Monthly Archives: July 2010

Sunday, 7/25/10, Public Square

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15 Comments

Filed under The Public Square

Obama: GOP Will Move Country Backward

With a victory on the financial regulation overhaul in his pocket—a “key pillar” in his recession recovery plan—President Obama said a Republican plan for the economy would move the country backward to the job-killing policies of his predecessor. “It took nearly a decade of failed economic policies to create this mess, and it will take years to fully repair the damage,” Obama said in his weekly address that aired Saturday, vowing that his policies would move the country forward. That’s expected to be one of the White House’s main messages during this fall’s midterm elections. The president admitted that the growth since the credit crisis two years ago hasn’t created enough jobs, but said the GOP would make things much worse. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) countered that the GOP would promote growth by cutting spending and taxes.

Read more here.

Or, listen to the address here.

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Filed under Jobs, President Barack Obama, The Economy

Saturday, 7/24/10, Public Square

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Filed under The Public Square

Is this really the “future?”

(Chevy Volt – plug in electric car – soon to be on the market.)


This is not a “gearhead” column, (so you non-gearheads can continue reading) but rather a thread about oil dependency.

The thread photo is of the prototype Chevy Volt electric car. The version that will be available in November is a conventional four door sedan.

The Volt is not a true electric car, nor is it a hybrid in the normal sense. It is a “plug in” car that does not need a special charging station. It has a “battery only” range of forty miles, at which point a small, four cylinder gasoline engine will kick in, acting as a generator and providing electricity to the motors.

Tesla Motors, a So-Cal based company, produces an all electric model that has an effective range of over 200 miles, but does not have a secondary source for electricity. It can also be charged at home, although it does need a special docking station.

By the time you read this, BP may have capped the gushing well in the Gulf – then the clean up will be the greater issue as million of gallons of oil have fouled the waters and beaches.

True energy independence will take a collective effort by all Americans – an effort that seems unlikely given our divided society. While polls show that Americans greatly favor alternative energy sources, we don’t really want to pay for them.

Americans in are in love with gas-guzzling mega-cars, SUV’s and trucks. We could postpone the inevitable end of the gasoline fueled vehicle if we were to go to higher mileage cars, but most don’t want to give up the space and presumed (wrongly) safety of our large vehicles.

Are vehicles like the Volt and the two Tesla models the “future?” Definitely maybe.

If we were truly, honest-to-God serious, we would be immediately moving towards hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, while using Compressed Natural Gas powered cars as an interim solution.

But we’re not serious.

The oil spill will be cleaned up, gas will hover around $2.50 a gallon, the economy will improve and more folks will have cash to drop at the gas station.

And we will kick the can down the road, once again.

Until the next crisis.


William Stephenson Clark

30 Comments

Filed under The Environment

Friday, 7/23/10, Public Square

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Filed under The Public Square

Are Wichita drivers really the worst?

It has been said, many times, sometimes at great volume, that Wichita drivers are the worst on the planet. There are days that I tend to agree.

I took a short trip down Seneca to 31st Street a short time ago, within the last hour or so. During that two mile drive, I twice had to slam on my brakes to avoid vehicles pulling out in from of me, one of which was a large truck. On two more occasions during the same drive, I observed people putting on their turn signals – in the middle of the turn they were making. I once watched a man texting as he drove. He was riding a motorcycle.

If it isn’t the high speed lunatics, it’s the “how slow can you go” morons.

Obviously, there are tragic results to bad driving, but I would rather not dwell on that, nor the obvious problem of impaired drivers. We have enough simpletons on the roads to make a simple trip to the grocery store into an adventure, with throwing those topics into the mix.

As many of you know, I rode motorcycles for many a year. As a confirmed biker, I rapidly learn from the beginning that a cyclist’s only friend on the road is himself. The “other guy” ain’t gonna look out for you, so you damned well better look out for yourself.

Many long-term bikers, myself included, develop a sixth sense of self-preservation and to use a motorcycle’s inherent superior braking, acceleration and maneuverability to keep themselves alive with the shiny side up.

Unfortunately, most folks don’t drive like a seasoned motorcyclist, they drive with little understanding of “defensive driving” and awareness of the potential consequences of even a momentary lack of attention.

If I could just teach Wichita drivers a few things they would be:

Traffic signs and signals are not “suggestions.”

It really isn’t a crime to use your turn signals.

The speed limit is the “maximum” allowed, not the “minimum.”

Store parking lots are not the place to practice your bumper car skills.

Wichita drivers may not truly be the worst on the planet – Chicago drivers hold that “honor” – but they are truly bad.

So what is it with Wichita drivers?


William Stephenson Clark

36 Comments

Filed under Kansas, Psychological Disorders

Thursday, 7/22/10, Public Square

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Filed under The Public Square