Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hybrid cars for all: good business sense

My father came up with the following idea, and has been sending it around to as many people as possible. Good plans like this one reinforce the idea that environmentally friendly hybrid cars could be made available to everybody at a reasonable price without breaking any current business models.

Without further ado:


I wanted to mention an idea to everyone, for what it is worth.

As far as I can find out, it would be a complete no-brainer, off-the-shelf, ready-to-go-today caper for one of the US automobile manufacturers to design, produce, market, and sell a car with the following properties and capabilities:

* Is a hybrid (small internal combustion engine and an electric motor, as in Ford Escape Hybrid);

* Can be plugged into a home AC socket for charging (Toyota Prius or other hybrids can be easily modified to enable this: it gives more miles as an electric, extends gas mileage greatly);

* The internal combustion engine is a Flex engine (this means it can burn gasoline or gas/ethanol mixtures from 10% E/90% G known as E10, to E85 which is 85% E - this requires really minor mods to contemporary engines, such as changing the fuel lines so the ethanol doesn't melt the line - flex engines are nowadays common and they automatically adjust to the type of fuel in the tank - just fill it with whatever and go).

Imagine how you would operate such a car. Plug it in your house, then drive it around town as a pure electric. Go on a long trip, burn only gas or some ethanol mix. Run it as a hybrid when your plug-in battery juice is over and you don't want to stop for another plug-in session. Auto manufacturers would sell cars, gas and ethanol producers and distributers would continue in the manner they now use with virtually the same equipment, repair facilities already handle these technologies, less oil is consumed which will aid the environment. And we could come close to energy independence very quickly which would literally save lives.

This is completely do-able right now with existing inventions, manufacturing techniques, and fuel distribution systems. We would not have to wait X number of years, as the manufacturers have said before, for technology to catch up with manufacturing.

I intend to send this idea around to several other persons and ask that they send it to anyone who might be interested in encouraging implementation. It seems to me this is an idea that would end our famous oil addiction, and would have a very beneficial impact on our national defense posture. This could be done in a year.


Hybrid cars work now, and they don't put anybody out of business. Spread the word!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hutchison: no to minimum wage increase

Today the Senate voted not to have one of those infamous "up or down" votes on raising the minimum wage, something that Democratic senators bring to the floor every single year. Texas's own Kay Bailey Hutchison was one of the NAYs.

I guess that increasing the minimum wage to a liveable amount might make her millions of dollars in big corporate stocks go down a little bit.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

MoveOn Progressive Potluck

Capsule summary: success!

Thanks to Jenn and the MoveOn group here in Lubbock for a wonderful potluck tonight that brought a good cross-section of Lubbock progressives together -- and half of our candidates as well! I met a lot of new people and had a great time.

I've always admired MoveOn's ability to bring an army of activists out of the woodwork at just the right time on just the right issues. This potluck and their announcement of "Operation Democracy" are the latest examples of their winning formula.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hutchison: Charity Queen?

From an A-J article about disclosures:


Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's 1997 appearance in the television series "Walker, Texas Ranger" continues to benefit charity.

She reported $153.73 was given to charity from two reruns of the show in which she played herself. Congressional members cannot accept fees for such appearances or speeches, so the fees are sent to charity.

Hutchison's investment holdings, valued between $2.2 million and $6.1 million, include stock in General Electric, Halliburton, Procter & Gamble, Wal-Mart and Reliant Energy. She made seven purchases of Wal-Mart stock valued between $7,007 and $105,000.

(emphasis mine)

Way to make corporate charity your #1 priority, Kay.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Apology to Our Youth

The following is an open letter from my friend Ed Hinders of Canyon, TX. The hard copy version includes tables and charts showing just how bad our nation's economic situation has become.


I aplogize to the Youth of America for the failure of my generation to be responsible stewards of our financial status, as we are transferring our debt to you with less ability to pay for it. This is indicated by the rapid deterioration since 1982 of the twin deficits, which are: 1) gross federal debt / gross domestic product (GDP), and 2) international trade deficit.

At the end of the Carter administration and the beginning of the Reagan administration, our debt was $995 billion, and the GDP $3.061 trillion (or 32.5% of GDP). This was the lowest and best debt/GDP ratio since WWII.

Today, our debt is $7.905 trillion, and the GDP is $12.290 trillion (or 64.3% of GDP). This is the result of our debt increasing much faster than the economy during the Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43 administrations.

In the 12 years of the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations, the debt grew 437% while the economy grew only 214%. During the 1st term of Bush 43, the economy grew 123% while the debt grew 137%.

During the 8 years of the Clinton administration, the debt grew 133% while the economy grew 153%. The debt/GDP ratio declined during the clinton years as the ecenomy grew faster than debt.

In 1982 our international trade surplus was over $225 billion and we were the world's largest creditor nation. By 1986 we were the world's largest debtor nation, and today our cumulative trade deficit is $5.2 trillion. In 2005 our trade deficit was a record $782 billion.

Do these deficits matter? Yes. By the end of this decade it is estimated that our national interest cost will be more than all discretionary spending combined, meaning less government services and increased taxes. If we do nothing about our trade deficits, others will claim our assets and incomes. This means they will increase control over politics and our freedoms will be reduced.

Is this a moral issue? It should be. Why have many Christians been AWOL on this issue? It is high time that the American People regained control of America. We need to get the facts, get involved in politics, and vote for candidates who have the vision to honor, rather than burden, our Youth.

Our Youth are depending on us.

Ed Hinders
Canyon, TX

Online Coverage of TX Dem Party State Convention

There have been a lot of bloggers posting things about the TX State Dem convention, and I will join in with a thorough discussion soon. For now, here's a YouTube account with videos of most/all speakers:

And here's a good analysis/summary of the race for state Party Chair, with great maps:

Personally, I am still recovering from the whole thing. Things didn't go quite how I wanted, but the struggle needed to happen. Now I turn my attention back to Lubbock.

Ya Basta!!