mm451: Goodbye, old blue, you’re worth more to me dead than alive

July 28, 2008

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© Mel Gama | Dreamstime.com

MUDGE’s Musings

Old cars. If they’re old enough (in most states, more than 25 years old), they’re vintage, even antique, and perhaps worth the extra effort it takes to keep them running.

If they are 15-25 years old, they are usually just basic transportation, and a basic pain.

The body parts not rusted are crumpled. The driver’s window no longer winds down (maybe the entire door is rusted shut), so paying a toll, or dining at a drive-through fast food establishment, is yet another hassle.

You prefer to drive at night, because the black exhaust cloud isn’t as obvious.

And then the usual litany:

Will it start?

Will it stop??

What’s it going to cost me to fix it for the third time this year???

And the planet shares your pain.

How sensitive of the planet!

Princeton University economist Alan Blinder, whom I fondly remember as a columnist for Business Week years ago, a side job while vice-chairing the Federal Reserve and holding down the Princeton gig, would like to take that beast off of your hands.

Because that black cloud trailing behind you isn’t unique. The state of California estimates that cars 13 years and older account for 25% of miles driven overall, but an astonishing 75% of all passenger automobile generated pollution.

nytimes

A Modest Proposal: Eco-Friendly Stimulus

Economic View | By ALAN S. BLINDER | Published: July 27, 2008

ECONOMISTS and members of Congress are now on the prowl for new ways to stimulate spending in our dreary economy. Here’s my humble suggestion: “Cash for Clunkers,” the best stimulus idea you’ve never heard of.

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mm317: Water — the theme — part 2

March 16, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Yr (justifiably) humble svt always considered himself the curmudgeonly anti-environmentalist.

MUDGE’s reaction to soft-headed hand-wringing over pollution, water shortages, spotted owls and the like was: guys, the human species is going to use this planet up; there’s no going back. So stop wasting time looking backward (golden age for environmentalists: the year 1700? — when the average Western European lived to the ripe old age of 25), and start looking outward, toward new planets to discover and migrate to.

That’s what I used to say. It still may be correct, in a macro way, but it’s not going to happen in my lifetime, I reluctantly conclude, so I’d best pay more attention to what I breathe, eat and absorb, or that lifetime might be shortened drastically. Not to speak of the lifetimes of my children and grandchildren.

But, oh,  the final frontier

We’ve commented frequently on topics such as alternative energy for transportation (none too soon, paid $3.26/gallon the other day); alternative energy for electric utilities; and the safety and continuity of our food supplies.

And water (here and here and, the source of today’s title, here).

A couple of environmentally discomforting stories hit this week, obscured perhaps in the shadows cast by the unseemly fall of hubris filled governor (political hypocrisy, THE story of the week, disquiets us pretty much every week), and water is the theme.

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