Posts Tagged ‘NPR’


Several recent articles have indicated the impact that gas costs are having on lifestyles. Two related articles were reported in recent posts at this site, “How to Find the Cheapest Gas Price in Your Area“and “Plug-In Hybrid Leads Toyota’s Drive Beyond Oil“. In The Demise of the RV, Eric Fry reports for Rude Awakening on the disappearance of the once-ubiquitous Winnebago and its close cousins from American roadways:

“I never would have bought [my motor home] if I thought that gas would go this high,” a retired firefighter in Westchester County told the Hudson Valley’s Journal News. “My wife always wanted to go to Napa Valley,” the firefighter lamented. “But with gas so high, it probably would be cheaper to fly and rent a car, rather than take the motor home.”

The firefighter is probably right. We did the math:

Assuming gas mileage of 10 miles to the gallon, a 31-foot motor home would consume about $2,500 worth of gasoline to journey from the Hudson Valley to the Napa Valley, and back again. By comparison, two roundtrip plane tickets from JFK to San Francisco would run about $375 each. Even after paying another $450 to rent a midsized car for a week, the fly/drive combo would only cost about $1,200 – or less than half the cost of the RV’s gas.

At the same site, Dan Amoss offers stock trading advice related to the weakest recreational vehicle (RV) companies. (Note: I do not offer or endorse any financial advice related to the stock market):

For most of the last three decades, oil prices have been low, the economy has been expanding and motor home sales have been soaring. RV sales have been trending up for nearly three decades, but there are many reasons to expect a huge decline in 2008-2009.

The posts wraps up with questions and a request for comments from Joel Bowman of Rude Awakening:

Is the high oil price the greatest threat to market stability in the months ahead? How bout the financial fiasco that has rocked Wall Street to the core? Or, perhaps it’s political incompetence? We’d like to hear your thoughts on the market’s greatest risk and, if you can see a way out, your ideas on how to play the downward trend to your favor.

On a related note, the recent article from Lyneka Little of MainStreet.com reports that “Rising Gas Prices are Hurting Nonprofits“. I heard a related story on NPR by Kate Archer.

This situation is clearly seen in nonprofit food delivery programs to homebound seniors such as Meals On Wheels. In these programs, oft-time volunteers deliver meals to the elderly, typically by driving—and paying for the gas—their own vehicles. Nowadays, volunteers are finding it harder to fund the delivery.

The MOWAA has seen a 58% loss in volunteers due to the gas prices alone. Dealing with the loss of volunteers, “our programs have to cut back on everything,” says Enid Borden, President and CEO of Meals On Wheels Association of America. Now, “sometimes volunteers are only able to go out once a week or once every other week,” says Borden.

The one meal a day can turn into no meals a day or a meal and frozen dinners for additional days. Now 4 out of 10 seniors sit on a wait list hoping to be one of the million to receive a warm meal.

Other effects are seen from the general economic downturn, as former corporate donors have either gone bankrupt or simply don’t have any funds to make their typical donations:

Citymeals-on-Wheels, which serves New York’s homebound elderly, knows this firsthand. While donor contribution is up by 13%, Citymeals has been hit by a decline in the high-end sector and in special events. Bear Stearns (BSC) was a major donor for the organization, and Citymeals has lost $500,000 in charitable contributions since that firm went under, says Marcia Stein, executive director of Citymeals. “To lose a half a million dollars in the last quarter of the year, that was very tough, and that’s money that will not come back,” says Stein. “It’ll take many years to recover.”

In order to contribute to Meals on Wheels or Citymeals-on-Wheels, please visit the following websites: Meals on Wheels Association of America and Citymeals-On-Wheels. Thanks to Lyneka Little for highlighting this problem in her article.

Do you have any stories of your own about the effects of gas prices on your summer plans or lifestyle that you would like to share? If so, please add them to the comments. Thanks and best wishes, Jim

Copyright © 2008 James K. Bashkin

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Amnestry International and BlogCatalog are sponsoring today as a day to focus on human rights around the world.

I’ll add a few personal thoughts in support of this effort. First, I would like to emphasize the value of people’s lives, no matter what they believe and where they live. When the historical changeover occurred that made civilian casualties of war an everyday reality, and with the concept of collateral damage well entrenched in the soul of the times, I feel it is important to say that there is no acceptable death of innocents, of civilians, of bystanders. Furthermore, what has happened to the art of diplomacy? Brushed aside as outmoded by the Bush administration, there are now few open lines over which ostensible enemies can communicate. Surely this only helps situations escalate into war, which is a tragedy.

The damage done to women, children and men around the world is not, of course, limited to wartime. After the recent Cyclone, the response of the Myanmar Junta to offers of outside aid was and is simply inexcusable. How this Junta could participate in the decimation of its own country is unfathomable. As Daniel Schorr put it so eloquently on NPR yesterday, it is time for the international community to act, together and immediately, to prevent this tragedy from becoming far worse. This can be done through the United Nations “Responsibility to Protect” resolution of 2005. As Mr. Schorr made clear, this international action must be carried out in spite of the bad name given to “intervention” by President Bush.

It is not enough, however, to respect the right of people to live. As an international community, we must also respect and provide for the basic human rights that go beyond life itself. I join Amnesty International in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

As further elaborated on Amnesty’s website, and quoted vebatim here, the organization fights for these additional goals:

Women: 15 Steps to Protect Women’s Human Rights

Torture: 12-point Program for the Prevention of Torture

Disappearances: 14-Point Program for the Prevention of “Disappearances”

Extrajudicial Executions: 14-point Program for the Prevention of Extrajudicial Executions

Peacekeepers: 15-Point Program for Implementing Human Rights in International Peace-keeping Operations

Health Professionals: Amnesty International’s Declaration on the Role of Health Professionals in the Exposure of Torture and Ill-treatment

Medical Investigations: Amnesty International’s Principles for the Medical Investigation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

Internal Displacement: Amnesty International’s guiding principles for addressing the specific needs of internally displaced persons worldwide.”

I hope that everyone can take the time to personally contribute to the struggle, and it is a struggle, for universal human rights.

James K. Bashkin

Copyright © 2008

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From Fresh Air, WHYY, you can hear an interview with James Hansen, described as NASA’s leading climate scientist, on how the Bush Administration has been trying to censor his work. Mark Bowen, also interviewed, wrote a book on this subject called “Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming”.

James Hansen is one of the climate scientists whose work was specifically misrepresented by Michael Chrichton in his anti-environmentalist novel of several years ago.

read more | digg story

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Go to the Science Friday home page and look for the Oct 4, 2007 (Hour 1) show on Biofuels to listen to the Podcast.

Also, check out my blogroll (under Science) for a link to the Science Friday Kids’ Connection, an educational resource for grades 6-8.

Let me know what you think! Thanks, as always, for your feedback.

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