July 29, 2005

It's Time To Get Your Drunk On

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The Bad Example Family and The Frizzen Sparks Family have gotten together to sponsor a night of drunken debatchery. With these two groups you know it had to happen sooner or later.

Details can be found at Mismatic Review, the founder of the idea and at the Blogfather's site.

Everyone is invited to participate, but there are rules so go to Miasmatic Review and read the rules. You don't even need to be drinking to participate, we have quite a few designated bloggers joining in.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 08:33 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Friday Doggie Blogging

It's Friday, so that means Doggie Zen time!

First we have them napping, I know nothing new there but notice that Maggie's face is underneath Lance's butt.
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Next we have more napping, this time with mom. Notice how Maggie has to make things uncomfortable for mom.
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Now more napping with mom, but they are laying on top of each other.
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And we end with what has to be the most precious picture to date. Arn't their little faces just so cute!
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Posted by Quality Weenie at 08:16 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Today in Automotive History

1909 Cadillac: From Ford To GM

The Buick Motor Company acquired the Cadillac Motor Company on behalf of General Motors for $4.5 million on this day in 1909.

Cadillac was born from the ashes of the Henry Ford Company, a business organized by William Murphy to produce a car by Henry Ford. Murphy had been one of the original backers of the Detroit Automobile Company, which had dissolved in 1901 after Ford had failed to build a car he was willing to put to market. Such faith did Murphy have in Ford that he gave him another chance in the Henry Ford Company, opting to use Ford's name due to the recognition he had received from his recent racing ventures. Ford was so wrapped up in racing that he again failed to produce, and Murphy fired him.

He then asked Henry Leland, a partner in Detroit's successful Leland and Faulconer Machine shop, to appraise the business before he sold it. Leland persuaded Murphy and his partners to stay in business, promising them that he could design a car successful enough to make it profitable.

In August 1902, they formed the Cadillac Car Company. Leland gradually took control of Cadillac's daily operations, and by the end of 1903 2,500 Cadillacs had been produced. The founding of Cadillac helped solidify Detroit's position as the center of the automobile industry, and in 1904 Leland became president and general manager of Cadillac and agreed to merge Cadillac with Faulconer and Leland.

Sales continued to rise and Cadillac established a reputation for exacting quality under Leland's detail-oriented supervision. In a triumphant demonstration of the interchangeability of Cadillac's parts, in 1908 three Cadillacs were disassembled by the Royal Automobile Club in England, reassembled at random, and driven away by the mechanics.

In November 1908, Benjamin Briscoe made a bid for Cadillac, but he was unable to generate enough backing to carry the deal. William Durant seized the opportunity to add the valuable brand to his newly formed General Motors Corporation, and arranged a deal of stock transfer with the Lelands, but the Lelands ultimately refused it--they wanted cash. Finally, Durant got the cash together and purchased Cadillac, through Buick, on behalf of General Motors. Durant kept the Lelands on as management, saying, "I want you to continue to run Cadillac exactly as though it were still your own. You will receive no directions from anyone."

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July 28, 2005


It's my blogmomma's, Tammi Birthday today.

Head on over and wish her a Happy Birthday!

Oh and blogmomma, I hope you like what I got you!

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Posted by Quality Weenie at 08:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sneak Peek: 2009 Porsche Panamera

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Porsche AG has confirmed that it will build a fourth model line, to be called Panamera. The Panamera will be a "sport-coupe in the premium class with four seats and four doors", according to a release.

Earlier this year TCC showed you the Panamera that will show up at the Frankfurt auto show as a concept car. The production vehicle is expected for the 2009 calendar year.

The Panamera will be built at the Leipzig factory alongside the Cayenne, and sources are estimating an annual production of nearly 20,000 units. The sleek rear-wheel-drive four-seater will be powered by Porsche's 4.5-liter V-8 - either the 340-horsepower version, or the optional 450-horsepower turbocharged engine. A hot 500-horsepower version may eventually follow.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 08:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Today in Automotive History

1973 Get-Away Car

Bonnie and Clyde's bullet-riddled 1934 Ford V-8 sedan was sold at auction for $175,000 to Peter Simon of Jean, Nevada. The Ford V-8 model succeeded the new Model A, and it was well received due to its speed and power--perhaps this is why it seemed most popular among the criminal element. Henry Ford first received a personal letter congratulating him on the car's performance from famed outlaw gunman John Dillinger. Dillinger wrote, "Hello Old Pal. You have a wonderful car. It's a treat to drive. Your slogan should be Drive a Ford and Watch The Other Cars Fall Behind You. I can make any other car eat a Ford's dust. Bye-bye." Later, Clyde Barrow wrote a similarly laudatory note to Henry Ford: "Dear Sir, While I still have breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got every other car skinned and even if my business hasn't been strictly legal it don't hurt to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8." Almost enough to make you think Ford hired both high-profile criminals for an ad campaign, but alas, Ford made no use of either personal endorsement.

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July 27, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1904 Buick: The Man Vs. The Car

On this day in 1904, Dr. Herbert Hills of Flint, Michigan, purchased the first Buick automobile ever to be sold.

Founder David Buick initially made his mark as an inventor and mechanic in the plumbing industry, but had sold out of his business in order to pursue building motor cars. Buick was a man with an innate gift for inventing and tinkering, but who cared little for financial matters. He reputedly was unable to sit still unless he was concentrating on some kind of mechanical problem. None of his contemporaries would have been surprised that his company eventually became more successful than he did.

In 1902, after years of fiddling with an automobile design, Buick agreed to a partnership with the Briscoe Manufacturing Company, wherein Briscoe would write off Buick's debts while in turn establishing a $100,000 capitalization for Buick's car company. Buick ceded $99,700 of the company's stock to Briscoe until he repaid his standing debt of $3,500, at which point he could buy controlling interest in the stock. Still, Buick had yet to complete an automobile. When it became clear to Briscoe that Buick would neither be able to pay his debts nor complete his vehicle soon, they sold their interest in the company to the Flint Wagon Works for $10,000. Buick and his son were given stock, but their managerial roles shrunk.

Finally, in July of 1904, the first Buick made its initial test run. During the test run, the Buick averaged 30mph on a trip around Flint, going so fast at one point that the driver "couldn't see the village six-mile-an-hour sign."

Sixteen Buicks were sold in the next few months, but Flint Wagon Works remained troubled by the Buick venture. They had purchased the company in order to help the city of Flint adjust to a new economy of automobile production, but Buick was already heavily in debt to a number of Flint banks.

At this point, David Buick owned only a small share of stock and held none of the business responsibilities, and the Wagon Works decided to bring in Flint whiz kid William Durant to turn the business around. Durant kept Buick on as a manager, a position he held with little impact until 1908. Durant turned Buick into a major player in the automotive industry before incorporating it into his General Motors project.

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July 26, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1932 Duesenberg's Doozy

Frederick S. Duesenberg died in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, of complications from injuries suffered in an automobile accident on July 2, 1932.

Frederick and his brother Augie created the Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company. Born in Lippe, Germany, Frederick moved to the U.S. in 1885. In 1897 he started a bicycle business, and in 1899 he built a highly efficient gasoline engine to be used for motorcycles. This was the beginning of his automotive career.

He took a job with the Rambler Motor Company and worked there, learning the business, until 1905, when he convinced his brother Augie to go into business selling engines. The two brothers designed the Mason engine, with its famous "walking beam" overhead valve design, and started the Mason Motor Car Company. When they sold the business in 1913, they were mature players in the automotive industry.

In 1913, the brothers opened a business in St. Paul, Minnesota, building engines for cars, boats, and airplanes. The Duesenbergs spent much of the next 10 years developing a high-performance straight-eight engine for luxury cars.

In 1920, they opened Duesenberg Motors in order to release the Duesenberg Model A, the first car equipped with both a straight-eight and hydraulic front-wheel brakes. In spite of the car's quality, the Model A floundered in sales and the company failed in 1924 without ever having got off the ground.

Financier E.L. Cord entered the scene, purchasing and financing Duesenberg Motors while allowing the brothers to continue their work. In the mid-1920s, Duesenberg made handcrafted, extremely powerful luxury cars. The Model J, the company's flagship car, boasted a 265hp engine and could cost up to $25,000 with a custom body. Duesenberg ran simple ads, exhibiting no pictures of their cars while the text read, "He drives a Duesenberg."

But the pinch of the Depression doomed Duesenberg's future as a luxury car manufacturer. Then in 1932, Frederick died, ending the brothers' career together as innovators. In 1937, Cord's empire collapsed and the Duesenberg Company disappeared.

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July 25, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1945 Odd Couple

Henry Kaiser and Joseph Frazer announced plans to form a corporation to manufacture automobiles on this day in 1945.

The two men formed an unlikely pair. Kaiser, raised in modest circumstances, was a true American self-made man. By 1945, he sat atop an empire of shipbuilding, cement, steel, and other basic building businesses, and had amassed a considerable fortune. His company's shipbuilding feats had made him a media favorite during World War II, with reporters labeling him "the Miracle Man."

By contrast, Frazer was a direct descendant of Martha Washington, and he'd attended Hotchkiss and Yale. Frazer never finished his studies at Yale, opting to take a manual labor job at Packard. At Packard he rose steadily through the management structure, becoming by the mid-1940s a solid, respectable executive.

The two men first encountered one another when in 1942 Kaiser urged car companies to plan ahead for postwar production; Frazer answered on behalf of Packard, labeling the suggestion "half-baked" and "stupid." The men met again in 1945 in San Francisco, and two weeks later Kaiser-Frazer was born. With Frazer's contacts in the auto industry, and Kaiser's capital and experience with huge government contracts, the two men were optimistic about their chances. In addition, labor groups were encouraging competition to the Big Three and had announced a willingness to cooperate with any new entries into Detroit.

Kaiser and Frazer had to generate enough capital to acquire and build full production facilities. They had to find reliable sources for raw materials and negotiate labor contracts, and they had to do it all before the Big Three could convert back from wartime production if they were to have a chance at surviving.

Amazingly, they pulled it off, leasing the Ford Willow Run Plant and producing 11,000 cars in 1946. Unfortunately, their financiers gave them trouble: while losses were anticipated during their first year, the two men didn't expect to be punished so severely by squeamish investors. The company lost $19 million, and their stock plummeted.

A year later, however, Willow Run produced 100,000 cars and Kaiser-Frazer recorded $19 million in profit. Success was within their grasp, and the next year they made $10 million--but the downturn in profits and the impending release of Big Three postwar models caused the company's stock to slip. Without money Kaiser-Frazer couldn't afford to come up with new models, and consumers turned away from them.

In 1949, the company lost $30 million and was poised to endure the fate of so many other independents after the war. The differences between the two partners manifested themselves during the bad times, and management failed to respond positively to the difficulties. Frazer left the business, and Kaiser presided until 1953 when he sold out to Willys-Overland. Ironically, in Kaiser's last year the company turned out a few remarkable cars including, arguably, America's first compact car.

P.S. - Can anybody tell me, without searching, what Willys-Overland eventually became?

Posted by Quality Weenie at 08:12 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 22, 2005

Friday Doggie Blogging

It's Friday, that means Dog Blogging Day!

First we will start out with the puppies surfing the web with mom.
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Now we have Maggie showing off her new sweater, complete with Boa around the neck.
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And last, Lance and Maggie are napping with mom.
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And yes, even while napping with mom, they have to be on top of each other.

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Today in Automotive History

1908 The Fisher Men

Albert Fisher and his nephews, Frederic and Charles Fisher, established the Fisher Body Company to manufacture carriage and automobile bodies.

Albert Fisher personally supplied $30,000 of the company's total of $50,000 in initial capital. Charles and Frederic had been trained in their father's carriage building shop and supplied the technical know-how required at the company's inception.

Fisher Body quickly abandoned carriage building to concentrate on car frames. By 1910, Fisher supplied some car bodies for General Motors (GM), and in 1919 GM purchased controlling interest in the company to shore up a supplier for its car bodies. At that time, Fisher was the largest supplier of car bodies in the world. The Fisher brothers were early advocates of closed-body, steel and wood frames, and they pre-empted their competition by creating more closed-bodied cars than open-bodied. They were also early in their adoption of aluminum and steel frames.

Fisher Body completed a total merger in 1924 after their initial contracted agreement to supply bodies to GM had expired. On June 30, 1926, GM traded 667,720 shares of its own stock, at a market value of $136 million, for the remaining 40 percent of Fisher Body. The firm became the Fisher Body Division of GM, and was still headed by the Fisher family.

The Fisher family remained in control of the Fisher Body Division until 1944, though brothers Lawrence and Edward were on the board of directors until 1969. The Fisher family's impact on the automotive industry is second only to that of the Ford family. Every GM body between 1919 and 1944 passed the approval of a Fisher man.

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July 21, 2005

I've Got A Itch That Needs Scratching

Now that I have your attention ...

At work they are building a new office in the plant. Right next to my office. I will be moving into said office because it's bigger and my office will be turned into a War Room(1). The two offices will connect with a door. The doorway will be where the AC unit for my current office is. Last night they worked to complete the new office and install the doorway connecting the two offices. Which means the AC unit comes out and moves to it's new place, in the new office. I am still in the old office because the new one isn't completed yet.

It's 92 outside with a lot of humidity.

My current office is hotter than the plant.

I am not one to sweat, even when exercising. I just don't sweat, prespire maybe, but sweat no.

I am sweating buckets. I have sweat beads running down my back into my nylons.

Wet nylons are not pleasant, especially when one needs to use the restroom.

They also have left a shit load of dust in both offices.

I am allergic to dust. A little dust isn't bad, but this amount of dust is killing me.

I am itching like a mother focker.

Redness is starting to appear.

Itching and sweating.

I'm not very pleasant to be around right now.

The room still has work to be done on it.

We might move in next week.

Did I mention I have no AC? I have a fan blowing hot air on me, with dust mixed in.

Thank-god I am not PMSing right now.

Someone would die.

(1) A War Room is basically a room that houses all our charts/graphs for production and quality and it will also house all our print and program books.

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Today in Automotive History

1987 Move Over, Porsche: Here Comes The F40

Enzo Ferrari, in a ceremony commemorating his company's 40th year, unveiled the Ferrari F40 at the factory in Maranello, Italy. Speaking through an interpreter during the ceremony, the 89-year-old Ferrari announced, "A little more than a year ago, I expressed my wish to the engineers. Build a car to be the best in the world. And now the car is here." Ferrari's engineers had designed the F40 to be the fastest road vehicle ever built. They viewed the Porsche 959 as their major competition, but while the Porsche was equipped with luxury amenities, the F40 was to be all nuts and bolts. Every spoiler on the F40 played a vital role in keeping the car on the ground at speed; every vent was essential to keep the brakes and engine cool. The F40 came with no floor mats, no stereo, no power locks or windows. Its only frill was a vanity window displaying its massive V-8 engine, but this too was a part of the remarkably light composite body, molded of plastic, ceramic, and metal. The result of Ferrari's vision was the ultimate road vehicle for the ambitious driver. While the car had no electronic braking system, it was capable of 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and could hold a top speed of 201mph, making the F40 the first production sports car to top the 200mph barrier. Like all of Ferrari's great cars, the F40 has enjoyed a successful career in sports car racing around the world.

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July 20, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1894 The Rise And Fall Of Errett Cord

Errett Lobban Cord was born in Warrensburg, Missouri, on this day in 1894. Cord moved to Los Angeles while he was in high school and remained there after his graduation, starting a number of car dealerships. His prowess as a salesman led him to pursue bigger goals and to look for a way to invest the $100,000 he had managed to save in a few years of work. "Then I started looking around," he said, "I wanted to do something with that $100,000."

Cord found the struggling Auburn Automobile Company in Auburn, Indiana, a company on its last legs, having completed only 175 cars in 1923. Cord convinced Ralph Bard, head of a Chicago group that had purchased Auburn, to take him on as general manager at no cost, with the stipulation that if Cord turned the company around he would be allowed to purchase controlling interest. He launched a sales blitz, rapidly clearing out Auburn's inventory and enabling it to show a profit.

By 1926, Cord was company president and the following year the company established dividends at $4 a share and eight percent in stock. Cord then launched an aggressive business strategy, purchasing companies in many manufacturing fields and trading his stock on the New York Stock Exchange. He acquired Duesenberg in order to add a luxury car line to his Auburn cars. Sound stock management allowed Cord to expand his operations during the Depression while many other companies were merely struggling to survive.

Cord established an empire consisting of Auburn, Duesenberg, Stinson Aircraft, Lycoming Motors, Limousine Body, and a number of engineering plants. He placed his new acquisitions in a holding company called the Cord Corporation. In 1933, he added New York Shipbuilding and Checker Cab to his conglomerate. During the 1930s, sales of Cord's cars stumbled. Their heavy price tags could not be born by the tightening market. Nevertheless, during the late 1930s, Cord's company produced some of the finest classic cars in automotive history, but Cord's empire fell as precipitously as it had risen. He and Morris Markin, President of Checker, were investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for stock manipulation. In one case Cord and Markin had purchased 70,000 shares of Checker at $7. Their action created the illusion of great activity in their stock, driving the price up. Markin and Cord unloaded their shares at an average price of $59 per share. Both men denied the charges, but neither contested a court injunction preventing them from further impropriety. The same day of the verdict Cord sold all of his interest in the Cord Corporation for $2.6 million.

Cord died from cancer, in Reno, Nev., in 1974.

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July 19, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1935 Parking Meters Debut

The first automatic parking meter in the U.S., the Park-O-Meter invented by Carlton Magee, was installed in Oklahoma City by the Dual Parking Meter Company. Twenty-foot spaces were painted on the pavement, and a parking meter that accepted nickels was planted in the concrete at the head of each space. The city paid for the meters with funds collected from them. Today parking meters are big business. Companies offer digital parking meters, smart parking meters, and, even more remarkably, user-friendly parking meters. The user-friendly parking meters are an attempt to stem the tide of "violent confrontations" between users and their meters.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 08:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005

In Such Good Company

Never would I imagine that I would be in such esteemed company, but this search puts me oreo'ed in between Harvey and Blackfive.

I am hummbled!

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Sucks to be in Michigan Working Today

It's days like these that I hate working in a plant, even though I have an AC'ed office I still have to go into the plant. Inside it's usually 10-15 degrees warmer than outside. And as we always say "It's not the heat, it's the humidity stupid"

A heat advisory has been issued for metro Detroit from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Temperatures are expected to reach the mid 90s by 1 p.m., but combined with the humidity, the heat index could climb as high as 105 degrees, according to Local4Caster Eric Wilson.

Thunderstorms are expected to move into the Ann Arbor area between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., with the most severe weather occurring between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Wilson said the storms should end by sunset at 9:06 p.m.

Temperatures are expected to cool at that time, with the heat index dropping below 100.

A heat advisory means that the heat index will be 100 to 109 degrees for a period of three hours or more, according to the National Weather Service.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 11:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nugent For Governor?

Yep, you read that title right. Seems Ted Nugent, Rocker, Hunter and outspoken Mad Man of Detroit is thinking about running on the Republican ticket in 2006 for Governor of Michigan.

I would vote for him!

We refer, of course, to semi-famous guitarist and hunter Ted Nugent.
One can never be quite sure how seriously to take anything that comes out of Uncle Ted's mouth, but he recently told interviewers he was "getting real close to deciding to run" for governor. That follows a vow made during the 2002 campaign to run in '06 if Democrat Jennifer Granholm was elected.

He's since moved to Texas, but when we asked six months ago, a Nugent spokeswoman said the anti-Granholm pledge had not been retracted.

And hey, being a Governor is a stepping stone to President!

Posted by Quality Weenie at 09:30 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

The Patch

Doesn't it feel like everytime you finally get settled with all your health problems and the medications your taking and things are sailing along smoothly all of a sudden another thing crops up.


Birth control patches linked to women's deaths
However, the reports obtained by the AP appear to indicate that in 2004 -- when 800,000 women were on the patch -- the risk of dying or suffering a survivable blood clot while using the device was about three times higher than that while using birth control pills.

Look like it's back to the doctor I go, which is going to suck because my Arthritis medication interferes with birth control pills (makes them useless) and the patch was the only thing we found so far that isn't affected by my arthritis medication.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 09:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Today in Automotive History

1948 Maestro's First Class

Juan Manuel Fangio, a.k.a. "the Maestro," made his Formula One debut finishing 12th at the Grand Prix de l'ACF in France. Fangio was 37 years old at the start of his first Formula One race, but his late appearance onto the racing scene did not diminish his impact. Born to an Italian immigrant family outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fangio learned to race on the death-trap tracks of Argentina for little reward. Finally, his excellence was recognized by Argentine dictator Juan Peron, who agreed to sponsor Fangio's racing career. Formula One Grand Prix racing began in 1950, and Fangio took second place in the World Driver's Championship driving for Alpha Romeo. The next year he won. A crash kept him out of the circuit for the next two years, but in 1954, he switched to the Mercedes team and won his first of four consecutive World Driver's Championships. He is the only man to ever have won five titles. Fangio was known for his spectacular technical ability and for his demure manner. He spoke always with the quiet confidence that comes from a specific talent. Said Fangio, "great drivers can do their best times in two or three laps of a circuit, while others take 10, 20, or 30." Fangio's greatest achievement came in his last full season at the German Grand Prix in Nurburgring. He needed to fend off Ferrrari's driving team of Hawthorne and Collins to wrap up his fifth world title. Fangio started the race with half-full tanks, intending to build an insurmountable lead in his lighter car. When he pitted, however, the Ferrari's thundered by, stretching to a 56-second lead. The chances looked dim for the Maestro. Gradually, though, he pulled himself back into the race. On three consecutive laps he bettered the track record for the 14.2 mile Nordeschlifer ("North Ring") by an incredible 12 seconds. Fangio was racing faster than his qualifying times recorded on an empty course. Hand over fist he pulled the Ferrari cars in, their team managers urging them on in disbelief. Fangio stated, "I believe that on that day in 1957 I finally managed to master the Nurburgring, making those laps in the dark on those curves where I had never before had the courage to push things so far." After a few races in 1958, Fangio retired. The mild-mannered Argentine reflected that since he retired, the only racers to have approached his mastery of the sport were Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna. Both men died in their cars.

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July 15, 2005

Friday Doggie Blogging

It's Friday, so that means pictures of my babies!

I wonder if I can submit these for the Karnival of the Kids?

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Sneak Peek: 2006 BMW 3-Series Touring

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TCC Drives: 2006 3-Series Touring

Station wagons are a permanent part of the European landscape, so it's no surprise that BMW is ready to launch the wagon version of the new 3-Series platform. Recently, TCC was among the first to drive the new Touring wagon, before even its world premiere at the IAA auto show in Frankfurt in September.

It looks like the 3-Series Sedan is going to be another sales success for the Bavarian car manufacturer, and we expect the Touring wagon will only add to that. After our driving experiences with the 3-Series Sedan , we expected crisp handling and quick acceleration, and we were not disappointed.

The design of the new station wagon is well-balanced and has quite an elegant touch. The Touring shares the same wheelbase, length and width as the sedan, but it is slightly higher due to the fact that BMW has modified the set-up of the suspension to meet the higher weight of the car (it's heavier by 44 lb) and the requirements of a wagon version. The adjustments resulted in a somewhat more comfortable ride, but you cannot say the Touring is not agile and the directional stability is excellent and steering is precise.

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Today in Automotive History

1939 From Indy To Miami

Carl Fisher, the founder of both the Indy 500 and Miami Beach, died in Miami at age 65. Born in Greensburg, Indiana, Fisher grew up racing cars and bicycles and aspired to be a successful inventor. He turned out to be a better businessman than an inventor, and left his first imprint on the business world when he partnered with Fred Avery, who held the patent for pressing carbide gas into tanks. Together, they manufactured car headlamps as the Presto-O-Lite Corporation.

By 1910, six years after starting the business, Fisher was a multimillionaire. He bought land and built a track in Indianapolis, paving the track with local brick. By offering the largest single day purse in sport, Fisher guaranteed interest in his epic 500-mile race, and in less than five years "Indy" had become one of the premier car races in the world. In 1915, Fisher led the development effort for the Lincoln Highway, the nation's first continuous cross-continental highway from New York to California.

Later, in the 1920s, Fisher developed the Dixie Highway, a road that ran from Michigan to Miami. Fisher fell in love with Miami, and in 1910 he bought a house there. It became his project to develop Miami Beach into a city. Fisher gave $50,000 of his own money to complete the longest wooden bridge in the state, stretching between Miami and Miami Beach. At that time Miami Beach was wild, and Fisher set about cleaning up the beach. He built lavish facilities near the water and invited the rich and famous to check out his creation. The Florida land bust of 1926 and the subsequent stock market crash of 1929 left Fisher penniless, and he lived in a small home on Miami Beach until his death.

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July 14, 2005

Freedom Isn't Free

I got this in an email today, thought I would share it

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease..
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still,
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin.
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

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Today in Automotive History

1955 Karmann-Ghia

Volkswagen introduced the Karmann-Ghia coupe at the Kasino Hotel in Westfalia, Germany.

As the European car market finally recovered from the war, Volkswagen felt that it needed to release an "image car" to accompany its plain but reliable "Bugs and Buses."

Volkswagen was not the only automotive company looking for a flagship car at the time. Chevrolet had released the Corvette, and Ford the Thunderbird. The Chrysler Corporation had contracted with the Italian design firm Ghia to create designs for a Chrysler dream car; however, none of the designs came to fruition.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen had contracted with German coach-builder Karmann for their own image car, and Karmann, in turn, had sub-contracted to Ghia for design offerings. Eventually Ghia supplied Karmann with a version of their Chrysler design, modified for the floor plan of the Volkswagen Beetle. The Karmann-Ghia was released as a 1956 model by Volkswagen. The car's sleek lines and hand craftsmanship attracted the attention Volkswagen had hoped for.

Nevertheless, as sporty as the Karmann-Ghia looked, it suffered from its 36hp flat four engine in the area of power. Still, the Karmann-Ghia sold 10,000 units in its first full production year ,and with the release of the convertible in 1958, production reached 18,000 units for one year. Sales climbed steadily through the 1960s, peaking at 33,000 cars per year.

While General Motors and Ford focused on their Corvette and Thunderbird, respectively, Volkswagen found that the Bug had increased in popularity, especially in the U.S. market. Executives decided to focus their marketing attention on the Bug, abandoning the Karmann-Ghia, which was last produced in 1974.

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July 13, 2005

On The 300th Day God Smiled Down Upon The Masses

And said:

After 300 days, NHL and players announce agreement

The masses then weeped with joy.

Excuse me for a moment, there is something in my eye. *sniffle, sniffle*

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Today in Automotive History

1995 U.S. Cars In Hanoi

On this day in 1995, the Chrysler Corporation opened a car dealership in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam. One week later, Chrysler opened another dealership in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with the intention of marketing 200 import vehicles per year through the two dealerships.

The openings were a part of Chrysler's long-term goal of implementing auto production in Vietnam--something that rivals Ford and Toyota were also pursuing at the time. On September 6, Chrysler received permission from the Vietnamese government to assemble vehicles in Vietnam, allowing Chrysler to construct a production facility in Dong Nai Province, Southern Vietnam, with the aim of manufacturing 500 to 1,000 Dodge Dakota pick-up trucks for the Vietnamese market annually. Chrysler Vice President of International Operations Tom Gale stated, "We're taking a very long term view with our program in Vietnam. Southeast Asia is a significant market on our international growth strategy, so it is vital to establish a foothold there now. Since it is a young market, it will take several years before we can produce at capacity level." Chrysler planned to achieve production of 17,000 vehicles annually in three car types: the Neon, the Dakota, and the Jeep Cherokee.

Of the significant hang-ups faced by the foreign car companies attempting to set up shop in Vietnam was the Vietnamese government's refusal to give up rice pasture land for the construction of new production facilities. The American car companies also met resistance from some Vietnam veterans groups, but Chrysler held that it would not have gone forward with its move unless it met with the nation's approval. On this issue, Gale said, "By starting business here we feel we're helping the healing process. We have consulted with veterans groups and the U.S. government. Some feel it's time to move on. Many of the veterans groups support American investment in Vietnam as an outlet to increase access to the country."

Projections showed that by the year 2000 the car market in Vietnam would increase to 60,000 vehicles sold annually. The crash of the Asian market in 1998 will limit those projections considerably.

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July 12, 2005

Evil Glenn's Favorite Summer Movie

Looks like we know where Evil Glenn will be spending his days during the summer.

I mean what else can he want, AC, dark room and Penguins on the Screen. Can someone say PeeWee Herman syndrome?

March of the Penguins

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Today in Automotive History

1904 Climb To The Clouds

Driver Harry Harkness won the first Mount Washington, New Hampshire, hill-climb race driving a 60hp Mercedes Benz on this day in 1904. The earliest ascent of Mount Washington in an automobile occurred in 1899, but the aptly named "Carriage Road" had been carrying coaches to the top of Mount Washington since 1861.

Answering the public's desire for auto racing--hill-climb races in particular--local authorities arranged for the first "Climb to the Clouds." The race attracted entries from car companies who wished to show off their performance capabilities. A contemporary account describes Harkness' win: "In a chill driving mist that would compel cautious running even on a wide level road, Harry Harkness rushed Mount Washington in the Climb to the Clouds today and placed the record figures for this year at twenty-four minutes, thirty seconds.

Something more than the achievements of the drivers of American stock cars was to be expected from the sixty-horsepower $18,000 Mercedes, and from this comparative view the feat was not extraordinary." In contrast to Harkness and his expensive import, F.E. Stanley, the creator of the Stanley Steamer, drove his eight-horsepower steam engine to the top in twenty-eight minutes and nineteen seconds.

Steam cars had dominated hill-climb events until companies like Mercedes could engineer cars that would handle the massive internal combustion engines required to propel them up inclines at higher speeds. The accomplishment of the drivers in these events is perhaps more remarkable than the feats of the cars themselves. Consider the newspaper account of Harkness' run: "To guide 2,200 pounds of mechanism up an eight-mile narrow mountain road, and to pull up just 4,600 feet above the starting point after averaging twenty miles an hour without a stop is a sure enough test of man and machine."

In order to compete with Harkness' impressive posted time, Stanley stripped his machine bare for his ascent. The Stanley's engine had only 15 moving parts, ran silently, and managed only seven horsepower, but at 20mph it would bump and knock around a mountain road even more than its heavier competitors. Stanley eliminated even his seat cushion for the climb, and when he stood at the podium to accept the trophy for the steam car class "he was rather used up with the jolting he got along the way." The Climb to the Clouds still runs today in late June.

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July 11, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1916 The Rise Of Federal Roads

In a White House ceremony, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Aid Road Act, the first grant-in-aid enacted by Congress to help states build roads.

In 1916, roads throughout America were generally poor and most were susceptible to weather. The advent of the Ford Model T brought on new interests in higher standards for roads, and by the early 1900s, motorist clubs like the American Automobile Association (AAA) had rallied around the call for federally funded long-distance highways.

Farmers balked at the idea, arguing that paying taxes so city people could go on car tours was unfair. As the car became more important to farmers, however, the ground became fertile for legislation to raise the quality or roads across the country.

In 1907, the legal issue of the federal government's role in road-building was settled in the Supreme Court case Wilson vs. Shaw. Justice David Brewer wrote that the federal government could "construct interstate highways" because of their constitutional right to regulate interstate commerce.

By 1912, bills concerning federal funding of the highways were considered on the House floor, although a split in constituencies had divided the advocates. Farmers wanted sturdy, all-weather postal roads, and urban motorists wanted paved long-distance highways. Many state officials claim that any federal-funding package would only be used as a "pork barrel" to interfere with the operations of the state. In the end, a bill was passed that included the stipulation that all states have a highway agency staffed by professional engineers who would administer the federal funds as they saw fit.

The bill on offer leaned in the favor of the rural populations by focusing on rural postal roads rather than interstate highways. The cause of interstate highways would not be addressed until many years later during President Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration, but the Federal Aid Road Act was the cornerstone for today's highway system and the precedent for all highway legislation to come. The rural road improvement that happened as a result of the act helped rural Americans participate more efficiently in the national economy.

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July 08, 2005

More Doggie Blogging

Are they not just the cutest things you have ever seen!

They love to cuddle up to each other!

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Doggie Blogging

My hubby said yesterday that I am spoiling the dogs to much.

I say I am not.

You decide! Click the extended entry and tell me if I am spoiling the dogs to much.

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Click for bigger images.

I found this on QVC during their dog hour. Isn't it just the cutest thing you have seen!

Now they can sit outside with us without sitting on the ground and being protected from the sun (they can sunburn).

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Today in Automotive History

1892 Saddle-Bronc

Lester Callaway Hunt, who as Wyoming secretary of state in 1936 designed the "cowboy and bucking bronco" license plate still in use by that state, was born on this day in 1892. Hunt designed the image using a picture of cowboy A.G. Stubb riding a horse called Deadman.

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July 07, 2005

How Many More Attacks

Will it take for those that don't get it to get it?

When will Spain, Germany and France start taking the Islamics seriously?

Over reading at the Command Post I saw these quotes from Germany and Spain's leaders:

Schroder: "We agree that the international community must do everything and use all available means to fight terrorism together.”

Zapatero "offers its immediate and unconditional help, as well as its full support to the United Kingdom to pursue the criminals that have carried out such a repulsive attack.”

So each are saying they will stand behind Britian in fighting who ever is responsible (at least that is what I got out of it). So if Al Quada turns out to be responsible (looking like they are) will Germany and Spain commit troops to persue them, even if it means going into Iraq, Syria, etc? Or will they make more excuses?

Who else will be attacked before other countries in the world start to take the Islamics seriously?

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Today in Automotive History

1928 Chrysler Plymouth Debuts

The Chrysler Corporation introduced the Plymouth as its newest car on this day in 1928. The Plymouth project had taken three years to complete, as Chrysler engineers worked to build a reliable and affordable car to compete with the offerings of Ford and General Motors (GM).

The Plymouth debuted with great fanfare in July of 1928, with renowned aviator Amelia Earhart behind the wheel. The publicity blitz brought 30,000 people to the Chicago Coliseum for a glimpse of the new car. With a delivery price of $670, the Plymouth was an attractive buy, selling over 80,000 units in its first year and forcing Chrysler to expand its production facilities drastically. Chrysler was still negotiating its purchase of Dodge at the time, and the Plymouth played a key role in winning over the confidence of Dodge shareholders.

When Chrysler released the DeSoto Six later in the year, it scored another important coup in the mid-range market, assuring its position as a competitor to Ford and GM. Chrysler's great success in the late twenties, along with its purchase of Dodge, gave the company momentum that would carry it through the Depression. Chrysler was the only car company to pay dividends to its shareholders throughout the Depression. While other companies were drowning from stifled cash flow, Chrysler managed to increase sales.

In 1933 Chrysler became the only car company to best its sales of the 1929 boom year. All the while Chrysler continued to allocate resources to research and development, and by 1935 Chrysler had surpassed Ford to become the nation's second largest car company.

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July 06, 2005

Sneak Peek - 2007 VW Jetta

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Volkswagen's 2006 Jetta is already on sale, but performance enthusiasts are waiting for late this summer, when VW will introduce its sporty version, the Jetta GLI. These spy photos, taken just recently, capture a prototype Jetta GLI parked between a 2006 Beetle and a standard 2006 Jetta.

The Jetta GLI continues VW's tradition of sporty models with more power, better handling, and special trim. Naturally the most important part of the GLI is its more powerful engine. Instead of the Jetta's 2.5 liter five-cylinder making 148 horsepower, the GLI will have a 2.0-liter turbo four cranking out 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a DSG transmission is optional. Putting this power to the road is a firmed-up suspension, plus 17-inch-diameter alloy wheels wearing high-performance tires.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Sneak Peek - 2007 Mazda CX-7

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At last January's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mazda showed its MX-Crossport concept vehicle, and noted that such a sporty crossover vehicle was definitely headed to production. More recently, Mazda announced that the new SUV would be named the CX-7. Now these latest photos capture a prototype CX-7 undergoing testing in the U.S. southwest.

The test prototype, disguised as a minivan, was being driven in a convoy along with a BMW X5, Volkswagen Touareg, Toyota Highlander, and a Honda Pilot. This allowed the Mazda testers to thoroughly compare the performance, handling, and comfort of the new CX-7 against its competitors. It is interesting to note that Mazda would test its vehicle as compared to the BMW X5 and VW Touareg, vehicles that are notably more costly than the CX-7 will be.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today in Automotive History

1955 Smog Control

The Federal Air Pollution Control Act was implemented on this day in 1955, providing federally allocated funds for research into causal analysis and control of car-emission pollution. Concern over the effects of air-pollution had mounted steadily in the U.S. as urban sprawl increased. In 1952, a "killer fog" enveloped London, causing an estimated 4,000 deaths. Though both the cause and the precise effects of the fog were unclear, the phenomenon sparked an international hysteria about the effects of emissions pollution. The following year, Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit discovered the nature of photochemical smog, determining that nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons combined with ultraviolet radiation from the sun created smog. He also discovered that ozone played a key role in the bonding process that created smog. It was at this time that the U.S. began a rapid shift from coal as an energy source, replacing it with natural gas. It would not be until 1960 that the government specifically addressed car-emissions pollution as a legal issue, with the Federal Motor Vehicle Act of 1960, calling for further research and development into the control of car emissions. The next year, the first automotive emissions control technology--positive crankcase ventilation (PCV)--was mandated by the California Motor Vehicle Board. PCV technology limited hydrocarbon emission by returning blow-by gases from the crankcase back to a car's cylinders, where they were burned with fuel and air. In 1963, the first Federal Clean-Air Act was passed, allocating research money for local and federal institutions to combat air pollution

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July 05, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1933 Life In The Fast Lane

Fritz Todt was appointed general inspector for German highways on this day in 1933. His primary assignment: to build a comprehensive autobahn system.

Todt, a civil engineer who was a proponent of a national highway system as a means of economic development, was handpicked for the position in 1932 by Adolf Hitler. The two men were close friends, and Todt remained a Nazi party member throughout World War II.

By 1936, 100,000 kilometers of divided highways had been completed, leaving Germany with the most advanced transportation system in the world. Todt estimated in a 1936 speech that "170,000,000 cubic meters of earth have been moved. This would fill a line of trucks extending around the earth four times." He concluded his speech with an exhortation to the German people typical of Nazi party propaganda. "They are roads unequaled anywhere else in the world in their technical excellence and beauty. Is this a work of technology? No! Like so much else, it is the work of Adolf Hitler!"

The autobahns were, in fact, the envy of the industrialized world and a source of both anxiety and awe for Europeans. A Danish newspaper declared, "They are the expression of a national energy that compels the greatest admiration." What few suspected was that the German road system was the first step to their conquest of Western Europe, as the autobahns allowed the Germans to move troops and personnel faster and in greater numbers than anyone could have imagined. The ease with which the German army moved into France owes much to its facility to mobilize and shift troops faster than the French could.

Todt became a national hero for his creation, and the autobahn inspired U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to foster a similar American interstate highway system. Having been in Germany during the war, he returned to the United States deeply convinced that good highways were directly linked to economic prosperity.

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July 04, 2005

Happy Independance Day

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I am having trouble putting into words what being and American really means, especially on this Independance Day when thousands of men and women are fighting to maintain my freedom.

So I gathered some quotes on what our for-fathers thought freedom ment to them.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. - Thomas Jefferson

Whenever men take the law into their own hands, the loser is the law. And when the law loses, freedom languishes. -Robert Francis Kennedy

If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you and may posterity forget that ye were once our countrymen. - Samuel Adams

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me; give me liberty or give me death! - Patrick Henry

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object. - Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. - Thomas Jefferson

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility-I welcome it. - John Kennedy

The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are. ... The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission. - John Kennedy

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty. - John Kennedy

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. - Thomas Paine

No arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. - Ronald Wilson Reagan

The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered ... deeply ... finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people. - George Washington

America is a Nation with a mission - and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace - a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman. - George W. Bush

America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people. - George W. Bush

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July 01, 2005

Stupid Yahoo Searchs

Somebody searched in yahoo and got to my site, while I am not number 1, I am numbers 3 and 4

I give you the search for "the biggest weenie that you eat ever"

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Friday Doggie Blogging

It's so sweet you gain weight from just looking at the picture!

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Today in Automotive History

1956 Ike's Interstates

The Highway Revenue Act of 1956 was put into effect by Congress, outlining a policy of taxation with the aim of creating a fund for the construction of over 42,500 miles of interstate highways over a period of 13 years.

The push for a national highway system began many years earlier, when the privately funded construction of the Lincoln Highway begun in 1919. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) did much to set into motion plans for a federally funded highway system, but his efforts were halted by the outbreak of World War II.

With the end of the war came America's industrial boom and a massive increase in automobile registration. Dwight D. Eisenhower, elected president in 1952, had been a supporter of a federally funded highway system ever since, as an Army Lieutenant in 1919, he led a military convoy from San Francisco to New York. His travels through Germany during World War II only increased his desire to replicate Germany's autobahn system. Eisenhower's 1954 State of the Union address made clear his intentions to follow through on his interest. He declared the need to "protect the vital interests of every citizen in a safe, adequate highway system."

It wasn't until 1956 that Eisenhower saw his vision pass through Congress. The scale of the plan was breathtaking: At a time when the total federal budget approached $71 billion, Eisenhower's plan called for $50 billion over 13 years for highways. To pay for the project a system of taxes, relying heavily on the taxation of gasoline, was implemented. Legislation has extended the Interstate Highway Revenue Act three times. Today consumers pay 18.3¢ per gallon on gasoline. Eisenhower thought of the Federal Interstate System as his greatest achievement.

Today, revisionists question the solutions offered by our massive labyrinth of highways. Undoubtedly the interstate system changed America and made it what it is today, with suburbs and "edge cities" springing up across the country. Employment increased, as well as the U.S. gross national product. Still, both state and federal governments struggle to appropriate the funds to expand our national road network and meet the demand of the ever-growing population of car owners. Many economists subscribe to Helen Levitt's theory that "congestion rises to meet road capacity," and anti-road activists are citing the loss of productive farmland, the demise of small business, the destruction of the environment, and the "urbanization" of American society. Truly, the grass is always greener on the other side of the highway.

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