Some nights I toss and turn in bed while midnight ponderings race through my head. Here’s the latest:
Under a bad sign
President Barack Obama has pledged to close Guantanamo and needs an appropriate site stateside to house enemy non-combatants. Standish, Michigan officials want these suspected terrorists because their maximum security prison is slated to be closed due to Michigan’s budget constraints.
You can’t blame them for wanting to keep jobs in a state with 15 percent unemployment. However, the city could better make its case if it would remove the road sign on I-75 near the Standish exit that states, “Prison area, do not pick up hitchhikers.”
I’ve heard no one has ever escaped from the Standish prison, however, the sign doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Size doesn’t matter
I’ve been shopping for cars recently and I have a question for the automakers. I have a 2000 Pontiac Montana mini-van with an extended cab. It gets 25 miles per gallon. That’s average highway and city. I’m looking for a smaller crossover. Both the much smaller Toyota Rav 4 and the Honda CRV get between 20-26. How can this be?
Worse than that, I looked at a Volkswagen Beetle, smaller than both crossovers, and it only gets 20-28 mpg. The 1972 Beetle we drove 13,160 miles across the country and Canada in 1975 averaged 30 mpg. Has technology so devolved in 37 years?
On that 1975 trip in our Super Beetle, my wife and I visited 16 National Parks and Monuments including Acadia, Glacier, Redwoods, Badlands, Yosemite, Sequoia, Death Valley and Grand Canyon.
Some of the most beautiful, wild places in our country are located in these parks. I was reminded of that while watching Ken Burns’ latest documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.
The photography and story telling are riveting and after watching the 12-hour epic you come away with the belief that government sometimes does fight for the average guy. Without this government intervention, there would be no more bison, no more egrets and no more grizzlies. Neither would there be redwoods, sequoias, nor a Grand Canyon, which could have been dammed to create a lake to supply water to the west.
The true impact of the Federal Government’s Car Allowance Rebate System, better known as Cash for Clunkers, is yet to be determined. However, initial sales reports imply local dealers hit gold.
According to Auto View, a product of Data Bank USA, an international market research firm located in Fort Wayne, the seven new car dealers located in The Press circulation area showed a marked increase in new car sales for the month of August, the primary month for the program.
These seven dealers sold 347 cars in August versus 266 in August of 2008, a 31 percent increase. On the other hand, new car sales for the first nine months of the year total 2,021 units versus 2,651 a year ago, a 24 percent decrease. Autoview takes its information from vehicle registration data, not from dealer sales figures, so consider this an estimate.
These figures are for total sales, not just for clunker trade-ins. However, the program did succeed in bringing people into showrooms and the biggest increases in model sales were in small, fuel efficient cars. Leading cars sold in August were: Ford Fusion, 38; Ford Focus, 34; and Chevy Malibu, 22. Top selling trucks were: Chevy Silverado, 30, and Ford F-150, 30.