Archive for May 16th, 2011

by Lesley Lotto

So Newt Gingrich has announced he’s running for President in 2012.  Whoop dee doodle.  Really?  Has there ever been a more hypocritical run for higher office?  Well, ya, probably.  The overly bloated, egotastical Newt made the announcement via Twitter last week to which his 14 followers all bellowed from the Internets, yahoo, wait, what?

Gingrich was of course the Speaker of the House when Bill Clinton was President. He was swept onto the throne on a tidal wave of popularity when the country was confused, kind of like right now, voting for whatever the opposite is to what there was at the time.  Sort of like an episode of Seinfeld.

Newt was also widely known as one of those who tried to get Clinton ousted from office through Impeachment, but of course Clinton would have none of that, shouting “I did NOT have sex with THAT woman” to which Newt and his clingerson found that so arousing, they had to bring in an investigator to search for semen on a blue dress or was it a cigar that landed in Clinton’s mouth after being in the nether regions of a White House intern?

For me, the best part of all of it during that era was ol’ Newt embroiled in some of his own sexual shenanigans while touting himself as the Family Values type.  Oy Vey.  He married one of his high school teachers when he was 19, she was 26.  He was married to her for 18 years when he allegedly went to the cancer-stricken, bed-ridden, hospital-laying wife and asked for a divorce because she just didn’t do it for him anymore. Besides he was sticking it to someone else and really wanted to marry her, ya know being the family values type and all.

That someone was 23 years younger than Newt and a Congressional staffer, oh my!  All of this happening at the same time Newt led the investigation into President Clinton.  Now I don’t personally care what Clinton did in the Oval office.  Heck, the country was hummin’ along ;) yeah, he lied, so what?  What politician doesn’t?  But Newt, after cheating on wife two with now wife three, to say G-d has forgiven me and so should you?  Ahem…I think not.  I think he needs to sidle right up to Bill and Hillary and ask for forgiveness.  You know, make amends.  Then it should be up to the Clintons to decide if he gets a mulligan.

Newt quit his position in the House after a government shutdown and Republicans made a horrible showing in the 1998 elections.  Not unlike another high-powered Republican leaving a high-powered position who we’ve yet to hear may also make a run in 2012.  They really are the cut and run party.  I hate that saying, but it really works here.

But Newt’s one of those types that went to rehab or went to G-d and saw the light.  He knows he can do a better job than the suddenly upright Obama.  He says Obama’s got it all wrong, he’s the “Food Stamp President” and to blame for all that is not holy.

Newt says he found G-d after seeing the Pope and seeing the peace that exuded from him.  Well Newt, the Pope’s never done it.  Shouldn’t you be way more peaceful than the Pope given how many women you’ve had?  While we’re on the subject, what’s wrong with your wife? She looks so frightened.  Is it me or does she look more plastic than Cindy McCain and Nancy Pelosi all rolled up into one. Newt might want to take a step back for a minute and meditate like Mike Huckabee who just said his heart said no even though his many followers said yes to a 2012 run.

Not as salacious, but just as damning, Newt was embroiled in a nasty ethics scandal which some say was the reason he finally stepped down.  He apparently misused election funds to help sweep Republicans into the majority in 1998 and was fined a stealthy 300-grand.  At the time he was going to borrow the cash from Bob Dole, but then turned up the cash.

Newt was also one of several members of the House involved in “Rubbergate” where the House Bank allowed Legislators to keep overdrawn bank accounts.   And this guy thinks he can bring the economy back from a banking scandal?

Over the weekend Newt said Congressman Paul Ryan had the budget bill all wrong and that his healthcare mandate and changes to Medicare were wrong for America.  When he was called out by his own party, he blamed the “Elite Media”.  Sounds awfully like another Cut and Runner Repub.

And all of this so easily investigated through Googling Newt’s name by a lil’ radio reporter here in Montana… Far from elite.

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BCFS

So… My better half is contemplating purchasing a new vehicle, which means that I get to have some fun doing internet research and reading car magazines on possible options.  She decided that she wanted better gas mileage than her current Subaru provides (28 mpg), and I convinced her that she if she wanted a significant improvement that she should go with a diesel, specifically a Jetta TDI (used or new).  The only problem it seems is that you can’t find a diesel car within 500 miles of Missoula: of course you can find hundreds of diesel Chevy Silverado 3500s.  The dealers seem to think that they wouldn’t sell which means that the closest diesel cars are embargoed in Seattle, Denver, or Salt Lake City.

This isn’t the only barrier that crops up when you want to get your right foot on the gas pedal of a diesel.  Prices of diesels in the used car market have significantly risen in the last half decade as fuel economy suddenly became important to people.  Used Jetta TDIs routinely go for several thousand dollars above their suggested blue book value making a slightly used TDI almost as expensive as a brand new one.  A diesel Jetta is the “cheap” option as many of the other diesels available in America are European luxury models.

And that gets me to my question of the day… Where the fuck are the American diesels?  Half of all cars sold in Europe are diesel.  If you want to buy an American made diesel vehicle in this country you have a lot of option that look like this:

Other than that you have to go with a European manufacturer if you want a car and not a truck.  Audi has 4 diesel models available in the US; BMW 3; Mercedes 7; Volkswagen 7; GM 0, Ford 0; Chrysler 0.  And Audi, BMW, and Mercedes cars aren’t exactly cheap and so aren’t feasible for most Americans to purchase.

Petrol prices are once again averaging $4/gallon and are nearing the record high reached in 2008 and yet the mix of cars available in America has changed very little even in the face of rising prices spanning the last decade.  As of 2008, the average passenger vehicle in America got 25.6 mpg compared to 25.1 mpg in 2001.  That’s American innovation for you.

But this being America, we like big sweeping plans to solve issues, the simple solutions are just plain boring.  T. Boon Pickens has his idea for converting the American passenger vehicle fleet to natural gas and Obama wants us to believe that plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) are the technological answers to our commuting nightmares.  Both of those options might be viable long-term solutions to our dependence on oil to drive our economy, but in the short-term neither really makes all that much sense.

The problem with both EVs and NGVs is that they both require whole new systems of distribution and manufacture to develop.  We are talking about investments in the trillions of dollars here to undertake the necessary research, develop new, scalable manufacturing techniques, convert factories, and build the distribution system that will allow Americans to plug-in or fill up their car with natural gas.

Diesel doesn’t require any of that.  The distribution system is already in place.  American car makers might have to spend $50,000 grand buying an advanced diesel car from Europe and reverse-engineering the engine but that’s about all the research they would have to undertake to catchup with European manufacturers.  And diesel cars could show an immediate impact on fuel efficiency, often providing two or three times the fuel efficiency than gas engines currently in use in America.

In the end, diesel isn’t the answer to our oil-dependence (and talk of our energy addiction would make this post too long) as we are going to run out of crude anyway.  What diesel can provide is a bridge between today and whatever system comes along in the future… whether that may be flying cars or living in termite mounds.




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