Ugh!

Recently, I’ve just not been in the mood to write.  What’s worse…I’ve not really had anything to write about.  It turns out, I’m not the only blogger with this issue.  And, to be honest, it’s not like there haven’t been things that I’ve taken issue with, which usually provides more than enough bantha fodder for me to feast on in this space.  So, I had to do a little research for today’s topic: cash for clunkers.

When I first heard about the Cash for Clunkers rebate program, I thought it was an excellent idea.  Here was something that would help the general public, the auto industry, the economy, the environment…how could it go wrong?  Wow!  Let me tell you, it’s in the fine print as the auto industry might say.  So, the deal is, you can trade in your old gas guzzler for a new model with better gas mileage and get a voucher for up to $4500, depending on your trade-in and your new purchase.  Great, right?!  But, take a look at these rules from CARS.gov

There are several requirements (but you also have to meet certain conditions for the car or truck you wish to buy). Your dealer can help you determine whether you have an eligible trade in vehicle.

Your trade-in vehicle must

  • have been manufactured less than 25 years before the date you trade it in
  • have a “new” combined city/highway fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon or less
  • be in drivable condition
  • be continuously insured and registered to the same owner for the full year preceding the trade-in
  • The trade-in vehicle must have been manufactured not earlier than 25 years before the date of trade in and, in the case of a category 3 vehicle, must also have been manufactured not later than model year 2001

Note that work trucks (i.e., very large pickup trucks and cargo vans) have different requirements.

So, yeah, the idea, in theory, is great.  Get huge enviro-killers off the road by offering to help them buy a new vehicle, but check out how lame the requirements are for your new vehicle:

Cash For Clunkers – Car Allowance Rebate System Overview

Summary of Car Allowance Rebate System – Cash for Clunkers Voucher Qualifications
Min. Fuel Economy for New Vehicle $3,500 Voucher $4,500 Voucher
Passenger Car 22 mpg * Mileage improvement of at least 4 mpg Mileage improvement of at least 10 mpg
Light-Duty Truck ** 18 mpg * Mileage improvement of at least 2 mpg Mileage improvement of at least 5 mpg
Large Light-Duty Trucks *** 15 mpg * Mileage improvement of at least 1 mpg or trade-in of a work truck Mileage improvement of at least 2 mpg
Commercial trucks ****
Trade-in must be at least pre-2002

* EPA Combined MPG   ** under 6,000 lbs.  ***6,000 lbs. – 8,500 lbs. **** 8,500 – 10,000 lbs.

source:http://www.cashforclunkersfacts.com/

The best you have to achieve is 22 mpg for a passenger car?  Seriously?  And that has to be 4 mpg better than your previous vehicle for you to qualify for even the cheapest voucher.  What were you driving before, the Exxon Valdez?  Look, I’m squeezing about 40 mpg (on a good week) out of C.’s 1994-5 Honda Civic, and that’s when I drive it.  Most of the time I’m on my bike.  How many miles can I go on a gallon of Gatorade?

I’m guessing that this program was brilliant when it was on the back of a napkin during a late-night bull session, but by the time it wallowed through the congressional gauntlet, it was toothless garbage.  We ought to have no less than 33-35 mpg efficiency in this country for every vehicle, unless that vehicle has a particular “special use.”  And, if it does have a special use, you’d better have proof that you use it for that very thing.  For example, if you have a farm truck that gets 12 mpg, you’d better be bringing your pig or tobacco in with you when you re-register it every year.  No more executive farmers who drive around in Escalades to see their ranch.

In other news, I’ve gone back to work after 12 weeks of paternity leave.  I miss the little munchkin…even more so because I love my job so much Aside: dripping with sarcasm and I’d much rather be home.  Also, I may have some extra work as a freelance writer, making a little dough by writing up an industry newsletter with my own particular brand of  “lawyer-approved” humor, so that should be fun.  And finally, I’ll try and be a little more conscientious about writing more in the future.  I know that this is the highlight of your day.

See you in the funny papers!

Long time no write…

Yes, yes, it’s been a long time since I posted.  Too long, in fact, and I apologize.  But, let’s not dwell on the past shall we?  As Satchel Paige once said: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”  So, in the spirit of the great baseball sage, I’d like to introduce a new segment called Here’s what I don’t get

Here’s what I don’t get…the popularity of Sacha Baron Cohen.  I understand satire and I understand comedy, but to me, this man just does it poorly. Now apparently, I’m in the minority here, considering his films rake in millions.  Still, my concern is that there is simply a wealth of ignorant humans who don’t understand that he’s simply pandering to their basest instincts for a laugh.  I’ve never found that type of humor to be engaging, rather it simply sets us back decades as a species.  Or maybe, just maybe, Cohen is on the cutting edge of breaking down walls of bigotry and hatred…but it seems as if he’s simply causing the less educated to revel in their ignorance and pass it on to future generations.

Here’s what I don’t get…why haven’t we been back to the moon?  Or possibly, an even better question, why did we even go to the moon in the first place?  Don’t get me wrong, I think that the science behind sending people to the moon is incredible and has been slowly dwindling over the last 40 years.  I stand in awe of those who have transcended the earthly bond of gravity and risked pretty much everything they know and love to get to something so far away.  But, why did we go?  Given NASA’s archive of President Kennedy’s speech, the entire venture was based not on science, but on politics.  Wow…we’ve come so far in 40 years! Aside: See, now that’s sarcasm. Basically, we were being trounced by the Soviets in “The Great Space Race” and having just looked like a bunch of dorks following the Bay of Pigs incident, we needed something to really turn our image around.  So, let’s put a man on the moon.  Nothing scientific about it…merely politics and saving face.  But, why haven’t we been back?  We have the technology, or at least we did.  Surely we haven’t gotten rid of it.  Not just that, but the technology has come a long way since transistors and vacuum tubes.  Now, we could go back to the moon and do something useful instead of just bounce around, pick up rocks, and play golf.  We could set up instruments to visualize weather patterns on Earth; we could discuss terraforming a moonbase as a waypoint between here and Mars if we decide we really want to go there; there are probably thousands of scientific options, but we seem to have been content with simply making a few footprints and claiming the win.

That should cover us for now.  Be sure to tune in next time when I’m bound to not get something else.  In the meantime, check out the Movie Reviews page which has been updated recently.

See you in the funny papers!