Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Everyone!
I hope you will join us in having an egg-citing day.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Million Dollar Bus Stops

What I totally don't miss about the old 'hood in Arlington, Virginia.  In front of the Rite-Aid no less.

And it doesn't even keep you warm and dry.  The folks responsible are running the country -- it can happen only inside the Beltway.

The following was posted on my old community listserv,

I have had the experience of standing at the SuperStop every workday since it opened. I am not in the all-spending-is-bad camp, but it would be gratifying for the County to respond to my frequent requests to explain the cost and why its completion ran 16 months beyond the original estimate.  However, this structure has some serious problems that need to be corrected before another is built.

The roof does not shelter people well from the elements. Rain, with a little bit of wind, wets nearly the entire covered area. Today, it appeared that the roof seams were leaking because there were small puddles on the seats about the same distance apart as the roof seams.

The structure does not provide any protection from the wind. Its open design and angles allows wind thru every part. The windy day last week was much more uncomfortable than in the structure this replaced.

The Next Bus display board has been wrong the majority of the 7 days I've used the stop. I understand this is a function of the data feed to Next Bus, which has been having problems described in the media recently.
Nevertheless, a nice big display board doesn't help folks if it's wrong.

The seats are stainless steel slabs - very cold and uncomfortable to sit on, especially in the colder months. I can only imagine what they are like in the direct sun in summer months. I've heard speculation that they were designed to dissuade homeless people from sleeping there. If so, I would recommend instead that the operative design principle be for people to use the seats, rather than for people not to use them.

IMHO, the design seems to be Modernist-Ugly. The look is distinctive, but not at all appealing.

I would sure like to know who designed this, why it was felt to be superior to other designs, and what was wrong with stops having 3 walls and a roof that seem to be so popular because they are effective.

Enough said.

4/2 Update:  CNN reports here.

Warning: Mad Man on the Loose!

California Without Cities
Evacuation preparations are underway.  Civil defense plans are being activated throughout the Golden State and up and down the West Coast.  Kim Jong-un is gearing up to take on imperialist America.  Electronic surveillance has revealed that North Korea is preparing  to photoshop off the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle from the United States landmass.  Confirming the hermit kingdom's plans, humint operatives today smuggled out of North Korea a copy of a California state map sans cities (see right).  That's Kim's plan.  Let's hope that North Korea waits until the weekend to carry out its threats -- when Nancy Pelosi is at home.  Think of the relief of never having to see that helmet hairdo -- never, ever again.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brimming With Confidence!

Federal Reserve
Constitution Ave Washington DC
The Gallup polling outfit reports that residents of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area "expressed the most confidence in the U.S. economy among the largest 50 metro areas in 2012, as they did in 2011."  So, the area of the country with the highest household incomes, where Ben Bernanke printed the money, Timothy Geithner borrowed the bucks and Barack Obama spent it, has the greatest economic confidence -- isn't that precious?  God forbid those citizens should bear the brunt of sequester.

In the Dark of Night

Harry Reid, Barack Obama and the Senate Democrats work to prevent budget managers from managing budgets,
Air Traffic Control Tower
Waukesha County Airport (Wisconsin)
Consider last week's fiasco involving the air-traffic control system. As part of the White House's Operation Wreak Havoc response to the sequester spending cuts, the Department of Transportation warned last week that 149 control towers at small, regional airports will close down. Local newspapers are running headlines about the imminent loss of flight service.

Next on the list could be furloughs at major airports that would mean flight delays for millions of travelers. The DOT helpfully warns that these delays could be "very painful for the flying public." The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accounts for only 20% of the Transportation budget but under White House and Congressional sequester math somehow absorbs 60% of the cuts. 

Many of the service cutbacks could have been easily avoided by a budget amendment last week sponsored by Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas. He proposed replacing $50 million of FAA sequester cuts with savings from unspent balances, which are a kind of agency slush fund, and by reducing other low-priority spending. Great idea. 

How did the vote turn out? There wasn't one. Majority Leader Reid blocked the amendment from ever getting to the Senate floor. Mr. Moran believes that public safety is compromised by these control-tower cuts, and he calls the Reid gambit "a very dangerous way to try to score political points."
For National Parks, same result (at the federal level, not state and local) but different process.
Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma sponsored seven amendments to save money—including one to provide funding to the National Park Service to keep open the likes of Yosemite and Yellowstone—by cutting programs that even Mr. Obama's budget calls low priorities. He also proposed freezing new hiring of "nonessential personnel" and to end conferences by the Department of Homeland Security. At least he got roll-call votes, but nearly every one was defeated by Democrats when Mr. Reid gave the order to his caucus.
Meanwhile in real America, beyond the comfort of Barack Obama's, Harry Reid's and Nancy Pelosi's inside the Beltway partisan political bubble, with the assistance of state governments who have pledged their otherwise idle equipment, locals are rolling up their sleeves to solve problems and to do the right thing regardless of the Democrat's despicable games.
Sylvan Pass
 Yellowstone National Park
 Snow Removal
Spring 2011
CODY, WYO. — Two small Wyoming tourist towns at the edge of Yellowstone National Park are celebrating successful fundraising efforts to cover the cost of plowing part of the roads leading into the park, assuring an on-time opening for their gates this spring.

The chambers of commerce in Cody and Jackson have confirmed that they have raised enough money to move forward with a plan to pay for Wyoming Department of Transportation personnel and equipment to assist in snow removal inside Yellowstone’s east and south gates.

Calling Cody “the little town that could—and did,” Chamber of Commerce executive director Scott Balyo said he was pleased that the campaign would ensure that Yellowstone’s East Gate would open May 3 as originally scheduled. Without private funding, the gate had faced a delayed opening of May 17.

Let's hear it for the locals!  And a pox on the house of the Democratic regime in Washington DC and everyone who put them in power.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Obamalies Exposed

The headline summarizes well, "Obamacare Will Cause Medical Claims Costs To Jump 32 Percent: Study."  And that's from that far right web site -- The Huffington Post. 
Medical claims costs — the biggest driver of health insurance premiums — will jump an average 32 percent for Americans' individual policies under President Barack Obama's overhaul, according to a study by the nation's leading group of financial risk analysts.  The report could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable Care Act. The estimates were recently released by the Society of Actuaries to its members.

The report says "By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland."   Like it is a surprise that massive government intervention leads to massive cost increases?   And we haven't even begun to see the decrease in service supply and effectiveness at this point.  And oh  -- it's a headache for the poor, dear Obama administration and its brain-dead supporters.   Waaah, Waah, Waah.  I feel so sorry for them.

As winter is ebbing away I'm getting out there, talking to people and plenty of them, many in this heavily self-employed and independent minded area who have individual health insurance policies or, depending on their generally health habits and lifestyle, don't buy insurance.  They remember how this started. They know the Democrats are liars.   They know the Democratic cheerleader in the White House is a serial prevaricator.  They are in revolt mode. 

One guy I just met owns a trailer park.  He says it's full of tenants who sit around, drink and get high, stepping out long enough to get their booze, drugs, food stamps and government checks.  They've learned how to make a living off government give-away largess -- programs they don't have to lift a finger to participate in.
We live in a society and an economy that are horribly screwed up.  We are being controlled by people who think you can get something for nothing and that government give aways are moral and productive -- the bigger the better.  It's only getting worse.  Stay tuned.

Moon Rise in Montana

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Growing Up in Morton Grove

I am a baby boomer.  I grew up in Morton Grove, Illinois, a suburb due north of Chicago and about five miles in from Lake Michigan.  The village is physically much as it was when I left it for good in 1971.  Its population has fluctuated between 20 and 30 thousand people over the last 40 years, due mostly to changes in household size.  Morton Grove is probably best known for enacting a ban on handguns in 1981.   By 1986 Morton Grove reversed the ban, concerned that legal bills associated with defending the gun control ordinance would drive taxes unacceptably high and/or bankrupt the village.  The NRA used the Morton Grove experience as a cause celeb in lobbying various states to enact preemptive laws that eliminated or limited local control over gun possession and ownership.

Enough about firearms – this is a post about growing up, when the only guns in our household popped percussion caps or squirted tap water.  Here is the house I grew up in -- a resident from birth until the summer before college. 

Google Street View, Northeast Corner Of Austin & Davis, Morton Grove, IL
Half a block up and across the street was a field on the edge of the Cook County Forest Preserve, which with its bridle paths, heavily wooded areas, and riparian landscape presented all manner of opportunity for adventure and mischief.   We captured butterflies, grasshoppers and lightening bugs, hung out in a "cave" along the river, climbed trees and explored the dump once located within.   

Another half block up the street was Chick Evans Golf Course (known as Northwestern in my youth), a "muni" that had driving range mats on asphalt covered, chain-link fenced tees, nary a sand trap and clover filled, non-irrigated fairways that were indistinguishable from the rough. But the course is on a nice property, including mature trees and thick forests, crisscrossing the North Branch of the Chicago River. And one more block up the street, behind the 16th green, is a privately owned stables that was the source of most of the horse traffic which ensured the Forest Preserve bridle paths were consistently aromatic. Each of these land uses remain.
Home Sweet Home Was Left Edge of 16/Bike Circle, Bridle Paths are Dashed Yellow Lines
Green Shaded and Cross Hatched Space Are the Golf Course and Forest Preserve

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Green Jobs?

Green Jobs, Fact or Fiction?
Back in my old haunts, the Arlington County Taxpayers Association (ACTA), which is basically Tim Wise, writes an outstanding no-comment blog, which I've gladly kept on my bookmark list after moving out West.   Last week Tim wrote a typically incisive piece on facetious green jobs claims put out by the Obama administration. It's worth checking out in its entirety, but to summarize, ACTA cites the lefty Media Matters claim that "Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released Tuesday finds that green jobs grew four times faster in 2011 than jobs in other sectors, continuing a trend of rapid growth in the U.S. But Fox News is still pushing the narrative that investing in clean energy is a 'boondoggle.'" The "Growls" blog as it is called, goes on to say that "the Brookings Institution previously found that the clean economy added half a million jobs ." Growls cites Investor Business Daily's look beneath BLS's claims of 3.4 million jobs which found,
"But buried in Table 3, 'Green Goods And Services,' we find under 'Utilities' and 'Electric power generation' a total of just 522 jobs for 'solar electric power generation' and 2,724 jobs for 'wind electric power generation' for a total of 3,246 jobs. Under the heading 'coal and petroleum products mfg.' we find 3,278 jobs. So even in the BLS list of 'green' jobs, coal and oil wins. 'So what about the 'millions' of other 'green' jobs claimed? The problem is in that definition. The bureau includes clothing stores, television and radio broadcasters, and office furniture manufacturers among the country's green industries."
The entire post is here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sequester Noose Tightens

President Barack Obama and
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz
Congresswoman and Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL) is a close confidant and political ally of President Barack Obama.  She was specially selected to accompany the President on his recent trip to Israel. Ms. Wasserman Schulz said on the eve of her trip to the Zionist state,
'It is an honor to be in Israel with President Obama for the first foreign trip of his second term as he visits Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan,' said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. 'This trip is an important opportunity for President Obama to meet with the new Israeli government on a broad range of issues on which the United States and Israel cooperate.'

'As an American Jew and Member of Congress, I am proud that our President has prioritized the region and the U.S.-Israel relationship, continuing to strengthen our diplomatic and security ties. With so much going on in the region, this trip is significant for many reasons, as the President will spend time with the people of Israel, discuss our shared concerns, and reaffirm the deep bond that exists between our two countries.'
She was one of only two top Democrats (Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee was the other) selected to accompany Obama on his international trip.

On her return to the homeland, Representative Wasserman Schulz wasted nary a second focusing a
spotlight on pressing domestic issues, carping about burdensome lunch price increases on Capitol Hill prompted by the sequester, 
Restaurants on the House side of Congress are increasing in cost so much that aides are being “priced out” of a good meal, she said, as Fox News reported. The comments came by way of a discussion about the impacts of the sequester on lawmakers’ office budgets. Rep. Jim Moran said he may be forced to lay off a staffer — and then Ms. Wasserman Schultz weighed in with her tale of hard times.
Subsidized Dining in the
Longworth House Office Building Cafeteria
John Heyward from Human Events did some old fashioned gum shoe reporting to track down the food security impacts,

'At the carry-out cafe in the Cannon Office Building, where Wasserman Schultz has her office, you can get an 8-oz. bowl of Ham and Bean soup for $2. You can buy gourmet sandwiches and wraps for around $5. Both of these are cheaper than I can get at delis down the street from my house.'

'Her aides could walk across the street to the Longworth Building, which has a large sit-down cafeteria. Today, it is featuring a roasted stuffed chicken, with asparagus and mashed potatoes, for around $7. Or, one could opt for a heaping 12-oz bowl of Chicken Chili for $3.'

Adopt a Rescue Staffer Bulletin
There are also the options I chose during my 33 years working a block off the National Mall -- a plethora of unsubsidized cafeterias and eateries, or as I elected for lunch most of my tenure, to brown bag it.  If the aides (salaries $60K to $160K) want to eat on the dirt cheap I'd be happy to point out street cart vendors with 2fer hot dog specials, chips and drink included, $2.50 the last time I checked.  Wasserman Schulz's chums can eat with and like the plebes.  Never underestimate how spoiled are the real sequester "victims."

Or heck, maybe you disagree.  Then rescue a staffer.

Friday, March 22, 2013

We the Feds Part V -- AARP’s Got US by the Balls

It's not just corporate cronies that liaison with the Feds to garner outsize benefits and special favors.  The old folks, courtesy of AARP, are the highest practitioners of the art.

The next time Republicans (or anyone else for that matter) put forward a proposal calling for budget discipline that limits the growth of benefits to senior citizens, and Democrats put out a commercial showing the Republicans throwing granny over the cliff, call the bastard protesters out on their ageism.  Reality is that seniors are the best off segment of the United States population.   One hundred percent of seniors are looking for a subsidy* even though less than ten percent fall beneath the poverty line.  Poverty rates are much higher for working age adults (13.7 percent), and more than double for children (21.9 percent).
Poverty Status of the Granny Group

AARP and the baby boomers have grabbed the government by the balls and are using their leverage to burgle our childrens' fiscal house.  They aren’t letting go anytime soon. 

*  Under charitable assumptions (including that the net proceeds of Medicare taxes were actually saved and invested in high yield government bonds) today's retiring baby boomers and their employers contributed only 30 to 40 percent, more or less, of the cost of the benefits they will receive under current Medicare rules.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bozeman Top Ten Small Town

The travel guide folks at Fodor's have annointed Bozeman as one of the 10 best small towns in America.  Fodor's says, "This Big Sky Country college town is a nature-lover's paradise, no matter the season.  The guide publisher notes the arty vibe, and reports that the "mix of faculty, students, cowboys, outdoor enthusiasts, and the odd celebrity has also elevated the dining scene"   Fodor's recomends "the Gallatin River Lodge, set on a 350-acre working ranch, and the Lehrkind Mansion, a former brewer's residence-turned-B&B, make ideal bases for fly fishing, skiing, rafting, and exploring Yellowstone National Park."  It's authentic.  Come visit.

Where Have All the Doughnuts Gone?

Hotel Baxter Snow Light
Moving from inside the Beltway in Arlington, Virginia, to rural Gallitan County just outside Bozeman, Montana, you got to expect culture shocks and culinary shifts.  For example, it was a given that the 30 or so snowfalls each winter would cause no school closings or delays, no cancellations, whereas most snowfalls in Arlington were cause for school closings or schedule changes, event cancellations and federal government delays or shutdowns. Snow is cause for celebration in Bozeman.  The flashing blue light atop the downtown Hotel Baxter building is lit for 24 hours after each inch or greater mountain top snowfall, to alert skiers to the new powder accumulating on the slopes at Bridger Bowl.  In no time, the road up Bridger Canyon is filled with four wheel drive SUV's and pickups along with Subaru’s with ski pods on top.

I knew that hunting is big and defensive posturing with firearms is ingrained in the culture.  Here in Bozeman a neighbor advised me to carry an automatic when hiking so as to be truly loaded for bear – damn the pepper spray, semi automatic 44 Magnum ahead.  I don’t even blink anymore when I hear the report of a rifle or a shotgun locally.  Nor do I look twice when I see someone carrying a weapon while hiking a trail, crossing a field, or walking down a sidewalk or across a parking lot.  Last month the local NRA chapter sponsored a raffle table at a local shopping center featuring a "Wall of Guns."  I wasn’t at all surprised when a second neighbor told me he “harvested” two deer and an elk this last fall. I half expected that ground elk meat would be featured at his welcome neighbor barbecue (by the way, it tastes great!).  I anticipated that most commercial hamburger joints would feature buffalo burger.  I haven’t been disappointed.

Pentagon Police
Uniform Patch
Owenhouse Ace Hardware
Main Street Bozeman
I understood from the beginning that when planning a trip to a Bozeman mall you did not have to mention its name because there is but a single shopping mall in town.  I even knew there would be one police force instead of the fifteen or twenty that result from gerrymandered jurisdictions and the multiplicity of inside the Beltway federal police empires.  In Arlington, the nearest hardware store was three miles distant and I had to leave the county altogether to access a Lowe’s or a Home Depot.  In Bozeman, we not only have multiple big box local and national hardware stores, there are multiple friendly ACE is the place outlets as well as farm and ranch supply outlets.    

But what I did not expect was a doughnut wasteland.   I mean really, I know there are fewer police, but stinting on the doughnut supply is taking cultural differences too far!

Columbia Pike Dunkin' Donuts, Google Street View

Back in Arlington, when I had a 6 something am tee time, on the way to the course, at 5 something am, I would stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Columbia Pike, grab a large cup of java and a few doughnuts.  Arlington’s finest, the Pentagon Police and Federal Protective Service law enforcement were reliably represented at that early hour.  Columbia Pike is but one of 7 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Arlington.  Then there is Arlington's Krispy Kreme shop on Lee Highway.  If that isn’t enough, there are no less than two dozen 7-Eleven stores in Arlington (5 were within a mile of our former house) each well stocked  with their trademark shelves of fresh doughnuts, long johns and sugar twists.  Heck, Arlington even has a doughnut truck.

What do we have in Bozeman?   No 7 Elevens.  Our lone dedicated to doughnuts outlet is Granny’s Gourmet Donuts.  One chic, chic gourmet doughnut shop on the edge of the MSU campus – that’s it.  Even the Hostess outlet has closed.  Well, after reading this, does anyone have the munchies now?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sequestration Blows Up in Their Faces

Sequestration blows up in their faces -- according to Harry Reid, a vile obsessive man.  Harry Reid ties an exploded mortar shell that killed 7 marines in the Nevada desert to the sequestration.


The sequester parade of lies and deceptions rolls on. Reid, Pelosi and Obama -- they are all freaks who depend on the people's quiescence and gullibility to rule supreme and spend future generations into oblivion. These people wouldn't know cause and effect and understand responsibility if it actually did hit them in the face.  That's the essence of progressivism and its destructive bent.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jon Tester Pulls Truck Control Bill

Senator Jon Tester (D - Mont.) acknowledged today that he's received significant push back from his constituents on his proposed truck control legislation.   Senator Tester says that many constituents are concerned that "any sort of a ban is the first step to a bigger ban."  The junior senator from Montana lumped pickup trucks, guns and stoves together in a far reaching interview with NBC News Special Correspondent and part year Big Timber, Montana resident Tom Brokaw.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"I think in Montana we look at guns more as a tool, not unlike a pickup truck or a stove,” said Senator Tester. “The fact is, it's part of what we grew up with. It's part of our culture."  Notwithstanding new studies that support Tester's truck control agenda, the senator has asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D - Nev) to pull the truck control provisions from comprehensive safety legislation headed for the Senate floor.  While vehicle manufactures who have pushed for reasonable truck control (see continue to press the senator to introduce truck control amendments on the Senate floor, staff sources who do not wish to be identified because they are not authorized to speak on the matter, say Senator Tester is unlikely to do so.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Too Much CO2?

One thing we know about carbon dioxide is it is good for photosynthesis, it's great for leaves, trees, flowers and their fruits and beans, just about everything that's dependent on real green.  So it should be no surprise that markets are laboring under a surfeit of coffee beans.

NEW YORK (WSJ) — Mounting stockpiles of arabica coffee around the world have soured traders' outlook on the commodity, pushing prices down to a 33-month low.

Arabica coffee in 60-kilogram (132-pound) sacks stored in exchange-certified warehouses rose to more than 2.74 million bags Friday, up 6.7% from the start of the year.

Arabica coffee sacks in warehouses are up 6.7% from the start of the year. Above, coffee berries are inspected in Cundinamarca, Colombia. 

Beans are also accumulating in Brazil, the source of about one-third of the world's coffee. Growers there have been holding back some of their crop, waiting for higher prices. According to Safras & Mercado, a Brazilian consulting firm, farmers there had sold 71% of their 2012 crop by the end of February, down from 87% at the same point last year.

Of course, the "scientists" tell us the "consensus" is that global warming is well on its way to wiping out coffee beans altogether.  Go figure.

You can count me in the camp that's not sufficiently swayed.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

On the Road to Bathgate Act 5: Founding and Early Years

Original Plat of Bathgate Township
IJ Foster Quarter Section North of Town
Bathgate, North Dakota was formed in 1881 when my grandfather, Isaac J. Foster and his father (my great grandfather, William K. Foster) sold a homesteaded claim to a developer. They kept and farmed other claims the family had homesteaded in 1879. Their prime retained land, immediately north of town, was bisected by the railroad right of way, and the river ran through it.  

Isaac was born in Kemptville, Ontario Canada on February 26, 1862; he died in Bathgate on May 10, 1934, with his trade indicated on his death certificate as real estate and auctioneer of 30 years tenure. Isaac is interred in Bathgate Cemetery. William emigrated to Canada from Ireland. Isaac's father was born in Ireland and his mother was born in Scotland. Among other pursuits, Isaac was Pembina County Sheriff (1911-1915), a farmer, a realtor and auctioneer (as mentioned), president of the county fair board, and an insurance agent. He was a Grand Mason. He served on various state boards and along the way sired 11 kids.  

Issac J Foster
When Bathgate Township was founded in 1879 it was originally named Bay View after a the adjacent watery expanse on a bend of the Tongue River, and renamed when the post office was established. The town of Bathgate was platted in 1881 by the Comstock and White Co -- one story has it that Mr. Comstock named it for Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland, the hometown of his wife.

Two historical
sketches of Bathgate were written for the nation's Bicentennial,. “History of Bathgate, North Dakota” by Shirley Hart, in "Heritage ’76: Pembina County, North Dakota, Then and Now," and “Bathgate History” in "Proudly We Speak: a History of Neche, Bathgate, Bruce and Hyde Park", pp. 47-48  (Neche/Bathgate History Book Committee, ca. 1976).

In the "History of" we are told,

Saturday, March 16, 2013


The fellow on the left is an outstanding golfer, a sophomore in high school up at Big Sky who was high school state golf champion last year as a freshman. I asked him how he got to be such a good golfer playing in Montana. He said, "I moved from Texas."  

4/8/13:  Here is an article about the boy, his team and their prospects in the 2013 golf season.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Studies Support Jon Tester’s Truck Control Agenda

A nonpartisan group supporting Senator Jon Tester’s truck control legislation unveiled a new study today.   Co-chairmen of the truck control advocacy organization, Hans Opelgänger, Director of Sustainability at BMW USA and Sven Olafscar, Managing Director of Volvo USA, said the groundbreaking study fulfills a need for data driven decision making.  “Too long, pickup truck ownership and use decisions have been undirected and emotionally charged” said Mr. Opelgänger, “We know pick-up truck use is less elsewhere, so why not build a case with data comparisons and look to other countries for a comprehensive US truck control model?”

Senator Tester (D-MT) welcomed the study.  “I want to thank Hans and Sven.  Their input is invaluable,” Tester said.  “Not only does their study put numbers around truck control benefits, it suggests where we might look for safe alternatives.” Tester said, “Also, I am excited domestic data that support the need for responsible truck control have come to light.” Senator Tester urged Chairman Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO) to hold hearings on truck control legislation before the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security as soon as practicable.

The new study, entitled “Motor Vehicle Fatality Incidence Report” (MVFIR) found that vehicle fatality rates in the United States pickup truck rich environment are unacceptably high.  It highlights the much higher fatality rates in the United States than Western European country counterparts.
Motor Vehicle Fatality
Incidence Analysis


Fatality Rate *

United States




United Kingdom




















* Road fatalities per 100,000 habitants.

United States fatality rates are 2, 3 and 4 times higher than in Western European countries.  It's a scourge upon America. 

Tight licensing requirements, strict environmental laws and comprehensive safety regulations make pickup trucks a low-preference, high-cost transportation option in Europe.   Super-safe Saabs and Volvos dominate Sweden’s light vehicle transportation market.   Urban centers in the United Kingdom extend buses to a second level rather than packing streets with dangerous extended cab pickup trucks.  Germany engineers and constructs its Autobahns to favor speed over bulk.  In Italy and Spain motor scooters are more prevalent than pickup trucks on the roadways.   The European experience vouches for a range of attractive alternative transportation modes available in low use pickup truck environments.
Pickup Truck Safety Risk Analysis
Senator Tester said he is also excited by United States research that has recently come to light.   The safety study presented to the Transportation Research Board by representatives of the University of Michigan and Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory, demonstrates pickup trucks are the most dangerous vehicles operated by non-commercial drivers on US roadways.  Specifically, researchers found (see green dots on scatter diagram to the right) that Dodge Ram, Ford F-Series, Chevy and GMC pickup trucks are the worst safety risks in their vehicle class.  Senator Tester reiterates that closing the Penny Saver pickup sales loophole, limiting non-essential pickup truck use and restricting pickup ownership to qualified buyers, will go a long ways towards reducing United States fatality rates and closing the fatality gap with Europe.  Supporters emphasize that the legislation does not apply to panel trucks or delivery vans.  

Senator Tester’s truck control legislation is explained at  For more information on the truck control coalition,  and the comparative study, visit its website