Politics


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OBD III: The Motor Law Realized

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You know that “check engine” light on your dashboard? What if instead of just telling you that the car’s computer has detected some fault with the emissions control system, it told the government – via roadside readers and satellite uplinks? It’s called OBD III – and it’s right around the corner. All new cars builtsince…

How Government Just Made Your Next Car Less Safe

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I recently did a column about the burbling war between the Safety Nazis and the Mileage Mussolinis (see here). Well, here’s the first casualty: Your safety. Because your next new car probably won’t come with even a mini-spare – let alone an actual full-size spare tire. The latter has been MIA from all-but-large-luxury cars (and…

The Emperor’s Speech

The other night, Emperor Palpatine gave his State of the Empire speech. You know, the Sith Lord from Star Wars. He channeled his Dark Presence right into the Capitol Building, where he transmogrified into our soon-to-be Galactic Emperor. I am far from the only person who noticed this, which proves I was not hallucinating. See…

The Failure of Satellite Radio

Satellite radio – that is, SirusXM satellite radio – was supposed to be revolutionary, an end-run around the heavily censored, mostly commercials dreck of terrestrial FM and AM radio. Well, they did ok on the first score. Satellite radio is more free and open in the sense that things can be said openly that were…

A Bit of Good News… Well, Sort Of

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Sometimes, we get a lucky break. The same Supreme Court that routinely tramples the Constitution once in awhile stops mid-stomp, as if by dint of some atavistic recollection of the liberty it was charged to uphold – kind of like a wife beater who realizes he maybe hit the old gal once too much this…

An Ode To Two Strokes

Regulars here know I’m in the process of restoring an old Kawasaki motorcycle – a 1975 S1C Triple. I love the bike’s lines and looks – but I also admire its engineering. Which is startlingly simple. Because it’s a two-stroke. There is much less to the engine – parts and physical size-wise. The entire valvetrain…

And in This Corner…

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An epic bout is in the making – and we’ll all have a ringside seat. In this corner, the Safety Nazis – who have inadvertently made the average new car several hundred pounds heavier (and much more expensive) than it would otherwise be via the piling on of keep-you-safe government mandates, from air bags to…

The CNG Alternative

Whatever happened to CNG – Compressed Natural Gas – as an alternative fuel? Back in the mid ’90s, I test-drove a few factory-built CNG-powered “demonstrator” vehicles, including a new Ford Crown Victoria. Unlike most hybrids, the CNG Vic was a proper car: Full-size, six-passenger, V-8 and rear-wheel-drive. It required a few modifications to operate on…

Pssst: It’s Still About a Buck a Gallon

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I was researching some Now vs. Then costs for a story I did recently on car prices when I stumbled onto something interesting – and revealing. And so, worth sharing. Find an inflation calculator; for example the federal government’s Bureau of Labor statistics CPI (Consumer Price Index) calculator (click here) . Select 1980 as your…

The Case Against Driver’s Licenses

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That little plastic laminated card you’ve got in your wallet or purse – you know, the state’s permission slip for operating a motor vehicle? Ever stop to reflect how peripheral the driving part of a driver’s license is? Because, of course, a driver’s license is in fact our national ID card. It’s impossible to function…