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Friday, April 21, 2006

Karsner's Speech

Assistant Secretary of Energy A. Karsner gave a speech that, in my humble estimation, shows just how lost the Bush Administration is - they're talking out both sides of their mouths and have no credibility. This fellow was sent to talk to Powergen about renewable energy, something (with the exception of wind power) the Bush Admin has repeated cut funding for.

Arghh.

So, I respond to his speech point by point.

Keynote Address by Hon. Alexander Karsner, Asst. Secretary of Energy to Powergen Renewables

[snip quip and warm fuzzies]

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It's wonderful to be here with you in Las Vegas. My wife and I love Las Vegas, which is actually somewhat strange, because neither of us actually gamble, nor do we drink much. Still, it is unique in so many ways and uniquely American by birthright. Carved out of the waterless desert, it has evolved to become a neon, energy-intensive oasis tailored to leisure and whimsy and on-call, 24-7.
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And it is one of the single least sustainable cities in the world. Las Vegas is a blight upon the planet.


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(snip description of Death Valley and Las Vegas)

We are fortunate to have a very diverse group of friends who enjoy both environs. Yet, from time to time, we hear folks speak disdainfully of those who prefer the great outdoors to the urban nightlife or vice versa. Our view is that we cherish the very coexistence and diversity that this spectacular city and region represent--where some of the most creative works of man are married together with some of the grandest work of creation, because it is emblematic of Enjoying Life, thriving upon Liberty, and the opportunity to Pursue Happiness as one sees fit.

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The problem is, Mr Karsner, the friends you know who enjoy the great outdoors and a night under the Milky Way aren't squandering the resources of the greater southwest region. I do not see replicas of New York and Paris as spectacular or as one of the most creative works of man except in the most depraved way imaginable such a vision of
Las Vegas As Public Art makes the charlatanism of Jeff Koons look like the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci.


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I have only held this post for a couple of weeks, and so mercifully, I am happy to report that I have yet to become a bureaucrat!
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You can't become what you already are.


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Many of you know me and you know my background and my ambitions; it is similar to your own. My purpose today is to give voice to our mutual aspirations, to share some early perspective on the task ahead, and to explore how we might together make an impact on preserving for future generations those things we hold dearest; those things that are our birthright as Americans: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
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Sorry - that's not in the constitution. The Constitution lists Life, Liberty, and Property. I learned that in 8th grade Civics. The pursuit of happiness is in the Declaration of Independence, which is not a legally binding document.


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Perhaps we take these things for granted, perhaps we do not reflect on them enough.
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I think about them daily, and I find them under assault NOT from without, but from within by the Bush Administration itself.


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But as I parse the magnitude of our challenge, I am motivated by these principles and the bigger picture.

The facts are unpleasant realities:

We are a nation at war.

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The war on terror is, by definition, bogus. It's like a war on Daylight Strategic Bombing. Terror is a method of practicing
aggression. You can't win a war on terror any more than you can win a war on kindergartners "hitting" each other, and, that said, the war on terror is one the Bush Administration has pretty much given up on prosecuting some time ago, Bush himself has said that he doesn't put that much energy into trying to find and bring to justice Osama Bin Laden. So, your entire angle on "security" rings false and has no credibility.

We ARE at war, but it is in Iraq, and it was a war of choice - the Bush Administration, of which you are a part, LIED to everyone about the reasons for going to war, and then had the unmitigated temerity to bungle the whole job. Therefore, no quarter is granted to the Bush Administration for this. And for you, as a representative of this administration, to bleat "We're at War", is inadmissable, and doesn't really carry any water any more. At all.


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Our earth is warming.
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Correct, for once. And that is a fact the Bush Administration has resisted coming around to facing FOR YEARS, wasting precious time. The Bush Administration continues to try to muzzle voices in the government who are trying to warn the public about this looming crisis. And it is also a fact that to end the human contribution to global warming, global agreements and co-ordination will be required, and it is precisely JUST SUCH agreements the Bush Junta has cheerfully ignored, defied, and circumvented since its installation by the Supreme Court in 2001. Again, the President and his circle of lackies, incompetents, cronies, and neocon fascists, have Zero Credibility in this regard, and you, as a representative of said Administration will have to do a LOT more than simply state the obvious to even hope to have a prayer of a chance of acquiring any credibility on the subject.


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Carbon emissions and greenhouse gases are impacting air quality and the environment.
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And AGAIN, the Bush Administration has continually resisted any legislation to up the mileage requirements on vehicles or reduce pollution at source. Again, you and the Administration you work for, have Zero Credibility.


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America is addicted to oil.
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And it is an addiction that the Bush Administration has continually exacerbated with idiotic regulations like subsidies for gas guzzling Hummers, and a continued antipathy toward extending and intensifying the CAFE standards.


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And so, ironically, even as we find ourselves at the dawn of a new millennium, with numerous indicators of extraordinary economic growth,
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Which is part of the problem, not the solution.


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record low unemployment,
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but with reduced income and wages for those Americans that are not part of the uppermost income brackets.


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record homeownership,
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combined with record debt and record low savings.


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and record rates of productivity,
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in a nation with no national health care, and with the least amount of vacation time in the industrialized world.


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there remains a seething sense of anxiety in the land.
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Geeee, I wonder WHY?


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Personally, the unusually heightened sense of concern I felt when I watched those towers fall on that balmy day nearly five years ago has never fully gone away, and I see no sense in suppressing it now.
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WTF does 9/11 have to do with any of this?


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We are at war.
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No, "We" are not. The Bush Administration invaded a comparatively defenceless dictatorship. This was a "war" of choice. The Bush Administration gave up hunting down Osama Bin Laden years ago, and he was the one who attacked us. There should have been a "war" against Al Qaeda, similar to the "war" against the Barbary Coast pirates. Instead, Bush et al invaded Afghanistan but failed to get bin Laden and then committed the USA to a bungled war in Iraq.


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Fortunate though we are to live in a nation that can protect and insulate itself from the harshest realities of the battle,
it is not possible for me to grow up in a military family and not be constantly cognizant of our countrymen in harm's way.

This particular war has been a part of my life for a long time, and I was in its path long before it came to our shores. It was with me in the lawlessness of Karachi, where a dialogue with utility officials might be suspended to find a new counterpart to replace the manager riddled with bullets. It was with me in Casablanca, when female employees would arrive with inexplicable bruising, and explain how I would not understand "because of culture." And it is with me now, as I look
to my children nightly, and say to myself with determination that they shall inherit the American Dream that has touched us all, and that we owe them a plan for victory, a path to peace, and a better, healthier, and cleaner world.

The Moroccan and Pakistani and Muslim people I have known from all parts of the world are amongst the kindest and most hospitable people on earth. They too dream of peace and happiness for their families. But they live daily in apprehension and fear from well-funded, militant, and ignorant fundamentalism that dwells like a cancer in their midst.

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WHAT? The Pakistani people labour under a fake republic that is run by a network of strongmen propped up by the government and security apparatus of the United States of America. Pakistan is the nation most responsible for the distribution of nuclear technology to countries least interested in using it in a responsible manner. In fact, A. Khan, the man RESPONSIBLE for selling nuclear technology was PARDONED by the very strongmen that the Bush Administration is backing.

Morroco? Morocco is a de jure constitutional monarchy, with a popularly-elected parliament. The King of Morocco, with vast executive powers, can dissolve government and deploy the military at will, among other amusing responsibilities. Opposition political parties are legal and several have arisen in recent years, but are largely ineffective against the rule of an autocratic KING. Illiteracy sits at 50% and among women it is closer to 90%. I hardly see Morocco as some paragon of democratic virtue or enlightened culture.


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No one lives with these realities daily nor understands them more intimately than the President of the United States.
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I sincerely doubt George Bush could find Morocco on a MAP with both hands, a flashlight, and a page full of hints and brightly coloured circles in North Africa, much less understand the realities of life as an illiterate testosterone poisoned meatheaded thug. On second thought, maybe he could...


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It is of course a great personal honor for me and my family that he chose to select a renewable energy developer for this post, but have no doubt - it is a tribute to this great community of risk-takers, doers and dreamers, of which I am proud to be a member.
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DUDE: face facts - you are windowdressing. You're a distraction - you're the waving hand of the prestidigitator keeping the air occupied while the other hand of the administration continues its insane and criminal behaviour of imperialism and kleptocracy.


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Both the President and Secretary Bodman recognize that we cannot afford to divorce science from commerce; innovation from entrepreneurship.
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But he has proven time and time again that he IS willing to divorce science from public policy, education, and common sense if it wins him political points with the delusional morons that constitute his base as "the religious right".


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Neither carefully crafted mandates, regulatory inducements, nor research alone can deliver to us the goals for which the Department of Energy was originally established.
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But carefully crafted mandates, regulatory inducements, AND research CAN deliver the following:

1. An automobile fleet that gets, AT A MINIMUM, 60 miles per gallon, with existing technology.
2. Vast subsidies for the adoption of solar panels on private homes and wind turbines on farms.
3. Decentralization of energy production (see #2)
4. Develop an American designed/based/manufactured sustainable energy industry
5. Deincentivise reproduction - i.e., make it expensive to have children
6. Develop IFR nuclear reactors to rid the planet of nuclear power and nuclear fuel while generating electricity.
7. Make it illegal to drive a gas guzzling tank as a private passenger vehicle - there is no excuse for the Hummer.
8. Subsidise the hyperinsulation of homes.
9. Incentivise local organic agriculture and permaculture.

The list of what carefully crafted mandates, regulatory inducements, and research can deliver is long and intense. This kind of "Government Can't Work" Attitude is typical of the Bush Administration who have done their very best to prove their point that government can't work, by making sure it doesn't. The depressing madness and disaster that surrounded the response to Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing fiasco in Iraq are just two of the more obvious proofs of my point.


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As the legacy of great American energy pioneers like Franklin and Edison and Einstein would dictate, "Necessity is the Mother of Invention." Combining scientific inquiry with commercial creativity remains the most powerful force for transformational change available to address the substantial needs with which we are confronted.
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Ummmm, Einstein did all his important work in Germany. Otherwise, the point is a Cliché, followed by a recognition of the obvious.


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The brilliant people with whom I am privileged to work beside at the Department of Energy know these urgent needs inspire my rallying cry to unite folks inside Washington and around the country; inside America, and around the world.
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More flag waving balderdash.


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We must take our clean energy technologies and replicate, proliferate, and accelerate. There is no time to waste and no time for small thinking. We know where these train tracks are heading and we know the destination we must reach. The only question is the rate of speed we are moving and what will be the ultimate cost of the ticket?
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No, the question is MONEY. Who's getting it, and how much.

According to here:

http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=23074

The FY06 budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) programs envisions reductions totaling nearly $50 million - an overall cut of roughly 4 percent. This includes a 6 percent cut in Distributed Energy programs ($60,416 to $56,629); an 8 percent cut in the Geothermal Energy program ($25,270 to $23,299); an 18 percent cut in the Biomass/Biofuels program ($88,099 to $72,164); and a 90 percent cut in the Hydropower program ($4,862 to $500).

In fact, the Bush budget proposes to phase out DOE's hydropower program altogether and all support for the Advanced Hydropower Turbine, a joint program between DOE and the hydropower industry exploring fish-friendlier turbines, just at the time when full scale testing is about to begin at multiple locales.

Adding insult to injury for at least some of these programs, the cuts come on top of earlier reductions. The geothermal program, for example, had been funded at $28.4 million in FY03 and steadily reduced since then.

Less severely impacted is DOE's solar R&D budget which faces a reduction of only 1.3 percent, from $85.07 million in FY 05 to $83.95 million in FY 06. The solar industry has sought to put a positive spin on its reduction calling the budget request "essentially status quo funding" while applauding a "promising new initiative to advance the development of crystalline silicon solar power."

Overall, among DOE's core renewable energy programs, only wind energy is proposed for an increase - 3.4 million (from $40.8 million to $44.2 million), a relatively large expansion of nearly 9 percent.


Which only goes to prove that in point of fact, the only renewable sector that saw improved funding was Wind, and this only serves to further demonstrate just how antipathic and hostile the Bush Junta is to Renewable Energy.


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The way I see it, the people in this Hall are the locomotives of change and the role of government is to clear the way, get the rocks off the rails, and ensure maximum velocity. We have an obligation to steward both hardware AND policy.
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And you're NOT going to even be able to do THAT if you

A: continue to cut funding to renewable energy
B: spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on a pointless war in Iraq
C: spend even more hundreds of billions of dollars propping up a global empire of military bases, CIA gulags, and client thug governments.
D: consistently and continuously reduce the tax burden of the wealthy.


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Policy with predictability, transparency, longevity; policy conducive to capital formation that continuously cultivates market expansion of clean, green, domestic sources of power generation and fuels for transportation. All the while we must be relentless in attacking inefficiency and waste for its insidious and undermining impact on our national aspirations.
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Inefficiency and WASTE? Coming from an administration that VOLUTARILY invaded Iraq and is now pissing away hundreds of billions of dollars on a nonsensical imperialist occupation? The Bush Administration is a complete disaster, and it has no credibility whatsoever. For the administration (and the Republican Party it runs) to prattle on about ineffiency and waste, all while building multimillion dollar bridges to nowhere and wasting billions of dollars a day on a foolish and horrible war in Iraq is the epitome of duplicitous double-dealing and hypocrisy.


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We must do these things and more, at the fastest possible rate of market penetration, and government must be both realistic and relevant in it role. In short, we owe it to you, the leaders in the private markets, to update and redefine ourselves. We cannot perpetuate the delusion that government is leading the markets; nor should we distract ourselves with the unrealistic and ineffective ambitions of a command and control economy.
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Government MUST lead the markets, because the markets are not structured to do the job. And while I am not a fan of Command/Control economy, during WW2 it DID propel the USA and the Soviet Unions into being the most powerful military nations ever seen. The USA abandoned direct command and control after WW2, and replaced it with a rapacious imperialist military/industrial complex, which was clearly such a vast improvement...


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(snip rhetorical question)

It is our objective at the Department of Energy that we should increasingly become more agile, more attuned, more iterative and catalytic. In doing so, we can exert leadership that clearly seeks achievable goals, is unafraid to enter the fray, and continuously "moves the scrum" down the field.

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Fine, then legalise and subsidise abortion everywhere for everyone. Subsidise birth control. Tax families with more than 2 children. Reduce or even ration consumption of energy and resources. Energy is't "just Energy". Energy consumption is part of the broader problem of overpopulation.


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That is why I am proud to embrace Phase II, not merely as a milestone, but as a battle plan by which we can achieve great things together.
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Again, not as long as the Bush Junta remains in power.


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Maximizing energy efficiency and renewable energy IS the domestic epicenter in the War on Terror and it is imperative that we maximize the partnerships between the public and private sectors in new and creative ways with a sense of seriousness, national purpose and the urgency the situation merits.
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Which means MONEY. Spending MONEY on the RIGHT STUFF. Spending money on an idiotic war in the middle east is spending money on the WRONG STUFF. Spending money on subsidizing rooftop solar panels and farm fields of wind turbines is spending money on the RIGHT STUFF.

The president and his cronies would rather line their pockets, and the pockets of their shareholders, by pissing away billions of borrowed dollars in Iraq. Your entire budget is a tiny fraction of what this war costs. In this world, importance is measured by dollars. Where the money goes is what is important. Your programs are not important to the Bush Administration. They do not feel you urgency, and never will.


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(snip something not directed to me)

With 34 months to pursue the President's Advanced Energy Initiative and implement the Energy Policy Act and make ourselves relevant and supportive to the forces of free enterprise, there is no time for systemic "business as usual."

That is why last week, when I was in Detroit with the Secretary, he told the auto industry in no uncertain terms, "More needs to be done." We need to have more flex fuel vehicles on the market of ALL vehicle types and classes and we need to have them available from all manufacturers who serve the US market. "We must continue to encourage the exponential expansion in the supply of ethanol available."

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Ethanol? WTF? How about 60 mpg diesel cars? How about an outright ban on private passenger vehicles over 4000lbs? Electric commuter vehicles? Expansion of telecommuting? Increased funding for public transport? Ethanol isn't going to save us, or the car industry. Eliminating the need to drive is more important than what you drive, and what you drive is more important (for now) than what fuel it uses.


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When the President of the United States personally visits a solar manufacturing facility to announce millions of dollars in increased funding aimed at changing "the way we power homes and lead our lives" you can be assured he understands you.
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BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! See the quote above which shows that he actually has REDUCED funding for critical research, and has only increased funding for wind power. If it wasn't for the Danes and the Germans shaming him, he probably would have cut that too... And the energy that is produced in our petroleum society is being wasted on a pointless cycle of consumption - it's Cheney's "non-negotiable" American Lifestyle ITSELF that's destroying the planet. And no amount of handwaving is going to change that.


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When the President personally takes interest in the development cycle of battery storage for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, he clearly seeks to inspire a bigger picture.
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Then why does he CUT THE FUNDING for alternative energy research? HMMMM?


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When President Bush declares that wind power could provide up to 20% of our national generation capacity, you can be certain his vision is both exciting and real.
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We need it to do better than 20%. WAY better than 20%.


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(snip blather and flag waving nonsense)
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All this speech demonstrated is the delusional state of mind that inhabits the powers that be. NOTHING will get done in the USA until the Bush Junta is removed from office. Period.

We're in a scary holding pattern. Much of the rest of the world is far ahead of us on all of these points - from localized farming to high technology wind power. The Bush Administration continues to fund military adventures over everything else, and if continued unabated, will only serve to bankrupt the US Treasury and scuttle the hopes and dreams of a nation.

-S2

Monday, April 03, 2006

Chevy Tahoe Commercial - Culture Jamming Opportunity

Those are cool, but why leave culture jamming to the professional agitators, when you can do it at the request of corporate giants?

Here's One I Made

that's a quick example of what I am talking about.

It seems the witless dinosaurs running the show over at Chevy haven't been able to come up with any good ideas to sell their gas guzzling Stupid Useless Vehicles. So they are enlisting the General Public to make ads for them. you can enter a contest. I have no idea what the prize is (probably one of those stupid Tahoes) but the fun part is this:

1. They supply a bunch of video clips and music
2. You can put any text you want over the images

When you're done, remember to email yourself the link to the movie, as if you're letting a friend know how cool your Tahoe Commercial Is. As If.

Then pass the link around (I put mine through tinyurl.com for the sake of clarity...)

They see it as advertising, but it's an open invitation to massive criticism, IMHO.

Make your own here:

Chevy puts a sign on its back saying "PLEASE KICK ME"

What a bunch of idiots.

S2

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