I have to walk 15 minutes to a bus stop, catch a bus that costs 75 cents that shows up only once every half hour (better not time when you leave the house poorly!  I usually have to leave way early just to make sure).  The bus usually has an average of seven people on it.  Busses like this generally get around 4mpg, so the cumulative mileage is the same as if everyone on board was the sole occupant of a 28mpg sedan.  Except that that's 4mpg diesel, which has the CO2 emissions of about 3mpg gasoline, so that's more like everyone driving a 21mpg car.  This bus goes all over the freaking place (at least twice as many miles as people would take driving in a car, so it's more like everyone driving 10mpg Hummers) before finally stopping downtown, where I have to get out and wait for a campus bus to arrive, which will then take me to the bus stop near my destination, where I then have to walk 5-10 minutes to work.  Net result: this 10 minute drive takes me something like an hour to an hour and a half in each direction and costs me $1.50.  Is it really any shock that I avoid this at all costs?

                        And this is with a public transit system that the city subsidizes heavily.  And it's not like I'm out in the countryside, either.

                        It just simply doesn't work well for this kind of situation.  I love trains.  Going from one city to the next, that sort of high-traffic route, public transit is wonderful.  Long-haul busses work fine, too, or busses that take you from one busy place to another.  But in terms of getting from suburban homes to work, no.  It's not a solution.

                        •  you make a good point (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          theran, high uintas, wader, miss SPED

                          so many jobs have moved out into the suburbs so it's suburb-to-suburb commuting. Traditional transit simply isn't set up to work that way and while people are moving back into towns (and jobs are too) the majority probably won't. Let's hope that the transition to cars with better mileage (or electric) is a lot faster then I think it will be.

                          then again climate change may render this discussion academic in 50 years or so.

                          (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

                          by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:17:17 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Rei (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          wader

                          I was working at making a point that you did a much better job at doing. Where we live you are screwed unless you commute with the herd. Anything out of the norm and you aren't going to do it.

                          Light rail is good for city to city in the more populated areas, but we still will need cars. A good combo of both would be a boon to the economy and ecology.

                          Hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles w/rail and bus lines would fuel manufacturing on a number of fronts. We have always bought smaller, fuel efficient cars. Our old '94 Escort hatch back, 5 speed got 40mph on the highway. We drove it till it fell apart.

                          BTW, how many of you drive a standard as opposed to automatic? Just curious....

                          Don't walk away! Stay, investigate, prosecute, change Omelas!

                          by high uintas on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:51:39 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Very much like the conditions here.. (0+ / 0-)

                          I live in DuPage county, the first county west of Cook County which contains Chicago.  DuPage county has nearly a million residents spread out over 337 square miles.

                          This county is the home of dozens of Fortune 1000 companies and thousands of smaller businesses, major malls and colleges.

                          The people that need to get into downtown Chicago have two major commuter train systems.  But the majority of the population lives and works right here. There is no bus system close enough to most people to make public transportation feasible.  But the system that is in place largely moves empty buses around... even in rush hours.

                          The idea that a public transportation push will solve our energy woes is ignorant of how people live and work.

                          And my county is just one of the 7 outlying counties of Chicago making up Metro Chicago.  There are another nearly 2 million people in those counties spread out over 7000 sq miles.

                          When it comes right down to it, the most fuel efficient way to move people around in areas like this is by fuel efficient single user vehicles!

                          "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

                          by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:58:51 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh please (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden, ihavenobias, mkor7

                            Just because your system is dysfunctional and stupid, you immediately assume that there can be no system that is functional and smart.

                            I know of a business area in a rural (not even suburban!) area of Pennsylvania that has three large employers in it.  They got together and set up shuttle busses that go to all of the major outlying areas that their employees work at.  They are timed so that there are two busses to each area and that you spend an eight to ten hour work day there.  Large percentages of the people at those companies use the shuttle busses.

                            And that's just one example.  There are plenty of other good ideas.

                            Face it: your entire argument is predicated on the idea that you have the right to do anything you want whenever you want it and that any inconvenience that you may face is a dealbreaker.  It is exactly this idea that is poisoning the US, and will eventually kill it.  It's just a pity that we'll take the rest of the world down with us.

                            -fred

                          •  That's right. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Samulayo

                            And I will fight to the death to throw out any politician who wants to take away my right to do so.

                            The last time I looked, this was a free country.  The collectivist attitude displayed by commenters around here scares the bejeezus out of me.

                            I, and millions of others like me, will not allow this country to become another Soviet Russia.

                            "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

                            by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 12:01:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Dupage County Conservatives (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden

                            I hate much of the mentality here in Dupage County. And yes, I love taking the Metra to work.

                            My GF and I are more than happy to cancel out your vote.  ;)

                          •  Wow. Think again. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            theran

                            If you don't like collectivism in transportation, get off the state and local roads, which are paid for and owned and operated by a government which seizes property to pave it, and taxes businesses and individuals regardless of whether or how much they use the roads (sales tax and property tax fund the vast majority of roads in this country).

                            Transportation is almost by definition a public good.  It works better when centrally managed.  Many things work worse when centrally managed.  Transportation isn't one of them.  Soviet Russia had a transportation system which was the envy of the US, even while other parts of the economy were crashing and burning.

                            DuPage County is dense enough to be perfect for a well-designed light rail system.  Oh, it's also on the planned route of Metra's STAR line for suburb-to-suburb commuters.

                            One of my rules of thumb was: if you have two-lane (one each way) streets and no noticeable traffic congestion, you don't need mass transit.  If traffic is congesting an ordinary road, you should seriously think about it, because a tram is likely to be a better deal than an extra lane of traffic.

                            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                            by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:19:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  hey fuck you (0+ / 0-)

                            b/c i don't have a car or license and rarely set foot in an automobile and yet my taxes pay for your stupid world-wrecking lifestyle through much heavier federal subsidies than ever go to the much more functional and enivornmentally friendly transit systems (and FEET) that get me around.  

                            this is what i HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE about the current republican party-- everything I want is freedom, everything THEY want is SOCIALISM (boogedy-boogedy-boogedy!)

                          •  IN SOVIET RUSSIA (0+ / 0-)

                            everybody subsidizes roads.  America too.

                            "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

                            by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:50:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Miscomputation about diesel? (0+ / 0-)

                          Where do you get this?

                          Except that that's 4mpg diesel, which has the CO2 emissions of about 3mpg gasoline,

                          Have you left out refining emissions?  Everything I've read indicates that the CO2 emissions from a gallon of diesel are less than from a gallon of gasoline, if measured well-to-wheels.  This is mostly because diesel refining emits less than gas refining.

                          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                          by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:07:24 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  I traveled in Turkey years ago by bus. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    neroden, happymisanthropy, mkor7

                    A large bus took me from a large city to another one.  A smaller bus then took me to a small town, where a 6-passenger vehicle took me to a tiny destination.  The waits between buses were less than 5 minutes.

                  •  How rural? Park-and-ride favored here. (0+ / 0-)

                    Around here (upstate NY), we have a lot of "rural" areas, but most are within 15 minutes, at most 30 minutes, of a small town.  Buses between the small towns, with suitable park-and-ride lots, are attractive and will fill up.  Trains or trams are more attractive and fill up more.  The larger small towns can comfortably support commuter service provided they have park-and-rides.

                    If you're in, say, rural Wyoming or Alaska, where the biggest cities are the size of our small towns, that's another matter.  But the 'rural' areas east of the Mississipi have a lot more density than many people think.

                    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                    by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:04:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  They'll want it. (7+ / 0-)

                And for some it would be a necessary if we taxed gas at $2/Gallon as suggested.

                There is one thing I would tweak - the $2.00 tax should be variable and act to stabilize the price at a higher level. Should the price of gas go up the tax goes down. Target should be about $5/gal. Funny thing, we had precisely this when Jimmy Carter left office.

              •  Need and want (0+ / 0-)

                Many Americans don't want public transport, and quite a few of them would cheerfully stop eating so they could buy $10/gallon gasoline for their cars.

                Does that mean that if gas hits $10/gallon and there is no good alternative to it (as, let's face it, at the current rate there certainly will not be, and certainly not for those people in rural areas who buy their cars used for $500 and nurse them for ten years) they still don't need public transportation?

                Then again, the vast majority of people in non-urban areas do, in fact, take advantage of 'public transportation'.  And it works out quite nicely.  The transportation in question is called the 'school bus'.

                Now, you might say that that's a special case, because blah schedule blah blah same time blah blah mumble blah.  Fine.  But I bet you could find an awful lot of special cases for those few people who would rather eat than feed their cars.

                -fred

              •  And it has to be pet friendly. (0+ / 0-)

                I am getting ready to put two dogs in my car right now to take them home.

                It would be way to cool to get on a bus or train with them instead.

                Nice for people traveling at the end of a long, bad day too. Pets have been shown to lower blood pressure etc.

                Watching these two goofs is enough to make anyone laugh and forget their day.

                My dryer has the option of "more dry" or "less dry". Personally, I like to wear my clothes "more dry".

                by ZenTrainer on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 12:57:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Yes but a lot of urban growth has been (0+ / 0-)

                molded by the lack of mass transit. That's how you get an LA or a Houston in the first place.  But if just our big & medium cities can all have subways, trains, trolleys and monorails, that would be a huge step.

                Human reason is beautiful and invincible --Milosz, Incantation

                by juancito on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:11:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I live in a metroplex of 6 million people (7+ / 0-)

              and the weekday buses run every half hour or hour.  The last train out of downtown leaves at 11:30 pm. (So much for enjoying the downtown nightlife.) I live 8 miles from work, and to take a bus, a train, and a bus to school takes one solid hour. (That's triple the time it takes to drive.)
              We treat bike routes as leisure, like through parks, rather than as transportation. It isn't safe to bike to work here.
              Car is King for good reasons.

        •  well that may take a while (11+ / 0-)

          it only requires a complete overhaul of the entire culture

          Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
          President Obama. Still a thrill to see that in print.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:06:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Build it and they will come (11+ / 0-)

            If mass transit is frequent enough, people will start to use it. I have recently tried to find convenient bus or train from this rural western MA area to NYC and Boston. The schedules suffer from being extremely infrequent and taking two to four times as long as driving.

            Still we sometimes use train & bus because of the inconvenience and high expense of parking.

            If there were some late night (after 8 pm) service, one could see a show and return that night.

            I feel a bit of post-partisan depression coming on. Krugman

            by coral on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:00:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i mean it requires a psychological overhaul (5+ / 0-)

              of the culture.

              "building" that will require generations.

              Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
              President Obama. Still a thrill to see that in print.

              by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:02:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  oh, I think we Americans are quick (9+ / 0-)

                adopters in many ways. I think of all the things my grandparents brought into their lives over the course of the 20th century. Just takes a lot of applied advertising dollars & a concerted effort by industry & govt policy and we'll take to just about anything...

                "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." ~JFK

                by spiraltn on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:34:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Jimmy Carter tried (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rockhound

                  to make conservation patriotic.

                  it would be even harder to do that now.

                  still, I hope the green movement expands and the generations to come have a different attitude about I have to get what I want now now now.

                  Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
                  President Obama. Still a thrill to see that in print.

                  by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:09:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ah, but Obama and Van Jones make (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TrueBlueMajority

                    it patriotic and hip.

                    Much as I love Carter, cardigans just don't radiate hip.

                    (Well, except for Mr. Rogers, he could pull it off but his cardigans covered a lot of tatoos!)

                    My dryer has the option of "more dry" or "less dry". Personally, I like to wear my clothes "more dry".

                    by ZenTrainer on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:01:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Frequent (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ybruti, dogemperor, MaikeH

              and CHEAP. It has to be an advantage to use it.

              Public transit will never be more convenient than having your own vehicle (except in places that have a LOT of density). It has to be cheaper. Or faster. Or both.

              Most of the time it won't be faster, either. (Unless you're going a long distance and flying.) So cheaper is what it's got to be.

              I'm NOT going to take public transit if I can drive there faster, and park for free, and go anytime I want. I will only take it if it doesn't take a whole lot longer, if I don't have to wait a long time, and if it's a LOT cheaper.

              •  I'll take it if I don't have to drive (0+ / 0-)

                I'd rather spend my commute time catching up on work, reading a book, knitting, whatever.  I hate bumper-to-bumper traffic, having to be perpetually alert, slamming on the brake, watching people hit each other all over the place.  I don't necessarily need cheaper or faster.  I'd just like for someone else to be piloting.

                Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

                by milton333 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:01:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not everybody has bumper to bumper traffic (0+ / 0-)

                  Most people don't, especially if they don't live in a big city. Most people also don't have to pay to park - if you have either of those things, good public transit is an advantage.

                  But take those things out of the mix, and add in being locked to a schedule that you don't control, and it has to be cheap, cheap, cheap.

                  •  City Mayors say we live in big cities. (0+ / 0-)

                    In 2003, more than half the US population lived in metro areas with populations of one million or more. Almost one-fourth of the population resided in metro areas with populations of five million or more, the Census Bureau said.

                    Stats are from the latest census.

              •  Public transportation is more convenient than (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                coral, nicolemm, happymisanthropy

                driving your own car if there's nowhere to park once you've reached your destination. Or if you have to park far away and it's super expensive. This is often the case in European cities.

                •  Yes, but it's not always the case HERE. (0+ / 0-)

                  And here is what we're talking about.

                  It's the case in some cities, large ones, but that's not the entire country. Not even close.

                  We also have MUCH larger distances and lower population densities than they do in Europe. You really can't ignore that, it's one of the keys to the entire issue.

                  •  The US is not uniform. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Gator Keyfitz

                    The entire Mountain Time Zone has only a few urban areas large enough to justify significant mass transit.  (Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Tucson, Albequerque, maybe El Paso.)  The rest of it deserves intercity rail service, and that will be popular (who wants to drive a time zone away?), but it's genuinely not dense.  Some local tram service in places like Boulder would be successful, I'm sure.

                    The Eastern Time Zone, on the other hand, is every bit as dense as Europe, even in the "lower population density" areas.  Compare the population density of Ohio to that of Spain, for kicks.

                    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                    by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:29:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Or if... (0+ / 0-)

                  The distance from the terminus of your train and your destination is small,  and the train runs at "turn up and go" frequencies.  Regardless of how good the parking is.  Because it means less driving, and is just as convenient.  Relatively few people actually enjoy driving for its own sake.

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:24:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Frequent yes, cheap not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

                I think the scheduling issue is the big problem. If there are three buses a day, you really have to plan way ahead to take public transportation. If there's a bus every half hour, and some late night service, you are much likelier to opt for public transportation.

                I've recently added up my monthly auto expenses, and realized that combining renting a car on occasion with buses, walking, and possible zip car, I could spend what I'm spending now and not be tied down to a constantly depreciating hunk of soon-to-be scrap metal.

                The hassle of regular maintenance alone is incentive to lose the auto.

                Now, if only zip car would come to my neck of the woods.

                I feel a bit of post-partisan depression coming on. Krugman

                by coral on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:47:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  The culture is a result of the transportation (16+ / 0-)

            options as much as it's the other way around. Sure, we have a car culture that promotes living in suburbs and exurbs, but also we live there because it's cheap, and it's cheap because we subsidize that kind of lifestyle by building roads at no direct expense to the drivers. We subsidize the heck out of car travel.

            •  classic chicken-and-egg problem (4+ / 0-)

              Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

              by Benito on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:27:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I remember (11+ / 0-)

              a thread on another site (I think it was Yglesias) where one commentator was pointing out that the only reason train travel is affordable nowadays is because its highly subsidized.

              Then someone asked him, "how much do we subsidize I-95" and then the guy was like, "oh the Miami toll road, we don't" and then another guy was like, no not some tiny piece at the end in Southern Florida, the ENTIRE I-95 that runs from Miami Florida to the tip of Maine.

              And of course I-95 is just one highway of many. I've driven across the country 3 times. New Jersey to California. The amount of tolls I have had to pay... is no more than $50. Not $50 each trip. $50 total.

              Of course I paid a lot in gas, wear and tear, etc. But think of that. 9000 miles of driving on America's great highway system (and as an engineering feat it truly is spectacular) and paying out of pocket for it, less than $50. A few bucks in Ohio, Indiana, and the Bay Area. All of which could easily be avoided BTW.  

              There's no way a train system could compete with that without similar levels of subsidization, and it's not even close right now.

          •  When we visited London for three days, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            it was a culture-changing experience in terms of transportation.  Although initially planning to rent a car, we never got to that point - public transport was easy to find, simple to use and fast in actual transport.

            Same thing for Paris, where we stayed for a week during that same European trip.

            We found ourselves walking a bit more than usual around town - local and near our destinations.  On-the-ground areas held more interest.

            Coming back to the USA . . . we needed cars the very next day and it was all about getting from A to B.

            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

            by wader on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:36:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  For the most part I agree....................... (11+ / 0-)

          .................. and I'm not sure what percentage of Americans I represent, so some salt might be needed here.

          There are many Americans that have never owned a brand new car, instead needing to buy a car one can afford and continue eating and bill paying, plus insurance at the same time, were our priorities.

          Therefore car trends don't have us on the radar. And we pleebs are the 2nd hand recepients of cast-offs. Much of which didn't fit our needs or wants. ie, fuel efficient (cheap) transportation.

          People, that are not economically deficient, bought new cars and paid high insurance costs, with little reguard to mpg. So the myth of Americans not giving a damn about mpg is a tad scewed.

          Not to mention that less afluent folks have already learned that little lesson about waiting for the brass ring, it an't coming.

          For decades we have had needs not satisfied. Let's make a mental note that there is a hugh chunk of Americans that are not and never have been on the cutting edge of inovations that this country couldn't afford and didn't want. Except in advertisements.  

          Governments lie....... quote by Izzy Stone and Amy Goodman

          by socks on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:29:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Love your comment. (6+ / 0-)

            For decades we have had needs not satisfied. Let's make a mental note that there is a hugh chunk of Americans that are not and never have been on the cutting edge of inovations that this country couldn't afford and didn't want. Except in advertisements.  

            The bottom third, perhaps, of the income level is ignored generally. People in the poverty level especially are ignored, invisible. Until the last few years I lived well. Now that I'm in that poverty level I am astonished at how little attention is paid to the needs of the poor. It's not even older people such as myself but young people and those with families I worry about. I don't see how they survive.

            I really don't understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. - John Cole

            by Gorette on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:55:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Oh gawd, thank you socks! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            This is something that drives me crazy. Those of us down here in the second hand culture are just happy to own something.

            I would love to be able to insulate my house better, I can't afford it. I've owned one new car in my life and will never again. The majority of my clothes are from second hand stores, even my furniture is cast offs.

            I'm not whining, in fact I consider myself a recycler. I'm saying that those of us who live here are huge consumers of energy that we can hardly afford and would love to do better. We will never be able to take advantage of innovations that are talked about here.

            Don't walk away! Stay, investigate, prosecute, change Omelas!

            by high uintas on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:14:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Dream on, granny (4+ / 0-)

          That's not the way the USA is even laid out physically.

          Unless you are going to force people back to cities.  Out here in the suburbs, mass transportation just doesn't make sense.  And I, and tens of millions of people like me, don't give a rat's patooty that it's not "efficient".  We kinda like living here, thank you.

          Rather than forcing people to change their lifestyles, why not push for electric cars to replace the fossil fuel ones we drive now?  Then we won't need "re-education"  (Do you have to go to camp for that???)

          "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

          by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:45:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are you screaming or yelling? (12+ / 0-)

            See GrannyDoc's last line. :)

            "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

            by gsbadj on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:25:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  :| (7+ / 0-)

            And I, and tens of millions of people like me, don't give a rat's patooty that it's not "efficient".  We kinda like living here, thank you.

            Thanks so much for doing your part to make it a little more expensive for the rest of us.

            Can I get you anything while I'm here, sir?

            -5.88, -6.00 When the ELGIs are defeated, the GWOT is over. -- Richard Clarke

            by Porfiry on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:31:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  you are assuming car-based suburbs have futures (11+ / 0-)

            the future suburb will be a lot like the past suburb... of 100 years ago. Light rail connections and home to the extremely wealthy. The mass, middle-class suburb of post-war America is going to be called something else - a city if has decent public transportation.... or a slum if it doesn't.

            2-3 billion people want the same lifestyle we do. India just developed a $2,500 car. Oil, despite the worst Western economy since WWII... is trading at $60+ a barrel.

            We can either accept reality or we can fight to hold unto a past which is increasingly becoming more historic myth than anything else.

            Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

            by Benito on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:32:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's giving up the dream that bigger is better (4+ / 0-)

              Americans are facing downsizing and changing their dream. In India a $2500 car is a step-up. Not exactly received the same here. This recession is mandating changes to our society and world faster and sooner than many thought. It is an opportunity, tho, if we take it.

              $68 oil today, up 50% in the last 60 days, is a sign that $4 gas was not an outlier, but the new norm. Mass transit and smaller, fuel efficient cars are the future, and that reality is starting to sinking in, to those who thought the drop in oil prices in Sept was a return to the good old days.

              Today's problems are yesterday's solutions. Don Beck

              by Sherri in TX on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:11:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for the morning laugh.. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rei

              All of us idiots out here in the suburbs will do just fine, thank you.  

              And, all of you doom and gloomers predicting the collapse of civilization if we don't all huddle together in the cities and use public transportation can do what you like.  We'll build electric cars and nuke plants to power them.

              "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

              by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:19:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good! And pay for it yourself (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dogemperor, neroden, Granny Doc

                with the bailout you are getting as we speak.

                "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

                by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:27:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                please pay for you own damn roads.....

                and police and fire protection.

                Oh yes, and education too.

                Or, you can sell you house at a loss... if you can find a buyer. How is that going today?

                Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

                by Benito on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:48:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I DO pay for my services.. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Samulayo

                  and probably pay for a lot of freeloaders as well.

                  "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

                  by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 12:02:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, you don't. (0+ / 0-)

                    DuPage County is almost certainly subsidized by the residents of Chicago.  The numbers are hard to pin down, but here's an egregious example:

                    http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/...

                    The scheme where the RTA is mainly funded by Chicago, but provides a disproportionate amount of service to the collar counties (relative to the money they put in), is another example.  The roads in Chicago are driven on by the DuPage County residents, but paid for by Chicago; roads in DuPage County are rarely used by Chicago residents.  Et cetera et cetera.

                    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                    by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:37:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think that's necessarily true (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              high uintas, Benito, miss SPED

              there's lots of things that will keep suburbs going. I don't know if we'll continue to sprawl outward, but

              1. Most suburbanites have yards where they can plant gardens. Gardens seem to be the new hit thing and we'll see how long it keeps--I know I've had trouble finding seeds at the big box suburban stores when I went to look. Unless you're unlucky enough to live in a subdivision where the homeowner's association is run by micromanaging douches who don't allow gardens in the backyard for whatever reason, and even that can be fixed...
              1. More efficient vehicles are here and coming.
              1. While there's a move back into cities, I doubt we'll see a massive migration (barring some natural disaster). Electric cars are pretty much tailor made for suburban populations to get around to where they're going. coupled with a freight rail system that takes more trucks off the roads and enhanced transit and a power grid to power it (solar, wind, nuclear with thorium instead of uranium reactors) it could work. it will just take a lot of time.

              and climate change may render this entire argument irrelevant anyway.

              (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

              by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:29:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The way the US is configured will change (3+ / 0-)

            when people are stuck at home, shivering in the dark.  The real policy question is to make that happen before it gets to this.

            Strangely, the main case for exurbs is being wiped out by financial events anyway, so there's an opportunity to get started now.

            "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

            by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:40:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Where do you come up with crap like this? (0+ / 0-)

              shivering in the dark?  WTF?

              Please expplain how the exurbs are being wiped out by financial events, would you?

              "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

              by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:14:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You haven't been to rural New England (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dogemperor, neroden, Granny Doc

                when heating oil was nearly touching $4.  As for the case for the exurbs, it was, simply put, high prices in inner burbs and cities, not quality of life.  If you haven't noticed, housing affordability is making a comeback, so building out more is less compelling.

                Basically, the people advocating policy-based changes in land use policy are being humane.  Simply look at this site from last Summer or Summer 06 to see how Americans flip their shit when energy prices rise.  American drivers like capitalism until they actually meet it face to face, apparently.

                "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

                by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:25:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's a regional problem.. (0+ / 0-)

                  New England's reliance on heating oil for their homes can be blamed on the wrong thinking citizens that live there.. and the politicians that pander to them.

                  We could wipe out billions of gallons per year of home heating oil use in just a few years by simply building nuclear power plants in the northeast and giving tax credits to those folks who move from heating oil to electric heat.

                  But no.. nobody wants clean nuclear power.

                  "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

                  by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:33:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The economic case for nukes in rural areas (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    neroden

                    is simply not there.  The fixed costs don't seem reasonable compared to the shrinking population.

                    There's not always a technological fix.  Sometimes you have to find efficiency by changing what you do, as opposed to how you do it.

                    "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

                    by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:42:06 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  The folks who will least want nuclear power (0+ / 0-)
                    will be your descendants seventy generations down the road who marvel at the radioactive waste still tainting their environment.
                  •  Electric heating is relatively inefficient. (0+ / 0-)

                    Last I checked natural gas was preferable for heating from an energy-efficiency POV.  But it's a pain to put in natural gas lines, hence the number of houses still using oil.

                    Widespread use of all-electric heating in New England would likely require major upgrades of the entire electrical distribution system, at both huge cost, and huge disruption.

                    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                    by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:40:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Those suburbs don't make any sense (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theran, dogemperor, Granny Doc, sethyeah

            There's probably enough rot in most of them to allow them to be reconfigured, though.

            For example, public transportation doesn't serve my neighborhood very well. So I have the choice between a 10 minute bike ride to work, or a 20 minute walk. Or, when necessary, a 5 minute drive, but that's by far the most expensive solution.

            [F]or too many, the cruelty of our system is part of its appeal. - eightlivesleft

            by oldjohnbrown on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:56:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Pay for it yourself (4+ / 0-)

            The suburbs need to get acquainted with capitalism.

            "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

            by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:01:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think 'burbs are going anywhere (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theran, high uintas, neroden, sethyeah

            I just think that suburbanites will gradually either move to vehicles that use less gasoline (or electric) or they'll demand transit with collection points so they don't have to drive all the way downtown or some mix of the two.

            and some will simply decide it isn't worth it and move closer to work.

            cheap gas is over. I think suburbs will survive easily, but the status quo won't be the same.

            (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

            by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:29:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  for what its worth (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theran, milton333, neroden

              i grew up in a suburb and exclusively used mass transit with little wait. Even the sprawl in suburban DC (with nice little boring subdivisions where all the houses look the same and there are large lots, my parents live in one) is moderately served by well-used transit systems.

              (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

              by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:31:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  My point is that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              high uintas, Inspector Javert

              many of those people traveling from suburb to downtown already use public transportation.

              It is the suburb to suburb travel that does not lend itself very well to public transportation.

              So, I agree that suburbanites will move to more efficient vehicles.  The "suburbs are dead" attitude by some here is just foolish, however.

              "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

              by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:37:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  the suburbs ain't dead... (0+ / 0-)

                I live in a bedroom suburb of Dallas - Plano. Its population is more than 260,000 - that makes it the ninth largest city in Texas. I work in the next door suburb - Richardson. Public transportation for me is an hour trip from one suburb to the next (and if a single connection is missed, the commute is an hour and a half.)
                Now, many folks here drive to the train station and take the train to jobs in the Telecom Corridor or clear down to downtown Dallas. That works. When gas was $4 a gallon, the trains were packed. Not so much train traffic happens now, when gas is two bucks a gallon cheaper and the mass transit fares just went up.

                Point is, suburbs aren't all new sprawl of just a few thousand people. Some have been cities for a hundred years or more. And some of us suburbanites aren't bad people because we don't want to get killed riding a bike to work amidst 100,000 cars in rush hour. We drive for good reasons.

                •  You have terrible transit service. (0+ / 0-)

                  But then you're in Texas.

                  Go to one of the 'streetcar suburbs' in the Northeast which still have a streetcar; or the Metro suburbs of DC, or the rail-served suburbs of NYC or Philly or Boston; and you'll see a much better situation.  Even suburb-to-suburb travel can be reasonably served, but for a good example of that I have to point to Europe, where ring lines are not unheard of.

                  But anyway, if only the low-popularity trips were being done by car, it would already be a huge improvement.  The car is a reasonable tool for making a trip along a route nobody else is using.  A good transit system doesn't need to cover every unusual suburb-to-suburb trip, only the ones which are frequent enough to have congested arterial roads.

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:45:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Lifestyle Change (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nicolemm

            People will be forced to change their lifestyles regardless. There won't be re-education camps or forced marches or anything of that sort. It will involve the price of transportation becoming high enough that you and your neighbors will have no choice but to start paying attention to efficiency.

            The kind of low-density suburbs we've been building for the last 30 years or so, the kind where you need to drive your own cars a long way to get anywhere, simply aren't going to be sustainable in a world where there's less and less available petroleum and more and more people the world over who demand more and more of it. When supply goes down and demand goes up at the same time, I'm sure you can guess where price is heading.

            Getting around those sorts of places will just become prohibitively expensive. Hopefully, it will be gradual rather than catastrophic.

            Stuck Between Stations : Thoughts from a bottomless pool of useless information.

            by Answer Guy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:39:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No. It. Won't. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rei

              Jesus H. Christ on a stick.. Technology will match the demand.  We will drive electric cars powered by cheap, clean renewable or nuclear fuel.

              We do not need to change our lifestyle.. even though some folks like you seem to delight in the possibility..

              "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

              by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:43:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And the Tooth Fairy will leave Gold Double Eagles (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden, zinger99

                Which is just as "realistic" as your assertion.

                Doesn't matter WHAT alternative energy sources we convert to, or how quickly - they will NOT be as cheap or as easy to use as petroleum has been. Energy WILL cost more. Therefore there WILL be changes in lifestyle. Whether you believe it or not.

                Change WHO can believe in?

                by TheOtherMaven on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:50:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I like my back yard, too (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            I drive to work and to the store and to civilization when I need it. I haven't moved in six years, so I guess I like it. But I'm not going to pretend that I'm a rugged individualist. I like it and I continue to do it because I can afford to do it--and I can afford to do it because governments at each level subsidize it. So, be honest. When you say

            And I, and tens of millions of people like me, don't give a rat's patooty that it's not "efficient".  We kinda like living here, thank you.

            you have to keep in mind that you can only move about your daily life not caring about its "inefficiency," and you can only "kinda like" it, because your government subsidizes the hell out of your daily, auto-based movements. And when the time comes that your government no longer does that, and when you can no longer get the gasoline you need, you're going to need to reevaluate whether you truly like where you're living.

            •  Governments do not subsidize.. (0+ / 0-)

              taxpayers do.

              I pay a helluva lot more taxes than my city dwelling counterparts who use only public transportation.

              I pay vehicle taxes.  I pay taxes every time I fill up my car with fuel.

              My property taxes has road taxes itemized, so I know for sure I pay that.

              Silly folks like you who seem to think of the "government" as some nameless entity that spews favors upon certain groups need to wake up and look at reality.

              "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

              by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:13:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Do you think that you have, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden

                through the taxes you have paid, contributed every penny of your share of the costs of the roads on which you drive?

                Of course, I doubt you have. And I haven't, either. It's all well and good as long as it's affordable. Whenever the equation changes, however, and we find ourselves unable to get to the hinterlands on taxpayer-subsidized (happy now?) roads, then we are going to have to reevaluate how much we actually love where we live.

                And as I said--I am not that much different than you, in terms of where I live. Hell, I probably depend on highways even more than you do. I can guarantee that, if I couldn't roll across publicly sponsored payment practically to my front door and fill up with cheap and abundant gasoline (thanks again, taxes), I would be living a little closer to essential services.

          •  You are *so* wrong: look up current trends (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theran

            People are moving to cities voluntarily; rural areas are losing population, suburban areas are too.

            Electric cars are great for rural areas and for driving to the train station.  But then we need trains.

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:31:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  well, it is inconvenient to take the bus due to (5+ / 0-)

          waiting and wondering if you didn't already miss it...here's a simple solution - have a GPS on the bus to take away the uncertainty and a phone number to call to inform you of how far the bus is from you. Then you'll know exactly when the bus is coming and you wait a very short time.

          People were tortured to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq

          by grrr on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:22:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't Call - phone app (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theran, grrr, dogemperor, Granny Doc, Miggles

            Not a phone number to call, just a simple application for the phone that interfaces with Google Maps (which is a free smart phone app) to show the location of any buses updated in real time.  Would be pretty simple if the buses all had GPS systems in them, and I'm pretty sure a lot of them do these days.  

            In fact, I'm going to start looking into this right now.

            [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

            by rabel on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:59:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Agree. Cities in Sweden had something like this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            grrr, neroden

            in 1994.  Electronic signs at each bus stop would indicate the ETA of the buses in real time.  15 years later many our large cities like DC have no way of telling customers when the next bus will really be there.  I remember a quote from a Metro spokesperson a couple of years ago: "We have no idea where our buses are."

        •  It's true that the very young and the very old (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NoMoreLies, neroden

          need to be toted.  But, everyone in between (mostly) still has his/her own two feet.  Of course, if people are going to go on foot, then their way has to be made safe and convenient and we can't be putting up NO PEDESTRIAN signs.

          One of the justifications for granting private property rights (excluding the unwanted and uninvited) was that people would be more conscientious in caring for and looking after what they own.  This was an error.  Lax stewards of the natural environment are lax, regardless of who claims ownership.  Indeed, there's a group of people who insist that they can do with THEIR land whatever they want, including destroy it for use by other living things.  All of the derelict buildings that litter our cities are owned by someone who cares little for them.

          In addition to not making our natural environment better cared for, private property considerations have impeded human mobility in every area.  When humans walk, they prefer to take the most direct route.  Having them encased in a metal cage makes it possible to redirect their progress along someone else's preferred routes.  And to deny them entry to some semi-public spaces entirely (gated communities).  The private automobile is actually an instrument of social control and the maintenance of a social hierarchy.

          Most people aren't aware of the extent to which their mobility has been inhibited.  Also, they don't notice how much of their time has been claimed by making their progress from point A to point B dependent on an automotive vehicle.  That's something people need to be made aware of.  Though they may live longer, on average, there's little benefit, if their time (which remains definitely limited) is wasted.

          Time is of the essence.

          How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

          by hannah on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:59:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  indeed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Granny Doc

          that is part of the instant gratification addiction that has cause so much credit card (and other) debt.

          Being broke and having kids I know well the yelling and whining that accompanies doing without or being patient. And I've seen my kids develop a more mature attitude towards consumption, that sometimes even impresses me.

          I think maybe the nation needs to do some growing up!

        •  Re-education and new jobs (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Granny Doc

          Think about how much of outr construction work is based on providing roads, bridges and tunnels for cars.

          Then think about how if instead of commuting to work in cars and passing through all those miracle miles that cater to people in cars with fast food, shopping malls, gas stations, hotels, motels, and all the other places you can swipe a credit card, we just came to work in trains or buses or for that matter bicycled or even telecommuted.

          Now I'm imagining what the trade off between energy saving and people out of work might look like; so far I'm seeing that the building of new infrastructure, railroads, subways, water taxis, busses and the development of non fossil fuel based energy to power it (commuting to work in a wind powered water taxi or zephelin) might be intweresting.

          The re-education necessary to change enough peoples attitudes and values that we have a chance to save the planet might be real interesting.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:23:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But first, you have to make it reasonable. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terrypinder, neroden, MaikeH

          Here in Southern California, there is a reason why -- except for some isolated successes here and there (downtown Long Beach and San Diego are two), only the poorest people take public transportation. Part of the reason is that if you decide to ditch your car, you're actually volunteering for poverty because you won't be able to go to 75% of the places where you might be able to work. As for the rest of your life -- say, going to the store or the doctor -- unless you happen to live in certain places and are going to other certain places, you can't get where you want to go in anything resembling a reasonable length of time.

          I don't see how this happens over night. We have to work on both ends of the equation, cleaner burning (or, better yet, electri) cars and vastly improved public transportation in cities/areas that don't already have it.

          Forward to Yesterday -- Reactionary aesthetics and liberal politics (in that order)

          by LABobsterofAnaheim on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:33:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Gotta Disagree. If I have (0+ / 0-)

          an electric car that I can recharge by sustainable means then so what if I want to drive her, there, and everywhere.  (FTR, I in fact take MARTA everyday to my job in downtown Atlanta).

          It harms the cause of sustainable energy to equate it with inconvenience.  Americans are already spread out over the landscape and the only means of transportation that will be adopted by a majority of the population anytime soon will be advanced technology automobiles that offer good performance with a sustainable energy source.

          I say heavily tax gasoline or better yet imported oil let the market deliver sustainable transportation in a mode that people will actually use.  

          11/4 Changed Everything - Now, Henceforward, and Forever.

          by Sam I Am on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 03:34:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, there is congestion (0+ / 0-)

            The rule of thumb for mass transit: if an ordinary two-lane road is getting congested along a long distance, maybe you oughtta put in a train or a streetcar or something along there.  Individual electric cars are fine until you hit traffic.  Road widening is just not worthwhile, so when you hit traffic it's time to think mass transit.

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:49:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Why not "turn up and go" frequencies? (0+ / 0-)

          In Japan, the train scheudling means most people don't really have to schedule your activities around it most of the time.  There are very frequent trains.

          The more people are riding the train, the more frequently we can run trains; the more frequently we run trains, the easier they are for people to use.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:42:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  ... (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not taking the damn bus.

        •  Help me out with this... (0+ / 0-)

          I just tried the Amtrak the other day for a short 15 minute ride. I took one way on the standard rail line and returned on Acela. Both gave me a kind of motion sickness dizziness. It was unpleasant. I've had some bad experiences with Dramamine in the past. Any helpful tips? I want to love rail too!

          Time lost is always a disadvantage that is bound in some way to weaken him who loses it. -Clausewitz

          by Malachite on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:40:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The current economy (13+ / 0-)

        certainly should be an incentive to go green and to start being more frugal. It takes a lot to get Americans to change their 'habits'. Hope this is one time we can make the right choices rather than just go back once the 'temporary' difficulties are behind us.

        Ok, off in the Hummer to drive across the street to get groceries... :)

      •  One comment I read in N.Y.Times this am (21+ / 0-)

        defined socialism as government ownership.
        I looked up the definition of socialism:  "societal ownership."  I looked up Society:  "An organized group with some interests in common."  

        It all sounds so absolutely evil, doesn't it?

        Let us hope that the GM factories can be re-rigged to manufacture products that will advance our society and provide for the common good of all.

        "I am my own forerunner"

        by Cassandra77 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:34:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Worse than being at the mercy of the (5+ / 0-)

        Saudis, we'll be at the mercy of big oil!  They are far more dangerous and insidious.

        Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

        by snaglepuss on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:10:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why this will never happen (0+ / 0-)

        Because the Saudis have a nuclear bomb installed under a few US cities and if we dont please them, the bombs might just detonate.

        That's my theory anyway.  Every President on their first day is notified of this and they're like, "oh, so they're in charge?  I thought we were in charge. Oh well."

        "A lie isn't a side of a story. It's just a lie." The Wire

        by glutz78 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:37:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  could use a little more of teh socializm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        Many of our country's capitalists have shown thenselves to be anti-American by the way they shut their American factories down and move overseas as fast as they can. You'd never hear a right-winger or Republican throw charges of anti-Americanism at them for that though. Right-Wing Republicans only see not supporting the killing of foreigners in order to capture cheap foreign labor to reaplace American labor as "anti-American", because they're advocates for the corporations, and to the corporations supporting American workers doesn’t count.

        If it takes 183 times to make it work, the ticking time bomb will already have exploded by then.

        by William Domingo on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 12:22:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I get your sarcasm but what (28+ / 0-)

      you say makes me so angry at whoever it is that is responsible for whipping people into a frenzy over "TEH SOCIALIZMZ"

      Bernie Sanders, the socialist Senator form Vermont makes so much damn sense.
      I don't consider myself a socialist, capitalist, communist or any other "ist" but I'm sick to death of GM or any other large corporation telling the government what to do re: CAFE standards or any other public policy.

      The corporate heads that run this country and own the politicians have driven it into the ground for their own short term profits.

      Enough!

      And when right wing radio tries to scare people with "TEH SOCIALIZMZ" - it doesn't work on us - we've had enough of your guys raping the country.

      •  Bernie sanders rocks my socks! n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        Does this internet make me look fat?

        by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:44:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The corporations that own this country now are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        loftT

        the banks and the financial institutions. Note that Cerberus owns Chrysler, and former Wall Streeters fill federal posts at some of the highest levels.

        There is a difference between producers and financeers. It was the finance capitalists playing in the derivatives market that brought down our economy, not greedy producers over-charging for expendable products.

        Now we have outsourced our production capability, and our automotive industry, one of our final bastions of tool-making and sophisticated manufacturing capability, is stressed to the breaking point.

        I guess that leaves those who produce for the military as our remaining, nearly-profitable, producer entities.

        Republicans aren't a political party anymore, they are a private interest group.

        by 4Freedom on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:49:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Amazing, The Maglev technology used in Japan (20+ / 0-)

      was invented here and we did not use it! We have always had the ability but not the incentive.

    •  Agree on most but the $2.00 gas tax.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milton333, dogemperor, sethyeah

      That would be a killer to people barely eeking by.

      You have to have some way to make it a progressive tax.

      Rick
      -9.63 -6.92
      Fox News - We Distort, You Deride

      by rick on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:36:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So is the requirement that they have cars. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wsexson, dogemperor

        If there was some other economical way to get to where they need to go, like, oh, a bus or streetcar that arrived on time and didn't take an hour and half to get to its destination, a $2 gas tax wouldn't matter.

        Half-baked ideas for sale - cheap!

        by Steaming Pile on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:20:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That tax needs to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rick

        be in non-rural areas of the country that are not currently served by mass transit. Out in Iowa where the food is grown, there are no buses to go to towns for medical care,groceries,and other basics.
        Phase it in for those areas,maybe,but only as electric cars become affordable.

      •  Tie gas tax increase to FICA tax cut. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sam I Am, Russycle

        Cut the FICA (SS tax rate) to 3% from its current 7.5 percent, apply it to all forms and amounts of income. Makes SS tax more progressive, makes it revenue neutral by capturing high incomes and non-wage incomes in the mix, and helps wage earners on the bottom. For example, FICA on an $30,000 income currently is about $2250.00. A cut in the rate to 3% would reduce the tax paid to $900.00, putting $1350.00 in the pocket of that $30,000 wage earner. That wage earner would have to burn more than 675 gallons of gasoline with an $2.00 increase in the gas tax a year to cancel out the benefit from the FICA rate cut, thus taking a lot of sting out of the regressive effects of a gas tax increase. And if they take non-petroleum, or public transportation, they would get a nice windfall.

        "There's a bailout coming, but it's not for me, it's for all the creeps watching the ticker on TV"-Neil Young

        by NoMoreLies on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:42:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We will get bullet trains only when (5+ / 0-)

      the NRA chooses to support it as part of the 2nd amendment.

      Until then, bullets are only meant for doctors in churches.

    •  For the sake of capitalist ideology, thus is (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, dogemperor, lams712, loftT

      The dagger thrust into the heart of the Great Car Culture of America.  The beginning of the end of a great paradigm.

      But it is even more than that.

      It is also the end of America as a great manufacturing base.  It was the unions and the car companies, in their decades old dance of negotiation, that created the American middle class as we know it.  Thank you for weekends off UAW.  Thank you minimum wages UAW.  Thank you for a decent lifestyle UAW.

      Gone?  Let's hope not.  But maybe.

      If car manufacturing drys up in America, today may well be the beginning of the end, not just for the Great Car Culture, but also for the broad-based Middle Class Lifestyle.

      I hope our President is sufficiently well-read to understand the times wherein we are moving.  The end of manufacturing as America has known it?  The end of the oil-based economy?  The end of the environment sustainable to the flourishing of humanity?

      The need for planning for the general welfare is tremendous, but it does fly in the face of 100 years of capitalist dogma.  Will Obama rise above the dogma?

      We can either continue burning the candle at both ends, as captialism leads us, or we can begin to plan for the future.  I am not optimistic for my children and grandchildren because greed always seems to win out in the clash of economic choices.

      To a Democrat, "democracy" means "free elections." To a Republican, "free markets."

      by XOVER on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:52:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would LOVE a coast to coast train (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor

      my daughter is moving to CA. The only practical way to get there is to fly.

      I hate flying, at least, the way it is today.

      I would gladly pay double to take a fast train coast to coast. I checked the train fare - it's almost THREE times the cost of flying and would take almost THREE DAYS. That doesn't include meals, or a place to sleep, or a place to shower - that's just a SEAT.

      That's ridiculous. If it included a bed, a small shower, and meals, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But not if I'm going to get there smelling like a homeless person, tired, hungry, and cranky.

      No thanks. I'll take the plane, and just get there cranky.

    •  Those barely able to survive need CARDS (0+ / 0-)

      to help them pay for transportation to get to work UNTIL affordable alternatives are available.  We can't create a high cost to the individual transportation system that people can't afford to use.  Therefore, some sort of transportation assistance to low wage workers, or laws requiring employers to either pay the transportation increases or wages able to afford the transportation has to be in place.

      So, this is my only criticism of MM's plan.

      To help pay for this, impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline. This will get people to switch to more energy saving cars or to use the new rail lines and rail cars the former autoworkers have built for them.

      Also, we need to spread manufacturing to the less urban areas so employment is available at both ends of high speed trans.

      The system that required rural people to migrate to the city to survive is counterintuitive for the maintenance of a healthy environment, in my opinion.

      Poverty does not mean powerless. Unite!

      by War on Error on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:03:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, take it easy there! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TylerFromNE

      It would not be socializing if the trains are segregated by race and by class. Some problems have easy, time-tested, and already proven solutions.

    •  Damn those socialist Europeans (0+ / 0-)

      and their damn socialist high-speed trains. God, I hate them so much!

    •  Obamanomics in a nutshell ! (0+ / 0-)

      U.S. government firmly behind the wheel at GM now
      Car loses all four wheels simultaneously while on highway

    •  Don't worry. (0+ / 0-)

      Bullet trains will never get past the Environmental Impact Report and NIMBY neighbors.

    •  crush the Hummers, recycle them (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, dogemperor

      Electric cars can be used to transition away from the gas guzzlers.  Not like that would happen overnight, but it could easily happen in one year if there was a real push for electric cars.

      "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

      by MD patriot on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:26:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MD patriot, dogemperor, Gorette

        They already crushed the wrong car, the EV1. Crush the hummers! Nothing wrong with a little karma ;)

      •  It is not that easy. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sam I Am

        The battery technology is still being pushed.

        Tesla has managed an electric car, but it is expensive, and batterys are the reason why.

        Gas is really really power dense. Much better then the best batteries we can build in bulk, and even better from any batteries that are not expensive.

        A lot of work is already going into this issue, and I hope it goes quickly, but even a strong push will not ensure it.

        That said, I think progressing to on board generator electric cars (like the Chevy Volt under development) is a good progression.

        •  Batteries only make up (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sam I Am, Geek of all trades

          ... under $20k of the Roadster's $109k pricetag.  And they're dropping in price fairly quickly.

          Gas is really really power dense

          Gas is less power dense.  It's way more energy dense, but that's misleading.  First off, an EV will turn 4-5 times more energy from its battery pack into kinetic energy than a gas car will convert of the gasoline in its gas tank.  Secondly, it's a different paradigm.  In a gas car, you have a light energy source and a heavy drivetrain.  In an electric car, you have a heavy energy source and a light drivetrain.  The ridiculously powerful motor in the Tesla Roadster, for example, is smaller than a watermelon.  Batteries don't compete against gas tanks for weight and space; they compete against ICEs for weight and space.  And while ICEs currently lead in that respect, it's not by some massive margin.

          In 1989, the state of the art rechargeable battery was the newly introduced, 45Wh/kg NiMH battery.  Today, it's 200Wh/kg li-ions -- 4 1/2 times greater energy density in 20 years (you may have noticed this in terms of laptop and cell phone batteries).  Do that again and EVs will actually be lighter than ICE cars.  And if anything, the rate of battery tech advancements only seems to be accelerating, not slowing down.  I wouldn't be surprised to see EVs become lighter than gasoline cars in 10-15 years.

          •  Good breakdown (0+ / 0-)

            20K is still quite expensive, and that is after them doing clever things in converting existing battery systems.

            The drivetrain issue is one of the reasons I like the electric car + generator model of hybrid better then the electric motor boosted ICE model as a medium term vision.

            10-15 years for ubiquity sounds more realistic then 1 year. I expect battery tech to get better, but I don't know if it is going to be linear or geometric improvement. The wikkipedia page I looked at said ICE was effectivly about 1200 Wh/Kg taking into account efficiency issues.

      •  Bashing Hummers is just propaganda (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Samulayo

        The H3 gets BETTER gas mileage than any V8 SUV made by Toyota/Lexus, VW, Volvo, Nissan/Infiniti, Audi, Landrover or Mercedes.

        Why don't you ban all those vehicles first?  Oh right, no propaganda value there.

        •  Crush the Hummers NOW (0+ / 0-)

          GM needs some symbolism to start digging out of the hole they created.  GM crushed their electric cars, crushing a few thousand HUMMERS would be excellent publicity to show that GM was really restructuring.

          H3 is junk just as all the worse mileage competitors you named, what a waste of steel.  Note that you included that V8 tag in their- what a waste.

          "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

          by MD patriot on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 12:24:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Or GM could add a diesel (0+ / 0-)

            which would immediately bump the mileage by 25% and give it more torque.

            How about bashing Jeep or Range Rover?  They are not any different than Hummer and their V8s get worse mileage too.

            Oh right, you don't care about the facts as long as you can bash GM.  But wait, YOU now own GM so maybe putting your $50 Billion investment at risk is really stupid.

            •  look at the facts on Diesel (0+ / 0-)

              I've seen reports of 8-12 mpg for new 2009 Diesel pick up trucks!  Not too good.

              From Popular Mechanics for the 2008 Diesels:

              Ford  11.24 mpg
              Dodge  13.0 mpg
              GMC   18.2 mpg

              That was all in the non-towing mode, the only one that looks to be good at all is the GMC, maybe it was one that had not switched to the clean diesel engine.  The Ford Clean Diesels in particular have been reporting mileage in the 8-12 mpg range depending on load conditions- that is not too good, and much worse than the older Fords with the dirty diesel engines.

              Diesel Truck tests:  2008

              "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

              by MD patriot on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 01:45:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Are you going to let the assholes who drive them (0+ / 0-)

            out first?

            •  A lot of people dislike Prius drivers too (0+ / 0-)

              I've heard a lot of comments about "smug, self-righteous, pompous fools" whose mileage is no better than a 20 year old Rabbit diesel.

              But then again, I understand the need to stereotype other drivers rather than look at the facts.  So go for it!

              •  20 year old Rabbit diesel (0+ / 0-)

                40 mpg on a good day, mostly highway driving, vs. 50 mpg in mixed driving for a Prius.  And of course the Rabbit was not very reliable, I owned one.

                "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                by MD patriot on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 01:46:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  How can Prius get 50 mpg in "mixed" driving? (0+ / 0-)

                  At anything over 25 mph, it is just another gasoline Toyota with a very weak motor.

                  •  please do some research- braking energy, etc. (0+ / 0-)

                    Well, it is easy for me to believe the mileage, because I've owned a Prius for over five years.  The mileage monitor shows the instantaneous mileage as you drive, and by watching the gauges and using the "pulse and glide" techniques, hyper-milers report 90 mpg and better.

                    But just for everyday driving, the motor shuts off and the car coasts often as you drive, and of course shuts off whenever the car is stopped.  A small generator charges the battery when you release the throttle on a downhill or while coasting to a stop, capturing energy that would otherwise be dissipated as heat in your brakes.

                    Do you know anyone with a Prius?   I'd advise a test drive so you can see for yourself, this car is a huge advance over the standard fuel-wasters.

                    "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                    by MD patriot on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 07:43:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We are in two different worlds (0+ / 0-)

                      My turbo Solstice convert gets great mileage coasting downhill too, or cruising at 65 it gets 35 mpg according to my instant read out.

                      Since the Prius doesn't offer a manual trans and takes about an hour to reach 60 mph, I think I'll pass.  In fact, I pass them up everyday!

                      •  CVT transmission (0+ / 0-)

                        Manual transmission would be less efficient, the Prius is truly a whole new type of car, and the engine automatically and very smoothly turns off and on, depending on driving conditions.

                        It is nice to get 50 mpg day after day, just waiting to get an electric car.

                        Any speed over 55 mph drastically cuts down your mileage, especially if your car has a CD higher than the Prius.

                        Is that a Pontiac Solstice?  So will you be able to get parts now that Pontiac is history?

                        "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                        by MD patriot on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 08:37:20 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You can still get parts for an MG (0+ / 0-)

                          and the Solstice is a whole lot better car than that, so I am not worried.

                          It is nice to get 50 mpg day after day

                          It's nicer to drop the top, shift my own gears and drift through curves.  Try that in a Prius!

                          •  MGs are high maitenance for sure (0+ / 0-)

                            And they are one of the reason the British car companies all folded in the 70's and 80's.  Hopefully GM will not follow that path.

                            "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                            by MD patriot on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 09:05:25 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I drove my MGB from Cape Cod to SF (0+ / 0-)

                            although in 2 separate trips with 2 different girlfriends.

                            That B really ate oil, but otherwise ran great.

                            The Solstice is flawless and faster.  Your Prius could beat the MGB, but I still wouldn't want it.

                      •  0 to 60 in 10 seconds: Prius 3 nt (0+ / 0-)

                        "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                        by MD patriot on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 08:37:57 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Solstice: 0-60 in 5 seconds. (0+ / 0-)
                          •  Why not a V8 Camaro? (0+ / 0-)

                            If the US keeps producing new cars like the 2010 Camaro, it's no wonder that GM failed so badly. Sort of reminds me of the song, "What was I thinkin?"

                            So is gas mileage not important to you at all?  Would $5 per gallon gas change your driving habits and car choices at all?

                            "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                            by MD patriot on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 09:04:13 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Toyota has a new 500HP V-8 for the LF-A (0+ / 0-)

                            that it soon will be introducing so that would probably be more interesting than the Camaro V-8.

                            On the other hand, the Nissan turbo V-6 GT-R is even faster than a Corvette, so that might be worth checking out too.

                            Gas mileage is such a small component of the cost of a car that it is virtually meaningless.  If I were driving 30,000 miles a year, that would be different obviously.

                          •  "virtually meaningless" $1000 per year (0+ / 0-)

                            Well, to a lot of people $1,000 per year means a lot, that is the difference in gas cost for a Prius vs. a Camaro according to the EPA.

                            But hey, burn up all the gas quickly, that will just mean a faster end to the limited oil supply, and more hardship for those who have to drive to work.

                            "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                            by MD patriot on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:56:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  $871/yr difference for 15K miles - EPA (0+ / 0-)

                            which is $2.39/day or the price of your daily Starbucks.

                            For me, driving a 300+ HP Camaro instead of a science project is worth giving up Starbucks. Plus, I am helping the government recoup its $50 Billion loan to GM.

                            But hey, I'm glad you are saving all that gas so there's more for me!

        •  not propaganda (0+ / 0-)

          V8 trucks and SUV's have their uses.  Hummers are nothing but expensive, gas burning, street crushing vanity vehicles.

  •  Post a tip jar Michael! (11+ / 0-)

    Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground in the morning the devil says "Oh crap, she's up!"

    by nannyboz on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:47:51 AM PDT

  •  This plea is a bit late (11+ / 0-)

    given that the bailout is already in process and likely to focus specifically on preserving GM as a company that builds cars.

    But I agree that they should focus on developing industrial capacity for many things including new forms of transportation.

    "Getting (re)elected is politicians' only true moral imperative."

    by zackamac on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:48:43 AM PDT

  •  I'm not sure if it's the 'end' of GM (5+ / 0-)

     
    It's still a remarkable brand with a good name

     

    Let the record be corrected: the 43rd President of the United States of America was Dick 'Dick' Cheney

    by DiegoUK on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:48:44 AM PDT

  •  Gonna miss those union jobs.... (32+ / 0-)

    but with the government owning 60%, it's a step in an... interesting direction, isn't it?

    Too bad about who owns the government, though, eh?

    They tortured people To get false confessions To fraudulently justify Invasion of Iraq!

    by Immigrant Punk on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:49:17 AM PDT

  •  I have to go to work today near Flint (18+ / 0-)

    This is not a good time to be here.  Damn.

    Magis vinum, magis verum
    (Blogistan Polytechnic Institute motto)

    by GOTV on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:49:55 AM PDT

  •  Electric Buses, Hard Wired Like Trollies (29+ / 0-)

    We used to have them everywhere. Certainly in northern Ohio which is being devastated by the decline in auto and related manufacturing.

    We own the space to string the wires, we can start converting millions of existing buses.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:50:36 AM PDT

  •  What we really need to realize is that petroleum (14+ / 0-)

    driven transport isn't viable for the long term and start now down the path of other means of transport.

    The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

    by Persiflage on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:50:45 AM PDT

  •  Can we not call it "war" please? (13+ / 0-)

    While I agree with the sentiment and even the actions suggested in this diary...can be please stop calling everything a "war"?

    •  ps - a $2 tax hike on gas is unrealistic (6+ / 0-)

      It's always the "how are you going to pay for it" that is the hard part of governance.

      I think we all know that a $2 per gallon gas hike will not pass.  If we make suggestions that require that kind of totally unrealistic payment method, the solution will not taken seriously.

      •  Unrealistic (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, milton333, axel000, sethyeah

        Sure, but what's worse is that such a tax would be intolerably cruel. We all know why and I can't believe that Michael Moore is proposing something so regressive.

      •  "Nature" will exact this tax, (6+ / 0-)

        combined with market demand as the world economy recovers.

        $3 per gallon is in the very near future. Can $4 or $5 per gallon be all that far off?

        "Getting (re)elected is politicians' only true moral imperative."

        by zackamac on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:11:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Depends on your definition (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, dogemperor

          We've probably got 4-5 years before gas averages over $3 (It may ride above three during the summers, but will go down in the winter), the better part of a decade before $4, and 12-14 years before $5.

          It may be just semantics, but that's not "the very near future" to me.

          Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

          by Whimsical on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:20:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's an overly optimistic scenario (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dogemperor

            or perhaps I should say that I would definitely take bet we'll see $3 before the end of this calendar year.

            Sure, the market was being manipulated, and lot of hedgies, pension funds, etc., were in the business of buying oil futures.

            But supply & demand still favors price rises as consumption increases.

            I've already "bet" that gas prices will be above $3 by the end of the year in purchasing my latest car.

            "Getting (re)elected is politicians' only true moral imperative."

            by zackamac on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:38:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  See $3 before the end of the year- (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dogemperor, zackamac

              Sure.  It's the summer driving season after all - but that's temporary, and the price will go back to the mid to low $2's in Sept-Oct.

              You want to be that we will see an average price (for a sustained period of time) of $3 or more by the end of the year- I'll take that bet.  Not gonna happen.

              Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

              by Whimsical on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:53:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MD patriot, dogemperor, chrome327

      I don't much like the metaphor, but fear is the only motivator that seems to work for quick, massive change. If appealing to multi-variate Americans' civic nature were ever historically effective, it isn't anymore, certainly not in a context of 30 years of laissez-faire anti-environmentalist BS from wingnut media. (Looking down at a trash-filled street here.) I think MM's usual hyperbole actually fits for this. He didn't say we're starting a war, but that we're already in one. Exact or not, Americans need a meme like this to actually do anything. (And the usual noisemakers will squawk either way, so might as well make it worthwhile.)

    •  Finally, someone who has learned from mistakes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi, dogemperor, mamamarti

      past.

      Freedom is not a game whereby the one who waves a flag the hardest has the most of it.

      by FudgeFighter on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:34:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, let's not continue the language co-opting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lightfoot, sethyeah

      Much like how "piracy" has been misused to refer to copyright violations (piracy is a name for a specific kind of crime), "war on X" gets taken from a figurative expression to a justification for taking actions like one would in a real war.  Bush hoped to be a "war President" and then he picked a target (or, rather, attacked the one picked for him).  His oft-used "we are at war" rhetoric got trotted out whenever he wanted to justify his overreaching.  Yes, we performed military actions in two places and toppled one government.  But this "war" was not over; it was taken afresh against civilians.  

  •  GM, unfortunately... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor

    ...lost itself in the marketplace and with bad union agreements; and should therefore NOT be bailed out.  If we do, where do we stop?  

    Never fall in love with your plan.

    by dov12348 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:54:43 AM PDT

    •  No Joke. (14+ / 0-)

      And not only that, but if he tried it we'd forever be stuck with the stigma that the only way to pay for these things (high speed rail, alternative energy, better cars) is a massive tax hike.  This would make it even harder the next time we fight for reform.

    •  Unfortunately true: (9+ / 0-)

      Kerry mulled a fifty cent per gallon (which would hve raised the price to 2.25/gal at the time) and it kicked him in the ass years later.

      You're better off reading Josh Marshall in the first place.

      by Inland on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:23:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting thought. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MD patriot

      Commentator has little faith in the American voter?

      According to this logic, all else being equal, Sarah Palin could easily win a national election in just about any state in Europe, where gasoline taxes are much higher than $2 per gallon.

    •  Obama doesn't have to propose (7+ / 0-)

      Just some Congresscritter has to place a clause in the appropriations bill changing the basis of the gasoline tax from a constant value to a percentage.  Then when the oil companies raise the price, they will be raising taxes.  The current gas tax is 28.6 cents on roughly $3.00 per gallon.  So set the tax at 10%.

      The second thing to do would be to permit states to use gas tax revenues to fund transportation other than automobile transportation.

      Those two little clauses could begin moving in the right direction.

      If the banking system can be deregulated by Phil Gramm with a section of a bill that was inserted after passage, then these provisions could surely be inserted as a matter of course in the light of day.

      •  And the first act of the new Republican (3+ / 0-)

        majorities in 2010 will be the eliminate such a clause.

        Oh sure, Obama can veto it, but all that's gonna do is cost us the white house in 2012.

        There are other ways to raise revenue.  Increasing the gas tax is a complete political non-starter.

        Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

        by Whimsical on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:24:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obama doesn't start producing jobs very soon (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          milton333

          he won't have to worry about 2012.

          •  Depends on whoo he's up against (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dogemperor, snazzzybird, sethyeah

            If the 'Pub's don't repudiate the wingut faction of their party, they're gonna be forced to put up somebody like Jindal, or even better, Palin in 2012.  Obama will stomp all over Jindal and/or Palin without a problem.

            If they get their shit together, ignore the fundies and the wingnuts and put up someone like Romney, then Obama might be in trouble if the economy hasn't picked up.

            Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

            by Whimsical on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:50:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Obama has a really bad economy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sethyeah

              a GOP wingnut isn't going to save him.  IMO, anyway, on past history.

              •  Guess we'll see (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dogemperor, snazzzybird

                I like to think most people realize the economy is the fault of the Republicans and will give Obama a decent amount of time to fix it.

                Combine that with the sheer nutiness of the wingnut fringe of the GOP, and I think the moderate and independent vote goes to Obama enough to swing '12 his way, bad economy or no.

                Yes, the American public has short memories, but I'm not willing to believe they will go back to the policies that caused this mess in 4 years- they remember the last nut we had in the office and they won't want another one.

                Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                by Whimsical on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:03:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yep, we'll see (0+ / 0-)

                  but I suspect that after years of a rotten economy (if that happens) the only thing the American public will remember is that things used to be better under Bush, not that he wrecked everything.  The fear is that they will be looking for a wingnut.

                  •  Two things wrong with that scenario (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Miss Jones, dogemperor, snazzzybird
                    1. For the vast majority of voters, things were NOT better under Bush.  The super-rich did better under Bush, sure but for most of us things were getting steadily worse for the past eight years.
                    1. Based on the reaction to Palin, I really don't think the American people are looking for a wingnut.

                    Don't take this personally, but given how screwed we'll be if you're right; I really hope you're wrong.

                    Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                    by Whimsical on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:02:40 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  That's the wrong approach though. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        Granted, it would be easier to pass, but we really do want something to push prices higher when they're low, not boost them even more when they shoot up.

        High, but stable prices would push people away from gas-guzzlers and towards public transportation. And in the long run, away from sprawl. Taxes that piggyback higher on high prices will just make price spikes more crippling. And lead to more pressure for repeal or "tax holidays".

        Of course, gas taxes are regressive, but there have been some rebate proposals that might do a good job of counteracting that. The rebates make it less of a funding source, but more of an attitude shifter.

        Allowing states to use gas taxes for other forms of transportation is a no-brainer. It's amazing it isn't that way now.

        The Empire never ended.

        by thejeff on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:31:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  state gas taxes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sethyeah

          are not controlled by Congress. States can already decide to spend their gas tax revenue on whatever they like. It's a state-by-state thing.

        •  Avoids tax shock (0+ / 0-)

          By having a percentage, the oil companies determine the total price.  It gets considered as part of the total price like sales taxes do when prices go up.

          Folks oppose legislative tax increases because they sense they have the power to change them, but get accustomed to corporate price increases and their corresponding percentage taxes because they don't sense they have the power to change them.  Having a percentage would make it less politically hot -- until a legislative body wanted to raise the percentage.

          •  I get that. (0+ / 0-)

            And it would be a lot easier politically.

            But in terms of actual effect on the economy it would produce exactly the wrong results. No additional revenue to fund public transportation or efficient vehicles until prices rise again, by which point there won't be the lead time needed. And no incentives to invest in more efficient transport since prices will stay low.

            Then when prices do rise, the effects on the economy will be worse, since the tax will expand with it.

            The Empire never ended.

            by thejeff on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:19:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Economic effects (0+ / 0-)

              It would make the pain occur earlier.  This would prompt governments to start thinking in terms of alternatives and the Saudis to think in terms of controlling price increases.  We are dealing with a cartel after all.  The differences is that, for a given pain level, the Saudis get a smaller percentage of the gas price and the government gets a larger.

              Governments don't need economic incentives to invest in anything; they prove that continually.  So what if this time they invested ahead of the curve instead of behind the curve.

    •  Yep (5+ / 0-)

      some people take into account who will actually suffer.  Small town working people in big states who have no choice but to drive.  I have to drive 25 miles to work.  I have no other choice.  There is nothing here but miles of road.

      "Perry is having a bad day, he might have to secede." Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco

      by Into The Stars on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:10:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The gas tax is extra regressive in the USA (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gsbadj, dogemperor, ColoTim, felldestroyed

      because we've sprawled out in so many places.

      Outside the Northeast, Chicago, & Portland (from what I hear about it), in how many cities in the US can the working poor confidently use public transportation to get to work if they can't afford gas?  In sprawl cities, public transportation is inefficient and full of coverage holes.

      The essential argument for a high and stable gas price to incentivize progress is correct, but there must be some rebate or discount based on income or it will backfire.  And in conjunction, we need a sprawl tax to increase urban density and the corresponding efficiency of public transportation.

      •  Here in Detroit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leftcandid

        Public transport is awful.. but then again the car companies opposed efforts to improve what little system there is.

        On top of it, our racist white population that fled to the suburbs in the 50's, 60's and 70's didn't want blacks being able to get out to their neighborhoods via public transport.  Heck, they'd have to start hiring blacks to jobs in the white  neighborhoods.

        "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

        by gsbadj on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:34:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think there would be that much reaction. (0+ / 0-)

      We already had a period of much higher prices than we have now, we survived. I bet most people would be a lot more adaptable than they are given credit for. For one thing, don't a lot of municipalities already have gas taxes? A gas tax, combined with the proper PR push to explain what a Pigouvian tax is and efforts to lower petroleum consumption globally, is going to be accepted as the price we need to pay to keep our economy expanding without catastrophic consequences from carbon output.

    •  But, if is was phased in and every (0+ / 0-)

      nickel raise was used to reduce the social security payroll tax a gas or imported oil tax could be politically viable.

      11/4 Changed Everything - Now, Henceforward, and Forever.

      by Sam I Am on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:01:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good suggestions MM (8+ / 0-)

    I would only add that this is not the death of GM, but instead the death of uncontolled rampant corporate greed - if that would be the case we would never again sing the dirges of a failed giant.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:56:21 AM PDT

  •  In Denver (38+ / 0-)

    they scoffed when the plans were drawn up to build light rail.  They said that the money spent was a waste, that it wouldn't be popular.  On the first day the parking lots were overflowing and in the 10 years that it has been running it has only shut down twice for a few hours.  So now they are getting ready to build another line that goes out to the west.  People scoff but I would lay money down that once it is built the same thing will happen, the parking lots would be jammed.  Why do we listen to these naysayers that tell us it won't/can't, shouldn't happen?

    Nature's laws are the invisible government of the earth - Alfred Montapert

    by whoknu on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:56:25 AM PDT

    •  And last year, when oil prices spiked (4+ / 0-)

      Light rail was filled to overflowing.  And yet, they were talking about how they were losing money because they were spending so much on bus fuel (and they might have to raise fares).  I hope they have that situation figured out now.

      I just wish there was a way I could do public transit to work.  Instead, I try and work from home when I can.  Saves even more fuel, but isn't often possible in my job.

  •  Your core prescription - Bring Back Manufacturing (28+ / 0-)

    is one that needs to be front and center in any discussion.

    For the off-shoring of skilled work is what led us, in the first place to have too great a reliance on work which made nothing real. That made (makes) us too broadly vulnerable to economic turmoil.

    Only by reinvigorating a manufacturing base can we navigate our way out of this mess.

  •  I'm just happy that they're releasing Saab (9+ / 0-)

    My father and I drove and worked on the real classic Saabs: the 96 V4 model, and the three-cylinder models that preceded them.
    GM bought, and subdued, Saab. They fired every Swedish designer, and slapped Saab badges on Subarus, Opels and the Chevy Trailblazer.

    Now that Saab is (almost) free, I hope they boldly go Back to the Future and bring back the 96. Their timeless classic sold well right through 1980, when they were discontinued to free up factory space so they could build more 900's.

    All Saab needs to do is fix the minor rust problems, throw in airbags and a modern powertrain (along with 175/40ZR20 tires), and they'll sell every one they can stamp out... with a waiting list.

    I'm not a Democrat, I'm a liberal. Democrats go to meetings.

    by willie horton on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:56:51 AM PDT

    •  Saab is not coming back (0+ / 0-)

      Unless Saab has some electric vehicles, look for them to go the way of DeSoto, Packard, Pontiac, etc.

      "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

      by MD patriot on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:34:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too late; already happened years ago (0+ / 0-)

        Pontiac, DeSoto, and Packard (albeit only partly true for Pontiac) built their own cars up to their demise; Saab has been just a badge and trim company for years.

      •  Electrics are a niche market! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SkiBumLee, terrypinder

        I just drove 1800 miles in 3 days- with recharging that would have taken 3 weeks in an electric car. BTW, the 4 cylinder Caravan got 25 MPG @ 70 MPH cruise. Chrysler discontinued their 4 cylinder minivan and jacked the price up to $24,000+... No wonder they're in bankruptcy!

        •  Why so much driving? (0+ / 0-)

          And if you did need to drive so far, how many vehicles do you own?  Many families have two vehicles, so almost 50% could be electric cars with a range of 60 miles.  Plug them in overnight, or to your solar cell equipped parking structure if you work at Google, then drive again the next day.

          Drove 2,100 miles last summer, three people plus two mid-sized dogs, 46 mpg avg driving the posted speed limits, up to 70 mph on some roads.  So that 25 mpg sounds very wasteful to me.

          "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

          by MD patriot on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:21:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Took a 50 MPG motorcycle to Florida... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder

            To leave at my late mother's home for next winter. Brought back my late mom's minivan for my sister in law who lives in the outer ring suburbs and has no wheels. She can't move- she and her kids have a decent subsidized apartment in the outer burbs and can't get one closer in. The school district out there also has excellent programming for her autistic son and the inner city school district has gangs to bully him.

            Yes, it'd be nice if my sister in law could afford a $30,000 47 MPG car. But she's getting this 25 MPG minivan for free, which fits her budget. My brother who is executor had it appraised and they valued the minivan at $800, yet it has only 50,000 miles on it and runs like new. Remember that it takes the energy to push a conventional car 40,000 miles to build a new economy car, and even more to build a hybrid. My sister in law will only be driving this car a couple thousand miles a year, so by using it instead of scrapping it we're saving energy.

            BTW, my newest car does 5 liters/100 km. easily and my new motorcycle does even better. But I'm not about to do as you suggest and imprison my sister in law and her children in the suburbs because you don't approve of her 25 MPG minivan.

            •  never said that: "imprison"? (0+ / 0-)

              Where did you see anything like that?  I just said that 25 mpg was not all that good.  Prius II list price is $22,000.  It gets 50 mpg in average driving, much better with some advanced techniques.

              So if we can crush the Hummers and start building some decent cars, we have a way to transition away from the suburban wasteful lifestyle promoted heavily in this country since the 1960's.  Mass transit, live close to jobs or telecommute, lots of ways to cut down fuel use.

              "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

              by MD patriot on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 12:37:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  25 MPG not good enough for 2000 miles a year? (0+ / 0-)

                My sister in law can barely afford liability insurance and plates and a couple gallons of gas a week. It's nice that you can afford (or borrow the money for) a new $30k Prius, most of us can't even afford the cheapest new car. You clearly don't get it...

                •  not talking about your sister (0+ / 0-)

                  But get your facts straight, the Prius sells for $22,000 plus $750 dest. charge.

                  MANY people buy five passenger cars that cost much more than the Prius, thus wasting gas and passing them on for future drivers.  We have millions of guzzlers built into the system, and obviously it makes sense for low income people to look at their actual costs.  Just imagine if we had avoided the ray-gun to bush idiocy and had reasonable CAFE standards for the last 28 years.

                  "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." - Barack Obama, 3-24-09

                  by MD patriot on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 01:55:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Not true. (0+ / 0-)

          Let's look at the Phoenix SUT, for example.  Charges 100 miles of range in 10 minutes, for a 10:1 drive:charge ratio -- and this is a cargo hauler (i.e., high power consumption).  1800 miles / 70mph = 25.7 hours -> 2.57 hours.  Over the course of three days.  That's the time you'd spend eating meals or at rest areas.

          To pick another vehicle: Tesla Model S.  Due to their choice of chemistry, they're limited to 45 minute charges.  However, they also are offering a 300 mile pack.  that's a 6.7:1 drive:charge ratio, implying 3.8 hours of charging over the course of 3 days.

          Should I keep going?  BYD's F3DM: 10 minutes for an 80% charge.  Mitsubishi's MiEV: 30 minutes for an 80% charge.  Subaru's R1e: 15 minutes for an 80% charge.  Lightning Car's Lightning GT supercar: a full 200 miles in 10 minutes.  And on and on.

          This is one solution among many: rapid charging.  The obvious downside is that it means that we need high-powered chargers.  Oahu already has a network of 40kW chargers installed.  AeroVironment makes them as big as 250kW, while Norvik has made them as big as 300kW.  The larger ones cost about $125k each.  This sounds expensive until you realize that's roughly the same amount that a gas station costs per-pump.  If you want to do the math on how far that kind of charge current will take you, a Volt or Tesla type vehicle takes a little over 200Wh/mi, the RAV4EV took a little over 300Wh/mi, while an Aptera 2e-type vehicle is probably more like 120Wh/mi.

          Other solutions?  Battery swapping.  Plug-in hybrids.  Range-extending trailers.  Vehicle rental.  Car sharing systems.  There are all sorts of options.

          •  And where can I buy one of these vaporware cars? (0+ / 0-)

            Never mind find the 480 or more volt outlets to plug them in?

            •  Oy vey (0+ / 0-)

              You can buy the BYD F3DM in China right now.  The Tesla Model S is available for pre-order, as is the Phoenix SUT.  Mitsubishi's MiEV goes on sale in Japan in July.  I haven't looked up the release dates of the R1e and Lightning GT, but I could if you'd like.  I could also give you a list of a dozen or so more current or upcoming EVs with rapid charge capability if you're interested.

              No, you don't need 480V outlets to recharge these vehicles.  Essentially every new EV coming out can charge from a normal household power outlet.  You can't rapid charge from a normal household power outlet, but why on Earth would you need to rapid charge at home?  Rapid charging only makes sense for when you're going on long trips.  And as mentioned, rapid chargers are cost-competitive with gas stations, so while most places in the world don't currently have rapid charging infrastructure, you could have made the same argument about gas stations in the early 1900s.  It's simply a matter of time.

              •  Sorry, I'm in the U.S. (0+ / 0-)

                And I've seen videos of the crash tests of chinese home market cars. You've basicly admitted that none of the electric cars I can't afford anyway are available for sale here.

                As for power, the best you're going to get from a garden variety plug in is 120 volts @ 15 amps or so. That doesn't cut it when you need to fast charge kilowatt hours of batteries. You can get 240 volts with some special wiring, but anything more is going to be extremely expensive.

                •  It's called an emerging market (0+ / 0-)

                  Almost every major marque worldwide (Honda being the glaring exception), and dozens of new marques, have at least one electric car coming out at some point in the next three years.  Honda only has an electric motorcycle coming out.

                  As for power, the best you're going to get from a garden variety plug in is 120 volts @ 15 amps or so. That doesn't cut it when you need to fast charge kilowatt hours of batteries.

                  Which is why fast chargers don't use garden variety plugs.  They're generally a variant of Avcon, Level 3.  Garden variety plugs are for slow charging at home.  There's no reason why you'd need to fast charge at home; you only need that when going on trips.  The main impediment to rapid charging right now is not the technology, but the lack of a single standard -- each manufacturer has their own.  Thankfully, there is a standard for moderate speed charging (240V/80A) -- the SAE J1772 Yazaki connector.  I imagine there will be a fast charging standard within a year or two.

                  And, FYI, even though the NEMA 5-15 socket was designed for 15A, most sockets in garages (and bathrooms and kitchens) are rated for 20A.  Meaning you can safely draw about 18A.

                  •  Funny, I work for a Honda M/C dealership (0+ / 0-)

                    and they haven't said anything to us about an electric model.

                    They make lots of small displacement bikes that never make it to this market.

                    Oh and that Tesla you mentioned upthread? How much is that? $49,000 base price, and the company is not on solid financial footing.

                    "I teach Sunday School Mutherf&@#er!"-S.Colbert

                    by Independant Man on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 02:44:27 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  "Electric cars are not for everybody... (0+ / 0-)

          ... they can only satisfy the needs of 90% of Americans."  [Ed Begley Jr. in Who Killed the Electric Car?]

          Unless your profession involves driving hundreds of miles a day, an electric car satisfies all day-to-day needs.  I don't own a moving van just because I need one for moving every 10 years or so.  I rent it.

          For long trips, just rent a car, or better yet, rent an aerodynamic gas-powered trailer for your electric car.

          Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
          Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

          by Caelian on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:04:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe in your fantasy world... (0+ / 0-)

            My mother died last fall leaving us a little "park model" trailer in Florida with a cheap 99 year lease on the land and a 2000 Chrysler minivan with 49,000 easy miles on the odometer. My sister in law is a disabled single parent with two kids, one of whom has autism. She survives on a $9 an hour job and the only housing she can afford with decent schools for an autistic kid is in an outer ring suburb far from the bus lines. She needs a car, bad.

            What you arrogant Kossacks are telling me is that she can't have a car until 1) electric cars are available, and 2) she can afford to pay $30,000 or more for one. In other words, you want to keep her and her kids imprisoned in her apartment until she can afford to meet your standards of environmental purity.

            Fortunately some of us think that giving working class folks affordable transportation is more important than environmental purity. So with the agreement of the other heirs I extended my trip from Minnesota to Alabama to Florida and brought back the minivan for my sister in law and her kids. She can't afford to drive all over the place with it so she's not going to be putting on a lot of miles on it, maybe a couple of thousand a year.

            If you've got a problem with that, maybe you should look at your own EnviroNazi belief system.

            •  That's not what people are saying and you know it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Caelian

              Even the most aggressive market surveys show only a fraction of the world market being electric within a few years.  For example, Wintergreen Research's is the most ambitious I've found, and it's for 32.7 million electric autos shipped worldwide by 2015.  That's, what, a little over third of total vehicles sold worldwide in 2015 alone?  And that's just sold vehicles -- never mind what's already on the road.

              The realities is that there's no way we can scale up EV production fast enough that everyone could or would be expected to buy one.  And, if EV production makes up even a sizable fraction of the world vehicle market, they won't cost $30k each; they'll be way less.  EV components only cost this much because of a lack of mass production.  Many of the readily available EV components on the market today are literally handmade.

              The point is that we need to get started on EVs now, because it's going to take years to scale up.  And arguments about how at present they're not perfect for everyone on the planet are pointless, because that's not a realistic adoption scenario.

            •  Your overall point is well taken... (0+ / 0-)

              but there are no "easy miles" on a car in Florida, the climate is death on plastic/rubber parts, so electrical and fuel system parts disintegrate in a comparatively short time.

              "I teach Sunday School Mutherf&@#er!"-S.Colbert

              by Independant Man on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 02:47:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  blather blah drivel drivel blather blah (0+ / 0-)

              No one is saying that plug in EV's will be perfect for every American driver, right now.  That's a pathetic straw man and you know it.

              But the simple fact is that existing EV tech does take care of the needs of the vast majority of American driving.  Too bad so sad for your GasGuzzlerNazi belief system.

    •  Hey, I had a Saab Sonett sportscar way back when. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willie horton, Independant Man

      Loved it and its 3-cylinder, 2-stroke engine.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

      by lotlizard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:38:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's not happening. (0+ / 0-)

      You seem to realize that Saab has been nothing but a badge and trim outfit since the 9000 stopped production; don't you realize that that means that they can't design and build a car?  Releasing Saab means the end of Saab.

      •  Three companies are competing to buy them (0+ / 0-)

        They ain't dead yet, and they still own the intellectual property of their old designs.

        I'm not a Democrat, I'm a liberal. Democrats go to meetings.

        by willie horton on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:46:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Buy back the name, restart the company (0+ / 0-)

          Won't happen overnight, but it could be done with enough "will-to-do".

          Change WHO can believe in?

          by TheOtherMaven on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:22:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, happy day! (0+ / 0-)

          What would they plan to do - become a car manufacturer armed with 15-year-old tech??  There are probably some patents they should hold onto...Saab did develop their own engine management system, the Trionic, after having used Bosch for years, so that's probably good for litigating over and/or licensing out, but that's not even close to the notion of buying Saab in the interest of making Saabs in the future.  

    •  While I like 'em (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hotlanta

      and I was bemused by GM/Saab's asinine "Born from jets" ad campaign after they no longer had any connection to the aerospace company I think yer wrong.

      Saab is a niche vehicle maker. You are trying to apply logic to car buying. Most consumers don't.

      I work for a Honda motorcycle dealership. We have a new scooter model that we should be selling like hotcakes, the SH150i.

      It's liquid-cooled, fuel-injected and has highway (short trips, right lane) worthy 16" wheels.

      Practical as all-git-out, Euro III emission compliant, probably will return 70~75 MPG.

      Haven't sold one yet.

      "I teach Sunday School Mutherf&@#er!"-S.Colbert

      by Independant Man on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:54:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hotlanta

        Have you put ads out?

        •  Have I? (0+ / 0-)

          No, I don't pay for Honda's advertising.

          Not the point though, because people in this country don't view motorcycles & scooters as transportation the way they do in other regions of the world.

          People buy bikes as status symbols or toys here, that's why the engine displacements keep rising on cruiser models, and why some of the more efficient small engined standard & sport models popular in the European & World markets aren't offered here.

          I wish it were otherwise, both for personal and professional reasons, but it is what it is.

          "I teach Sunday School Mutherf&@#er!"-S.Colbert

          by Independant Man on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:49:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  We need a whole new system. (19+ / 0-)

    Maybe it is socialism, but whatever it is-

    And like the lumber tycoons of the early 20th century who didn't give a damn about future generations as they tore down every forest they could get their hands on,

    if those who run the capitalism show are expecting 25% returns on a new green America, we're going to keep most of the old unsustainable institutions on life support- outsourcing, low wage labor, etc. That should be called out first.

    And it would be nice to see Americans taking more control over the workplace too, why tf not? If the French can kidnap their bosses and demand better, why are we so passive?

    Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

    by borkitekt on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:57:54 AM PDT

  •  Michael, we CAN'T fight the Fascists this time... (12+ / 0-)

    ...not while they still hold 40 Senate seats.

    I'm not a Democrat, I'm a liberal. Democrats go to meetings.

    by willie horton on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 04:59:06 AM PDT

  •  I disagree with one point. (9+ / 0-)

    When GM was concentrating on manufacturing and selling gas-guzzlers in recent years, it was because consumers were buying them.  Their principle marketing mistake, it seems to me, was not diversifying their product line to include some number of smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles.  If they had had some cars like that to sell, the recent crisis would not have been so dire.  Nonetheless, the points regarding lack of quality in their products goes without saying.

    -5.13,-5.64; EVERYTHING is an approximation! -Hans A. Bethe

    by gizmo59 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:02:12 AM PDT

  •  GM - reorganized into the First Galactic Empire! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Benito, dogemperor, Hannibal

    I couldn't help myself.

    Pragmatic progressivism is the future.

    by Pragmaticus on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:02:21 AM PDT

  •  They made their own beds (12+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, the people in charge are going to end up with nice severance packages or bonuses (not that they even need it now) while the workers are going to suffer.

    If there was ever a time for a Robin Hood, it's now.

  •  Love your ideas - especially #1 (24+ / 0-)

    But the US Government bailed out Chrysler - which worked, for a while, anyway - and Chrysler paid the loan back.

    If GM would quit making $100,000 Corvettes that get 20 MPG, maybe they'd sell more cars.

    The car "culture" in this country is still in deep denial. Don't believe me? Pick up the current issue of "Car & Driver" and read the whining - and denial - about global warming and "Big Gubment" interfering with American's God-Given Rights to drive HUGE BUICKS... it's in the Constitution, ya' know.

    Losing GM should be a national security issue. We need companies like that, that can actually MAKE things - as MM pointed out, things like tanks and planes during WWII, without which, most of Europe would probably be goose-stepping and speaking German right now.

    But first, we have a lot of people in this country - again, epitomized by the folks at Car & Driver - who see nothing wrong with all of us riding alone in our 20 MPG cars while buying radar detectors so we can break the law while avoiding paying our taxes.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:08:55 AM PDT

    •  That's probably what they wrote (7+ / 0-)

      in Horse & Buggy 100 years ago. Cars will never succeed! They don't run on oats!

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:16:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't blame the "Vette! (6+ / 0-)

      The Corvette makes money and like many high performance cars has been a lab to test out today's fuel saving technology. Look at an old 'Vette and you'll see technology like low drag aerodynamics, electronic controls, disc brakes, and independent suspension that are now common on everyday cars.

      •  It's not the "car's" fault (13+ / 0-)

        But the new, $100,000 Corvette ZR1 is an answer in search of a problem. I'm sure it's a fine automobile; it's just one that's not helping the environment or GM sell cars.

        I sure couldn't afford one and even if I could, I wouldn't buy that one.

        The cover of this edition of Car and Driver reads:

        MUSTANG WINS!

        Beats Chevy + Dodge with less power!

        Also compared: High-Horsepower Roadsters!

        The Mustang/Chevy/Dodge article compares three V8 "muscle cars": The Camaro, Challenger and Mustang. Who in their right mind wants to pretend it's still 1968 and gas is .30 a gallon?

        Buried inside is a (small) article about a new VW - that may not even be sold here in the US - even though it could be - that's not a hybrid that gets 118 mpg. Is that on the cover? Noooo...

        A page or two after the VW article, we're reminded by the right-wing Car & Driver folks that the mass murderer, John Wayne Gacy drove an Olds Delta 88 and was a "political activist for the Democratic party".

        Beneath that pearl of wisdom they discuss Ed Gein - the guy that "Silence of the Lambs" was based on. They neglected to mention his political party affiliation. I wonder why?

        And don't get me started on Patrick Bedard (rhymes with... never mind) rant about how "Big Gubment" wants to make it more difficult for manufacturers to paint cars black. Why? Black absorbs heat, of course, which in turn, drives up air-conditioning use, which in turn eats gas, and dumps more carbon in the atmosphere.

        He doesn't DISPUTE this fact; he just bitches about "Big Gubment" interfering in our lives. I'm sure he was probably against seat belts and air bags, too.

        Again, I'm referring to a huge culture in this country that has a mindset that will very much get in the way of our making any progress here.... I'm not railing against Corvettes, per se.

        This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

        by Snud on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:57:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If I'm not mistaken (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rockhound, dogemperor, Snud

        Doesn't the Corvette get better gas mileage than a lot of the crap (SUVs, trucks) that GM produces...even with a big V8 engine in it.

      •  The ZR-1 actually makes money (0+ / 0-)

        and sells at over MSRP.

        So those are the cars GM should have been building instead of Cobalts that no one wants to buy except with a huge discount. So much for fuel efficient cars being what Americans want to buy.

        I think we just lost another $50B folks.

    •  I told my daughter NOT to let me buy (0+ / 0-)

      the ginormous Buick 4-door sedan when I am 75.  It kills me that "seniors" do that.  I guess they are stuck in the 60s.  

      And, oh BTW, I am technically a "senior" now.

  •  My heart goes out to those in Flint Michael (17+ / 0-)

    Having a community that once prospered under the umbrella of good Union jobs that bolstered the middle class and produced a product the country desired, it sucks to see the whole enterprise go South.   Once again, a prescient diary.  Let's hope there are better days ahead for this once thriving community.  

    ps ~ on a separate issue, wish they'd have a seat for you at the health hearings....  {{{{Thank you in abundance for all you do!!!}}}

  •  For some reason the prospect of owning GM... (15+ / 0-)

    ...is making me ask that immortal Michael Moore question:

    PETS OR MEAT?

    Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

    by GreenSooner on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:12:39 AM PDT

  •  Well said (8+ / 0-)

    I like this snatching victory from the jaws of defeat attitude. It's Tres Americain.

    And please, enough of this "We is screwed!" defeatist porn that gets regularly spewed by fake progressives pretending to be "realistic" when in reality they're just cynical pricks who've got nothing better to do than to bring everyone down with their cowardly and lazyass defeatism. You live by the motto "Life sucks and then you die"? Fine, just live it someplace else, as it's incompatible with what this site is about.

    Man I truly despise these assholes and their corrosive cynicism.

    But yeah, GM is dead, long live GM. Same goes for the US economy. We're going get out of this, and better days are ahead. And I want me some high speed trains!

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:14:56 AM PDT

  •  GM is an easy target (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, rockhound, G2geek, Kickemout, axel000

    GM did a lousy job, but this diary is off kilter in placing all the blame in GM. If they are in cahoots with the oil industry so closely, then why did the oil companies raise prices so high that it sent shock waves through the auto industry. Why didn't labor insist on Quality Improvement in the seventies? Oh each, they didn't give a crap about the customer anymore than management.

    And your solutions. Solar panels are still a bad investment with the 30% fed tax rebate. Electric cars will simply move the polution to the electric company. And trains. Yeah, that will work in the US like it does in the tiny island of Japan.

    Solar, electric cars, wind and trains ain't gonna do it. I'll tell you what will work though. Flying saucers.  

    All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; The point is to discover them. -Galileo

    by phild1976 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:16:04 AM PDT

    •  Or... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:00:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  electric cars are viable if the power comes from (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, rockhound, NoMoreLies, neroden

      climate clean sources, meaning, renewables, hydro, and nuclear.

      As far as flying saucers are concerned, the Air Force and various aircraft manufacturers such as Avro (Canada) tried to duplicate the "flying discs" that were seen all over the US in the 50s, but they were unable to produce viable aircraft so they gave up.  

    •  Electric car myth (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caelian, mojo workin, neroden

      Electric cars will simply move the polution to the electric company.

      No, according to the DOE (and pretty much every other peer-reviewed study), even on our current grid, electric cars are already cleaner.  As in 27% less CO2, 18% more PM, 31% less NOx, no significant SOx change, 93% less HCs and 98% less CO.  And these pollutants are no longer emitted at ground level in cities where the most health damage potential is.

      This is with our current grid.  How?  Well, for one, coal only makes up half of our grid.  The next biggest three power sources are nuclear (near-zero emission), natural gas (low emission), and hydro (near-zero emission).  Secondly, power plants run much more efficiently than ICE vehicles average (ICE engines peak at reasonable efficiency, but they average much lower than their peak).  

      And, to top it all off?  Gas is getting dirtier while the grid is getting cleaner.  Oil increasingly is coming from very energy-intensive means of production -- deepwater, bitumen, shale, coal liquefaction, etc.  Meanwhile, the grid is cleaning up its act.  42% of the power that we added last year was wind, and most of the rest was natural gas.

      So, in short: please stop spreading this "long tailpipe" myth.

      •  Yep -- electrics are already better (0+ / 0-)

        The astoundingly high efficiencies of electric transmission and electric motors account for much of the advantage.

        Electric cars are the way to transition to clean energy.  We've got to work on building a clean (no-coal) grid at the same time as we switch to electric cars.

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:52:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mike, you are a national treasure. (4+ / 0-)

    And an example of what college squeezes out of a lot of geniuses--whatever it is, you kept yours.  I think I've seen all your movies since Roger & Me.  You speak with unique voice, a valuable perspective on this issue, and I hope people in a position to make decisions are listening to you here.

  •  GM's demise was the fact that they didn't (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, pattyp, Jlukes, ColoTim

    mandate every employee to wear a flag lapel pin and clap louder.

    Republicans===the party of the 1% rich people in America. Or in other words..The Party of NO!

    by jalapeno on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:18:00 AM PDT

  •  Michael, I love you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamamarti, emilysdad

    Just don't show any more bunny deaths in your documentaries, okay? I have a pet bunny now.

  •  as with everything (15+ / 0-)

    change must come. If not, atrophy and death set in sooner. GM is finding this out too late. The executives who contributed to this mess should be required to forefeit their bonuses and buyout packages.

    My thoughts are with the employees, retirees and their families.

    -7.38, -5.23 I survived the Purple Tunnel of Doom, no thanks to DiFi. I will remember this, though. Ugh!

    by CocoaLove on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:19:35 AM PDT

    •  I wish I could rec this twice, CocoaLove (8+ / 0-)

      The executives who contributed to this mess should be required to forefeit their bonuses and buyout packages

      But how are we ever going to get rid of the love of money?

      And, it's not just the disgusting pigs at the top. It's also the Walmart consumer who'd rather buy five $4 T-shirts made in a far-off factory by child labor than one $20 T-shirt made in a union shop.

      It's hard to convince people that less is more.

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction -- Pascal

      by RJDixon74135 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:47:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree on the executives (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CocoaLove

      and board members, and anyone who had influence over company decisions over the last 20+ years.  

      I've been a supporter of unions all my life, but I can't engage in revisionism here.  UAW deserves a share of the blame too but not for the reason most people ascribe to them.  I have no problem with negotiating good wages and benefits.  But UAW leaders have opposed higher efficiency standards for years.  They resisted the change that was needed in the products.  They are not blameless in this.  I hope that the UAW leadership is also held accountable and that they clean out their ranks as well.

      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

      by joanneleon on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:43:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What corporate American has done is (12+ / 0-)

    UN-American.

    This country was at its best, was strongest, when we had a thriving middle class due in no small part to the unions.

    "Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this...I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over." ~ HAL

    by LuLu on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:21:05 AM PDT

    •  You make the mistake of assuming (0+ / 0-)

      modern corporate capitalism has any patriotism or nationality. They are machines for making money, no more, no less.

      Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

      by Benito on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:51:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not gonna work (11+ / 0-)

    New York to L.A. in 17 hours by train, and that we haven't used it, is criminal. Let's hire the unemployed to build the new high speed lines all over the country. Chicago to Detroit in less than two hours. Miami to DC in under 7 hours. Denver to Dallas in five and a half. This can be done and done now.

    Didn't we go through this already? No one is going to take a train from NYC to LA in 17 hours, when they can fly that far in 4 or 5.

    Japan is an entirely different country than ours. It's small, and it makes sense to zip from city to city in a fast train.

    I mean, maybe it makes sense to go from Cincinnati to Chicago in a bullet train. But let's be real; saying we should have bullet trains simply for the sake of having bullet trains doesn't make much sense, from a demand perspective.

    •  I don't think he's proposing to replace (13+ / 0-)

      air travel; just give us an option.  BTW, I'm not afraid of flying but I hate it with a passion. I suspect cattle are treated better at meat-packing plants.

      I'd love to be able to take a train across the country and "stop and smell the roses" along the way, so to speak. Not everyone needs to get somewhere yesterday.

      This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

      by Snud on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:36:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        axel000

        I've yet to see someone make an argument for cross-country rail travel that would make it better than jumping on an airplane and arriving in your destination in 4 hours.

        Sure, we'd all like to take a train across the country at some point in our lives, but the idea that it can compete on a daily basis with transportation that is three times as fast is truly wishful thinking.

        •  Since when does it take only 4-5 hours to (0+ / 0-)

          fly NYC-LAX?  That's more like 6+ hours (when flying against the jet stream) and be sure to tack on 2 hours on either end of that trip for getting in and out of the airport, and add at least 90 minutes if there is a connection.  Jet travel and all of its accompanying overhead is not really all that much faster than a bullet train.  We're talking a 10 hour journey vs a 17 hour journey.  Rail travel will have the benefit of being better integrated with other rail systems (light rail, subways, and regional systems).  How many airports in the US even have a train station nearby so that you can connect from an airplane to a train?  There is National Airport in DC, but that airport cannot support transcontinental travel.  If  you want to take that 6 hour non-stop from Washington Dulles to LAX, then you will most likely need to take a 70 minute car ride to get to the airport.

        •  some insight you have there (0+ / 0-)

          Do you also complain that a minivan doesn't get the mileage of a Prius?  That a Prius doesn't have the hauling capacity of a full sized truck?  That a full sized truck can't carry as many passengers as a minivan?

          Just because a cross country train wouldn't get you from LA to NYC as fast as a direct flight, doesn't mean it wouldn't be better than plans at everything other than cross country trips.  Add in 2 hours to get through security, a side trip to a "hub" airport like Denver or Atlanta, and a train could easily be a faster way to travel for medium to short distances.

      •  I'd use it too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Snud

        but if it ever gets built it'll be a largely private sector effort, I bet.

        P3s are the "new" thing in transportation funding.

        (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

        by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:19:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  when oil goes up to $2-300 a barrel (13+ / 0-)

      most people aren't going to be flying. might as well start laying the tracks now, like china's doing, and europe and russia already did.

      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

      by wu ming on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:37:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Look at LUV (Southwest) (6+ / 0-)

      Most of their routes are short-haul.  Trains could take over many of those routes and be competitive on time when you consider city-center to city-center travel times.

      I hads a 401K but the economy ated it.

      by nightsweat on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:46:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  First, it's cheaper (6+ / 0-)

      So, yes, some would.

      Second, you're probably right that most would still fly from L.A. to New York - but L.A. to Denver would be a different story, as would Denver to Chigaco or Chigaco to NYC.

      Crush the Horror.

      by JesseCW on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:55:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Anything under 1000 miles (0+ / 0-)

        For me that is the break even point. People toss out the phrase "5 hours from NY to LA". Not always. It took my wife 22 hours to get from San Diego to Montrose (CO). A distance of 900 miles, none of the delays were weather related. The frequent delays, cancellations and overbooking widespread in the airline industry cause me to drive unless I'm going over 1000 miles.
        Back in the day there was train service from Grand Junction to LA that all the hip cats loved as it was very scenic, cheap and comfortable.

        Greeetings! Bipedal carbon based life forms.

        by pithaughn on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 02:42:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No one? (6+ / 0-)

      Didn't we go through this already? No one is going to take a train from NYC to LA in 17 hours, when they can fly that far in 4 or 5.

      Hey, I would. Bullet trains may not have all the romance of all those 30s movies, but I love me some countryside gawking. Don't underestimate the demand for that kind of tourism, especially when such transportation will probably be fully networked. (OK, there are vast swathes of cornfields in the middle, but still.)

      •  Supply free WiFi on board, provide dining and (8+ / 0-)

        … sleeper cars again — what's not to like?

        On a train you don't have to stay belted into your seat the whole time.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:47:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  17 hours in a confined space is too much. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Predictor

          Even if you can move around, it doesn't help, especially for those who get clausterphobic.

          My longest flight was about 9 hours, from Frankfurt to Chicago, and even though the plane was big enough to get up and walk around (which I did several times throughout the flight) it was still a long, boring flight and I still felt like I was in a confined space.

          If I had the choice between a 17 hour train ride with free WiFi, dining and a sleeper car, or a 5 hour flight with none of those, I'd still opt for the plane.

          I think trains are great for regional travel. The airlines would lobby like hell against this, but I think trains should go from airport to airport. After my flight from Frankfurt, I had to wait around O'Hare for about 3 hours because my connecting flight home to St. Louis was delayed due to rain, and then the 45 minute flight to STL. If I could've hopped on a high speed rail train right there at the airport right after getting off the plane from Frankfurt and been at the airport in St. Louis 2 hours later, I would've done it in a heartbeat. Perhaps high speed rail can focus on getting people from their home city to the major airline hubs so they can take a long haul flight to wherever they need to go.

          •  Have you ever ridden Amtrak? (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Silverbird, NoMoreLies, lotlizard, CJnyc, draba

            Even though the trains are in dire need of updating, they can't possibly be considered claustrophobic. The seats are roomy and will hold large-framed people quite comfortably. You can walk around all you want in aisles that are wide enough for a full-size human being. People who ride trains seem to actually enjoy traveling and are quite friendly and willing to engage in conversation. You can get food onboard pretty much anytime from 6 a.m. to midnight at the snack counter, and the meals in the dining car are actual real meals. The porters are super friendly and helpful, and often very entertaining as well. Compare all that to air travel - everyone on the plane and in the airport looks absolutely miserable, and for good reason. I've taken two train trips from central Florida to New York City and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact I'll always opt for train over plane whenever possible. To me the train ride is not just the means to get someplace, it's part of the vacation. Americans have to get out of the "absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight" mindset.

            Does this internet make me look fat?

            by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:11:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You know what's miserable? (0+ / 0-)

            A 13-hour flight, which then gets diverted because they're running out of fuel, which then results in further delay, of course. Happens frequently on long-haul west coast flights to Asia.

            In comparison, a train journey is a very different experience. For a 17-hour trip you'd need to have a sleeper car, dining car, and entertainment options. The ability to just get up and walk around cannot be beaten, though. Sure, you can get up from time to time on a plane if there is no turbulence, but standing around the bathrooms trying to stay out of the way is not my preferred way to relax...

            Air travel is going to get more expensive, tied to the price of fuel. Not so with rail travel.

            We don't inherit the world from the past. We borrow it from the future.

            by minorityusa on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:11:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I would take the train. (0+ / 0-)

      I hate flying.

      Yes, theoretically it may take 4 or 5 hours to fly IF you are flying nonstop. Regardless of your flight, you have to get to the airport 1 or 2 hours before takeoff. Then, IF your plane is not delayed, you pack yourself in like a sardine to fly. Once you arrive at your destination, you wait for another half hour for luggage. IMHO, flying is not a very pleasant experience these days.

      BTW, travelling by train would be especially attractive if the fare was less than flying. This would be especially true for families.

    •  Other than Joe Biden (0+ / 0-)

      Does anyone regularly ride Amtrak?
      Seems like Amtrak is always teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

      •  Vicious cycle (0+ / 0-)

        The gov't has been starving Amtrak for years, so it can't afford to provide reliable transportation, so fewer people use it, so the gov't starves it some more - lather, rinse, repeat until the gov't can get away with abolishing it on the grounds of "insufficient demand".

        The cycle CAN be broken, but it has to begin with a change of attitude in government.

        Change WHO can believe in?

        by TheOtherMaven on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:33:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Bankruptcy (0+ / 0-)

        Most airlines have been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy for years, and the interstate highway system has never made a dime.  Bet everybody likes to pile on Amtrak for some reason.

  •  The best post you've written (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, liz dexic, dogemperor

    I love reading diaries that don't just list the problems, but provide realistic and intelligently thought out solutions.

    Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others.

    by tazz on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:27:34 AM PDT

  •  I am a total green, have been for (13+ / 0-)

    forty years. I think there is a long-term place for a limited number of cars and small trucks no matter what else we do about transportation. Rural people need them, the buses cannot pick everyone up in remote areas and older people are not going to walk five miles in winter with a suitcase. Landscapers are not going to carry trees and shrubs and tools to where they are going to be planted.

    Yes, do all you say and asap, but we need to assume the existence of a modest sized, environmentally responsible auto industry for the long term. It can be done compatibly with even the most stringent imaginable reductions in GHG emissions.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:28:56 AM PDT

  •  What is wrong with Socialism? (17+ / 0-)

    Sweden is Socialist and is an awesome country. I wish the USA did turn into Sweden. Sweden has one of the highest standards of living in Europe.  BTW, what have the Republicans done the last 8 years?

  •  Trains, busses, trolleys, catenaries (5+ / 0-)

    dual and triple tracking of existing rail.  Dedicated passenger rail tracks in high population centers.

    Yes, GM can.  We can import the technology from places like Japam, France, the UK and we can build it faster, better, cheaper.

    We can rebuild GM, we can rebuild America.

    "It's a gay witches for abortion party Flanders, you wouldn't be interested." - Homer Simpson

    by angry liberaltarian on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:32:30 AM PDT

  •  "Joy" is an odd choice of word (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PerfectStormer, Benito, chrome327

    not "terror"
    or "trepidation"
    maybe "ambivalence"
    "cautious optimism"
    "qualified enthusiasm"

    I'm sure the word "joy" was meant to be positive and hopeful, but comes off as more callous and detached.

    Yeah.

    I agree with stuff he said. Sure, let's do All Those Things.

    I might feel "joy" if I thought they'd happen.

    Sorry, Mike.

    See my application for a Netroots Nation scholarship. If you're inclined, I could use an endorsement.

    by Muskegon Critic on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:32:49 AM PDT

  •  looks like we've got two options (6+ / 0-)

    yours, and what really will happen.

    I like your option better, but what really will happen is any of the above (the gas tax is a total non-starter everywhere) will either be some mix of public-private partnership if it occurs at all, or it won't happen at all.

    Goodbye GM, indeed.

    (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

    by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:36:35 AM PDT

  •  See it to believe it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Hannibal, Dauphin

    America is still too individualistic for this.  

    I've been in Vienna,  Paris, Italy (Bari, Rome, Venice)  and Montenegro this month travelling on a Eurail pass.  The Americans didn't like the trains that carted them around too much.  Always bitching and complaining.   Lol Michael, don't you know your own people yet?

    the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

    by Salo on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:36:42 AM PDT

  •  One quibble (4+ / 0-)
    I keep reading this
    It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted
    from people who ought to be able to read the sales numbers and notice that GM still sells more cars than Toyota.

    C'mon Michael, let's hear how nobody wants to buy Hondas. After all, they trail GM in sales.

    "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

    by happy camper on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:37:52 AM PDT

    •  Well, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, pattyp, Hannibal

      let's hear how nobody wants to buy Hondas

      That was in the news a few days ago here in Europe with a nice picture of a huge parking lot full of CRVs (or whatever their SUV model is called.)

      Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

      by borkitekt on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:51:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So what if they trail in sales? (0+ / 0-)

      Honda and Toyota are both still very successful companies. Also, they look to the long term, unlike American car makers. Everyone laughed when Toyota started working on hybrid technology in the 80s. Well, I see Priuses all over the place now, and because the American car makers thought it was a joke, they now have to lease the hybrid technology from Toyota instead of saving money with in-house designs.

      Does this internet make me look fat?

      by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:16:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Volt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, mamamarti, JesseCW, snaglepuss

    Really looking forward to the Volt though.

  •  Are you fucking serious? (4+ / 0-)

    You're relishing the destruction of General Motors? And using flat out bullshit lies to do it?

    I knew you were dishonest from some of your "documentaries". Many of us thought documentary "Roger and Me" was aimed at forcing american industry to put the workers and their country first. Were we wrong? Was your purpose some twisted desire to destroy the US auto industry?

    This goes beyond the pale. When your cousins, nieces, nephews are working at mcdonalds wondering what state they'll move to.. will you tell them gleefully how you cheered the destruction of their future?

    FYI Toyota puts out the Rav4, the Highlander, the 4runner, the Sequoia, the FJ Cruiser and the Venza. Nissan put out the Xterra, the Pathfinder, the Armada, the Frontier and the Titan. The list goes on and on and on.

    The american car companies put out the cars americans wanted to buy. DESPITE one-sided "free trade' coupled with foreign nations both propping up their auto producers, having few or no worker and environmental laws.

    Yet we're still hearing this complete and utter bullshit about american companies "not producing cars americans want" and "producing gas guzzlers (and by inference foreign producers not doing so).

    Your dishonesty has become common knowledge despite our attempts to defend you. But now you cheer the annihilation of the US economy. Michigan is already a ghost state. Wisconsin is barely holding on. Every state in this nation has experienced devastation due to free trade and the destruction of american industry.

    And you cheer? Disgusting.

    •  Did you, you know, actually read the whole thing? (16+ / 0-)

      Because what he's cheering is the opportunity for change.

      Crush the Horror.

      by JesseCW on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:01:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For some people, most of the fun of blogs lies in (9+ / 0-)

        … the frequent occasions to display Teh Indignation.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:51:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Uh huh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ThinkFirst

        He starts the whole thing off with a gleeful tirade about GM falling. Links it to the repeated bullshit that GM wasnt producing cars america wanted even though SUV's and Trucks provided their profit margins. Implying that somehow foreign automakers DONT do this and have had no problems despite the fact foreign auto makers clone American carmakers SUV and Truck choices.

        Im tired of flat out falsehood on Dailykos and a lot of people here so happy to jump on  the bandwagon and ignore inconvenient truths. GMs problems may have been partially mismanagement but they mostly had to do with the price of gasoline quadrupling overnight.

        Its funny the website that criticises the right the hardest for doublething and living in a fact free universe has begun to cheerlead its  own false crusades.

        •  If GM had been *prepared* for the cost of gas (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          theran, zinger99, msdrown

          to triple, they wouldn't be in this mess.

          Toyota, Honda, ect. were prepared with reliable fuel effecient vehicles available to survive in the changed market - a change everyone with a brain knew was going to come.

          Now, if Moore had claimed that they didn't make gas-guzzlers as well, you'd have a case.  However, he didn't.

          Crush the Horror.

          by JesseCW on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:08:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Toyota, Honda etc (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ThinkFirst

            were and are supported by their governments. Their economic systems are Nothing like ours and there is no way major industrial companies would be allowed to fail.

            •  The loads of cash we shoveled at the big three (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theran

              to try to get them to invest in electric and hybrid cars weren't Government support?

              Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubushi, VW, ect. exploited the SUV fad and made a nice penny doing it, but they never fell into the trap of thinking that the market would not change in the future.

              GM, Chrysler, and to some extent Ford did just that.

              Crush the Horror.

              by JesseCW on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 12:56:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why don't BMW & Mercedes make hybrids? (0+ / 0-)

                Simple: they are not profitable.  Toyota lost money for years on the Prius.  GM obviously couldn't afford to lose money like Toyota could.

                •  Why don't Bentley or Rolls Royce make pickup (0+ / 0-)

                  trucks?

                  Obviously, they're not profitable.

                  Is this seriously something you thought was a "point" when you typed it?

                  Crush the Horror.

                  by JesseCW on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:44:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Maybe because they wouldn't be profitable? (0+ / 0-)

                    I doubt that a Bentley or Rolls pick-up would be profitable, but it is possible because pick-ups are profitable for ALL the American manufacturers.

                    After 10 years in production, Toyota is finally projecting a profit for its 3rd gen Prius:

                    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (TM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will build batteries for its hybrids in North America eventually, as part of a plan to drive down the production costs of fuel-efficient models like its top-selling Prius.

                    As part of that strategy, Toyota expects that its next-generation Prius will have a profit margin close to that of a traditional sedan like the Corolla, a senior executive said on Friday.

                    "We reduced costs of hybrid systems for the current Prius by 50 percent from the first generation," Vice Chairman Kazuo Okamoto said on Friday at a presentation to financial analysts and reporters in New York.

                    "For the next-generation Prius, we will be able to cut costs by another half, so I think we've been able to ensure profitability will be similar to regular vehicles, such as the Corolla," Okamoto said.

                    •  Please re-read your reference. (0+ / 0-)

                      As part of that strategy, Toyota expects that its next-generation Prius will have a profit margin close to that of a traditional sedan like the Corolla, a senior executive said on Friday.

                      It's been profitable for most of its history -- just not as profitable as other Toyota sedans.  Now it's as profitable as their other sedans and they're being moved in good volume.  They just ordered the expansion of annual production from 400k to 500k.

                      •  You think Corolla has a big profit margin? (0+ / 0-)

                        Toyota makes big money on their big cars, SUVs, minivans and trucks in America, just like GM.

                        Prius wouldn't have sold at all in the beginning without the big tax credit it got from the government and even then it didn't sell until gas prices hit $3/gal when they were lying about getting 60 mpg.

                        Why doesn't Prius offer a plug-in hybrid that would actually be more fuel efficient than a diesel?

                        •  Oh please (0+ / 0-)
                          1. They weren't lying about anything.  They were rated on the EPA's drivecycles, just like every other vehicle.  It just so happened that those drivecycles were poor and tended to favor hybrids better.  How is that Toyota's fault.
                          1. Your claim that they weren't making a profit until now is simply false.  You can try to change the subject all you want, but that won't make your claim true.  How much profit is on sedans versus other vehicles is not what was being discussed.  And exactly how much profit do you want them to make on a sedan?  Are you really going to require that a hybrid make an SUV's worth of profit on a sedan before you consider that worthwhile?  

                          They're making a healthy sedan's worth of profit on a sedan, and moving 500,000 units a year.  I find it amazing that you're trying to turn this into a negative for Toyota.

                          •  Until the 3rd gen, Prius was a negative (0+ / 0-)

                            in profitability.  In political correctness, it was a huge plus.  That is where GM failed, thanks to fools who believe in propaganda instead of facts.

                            Gee, I wonder if Toyota took the EPA's 60 mpg claim and relentlessly advertised it as fact?  Only a fool would have believed that nonsense and Toyota was sued by consumers who were deceived.  Looks like you still believe it.

                          •  False (0+ / 0-)

                            Until the 3rd gen, Prius was a negative in profitability

                            I just corrected you on that, and showed where you screwed up in the interpretation of your own source, and you're still repeating it!  They weren't making as much as their other sedans were making, but it was still a profit.  A solid one, too -- about $3,100 per car.  That's over a billion dollars of profit per year.

                            Will you please stop repeating this completely false nonsense about the Prius not making a profit?  You're repeating George Will talking points.

                            Gee, I wonder if Toyota took the EPA's 60 mpg claim and relentlessly advertised it as fact?

                            Well, wouldn't you?  Wouldn't GM, if the shoe was on the other foot?  If you're handed a gem on a golden platter...

                            Looks like you still believe it.

                            Which is why I said "It just so happened that those drivecycles were poor"?  Come on.  You're mad.  I get it.  Take your rage out on someone else.

                          •  "Treehugger" News is your source? (0+ / 0-)

                            Gee, I wonder if that could be biased?

                            And they admittedly left out all the R&D costs.  How convenient.

                            You are delusional.

                          •  They're quoting the Nikkei, genius (0+ / 0-)

                            The original article is in Japanese and behind a pay wall.

                            The R&D costs were only $1B.  They make that up in a single year's sales.

                          •  So the actual source is unavailable (0+ / 0-)

                            and we just have to trust whatever Treehugger says.  Yeah, that sounds about right.

                            Only $1B huh?  Sounds pretty cheap for an entirely new, radically different vehicle with a powertrain that has never been engineered before.  Is Treehugger your source for that number too?

                          •  You're freaking ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

                            You want me to pay a subscription fee to a Japanese newspaper so I can prove that the Nikkei article says what was been reported on dozens of sites before the article went behind a pay wall.  You have to be one of the most unreasonable people I've ever debated.  Toyota's been saying that they've been making a profit since 2001, but no, it's all a big conspiracy; believe whatever the f*** you want.

                          •  I want you to admit the truth (0+ / 0-)

                            And the TRUTH IS THAT TOYOTA HAS NEVER REVEALED ITS DEVELOPMENT COSTS FOR PRIUS.

                            In fact, there is credible evidence that the Japanese government paid for much of the development costs:

                            Jim Press worked for Toyota in the U.S. a total of 37 years.  In a recent Business Week article. Press claimed that the Japanese government paid for 100% of the development of battery and hybrid system of the Prius, an advantage that U.S. automakers don't receive from their government.

              •  um (0+ / 0-)

                Toyota honda nissan et al have new models of SUV coming out for 2009. And they have a model range similar to that of the american automakers.. they just arent as popular. They didnt "fall into the trap" of that market because they couldnt compete in those markets.

                And i dont think you really know the kind of interrelationship that exists in Japan et al between government and the interlocking megacorps.

                •  I don't know why you think they're relevant (0+ / 0-)

                  or why you keep flogging a strawman.

                  No one said, or is saying, that foreign automakers have not made and are not making SUVs.  

                  They weren't stupid enough to build their entire business model around them.

                  I really don't get why that's hard for you to fathom.

                  Crush the Horror.

                  by JesseCW on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:46:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  GM builds many conventional cars (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cdreid

                    In fact, GM builds more conventional cars than Toyota and Honda combined, many of which, i.e., Malibu, CTS, G8, are superior in their class.

                    Americans are not interested in them, however, because our national sport for many years has been to bash GM.  Maybe now that we own it, that sport will end.

                    GM cars are very popular in China where Buick is a best seller.  GM can't give away Buick cars here.

                    •  That's because GM has way too many models, period (0+ / 0-)

                      They have too many cars that look and perform just like each other, limiting their sales per model.  I mean, they could just as well create 300 models that get good mileage and sell one of each, but that wouldn't mean anything.

                      The reality is that GM lead the way in destroying the ZEV mandate, and then unlike its Japanese competitors, abandoned electric drive and other high-mileage techs completely.  This despite their model glut.  They all produce sedans, trucks, and SUVs, but it's the fact that the Big Three seemed to revel in the explicit elimination of fuel-efficient tech (the future) and in embracing guzzlers (14 of the top 20 best-selling SUVs, plus GM's guzzler poster-child Hummer) that annoys most people.  It also ruined GM's image in terms of technological superiority -- they basically handed that over to the Japanese, which helps them sell even their non-advanced vehicles better.

                      •  Oh good lord (0+ / 0-)

                        you people are just irrational. If an american company produces SUV's and Trucks theyre "not making what americans want!" .. even though those are the best selling highest profit vehicles. If an american company gets federal help theyre "weak and should disappear because they cant compete with foreign automakers". When the foreign automakers are pointed out to have ongoing state support  its all good because... i lost track of the rationalisations. When Toyota copies GM's truck and car lineup theyre "efficient and competing in the market but theyre not successful so that means theyre smart".  When GM hits the same niches toyota does therye "producing too many models". The rationales are getting to be round the bend.

                        Each and every one of you posting this blather will feel the pain. Directly and personally. You have no idea how reliant on the auto industry every facet of the US Economy is.

                        •  First off, "you people"? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          cdreid

                          How about you start by addressing the arguments I'm actually making rather than arguments a fictional stereotype of who you think I am is making?

                          If an american company produces SUV's and Trucks theyre "not making what americans want!"

                          Who on Earth makes that argument?  That's some twisted inverse of the Big Three's main argument: "We're just making what people want!"  The standard counter to that isn't "Nuh uh!"; it's, "No, you're putting way more money into promoting your low-mileage vehicles because they have a profit margin.

                          weak and should disappear because they cant compete with foreign automakers

                          That's an argument you may here a lot on FreeRepublic.com, but almost never over here.  Seriously, why did you pick me to take your rage with people like that on?  Simply because I had something negative to say?  What do you want, want me to recant and say the Big Three made no mistakes and were absolutely flawless?

                          When GM hits the same niches toyota does therye "producing too many models"

                          They are.  They have 26 freaking passenger sedans right now.  Toyota has 8.  GM has as many brands as Toyota has sedans.  They way overextended themselves; if you can't see this, you're blind.

                      •  True, Toyota and Honda were smarter (0+ / 0-)

                        at exploiting the "green" marketing mania that is now everywhere.

                        But GM produced some high tech cars that Toyota doesn't have even now: the direct injection turbo intercooled 4 cyl that produces 260 hp and 28mpg in the Solstice and Sky.  How cool were those cars?  But they are now just history despite being the best performers in the small sports car segment.

                        Has anyone else produced a ZEV in volumes and at prices under $100K?  No, it is not feasible.  GM's new electric Volt gets 100 mpg, double what the Prius gets, so how can you say GM "abandoned" electrics?

                        The Hummer H3 gets BETTER mileage than any V8 SUV from Toyota, Nissan, Volvo, VW, Audi or any other "green" manufacturer.  If GM put a diesel in it, the H3 would be the best in its class in fuel economy.  

                        But so what. Nobody cares about the facts when propaganda against GM is so much more fun to spew.  Problem is, YOU now own GM so maybe you should stop dissing it.

                        •  And yet... (0+ / 0-)

                          But GM produced some high tech cars that Toyota doesn't have even now: the direct injection turbo intercooled 4 cyl that produces 260 hp and 28mpg in the Solstice and Sky

                          And yet, they were both money losers.  GM cancelled the next Solstice and the entire Saturn brand.  You're not going to get tech credit these days for putting out a gas supercar.  Perhaps an electric supercar, but GM let themselves fall way behind on electric tech.  They may turn that around now; we'll have to wait and see.

                          Has anyone else produced a ZEV in volumes and at prices under $100K?

                          Plenty of companies produced ZEVs not in volumes at prices under $100K.  And volumes make vehicles cheaper, not more expensive.

                          No, it is not feasible.

                          That's simply wrong.  Even the Tesla Roadster's battery pack is under $20k.  A typical 100-mile BEV has a pack that costs under $10k.  And that's at current, non-mass-production prices. Th!nks are on sale for far under $100k, as are the F3DM, and they'll be joined in a month or two by the Mitsubishi MiEV.

                          GM's new electric Volt gets 100 mpg, double what the Prius gets

                          Only as far as the EPA is concerned, with a contrived measuring metric.  In terms of gas consumption when operating on gasoline, the Volt is just a touch less efficient than the 2010 Prius.  The difference is that it also has an electric-only mode.

                          so how can you say GM "abandoned" electrics?

                          They did abandon electrics.  They fought tooth and nail against the ZEV mandate, and cut every last bit of electrification from every marque in their stable, while their Japanese competitors simply switched to small pack (hybrid) electric vehicles.  And this remained the status quo for years until GM realized what a disaster this strategy was and how far they had fallen behind in an increasingly important market, and has since rushed to play catchup.

                          Now, with the Volt program, they really do have a chance.  The Volt is better than Toyota's upcoming plug-in offerings (the parallel, 10-mile plug-in Prius and a small BEV city car), way better than Honda's (they're only working on an electric motorcycle), better than Subaru's (a small BEV city car), and about on par with Mitsubishi's (the impressive MiEV electric kei car).  But it's an indisputable fact that they let themselves fall way behind on electrics for years, after developing a rather impressive EV tech portfolio under the ZEV mandate that they completely failed to leverage.

                          The Hummer H3 gets BETTER mileage than any V8 SUV from Toyota, Nissan, Volvo, VW, Audi or any other "green" manufacturer

                          Yeah, cheer on a 16mpg vehicle why don't you.  The fact that that's the greenest vehicle in that marque is just embarrassing.

                          If GM put a diesel in it, the H3 would be the best in its class in fuel economy.

                          Diesels of equivalent power generally get about 30% better mileage than their non-hybrid counterparts, although that comes with worse emissions (yes, worse emissions -- random example, point to a single SULEV diesel -- there are barely any LEVs, and those require extreme measures), and almost half of that mileage difference is simply due to the fact that diesel is a denser fuel (i.e., there's more oil in that gallon and burning that gallon emits more CO2).  But even ignoring all of that, it'd hardly be impressive.  For example, with the seats down, it has 55 cubic feet of cargo space.  The RAV4 has 73 cubic feet with the seats down and gets 25mpg, gasoline.

                          Problem is, YOU now own GM so maybe you should stop dissing it.

                          Problem is, YOU are being hypersensitive and unable to hear any criticism of a company that was run into the bloody ground by an incompetent management team, who did make some awful decisions, and so you lash out at anyone who points this stuff out, automatically assuming that anyone who has anything negative to say views GM as an irredeemable devil that can do no right and wants to see everyone who works it it out of a job.

                          Let me reiterate, in case your knee-jerk rage blinded to you to the section: I think that the Volt could put GM ahead of its Japanese competitors for the most part, and that they're finally taking steps to lean themselves down, eliminate brand duplication, and in general become a more efficient, profitable company.  But simply because I pointed out what they did to run themselves into the ground and their previous neglect of environmental technology, both of which are indisuputable facts (they are in bankruptcy and they did fight the hardest to overturn the ZEV mandate and then completely abandoned electric drive, unlike their competitors), you're probably not even going to hear that first part, are you?

                          •  Try taking a RAV 4 off road (0+ / 0-)

                            I have said several times here that GM's management sucked because they were too inbred.  Even so, they made some great vehicles that outperformed Toyotas and Hondas.

                            Why don't you compare the H3 to the FJ Cruiser, which doesn't even have 4WD standard?  Oh yeah, that would be a fair comparison so forget it.

                    •  See we just dont understand (0+ / 0-)

                      that anythign American companies do makes them weak and evil. When the foreign automakers do it, it makes them strong and good! IOKIFAFCC.

                  •  BTW Jesse (0+ / 0-)

                    Isuzus only successful american models are.. wait for it.. SUV's and Trucks. And noone "built a business model" around "suv's and trucks". They built a business model around selling cars, trucks and SUV's. Americans preferred the trucks and SUV's until the New "energy crisis" scared the hell out of americans and they started going for econoboxes. Then you may have noticed the depression that stopped everyone from buying cars. Including foreign made cars. But for some reason its ok that their nations support them. That makes them strong! But if america supports its industry... its a mistake because theyre eeeeyvil.
                    The inncomprehensable need to defend moores dishonesty and foolishness is goiing way off the deep end.

            •  Toyota was saved by the U.S. Army (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cdreid

              In 1950, Toyota was bankrupt and on the verge of collapse.  Then the Korean war broke out and the U.S. Army ordered 5,000 trucks from Toyota for the war.  That order saved Toyota.

          •  Oh really? (0+ / 0-)

            Toyota lost more money than GM last quarter and fired all their top managers.

            That's the real difference: when management fails in Japan they are done.

        •  Feel free to go, then! (0+ / 0-)
    •  I'm sorry, but... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, snazzzybird, lams712

      Asimoov?

    •  Why read, when being a "Michael Moore (7+ / 0-)

      hater" is really more important?

      Your post is typical right wing bullshit, right from Rush Limbaugh's playbook.

      Take one sentence out of context, and turn it into a personal attack.

      Congratulations on the two idiotic uprates, too.

      Impressive.

    •  Corrolla, Camry, Civic, Accord - Piss Off n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk
      •  I drive an 11 year old Civic (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, JohnnySacks, sethyeah

        with 220K miles on it and my last fill up I went 405 miles on 10 gallons of gas. I typically get 38 to 42 MPG on a tank, and drive both in town and on the highway. It's got a sun roof, it's got plenty of acceleration [if I want it].

        I bought the car second hand: don't buy new cars.

        But if I could have found an American car that came close, I would have bought it. I looked, hard. We own two Dodge Caravans in the family as well, and I like them just fine. But the Civic is the one that gets driven the most, with the price of gas as it is.
         

        •  The price of gas is the point (0+ / 0-)

          Americans CHOSE to drive gas guzzlers. That isnt the auto companies fault. They respond to the market. When gasoline broke 4 bucks a gallon suddenly noone wanted those trucks, suv's and luxury cars anymore. Japan, China et al have a system where the government supports its exporting companies. We only support exporting jobs. Moore and his ilk seem to have a hatred for the american auto industry that is fact free and foolish.

        •  No-Brainers (0+ / 0-)

          Nobody ever made a mistake by buying Accord, Civic, Corrolla, or Camry and never will.  All the time GM, Ford, and Chrysler were playing musical models, the engineering powerhouses of Honda and Toyota were focused with pinpoint accuracy on improving those 4 models over the course of two decades.

          I can still by an un-airconditioned manual transmission Accord or Camry for just under $20,000.  Try that for a similar model at any of the big three.

          •  GM , Ford, and Chrysler (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rockhound, Sam I Am

            were focused on what the market wanted. Trucks and Suv's. They didnt do too bad with the Mustang, Camaro, Transam either. Whom btw the Japanese are still trying to compete with and cant. By the same token you're correct they have a hard time competing with those particular cars though the escort was doing pretty well for a while it seemed like.

            •  Camaro, Taurus, Escort - All Killed (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cdreid, sethyeah

              I beg to differ.  What the market wanted was Camry/Accord, Civic/Corrolla.  Every bit as much as the market wanted SUVs.

              I give Ford huge credit for the effort put into improving Mustang, but they blew it in major league typical fashion by ignoring Taurus and Escort.  Those two models should have been Ford's Accord and Civic, not an afterthought in favor of Explorer/Expedition.

              GM's support of Camaro/Trans-AM was pathetic, both models a sick joke.  Only now is Camaro being resurrected into what it should have been 5 years ago.

              Finally Cadillac get's its shit together with the CTS, again, day late and dollar short after their pathetic Catera joke (Cimarron phase II).  Contrast that with Acura, Lexus, Infinity, BMW, Audi (where the hell are so many people getting the money to by all the Audis?)

              •  I disagree somewhat (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JohnnySacks

                In the car market most automakers seem insane. The mustang is.. theres nothing like it on the road period. Chrysler did good with the PT Cruiser. Chevy hit it out of the park with the NEW Corvette. And the Camaro/Transam seem to have been made into "family sports cars" (my mustang will leave them sitting). But those are All Niche cars. You're so right on the Escort and Taurus should have been their showmodels. A sportier escort and less bland taurus would have cleaned up. It blows my mind cadillac is still in business. But remember what vehicle probably kept them that way. Not an economy car.

                My point in the original post is that this whole diary and the talking points are completely reality averse. Yes american automakers should have competed hard in the economy + efficiency market. They didnt and blew the foreign automakers out of the water in the Truck/SUV market. But Moore and others are ignoring all the realities and charging on under a banner of falsehoods. Exxon has a hell ofa lot more to do with GM's failure than Toyotas (State backed) 'business skills'. And it really pisses me off after seeing plant after plant shut down in michigan to see this bullshit and the wingnutty "its the unions fault" bullshit spread. We used to be the reality based community.

        •  And I drive a 15 year old Buick. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cdreid

          So your anecdotal bullshit is as pointless as mine.

  •  GM's arrogance was boundless (12+ / 0-)

    It takes a lot of capital to get a new car into production. You only have to look at the new car/SUV/light truck models introduced by GM over the last 10 years to know where they are coming from. They just never got the message. Camry has been the best selling US model for a long time. All GM execs had to do was rent a Camry, evaluate it and decide how to build a better car, or the Prius, or the Civic or the FIT or the Yaris ...... But no, they gave us bigger SUVs, cross-overs, retro cartoon cars and a new Camaro. And Michael is right, they fought every safety innovation that came along, they responded to gas mileage by claiming that it was too expensive and the cars were unsafe, instead of engineering lighter, high-mileage cars that were even safer than their lead mobiles.

    I'm speaking as a GM buyer. All three of the cars in my driveway are GM, and my family always bought GM cars. No more, if they aren't officially dead, they are dead to me, until, or maybe if, they are reborn as a responsive, responsible automobile company.

  •  About Those Bullet Trains - (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor, JeffW, chrome327, axel000

    I hatez to tell you Michael, but those bullet trains you are talking about will be be tough to come by technologically since Pullman and Budd - the largest builders of passenger rail cars - went under long before GM.

    Pullman - once the by-word for quality rail travel - once so powerful that it had its own company town south of Chicago - sold off its last assets to Bombardier of Canada in 1987.

    Budd - famous for its shining, stainless-steel streamlined cars - was bought out by Thyssen-Kripp in 1978 and phased out railcar construction.  Budd's manufacturing center in Philadelphia - now gone - was a major regional employer will all of the subsidiary employment associated with auto manufacturing.

  •  I'm with you, except (6+ / 0-)

    for the $2 per gallon gasoline tax. I have no choice but to drive to work, and a $2 per gallon tax would be devastating.

    "Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow." --Bill in Portland, Maine

    by ubertar on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:48:56 AM PDT

  •  $2 tax on gas!? Are you freaking crazy!? (9+ / 0-)

    Nothing would delight the wingnuts more thatn an incredibly unpopular, painful Democratic intiated tax. Any chance for real change woulsd die the day Obama annoucenced as would our control of government.

    Sorry, Mike; I like every other idea but that one.

  •  Intracity Elevated Covered Bikeways (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Benito, pattyp, draba

    Think "glorified gerbil tubes" -- accessible via elevator or ramp -- for bicycles and zero-emission (electric) small vehicles only.

    Put them over all existing primary and secondary roads within and between cities and their suburbs.

    They will reduce pollution, promote health, lower costs, provide many local jobs, and make commuting joyful again.

    I know the special interests and lobbyists are gearing up for a fight as we speak.
    My message to them is this: So am I -- President Barack Obama

    by Jimdotz on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:56:05 AM PDT

  •  Nothing wrong with cars its the gasoline engine. (6+ / 0-)

    that is the threat.  Climate change, air and water pollution, $500B a year oil trade deficit, $3T spent on oil wars, terrorism from oil foreign policy.

    The only conversion possible at GM is same "conversion" of Toyota or Honda or Subaru, build cars that people want to buy now while pushing the technological envelope. Honda has 150 hydrogen powered fuel cell cars running around LA.

    Someone suggested giving Telsa Motors the money used for GM and letting them build 5M all electric cars.

  •  How terribly sad (13+ / 0-)

    That we seem to be the only industrialized country that even has to debate this stuff.

    Converting to a renewable-energy economy should be the easiest decision this country has ever made.

    I truly fear that the greedy and the stupid are going to take the rest of us down with them.

    They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time. -- Brian Fantana

    by IndyScott on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:57:54 AM PDT

  •  Buses don't always work... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethyeah

    ...out in the hinterland, Mr. Moore. I know: I grew up in the city (Chicago,IL), and will be retiring to a farm near Orangeville, IL. There will still be a need for automobiles, but the question is where will the people out in the country buy them? And who will build them? And what will they run on? Don't be so quick with the joy, though I will grant you a couple of big "I told you so's".

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:57:57 AM PDT

  •  Spot On M. Moore. Thank You n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement. Alfred Adler

    by Hamsun on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:01:41 AM PDT

  •  Lovers of NAFTA & WTO won't listen, Mike... (8+ / 0-)

    they think we are being "protectionists".  I say protecting places like Flint is not anything to be ashamed of.

    "You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement." President Barack Obama

    by Jack Dublin on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:02:55 AM PDT

  •  I'm very angry. (5+ / 0-)

    Where is the shame? Where is the remorse? Has one single executive taken more than five seconds to express public regret about their involvement with the downfall of this company? -- Not that I know of.

    What can government do in the future to encourage better outcomes for any of the so called "too big to fail" companies?

    If there is no shame, no public examination or investigation, why wouldn't we expect the same outcomes for the next group of "too big to fails"?

    Just wondering out loud....

    I think. Therefore I O'Bama.

    by MarkMarvin on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:04:48 AM PDT

  •  Michael Moore, CEO General Motors - hmmmm (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MackInTheBox, Detroit Mark, borkitekt

    What do you think, Michael?  You know the company's history of disaster better than anyone with an MBA, and you know the workers who would have to rebuild the brand and the company.  Obama could do a lot worse than to trust you with securing a return on America's investment in GM.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" - Abraham Lincoln

    by LondonYank on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:05:29 AM PDT

  •  Sorry Mike (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alkatt, OLinda, Hannibal, sethyeah

    All a two dollar tax per gallon of gasoline will do is get people to switch their vote to Republican, ensuring the rest of your agenda will never come to pass.

    The rest of your plan sounds great, though.

    Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

    by Whimsical on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:15:16 AM PDT

  •  Dude, stop slandering the French re: Maginot line (13+ / 0-)

    Mr. Moore, you're uncritically repeating a historical falsehood that has become "common knowledge", just like the "knowledge that Ronnie Reagaon was a great President.

    Here's the deal: in WWI, France suffered absolutely apocalyptic casualties; literally millions of young men killed. It effectively wiped out an entire generation of French manpower, and grossly depressed France's birth rate for decades. France was faced with a re-arming Germany possessing twice the population, with an even greater disparity in military-age population. They hadn't a prayer of winning a direct contest with Germany as of 1938-1940.

    The Maginot line was a sensible, even humane attempt by the French military to compensate for their weakness in manpower. The goal was to minimize French casualties by protecting her troops within strong fortifications. And, broadly speaking, this worked; French casualties among fortress troops were quite low, and the Germans made essentially no attempt to assault the main forts of the Maginot line.

    Unfortunately for France, her Army's leadership in 1940 was incompetent to the point of criminality. Gamelin's strategy to deal with an attack by charging deep into Belgium was risky to the point of folly, but it was driven by an understandable attempt to avoid another disastrous and destructive war on French soil. The German attack through blind chance hit the weakest and most incompetently led division in the entire French army, and the invading Germans were beneficiaries at all stages of their assault of impossibly good luck.

    •  Excellent point. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor, snaglepuss

      Because the Germans did not attack the Line, and the French did not attack Germany while the Wehrmacht was fighting in Poland, German soldiers on the Western Front jokingly referred to the conflict as the Sitzkrieg.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:34:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A French apologist... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Virginian in Spain

      I never thought I'd see.  The Maginot line was all politics all the time.  It had nothing to do with worrying about manpower shortages.  At the start of WW II they had the largest standing army in Europe.  Not only did France break their economy on the Maginot Line, they failed to complete it.  And, as you accurately pointed out, their military leadership had no idea about modern warfare.  Von Klauswitz and Guderian had already published books about warfare that was mechanized and ruthless.  The French could have read those, but didn't.  The rest, as they say, is history.

      "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

      by dolfin66 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:26:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just not so, my friend. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, dogemperor, dolfin66

        Plenty of French officers were very well versed in mechanized warfare theory. DeGaul wrote a prominent book on the subject. Unfortunately they were not influential enough within the tradition-bound French Army. Moreover, all of this was just theory as of August 1939; no one in any nation had any idea of how armored/mechanized warfare would actually work in practice, least of all the Germans. They were as suprised as the French at their success. Clauswitz, FYI, wrote in the 1800's about military theory and was not especially relevant to mechanized warfare per se.

        As far as the "largest standing army" goes, this was misleading to say the least. Upon mobilization, Germany's army was rather bigger, and more modern in many ways, since they didn't have to deal with WWI legacy equipment. And German reserves were far, far larger; and Germany had the luxury of calling up those reserves on their own timetable for their invasion. The cost of the Maginot fortifications was considerable, but France spent lots more in their frantic attempt to rearm with modern planes and tanks circa 1938-1940, tragically about 1 year too late.

        The French were fatally hamstrung by their late start in re-arming. Their mechanized divisions had never trained as cohesive units; most of their modern anti-tank guns were still in their packing crates, troops never trained in their use. This had far more to do with the catastrophically short-sited pacifism of the initial Popular Front government of the mid 1930s, which was far too slow to recognize the mortal threat of the re-arming Germany.

        As an aside, not all French generals were feckless. The commander of the French DCS mechanized divisions that advanced into Belgium, General Proulx, was extremely competent and tactically defeated his German opponent. Unfortunately Gamelin's stodgy incompetence and the German breakthrough in the Ardennes made this irrelevant.

        •  Well.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Virginian in Spain

          we're circling the same point.  Yes, the French invented tanks.  The Renault company made this behemoth that barely moved, but worked.  Yes, I know Klauswitz wrote in the 19th century.  Guderian put his ideas to work as the father of mechanized warfare.  Yes, DeGaulle read that stuff.  Yes, the Germans were surprised at their success because they expected more from the French.  The French's late start at rearming was caused by the lack of money because it was spent of the Maginot Line among other distractions.  France's airforce in 1939 was superior in numbers and type to the German Luftwaffe.  What the French lacked was the will to believe that they were next on the list.

          Gamelin should have been put in a retirement home long before 1939.  DeGaul at that time had no where near the gravitas to challenge central command strategy.

          You sound like someone with whom I'd enjoy debating WW II history.  I also build WW II scale aircraft models from antique balsa kits.

          "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

          by dolfin66 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:08:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Read "Strange Victory" by Ernest R. May. (3+ / 0-)

            This quirky but incisive book details exactly why France collapsed under the Nazi assault in 1940, and what an unlikely tragedy it was. The passage of time has tended to make the French defeat seem inevitable, but careful analysis says otherwise. French society was no less prepared for war than English; they were simply undone by battlefield defeat that Britain was spared by geography. And the defeat was utterly random, rather than preordained. Yes, Gamelin was a doddering fool, and Weygand scarcely any better. Yet the French were everywhere victims of astonishingly bad luck, while the Germans had far better luck than they deserved. Any one of a dozen alternate decisions on both sides would have changed the outcome. May's book consciously recalls the original revisionist history of France's collapse, Strange Defeat, written by Marcel Bloch in occupied France during WWII. Bloch personally knew most of the principals, so it's almost required reading.

            Also well worth reading is Julian Jackson's The Fall of France, which has more social/political context and is a bit more conventional.

    •  No. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird, neroden, FuddGate

      True, few French troops manning the Line were killed, but that's missing the point.  The French invested a good portion of their defense budget in something that failed to do what it was intended to do--deter a German attack.  Not because it was poorly built, but because it wasn't designed with the realities of modern warfare in mind.

      Makes it a great analogy for GM's SUV obsession.  SUVs are great for taking the family through a trackless wilderness.  For commuting in a world with $4 gasoline, not so much.  And most of us commute a lot more than we off-road.

      •  Yep, this is accurate. (0+ / 0-)

        What with Germany having invaded through Belgium in World War I, a competent French government would have built their defense lines assuming that Germany might do the same thing again.

        They didn't.

        That's equivalent to GM's failure to notice trends even after they're well underway.

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:58:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This was a tragic political decision. (0+ / 0-)

          Two generations of French politicians agonized over this question. Extending the Maginot line along the French/Belgian border was seen as

          1. a de-facto decision to abandon Belgium to the Germans, or
          1. an assumption that Belgium was an enemy of France.

          Both were felt to be politically & diplomatically unacceptable. French strategy instead was to cooperate with the Belgian government in the hopes that French mechanized forces could advance quickly on the outset of war into Belgium to halt the Germans far away from French soil. Unfortunately this risky strategy was undone, partly by feckless and inconsistent Belgian leadership, which refused any formal cooperation with France as "provocative to Germany" before the war. The catastrophic failure of the French army to effectively defend the Ardennes was the tragic lynchpin of their collapse.

    •  Um, France's army should've (0+ / 0-)

      built the Maginot line right along the Belgian border too.  I mean, seriously, the Germans invaded through Belgium in World War I; it was criminally stupid to assume they wouldn't do so again.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 05:57:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If only we could say goodbye GS... (6+ / 0-)

    I think it's worth remembering how differently we're treating the car companies from the finance companies.

    I would offer one commentary on the responsiveness of GM, though. I think a lot of these critiques that go around are still stuck in the 1970s and 1980s, and/or don't take into account the public policy environment of movement conservatism.

    Its executives arrogantly ignored the "inferior" Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the corporation.

    These two sentences are quite at odds with one another. The first is from decades ago, while the second is what's necessary to compete with the first. The Asian car manufacturers in particular did the first sentence by doing the second sentence. They moved into southern states where they could hire nonunion workers and receive welfare payments from states controlled by Republicans happy to give taxpayer money to big companies (after all, that's how less educated regions of the world with poorer infrastructure attract investment; they underbid the wages and offer to use taxpayer money to support the project. That's been happening in the south, attracting northern industry, since long before Nike got famous for outsourcing sweatshop labor to Indonesia to make sneakers).

    GM deserves its fate, absolutely. My personal feelings are that we should let bankrupt companies go bankrupt. But it's really not because Honda and Toyota and Kia and Hyundai and whomever are better car manufacturers today than GM. It's in large part because GM is too invested in the US. They have too much capacity, too much labor, too much equipment, in industrialized, urbanized parts of the country. What they can't compete with are government-subsidized, non-union plants in the rural south. So, it's particularly ironic to then lambast GM for 'lopping off thousands of workers'. When Kentucky and Georgia and Alabama and South Carolina and so forth are openly throwing taxpayer dollars at foreign car companies to build plants in the middle of nowhere, well, how do you compete with that?

    I think one of the most interesting developments in the auto industry is that there are no more national car companies in the developed world. They're all global companies; they all have partnerships and subsidiaries in each others' markets. If we want a (non-military) manufacturing base in this country, we need things like single payer health insurance, a real minimum wage, and EFCA. Individual firms are no longer powerful enough to set the tone by themselves; it has to happen at the federal level, particularly when state and local governments are then left to play the game of who can offer the biggest incentive.

  •  You don't need internal combustion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Jlukes

    to make out in the back seat, or to go to A&W. We can still drive cars without the gasoline engine. The sooner the better.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:18:45 AM PDT

  •  General Motors, the anti-Henry Ford (11+ / 0-)

    Ford Motor Company may have its faults too, but one thing old Henry understood from the very beginning was, in order for his company to succeed he needed people who could afford to buy its product and wanted to buy its product. He made durable, inexpensive cars and trucks and paid his employees well enough to include them in the customer pool.

    Contrast that with the union-busting tactics the auto industry has used to bludgeon its workforce over the past thirty years. It's a wonder there is any brand loyalty in Detroit at all...

    •  That's what amazes me most (6+ / 0-)

      about our buccaneer style of capitalism. Workers have been so beaten down and sucked dry that, in many cases, they can't even afford to buy the products that (1) their factory makes (in those few cases where factories still make things in the US) or (2) their store sells.

      Say what you will about Henry Ford (and we all know there's plenty of negative stuff to be said about him) but he understood that his product wouldn't sell unless people could afford it- most of all the people who made it. I see no way that "America" can continue when that simply concept no longer applies.

    •  you are so right. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      John H, neroden

      When I was a kid, I knew many blue collar families who bought a new car every three years or so. They could afford the payments and got buying incentives through the car companies. The steel, tire, and auto workers had some of themselves in each car built.
      Now a new car can cost as much as a modest house. The parts come from overseas...even the cars are from overseas.
      I bought my first AMC car, new, $3K, at 19 - haven't bought a new car since.

  •  Gotta Hand it to Michael Moore (12+ / 0-)

    He foresaw what would happen to GM back when he did Roger and Me.

    Some people, who use facts to back up their position, simply are intelligent enough to see down the line.

    My dad was one who saw it too before he passed away, he saw GM as not doing what it needed to stay alive and compete against foreign cars, he saw that Reaganomics would hurt the little guy and that trickle-down would not happen and he knew that Bush & Company would invade Iraq before his first term was up.

    Michael Moore has that kind of insight or should I say, foresight to see that actions eventually have consequences.

    Oh, been missing my dad lately.

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:26:04 AM PDT

  •  Just a small quibble: (4+ / 0-)

    It won't be the people fighting each other for petrol. The whole point of Western colonial adventures of recent years was to ensure plentiful oil supplies for the developed world at the expense of the developing and undeveloped countries, which goes both for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Americans won't fight each other for oil in a Mad Max-style postapocalyptic world. It will be a battle between the First and the Third World, between the excluded and the included.  

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:27:12 AM PDT

  •  Start by hybridizing the postal fleet. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    uffdalib, opinionated, rockhound, Hannibal

    Postal delivery is the perfect hybrid mission: low speed, start-stop to use minimal fuel and enough braking to recharge the battery.

    This should have been part of the Jobs Bill, but it can go in Jobs Bill 2: After GM.

    •  the contract letter carrier (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, opinionated

      in my neighborhood drove a Prius. She impressed me as pretty smart. Then the postmaster took back the route and the big white mail truck is back, polluting all the way.

      •  Prius can't carry the weight- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        msdrown

        The specifications for the LLV require a 1000 payload plus driver and passenger- a Prius can barely carry half that. Mail is heavy- ever picked up a stack of catalogs or phone books?

        •  So don't use a Prius (0+ / 0-)

          I assume the poster meant GM could build a hybrid for the postal Service to use.  Should be a no-brainer, the amount they'd save in gas--those things run all day, six days a week--would more than cover the expense of the motor and battery.

          •  not running only 3000 miles a year- (0+ / 0-)

            The average LLV covers only 3000 miles/year using at most 200 gallons of gas. USPS is buying that gas for less than the rack rate, paying less than $2/gallon. Thus over the LLVs 25 year life it'll burn $10,000 worth of gas. A hybrid would cut that cost in half to $5,000, but cost $10,000 more upfront plus a couple battery replacements over it's 25 year life at $5000 each. Thus the hybrid LLV is a loser from the start. A full electric LLV would make more sense and USPS is open to proposals, but so far no one has come up with a workable electric LLV.

        •  I'm sure you're right... (0+ / 0-)

          but I saw it on my street every day for a year. I thought it beat the 15-year-old Buick the predecessor drove, anyway.

    •  Batteries won't last long enough (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, Leftcandid

      The Postal LLV is intended to last 25 years. The Postal Service has experimented with electric LLVs and found them too expensive when you figure in the cost of a couple battery replacements plus the hybrids expensive computers over 25 years.

      The average LLV covers only 3000 miles a year- thus a full electric powertrain makes more sense than a hybrid. Unfortunately no one has been able to get the costs down to the point where they can beat a plain old GM 4 cylinder gas engine.

      •  What are you talking about? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        GM is planning to warranty the Volt's pack for 10 years.  The modern automotive li-ions are extremely stable.  There's a guy over on RCforums.com who took A123 cells and charged them up in 10-15 minutes, discharged in 7-8 minutes, over and over for a thousand cycles, and the cells only lost 20% of their capacity.  Now, I'd like to see you try to drive a car so fast that it's pack is drained in only 7-8 minutes!  In "gentler", more normal EV usage, it takes about 7,000 cycles to get that much capacity loss (assuming you cool the pack properly).  The phosphate and stabilized manganese spinel forms of li-ion are extremely stable.

        3000 miles a year... 8.2 miles a day?  Well, heck, a battery pack that size isn't expensive at all.  At their typically low speeds, I'd be shocked if they averaged more than 250Wh/mi, so 2kWh.  Let's be crazy and say that despite the gentle cycle, they only use a 50% capacity factor to ensure longevity.  Well, that's 4kWh.  The stable li-ions are about $0.50/Wh (and falling), so the cells for that battery pack would only cost $2k.

        •  USPS can buy a new engine for half that. (0+ / 0-)

          I've worked with RC cars and the batteries don't last forever, and if you fast charge them they can get too hot to handle.

          It's time for the electric car fanatics to face reality- here we have at the Postal Service the ideal application for electrification- low mileage daily cycle within a few miles of the garage. USPS has tried electrification and the numbers didn't work out. They tried alternative fuels too with marginal success- natural gas and E85 worked OK, but supply was a problem. The whole powertrain of an LLV costs maybe $2000 and usually makes it through the LLVs 25 year life with no major repairs. Until electrics can compete with that they don't have a chance.

          •  You keep using the term "batteries"... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden

            as if all batteries are the same.  But the reality is just the opposite; there's a vast difference in battery longevities depending on the chemistry.  What RC car battery chemistry did you use?  NiCd?  NiMH?  Traditional li-ion?  LiPoly?  LFP?  Spinel?  What chemistry did you use?

            USPS has tried electrification and the numbers didn't work out.

            You keep claiming this and not providing references or details.  The USPS is still ordering electric vans.  So, seriously -- give a reference or stop making that claim.

            . The whole powertrain of an LLV costs maybe $2000 and usually makes it through the LLVs 25 year life with no major repairs.

            Oh please -- maintenance on gas drivetrains is way higher than on electric, and maintenance averages being a major cost on almost any gas vehicle (I can dig up the statistics if you'd like).  EVs have no transmission and generally less than a tenth as many moving parts.  The single failure of a transmission will cost you as much as that whole EV's battery pack.  EVs don't even need oil changes.  

            •  OK, we'll call them "piles"! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden

              I've used both NiCd and NiMH on RC cars, ham radios, palmtops, etc.. The 250 unit USPS order is just a trial- there's something like 140,000 LLVs in the USPS fleet, so it'll take 5000+ a year just to replace them after 25 years. BTW, the minivans, both conventional and the rare electrics, in the USPS fleet are a stopgap measure. The oldest LLVs are now a bit over 20 years old and coming up for replacement but the LLV contract ended about 10 years ago. USPS has been looking for another supplier to build a next generation LLV- they like the simple front engine/rear drive and boxy aluminum body but haven't been able to find a supplier to build what they want. The minivans don't have right hand drive, don't have enough cargo capacity, and their drivetrains, curved glass and lights, etc. have been way to expensive to maintain.

              So if you electric car zealots can put together an electric LLV replacement that actually works, USPS has a billion dollar ten year contract waiting for you.

              •  The electric car industry is moving fast (0+ / 0-)

                I would expect that one of the startups will be pitching a working electric mail van to the USPS within a couple of years.  Production battery tech has significantly improved even between the release of the Tesla Roadster, last year, and now.

                I suspect the USPS will be uncomfortable committing to a purchase from a startup which has no other products, however.  This means that said startup has to have already gotten a successful product line going.  There are now several such startups, but they generally didn't get going successfully in the US until very recently (one or two years ago), so it'll be a year or two before one decides to aim at the USPS market.

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:04:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  this is a good point. (0+ / 0-)

        I know that Prius batteries have been outlasting their predicted lifespans, but thanks for the reminder that while total USPS miles are large, individual-vehicle miles are not.

        Ideally the replacement LLVs would be fully plug-in, and while I understand that the costs have yet to reach parity with existing tech, I think that the economy of scale for a USPS contract would be precisely the catalyst to make the production cost competitive.  I must agree with Rei that per multiple sources maintenance is substantially lower for electric than gas.

        BTW, not an electric fanatic--I personally long for a nice Volkswagen Polo-style high mpg diesel I can convert to bio so I still have an accelermonster when necessary--just interested in explosing options to jumpstart major changes in alt fuel auto production.

    •  It's an excellent idea, and with (0+ / 0-)

      the corporate pressure to buy IC engines gone it might just happen.

  •  My personal experience (9+ / 0-)

    My experience with American Car dealerships has been one of being violated.
    It seems to me that they have no interest in treating you with respect and fairness but rather they want to screw you. After my painful experiences, I would never go back to an American car dealership, even though they may have a car I like.
    I think whatever they do, most and foremost they need to fix their service and how they treat people.
    Why would I want to buy a car from a dealer who wants to cheat me and isn’t quite straight with me when they are 100’s of other car dealerships who are ready to sell me a car.  One time I wanted to ask them how much a car was (they were no price stickers on the car windows in the lot) and the guy is asking me how much I want to pay and after half hour of going around the circle, I’ve had enough and got up and walked out. The salesman then followed me and tried to make me feel even worse by making me feel guilty for using his time.
    I think GM and Chrysler should fix the way they treat people at the retail level.

    •  Saturn wasn't run that way. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nicolemm, pattyp, dogemperor, snazzzybird

      I bought a couple over a decade, and it was a very pleasant, low-pressure experience (non-commission sales). Then GM killed it. Enough said.

      •  Saturns are a rip off- (0+ / 0-)

        "No hassle pricing" is Saturn's code words for "pay full list price, sucker!"

        •  Not so. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nicolemm, dogemperor, snazzzybird

          I've owned 2 Saturns, and despite their no-haggle policy, their cars are still reasonably priced when compared to others in the same class. Also, they gave me a far better trade-in value on my old car than I was expecting. I've had my L200 for over 5 years and have never had a problem with it, other than having the fuel injectors and catalytic converter replaced due to a batch of bad gas. Most of the repair cost was covered by the warranty, too. Plus my Saturns have been cheaper to own and maintain than the Toyota and Honda I also owned. Up-front cost can't be the only consideration.

          Does this internet make me look fat?

          by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:27:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  and list price is more reasonable... (0+ / 0-)

          for one thing, the sales rep doesn't get a big cut, so they didn't have to build that in. And don't kid yourself, cars are priced with negotiation games in mind, so everyone comes out just fine once you do your kabuki dance to get down to "dealer invoice."

          I was happy with the transactions at Saturn, because the last drop of price cut you can get as an expert negotiator isn't worth the case of nerves and stomach acid it costs. I think I had a lot of company, too, at least for the first decade or so of the Saturn's life.

    •  exactly (5+ / 0-)

      I hate cars and car culture. I would gladly do without them if I could.

      What other business operates in such a consistently shiftless way? I mean, in my experience 'car salesman' or 'used-car salesman' is synonymous with conniving shyster. I have no pity for the death of their industry.

      Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

      by Benito on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:03:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What do you think of the Volt? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    optimusprime, Predictor

    I think a $40,000 Chevy represents GM building another straw man on wheels to "demonstrate" that hybrid cars can't be built cheaply, that people won't buy them, and they're just a big waste of time anyway so they'll just go back to making Tahoes and Trailblazers.

    The idea appears to be sound; an electric car with a gas engine charging the batteries, but have you seen this thing?  The battery pack runs through the middle of the passenger compartment.  There are bucket seats in the back; the car will hold four, and no more than four, passengers, and it will be a little cramped in back.  The styling is as bland as anything else Chevy sells.  There doesn't appear to be anything to recommend it other than its bleeding-edge technology under the hood.

    I think the Volt could have been done a lot simpler.  For one, make it a station wagon or a minivan.  That way, you have gobs of floor space to hide the batteries.  VW hid a whole engine under the floor of a Microbus for decades.  For another, why use an off-the-shelf Opel four-cylinder engine to do the battery charging?  Why not a purpose-built machine that runs at high efficiency?  For what are we being asked to pay forty grand?  I'm not a mechanical engineer, but it seems to be a Wankel rotary engine is made to order for such an application.  Maybe you know.

    Half-baked ideas for sale - cheap!

    by Steaming Pile on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:30:06 AM PDT

    •  Oh, and that would be highway 101. (0+ / 0-)

      Highway 1 runs along the east coast.  All the way down to Key West.

      Half-baked ideas for sale - cheap!

      by Steaming Pile on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:31:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Volt : GM :: K-Car : Chrysler. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor, chrome327

      The K-car platform launched with a pair of sedans. Eventually it underpinned about 2/3 of Chrysler's cars, including . . . wait for it . . . the minivan.

      As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

      by ticket punch on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:46:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We don't need conspiracies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrome327

      The Volt's battery pack costs $7-$8k (the market rate for the type of cells they're using is about $0.50/Wh in bulk, and it's a 16kWh pack).  The low volume electric components are not going to be cheap, either -- contrary to popular myth, battery prices are not the only thing that makes current EVs expensive, because EV motors, inverters, and chargers are not mass produced.  And you have to amortize development costs ($1B-ish).  But the key to remember that this is initially.  The price will fall with each subsequent iteration as the development work is paid off and battery/drivetrain components benefit from mass production.  One of the great things about the stable forms of li-ion is that they're not resource price-limited; they're manufacturing price limited (capital costs and labor).  I.e., they'll benefit greatly from mass production.

      Also, don't forget the $7.5k tax credit and the much lower operational costs.

  •  Numbers (5+ / 0-)

    Comparing Japan to the United States doesn't give us a clear picture of the best solutions.

    Japan has 128 million people in an ~ 146,000 square mile area.

    The United States has 307+ million people in a ~ 3,795,000 square mile area.

    I strongly agree with most of what you are saying and I certainly agree with bringing great change to GM and our manufacturing facilities, and with using our own work force to produce the things we need.

    But calling cars "weapons of mass destruction" is too extreme.  Expecting everyone in every area of the country to ditch their cars is too extreme.  The cars themselves are not the major problem, it's the type of cars and the combustion engine that's the problem.

    We need to make massive use of public transportation all over the country.  But the model will need to be different than Japan's just because it won't be efficient to bring nodes of public transportation to every person in the country.  In some areas, people will have to travel to the buses and trains, in efficient cars that they charge up in their homes -- homes which generate all or some or all of their own energy.

    Your argument about making big changes quickly is a winning argument though, and using the example of what was done in WWII is a good reminder of what we can do when we have good leadership and a government willing to invest in the right things.  Reviving GM to be the "same as it ever was" but with some different products doesn't help anyone in the long run.  Instead of GM brand A, B, and C there should be GM auto, GM solar, GM turbine, GM trains, GM buses, etc.  And hopefully, other manufacturing companies in other areas of the country will receive the assistance to do the same.

    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:31:25 AM PDT

  •  I always thought that GM (3+ / 0-)

    made the biggest mistake when they decided to
    scrap the Saturn EV1. They had a GREAT Product that
    everyone wanted. It was EXACTLY the right product
    at the Right Time. Lithium-Ion battery technology has
    inproved a lot since then. That would give a new version of the EV1 even better performance without a lot of additional development expense. Maybe someone
    could buy the rights to that design when GM goes through Bankruptcy.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:35:38 AM PDT

  •  For some levity (0+ / 0-)

    The Car of the Future:

    http://www.youtube.com/...

  •  I fear you will be dissapointed (0+ / 0-)

    Mister Moore.  I think what's being laid out is exactly what you are asking us not to do, build a smaller version of what existed before. You may get them to build other things,  but their number one priority will be automobiles.  

    On that bullet train thing, sir, I look forward riding in one of those American-made ones soon with you.  

    corporations interpret "loyalty" the way a prisoner might interpret "dropping the soap"

    by Johnny Venom on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:43:30 AM PDT

  •  Tubular Rail and transportation reform (0+ / 0-)

    For a look at a futuristic train system, check out Tubular Rail Inc.(www.tubularrail.com). By not using tracks, the capital costs can be reduced by 50% or more, and considering the billions needed, from government or company coffers, any government official would be wise to reconsider the train technology available to them. Tubular Rail represents a smart, fast, affordable, energy efficient and grade-separated system that can create jobs and keep tax dollars locally, instead of sending them elsewhere. Watch our "trackless train" technology on the Discovery Channel program called "FutureTrains." http://www.tubularrail.com/video.htm Then ask yourself if the nation is futuristic enough to try Tubular Rail out? And given the public's desire to have a train option available to them, but one that won't send them to bankruptcy court, doesn't it behoove leaders to consider a fast, affordable train that has reorganized the engine-track relationship to not need tracks to run on? When the concept of railroads is re-thought, and it needs to be, Tubular Rail represents a new, smart and cool system choice, one matched to the future. Other industries look for advances. Why not trains? A 21st Century answer is here now.  

  •  Joy? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

    by ticket punch on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:43:53 AM PDT

  •  Vision (0+ / 0-)

    Sadly, neither this President, nor the people with whom he has surrounded himself, appear to have the visionary capacity (or even interest) necessary to acheive this type of bold national tranformation.

    From Geithner to Gates, Obama seems to be all about mitigating the status quo.

    I hope I'm wrong.

    Blaming the UAW for the the auto industry's woes is like Fox blaming minorities for the housing crisis. Not only wrong, but sickeningly so.

    by surfbird007 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:44:33 AM PDT

  •  people want cars- they are individualistic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, emilysdad

    I am sorry but I can't trains and buses replacing cars ever.

    Sorry I have to run to the Senate floor to abolish torture.

    by bten on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:53:11 AM PDT

  •  RU Nuts Michael? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, bten, testvet6778, VClib

    You say that Germans and Japanese build the gold standard of cars.  Yet Germany and Japan have the best mass transit systems in the world.  Why are Germans and Japanese still driving cars if they could easily ride mass transit?

    Cars don't need to run on oil.  The GM Volt will go 40 miles on electricity alone, and that is just the beginning of electric propulsion. Soon, batteries will be able to double that range.

    NYC to LA in 17 hours on a train?  How will that compete with a plane that can do it in 5 hours for $100?  Not gonna happen.  Trains are 200 year old technology and have never eliminated cars anywhere in the world.  They can't compete against planes at distances over 500 miles or against cars at less than 500 miles.  Trains only work in highly congested areas like the east coast, Boston to DC.

    When was the last time you rode a bus, Michael?

    •  40 miles won't even get me to work and back (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethyeah

      If the Volt is supposed to be the next greatest piece of technology, then we still have a long way to go.

      And yes, I know after 40 miles the Volt will run on a regular gasoline motor. But that's not doing much to reduce our dependence on oil. Plus you'd have to be nuts to buy a $40,000 Chevy. Personally, I'd rather buy a $20,000 hybrid, and keep the extra 20 grand and use it on gas throughout the life of the car.

      •  Nobody is putting a gun to your head (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike, dogemperor

        If you want a Prius, buy it.

        Chevy is selling lots of cars and trucks for over $40K.  If gas were $5/gal, Volt would be sold out.

        Also, it is just the first generation of this new technology.  So the cost will come down and the efficiency of the battery will improve with technology development.  Think about laptops 10 years ago.

        The point is that there is a viable way forward and it doesn't involve 200 year old technology - railroads - that don't work for most Americans.

        •  Electric cars are 100 yrs old, electric rails 100 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pHunbalanced, theran

          Within a few years.

          So stop insulting railroads.  Electric railroads -- ranging from high-speed rail down to modern streetcars -- will work for most Americans.  The small minority who are not travelling the same routes as everyone else can drive electric cars.  But the people who currently crowd ten-line highways should be on trains.

          Trains are quite simply the answer to high-traffic routes.  They are inappropriate for low-usage routes.  The Japanese have a chart, with passenger volume on one axis, distance on the other, and 'most appropriate mode' marked out in regions on the chart.  Cars are most appropriate for low volumes with distances too far to bike.  

          For high volumes with distances too far to bike, it's all trains (they include a large number of different sorts of trains).

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:10:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you enjoy biking in the rain and snow? (0+ / 0-)

            Can you go grocery shopping with your bike or pick up a load of lumber at Home Depot?

            Why would Japan need cars at all under your theory of population density and distance?  Yet they love cars and most people have them.

            You are living in a railroad fantasy world.

            •  I'm just explaining the facts; try listening. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pHunbalanced, theran

              I simply explained what Japan's official planning agency does, or did some years ago.

              I'd eliminate bikes from the list if I were doing it, personally; as it is they occupy a very small notch between pedestrians and trains.

              You fundamentally misunderstood my description of the chart: it's not population density, it's route density.

              And, of course, Japan needs cars because Japan has many very low-population areas, and because it has many unpopular routes between high-population areas.  These are served by car.  You don't take a car instead of a train, you take a car on the route which simply isn't busy enough to justify a train.  (Incidentally, they don't seem to believe in low-frequency trains.)

              As for picking up a load of lumber at Home Depot, most people would have them deliver, or would rent a truck.  That is not remotely a normal use case.  If you do construction for a living, of course, you would own a truck.

              You appear to be living in an automobile fantasy world.  I am living in the real world of hard numbers and congestion analysis.  I'm sure your world is more fun, but I invite you to start digging into the numerous public documents available on the web and join the real world.

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:52:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I find it amazing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pHunbalanced

                That people refuse to even attempt a simple calculation.  I live in a rural area, and my household of two people gets by with one car.  I'm moving to a city soon, and we're keeping the car, but just because we have it already.  Otherwise Zip Car (or the local car share) plus occasional rentals would be fine.

                "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

                by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:56:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  $32,000 after the tax credit.... (0+ / 0-)

        $32,000 for a brand new technology vehicle is not that bad, considering that most of the SUV's people want cost more than that....

        DARTH SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
        LANDO REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

        by LordMike on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:49:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Most people live in major population centers (0+ / 0-)

      The most popular plane trip in the US is the Boston-NYC-DC shuttle.

      "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

      by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:06:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's the only line Amtrak makes money (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethyeah

        And it is primarily electric propulsion so it's not oil dependent for the most part.

        But who in their right mind would want to ride a train for 17 hours from NY to LA when they could get there in 5 hours on a plane for a fraction of the cost?

        Michael is not thinking clearly on this one.

        •  probably enough (0+ / 0-)

          that it'd barely break even (retirees, etc.) I would, but I'm never in a rush to get anywhere.

          (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

          by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:28:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Who cares? (0+ / 0-)

          You are essentially saying that because there are situations where planes are highly compelling, it is stupid to go after obvious easy-to-get gains in other, much more common, situations.

          "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

          by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:35:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Over 500 miles, trains can't compete (0+ / 0-)

            with planes.  That has been proven beyond reasonable doubt for over 50 years.

            Under 500 miles, trains can't compete with cars unless the roads are highly congested.

            So trains are only competitive in very limited circumstances and bullet trains have never been competitive in the U.S.  As Moore points out, they have been around for 50 years, but have never succeeded here despite many attempts.

            Big problem: sending a train at 300 mph through heavily populated areas.  The noise and vibration alone is completely unacceptable.

            •  Roads are, of course, never congested (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pattyp, NoMoreLies, neroden

              And cars don't put any noise or soot in the air.

              I remember that a while ago, you were shilling for the government to support HIGH HIGH house prices in the exurbs and to put even more cars on the roads.  Now you tell us that roads aren't congested anyway.

              This whole discussion is stupid anyway.  The people advocating public transit are actually being humane, since your dream world is pretty much on the way out: either capitalism will smash it or socialism will help people transition away.

              "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

              by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:00:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How do high house prices put MORE cars on roads? (0+ / 0-)

                LOW house prices in the burbs make people move out of cities.  Many more people will be moving to foreclosed houses in outlying areas than will buy in cities where foreclosures are much less.

                So you are predicting the end of suburbia and a return to cities?  I don't think I am the one living in a dream world.

                BTW, I take mass transit to work everyday so I know its limitations: nobody likes riding buses and the rail system is SRO for an hour.  Not fun.

            •  Then why is the Empire Builder sold out? (5+ / 0-)

              Even though there's not a metro area of over a million on most of it's route,  Amtrak's Empire Builder from Chicago to Portland and Seattle routinely sells out.

            •  Absolutely wrong in one way.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theran

              Big problem: sending a train at 300 mph through heavily populated areas.  The noise and vibration alone is completely unacceptable.

              Bullet trains never go at 300 mph through heavily populated areas; at the speeds they actually go through dense areas (100-120mph), the noise and vibration is less than your typical superhighway.

              Which, somehow, we managed to put through heavily populated areas.  ?!?!?

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:00:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  For select definitions of "makes money" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          theran

          Transportation accounting is notorious.  If you do full lifecycle analysis (capital and operating), almost no passenger train in the world makes money, certainly not the Northeast Corridor trains.  But then with the same accounting no passenger car or bus makes money either, and none of the airlines do either; passenger transportation is fundamentally unprofitable.

          Why?  It's all subsidized.  If all the transport subsidies were removed, a few routes would make money, and most routes would be completely impassable (forget going from NY to LA, you'd have to walk).  Why is passenger transportation subsidized?  Because it enables so many other useful things.

          Accordingly, in order to compute "makes money", you have to leave out something; in the case of the Acela, it covers its running costs but not the capital costs.  There are a number of other trains in the Amtrak system which would probably cover their incremental running costs if they weren't paying track access fees.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 06:58:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Soon they'll double that (40 miles)? (0+ / 0-)

      The Tesla Roadster today does 240 miles/EPA.  The T-Zero did 300.  The Model S will do 300.

      The Volt does only 40 miles because it's a PHEV, and so the pack is optimized for power output, not range, and they only use half of its capacity to ensure longevity while providing high power output.

  •  Sorry, Mike, but I'm sick of wars. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, testvet6778, sethyeah

    War on terror. War on drugs. War on poverty. I'm numb to it now.

  •  wind turbine, not windmill (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, dogemperor, snazzzybird

    Wind mills are the old, drag based systems. Wind turbines have foils instead of flat blades - they're roughly twice as efficient.

    "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

    by Stranded Wind on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:01:47 AM PDT

  •  Monorail, etc. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor, snazzzybird, sethyeah

    Michael, I appreciate where you're coming from, but I've got some minor points of detraction.

    Monorail pwnz light rail if you want to create a transportation system in, around, and through existing developed property and infrastructure.  The light rail problem is the grade crossing; monorails don't need them.  That's the difference in being able to have a system and not; Atlanta's failing MARTA system (that's heavy rail, admittedly) doesn't have a single grade crossing but then again, the tracks don't run where people live and our road traffic is atrocious, having now reached LA-like levels.  

    I'm careful not to over-promote the monorail system at Walt Disney World in Florida because I don't want to automatically assume that a privately-run small-scale system is completely analogous to a city-wide one, but it's clear that the tech can move a lot of people safely and efficiently without grade crossings.  Disney didn't just wave a wand to create and run that system; it was designed and built, and the trains themselves were designed and built by Bombadier (a Canadian company, as it happens).  The system only has elevated platform and indoor stations, not level outdoor or underground, but the indoor station is noteworthy for also being the atrium of a resort hotel...and from inside the atrium-facing rooms, you can't even hear the trains.

    So, I urge US governments at all levels to consider monorails to make the systems practical to build and to not just limit themselves to steel heavy or light rail just because more people make more money.  

  •  Sell your Ford Stock fast. (0+ / 0-)

    With GM owned by the government Ford is finnished. The Government owns GM and they get to make the rules that Ford has to live by. The Government has entered into a zero sum game and there is no way Ford will complete.

  •  my Dad started at Fisher Brothers in 1922 he (8+ / 0-)

    retired in 1963 after 41 years  he was 63 he was making 3.05 an hour  he died in 1972  I am glad he is not alive to see this day  ir would break his heart he spent his life spray painting the cars in Lansing  after Fisher Brothers were bought out by GM  he ended up in the Buick Plant in Lansing  I still have his Quarter Century Club items  decks of cards  dated 1953  and 1955 (year I was born) gold rimmed drink glasses  etc, my younger brother Marvin got my Dads 25 year service ring it is a fancy ring  back then they put diamonds and rubies in them my uncles are envious because by the time they got their 25 years in the company had stopped passing out the jeweled rings due to the cost

    GM was a good company to our family  but my Dad has enoughsense that he moved us to Southern Calif after he retired to raise my brothers and I, he didn't want us to spend our lives in the factories, he made the best decision for us, our cousins all stayed in Michigan and are now middle aged and jobless we went to work for the Post Office, the Army  and an aircraft plant (now closed down also) life was different for us and not dependent on GM or Ford or Chrysler

  •  Work from home (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor, Hannibal

    In my past life as a consultant, after I had established my credentials as a hard worker who did not need babysitting, I was allowed to work from home 2 or more often, 3 days a week.

    Employers learned to trust their staff, and believe me, it saved $$$ and resources all around.

    Only one account would not allow ANYONE, even their own employees to telecommute (can we say Good Neighbor, anyone?). They had a trust issue with all their employees, and as a result, every single decision or activity was scrutinized and controlled to the Nth degree. It actually would cost them more money to implement the safeguards than they would save by just trusting their people to do the right thing, but you couldn't bring that up or say anything.....too much like the right thing to do.

    Telecommuting saves resources and money, big time. Ya think maybe there could be some tax incentives for big business to use this option more?

  •  You are the man, Michael!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry about what's happening to your hometown.

  •  Fabulous Piece! Thank you!!! (0+ / 0-)
  •  We sometimes disagree Mr. Moore... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor, snazzzybird

    (more over style than substance)

    ... but I can't rec this enough. The basic obstacle to creating this new, green future that we all believe is inevitable and desirable is the vested interests of millions of Americans and large segments of corporate America that make their money from perpetuating the Status quo.

    The death of GM - as sad as it is for many and as sobering a sign it is in terms of our decline as a nation - can possibly be a good thing insofar as it may remove one big obstacle to this new and better future.

    Jews have a traditional saying, 'Next year in Jerusalem' - a phrase meant to replace the pain and losses suffered this year with the hopes and dreams for the next. I'm not Jewish, but I appreciate the phrase's sentiment and poetry.

    Next year in Jerusalem friends.  

    Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

    by Benito on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:20:09 AM PDT

  •  I'll do it! (5+ / 0-)

    Give me the $50 billion and the skilled American workforce and I will get GM to the point of kickass in the auto industry inside 3 years.  As a former professional industrial engineer, I made a career out of listening to the workers and innovating to make each job more efficient, thus improving profit AND working conditions.  It's not that tough a concept unless one's eyes and tiny brains are clouded by the god, Profit.  You can make a lot of money for all your workers without having to pay millions in executive salaries, etc.  

    Give me the money to do this job.  Hell, I'd even move to Flint.  I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio working in machine shops for TRW, Parker-Hannifin and Eaton.  Let's stop bellyaching and get to work without the jugheads who caused GM and Chrysler to collapse.

    "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

    by dolfin66 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:22:11 AM PDT

  •  All that slack manufacturing space could be used (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies

    to make passive solar, build bioreactors and stills to convert waste plant materials into biodiesel and ethanol.

    Passive solar works, and it's low tech. It can be added easily to any building which has sun exposure.

    There are dozens of starch bearing plants which are considered to be weeds or nuisances [leaving out hemp, even] that can be turned into either ethanol, oil bearing plants which can be turned into biodiesel. Bush's famous "switchgrass" is one, cattails, kudzu, wheat and maize straw .. the list is endless, the supply nearly endless.  

    The government is in a unique position to make a radical shift away from traditional sources of energy, using the manufacturing power house of Detroit.

    This could be a modern WPA type program.

    It's a shame that this idea isn't being considered: it would employ not only the people of Michigan, it would employ massive numbers of people in rural areas, collecting and processing this natural resource that sits right in front of our noses.

    Even if we offset only 25% of the nation's energy requirement, it would be a huge boon to the economy, holding down gas/oil imports, reducing the need to build new power plants, reducing CO2 and providing employment for hundreds of thousands if not more of the American work force.

    •  Unfortunately you are missing one thing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, dogemperor

      Profits.  Nothing you propose will work without massive on-going government subsidies.

      What is needed is an industrial base that will make profits that the government can tax.  We certainly don't need more industries that the government has to subsidize indefinitely.

      •  'Profits' are an illusion, when the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theran, NoMoreLies, dogemperor

        industries which power the nation are poisoning us.

        Estimates are that tens of thousands of people a year die prematurely from air pollution caused by burning coal alone in the US.

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

        http://www.ecomall.com/...

        Burning gas and diesel causes yet more deaths.

        And then, there is GCC.

        What price are your profits?

        •  You don't even need to get so abstract (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, dogemperor

          I mean, GM tanked building the stuff this guy says people like so much.  And American car buying has been way out of line with the rest of the world for some time.  There's no real reason to think it will pick up to previous rates any time soon, if ever.

          "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

          by theran on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:21:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  WTF? (0+ / 0-)

            GM tanked building the stuff this guy says people like so much

            When did I say anything like that?  GM tanked because its inbred management sucked.

            Toyota builds the same big SUVs, trucks and V-8 cars that GM builds, but its management is superior so it is now the biggest manufacturer in the world. BMW and Mercedes build gas guzzlers that are even worse than GM's, but their management is superior too.

            With new management, GM can be profitable and I think Obama has got GM moving in the right direction.

        •  So we agree (0+ / 0-)

          that what you are proposing is going to require massive government subsidies indefinitely.

          Governments live on taxes and die on subsidies.  Unless you are going to ban coal burning world-wide, how does solar or wind power ever get off subsidies?

          How does government pay these subsidies indefinitely without taxing profits which you think are irrelevant?

          •  No, only in your distorted world. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies

            Real sustainable change requires investment in research and development.

            The oil and gas companies already get BILLIONS in subsidies from the taxpayer. The nuclear power industry is set to get anywhere from $500B to a $trillion in government subsidies.

            Your summary statements sound like typical right wing Grover Norquist "Club for Growth" bullshit.

            'Free market uber alles' garbage.
            Profits and growth at any cost.

            We already have a massive program of socialized risk for corporations in place.

            •  So Profits don't matter in your world? (0+ / 0-)

              Instead of taxing corporate profits, you will just tax people's incomes instead, huh?

              I'd like to know an economy that works anywhere in the world where companies don't make profits.  Where do you get the money to subsidize your favored industries?

              But I do agree with you that indefinite subsidies for any industry - nuke, oil, gas, whatever - are wrong.  Government should not be subsidizing any industry because that leads to inefficiency and corruption.

  •  Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen,,, (0+ / 0-)

    Amen.  My thoughts exactly

    I would like to see Obama publicly endorse the "New Apollo Project" or something similar. Once you endorse big goals (dreams) then all of a sudden it is clear what needs to be done - what Mr Moore proposes and more.

  •  What I want to see is a side-by-side comparison (0+ / 0-)

    of the costs to the taxpayers and the long-term benefit to our infrastructure of a "conventional" corporate bail-out versus Michael's plan.

    I just have a sneaking suspicion that even in terms of simple cost, ignoring the vast difference in public benefits, his plan may be cheaper. But maybe not.

    I'm not sure I like the "war" metaphor, although i understand the comparison he wants to make. I see it more as a wonderful opportunity, that if we don't take advantage of it now, we won't get another chance for who knows how long.

    Greg Shenaut

  •  This morning on MSNBC (11+ / 0-)

    I heard Erin Burnett from CNBC criticizing the decision of the government to "force" GM to use one of their factories to build only small cars. She unequivocally stated something to the effect of, "Americans have never had a penchant for small cars." While I admit to being somewhat impressed a CNBC anchor knows the meaning of the word "penchant," my first and only reaction was utter confusion. Granted, Americans do tend to like bigger cars and now SUVs, but it was the tax breaks on SUVs that really drove their popularity.  Still, I see people in small cars every day, and have since I started driving over 20 years ago. Those of us who are under 5'5" generally don't go for Cadillacs and Town Cars. I'm seeing more and more Smartcars these days. And how does Ms. Burnett explain the popularity of the Mazda 3, Toyota Matrix, and Honda Civic, not to mention the Prius, which retails for around $26,000? Priuses are all over the town where I live, a place which cannot in any way be considered affluent. I really wonder sometimes what planet these "financial experts" are living on, because it sure doesn't sound like Earth.

    Does this internet make me look fat?

    by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:30:29 AM PDT

    •  those smartcars can hold their own (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pattyp, dogemperor, sethyeah

      I forget where we were going, but two pretty much smoked us (we were going 70, so they had to be pushing 90) on the interstate this weekend.

      (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

      by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:32:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dogemperor, terrypinder

        I didn't know they went that fast. LOL. Also, they're far more roomy than people think. I saw a fairly tall, slightly heavy man get into one outside a restaurant a few months ago and had to ask him if he found it comfortable. He said yes, very much, and talked about how glad he was that he bought the car and how little he was spending on gas. I'm considering one when I get a new car in a year or two. I really like the idea of a car I can pick up and stick in a closet when I'm not using it. ;-)

        Does this internet make me look fat?

        by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:37:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i saw a very obese man get into one (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pattyp, sethyeah

          at the mall a couple weeks ago.

          I'm surprised I've seen so many in my area. At least down in the city. Although, there's at least one woman in the boondock hick town I live in who drives one (and she flies in that little thing).

          (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

          by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:42:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They are. I sat in one once and had plenty of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pattyp, sethyeah

          room. And I'm a big guy, both vertically and horizontally, I didn't feel like I had any less room in there than I do in my VW Golf GTI.

          A smart car isn't for me though. I need something that can get from 0-60 in a decent amount of time while hauling stuff in the back, hence the GTI :)

          •  Of course. (0+ / 0-)

            Smartcars are arriving at a time when there's a real desire for this type of vehicle, but they're not for everyone. That's why it's great to have a nice variety of vehicle styles. There are a fair number of drivers who genuinely need an SUV or pickup for various reasons. Unfortunately, clever marketing has convinced far more car-buying Americans than necessary that they all need to drive these behemoths. We can still do much better on fuel efficiency, though. A car can be very powerful and comfortable and do better than 20 mpg.

            Does this internet make me look fat?

            by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:30:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Conversely, people driving SUVs look like Smurfs! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pattyp

          Especially not so tall people.  I joke that they can disengage the air bag and use it as a parachute to jump out the door.  I half expect a roll out ladder to come down.  If they make the SUVs any bigger they can install elevators!  People may feel powerful, but to me they look ridiculous.

      •  You are lucky you lived to tell about it (0+ / 0-)

        Did you see the video of the head-on crash test between a Smart and Mercedes C class?  At only 35 mph, the dummy was dead in the Smart, but uninjured in the Mercedes.

        •  I wonder how the C Class would fare (0+ / 0-)

          against a Hummer or 18-wheeler truck.... It's all relative. The bigger cars and SUVs get, the more likely they'll cause fatal accidents in collisions with smaller vehicles. Add to that the aggressiveness with which most SUV owners drive, and it's easy to see the problem lies more with attitudes and lack of concern for other drivers than with the strength of the car itself.

          Does this internet make me look fat?

          by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 08:57:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i want a car that gets excellent mileage (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pattyp

            the smart car seems to average in the 40 mpg range highway.

            as I car-shop I'm not considering anything that gets under 35 mpg which is limiting, but I really don't want an SUV. That's what I'm learning to drive on now and I despise the way it handles. Oh, and its 25 mpg (good for SUVs) is not acceptable to me.

            I might get a smart car. If I die in an accident, I die in an accident.

            (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

            by terrypinder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:01:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Good Point (0+ / 0-)

            If everyone else were driving motor scooters, the Smart would be a safe ride.  But obviously, almost everything on the road is bigger than a Smart so you have no chance.  Plus it's a miserable car to drive.

            Aggressive drivers come in all shapes and sizes.  I've seen Prius drivers going well over the limit in heavy traffic.  How much gas are they saving doing that?

            •  Is that so? (0+ / 0-)

              The Smartcar owners I've talked to really like their cars, and not just for the gas mileage. You're right about aggressive drivers, but far more of them tend to drive big SUVs and trucks. (I've personally never encountered a reckless Prius driver, and there are quite a lot of them around where I live.) There is research to support this; the following is from a Canadian Medical Association study in 2006:

              In the United States, 40% of new vehicles purchased are classified as light trucks or vans, many of which are SUVs. The preference for an SUV is shaped not only by individual choice but also by environmental influences, including economic and social factors." SUVs, some of which are marketed and purchased for their perceived safety image, are suggested to offer robust protection for child occupants. However, a recent study showed that despite greater vehicle weight, aggressive vehicle design and size of SUVs, the safety benefits for child occupants are similar to those offered by small vehicles.7 Given that motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death and acquired disability in children," these data are troubling at best. SUVs also have the highest death rate for their own occupants of any broad class of vehicles, mainly because of high rollover rates.

              Does this internet make me look fat?

              by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:18:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  All SUVs now are equipped with Stability Control (0+ / 0-)

                so roll-overs are not an issue for new SUVs.

                Do you seriously think that in a head-on of a Smart or Prius with an SUV that the small car driver would survive?  Just the difference in bumper heights would decapitate the Smart or Prius driver.

            •  Also (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rockhound

              I'm not talking about people who speed, although they do present an increased danger. I'm talking about flat-out aggression and disrespect for other drivers and traffic laws. I'd love to see more traffic cops in unmarked cars on the road nailing people for reckless and aggressive driving. Every road-worthy vehicle has the same rights and responsibilities and if some drivers can't accept that, then they need to lose their licenses.

              Does this internet make me look fat?

              by pattyp on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 10:21:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Lots of SUVs are too slow to be aggressive (0+ / 0-)

                The Hummer for example is one of the slower vehicles on the road and weaving in and out of traffic is not easy to do.

                On the other hand, motorcycles are highly fuel efficient but are the most aggressive vehicles on the road.

      •  Yeah, some are very fast (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pattyp, terrypinder, yg17

        Usually because they put a Hayabusa engine in them. Here's one drag racing a Ferrari.

        So now that we've won, when does the apocalypse begin?

        by Hannibal on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:46:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]