Year 2, Month 8, Day 28: We Suck! And We’re Big And Stupid! Yay, Us!

Last letter for a couple of weeks, from my side. As far as the public face of Running Gamak is concerned, letters will appear every day as usual. When this one shows up, I will have returned from India and will be recuperating from jet lag.

The August 10 LA Times runs an article on the Obama administration’s new mileage standards for heavy vehicles:

President Obama announced the first fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for long-haul rigs, work trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles Tuesday, the second mileage pact with manufacturers in less than a month.

The regulations call for reductions on fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions by 2018 of 9% to 23%, depending on the type of vehicle. Trucks and other heavy vehicles make up only 4% of the domestic vehicle fleet, but given the distance they travel, the time they spend idling and their low fuel efficiency, they end up consuming about 20% of all vehicle fuel, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after Obama and the country’s automakers unveiled new fuel economy rules for passenger vehicles that would boost fleet-wide average gas mileage to 54.5 mpg by 2025, from about 27.8 mpg now.


At a time when nearly all major corporate lobbying groups and the Republican Party insist that the administration’s environmental regulations destroy jobs, the automakers, the United Auto Workers union and truck and large engine manufacturers are collaborating on rules they say could create jobs. Most environmental groups also praised the new truck standards.

I get to quote Spiro Agnew in my first paragraph! Ha ha ha ha ha. Sent August 10:

It is laughably predictable: whenever a new environmental regulation is announced, the same conservative choruses shout that any attempts to behave responsibly toward our planet are inherently “job-killing.” It would be laughable if these nattering nabobs of negativism were holding hand-lettered signs on street corners; knowing they’re in partial control of our government is profoundly disturbing.

Leave aside the “green” issues for a moment, and concentrate on the Republicans’ underlying message. They’re saying American manufacturers can’t meet high standards, and American workers won’t take pride in making high-quality products. They’re saying that America can’t be bothered to take responsibility for itself in the world community, or to plan for the future.

Their version of American exceptionalism is based on sloppiness, laziness, distractability, hubris and indifference to the rest of the world. Call me an idealist, but these hardly strike me as good candidates for our country’s core values.

Warren Senders

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