February 16, 2007

Nascar chat, Daytona 500 this weekend.

Ok, including this post our life-time total of NASCAR posts at RDW is now 1.

I know this much about NASCAR and the Daytona 500.

  • Go fast, turn left.
  • Lots of people like this.
  • No Hybrid vehicle will win the race.
  • The Daytona 500 is a big deal.
  • NPR will not discuss this.
  • They have race in Florida somewhere.
  • Jeb Bush is no longer the Governor there.

So coinsider this an open thread on NASCAR and the Daytona 500.

Do you care? Will you watch the race? Who's gonna win? Does the Nextel cup still sound goofy to you?


More Prius / Hybrid Enviro Impact Talk.

The following exerpts are from an article discussing the complete environmental impact of automobiles. READ THE WHOLE THING!

According to Art Spinella, the uber-auto analyst and President of CNW Marketing Research, hybrid sales every month this year have been down compared to the same time last year. Even sales of the Toyota Prius – the darling of the greens – have dropped significantly. The only segment besides taxis where hybrids are still holding steady – taxpayers will be happy to note -- is the car fleets maintained by the government.
What's particularly interesting is that individual consumers are defying all expectations and turning their backs on hybrids at a time when gas prices are soaring. (The average U.S. retail price of gas spiked to a record high of $3.01 last September following hurricane Katrina, and just last week it hit its second highest price ever at nearly $3.00.) Nor is the reason all that mysterious. Spinella's customer satisfaction surveys show that 62 percent of hybrid owners are dissatisfied with the fuel-economy performance of their cars given what they have paid for them.

This means that when gas prices go up, these people don't rush out to buy more hybrids. "They buy a Chevy Aveo," says Spinella. "It delivers the same fuel economy as a Prius, but at half the price."

But despite all these drawbacks, hybrids are at least better for the environment than say….. a Hummer, right? Nope.

Spinella spent two years on the most comprehensive study to date – dubbed "Dust to Dust" -- collecting data on the energy necessary to plan, build, sell, drive and dispose of a car from the initial conception to scrappage. He even included in the study such minutia as plant-to-dealer fuel costs of each vehicle, employee driving distances, and electricity usage per pound of material. All this data was then boiled down to an "energy cost per mile" figure for each car (see here and here).

Comparing this data, the study concludes that overall hybrids cost more in terms of overall energy consumed than comparable non-hybrid vehicles. But even more surprising, smaller hybrids' energy costs are greater than many large, non-hybrid SUVs.

For instance, the dust-to-dust energy cost of the bunny-sized Honda Civic hybrid is $3.238 per mile. This is quite a bit more than the $1.949 per mile that the elephantine Hummer costs. The energy cots of SUVs such as the Tahoe, Escalade, and Navigator are similarly far less than the Civic hybrid.
As for Ford cars, a Ford Escape hybrid costs $3.2 per mile – about a third more than the regular Escape. But on the whole, ironically enough, the dust-to-dust costs of many of the Ford non-hybrids – Fusion, Milan, Zephyr – are not only lower than comparable Japanese hybrids – Prius, Accord -- but also non-hybrids – Seville, Civic.

Spinella's finding that a Hummer on the whole consumes less energy than a hybrid than even some smaller hybrids and non-hybrids has infuriated environmentalists. (gee I wonder why, afraid to face some actual scientific analysis that threatens their precious pre conceived notions?)
And on its face it does seem implausible that a gas-guzzling monster like a Hummer that employs several times more raw material than a little Prius' could be so much less energy-intensive. But by and large the dust-to-dust energy costs in Spinella's study correlate with the fanciness of the car – not its size or fuel economy -- with the Rolls Royces and Bentleys consuming gobs of energy and Mazda 3s, Saturns and Taurus consuming relatively minuscule amounts.
As for Hummers, Spinella explains, the life of these cars averaged across various models is over 300,000 miles. By contrast, Prius' life – according to Toyota's own numbers – is 100,000 miles. Furthermore, Hummer is a far less sophisticated vehicle. Its engine obviously does not have an electric and gas component as a hybrid's does so it takes much less time and energy to manufacture. What's more, its main raw ingredient is low-cost steel, not the exotic light-weights that are exceedingly difficult to make – and dispose. But the biggest reason why a Hummer's energy use is so low is that it shares many components with other vehicles and therefore its design and development energy costs are spread across many cars.

February 15, 2007

Does the Prius kill?

Hybrid cars dangerously quiet for pedestrians: US blind group

WASHINGTON (AFP) - An association of blind Americans has warned that cars with hybrid engines using electricy and fuel are dangerously too quiet for pedestrians.

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) said hybrid cars pose a risk to the blind, children, the elderly, cyclists and distracted pedestrians.

The group said it conducted tests with blind people."We had the car drive by in different situations, to see wether or not people could hear it and use the sound of the car to safely cross the street, and they could not. The car was just silent,"

..."We all stood on the side of the street and the idea was to raise your hand as you heard the car approach," Danielsen said."We generally couldn't sense that it was there right in front of us, which of course, if we had been standing in the road, would have been running right over us," he said."By the time anybody detected it, if we had actually been standing in the road, it would have taken out three or four people."

It is time to play our favorite game show....

Once again it is time to play, what do these numbers mean?

51.3 - The combined tax on a a gallon of gas in Wisconsin (pennies)

20.6 - Profit on a gallon of glass. (pennies)

18.4 - Federal Tax on a gallon of gas (pennies)

32.9 - State tax on a gallon of gas (pennies)

7 - Wisconsin has the 7th highest fuel tax in the nation.

Kudos to Scott H for getting close.

Yes, the tax on a gallon of gas is is 249% more than the profit.

Breaking News: Red Apple Suspect let into the building?

The Journal Times is reporting RPD has arrested a suspect in the Red Apple school sexual assault.

They are also reporting "It's still not clear how the suspect entered the building."

I have heard, from two different sources, a very different story than the official Racine Unified Schools spin on how the assaulter of the six year old boy got into Red Apple school.

The official spin has been the person got in through a broken door.

My sources tell me that the man was let into the building by a member of the schools custodial staff through a service / loading dock area door.

I have no way of knowing with 100% accuracy as to the absolute truth of those statements, however it is a very different tale than the one being told by the district. The reasoning is to shift blame away from the district and build public support for more funding of school maintenance.

The suspect is being interrogated and we will learn more about this in the very near future, I hope. Do not be surprised if the way the person gained entry was by school staff.

I applaud the police department for their quick action on this, I hope their interview of the suspect reveals the truth in this matter.

February 14, 2007

Hybrid cars ruining the environment.

Toyota factory turns landscape to arid wilderness

By MARTIN DELGADO, Mail on Sunday -
More by this author » Last updated at 22:36pm on 18th November 2006

The 'green-living' Toyota Prius has become the ultimate statement for those seeking to stress their commitment to the environment.

However, the environment-saving credentials of the cars are seriously undermined by the disclosure that one of the car's essential components is produced at a factory that has created devastation likened to the arid environment of the moon.

So many plants and trees around the factory at Sudbury in Ontario, Canada, have died that astronauts from Nasa practised driving moon buggies on the outskirts of the city because it was considered the closest thing on earth to the rocky lunar landscape.

Unlike normal cars, hybrids such as the Prius, whose proud owners include Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and ex-Tory leader Michael Howard, are powered by a battery that contains nickel - as well as a traditional petrol engine.

Toyota gets the metal from a Canadian company whose smelting facility at Sudbury has spewed sulphur dioxide into the air for more than a century.

The car giant buys about 1,000 tons a year from the plant, which is owned by Inco, one of the world's largest nickel-mining companies.

Fumes emerging from the factory are so poisonous that they have destroyed vegetation in the surrounding countryside, turning the once-beautiful landscape into the bare, rocky terrain astronauts might expect to find in outer space.

Reality? Not in Racine.

Journal Times: Doyle balances budget without sales or income tax increase

Journal Sentinel: Doyle seeks tax, fee increases

Wausau Daily Herald: Doyle budget demands your scrutiny

Janesville Gazette: Tax and fee increases in Doyle budget draw GOP ire

Green Bay Pree-Gazette: Doyle unviels budget plan to lawmakers.

Only your Racine Journal Times headline portrays this $1.7 billion folly as not increasing taxes. I still do not recall Jim Doyle running on a flatform of a nearly $2 billion tax increase.

I would also like to point out that the state of Wisconsin ALREADY profits more from oil and gas than the companies who produce distribute and sell petroleum products already do.

What more will the worst governor in the nation do to turn away business from this state? Does he not get why companies do not locate here?

Vos Release on Doyle Budget

Democrat Budget Proposes Biggest Tax Increase in Twenty FiveYears

Average Family to Pay an Extra $1240 Per Year

Madison...Representative Robin Vos (R- Caledonia) voiced his extreme opposition today to a budget he says contains the biggest proposed tax increases in over 25 years. Governor Doyle delivered his budget address this evening which included $1.7 billion in new tax and fee increases. Vos stated that this huge tax increase means that every man, woman, and child in the state of Wisconsin will pay an additional $310 if the Democrat’s budget becomes law.

“The Democrat’s budget is simply unfair to the taxpayers of Wisconsin,” said Vos. “It’s obvious that the Democrats are more interested in pleasing special interest groups than protecting Wisconsin’s working families.”

Vos went on to say that he suspects that the days of bipartisanship demonstrated early in the session are over. In past years there has been an effort made by both parties to balance the budget without tax increases. The attitude on the part of the Democrats seems to be changing. This budget demonstrates their true nature with proposals for excessive fee increases, tax hikes, and huge government spending increases.

This is unfortunate given that Wisconsin could be on track to getting its fiscal house in order. Vos explained that Wisconsin’s growing economy is projected to generate $1.25 billion in extra tax revenue in the next two years. Wisconsin has previously faced large structural deficits caused by years of overspending and overextension of commitments often paid for with one-time money.
“The Democrats can’t contain themselves to only increasing spending by over a billion dollars, even though using that revenue should make balancing the budget easy,” Vos said. “But the fact that they want to take $1.7 billion more from Wisconsin’s taxpayers is unthinkable.”

Representative Vos said that as a member of the Joint Finance Committee, he is committed to crafting a balanced budget that does not raise taxes. In fact, it is Vos’s hope that this 07-09 budget actually cuts taxes for Wisconsin’s families in addition to providing real health care reform, committing more money to public education than any budget in history, keeping our children safe, and providing for Wisconsin’s most vulnerable citizens.



Tue Feb 13 2007 19:31:25 ET

The Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality hearing scheduled for Wednesday, February 14, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building has been postponed due to inclement weather.

The hearing is entitled “Climate Change: Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Human Activities Contributing to a Warming of the Planet?” The hearing will be rescheduled to a date and time to be announced later.

February 13, 2007

Doyle passes the $billion mark.

I follow politics closely, I actually watched the gubenatorial debates, funny nowhere do I recall Jim Doyle running for re-election on a promise of raising taxes a BILLION DOLLARS.

And this in only his first month.

Sen. Fitzgerald: Proposed Doyle Tax Hikes Cross $1 Billion Mark

Contact - Senator Scott Fitzgerald, (608) 266-5660

Bad news for taxpayers continues as governor proposes yet another huge tax increase

[Madison, Wisc....] A new week started off on a bad note for Wisconsin's middle class families, as they learned this morning of Governor Doyle's latest plan to raise their taxes. This time, the governor is proposing a new tax on gasoline providers that will cost Wisconsin drivers almost $300 million over the next two years.

This new tax is the equivalent of an 8.5 cents increase in the state's gas tax.

"The budget Governor Doyle will present to the legislature and the people of Wisconsin on Tuesday will raise taxes by more than $1 billion," said Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R - Juneau).

"There is literally nobody in Wisconsin who will be able to avoid paying higher taxes under the budget proposed by the governor and supported by Senate Democrats." In addition to the more than $1 billion in tax increases the governor will include in his budget, Senate Democrats are proposing a scheme to shift more than $3 billion in sales taxes on the backs of Wisconsin families. "

If you're sick, if you drive, if you own or rent a home, if you smoke, if you visit our state as a tourist, or if you buy anything at all in the state of Wisconsin, the Democrats in Madison want to raise your taxes," Fitzgerald said. "Our tax burden is one of the ten worst in the country and Wisconsin's middle class families can't take any more. These tax increases must be stopped."

Fitzgerald noted that the governor's budget would use the revenues generated by more than $1 billion in new taxes to fund new and expanded government programs that will increase the role government plays in people's lives and take control away from individuals and families.

"The governor wants to expand the government's reach into every aspect of people's lives from the cradle to the grave, and he wants Wisconsin's middle class families to pick up the tab," Fitzgerald said. "The people of Wisconsin are fed up with high taxes. Our families and our economy cannot afford the budget Governor Doyle will announce on Tuesday night."

Democrat, Republican or Redneck?

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children.

Suddenly, an Islamic terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you.

You are carrying a Glock cal 40, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.

What do you do?

Democrat's Answer:

Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor! Or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me? Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? Should I call 9-1-1? Why is this street so deserted? We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this a happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior. This is all so confusing! I need to discuss with some friends over a latte and try to come to a consensus.

Republican's Answer:


Redneck's Answer:


Click.....(sounds of reloading)


click ..

Daughter: "Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?"

Son: "You got him, Pop! Can I shoot the next one?"

Wife: "You are not taking that to the taxidermist!"

For the record.

I am NOT the father of Anna Nicole Smith's child.

A fifth possible has come forward.

I am starting to think the list of non-fathers would be shorter than the list of possible fathers.

Targeted Blogger Quits Edwards Campaign

But not before taking a shot... This is the angry left, how dare you question them! They are those entitled to judge, not any... gasp... Christian.

By MIKE BAKER Associated Press Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- One of the chief campaign bloggers for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards quit Monday after conservative critics raised questions about her history of provocative online messages.

Amanda Marcotte posted on her personal blog, Pandagon, that the criticism "was creating a situation where I felt that every time I coughed, I was risking the Edwards campaign." Marcotte said she resigned from her position Monday, and that her resignation was accepted by the campaign.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, demanded last week that Edwards fire Marcotte and a second blogger, Melissa McEwan, for remarks he deemed anti-Catholic. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, called the messages personally offensive, but decided to keep Marcotte and McEwan on staff.

"No matter what you think about the campaign, I signed on to be a supporter and a tireless employee for them, and if I can't do the job I was hired to do because Bill Donohue doesn't have anything better to do with his time than harass me, then I won't do it," Marcotte wrote Monday night.

February 12, 2007

MRQ - Dennis, We Hardly Knew Ya

Sigh. I think we all can agree that the outing, passing, unveiling, whatever we can call it of Dennis York, is kind of a bittersweet occasion. So I would like to dedicate this weeks' MRQ to Dennis and all of the funny everything he's brought us. Of course we'll have a few nonyorks in here, nonetheless, Dennis we salute thee!

"Just post the whole f**king thing.

Did I say that?
I never say that." Fred.

And from the same post:

"Are there still women trying to please men by putting a live lobster in their underpants? (Wait - don't answer that.)" Nominated by Belle.

I dub thee, the Furnacicle! Larry.

This is a job for Pete Fanning. Phel

Does Katie [Couric] wear an adult disposable brief through the newscast? Steve

I wonder if KY Jelly is also exempt; as the Asian Badger has been saying, we’re going to need it. Steve Egg

Poker tables, here I come...please don't hurt me. Still unreal

We're screwed............again Silent E.

Pissing your pants would be public urination, would it not? Dean

Ban Proposed On Sticking Sharp Sticks in Eyes. Nick.

I only have one question, does Phillips have to bring a calzone to Jerry Jones every day? Wigs

Two words: DEATH PENALTY! Kate

If you live in Wisconsin, please, for the love of Pete, learn how to drive in snow or stay the hell home, mmmmmkay? Owen

Chronicle to the Freeman; You're Welcome. Huck Dumbell

I kind of look like Graem Bauer. I have glasses and am not that tall. Have I been stereotyped? Hackbarth

Pimp Yer Terlit. Fuzz Martin

It doesn't look like the Spammobile is scheduled to make an appearance here any time soon. Triticale

Now, I try to make it around the Cheddarsphere, but it's a big, big place. If you have any nominations in a given week - don't be shy - send it to me!

And Dennis if you're out there - thanks again my friend.

Valentine's Day Flowers Contribute to Global Warming

The Telegraph is reporting that Valentine's Day bouqets promote global warming.

Sorry ladies....

Thought of the week.

I wished the buck stopped here, I could use a few.

I thought my car was dirty....

Trash-Filled Car Crashes In West Yarmouth


A car crash in West Yarmouth led police to the discovery of a filthy car filled to the brim with trash and rubbish. According to police, there was so much trash inside 53-year-old Ann Biglan's Ford Focus, it completely filled the inside from the floor to the ceiling front and back.

The copious amounts of trash apparently caused the crash. Biglan told police several old coffee cups and pieces of trash fell onto the gas and brake pedal, which caused her to lose control while backing out of a parking space near the West Yarmouth Post Office.

Police said the trash that fell on the pedal caused the Focus to pick up speed, drive over a curb, across Route 28, hit a Ford Explorer and back over a sidewalk. Biglan's car finally came to a rest after crashing into a flowerpot in the parking lot of the West Yarmouth Mobil gas station.