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Archive for the ‘automotive’ Category

Stop her before she kills again!

The elderly woman who killed three people when she accidentally backed into a crowd of people leaving a Manatee County church will not be allowed to drive for at least one year.

In court on Wednesday morning, Doreen Landstra, 79, pleaded no contest. She had her driver’s license suspended for a year and was fined $1,000 and paid $106 in court fees. If Landstra wants to renew her license in a year, she will have to go to driving school and meet other Department of Motor Vehicle requirements.

The crash happened Feb. 2 in the Sugar Creek Country Club 55-and-over mobile home community off Belinda Circle and Clubhouse Drive in East Bradenton. Witnesses said Landstra appeared to think she put her large Chevrolet sport utility vehicle in “drive,” but instead she shifted into reverse and backed through the clubhouse parking lot, hitting seven people.

Wasn’t the first time either:

In 2011, the Brandenton Herald reported that Landstra once drove an SUV into the lobby of a McDonald’s in Michigan after she hit the gas instead of the brake.

In that case, she was required to retake her driver’s exam.

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Big Parking In Little Italy

Behold! San Diego’s new 10-story parking edifice:

sd_parking

This lot, near the Amtrak station and right at a light rail stop, is some very desirable real estate. How visionary of San Diego to utilize the lot for a giant parking garage:

The vision for the Waterfront Park at the County Administration Center led to the creation of the new garage. While visitors to the County building can use its new underground parking, employees needed a place close by to park. And the Little Italy structure allows the neighborhood to accommodate more visitors as well.

“It encourages people to visit this culturally rich and progressive community, a community with some of the best restaurants, hotels, stores, open markets and public events in the downtown area,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts.

General obligation bonds will be used to pay for the $24 million project.

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It cost taxpayers almost $10 billion to rescue General Motors. And another $2 billion to rescue Chrysler:

According to a report today from the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, “In return for a total of $49.5 billion in loans to GM, Treasury received $6.7 billion in debt in GM (which was subsequently repaid), in addition to $2.1 billion in preferred stock and a 61% common equity stake.” Treasury has divested its preferred stock and most of its common stock. “Because the common stock sales have all taken place below Treasury’s break-even price,” the report says, “Treasury has so far booked a loss of $9.7 billion on the sales.”

My criticism isn’t so much that they were bailed out, but that taxpayers lost so much money on the deal. Why didn’t the US Government get more equity? GM’s market cap today is $51 billion.

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EV Obsession

In 2012, there were 13 million bicycles sold in the US. If kids bikes are included, the number was 18.7 million. By comparison, the total number of electric vehicles sold was less than 52,000. In fact, there are more bikes than cars (of all kinds) sold in the US.

I point this out, because some states have an obsession with promoting EV sales:

In an effort to spur lackluster sales of electric cars, California, New York and six other states said on Thursday that they would work jointly to adopt a range of measures, including encouraging more charging stations and changing building codes, to make it easier to own an electric car.

The goal, they said, was to achieve sales of at least 3.3 million vehicles that did not have any emissions by 2025.

The states, which represent more than a quarter of the national car market, said they would seek to develop charging stations that all took the same form of payment, simplify rules for installing chargers and set building codes and other regulations to require the stations at workplaces, multifamily residences and at other places.

They said they would also promote hydrogen fueling stations.

Not saying EV’s are necessarily a bad thing. But people already own zero-polluting vehicles: bicycles. States should prioritize bike infrastructure over hydrogen infrastructure.

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Friday Night Videos

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Friday Night Videos

The Incredible Turbo Teen! The teenager who can transform into a sports car. 

I sometimes wonder if this 1980s animated series is predicting the future.

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Greentech

My travel to Fremont got all messed up this morning — because Mitt Romney decided to have a photo-op in front of the Solyndra building.

It is funny how the mainstream press will closely frame these PR stunts:

Here is a wider shot:

It would save everyone a lot of time and money if these candidates would just learn to use Photoshop.

And not to defend Solyndra, but a cost-benefit analysis of the Energy Dept’s investments should be based on the totality of the program, not a single failure. Romney understands this better than anyone, as surely his vast investment portfolio had a few stinkers now and then.

Like any other Venture-Capital effort, one major success can more than compensate for a string of losses. So, does the Energy Dept. have any big winners in its portfolio? Well, perhaps you’ve heard to these guys…their factory is practically next door to Solyndra. How could the assembled reporters not have noticed it when they were bused in?

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Carmageddon

Here is Carmageddon as envisioned in a General Motors commercial (or should I say Truckmageddon?). GM, which spent $4.5 billion on advertising last year, depicts gas-guzzling trucks as the only vehicle to survive the (oil) apocalypse.

In reality, the only functional transport will be the bicycle. Though GM seems to believe otherwise: the commercial opens with a shot a crushed bicycle.

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Think of the Children

Politicians will go to any length to protect children from underage sex, predators, and abductions. But when public health professionals suggest children should be protected from speeding automobiles — well, get ready for a whole lot of stupid:

Asked if the city will drop speed limits, as suggested earlier this week by the city’s chief medical officer of health [Mayor] Ford told reporters on Friday the idea is “nuts, nuts, nuts, nuts. No.”

The report — Road to Health: Improving Walking and Cycling in Toronto— released by Dr. David McKeown recommends speed limits be reduced by as much as 20 km/h, saying the slower speed limits will protect pedestrians and cyclists.

If accepted the speed limit on Lakeshore Boulevard might be reduced to 40 km/h. On most residential streets traffic would be reduced to about 30 km/h.

Ford, who has many times referred to what he calls the ‘war on the car’ in Toronto, said the proposal is “absolutely ridiculous.”

30 kph is quite sensible for neighborhood streets, with many European cities following that standard. This BBC report goes into all the reasons why speed limits need to be lowered, especially for the reduction in fatalities among young children.

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Creepy Toyota Advertisement

Kids have a biological urge to explore the world. Running, playing, biking. So being cooped up in the back seat of a car for hours at a time can be the worst kind of torture. It is like a sensory-deprivation experiment.

But don’t worry: the automakers are coming up with goofy schemes to make it a bit less unbearable.

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