Air America Radio

As much as I love my iPod; sometimes I get tired of listening to music and need something else. Recently Air America Radio started broadcasting, though not yet in my area of the country. Fortunately for me, they do have a live audio stream off their website. Initially I was somewhat upset by their choice to use RealPlayer, but like CarTalk and the BBC they’re providing links to directly download the free version. I ‘d sort of looked at downloading the free version of RealPlayer when the BBC started this, but wasn’t impressed with the direct link they were offering. However from what I’d been hearing about Air America, I really wanted to start listening to it. So I gave RealPlayer another chance and this time it really was a direct link and I soon had RealPlayer 10 installed on my station. Then I tuned into Air America and have been listening to it all week long. Mostly I listen to it in the afternoon and catch Randi Rhodes show, but this morning I tuned in earlier and have been listening to Unfiltered, which I like a lot better.

This morning the Unfiltered crew pointed out a rather disturbing quirk in our current tax code. If you’re self-employed and buy a Hummer (or some other 6,000+ lb. vehicle); you can deduct upto $100,000 of the cost of that vehicle from your taxes. On the other hand, if you buy a hybrid vehicle (such as the Toyota Prius) in 2004; you’ll get a $1,500 deduction, next year it’ll only be $1,000, the year after $500. This totally encourages people to buy more monsterously wasteful vehicles rather than environmentally friendly ones. I understand that the massive cut on the big vehicles is intended to help businesses, but shouldn’t it then be restricted to certain types of vehicles or businesses (i.e. farm equipment)?

If we restricted it more, then less people would be likely to buy more vehicle than they need, which might hurt the Hummer company but would be better for our environment. And if at the same time we started restricting what businesses could get that massive cut; we increased the deductible on hybrid and possibly even alternative fuel vehicles; it seems to me that we would enable the people who need to buy those massive vehicles the means to do so while reducing our dependenacy on foreign oil and the reduced emissions from the hybrids would help reduce the amount of damage we’re doing to the environment everyday.

For the record, I don’t own a hybrid yet but I’m seriously considering one for my next car. Edmunds.com has an interesting article talking about some of the hybrids that are coming out in the 2005 year. They’ve also got a bit of preview info on a Honda Accord hybrid that’s supposed to be coming out this fall, but I probably won’t have the money for a new car for another year or two. I suppose it’s just as well; as I tend to avoid buying new cars (due to the expense) and new cars in their first year as that’s the year I feel most bugs are found in the vehicle.

I’ve kind of wander around here a bit, so to sum up:

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