June 2008


Most Reliable Vehicles

By The Car Family

 

For more reviews go to

http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/home/best-new-cars-for-2008/

For free educational materials go to

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/index.html

For a list of all vehicle websites go to

 http://www.reacheverychild.com/business/index.html

Gas mileage drastically improves if you are being towed. Other than that there is very little to recommend a vehicle that gets great fuel figures but costs you money at resale due to buyer worries about reliability. Add to that fact that just one problem could erase all the savings in gas over the lifetime of the car. Thus Consumer Reports has supplied their list of the most dependable vehicles. I have never been a fan of Consumer Reports since we followed their ratings for buying several household appliances only to have them require sufficient work. That might not be the fault of Consumer Reports. What might be the problem is that once a company gets a high rating and sales increase they start cutting corners on the tested products.

Here are Consumer Reports top picks and our assessment based on models up to 2007.

Mercedes continues to battle with quality problems in some models as their M Class ranks as the most unreliable vehicle. We find that the best Mercedes product is the E Class, especially with the diesel or Bluetec engine. We also feel that they have made considerable progress the last two years.

Price appears to have little relevance to quality and old myths are shattered when you look at the data that reveals that the Lincoln Zephyr was nearly as reliable as the always reliable ES 350. In fact, if you want to buy a good used car a 1995 Lexus ES is the one to have. Outstanding gas mileage and exceptional reliability. They have oil leaks and thin leather seats but for under $3000 you are probably going to get 300,000 miles.

Ford continues to improve with good rankings for its Fusion and Milan. Indeed, these vehicles performed at the same level as the pricier Camry and Accord. General Motors also did well with good rating for its Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS.

One of our frequent best vehicles is the Subaru line and Consumer Reports agreed. All their models did well, but we don’t recommend the racy WRX STi due to its hot rod engine and stiff legged ride. A great car, just not a family car. Outside of the Versa and Sentra we don’t really feel that Nissan has that many quality products and some, such as their large SUVs, gets astonishing low gas mileage and quality marks.

Porsche continues to suffer, according to owners

Porsche continues to have reliability issues. Since this is the only company that refuses to allow us to test its vehicles we have no reason to disagree with the Consumer Reports information. If you buy a Porsche you are buying a possible source of problems that the company’s short warranty may not help you cover.

The Porsche 911 and Carrera, Pontiac Solstice, Mercedes SL and CLK, and V6 powered Ford Mustang all did poorly and the Porsche is easily the most expensive of this list. We feel Mercedes is improving and that the Solstice is very new and probably going through growing pains. The Mustang is priced under $20,000 and we don’t feel its quality is as good as it should be. As for the Porsche, how could a company that has been building essentially the same car for decades continue to have problems? We feel it is the fact that they are profitable and have a loyal following even though there are several cars that costs tens of thousands of dollars less that can perform equally.

Small Cars

As expected the best small cars are the Honda Fit and Civic Hybrid as well as the Toyota Corolla. What we didn’t expect was the high rating of the Toyota Yaris, which we did not like and found very uncomfortable and lacking a quality feel. However, we love the Fit and the Corolla. In this category the Chevrolet Cobalt and Aveo, Nissan Sentra, and Volkswagen Jetta did poorly. The Sentra has been redone and is much better. The Cobalt’s rating surprised us as we found it was a great compact with a spirited ride and spacious interior. Volkswagens continue to be suspect, although we have placed an order for the new Jetta wagon and have our fingers crossed.

The important family sedan segment had the Accord, Fusion, Milan, and Toyota Prius in the top positions. The Accord four cylinder was our choice. We have no idea why anyone orders the V6 version when the four is so frugal and energetic. The Volkswagen Passat didn’t fare well and we don’t recommend it either.

As noted the Lexus ES does well, as did the Zephyr. Add to that the surprising Hyundai Azera and the Acura TSX and TL and you have some great vehicles although the Azera is very softly sprung. However, it is loaded with equipment and looks far more expensive than the Lexus. The Jaguar X Type, Chrysler 300 V8 and Saab 9-3 rated at the bottom. Our experience with the Saab is that the older ones do better than the new ones. After 2002 they seemed to lose their composure. Still, they handle, accelerate, and feel as solid as any sporty sedan. We like them. The large Chrysler has visibility issues and the V8 isn’t needed as the large six does just as well for the family. The Jaguar is an old design and isn’t going to age well anyhow. Nice looking, though.

Luxury Cars

In the luxury field the older Cadillac STS, Mercedes S and CLS and E and the BMW 7 Series and Jaguar S should be avoided. The new models of these are far better, but we always have doubt about BMW products outside of the 3 Series due to the complexity of their electronics and poor fuel mileage. The Jaguar S is another old design and the new Jaguar FX promises to be much better. Winners include the always terrific Lexus LS and Infiniti M. We noticed tire wear problems with the big Infiniti, but the Lexus is perhaps the best luxury family sedan ever made. We bought one of the first ones brought to the US in 1989 and it was a dream. They still are, but beware of the costly prices to replace such items as oxygen sensors. You pay for the Lexus name. We actually bought the same anti-freeze solution at the Toyota dealership for nearly 30 percent less than the Lexus dealer wanted.

If you want sportiness the Lexus SC isn’t the answer, but it has exceptional reliability as does the Toyota Solara. We found the chassis on the Solara was too flexible, especially in the convertible, but that was the previous model. The Subaru Impreza WRX is fun and highly rated as is the Honda S2000, the Mitsubishi Eclipse, and the fun MINI Cooper. There is quite a price range here, but if you don’t need the room the MINI is excellent with gas mileage over 30 mpg. Get the Clubman if you have a family for the extra cargo space. The Subaru is the most fun for the buck, though, just make sure it has been maintained. Subarus are expensive to buy parts for and we don’t like their automatic transmission.

In terms of people movers the Nissan Quest fared poorly as did the General Motors trio of the Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander, and Saturn Relay. We were shocked at the General Motors listings as we tested them and found them tight and well made. Perhaps it was too much to try and make a SUV look like a minivan. On the plus side the gas sipping Pontiac Vibe/ Toyota Matrix were superb and so was the Toyota Sienna. A used Sienna is worth considering. We got great gas mileage. The Honda Odyssey van, everyone’s first choice, finished in the middle. The complex engine management program may have been the problem. If you need less room, the cute Scion xB finished among the elite, too. Very economical and a hoot to drive.

SUV Rankings

Crossover SUVs did well as a group with only the very inexpensive Kia Sportage reporting poor ratings. It was also among the least costly in this grouping. Favored crossovers were the Toyota FJ Cruiser and RAV4 as well as the Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outland, and versatile Subaru Forester. The FJ has so little side and rear visibility and poor fuel mileage we can’t recommend it. The Outlander is okay, but not the best choice. The RAV4’s gas mileage when tested was over 25 mpg and the all-new Honda CR-V had a great interior. We like the RAV4 and the Subaru Forester. In fact, we like the old Forester better than the new one. They get the best fuel mileage of any all wheel drive family crossover.

Good scores for large SUVs was dominated by the Japanese automakers with the Toyota Highlander, 4Runner, Lexus RX 400 h, Acura MDX, and Honda Pilot all ranking on top. The Lexus is much more expensive than the others and we would recommend the RX 350 instead and save thousands. The Highlander and Pilot are both very good. The fuel mileage on the MDX causes us to place it much lower, although it handles better than the others.

As expected the worst of the SUVs are some of the vehicles we never recommend such as the Land Rover LR3 with the V8, the horrible Hummer H3—all Hummer models are horrible, the lumbering Volkswagen Touareg, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes R and M Class, Volvo XC 90, Ford Explorer, and Mercury Mountaineer. If there ever was a grouping of vehicles to avoid as lacking any quality traits this is it. Why anyone would consider one is beyond our grasp as they get stinky fuel mileage, handle poorly, and every one has a better choice from the same manufacture.

Hummer Owners Rank them Lowest

Large SUVs, and why anyone in their right mind would need one of these top-heavy burdens on renewable resources escapes us, are lead by the Toyota Land Cruiser, Sequoia, Lexus LX, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. The god-awful Hummer H2 performed as expected, at the bottom of the list. We don’t’ think it would matter to a perspective buyer anyhow. Buying one of these Hummers, which are illegal to drive on most residential roads as they exceed the three-ton limit, is for those who need attention and are willing to pay for it. The same can be said for the Ford Excursion and Lincoln Navigator. The Lincoln only beat the Hummer in the race to the bottom of the reliability chart. Of course with all that weight going to the bottom is easy. Think 10 to 12 miles per gallon and a resale value that rivals current presidential approval ratings when you buy in this segment.

Consumer Reports final ratings were for pick-up trucks. These are the cash cows of the industry and their success is important. The Subaru Baja, which is really too small to carry much more than a six foot long rope, the Toyota’s Tundra and Tacoma were joined by the Nissan Frontier V6 as having superior quality ratings. The Baja is handy, but clearly does not belong in this group. The worst were the Nissan Titan, horrible gas mileage, too, and the Ford F-250 diesel, Dodge Dakota, and the wallowing Cadillac Escalade EXT. The latter model drives like a boat with little road feel and a tendency to absorb gasoline faster than the Saudis can produce it.

Two elements emerge from the Consumer Reports study. First, only Toyota has a vehicle line-up that excels in quality and Honda is close behind. Thus the higher resale for these two brands. Secondly, the cost of the vehicle is not indicative of its quality. The Ford Fusion is about $20,000 and does well while the Porsche and Hummer H2 are complained about by their owners who shelled out those big bucks the most per dollar.

Family conference: Our favorites by category are the Honda Fit and Toyota Corolla in the compact class; family sedan class winners are the Toyota Prius, Accord and Ford Fusion; larger sedans would find the Lexus LS in our garage; the MINI Clubman would be our fun to drive vehicle; the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe would be the handiest to own; and the Lexus 400h and Subaru Forester can carry our family anytime. We don’t recommend large SUVs and feel that pick-ups are not family vehicles and can be very unsafe.

How to Create Curriculum integration Lessons

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

There is no better way to enhance the curriculum and increase test scores than by using an integrated approach to lesson planning. This type of learning adds depth and provides the opportunity for teachers to bring to the student layers of content that can be used to differentiate the lessons for various levels of learning and provide an avenue for the pupil to apply their own slant to the work. It provides flexibility to the curriculum and gives teachers a chance to work with others outside their area of expertise and build teamwork.

In some ways creating integrated curriculum also includes turning your classroom into what is called a constructivist one. This method differs from the regular classroom in that the teacher acts more as a facilitator than a leader. I use this method as it encourages critical thinking and independence. The students are encouraged to develop skills such as reflective thinking and problem solving abilities while acquiring new knowledge. I call my methods, “I am not a Salt Lick” because it stresses the importance of learning by doing, correcting mistakes without being told, and promotes self-reliance. It also frees up time to work with students who have specific needs.

There are a tremendous number of websites that profess to tell teachers how to integrate curriculum, but the fact is you simply have to do three things to have a stellar lesson. Make sure you understand that good integrated lessons take much more time than the handout or read the chapter or lesson plan in the drum ones you can buy. Once a good integrated lesson is written and fine-tuned it is a showpiece and new wrinkles can be added to expand it to meet weaknesses on standardized tests or for specific student differences.

What is also not touched upon is the need for the teacher to have a vast body of knowledge to draw upon. This could take the form of formal education or life experience. A teacher who grew up on a farm or whose parent was an attorney can bring a variety of important and useful ideas to integrating learning. New teachers can supplement their body of knowledge by using quality websites such as the ones listed below with more specific ones listed in http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/index.html

Before stating decide what resources you have available and whether the lessons should be done by a group or individual. I prefer group work as it brings together different ideas and teaches students the lifelong skills of cooperation and compromise. By warned that the composition of the group must be controlled and assessment of the end product must reflect on more than the product, but also the effort that each individual made. I recommend a time sheet where each person writes each day what he or she did and places it in the group file.

If you are going to integrate art into a history lesson what materials do you have that would enable your lesson to have the needed depth? Secondly, take a look at what you want the student to learn. Too often integrated lessons become ends in themselves and not a means to an end. A good unit should provide access to future studies and relate to the standards. For example, a unit of horses can be used to integrate science, reading, literature, art, history, and music. But how will the student use that information in his or her next learning activity? Finally, the teacher needs to create a grading rubric that accepts a variety of innovative solutions to the problem. A unit of study on weather could be historical, scientific, incorporate technology, or even relate to the local climate. The rubric needs to cover these.

Huge lesson plan site

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/alansplans.html

Here is a unit that uses transportation to integrate the curriculum

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/transportation.html

Physical Education lessons

http://www.pecentral.org/lessonideas/classroom/classroom.asp

Integrated lessons using technology

A great list with an abundance of ideas.

http://www.remc11.k12.mi.us/bstpract/

A good place to start with a nice table that shows the good and bad points of several types of lessons.

http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/8/c016.html

A basic example for elementary

http://www.my-ecoach.com/resources/curr_integ.php#integration

Examples that stress technology, but offer some great ideas for most subject areas. The one on turning the classroom into an art gallery is splendid.

http://www.cyberbee.com/intclass.html

Several sample lessons. Uneven quality and some dead links, but the titles alone are enough to stimulate ideas for your own plan.

http://www.mcc.cc.ms.us/techprep/lessons.htm

A vast lesson with terrific printable tables including a grading rubric

http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=816

This site does an excellent job of explaining the Constructivism

With a good table that compares the teacher center classroom to the constructists one.

http://online.sfsu.edu/~foreman/itec800/finalprojects/eitankaplan/pages/classroom.htm

Basic how to write a lesson plan site

http://www.eduref.org/Virtual/Lessons/Guide.shtml

Large collection of lesson plans

http://www.reacheverychild.com/lessonplans/index.html

Submit your own lesson plan

http://www.reacheverychild.com/submit.html

Lesson plan themes

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/themes.html

The Irony of Standardized Testing

By Alan Haskvitz

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Backed by a substantial grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a study revealed that half of Americans say U.S. schools are doing only a fair to poor job preparing kids for college and the work force and life.

College leaders and the general public are said to agree with this concern. Many colleges are offering a substantial number of remediation classes for newly admitted students so they can be ready for regular university classes.

It is so serious that the war in Iraq ranks below education as a concern of the general public especially knowing that education is the key to a prosperous country. But perhaps the greatest irony of this study is the fact that three-fourths of those polled believed schools place too much emphasis on courses that weren’t valued. Those valued the most were math and English. The sciences, arts, and physical education were at the bottom of the list or weren’t even mentioned. In other words, the public also stresses the same two subjects NCLB stresses. The irony is that these same responders to the poll felt that classroom work and homework are the best ways to measure learning and not standardized tests.

So the school system is caught in a Catch-22 situation where they must show improvement on test scores and harvest the ecstasy of public acclaim or risk the wrath of pronounced failure and the possibility of even losing control of their own schools under NCLB. Teaching the test becomes the way to success for the school, and, ironically, leaves the students unsuccessful. It is an end in itself.

At a recent meeting in Denver with one of the NCLB spokespeople I ascertained by the stock answers that the system is not going to change regardless of the arguments posed by teachers. The pat answer is that NCLB is good at showing the public that schools must do more to help every child and that means it is working. Thus testing is destined to be the Gordian knot of public school education until someone cuts it with the sword of commonsense. Teaching students to learn is being sacrificed for teaching them how to take the test. The why is being sacrificed for the what.

Another irony is that NCLB has standards for highly qualified teachers, but school districts are considering giving bonuses for—you guessed it, teachers whose students have higher test scores. Being highly qualified does not count for a bonus. Sixty percent of the public think that teachers who produce students who do well on standardized tests should be given a bonus even though they acknowledge that testing does not promote students being prepared for life. Learning to learn is not as important as test taking skills. Even the SAT creators admitted that the best criterion of success in college was the written essay. Not the standardized questions.

Indeed, at a meeting of the American Council on Education, the University of California President recommended that university admissions move from the standardized tests results and quantitative formulas and rely on a more comprehensive, holistic approach for student selections.

So where does that leave teachers? Well, they can try and maneuver the curriculum so that they can cover both the mandated lessons and create learning opportunities that promote real thinking strategies. Or, they can abandon any hope for a bonus and just teach the way they know is best for the student and be thankful they have tenure. Finally, they can start educating the public about what standardized testing is costing their children and society.

Ironically, the pubic is getting both what they want, an objective test score, and what they don’t want, students who lack the skills they need to enjoy the ecstasy of a well rounded life.

Are Hybrids Hype?

By The Car Family

For more reviews go to

http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/home/family-hybrid-review-shoot-out/

For a list of vehicle websites go to http://www.reacheverychild.com/business/index.html

You can’t judge a car by its gas mileage especially considering driving is the leading cause of accidental death. Add to fact that area residents spend an average of 33 minutes commuting and the need to make an informed decision about purchasing a highly hyped hybrid becomes even more time worthy.

Hybrids started when the legendary Ferdinand Porsche developed a car that used gas and electric power in 1899. This petrol-electric or Elektromobil was short-lived but the technology is still used today in many forms such the diesel electric locomotives. With this proven technology and over one million on the road already issues such as reliability, and battery replacement costs should not be a concern, especially since most have a limited warranty of eight to ten years. Crash ratings have been excellent, too, with hybrid providing essentially the same ratings as gasoline only versions.

The main question is whether or not you need a hybrid. For example, if you don’t spend at least 50 percent of your time in heavy traffic you can do as well with a diesel powered vehicle. The reason is that hybrids give the best results in driven at speeds under 30 mph. Diesels do better on the highway. For example, the Mercedes Benz E-Class Bluetec* can go over 600 miles before refueling thanks to its 21 gallon tank and 31 mpg average. However, there are other reasons to consider a hybrid such as the tax incentives, reduced air pollution, and some hybrids qualify for the coveted high occupancy lanes.

We tested all the hybrids except those from General Motors due to unavailability. They were remarkably competent and polite vehicles with a few idiosyncrasies, but nothing emotional troubling outside of the fat that the lack of engine noise prevented the dog from hearing us and he was caught on the couch several times. You might consider a silent dog whistle to warn them and suave their pride.

Today’s hybrids are not plug in vehicles. The engine recharges the battery pack. To help with gas mileage the engines turn off at stoplights until the accelerator is pressed when they immediately stop. If the air-conditioning is left at its highest level the engine stays running at intersections to promote cooling.

The Players

Pricing for the tested models starts at just over $22,000 for the Civic and Prius to over $40,000 for the Lexus 400h. With many models being well loaded with features it is difficult to compare costs with a non-hybrid model. Another consideration is that some hybrids are commanding premiums over the sticker price.
Toyota’s Prius is the big seller and it is the only sedan model where you can fold down the rear seats for larger packages. It is our favorite, being The Car Family vehicle of the year in 2001 and 2003. Handy, easy to park, and with just enough power to make Ventura Freeway traffic merges simple, this is the benchmark for hybrids.

Honda’s Civic isn’t quite as efficient as the Prius, but is more dynamic to drive. The Honda doesn’t have the useable interior space and sits lower. The Civic is magic in traffic with plenty of perk and only reduced rear vision making parking a bit tender.

Nissan’s Altima Hybrid doesn’t offer the otherworldly mileage of the Honda and Toyota, but it has a lot more passenger room and provides a ride that more people will identify with. There are some superior deals on this model as it gets 10 mpg less than the smaller sedans. This Nissan is as good as the Camry for families,

The Ford Escape/ Mercury Mariner are the best SUVish vehicle if you need the room. Stick with the two-wheel drive version and you are going to be getting better fuel mileage than nearly every other sedan in the world. Good seating, excellent visibility, and very easy to live with these Ford products are highly recommended if you need the extra cargo space they offer.

Toyota Camry and Highlander hybrids use the extra electric energy as much for performance as improved gas mileage. The result is slightly improved gas mileage and acceleration. The non-hybrid Camry and Highlander get nearly the same highway mileage as the hybrid version, but in town the latter averages over 10 mpg more.

Finally, the queen of the hybrids, the Lexus RX 400 h. It is smooth, sporty, and perky while providing a cavernous rear cargo area. An exceptional shopping car with a power lift rear tailgate and enough electronics to occupy a teenager, but with the lowest fuel mileage figures of all the hybrids we tested.

Family conference: In a community so close to Hollywood it is difficult to sometimes believe anything that has been as hyped as the hybrids. But in this case Palisades drivers should hop onboard and save on fuel and reap such subtle benefits as being able to monopolize family gathering with talk of gas mileage figures. With high resale values and many more hybrids coming online soon, even one ironically from Porsche, this is a great time to drive the future.

A quick guide to fuel mileage for hybrids

Vehicle commute mileage highway mileage Yearly gas cost @ $4.75 for 15,000 miles

Toyota Prius 48 45 $1550

Honda Civic Hybrid 40 45 $1700

Nissan Altima Hybrid 35 33 $2100

Escape/Mariner 34 30 $2230

Toyota Camry Hybrd 33 33 $2100

Toyota Highlander Hybrid 27 25 $2740

Lexus RX 400h (two wheel drive) 27 24 $2600

For Comparison Small Cars

Toyota Yaris 29 36 $2344

MINI Cooper/Clubman (premium) 28 37 $2020

Toyota Corolla 28 37 $2420

Honda Fit 28 34 $2430

Diesels

Volkswagen Jetta Diesel * 30 41 $2100

Mercedes Bluetec* 23 32 $2706

* Available in California as a 2009 model.

What do you think?
OIL/DRILLING
Business links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/business/index.html

SPECULATORS IN OIL AND GAS – SAME AS THE SPECULATORS IN THE MORTGAGE MARKETS

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN1933803520080619

More proof; Wall Street is its’ own separate nation, unconcerned with the good of the United States; Street lobby working furiously to head off any regulation or oversight of oil speculation:

“…..In a pair of lengthy and sometimes testy closed-door sessions in the Senate last week, executives from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, two of Wall Street’s largest investment banks, made the case that their multibillion-dollar investments in energy contracts have not led to higher oil prices. Rather, they told Democratic staff members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that the trades allow international markets to operate efficiently and that the run-up in oil prices results not from speculation but from actual imbalances of supply and demand. …..”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25253877/

GAS PRICES – THE FACTS!!!

– Republicans and Democrats have a fundamentally different approach to tackling high gas prices

– Republicans offer the same old tired slogans that they have touted throughout the Bush years and that haven’t done anything to combat the increase in gas prices

– More Drilling: Domestic drilling has not led to lower prices. Since 2000, drilling has increased dramatically – climbing about 66 percent– while gas prices continue to increase. and gas companies have shown that they cannot keep pace with the rate of drilling permits that the federal government is handing out – over the past 4 years they have received and are sitting on nearly 10,000 permits that they aren’t using to increase domestic production. Since 1999, drilling permits for oil and gas development on public lands increased more than 361 percent.

– OCS: The vast majority of federal oil and gas resources located on the OCS are already open for development – of all the oil and gas believed to exist on the OCS, nearly 80% of oil and 82% of natural gas is located in areas already open for leasing. In 2006, the federal government opened 8.3 million new acres in the Gulf of Mexico to drilling, yet gasoline prices have increased by $1.69 per gallon. Only 10.5 million of the 44 million leased offshore acres are actually producing oil or gas.

– Open ANWR: EIA estimates that if we open ANWR today, twenty years down the road, at peak production, gas prices would be lowered at the maximum by $1.44 per barrel, which translates to only a few cents a gallon. Increased conservation and the use of alternative technologies in the last three years have cut the projected need for imported oil between now and 2050 by more than 100 billion barrels (EIA) – ten times more benefit than what we might be able to get a decade from now from ANWR.

– More Refineries: We have excess refining capacity. Last week, our refineries were running at 89% capacity – well below the 95-98% capacity use rates we’ve seen this time of year for the last decade. Republicans argue that environmental regulations are preventing new refineries from being built in the U.S. From 1975 to 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received only one permit request for a new refinery, which was approved. In addition, oil companies are regularly applying for – and receiving – permits to modify and expand their existing refineries.

– Democrats are being aggressive today to lower prices and reduce dependence on foreign oil while thinking ahead to tomorrow

– Working to Address Rising Gas Prices

– Enacted legislation to increase oil supply by temporarily suspending the fill of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the nation’s crude oil stockpile. (H.R. 6022)

– Gave the FTC new authority to crack down on those manipulating wholesale energy markets to keep prices high in the Energy Independence and Security Act (H.R. 6)

– Approved the Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act (H.R. 6074) to hold the OPEC monopoly accountable for price fixing that flouts the free market and artificially drives up the cost of crude oil.

– Passed the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act (H.R. 1252) to investigate price gouging by retailers who may be using the cover of high prices to unfairly inflate their rates even further.

– Investing in a Sustainable, Energy Independent America

– Enacted the landmark Energy Independence and Security Act (H.R. 6) that raised vehicle fuel efficiency for the first time in 32 years and increased the renewable fuels standard.

– Passed the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Act (H.R. 5351) to end unnecessary subsidies to oil companies making record profits and invest in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

– Approved the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act (H.R. 6049) to renew and expand tax incentives for renewable energy.

– Passed the Food and Energy Security Act (H.R. 2419) that promotes the development of biofuels, including those from non-corn sources.

– We are continuing to talk with Committees about further possible action.

FLASHBACK – THE ENRON SCAM

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html…agewanted=print

DARK MARKETS

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/17/…in4188620.shtml

Perhaps 60% of Oil prices are driven by speculation

http://www.financialsense.com/editorials/e…/2008/0502.html

ICE ICE BABY – PART ONE

http://www.star-telegram.com/104/story/651928.html

ICE ICE BABY – PART TWO

http://www.star-telegram.com/ed_wallace/story/659081.html

THE HOUSING BUBBLE WAS CAUSED THE SAME WAY!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte…8061401479.html

Housing rescue bill could be slowed by Republicans

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hTPEQZy…6Lz3mgD91CP8SO0

Now banks need bankruptcy protections!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte…8061803225.html

Even as two former Bear Stearns managers DO THE PERP WALK

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN1933803520080619

ECONOMY

Deciding between food or gas? The winners in our global wealth redistribution these past 8 years are enjoying $200 hamburgers.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/18/…in4193240.shtml

The futility of ‘Drill Now. Save Money’; Time outlines a timeline

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/…1815884,00.html

“…… even if tomorrow we opened up every square mile of the outer Continental Shelf to offshore rigs, even if we drilled the entire state of Alaska and pulled new refineries out of thin air, the impact on gas prices would be minimal and delayed at best. A 2004 study by the government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that drilling in ANWR would trim the price of gas by 3.5 cents a gallon by 2027….”

Fine! More offshore drilling. THERE ISNT EVEN ENOUGH SHIPS TO GET THE DAMN OIL!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/19/business/19drillship.html

Best used cars for gas mileage

By The Car Family

 

For more reviews go to http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/home/family-hybrid-review-shoot-out/

After five years most cars have lost most of their value, but not necessarily their usability. Finding a vehicle in good shape with 50,000 to 100,000 miles isn’t difficult. What is hard is to find which ones offer the best gas mileage. And remember, try to locate a vehicle that has all the safety features. We do not recommend buying hybrids this old because battery pack life can vary. If you do decide to buy a hybrid read the battery warranty carefully.

Here are the economy leaders for 2004. Remember that we don’t recommend cars that use premium fuel or that do not hold at least four adults. Most of these cars can be bought for less than $10,000.

Best Compact Cars

 

Volkswagen Beetle/Jetta/Golf Diesel 32/42**

Honda Civic 31/39*****

Toyota Echo 3038*

Toyota Corolla 28/36*****

Scion xA 27/34*****

Dodge Neon 25/32*

 

Ford Focus 24/32***

Mazda 3 24/32***

Nissan Sentra 24/32*****

Chevrolet Aveo 23/32*

Hyundai Accent 23/32*

Saturn Ion 23/32***

Suzuki Swift 23/31*

Kia Rio 23/30*

Suzuki Aerio 22/28*

Toyota Celica 22/28*****

 

Volksagen Golf gas 20/27***

Subaru Impreza 20/26*****

Subaru Outback 19/25*****

Larger cars

 

Mitsubishi Lancer 24/32  *

Hyundai Elantra 23/31***

Volkswagen Passat 23/34***

Oldsmobile Alero 23/33***

Pontiac Grand Am 23/33***

Kia Spectra 21/29 *

Chevrolet Malibu 21/31***

Saturn L300 21/31*****

Honda Accord 21/31*****

Toyota Camry 21/30*****

Mazda 6 21/29***

Hyundai Sonata 20/28***

Nissan Altima 20/28***

Suzuki Forenza 20/28*

Mitsubishi Galant 20/27*

Chrylser Sebring/Dodge Stratus 20/27*

 

Rating

***** best

*** accetable

* if the price is right

 

 For free materials to help students learn go to http:www.reacheverychild.com

Be

Chinese Olympics Resources

by Alan Haskvitz

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

The free lessons, links, and resources have been moved here to save space.

I have them posted here:

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/chinese_olympics.html

also use the search engine to find more specific free lessons.

Starting August 8th, the Chinese Olympics can provide a teachable moment for students at the start of more traditional school years. It is over on August 24th .

It is very difficult to find good educational resources so keep this site bookmarked.

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