Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Red Deer River levels start to drop
Last Updated Tue, 21 Jun 2005 16:23:11 EDT
CBC News
People living in Drumheller, Alberta, are breathing a sigh of relief after the Red Deer River crested just below the tops of a hastily topped up dike.
"A really big relief," Stan Donias, one of more than 3,000 people forced from their homes over the weekend, said of the Tuesday afternoon development.
"It's peaked and coming back down. I hope the wall holds until it's done."
Emergency officials said water levels have dropped about 25 centimetres since the river crested early Tuesday morning.
Some people may be allowed back in their homes as early as Wednesday, although about 25 houses did suffer some water damage.
As many as 800 volunteers worked around the clock Sunday and Monday to build up the dike that lines the river, adding about two metres of earth to the berm.
Alberta Environment estimates that the river, which crested about 1 a.m., came about five centimetres from the lowest edge of the dikes. A logjam on a tributary north of the Alberta town prevented the water from rising higher and pouring through the town.
Town officials say it's too early to determine when more than 3,000 people, who were ordered evacuated from their homes, will be allowed to return. By late Monday, about 25 homes in the area had been flooded.
The flooding across the province has led to the deaths of at least three people. Two men died in separate accidents in the Calgary area when their vehicles crashed into swollen rivers. A teenager, who is believed to have been near a footbridge that was washed out, is also missing.
Truck plunge kills driver
Meanwhile, pedestrians who had gathered on the Morrin Bridge to view the flooded river are being blamed for triggering a fatal truck crash overnight near Drumheller.
Police say the truck plunged into the river as it attempted to dodge cars that had slowed down to avoid the pedestrians.
"The cause is directly related to pedestrians on the bridge," read an RCMP news release, which said ignoring safety warnings places "human lives at risk."
RCMP say the truck had been travelling at about 100 km/h when it came over a hill. The vehicle hit a car, then slammed into the side of the bridge, knocking out two girders and plunging into the water, killing the driver.
In Calgary, officials threatened to ration water if people didn't start limiting the amount they use. The Elbow River spilled over its banks on the weekend in Calgary, forcing more than 1,500 people from their homes and prompting a mandatory water-rationing order.
The city has asked residents to voluntarily conserve water because the two water treatment plants are having trouble keeping up with demand. The river water coming into the plants is so full of silt and debris that the facilities are struggling to produce enough clean water.
In Edmonton, emergency officials have said the city is no longer at risk of flooding as the North Saskatchewan River crested overnight and water levels have stabilized. The high water point reached 8.7 metres, which is nearly a metre lower than expected.
Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has estimated the cost of damage from the flood is going to be hundreds of millions of dollars.

Monday, June 20, 2005

From CNN.com:

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) -- Flooding forced the evacuation of about 1,500 people in Calgary and swamped or cut off hundreds of homes in the city on Sunday after two rivers overflowed their banks following days of heavy rain.
A state of emergency remained in force for a second day as officials feared the Elbow and Bow rivers that merge in the city -- the center of Canada's oil industry -- could swallow more homes in eight vulnerable neighborhoods.
The rain that has pounded the western Canadian city of nearly 1 million people for more than a week finally stopped on Sunday, but authorities said the danger had not passed.
"It's very extensive damage," Mayor Dave Bronconnier told reporters. "The flows along the Elbow River have peaked and they are currently holding steady, although the flows along the Elbow and the Bow rivers are of extreme concern to us."
"There are literally hundreds of homes that have been impacted. It is still critical," he said. "This is why the mandatory evacuation order has not been lifted.
Despite a major effort by hundreds of city workers and residents to lay sandbags and push dirt on Saturday night, two major roads close to the downtown core were closed as water gushed against bridge decks. The Elbow River in some low-lying districts lapped up above the ground floors of buildings.
It was not clear how many houses sustained flood damage, and Bronconnier said fire department officials would have to survey all the homes in the evacuation areas and confirm they were safe before he lifted the state of emergency.
The volume of water gushing down the Elbow, the smaller of the two waterways, was pegged at seven times the normal amount overnight.
That is because Calgary's main reservoir crested and overflowed the dam that regulates its flow. The Elbow connects with the Bow in the city center.
Much of the rest of southern Alberta dealt with similar problems due to the heavy rains that have swelled rivers and streams throughout the region.
A portion of the Trans-Canada Highway, the country's main motorway, was closed on Saturday west of Calgary because of high water. Cars and trucks were diverted onto a smaller road, leading to a traffic snarl.
About 800 people in the town of Sundre, Alberta, northwest of Calgary, were evacuated on Saturday when their homes were threatened.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Car industry lies to Canadians
April 15, 2005
Canadians should be disgusted with their federal government this week, but not just because of what has come out at the Gomery inquiry.
No, Canadians should be outraged because, once again, their government has ignored the best interests of its citizens and refused to stand up to a corporate dinosaur. That dinosaur is the automotive industry, and the recently announced deal to reduce emissions amounts to nothing more than another government subsidy to prop up an industry that feeds off the health and pocketbooks of Canadians.
The new agreement, wrapped in obfuscating language about megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and navel-gazing preamble after preamble, doesn't guarantee any improvements in gas mileage at all. In fact, it amounts to little more than a PR exercise for automakers and the feds.
On top of everything, it actually lies. Just look at the many preambles:
"And whereas the Canadian Automotive Industry has shown good faith in meeting their commitments in other Memoranda of Understanding and are currently parties to numerous successful active agreements;"
A lie. Way back in 1982, the industry fought like mad to derail fuel efficiency regulations that had already been passed by Parliament. Government caved in to the industry, which promised to meet the targets "voluntarily." On paper, they met those targets. But in reality, they avoided them by exploiting a loophole that allowed them to build and promote more and more gas-guzzling light trucks, which were exempt from the standard. The industry also has also argued, threatened and whined about the "impossibility" of everything from smog-reducing catalytic converters to safety innovations like seatbelts and air bags.
Here's another good one:
"And whereas the Government of Canada acknowledges that the Canadian Automotive Industry has made significant progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving fuel efficiency since 1990;"
Another lie. Fuel efficiency has decreased in recent years because the industry is hell-bent on selling bigger, heavier and - more expensive - vehicles that cost less to make, like SUVs. But you don't have to take my word for it. Just look at a comprehensive analysis by economists Roger Bezdek and Robert Wendling published in the current edition of American Scientist.
Bezdek and Wendling point out that average fuel economy for all new vehicles has declined from 26.2 mpg (8.9l/100km) in 1987 to 24.7 mpg (9.5l/100km) in 2004. They then point to more than two dozen technologies identified by the U.S. National Research Council as technically feasible ways to make cars more fuel efficient today. They then examine the costs of using these technologies and what it would mean for the industry and the economy. Their input-output analysis concludes that making cars burn less gas would actually create more jobs, save money for consumers, and improve the economy - in addition to reducing smog and climate change.
Good for consumers, good for jobs, good for health - this win should have been relatively easy for the federal government. Polls show that 90 per cent of Canadians want more efficient cars and the vast majority don't believe the industry's lies that making them would be either too hard or too expensive. California already set the precedent in North America by enacting laws that require a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from new cars, thus forcing them to improve gas mileage.
Instead, we've got a voluntary agreement that guarantees nothing and again leaves enough loopholes to drive a Hummer through. Canadians are being played for dupes by the industry and the feds are letting them get away with it. This industry lies. It lies and it lies and it lies. And our government doesn't have the guts to stand up to them.
Science Matters by David Suzuki
Science Matters is published weekly in newspapers across Canada.
Canada's big lie
June 3, 2005
Feeling smugly superior of Americans may be a great Canadian pastime, but lately it seems that we have less and less to crow about.
One of Canada's greatest claims to fame has been that we are good environmental stewards. Indeed, polls show that Canadians greatly value our tremendous natural heritage and that we very much want to conserve it. Unfortunately, our behaviour is not lining up with our values.
Results of a five-year study by the NAFTA-created Commission for Environmental Co-operation reveal that release of harmful pollutants into the environment increased by five per cent in Canada between 1998 and 2002. At the same time, they decreased by 14 per cent in the U.S.. During the same period, release of air pollutants in Canada increased by eight per cent. In the U.S., it decreased by 21 per cent.
What's going on here? Are our southern neighbours really going green?
Not really. In fact, according to many environmental indicators, the United States is still the world's biggest polluter. However, some states in the U.S. are indeed working to clean up their acts. They have seen the ecological and economic benefits of having strong environmental standards, so they're taking action. Meanwhile, Canada has been sitting back on our heels and letting our reputation speak for itself.
As a result of our inaction, Canada's environmental health has suffered and we've lost out on many economic opportunities. Rather than pursue innovative, new business strategies, we've stayed the course with business-as-usual plans - even while the world around us has been changing. In part, we can blame the big industrial polluters who make a powerful lobbying force in Ottawa. In part, we can blame our politicians for listening to them. And in part we can blame ourselves for not pressuring our leaders to really move Canada's economy into the 21st century.
But rather than pointing fingers, we'd be better off just looking ahead - finding examples of best practices and then emulating and improving on them. Sweden, for example, is one country that has improved its environmental performance and at the same time improved its economic performance. In fact, as Swedish Ambassador Lennart Alvin pointed out recently in the Globe and Mail, Sweden manages to better Canada in most environmental rankings, such as greenhouse gas emissions, while also bettering Canada economically. Last fall, for example, the World Economic Forum compared industrialized countries in terms of economic competitiveness and ranked Sweden third, Canada 15th.
Mr. Alvin explains that Sweden has reached this enviable position through a number of strategies, including energy efficiency and cutting waste. It also began a program of "green tax shift," which decreased taxes on things like payroll - thereby leaving more money for citizens and businesses - while increasing taxes on things like fossil fuels and energy consumption. That encourages conservation, which decreases pollution and reduces the need for high-priced fossil fuels.
Canada's government has talked a good game about sustainability, but has been slow off the mark - until recently. Over the past few months, the federal government has produced a budget that includes some truly innovative measures, like a new deal for cities to help them become healthier and more sustainable. Our government has also released its long-awaited climate change plan. The plan, while weaker than those in leading countries, is a good starting point to begin reducing pollution and improving our competitiveness.
We have a long way to go, but we aren't operating in the dark. Countries like Sweden can serve as a model and inspire us to do better. Even if we didn't value our natural heritage, becoming better environmental stewards makes sense from an economic perspective. That's something our neighbours to the south are starting to notice too - and surely we can't let them beat us at our own game.

Friday, June 10, 2005

This New House

News: The American Dream just keeps growing. Since 1970 the size of the average new home has ballooned by 50 percent. “Great rooms,” Viking ranges, 10-acre lots—can moats and turrets be far behind?
March/April 2005 Issue

Since 1950, the average new house has increased by 1,247 sq. ft. Meanwhile, the average household has shrunk by 1 person.

The National Association of Home Builders’ “showcase home” for 2005 is 5,950 sq. ft. That’s 15% bigger than last year’s model.

The Unabomber’s legal defense team cited the size of his shack—10’ x 12’—to buttress his insanity plea.

1 in 4 Americans want at least a 3-car garage.

88% of American commuters drive to work.

76% of those drivers commute alone.

The number of Americans with commutes of longer than 90 minutes each way has increased 95% since 1990.

Since 1982, 35 million acres—an area the equivalent of New York state—have been developed.
More than 50% of exurban lots are 10 acres or larger. Exurban homes account for 80% of residential development since 1994.

In 1950, 1 in 100 homes had 2.5 baths or more. Today, 1 in 2 do.

14 million households own 4 or more TVs.

Americans spend more to power home audio and video equipment that is “off” but still plugged in than they do to power such devices while actually in use.

Such “energy vampires” consume 5% of the nation’s electricity.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition recently gave a 6-bedroom, 7-bath, 7-television house to a family of 4.

Americans with cable TV have 30 hours of home-improvement programming available to them each day.

Sales of Sub-Zero and other “premium” and “superpremium” refrigerators have been rising by 15% a year.

1 in 5 new homes is larger than 3,000 sq. ft.—the size at which it becomes unmanageable to clean without hired help.

The average cost of a luxury kitchen remodel is $57,000. That’s $10,000 more than it costs to build a typical Habitat for Humanity home.

Suburban and urban kids use illegal drugs, have sex, fight, and steal at the same rates, but suburban kids are more likely to drink and smoke.

0.03% of U.S. homes are fueled by solar energy. 0.4% lack complete plumbing facilities.

People who live in cities use half as much energy as suburbanites.

If Americans bought only appliances with an“Energy Star” rating over the next 15 years, the reduction in greenhouse gases would equate to taking 17 million cars off the road.

1/3 of a home’s heating oil is used for hot water. Multiple-head shower systems can drain a 40-gallon tank in less than 4 minutes.

The average new home requires 13,837 board feet of lumber and 19 tons of cement.

Since 1976, federal housing assistance has been slashed by 48%.

Last spring, the Bush administration proposed an additional $1 billion cut to the Section 8 housing subsidy.

87% of homeowners are white.

Overall, blacks receive subprime loans 2.83 times more often than whites. The disparity increases when affluent blacks are compared to affluent whites.

If it were a state, New York City would rank 51st in energy use per capita.

Suburban white men weigh 10 pounds more than men in cities.

Only 2.7% of San Francisco’s teachers, 5.7% of its cops, and 4.2% of its nurses can afford to buy a home there.

1 in 4 Californians are considering moving out of state to reduce their housing costs.

Rush Limbaugh’s Palm Beach estate is worth 15 times the value of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Chappaqua, N.Y., home.

7% of all homes are in gated communities.

7% of all homes are mobile homes.

Since 2001, the number of Americans who have bought second homes has increased by 24%.
Global Warmin' Is Fer Idjuts Exxon writes America's energy policy, BushCo chops up emissions reports. Is there any hope at all?
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, June 10, 2005

Like anyone is the slightest bit shocked.
Like anyone is the slightest bit appalled anymore by the breathtaking litany of utter BS oozing forth from the White House these days, this time about how one of BushCo's top oil-lovin' henchmen has been hacking away at countless scientific reports for over two years, editing them at will, all to downplay the effects of emissions on global warming.
His name is Philip Cooney, and he has zero scientific training whatsoever and was formerly the "climate-team leader" (read: top flying monkey) and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the oil industry. He is now chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the group that helps devise and set the nation's environmental agenda; Cooney's cuts and edits of scientific emissions and global warming reports often made it into final White House policy.
Isn't that just the cutest thing? Aren't you just, like, yawning with ennui at the bitter repetition of it all? At how savagely and biliously common these stories have become?
Or how about that other story about how Bush's decision not to sign the Kyoto Treaty, the landmark environmental policy signed by 122 other nations to reduce greenhouse emissions, was influenced not at all by sound science or serious concern for the planet, but by pressure put on him by his pals at ExxonMobil and other major oil corporations? Did you read that one?
Thus proving what everyone already knows: Bush cares about as much for the health of the planet and for air quality and for the future of your miserable stupid emphysemic kids as a snake cares for lip balm.
Or rather, in more plain terms, it means this: The environmental policies of the most powerful and gluttonous nation on the planet are being written by the world's most powerful oil company. Which is, of course, a bit like our national dietary guidelines being written by Burger King, or our national health care guidelines being written by Merck, or our national school curricula being written by lost born-again Neanderthal creationists. Oh wait.
This, as we all now know, is the BushCo way. They lie about environmental devastation, going so far as to hire known skeptics of global warming to testify in court against piles of data compiled by thousands of world-class scientists the world over that prove the obvious direness of the threat.
They lie about abortion and breast cancer. They lie about unemployment data and corporate layoffs. They lie about prison-inmate torture, about intentionally desecrating the Koran and smearing menstrual blood on prisoners and violating the Geneva Convention the way a lonely farmer violates a sheep.
They lie about why a gay male model and former prostitute who ran gay porn Web sites was allowed to pose as a partisan hack reporter in White House press briefings for over two years, allowed to ask softball questions of the president and the press secretary and allowed to sleep overnight in the White House and shall we venture a guess who might've been waiting down in the dungeon all those nights, all sweaty and adipose, waiting for hunky Jeff Gannon to come and spank him but good?
And of course, most impressively, BushCo lied about WMDs, about why we're at war, about why we're dumping $5 billion along with dozens of dead U.S. soldiers and thousands of wounded per month into the Iraq quagmire (total cost: over $175 billion, and counting -- fast) when our own economy is gutted and the dollar is at a desperate low and the deficit is at an all-time high and our education and health care systems are crumbling and we are, as a nation, essentially running on fumes.
Yes, I know. This isn't even news anymore. Doesn't even raise an eyebrow. And how sad is that?
So these latest salvos, these latest disgusting proofs of misprision and environmental abuse, they're just par for the BushCo course, standard operating procedure for a callous and domineering administration that, if it can't find the data it needs to support its agenda, simply creates it, edits it, forces it into existence and crams it down your throat and calls it sound government policy.
There are, however, glimmers of hope. There are forces of change at work, despite BushCo's laziness and resistance and despite his administration's whorelike devotion to Big Oil and Big Coal and despite his outright ignorance of all things environmental and desperate and imminent.
Look over here. There stand 132 U.S. mayors from all over the nation, including many Republicans and including some from Texas and including Bloomberg from New York, who have bucked the general vicious BushCo idiocy regarding global warming and have agreed to carry out the Kyoto Protocol rules in their own cities, on their own. Seattle, for one, is poised to become, by the end of this year, the only city in the nation whose municipal energy utility produces zero net emissions of greenhouse gases.
And over here are the national scientific academies of all G8 nations, plus those of the three developing countries that consume the most oil on the planet -- China, India and Brazil -- making an unprecedented political gesture by signing a common letter declaring that a plan to address global warming must be put into action immediately, if not sooner.
And they've aimed the letter straight at the mumbling, bumbling BushCo, whose only decision on greenhouse emissions to date has been to let the major polluters of the nation self-regulate until 2012, when he's a faint, painful, cancerous memory and the global warming problem is far worse and even more dire and is shoved onto the plate of the next guy. Aww, thanks Dubya.
Even some of BushCo's more rabid followers, even some hardcore evangelical Christians, those intelligent few not wrapped up in the nutball Rapture Index and who therefore don't believe it's our God-given duty to ravage the planet and burn through all the resources as fast as possible so as to hasten the arrival of a really pissed-off, homophobic Christ, even some powerful evangelicals are urging Bush to get on the global warming issue ASAP, as, according to the Bible, we are supposed to be good stewards of the Earth, not its destroyers.
And you know the global warming issue has become dire when even staunch, lifelong environmental activists like Stewart Brand are beginning to look anew at the old demon of nuclear power to help ease the energy strain on the nation. It's not because nuclear reactors have become so beautiful and safe and desirable. It's because the global warming threat has become just that ominous. Going back to nuclear is simply the lesser of two evils. We have little choice.
So there you go. For the next 3.5 years, these alternatives appear to be the only path, the only means toward change. Via grassroots movements, regional lawmaking, commonsense ideas, collectives of like-minded people banding together despite their differences to thwart the idiocy and abuse and general autocracy of one of the most heartless and corporatized and least accountable administrations in American history. Think it'll work? Think we'll make it? Stock up on water, keep your fingers crossed and keep handy plenty of SPF 1000

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Oh Mark...the single voice in the chaos that I can relate to...

Die Die SUVs Please Die Sales of the bloated monster trucks are in a huge slump. Time for enviro-lovers to rejoice?
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

You hear that? That cheering and rejoicing and heavy exhausted sighing? Why, it's coming from the massively fatigued Prius-happy enviro-green set and it's all about the fact that sales of huge bloated oil-belchin' SUVs are in a major free-fall, down nearly 20 percent for the year and dropping faster than Jenna Bush can slam a bottle of Cuervo.
Can we all just wave our Greenpeace flags high and scream an I-told-you-so and go spank an Expedition driver and be glad for that? Can I get a "Hell yeah"?
Because indeed, it's the kind of minor but still gratifying news you want to sort of dowse yourself in rub all over your progressive brain and inject into your withered Bush-bashed spirit and say ahh, finally, finally people are coming to their senses and finally the world is waking up and finally some enlightenment is peeking through.
This is the hope. Finally people are understanding just how inane and dangerous and pollutive and just plain stupid these vehicles so very much are, and maybe, just maybe, there is a tiny bit of hope that the planet can finally begin to exhale and unclench and we can finally begin to progress, to move toward something akin to health and compassion instead of this painful devolution and isn't that all happy sounding and positive? Aren't good things imminent and abounding?
And yet, no. Because just as these very shining and positive thoughts escape your brain like some sort of happy pink mist, still you are gnawed, as always, deep down. Still the other, less gullible, less perky voices in your head kick back with a six-pack of Skyy Blue and a boxed set of Jenna Jameson DVDs and a deep obvious roll of the eyes and say, yeah right, not so fast, sucker.
This is the funny thing about this sort of good news -- it usually just isn't all that good. This is when you gotta sit up and take the medicine. This is when you gotta get slapped in the face with cold hard dumbass 'Murkin reality.
Because the truth is, SUV sales are down not because people are becoming more politically aware and not necessarily because people are finally becoming more environmentally attuned and not because the population as a whole is finally realizing how BushCo has dragged us into a violent hellpit of screaming oily economy-gutted warmongering inarticulate debt. Wishful thinking, sweetheart.
And it's certainly not because everyone suddenly realized the oil-soaked Saudis are just as bad as the Taliban and we should be investigating alternative fuels and rediscovering the joys of riding bikes and walking to work, and while we're at it let's all examine our souls and examine our motives and examine just what the hell it is we in this country think we're doing by being the most gluttonous, environmentally devastating resource-abusin' landmass on the entire hobbled whirling sphere. All this is but a fraction of the explanation.
Nope, SUV sales are down for one reason and one reason only: high gas prices. SUV sales are down because when it costs upward of a hundred bucks to fill up your shiny clunky chrome-rimmed uber-bloated Escalade so you can burn donuts in the Wal-Mart parking lot for two hours on Friday night, dude, well, your sister's Dodge Neon suddenly looks like a worthy alternative. Even in Texas.
Optimism, this ain't. I wish I could say that the Prius-led revolution is at hand, that signs are increasingly resplendent of a massive war-weary cultural awakening, but of course I'm afraid the proof is just all too obvious that we just ain't all that nimble of spirit or that interesting a species and we just ain't that enlightened as a collective brain. Not yet, anyway.
Truth is, if gas prices were to suddenly drop to a buck fifty again and stay there for a few months, why, SUV sales would jump right back up. This has been proven. This has happened before. Hell, even the gas-starved Europeans indicated in a big poll a while back that if a gallon of Euro petrol suddenly dropped from five bucks to one, they'd be all over the big-bloated-American-car thing faster than Lynne Cheney on bad lesbian prose.
It's all real simple: When resources are cheap and plentiful, we gorge, we indulge, we stop caring. About repercussions, about the environmental, socioeconomic, spiritual or karmic costs of our behavior. Ditto the CEOs, the corporations that feed our gluttony -- they go for profit uber alles, even if it means massive economic abuse, backhanded politicking or war. It's just the way of the species.
However, when resources get scarce and expensive, we pay attention. We get scared. For our wallets. For our excessive habits. This is America, beeyatch: Fear and money are the only things that really trigger us. We respond only to crisis, change our behavior only when absolutely forced to, or because the GOP has pumped the nation full of bogus fear. Same as it ever was.
See, it's not really about raised consciousness. Not yet, anyway. It's not about a deep concern for how we treat the air, the planet, each other. By and large, we don't seem to give much of a damn for the fact that SUVs roll and pollute and stomp the Earth like Karl Rove stomps live kittens, not to mention how they endanger your family's life, and every other passenger in every other car you can't successfully swerve around in an emergency. After all, it's all about the illusion of safety and machismo, baby. Who cares if it's actually true?
And besides, SUVs aren't exactly going away. They're simply morphing into the new breed of crossover vehicles, essentially jacked-up trucklike cars on steroids, and one look at the upcoming manufacturing forecast from any automaker proves that, save for a handful of hybrid models, not a single automaker is eagerly rolling out a new fleet of small, sexy, environmentally friendly, gas-frugal vehicles.
And why? Why don't automakers care? Because they don't have to. Not yet. Despite amazing new engine technologies, automakers haven't cared to improve MPG ratings for over 20 years, thanks in large part to the GOP yanking away all incentive or pressure for them to do so and essentially giving them carte blanche to gouge and pollute however the hell they want. Not to mention how the EPA's MPG ratings for most cars are, quite simply, way off.
So then, let us celebrate the death of these silly monster tanks with only mild, muffled cheers, aimed mostly at those cute pseudo-macho hellbeasts driven by myopic jingoist love bunnies who stick little 'Murkin flags on the back of these 8-mpg Ford Excursions and call it patriotism.
Because the good news is, as long as gas prices stay up -- and verily, they could be way up, forevermore -- huge numbers of the biggest of the dumb trucks will be sitting on the lots, unsold. But bad news is, the sad, misinformed, aggro attitude that spawned them has yet to shift much more than an inch.