published Friday, October 11th, 2013

Pam's Points: Working together for common good

People look over the new Volkswagen XL1 car during the Society of Environmental Journalist Conference at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
People look over the new Volkswagen XL1 car during the Society of Environmental Journalist Conference at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Photo by Patrick Smith /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

An exercise in faith and responsibility

In antithesis to the heels-dug-in, obstructionist U.S.-House of Representatives attitude, a Boyd-Buchanan School group of fourth- and fifth-graders recently took on the mantle of problem-solvers with Times Free Press reporter Clint Cooper to bag meals for the Haiti branch of the Feed My Starving Children organization.

The goal was to pack 1.5 million meals helped by hundreds of student and adult volunteers in Chattanooga. They met the mark.

In the process, Cooper -- who held the bags under an electric sealer -- lost no typing fingers. Hooray for Feed My Starving Children, and hooray the Times Free Press!

Sure, I'm pushing this analogy of cooperation. Clearly, Congress is nowhere near as smart as teachers, elementary students and even journalists.

But, come on: Surely if one little Southeast Tennessee school can feed 1.5 million starving children, then the U.S. House of Representatives can overcome its fear of 30 or so misguided tea party lawmakers to end the United States' government shutdown that is holding hostage humanitarian help to Americans who need their paychecks, their food stamps, their veteran death benefits and a national map of flu threats and outbreaks. Why? Because of a law that helps all Americans have an opportunity to have health insurance. Excuse me, but I don't understand this great chasm. Of course all Americans should have affordable access to health care. And, no, it doesn't mean anybody loses access.

OK, here's an idea. Let's send Boyd-Buchanan elementary students to Congress next year.

There's no doubt that they know the drill. They have already learned the concept and rhythm of cooperation to achieve a common and good goal. Kudos, kids. You're galaxies ahead of Congress.

River Rescue for the 25th time

The Tennessee River and all of us who live along it in Hamilton, Marion, Bradley and Rhea counties owe a thank you today to more than 900 people who on Saturday celebrated 25 years of cleaning up the river during the annual Tennessee River Rescue.

That was the day that those 900-plus people worked hard, got dirty and made our river environment cleaner, according to Tennessee River Rescue event coordinators Christine Bock and Nancy Brice.

Volunteers collected 257 tires, multiple tons of trash, too many household items to count, unimaginable amounts of Styrofoam and plastic and far more than 1,000 cigarette butts. Water quality testing was done in various zones.

This is a communitywide effort accomplished with dollar donations, as well as services and time. But it is not just a litter cleanup. It also is an eye-opening educational event, as well.

Kudos, all. It's the very least we can do for the lifeblood of many in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky.

We're all downstream.

Six months of driving

Last week, Volkswagen showed hundreds of global journalists and a handful of Chattanoogans at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference a prototype car that gets the equivalent of 261 miles per gallon. Two hundred sixty-one miles per fill-up/plug-up.

Holy cow, Batman. OK. Think about this. I drive a hybrid Toyota Prius that averages 47 mpg. I live about 25 miles away from my work. I can drive to and from work for a month on one tank of gas. With this new Volkswagen XL1, I would plug this gorgeous little sports-car-looking sweetheart in, and -- by my calculation -- drive about six months on roughly that same amount of energy.

At the SEJ conference, journalists learned that it would take 10 million hybrids, most charged at night when electricity peak demand is low, to increase electricity load demand by less than 1 percent. Barrels and barrels of oil vs. not very much electricity. Wow.

VW, for now, is making only 250 of these sweet cars, and -- alas -- not in the United States.

Of course not. We in the U.S. are not ready. We'd rather be futzing around with fossil fuels, because we really don't like (read here, understand) change.

We're really very backward.

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soakya said...

hey pam elections have consequences. if you wanted the ability to ram legislation down peoples throat you should have maintained controlled of the house of representatives.

did you take the federal and state credit for that prius? if you want one of those VW's then buy it with your own money and quit stepping on the backs of the taxpayers to help you purchase it.

October 11, 2013 at 10:14 a.m.
conservative said...

"VW, for now, is making only 250 of these sweet cars, and -- alas -- not in the United States."

"Of course not. We in the U.S. are not ready. We'd rather be futzing around with fossil fuels, because we really don't like (read here, understand) change."

If I were you I would not buy what Ms. Sohn is trying to sell you. Why? Well the price will be $146,660 dollars!

Did you get that, $146,660 dollars!

Oil is a tad cheaper(read here, understand) and few have this kind of money or the willingness to show others their lack of good sense.

Liberals are not in the real world, are they?

October 11, 2013 at 12:35 p.m.
stevedj_98 said...

A liberal from the real world here.

I guess you detractors missed the significance of the SEJ convention being in Chattanooga. Volkswagen flew the XL1 directly to our town for the North American debut of the car in front of some very influential journalists. Get that? First time where you could see it, touch it and sit in it without going to Europe. Price? Well, the current car would have to be highly modified to meet US standards, so you just missed your opportunity to probably ever view the XL1 again here.

By the way, after 2.5 years, I still love my 100% electric Nissan LEAF. Leave the last century behind and try something new for once. You might surprise yourself that dinosaur juice isn't really necessary any more.

October 11, 2013 at 1:16 p.m.
soakya said...

stevedj,

how much did the taxpayer pick up for that Nissan Leaf? Buy your electric Nissan leaf and put solar panels on your house just do it with your money.

October 11, 2013 at 2:33 p.m.
Jt6gR3hM said...

stevedj_98 said...

A liberal from the real world here... Really?

By the way, after 2.5 years, I still love my 100% electric Nissan LEAF. Leave the last century behind and try something new for once. You might surprise yourself that dinosaur juice isn't really necessary any more.

So instead of fueling your vehicle with petroleum distillate you have opted for much cleaner “Coal”? ... Just brilliant.

October 11, 2013 at 3:14 p.m.
conservative said...

If electric cars were feasible and affordable they would sell own their own without government taking other people's money to subsidize the purchase of one.

Liberals are takers ( some would say that is a euphemism for greedy thieves).

Liberals will always praise government and clamor for products and programs that are funded by other people's money.

This is about the only economic realty that Liberals understand and practice.

October 11, 2013 at 4:51 p.m.
stevedj_98 said...

You guys are so ignorant, this is probably the last time I'm posting here.

The laughs on you "soakya"--I didn't buy my LEAF, I leased it.

And yes, I charge it with solar panels on my home. "Jt6gR3hM", that fuel comes from sunshine, not coal. My EPB power bill for August was $14.26

And "conservative", are you aware of the millions of dollars the government gives to Big Oil each year in the form of subsidies, tax breaks and write-offs?

I don't see myself as a "taker" at all. I see myself smart enough to know a good deal when I see it. A good deal for myself, the environment and the country. Greedy thief, indeed!

October 11, 2013 at 6:18 p.m.
conservative said...

So, when you demand and vote for a program or product that you receive which is funded/subsidized in part by your neighbor it is just a "good deal for myself" and no moral wrong?

If the government takes property (your tax money) from you and gives it to me in some form is that just a "good deal for myself" and not a moral wrong?

The nature of man is that he will most often rationalize his sins.

October 11, 2013 at 6:41 p.m.
conservative said...

A tax break is not a subsidy. Deductions are part of the tax code for all business and these are not "loopholes" either.

Liberals bring up that lie about oil companies and oil companies only.

You are given a personal deduction on your income taxes to name just one available for every American.

Do you call this a subsidy?

October 11, 2013 at 6:54 p.m.
soakya said...

if you leased it that means the car dealer took the credit. still stuck it to the taxpayer.

and no offense but you should never lease a vehicle and especially a electric vehicle.

a credit is not a deduction, it reduces your tax liability dollar for dollar, it is indeed a subsidy. a deduction reduces your taxable income. ordinary and necessary business expenses in the pursuit of profits are legitimate deductions for all business's

cut all subsidies for all energy.

the problem is not you or the dealer taking the credit the problem is that the government makes it available.

October 11, 2013 at 8:44 p.m.
conservative said...

Solar panels need sunshine to produce electricity to charge an electric vehicle.

You use your car in the daytime to travel to work and other places, so how is your car charged at night by solar panels?

October 12, 2013 at 7:04 a.m.
rick1 said...

Stevedj posted "Well, the current car would have to be highly modified to meet US standards, so you just missed your opportunity to probably ever view the XL1 again here."

How big of a carbon footprint was made by flying a car to Chattanooga that we will probably never see again?

October 12, 2013 at 8:21 a.m.
gypsylady said...

Please tell me how to get that state and federal subsidy for the Prius. Or quit making stuff up. Your choice.

October 12, 2013 at 12:43 p.m.
soakya said...

just because you don't know about something doesn't mean someone is making stuff up. irs form 8936 federal credit between 2500-7500 for electric cars for the first 200,000 cars sold by the manufacturer. tn offered a 2500. credit for the first 1000 electric cars sold. research a little more or keep your head in the sand. your choice or your loss

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml

October 12, 2013 at 8:22 p.m.
gypsylady said...

Well, well. Most of the Prius you see aren't electric, they are hybrids. Look up the difference. If you really want to go deeeeeep, call a dealer and ask about subsidies. I do however I recall tax incentives a few years back for trucks and SUV's used for "business" wink, wink. My head isn't in the sand. Where's yours?

October 13, 2013 at 12:22 p.m.
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