While at first, this may appear to be an innocent discussion about plug-in hybrids versus straight electric vehicles, it turns out to be, you guessed it, a terrific metaphor:
Another challenge for automakers is that hybrids are relatively complicated, with widely varying ranges. Some can travel only on electrons, while others never do. Electric vehicles, meanwhile, can be measured on two simple metrics: miles per charge and price.
“It’s just a much more simple story,” said Tal at UC Davis. His team’s research has shown that people are far more ignorant about plug-in hybrids than fully electric vehicles. In general, he said, shoppers don’t spend much time deciding which car to buy—most effort goes into finding the best price for the model they’ve already set their mind on.
The death of the hybrid, while seemingly inevitable, may be a long and slow. A spike in gas prices in the next few years may even draw it out. “I can see them having a role until 2040,” Tal said. “But the problem will always be [that] it’s a more expensive solution having two drivetrains.”
We are absolutely lousy with other expensive-because-they-are-redundant solutions, and some (private schools, for-profit hospitals and health insurance) do triple the damage we can afford for the pain and pound of flesh they exact from the commonwealth. Reality shows seem cheap because [some]people think they don’t have/need writers. Roads and highways seem far more convenient that public transportation somehow, even at 0-miles-per-hour in rush hour that’s really two. Fb is free, see it doesn’t cost anything!
Hatred for irony remains an untapped and unfortunately renewable-into-infinity resource.
This is not any of that “we are all Bostonians now” dreck. This is a reminder of what and who we really are, what and who a commonwealth really is, from none other than Mr. Pierce:
We will not be embarrassed that we share these things in common just because, elsewhere, governors let children starve, and the sick get sicker, and preach of self-reliance while cashing checks from faceless millionnaires. We will not be shamed by the yahoo creationism of the Louisiana public schools, or the cruel neglect of health-care in Texas, or the corporate chop-shop that is being created out of the state of Wisconsin these days. We will not feel slighted that there are more sweatshops elsewhere than there may be here. We will not join your race to the bottom. It has to stop somewhere. It might as well be here.
We realize there is corruption in our systems. (The last several previous Speakers of the Massacusetts House in a row have all been convicted of one felony or another. Top that, Louisiana!) We realize there is waste. We howl and rail against it as loudly as anyone does. We mock its beneficiaries, and mock ourselves for being foolish enough not to see it happening. Our uncles get us jobs on the country road crews. We still have a Governor’s Council, a vestigial Rivendell for political elves that last was truly relevant to anything shortly before they threw the tea into the harbor. But the essential point is that even the corruption and waste in our government belongs to us because the government belongs to us. We won’t give it away, or sell it off wholesale, or exchange it for a bag of magic beans proffered by the political hucksters fronting for oligarchical money power. There is corruption and waste in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, and in “Bobby” Jindal’s Louisiana. But you can’t see it. It’s the product of backroom deals and corporate brigandage beyond the reach of democratic accountability. That has been the great triumph of the conservative political revolution — it has managed to privatize political corruption.
MA is near and dear to me for many reasons, and this reminder that it remains one of the few places defined by the things we actually stand for is another new one.