energy policy

Time to Shake Up Detroit

In a recent Journal commentary, John Spinelli made some controversial proposals:

Sarah Palin, the popular but polarizing understudy to Republican presidential nominee John McCain, repeatedly asked voters this fall to elect the Republican ticket so the duo of so-called mavericks cold "shake up Washington," a wish that didn't come true. But it's a good thought nonetheless for what Washington ought to do now with Detroit, as America's Big Three automakers make a case that another draw-down of bailout money is needed to prevent millions more workers from receiving pink slips.

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Palin's plan to "shake up Washington" as if it were a glass snow ball just to see where the flakes fall sounded good on the stump but would have been disastrous in practice. But the Palin-in-a-China-Shop strategy might be just what the times call for now in Detroit. America is totally hooked on cars, and has been ever since industry pioneers like Henry Ford wanted to get people off the train and into a car. But in the hundred years or so since gentlemen and later ladies turned the ignition key to start their engines to see the USA and come to love their car in the process, the need to rebuild our lost mass transit systems becomes a new call to arms. We need to seek viable, affordable and efficient alternative modes of transportation that reduce the need for foreign oil, help the environment by reducing auto emissions and move people efficiently from place to place while creating precious middle-class jobs along the way.

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The Big Three should not continue to manufacture only cars, but should be made to share their skills, resources, workforce and technological know-how with new innovative people-transit systems like Tubular Rail Inc. (TRI) and Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). Both technologies working together could reduce gas consumption, carbon pollution and the need for cars and the expensive roads and bridges they travel on that gobble up billions of taxpayer dollars. Some of those dollars need to be directed to rolling out a new jobs-intensive program to rebuild America's transportation infrastructure.

Are biofuels fueling the environmental crisis

Alarm is mounting with the news of the Antartic ice-cap melt Unless Al Gore is biding his time because he is still a potential dark horse in the present election campaign (something I very much doubt) I think this would be a good time for him to step forward as a spokesman for the energy policy in the next administration. Perhaps Clinton and Obama could agree that whichever wins they will propose his appointment to the cabinet to carry forward a program that they both endorse.