Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I've been driving 4 and sometimes 3 cylinder cars since 1964 when I bought my first VW new for about 1,650 dollars. Is that price right? If my memory is not betraying me? Sometimes I even drove a 3 cylinder car that was designed to function on 3 cylinders. . . . Not! Actually, Mertie owned a Chevy Geo when we got together which I often drove. That was a 3 cylinder car that got up to 50 mpg on the highway and 40 in the city. It also only cost her about 5,000 dollars new. Where are those cars in this new array of fuel efficient autos that cost more than 20,000 dollars to own? See, the auto boys in Detroit made sure they got rid of all those inexpensive fuel efficient cars before they made driving a fuel efficient car a task only the rich can afford. As far as I'm concerned, Detroit has always been about selling cars to the upper-middle class and the rich. They've never made cars for the poor and lower-middle class to own. That's why I eventually abandoned those who had abandoned me and switched to foreign autos. Currently, I'm driving a Kia Rio which I paid cash for, 8,600 dollars new, but it only gets about 33 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in the city. That's really bad compared to what I got in my Ford Aspire, the last American car I owned. I'm amazed when Detroit brags about the fuel efficiency of autos that get only what I get with my fuel-inefficient Kia Rio. We are going to have to do much better than that if we are to climb out of the pockets of the American corporations and the Arab oil cartels. But, I've noticed something also tricky-Dick about fuel efficient foreign autos. Have you noticed that when foreign automakers are trying to break into the American market, they offer autos under 10,000 dollars, but after they get into the market, they suddenly can't seem to make those autos anymore? Something about profit margins, I think.


One of the interesting things about classes in morality or ethics are the hypothetical situations teachers come up with to demonstrate just how complicated ethical decisions can be. You know the ones: a bus full of 30 students is driving down a steep mountain on a narrow road when suddenly they come upon a baby, crawling in the middle of the road. What should the bus driver do? Should he run over the baby, saving his 30 children? Or should he drive off the cliff and save the baby? By the way, most humans would purposefully drive off the cliff, hoping for a good result, rather than to purposefully choose to run over a single baby. Seriously—in the second case, most humans feel that they've avoiding purposely killing a child while casting their lot with fate as to the outcome. Well, anyway, something like that. Let's not niggle about the details.

To return to my point. When Bush was given this ethical test (only instead of a bus full of students, he had all the citizens of the world in his bus, and he was hypothetically driving at full speed into a brick wall, plus on both sides of the wall he had adequate room to avoid the collision), he is said to have chosen to floor the accelerator, lock the steering wheel straight ahead, and give the finger to alternate drivers running beside the bus, hoping to take over the bus driver's job. Of course, we would only expect such behavior from a young Arab terrorist, a religious fundamentalist, neither of which George Bush . . . . Well, anyway. . . .

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