Friday, July 30, 2004

Al Sharpton's best line

In Al Sharpton's convention speech, he referred to the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision:

I suggest to you tonight that if George Bush had selected the court in '54, Clarence Thomas would have never got to law school.

Michael : Mike's Message : Mike's Latest News
Michael Moore's Gate-crashing Speech

Filmmaker Michael Moore crashed the party the Demo's had in Boston (although he was apparently invited by Jimmy Carter), the link to the transcript of the speech he gave is below. The long paragraphs would guarantee an "F" in any English class, but I love this paragraph in particular:

A few weeks ago I was flipping around on the dial and I came across a NASCAR Race on FOX and there was NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. He said what would you do, what did you do the night before while you were getting prepared for the big race? He said, “Well, I took my crew to go see Fahrenheit 9/11.” [cheers] [laughter] And then he said, and “I think all of America should see this movie.” I fell off the couch! (applause) I said a little prayer for George W. Bush. I'm thinking oh, my God, I hope he's not watching this race now and eating pretzels! [cheers]

Michael : Mike's Message : Mike's Latest News
Newsflash - Medicare Drug Card Confuses Seniors

Why the heck is this surprising? Have any of the people who thought this up actually ever worked with senior citizens? I spend more than half my day speaking to Seniors, and I could have told them that having to choose between multiple cards would leave their heads spinning. This is especially true of the seniors who have multiple health problems and consume the most drugs. - Medicare drug card confuses seniors

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Hyote terrorizes Maryland

A strange creature has been spotted in various places in Maryland. In photographs, it looks like a hyena in the front, and a coyote (albeit a bald one) in the back, so residents have come to call it a "hyote". Whatever it is, the last time anyone in Maryland saw something slink away so fast in the middle of the night, it was the Baltimore Colts. - News - Mystery Creature Lurks In Baltimore County
Chrysler 300C vs. Lincoln LS V8 Sport

I always liked the Lincoln LS as a personal luxury sedan, but I always thought it was overpriced. (Actually, it makes a great used car buy.) I wanted to see how the Lincoln LS compared to the hot new Chrysler 300c (the "c" model is the "hemi" version.) Based upon the MSN Cars worksheet below, the 300c enjoys a 7,600 price advantage over the LS. The 300 is about 5% heavier and a few percent roomier, but the 300c gets 1 mpg better on the highway thanks to cylinder deactivation in its hemi engine. The Chrysler has 21% more horsepower than the already well-powered Lincoln, and the Chrysler has a whopping 36% more torque.

The bottom line: rebates alone aren't going to save the LS's market share from being savaged. Lincoln is going to have to cut the list price on the LS brutally to keep up with advances by the competition.

MSN Autos - Side By Side Compare

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Ford Focus Concept

Contrast to the 2006 Nissan Sentra below, this Ford Focus concept has some pizzaz to it.

AutoWeek - Car News
2006 Nissan Sentra will be delayed on account of Ugliness

Nissan will delay the launch of the 2006 Sentra because focus groups hate the looks. From the drawing in Autoweek, I can see why. Where were these focus groups when Pontiac was about to launch the Aztec?

AutoWeek - Car News
Here's a City with Seven Million People that You've Probably Never Heard of:

The New York Times article below highlights Dongguan China, a city in southern China that has grown from a small town to a city with a population of seven million in 20 years. China has 166 cities with populations of over 1 million, and the United States has 9.

When it comes to national security. George W. is looking in the wrong direction. It's not al Qeda that we need to be concentrated on, it is the continuously evolving status of China. The United States economy that was the arsenal of democracy in World War II could be a hollow shell twenty years from now.

China is playing the same world power card that the United States played 100 years ago, establishing a position of world dominance not through military might, but through economic might. I'm not sure what to do about China, but I don't think the issue is getting the level of debate that it needs.

The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > New Boomtowns Change Path of China's Growth

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Are Hybrids really twice as trouble-prone?

According to USA Today early hybrids (2001 model) and diesel cars and trucks have up to twice as many engine problems as regular gas models. Nevertheless, the owners report better than average satisfaction. What gives?

Well look at the USA Today numbers in details. The industry average for problems per hundred vehicles is 35 per hundred. The gas-engined Toyota Corolla only had 16. The 2001 Prius, a first-generation hybrid, had 39, just a little more than average. The Honda Civic had 15 problems per hundred, and the hybrid Insight had 32. Though the Insight had twice the Civic's problems, it was less than average.

Diesel vehicles from Volkswagen and several models of Diesel pickups also had higher than average reported problems, but Diesel buyers tend to be high mileage drivers; and in the case of pick-ups, they also tend to drive heavily loaded, so they would be expected to have more problems.

Finally, keep in mind, that cars in general are much more reliable than they used to be. It wasn't long ago that 100 problems per 100 vehicles was ordinary. If you love a car, you're not going to fall out of love when the first problem hits. It's the second, third, fourth, etc. That's why the Chevrolet Corvette can repeatedly turn in more problems than average in the Consumer Reports annual survey and still rank very high in owner satisfaction.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Washington Mutual cutting 2500 jobs

I get more complaints about bad loan servicing regarding Washington Mutual than any other servicer. Apparently WA-MU thinks their service is too good, because they are axing 2500 workers. Nice to know you have such high standards Wa Mu. Washington Mutual to Slash 2,500 Jobs

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Another "We Buy Homes" Horror Story

This one from

I see these several times a year working intake at UAW Legal Services Plans. These cases are very hard for private attorneys to address. The bad guys know they are breaking the law, and they have an exit strategy. They have their victims sign a lot of mumbo-jumbo documents that take a long time for every one involved to digest. In my experience, the documents are internally inconsistent. What you end up with is the "We Buy Homes" operator, whom I'll call WBH, receiving apparent agency to enter into a rent to buy contract with an innocent third party, Whom I'll call ITP. ITP is in the house under an apparent contract to buy, there is an agency document from the apparent seller. Therefore you have to actually file a foreclosure suit against the ITP to get the ITP out, and that doesn't do anything to collect the "rent" money that WBH ran off with. Also WBH promises to make the mortgage payments in the interim, but doesn't.

What you end up with is a truly tangled mess. Original Home Owner, OHO, who doesn't have much cash to begin with (hence the attractiveness of the WBH offer), has to fight on three fronts. OHO has to fight mortgage company. OHO has to fight ITP to get them out of the house. OHO has to go after WBH. The difficulty of the battle allows WBH to cut a sweetheart deal that lets WBH keep on working the scam. In the alternative, if the heat gets too hot, WBH vanishes and reappears under a different name somewhere else. How does a private attorney take a case like this on behalf of a homeowner? Definitely not on a contingency-fee basis. On an hourly fee basis, a candid attorney should tell the client that it would be unusual to finish the case without spending five figures on attorney fees. Most of these things don't have a satisfactory result. (Luckily for our clients at UAW-LSP we don't charge for our services.)

Prosecutors should take these cases more seriously and treat them like the fraud cases they are. They should realize that people are losing their homes and usually bankrupted by these crooks.
New York and other states to sue Midwestern Power Plants

Much of the electricity in the Great Lake states is generated from coal, usually the cheapest kind and not the cleanest kind. Thanks to loopholes in emission regulations, these power plants put a lot of nasty stuff into the air. The people downwind of these plants, in the East, have finally gotten pissed off enough to do something about it. Since the politicians won't do anything, the attorneys general of 8 states are suing the power plants. This could get interesting. Although most of the states are in the east, California, Iowa and Wisconsin are participating in the lawsuit. If there is a common factor, it seems to be eastern states and states with activist attorneys general.

Naturally, New York attorney general Elliot Spitzer is in the middle of things, as he always seems to be. The national group for states' attorneys general, the National Association of Attorneys General or NAAG has the reputation for being the "National Association of Aspiring governors." Spitzer does nothing to refute this reputation. I don't want to pick on the guy though, because I find his leadership refreshing, and I admire his leadership. I also happen to agree with him about 90% of the time.

The New York Times > National > New York City and 8 States Plan to Sue Power Plants
Ken Jennings breaks Jeopardy Record - How good is Ken? How far will he go?

Ken Jennings broke the Jeopardy all-time earnings record last night in a contest that wasn't even a contest. His total now is $1,164,660 after 35 wins.

In the web page linked below, statistician Andy Saunders lays down Ken's numbers.

Over 92% of all questions answered correctly.
He buzzes in first almost 60% of the time.
The last opponent who could have theoretically one in Final Jeopardy was June 29. Ken has gotten better since then. Ken has never trailed going into Final Jeopardy where he answers correctly 67% of the time.

How far can ken go? Well, let's assume that 5% of the time an opponent can be expected to Have a shot at Ken going into Final Jeopardy. Let's also recognize that only 7 out of 70 players have gotten a Final Jeopardy question right when Ken got it wrong. Now multiply that probability .05 x .1, that gives him a probability of .005 or half of one percent of losing on any given day. Unless I'm making a mistake in my math here in my coffee break analysis, it appears that it is more probable than not that Ken will reach 100 wins and $3,000,000.

There are two kinds of people that could beat Ken. The first is a superior being who could run up the victories even more than Ken. The second is a lucky soul who just happens to get suitable categories and who maybe runs into Ken on an "off day".

Ken's foil will probably be somebody a lot like him, a former College Bowl wonk who has studied the game and studied up on the likely questions. If the only people who have a shot at sitting in the champion's chair have these characteristics, the long-term popularity of the show will probably go down. At some point, it makes sense for the good of the game to cut a deal with Ken & let him retire as undefeated champion. Then change the rules back to 5 wins & out. Jennings' Winnings
Ford Reports $1.2 Billion Quarterly Profit

Last year, Bill Ford changed the strategy of the company to maximizing profits as opposed to maximizing market share. To a certain extent, it seems to be working, with profits up significantly. As with GM, a disproportionate share of Ford's profits come from the finance arm. In this case about 3/4 of the profits came from financing operations.

Another interesting note is that Ford wrote down $120 million of its investment in Ballard Power Systems, a much-ballyhooed fuel cell developer. I wonder what's up with that.

The Car Connection [ The Web's Automotive Authority ]
Spy Shots 2006 Hyundai Sonata

Here are some spyshots of the 2006 Hyundai Sonata. It will be built in a new "transplant" facility in Montgomery Alabama. From the shots, it appears to be a little larger than the current model, about the size (and similar in overall appearance to) the Nissan Altima. With Hyundai's rapidly advancing quality level, there will be even more heat on the domestic automakers. The new Sonata should be the first car with the "next generation" 4-cylinder engine that Hyundai is sharing with Daimler-Chrysler (and Mitsubishi). Since Hyundai took the lead in development, Hyundai gets it first. The engine will be available in various displacements and will have all the latest geegads (variable valve timing etc.)

The Car Connection [ The Web's Automotive Authority ]

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

dWhy should you raise an alligator in your bathtub?

Because you never know when you'll have to beat your girlfriend with it.

A man in Florida was arrested for using his pet alligator as a club to strike his girlfriend.

Florida Alligator Attack - July 19, 2004
HP & Office Depot are recycling electronics for free

Now through Labor Day - most electronic products are accepted - see the link for details.

Office Depot, HP Set to Accept Discarded Electronics
3.5 Million Unsold Cars

The auto industry has an inventory of 3.5 million unsold cars. This is much higher than normal. Even though some models are already sporting $5000 rebates, we can expect some serious discounts on end of model year specials, and those sales may come early. (Of course, used car values will probably drop in lock-step.)

3.5 MILLION UNSOLD VEHICLES: Automakers have a big glut: "

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Monday, July 19, 2004

Is Indiana's No-Insurance License Suspension Statute Unconstitutional?

The Indianapolis Star article listed below says that Indiana's Bureau of Motor Vehicles is sending out reams of notices of potential license suspension relating to auto accidents going back to 2001. According to Indiana's statute, if you are in an auto accident (with a certain amount of damage) you have to prove that you were insured at the time of the accident. If you don't, your license will be suspended.

Here's the catch: You can't submit the proof, your insurance company must submit the proof. If your insurance company declines to do so (rightly or wrongly), your license is suspended.

Here's another problem with the law: you have no forum to show that you weren't in an accident at all. I have had a couple identity theft victim clients who received these notices to produce proof of insurance, and the client was never in the accident at all, it was the identity thief. One of my clients is in a wheelchair due to MS and can't drive at all.

A core concept of due process is that you have notice of the charges against you and an opportunity to refute the charges before an impartial decisionmaker. Indiana's law provides for notice, but no opportunity. For that reason, I think it is unconstitutional, but many people will suffer before the law is invalidated.

BMV may suspend licenses

Friday, July 16, 2004

26 Ways to Creep Out your Coworkers

VGG | 26 Ways to Creep Out Your Co-Workers:
26 Ways to Creep Out your Coworkers

VGG | 26 Ways to Creep Out Your Co-Workers:
Abandoned Big Box Stores Blight the Nation: Walmart and Target are among the worst offenders.

Over the July 4th weekend, I happened to stop for gas in Shelbyville, Indiana. I saw a busy Walmart store just off the Interstate. I drove for about 20 seconds more, and I saw another Walmart store. This one was all boarded up, in a strip center, not a quarter mile away. In the Denver Post article below, it says that Walmart has built about a thousand stores in the past five years, but has abandoned 361.

We need to brainstorm legislative and community grass-roots strategies to combat the abandoned big box stores that blight our neighborhoods.

Here are some off the cuff suggestions to solve the problem of abandoned big box stores:

* Charge a higher property tax rate for stores over x sq. ft. That are not owner occupied or under a long-term lease.

* Require all large commercial developers to pay a portion of their property taxes into a fund specially earmarked for demolishing the building if it has been unoccupied for more than a year. If they go 20 years and are still actively in business in that location, the funds can be earmarked to rehab rather than demolition. Twenty years isn't a magic number, just a starting point.

* Charge a special fee of some kinds for green-field developments unless there is a showing that suitable sites are unavailable in brown-field or existing unoccupied commercial property.

Require enhanced public hearing processes for developments over x sq. feet and set the notice and time requirements in such a way that neighborhood organizations have more chances to mobilize and organize grass-roots resistance. - BUSINESS

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Kellogg's Cereal Spiderman toys contain Mercury Batteries

Kellogg's will stop producing cereal toys that contain mercury according to the news story below. Kellogg's will provide a postage paid mailer to send back any of the Spiderman toys.

Here's the problem, they'll send the mailer to send in the toy: News Flash - Kellogg's, the toy is at most half the problem. The problem is that the mercury-containing toy was in something you eat. You have to take back the cereal.

Really this is just the tip of the iceburg. There a lot of dangerous batteries out there that are being produced and sold for a lot less money than it takes to recycle them. Ni-Cad batteries, for instance, are technologically obsolete. It is ridiculous that you can buy a NiCad containing product for under $10.00, yet it costs more than $10.00 to dispose of that product in a landfill. NiMH batteries are better power-producers and they are better for the environment. - Money - Kellogg's To Stop Selling Toxic Cereal Toys

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Bush Twins to Hit the Campaign Trail

Lots of stories in the news that the Bush Twins are the Bush Campaign's "secret weapon."

If they hit the campaign trail as hard as they hit the bottle, then maybe.

Here's a link to Laura Bush's Parent's Guide to Raising Harlots.

Laura Bush's Guide to Raising Christian Ladies: Jenna & Barbara!
Wikipedia on Fahrenheit 9/11 and My thoughts on the DVD

Below is what appears to be a comprehensively annotated encyclopedia entry on Fahrenheit 9/11 and the various rebuttal articles.

If Bush thinks that the movie Fahrenheit 9/11 has been giving him trouble, he ain't seen nothing til the DVD hits in September. For one thing, many parts of the country don't have a movie theater showing F 9/11. Secondly, many folks are out of the habit of going to movies. Thirdly, it's easier to carry a dvd to a friend's house than it is to get the (undecided) friend to go see a movie.

Finally, if Bowling For Columbine is any guide, Michael Moore is likely tu update the DVD right before pressing. I'm sure there's a bunch of new stuff and stuff that was left out of the theatrical film that Moore will put on the DVD. Just when the Bushies have marshaled their counter-documentary-essays in response, the F9/11 DVD is bound to hit them with part II of their sins, dubious accomplishments and lack of accomplishments. From September to November F9/11 DVDs will be available in every store in the country, sometimes right by the checkout.

In every college, there will be Fahrenheit 9/11 viewing parties in every floor of every dorm.

It's a shame GWB, but you brought it upon yourself. You've had 3 1/2 years to show that you deserve the office to which you were appointed. In that time, you've done nothing but mess up the finances of the country, and start an optional war that has killed thousands of people. You have ignored the important problems that threaten our national well-being and security, such as globalism, environmental degradation (including global warming), nuclear proliferation, and (domestic and international) social inequities and injustices, injustices that provide the seeds for crime terrorism and revolution.

In the name of liberty, you have done more than any president before you to stifle liberty. You have shown a contempt for due process. You have passed laws to stifle freedom of speech. You ahve reversed a decades long trend toward open government. Sensible levels of gun control have been offlimits, yet you can't bring a f'ing fingernail clipper on an airplane or into a courthouse.

You want the government to stay out of people's lives, but you want to tell them who they can marry.

Oh well, I'm out of time.

Encyclopedia - the free encyclopedia: "DVD"
Ken Jennings passes $1 Million Mark on Jeopardy

. . . and he's still going strong and getting better.

There's no questioning man as all-time king of 'Jeopardy'

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ditka for Senate: A hard man for a hard job

Ditka for Senate: He's got his erection, now he's going for his election. - Ditka considers bid for U.S. Senate
Australian parliament tries to ban Spyware, Adware & other Web Pests

The problem is defining the problem. That's what has stymied efforts in the U.S.

Spies caught in parliament house: ZDNet Australia: News: Security
Tire Pressure Warning Systems: An analysis by AutoSpeed

Soon all new vehicles will require low tire pressure warning systems. The move appears to be justified both on highway-safety and fuel economy grounds. Factory installed, the systems may cost no more than $70 per car. Nevertheless, there are two competing technologies. One relies on individual wheel speed measurements radio-transmitted from sensors in each wheel. The other involves measuring the relative speeds of each tire. When one tire is moving faster than another, the tire is likely underinflated. This article is the first I've seen to cogently explain the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

AutoSpeed - Intelligent Tyres - Part 2

Monday, July 12, 2004

Postal Service to use GM Fuel Cell vans

GM, U.S. Postal Service ink fuel cell deal - Jun. 16, 2004
84 year-old Jame's Doohan has Alzheimers

James Doohan, the actor who played "Scotty" on Star Trek has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. Ok, that's not that surprising, he is, after all, 84. What is surprising is that he has a 4 year-old daughter. He therefore kicked Tony Randall's ass in the old father department.

MSNBC - Star Trek?s ?Scotty? diagnosed with Alzheimer?s
L.A.'s Loss is Indianapolis's gain. Los Angeles shifts its auto show to November reports that Las Angeles is shifting it's annual auto show to November from it's modern date of just after Christmas. Historically, Las Angeles has been ranked just under the "major" auto shows such as Detroit, Tokyo and Frankfort for purposes of new model introductions. But because of the size of the Las Angeles market, and because it is the biggest show that week, the automakers would generally display their first string concept cars at Las Angeles.

I live in Indianapolis. Indianapolis just happens to have its auto show the same week as L.A. This is good if you happen to have paid time off at Christmastime (as I do), it's bad if you like to see gee-whiz cars, because after L.A. we get the leftovers. Since L.A. is moving its show, that means Indianapolis will be the #1 show that weekend. Also, since Indy is only a one day drive from Detroit, which comes up the next week, even if we don't get the new intros, (and we won't) we should get the pick of the concept cars on the circuit.

The Car Connection [ The Web's Automotive Authority ]

Friday, July 09, 2004

2005 Ford 500: Ford's Sink or Swim Car

This fall, Ford will debut the new 500. This sedan looks very Audi-esque from the pictures that I've seen. In fact, it is close in dimensions to the A8, Audi's flagship. Surprisingly, Ford has stuck with a version of the 3.0 liter OHC as seen on the mazda 6. The 500's is downrated in horsepower. In the Mazda, it makes 220 hp. In the 500, it is beeing quoted at 200 hp. The 2 wheel drive 500s are expected to come in at about 3600 lbs, and the 4 wheel drive versions at about 3800. If you want to know how this car will perform at those weights, with that engine, take a test drive of a Mazda MPV minivan which weighs about the same and uses the same engine.

I would say the Mazda MPV's performance is adequate for everyday drving, but it is nothing to write home about. Ford hopes a CVT transmission will give better performance in the sedan.

Ford has targeted the 500 and derivatives as eventual replacements for both the Taurus and the Crown Vic. If you see what looks to be an Audi cop car in your rear view mirror, you'll know that Ford made a sale.

2005 Ford Five Hundred Review, Prices, Photos: New Car Test Drive
The Best Place for Ken Jennings Jeopardy news:

After Jeopardy was pre-empted in my local market one day this week, I had to get my fix on the status of the Ken Jennings juggernaut. The site below is an incredibly wonky site for everything that you could possibly want to know about tv game shows.

FYI - At this writing, Ken is at $868,960, and at his current rate, he is a week away from $1 million. Is he the all-time Jeopardy winner? Actually, no. In 2002 there was a special $1,000,000 tournament of champions that was won by Brad Rutter, who was then a 24 year old record store employee. Brad's total winnings stand at $1,155,102. In the broader game show universe, Ken is still in third place in total number of appearances behind two contestants from Tic Tac Dough, Kit Salisbury at 36 and Thom McKee at 43. Thom Mckee is treated as a game show legend even though I had never heard of him.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Do you have Ogre breath?

Find out


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Weird Site of the Day: The Cowbell Project

Ever think - nice song, but it needs more cowbell. This page salutes songs that honor the cowbell and puts cowbell in songs that need it.

The Cowbell Project
William Hung Update

William Hung will be shooting a movie in Hong kong in August. It will be called "My Crazy Mother. He's touring the country. He released a compilation DVD, and according to Rolling Stone, he's even found time for singing lessons. Let's see, I went to law school because . . . ?

William Hung
Exploding interest rates, late fees, and other credit card woes:

Below is a link to the syndicated (i.e. freely available) version of a Wall Street Journal article that discusses the current trend to higher credit card fees. I think it is unconscionable that credit card banks like MBNA, Household, and Citibank are lobbying Congress for bankruptcy "reform" when they raise interest rates, not if you are late on their card, but if you have too much credit out in their opinion, or if you are late on another obligation. I've seen rates as high as 28%. This is in a time where the fed's discount rates to bank is now still just 1 1/4%. So, when you have a card you're struggling to pay, but are paying at 18% interest, and then they jack it up to 28% and they add on $35/mo late payment fee and $35 over limit fee, what choice do you have but to file bankruptcy?

Banks cash in on fees from riskiest card holders
Equifax $100,000 contest: The retail credit report industry matures.

I've handled credit report cases for more than a decade now, and until a couple years ago, I can't remember hearing the term "retail credit report". Well, here's another sign that the retail credit report market is maturing. Equifax just announced a contest where you can win $100,000 if you buy one of Equfax's retail credit reports. (Where I live, Equifax's database is served by CSC. I don't know if we'd be eligible here in Indiana.

Equifax Personal Solutions

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Advanced Google Searches - Wildcard and Proximity Searches

You'll look high & low in the faq's but you won't find mention of the wildcard character "*". The wildcard can stand for any word or initial. It is great to search on someone's name when you don't know their middle initial. Do the search first without the middle initial

"John Smith"

Then do it again with the wildcard

"John * Smith"

Google Search: google wildcard

Google does not directly support proximity searches. Third parties have come up with scripts to do it. Try this one.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Coming soon to a DVD player near you: Guys gone Wild - Girls, step aside: It's 'Guys Gone Wild' - Jul 2, 2004

I wonder if the people who order this dvd will be signed up (unknowingly) for automatic debits and charges. That's what the Girls Gone Wild folks are accused of doing. Check out all the complaints on

New Tennis Sensation: Maria Sharapova

I rarely get a chance to see tennis anymore, but I did get to see a few minutes of a match featuring 17 year old Russian sensation Maria Sharapova.

Tennis: your new star is upon you. Imagine what a phenom that Anna Kournikova would have been if she would have been able to play decent tennis. Maria has Anna's looks and a good tennis game to boot.

Those cash registers are going to go cha-ching.

Russia enjoys Sharapova's fairy tale

Thursday, July 01, 2004

2005 Honda Accord Hybrid on the way

Honda finally fessed up to what the industry has been speculating about for the past two years, that Honda will offer a Hybrid Accord for 2005. It's not clear whether the hybrid will be available at model year introduction, or whether it will come later.

Interestingly, this isn't some pokey ecobox. This is a fully-loaded EX model with the V-6 engine. If you've never driven a V-6 Honda Accord, let me tell you, the car will flat out move, with 0-60 in the sixes and a top speed (if ungoverned) of over 150 mph. The new hybrid is supposed to have more horsepower than the stock V-6, with the "mild hybrid" helper motor offering an additional 15 hp for a total of 255.

The Hybrid Accord is expected to have cylinder deactivation as well, switching to 3 cylinder mode when engine load is light. I suspect that more than the electric motor the cylinder deactiviation contributes to the hybrid Accord's expected EPA of 32/38 (vs 21-30 for conventional v-6).

Once again, I get on my soapbox about CAFE requirements being too low. If Honda can make a 150 mph family sedan get 32-38 MPG, and Mercedes can make a luxo-barge executive sedan get the same numbers with a diesel, why are the CAFE requirements stuck in the stone age? - Hybrid Accord vows performance, efficiency
Howard Stern endorses Kerry

Stern mobilizes shock jock bloc / Radio host urges loyal listeners to vote against Bush
Cheney spotted at Fahrenheit 9/11 screening in Houston

Was he really paying people not to see the movie? Hmmm, something's not right about this. When did he get his picture on Hallibacon bucks?

Dick Cheney Spotted at Fahrenheit 9/11 Screening in Houston : Houston Indymedia's collection of funny George W. pictures

Funny George W. Bush Pictures - Bush Political Cartoons
Kerry opposes Drivers' Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

John Kerry has come out against drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. I think he might want to reconsider this position. By denying drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, he virtually assures that these folks will drive illegally and uninsured. More of them will run from the cops when stopped. In fact, in some areas, the majority of the drivers will be driving illegally. In such areas, the only practical way to run the insurance system would be through "pay at the pump" insurance as advocated some time ago by economist Andrew Tobias. (Actually, I think pay-at-the-pump auto insurance would be a good idea.) It will drive the immigrants farther into the underground economy and will foster disrespect for the law in general. By further treating illegal immigrants as 2nd (or 3rd) class citizens, the immigrants will be preyed upon and victimized, and as usual, the children will be the ones that suffer the most.

The New York Times > National > Kerry: No Licenses for Illegal Immigrants