GM to develop 230 MPG car: Oh, NOW you care?

GM in development of triple-digit gas milage car.

General Motors Corp. said Tuesday its Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car should get 230 miles per gallon of gasoline in city driving, more than four times the mileage of the current champion, the Toyota Prius.

The Volt is powered by an electric motor and a battery pack with a 40-mile range. After that, a small internal combustion engine kicks in to generate electricity for a total range of 300 miles. The battery pack can be recharged from a standard home outlet.

Now, I'm thrilled that automakers' R&D are finally making a concerted effort to develop electric cars, but GM finding religion on this only now, after they've been faced with bankrupcy, a major oil crisis, and an ecological disaster in the making, makes me roll my eyes.

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Israel Seeking to Tread a Lonely Path

I'd advise against this tack, Israel.

Israel will not heed President Barack Obama's powerful appeal to halt all settlement activity on lands the Palestinians claim for a future state, officials said Friday.

The government plans to allow construction inside existing West Bank settlements to accommodate for growing families, said the officials, explaining a position that looks sure to cause a serious policy clash with the United States.

This "growing families" line is bullcrap and there's no way that Israel's government doesn't know it.  Look at Hong Kong: This is an island city that has 1.3 million people in 80 square kilometers... Jerusalem has 750 thousand people in 125 square kilometers.  That "growing families" line just don't cut it, guys.

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Judge to overturn Stevens conviction? Say what? n_go_co/stevens

Convicted felon and former Senator Ted "series of tubes" Stevens will be getting another chance to break out the Incredible Hulk neck tie in court today.

The Justice Department has asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to toss out Stevens' conviction and vacate his indictment. If the motion is granted as expected, it will kill a high-profile victory against congressional corruption reached last fall when a jury found the senator had lied about gifts and home renovations.

Wait... the Justice Department, who botched the case for the prosecution so badly that the conviction was in spite of their case rather than because of it, now is asking Judge Sullivan to overturn the ruling?  Why?

Then it hit me.

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Democrats: Quit your hand-wringing over appointments

Or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Democracy.

During the primaries, I advised people who found themselves condemning Keith Olbermann and National Public Radio and quoting sources like NewsMax, Hannity, and Limbaugh to stop for a minute and think about it: when you find yourself on the side against people whose ability & political view you respect a lot and agreeing with people who you believe are heinous propagandists, you really need to stop and consider why you've come to the conclusions you've come to.

Well, this week I've found myself agreeing with Kosnomore on this blog, and this morning my alarm radio activated to the sounds of Bill Press echoing my belief that we need to back off of Roland Burris's appointment to Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat.  Press, I believe, is one of the worst sort of propagandist Democrats and I had, shall we say, some "primary disagreements" with him.  Kosnomore, of course, is one of the premeir goat-getters on this site; if he has real motivations beyond making us waste time we could be spending debating real issues, they're not ones I approve of.

At the same time, President Elect "That One"... er, I mean, Barack Hussein Obama II, understandably has a personal investment in who is replacing him in the Senate... not only who is replacing him, but who is selecting the person that is replacing him.  Blagojevich is far from an ideal source, if you'll allow me some understatement.

I gotta tell you, agreeing with those people and disagreeing with the President-Elect made me stop and reconsider my position, but in the end, I have come to the conclusion that my first instinct was correct.

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Obama re-releases transparency tool (with links!)

Barack Obama, who is running a transition that has a 79 to 82 percent approval rating, has opened the second round of his Open for Questions tool.

Before we go into examples with links, I'd like to thank MumbaiBurns for his initial exploratory diary on the subject.  I understand that he had some trouble understanding the internet, so I'm trying to help out.

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NASA Not Cooperating with Obama Transition

We expected the Bush administration to pull shenanigans before Obama could take office, and they have, from not implementing the safety protocols on the bank bailout to hiring as many partisans to career government jobs and changing as many environmental rules as possible to make the new President's job harder once he takes office.

What I didn't expect is for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which has captured the hearts and minds of children and adults alike, to be the impetus behind the most blatant refutation of the incoming presidency yet.

When I was a kid, NASA was the coolest thing ever: they sent people into outer space. I saw a space shuttle on its pad down in Cape Canavral when I was no more than 8, and I was more jazzed about that than I was about Disney World.

Little did I know that, less than 25 years later, this epic institution would arrogantly blow off the president-elect who is dedicated to restoring the rule of science over superstition to the government.

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Al-Qaida cries foul over pro-Obama media bias

Apparently Sean Hannity and Ayman al-Zawahiri have something in common: They both think that Obama has gotten a free ride in the press.

Though hardcore Al-Qaida supporters have predictably dismissed any criticism of Dr. al-Zawahiri and are fiercely backing his choice of words, there is a rather ironic (if not entirely unfamiliar) twist to this issue. After observing international press reporting on the incident, these same supporters are now bitterly attacking the media for its "unfair" pro-Obama bias and for deliberately "confusing" the meaning of al-Zawahiri's message.

Confusing the meaning of his message?  The dude called Barack Obama a "house slave." Even if he didn't know the context of the term in American history, saying that about a guy who took on (and beat) not only the ruling establishment of the country, but also his own party's elite, is madness.

Then again, this is al-Qaida we're talking about.

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(MN-Sen) Franken wins absentee ballot suit

Just picked this up on HuffPo:

A Minnesota judge has granted a request by Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken for the release of information on voters whose absentee ballots were rejected.

While this applies only to Ramsey County (home of St. Paul, the capitol), it's the second largest county, and a symbolic victory after the Sec. of State refused to count the rejected ballots until the court told them otherwise (dammit Mark Ritchie, you're supposed to be a corrupt partisan Democrat, throw me a bone here :P )

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It's a Beautiful Day - Share your voting stories here

Everyone has a story, and here's mine.

I got to the polling place right around 8 AM... I was running a little late, but the line to the Ballantine VFW in Uptown, Minneapolis was two blocks long already.

Everyone in line was quiet, contemplative.  The sky was clear and blue, the sun warm on our faces as I... or rather we... reflected on where we had been as a nation, and where we were going.  

I closed my eyes and let myself go for a minute, basking in the  sunlight, wishing for a nap after this huge drain on my emotions, energy, and free time (during the primaries I was spending at least 2 hours a night on my favorite message board just catching up to all the day's political details).  When I opened my eyes, the line had moved up ten feet, but nobody behind me had said a word or even gotten agitated about it.

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He laughed in my face when he heard that I care about politics

We have an enemy besides McCain and the Republicans, and it's not Barr or Nader.  

I work facilities for a major financial institution, taking calls from advisors and their staffs who are too hot or too cold, have spilled something, broke their desks, or the like.  Most mornings I take my break with some of the furniture guys; they're decent folks: blue collar fellas who are wary of politicians.

This year, though, things inevitably turn to politics, because it seems like it's all anyone ever talks about.  An older guy I sit with has seemed to be in favor of Obama, but I suspect that he just wanted him to knock off Clinton; the race issue quietly makes a difference to him and he sometimes gets his news from FOX.  We're all pretty respectful, for the most part, though, and don't let disagreements get in the way of our friendship or work.

Which brings us to today.  Today the manager of the furniture team was there, which is unusual.  He doesn't usually take breaks with the plebians.  When politics eventually came up, he was going on and on about how all politicians are crooks and liars who had no conception of the troubles of the average person, and that included Obama.  I said that that my research suggested otherwise and I wanted Obama to win, he laughed in my face, said, "I'm really sorry," and walked away.

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