Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Interesting reads...

Bush's auto U-turn incites GOP
"(Bush) Considers rescue with remaining bailout funds
Republicans on Friday angrily demanded that President Bush respect the legislative process after the Senate blocked a bailout for the automakers and the White House said that Mr. Bush would consider reversing course and rescuing them using the Wall Street bailout funds." ...

Uh-oh: Gas prices on the rise...
"After eighty-six consecutive daily declines, the average price of gas nationwide has now increased for the past two days. Have gas prices bottomed? ...On Friday, Jason Toews, co-founder of GasBuddy in Minneapolis, warned that gas prices may be bottoming out. ...

..."Enjoy the gas prices while they're here," he said.

Since July, the price of gasoline has fallen along with the price of crude oil, gas's main ingredient. Crude has fallen more than $100 a barrel since July as investors worried that the U.S. economy was consuming less fuel.

However the decline in the price of crude may be setting us up for a gas price "super spike" in two to four years, said Toews." ...

In Europe, conserving gas is a matter of habit
..."Stricter standards, higher taxes, and a new president with a green agenda could completely reshape the way Americans drive. To see what the future could look like, just cross the Atlantic.

...American drivers could soon find that Steinmetz's present world is their automotive future. Already, US automakers are slashing production of SUVs in favor of more popular hybrids and compact cars. With the US auto industry on the brink of collapse, the Bush administration is trying to accelerate a $25 billion loan program to produce fuel-efficient vehicles. And while President-elect Barack Obama prepares an ambitious green agenda, local politicians, from Massachusetts to Oregon, are already calling for increases to gas taxes to fill civic coffers bled dry by an economic downturn.

In Europe, gas prices have been shooting up for a decade, long before they did in the United States, and peaked at $10.64 a gallon this summer as American drivers were gagging at $4.50 a gallon. In an effort to reduce fuel consumption, European governments steadily raised fuel taxes over the 1990s - between 40 and 50 percent of the retail price of gas. That action forced motorists to scale back their driving habits and forced manufacturers to meet the demand for more fuel-efficient cars.

The results are clear: Gasoline consumption on the continent dropped from 3.21 million barrels a day in 1992 to 2.51 million barrels a day last year, according to David Martin, an oil market analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris". ...

Tapes have potential witnesses speaking out
"When it comes to coming clean, nothing is as motivating as a wiretap.

Last week's revelation that Gov. Blagojevich was secretly recorded in his campaign office and on his home phone has prompted more than a dozen potential witnesses in recent days to come forward. They've been calling investigators and defense lawyers to talk about deals or discussions they've had with Blagojevich." ...

ABC Hails Obama's 'Green Team,' Slams Bush's Climate 'Censorship'
"Less than a week after a new report from the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee showcased hundreds of scientists who disagree with the United Nations' alarmist take on global climate change, ABC's World News on Sunday night featured a report devoted solely to cheering Barack Obama's new "green team" -- the promotional term was embraced by ABC News -- and laying the groundwork for radical action on global warming after what ABC termed "censorship" and "stonewalling" by the Bush administration.

Senate committee report: epw.senate.gov

The story by ABC's Bill Blakemore offered a manipulative presentation, asserting that "wildfires, droughts and downpours [are] increasing exactly as predicted for global warming" -- but not mentioning that global temperatures are actually lower now than in 1998 -- and scolding how the Bush White House allowed "political assistants in their 20s to rewrite the conclusions of leading climate scientists" -- as if the liberal political opinions of scientists could not be second-guessed." ..

CBS and ABC Tout Shoe-Thrower as 'Celebrity'and 'Folk Hero'
"Usually rude protesters who disrupt events by throwing objects at state leaders don't earn media celebrations, but instead of being embarrassed by their Iraqi media colleague who, as he spewed venomous hatreds, dangerously threw his shoes at President Bush on Sunday in Baghdad, ABC and CBS on Monday night championed his popularity amongst Iraqis. ABC put "Folk Hero?" on screen as fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas trumpeted how Muntathar al-Zaidi has "become an instant celebrity to many of his countrymen" while CBS anchor Katie Couric hailed how "many Iraqis are calling him a hero" before reporter Elizabeth Palmer snidely concluded: "Al-Zaidi should do jail time, said the Iraqi bloggers, because he missed."

From London, ABC's Jim Sciutto maintained: "Shoes have become a new symbol of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. And the Iraqi reporter who threw them, Muntathar al-Zaidi, a folk hero." Sciutto touted how "more than 100 lawyers volunteered to defend him. It was a heroic way to say goodbye to Bush, said one Iraqi." Though Sciutto at least noted how "some Iraqis are embarrassed," he countered: "Still, in news coverage, on new fan Web sites, in Arabic text messages, the overwhelming sentiment: giddy satisfaction."

CBS Palmer, also from afar in London, asserted "al-Zaidi's become an instant hero. Today, thousands demonstrated for his release"." ...

Christmas Spirit Spreading, but Grinches Getting Grinchier
"There’s good news and bad news this Christmas. First, the good. Americans are pushing back more than ever against the generic “holiday” tide (see Santa’s Helpers list below). As part of that effort, CMI is unveiling the Grinch-o-Meter, which rates those who are Christmaschallenged. But here’s the bad: Some of the Grinches seem to be scaling new heights of peevishness and absurdity. And although the national news media are largely ignoring the cultural battle underway, local news sources have been rich with detail.

Here is a roundup of some of the more interesting people, institutions and media stories in this season’s Christmas culture clash, with their Grinch-o-Meter ratings. The Grinch-o-Meter is CMI’s new tool for measuring the Grinchiness of those seeking to secularize, diminish or tarnish the celebration of Christmas in America. People who actively seek to wreck Christmas for others" ...
to find out who the grinches are click here

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