Feds Massively Subsidizing Electric Boondoggle

money flush The first 4,400 purchasers of General Motors’ new Chevrolet Volt hybrid car are receiving a free gift from the public in excess of $10,000. This takes the form of a $7,500 tax credit, plus a gift of a home charging station that starts at $2,500 excluding installation (and the installation requires an electrician rewiring part of your house).

This, in a nation with a pathetic, decrepit, elite-strangled and financially imperiled public transit system.

Orwell Would be Unpublished Now

I swear, the most skilled dystopian novelist couldn’t make this stuff up:

Beverly Hills, Calif., Jan 17, 2010 – Nominees, presenters and performers arriving to “The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards” will have an opportunity to help raise money for Haitian relief efforts with a simple signature. Positioned at the entrance of the Beverly Hilton Hotel is President and Chief Executive Officer for the Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC, Olivier Francois’ personal car, a Chrysler 300C. Francois donated his vehicle so that attendees to the ceremony could place their signature upon the sedan which could then be donated for auction to specifically raise money for Haiti relief efforts.

“Looking at the devastation this catastrophe has caused to an already impoverished country,there is no doubt that we have a social responsibility to assist in any way that we can. This will not be the only funding we will provide to this country on behalf of the Chrysler Brand and Chrysler Group LLC, there is more to come.”said Olivier Francois, President and Chief Executive Office – Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “We are pleased to join hands with Hollywood to offer this gesture as part of the relief efforts toward Haiti. And, to my colleague, Dodge Brand President and Chief Executive Officer, who is of Haitian-descent, and to all Haitian-Americans with family in Haiti, our thoughts are with you.”

The Chrysler 300C that will be donated for auction is expected to raise approximately 1 million dollars.

Chrysler Joins Stars for a Cause to Auction Chrysler 300 “eco style” Edition Vehicles
The Chrysler brand, together with Dick Clark Productions, has also partnered with Stars for a Cause to donate six eco-friendly accessorized vehicles that will be auctioned off to select celebrity charities.

Nominee Meryl Streep, presenters Christina Aguilera, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Felicity Huffman and actor Colin Firth will arrive to the Golden Globes in their select Chrysler 300 eco style limited edition vehicle, which will be donated and auctioned to the charity of their choice.

Based off of the Chrysler 300C, the most-awarded vehicle in the industry, the eco style edition vehicles are accessorized with eco-friendly materials such as cork, bamboo, recycled jute carpeting and suede seat inserts and feature refurbished wheels while providing high-end luxury and elegant design. The vehicles feature a refined interior, premium technology and offer fuel-efficient performance and excitement.

Each of the celebrities will arrive to the awards in their select vehicles:

* Presenter Christina Aguilera’s Chrysler 300 eco style vehicle features a water-based Vanilla exterior color. On the inside are cactus-colored seat-inserts with bamboo applique placed on the door trim and center console
* Presenter Leonardo DiCaprio’s vehicle has Cream exterior and Aqua-blue seat inserts, a hydrographic water-themed applique is subtly placed throughout the interior
* Actor Colin Firth’s vehicle features a stately and sleek Black exterior color with Black Bamboo interior accents
* Presenter Tom Hanks will arrive to the awards in an elegant Black Chrysler 300 eco style edition vehicle with Curry seat-inserts and organic appliques
* Presenter Felicity Huffman will arrive in a Dark Cordovan vehicle with a stained Cordovan cork interior color
* Nominee Meryl Streep’s vehicle features a Platinum exterior and on the interior are Cumin-colored seat-inserts along with natural mat and cork materials

Recycled materials are used within the interior of the vehicle. Recycled ultra-suede seat inserts are used for the front and rear-passenger seats and are soft to the touch and durable. Hydrographics patterns are used to place organic themes on the center console and door trim of the interior compartment. Water-based paints are used on the exterior of the vehicle.

And here’s the kicker:

Under the hood is the 5.7-liter HEMI® engine with Muliti-displacement System (MDS). MDS seamlessly alternates between smooth high-fuel-economy four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is needed. MDS optimizes fuel economy without sacrificing vehicle performance.

If you know anything about physics, you know that a 5.7-liter engine is a huge motor. If you know that, then you won’t be surprised by the EPA mileage rating of this “eco-style” engine: 15 city/23 highway!

This is the “new” stuff that’s being peddled, after Obama’s automotive bailout, after the arrival of supposedly better European managers…

And, of course, don’t you just want to weep with gratitude at the sacrifices that were made all around for the people of Haiti?  As part of being honored from churning out yet another year of unwatchable pablum about cops and robbers and saints in surgical garb, the attendees at one of the multiple versions of the Hollywood Employee of the Year Banquet “raised” perhaps 1/10th of what was spent on the “awards ceremony” — “for Haiti.”  All, of course, while pimping for Chrysler’s deranged ecocidal waste-pushing.

(Deceased) Elephant in the Room

Here, friends, is a photo of the 375-pound battery-pack for the allegedly forthcoming Chevy Volt, which will allegedly boast a driving range of a whopping 40 (yes, 40, four-zero) miles:

20 gallons of gasoline, by the way, weighs about 125 pounds, so this photo confirms that, after decades of intensive research, the best battery our transportation-dictating corporate overclass can come up with still weighs three times more than the onboard fuel it would theoretically replace, and, for all that, will carry you roughly one-tenth as far as an average current motor vehicle.

For those interested in more details, see this post on our new sister blog, Death by Car.

Ford Thumbs its Nose at Distracted Driving Facts

Do corporate capitalists really commit highly-researched mass murder in order to reap their profits?  You bet your expendable “consumer” ass they do.

Today’s example:  The Ford Motor Company’s promulgation of its “Sync” package of telecommunications interfaces in the dashes of new cars and trucks.

Among many other extremely dangerous things, the newest version of “Sync” is going to add hands-free text messaging to the increasingly distracted driving experience.

A long train of independent research has shown that the use of hands-free cellular telephones provides little or no safety benefit compared to hands-on use.

Given that text messages are inherently denser and not genuinely live and interactive, even when converted to audio, they almost certainly require quite a bit more attention than does a phone conversation.  Hence, hands-free texting is virtually certain to contribute to thousands of additional automobile deaths every year.

Ford cares not:

“[Sync] is a reason now to buy a Ford,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said in an interview.

“Sync is easy to sell to a person under 35,” said John Wolkonowicz, an analyst at IHS Global Insight of Lexington, Massachusetts. “Sync is about entertainment and connectivity, which is very Gen Y.”

To the extent it bothers to explain its murder-for-money, Ford relies on the old tobacco corporation gambit:  Fudge-talk about unreleased internal “studies”:

Ford, which has endorsed legislation to outlaw texting while driving, said its research indicates that hands-free communication doesn’t distract drivers.

“Most of the industry studies show that just driving and just talking is the same,” Kuzak said. “As long as the customer’s eyes are on the road, they are not compromised.”

And our public servants’ response to this blatant bullshit?  Nothing, nada, nil.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified Oct. 29 that he found Ford’s Sync system distracting when he tested it on a Taurus sedan during a visit to Dearborn.

“As much as I liked driving the Taurus and as much as I liked the Sync system where you put your BlackBerry in and it syncs all your numbers, it’s a distraction,” LaHood told a House highways subcommittee at a hearing on distracted driving.

Despite this personal finding of the highest transportation official in the land, literally nothing is being done to block Sync and its counterpart plans at the other car corporations.

At the level of social criticism, this increasing encroachment of entertainment and marketing on the space of the car-driver is still more proof of the totalitarian nature of corporate capitalism.  As somebody once noted:

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

Even when the invasions and expansions begin to threaten the future viability of the system’s own core commodity!

Death by Car

I am starting another blog devoted to the topic of the book I’m trying to finish. That topic is the homicidal perpetuation of cars-first transportation by our corporate overclass.

Take a look at the initial post, if you so desire.

Also, the questions and comments are great. I’m preparing some posts to address the topics you raised.