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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Baby, You Can Ride My Bike

10 Reasons Cars Suck

by MICKEY Z.

There’s an interesting courtroom battle shaping up out in California. The state is attempting to institute new emissions standards for greenhouse gases. Such regulations could reduce exhaust emissions by 25% in cars and light trucks and 18% in SUVs. California already has the toughest standards in the nation-standards adopted by 10 states, including New York. This new proposal would surpass federal emissions standards and is likely to eventually raise the national bar even higher. Guess who’s not happy about this?

Among others, DaimlerChrysler Corp., General Motors, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers have filed suit, claiming that California is in violation of the federal Clean Air Act because the state did not get a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency. In other words, the automobile giants are siding with the EPA and the Clean Air Act to crush regulations designed to address issues of global warming and human health. You can add this situation to the top ten list of why cars suck. Here are the other nine reasons:

2. Bumper-to-bumper

From 1950 to 1970, the U.S. automobile population grew four times faster than the human population. Today, there are around 200 million cars in America. As a result, we Americans spend 8 billion hours per year stuck in traffic.

3. Cars kill people

During the twentieth century, 250 million Americans were maimed or injured in automobile accidents. Every single day in the U.S., an average of 121 people are killed in car accidents. The leading cause of death for children aged 5 to 14 in New York City is pedestrian automobile accidents.

4. Cars kill animals

Automobiles, SUVs, trucks, and other fossil field-burning vehicles kill a million wild animals per week in the U.S.-not counting tens of thousands of family pets.

5. Sprawling for dollars

During the last century, an area equal to all the arable land in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania was paved in the U.S. This area requires maintenance costing over $200 million a day. (The surreptitious cost of the car culture totals nearly $464 billion a year in the U.S. alone, much of that going to the sustentation of a military presence in the Persian Gulf.)

6. Getting warmer?

Automobiles emit one-quarter of U.S. greenhouse gases.

7. Oil in our veins

The U.S. spends $60 billion per year on foreign oil. Eight million barrels of oil per day is combusted in U.S. cars. That’s 450 gallons per person per year.

8. They’re all wasted

Cars create 7 billion pounds of un-recycled scrap and waste annually.

9. Leaving rubber

With approximately one billion discarded tires littering our increasingly paved landscape, meditate upon this: Every tire loses one pound of rubber per year, spewing minute grains of rubber into the stratosphere and then back down to find a new home in our water and/or our lungs.

10. Cars are hell

During the 40 days of the (first) Gulf War, 146 Americans died keeping the world safe for petroleum while at home, 4900 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents.

MICKEY Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.