Truck and car fleets should lead electric vehicle adoption

Fleets could have 200,000 electric vehicles in service by 2015, generating the volume needed to bring down prices and make EVs broadly practical, according to a new report released by the Electrification Coalition, a Washington, DC, group created in 2009 to promote development of electric-drive vehicles.

FedEx expects to see EV costs “overtake internal combustion light-duty vehicles in the 2015 to 2016 timeframe,” said FedEx chairman Fredrick Smith at a press conference called to release the coalition’s “Fleet Electrification Roadmap.” With advances in battery technology promising to cut initial capital costs for EVs, fleet operating characteristics could offer “per-mile costs that are 70% to 80% less than current [internal combustion vehicle] costs,” Smith said.

Looking at the 250-million personal vehicles in the U.S., Smith pointed out that the infrastructure for recharging EVs “at home or in parking lots” is already largely in place and that “the vast majority of fuel that would be used is already being produced and dissipated at night right now.”

Acknowledging GE’s announcement that it would purchase 25,000 EVs for fleet operations, Smith said the fleet roadmap outlined by the coalition “has real potential to move [conversion to EVs] much faster…”

It is important to consider all of the applications where electric drive technology makes sense, and what we have found is that the case is very strong for a number of fleet applications over the next five years,” said Smith. “Fleet electrification alone will not solve our pressing energy-security challenges, but by bringing costs down, it will provide a critical boost to the consumer electric vehicle market.”

I saw Smith being interviewed about this, yesterday, on Bloomberg TV. Though FedEx already has halved their operating costs in urban markets by switching to diesel hybrids, they’re now ready to move those vehicles out into suburban markets – and replace them with pure electric-drive trucks.

Fake doctor jailed for giving breast exams in bars

Cripes! The headline is just about everything you need to know, right?

An Idaho judge on Wednesday set bond at $100,000 for a Boise woman police say posed as a physician and duped at least two other women into having their breasts examined by her at Boise-area nightclubs.

Kristina Ross, 37, remains in Ada County Jail in Boise on two felony counts of practicing medicine without a license…

As part of her ruse, Ross gave the women the telephone number of a real licensed plastic surgeon in Boise, the state capital, authorities said.

Staff at that medical office became alarmed at the number of calls they received from women in recent weeks attempting to confirm appointments or surgeries with a Berlyn Aussieahshowna, according to charging documents.

And, then, there’s this twist to the plot:

The suspect’s gender is unclear. Idaho court records show that Ross was arrested for petty theft in the spring and that the arrest warrant was issued to a Kristoffer Jon Ross.

The Idaho Statesman website reported that Ross has a previous criminal record as a man but identifies herself as a woman and was booked into Ada County Jail as a female…

Court appearance is set for December 1st and I can hardly wait.

Classified as illegal immigrant after 64 years in the UK

A pensioner who has lived in Britain for 64 years returned from holiday to be told she is an illegal immigrant because she has never been granted UK nationality

Joan Wakely, 65, a grandmother from Shaftsbury, Dorset, has lived in the UK since she was six months old when her parents moved from Canada to Britain. However, when she arrived back at Gatwick Airport with her husband Mike, 64, after a holiday in Florida, she was classed as “an illegal alien” as she was travelling with her Canadian passport.

She has since applied for citizenship but faces being deported in February if her application is rejected…

Mrs Wakely has worked in this country all her life and has reared three children. She also has a National Insurance Number and draws her old age pension.

Her mother was English and her dad is Canadian and lives in a nearby nursing home. However, she has never before completed the correct forms nor had them done for her as a child.

She has now paid £840 to apply for full UK citizenship – which includes taking a test to prove she can speak English.

“Now at 65 I have been threatened with deportation from a country where I have lived since I was six months old.”

The UK Border Agency…spokesman said: “She is not actually British. She now has to apply for British citizenship. She has had to go through the process as has someone who has been here a year. It is the responsibility of everyone seeking entry to the UK to ensure they meet the requirements of our immigration rules.

Idiots. Another clot of bureaucrats living within the body politic, incapable of independent thought, unwilling to spend a single iota of energy on behalf of an ordinary citizen.

And this is aside from some dolt applying a law which didn’t exist when she arrived in the UK. Back in the day, she would have had automatic dual citizenship – English and Canadian.

Senate passes settlement for racist Agriculture Department practices – only eleven years late

Black farmers remind Congress for the umpteenth time to fund the settlement
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The U.S. Senate approved a $1.15 billion measure Friday to fund a settlement initially reached between the Agriculture Department and minority farmers more than a decade ago.

The 1997 Pigford v. Glickman case against the U.S. Agriculture Department was settled out of court 11 years ago. Under a federal judge’s terms dating to 1999, qualified farmers could receive $50,000 each to settle claims of racial bias.

This is much long overdue justice for black farmers,” said John Boyd, founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association…

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the settlements “a major milestone in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to turn the page on a sad chapter.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, also said the vote gives “long-suffering Americans … the closure that they deserve. The agreement that we reached shows what can happen when Democrats and Republicans come together to do the right thing,” he said.

Of course, Democrats and Republicans “came together” to support racist practices against non-white farmers for only a bit more than a century.

The measure will now have to be approved by the lame duck House before moving to Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

We hope so, anyway. Certainly there wouldn’t be much hope of achieving justice against bigotry when Republican control of the House arrives in the next Congress.

Improving the lives of the poorest in Brazil

Probably the biggest and best known of all the cash transfer schemes in the developing world is the Bolsa Familia in Brazil. Since 2003, 12 million families have joined the scheme and receive small amounts of money (around $12 a month). Inequality has been cut by 17% in just five years, which is perhaps one of the most dramatic achievements in welfare ever recorded. The poverty rate has fallen from 42.7% to 28.8%.

Such is the fascination in this “social technology” that Brazil is now being sought for advice on cash transfer programmes by countries across Africa (Ghana, Angola, Mozambique), the Middle East (Egypt, Turkey) and Asia (including India). Even New York City has implemented a version of the programme.

It’s social policy diplomacy,” suggested one of the ministers involved in the Brazilian programme, Dr Romulo Paes de Sousa, when I caught up with him in London after speaking at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex earlier this week.

He’s delighted by the interest. “Brazil is developing a new model of donor whereby we give expertise as well as aid. Brazil is already one of the largest donors of food aid in the world.” He is also struck by the paradox that Brazil is expanding its welfare state just as Europe is cutting back on welfare.

There are some aspects of the programme, he explains, which have attracted particular interest. The first is conditionality. The payments are dependent on the family’s children staying in school until 17, and attendance must be at least 85% up to 14 years and 75% for the remainder. Another form of conditionality is that children get the full set of vaccinations in their first five years and that mothers attend pre and post-natal care.

RTFA. You can see right off the bat why this would be hated by The Right – from churches to conservatives. Actually trusting poor people to do the right thing with education and opportunity? Practically a sin unto itself. And definitely a crime against class-based republican principles.

The new USA: Chess players, like Socrates, busted for corrupting the youth.

“Ah, now isn’t that much better,” asked a soothing Nurse Ratched.

Police officers approached [seven chess players in Upper Manhattan] at the stone chess tables in Inwood Hill Park and issued them summonses for failure to comply with signs.

The tables are behind the gates of the park’s Emerson Playground, which the signs in question state is off limits to adults unaccompanied by minors… to deter what a parks official called “inappropriate adult use of space designated specifically for children.”…

The tables are separated from the rest of the play area by a fence, [and reportedly] there were no children present at the time.

“This incident is an embarrassment to the officers from the 34th Precinct who felt that it was necessary to use their badge and authority to issue such a random summons,” Joanna Johnston, who said that her 7-year-old son learned to play chess from the men in the playground, wrote in a letter to the police and the mayor.

Careful, lady. The parent lobby is not going to like you one bit. Children must be protected from the sight of adults playing chess. We wouldn’t want them to grow up reading Averbakh.

Now do you wonder why Fischer spit?