“grab the cat”…

Stop! Don’t Cut that Wire! That’s a Chevy Volt!

Yesterday, I heard Adam Bandt from the Greens party discussing Labor’s latest offer of free money to General Motor’s Holden for manufacturing cars in Australia. Yes, he wants strings attached to force them into electric car manufacturing. We can only hope that he will be the first new owner...from Greenie Watch:

The “Grab the Cat” scene from the movie Lethal Weapon 3 is being played out in training rooms across America thanks to a generous $4.4 million grant from the Department of Energy.

If you’re not familiar with the scene, first responders, Detectives Riggs and Murtaugh, are trying to disarm a car bomb, while a cat plays nearby. Riggs doesn’t know which wire to snip, so he just snips one at random. As he watches the bomb’s timer begin to hyper-accelerate, he realizes that he’s cut the wrong wire. He casually says to his partner Roger Murtaugh, “Hey, Rog?”

“Yeah,” says Murtaugh.

“Grab the cat.”

The men and the cat escape in the nick of time.

Well that scene, minus the explosion, is just another of the unintended benefits brought to us by the award-winning designers of the Chevy Volt.

Unlike old-fashioned lead acid batteries, the Chevy Volt lithium battery contains enough of a punch that it can kill you- and anyone else who is not grounded- if first responders cut the wrong wires or even the right ones, as Stephen Smoot reminded us last week on Townhall.

After taking us through the procedure first responders are supposed to use to cut the wires, Smoot writes: “General Motors also warns that ‘cutting these cables can result in serious injury or death.'”

Nothing like making first responders’ jobs more hazardous. Give that car an award for design innovation!

“Besides attending to and rescuing the injured, first responders must now be aware of the potential hazards the new alternative-fuel technology may pose,” says Energyboom’s transportation correspondent Jace Shoemaker. “In order to keep both passengers and rescue crews safe, first responders must be aware of the potential for electrical shock, dangers of unintended vehicle movement, the challenges of charging stations and fires.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, which is sponsoring training for first responders through the Department of Energy grant, “Training programs will help first responders ascertain whether the car is disabled or not, provide information about how to power down vehicles, demonstrate how to safely disconnect the high-voltage system, and show safe cut points for extrication.”

Before I even get in a vehicle, I always try to identify the safe cut points for extrication. My family and I make a game of it on the way to Grandma’s.

“Anyone who can guess the safe cut points for extrication gets to sit near one!” I say.

“Hurray, I’m going to live…assuming I don’t get electrocuted or crushed by unintended vehicle movement or burn up in a lithium-coolant fire,” says the winner.

In response, General Motors- after a year of sales- is considering ways to allow first responders to discharge the battery so they can have a safe working environment.

“I can’t conceive that they didn’t have a standard operating procedure in place for handling a wrecked vehicle before the car went on sale,” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington according to Bloomberg. “NHTSA and GM should have established protocols in place before it went on sale.”

Yeah, well that’s all fine and good in the real world, but the Chevy Volt is a government program. It’s not about results, it’s a “journey of personal discovery.”

“In all instances when there’s an accident, you have to have a protocol,” says Dan Akerson, GM’s chief executive officer, writes Bloomberg. “That was a good lesson that came out of this.”

Wow. Akerson almost sounds like he has done this before.

Maybe that’s a lesson he learned as the last company he was CEO of, XO Communications, went into bankruptcy.

In 1999, just three years before bankruptcy, mediabistro reports that Akerson’s average monthly compensation at XO was $15,045,578. That’s $180, 546,396 for one year’s compensation.

That’s quite a safe cut point for extrication if you’re a CEO of a failing company.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those OWS types who think CEOs should make minimum wage. But since all of us are shareholders in GM, and since XO did go into bankruptcy and since Akerson was the knucklehead who decided two years ago to increase production capacity of the Chevy Volt by 50 percent, you do have to wonder if the guy has the extra capacity to learn anything.

Akerson’s flagship offering, the Chevy Volt, has all the safety features of the Pinto and the Corvair, housed in the elegant styling of the Gremlin with a 25 mile range- if you don’t use heat and air conditioning.

Just exactly why are we putting first responders or anyone else in danger for this vehicle? So that the Volt can win the first Nobel Prize in auto design? So it can be Time Magazine’s Man of the Year?


Speaking in my role as GM shareholder and innocent bystander, let me be the first to respond by saying “Grab the cat.”


Adam Bandt is further disappointed about Australia’s choice for energy.…Update: More Bandt…

Idiotic Comment of the Day: Greens’ Adam Bandt

20 March 2012

Like all on the extreme environmental Left, Bandt inhabits a fantasy world where a country like Australia can simply stop using coal, like, today, and our entire economy will continue as normal, powered by, er, you know, solar and wind, right? Total f**kwit. Mr Bandt said he was “stunned” to hear the state would potentially […]

Read the full article →

About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley) Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Incorporated Kimberley Environmental Horticulture (KEH) is a small group of committed individuals who promote the use of indigenous plants for the landscaping of parks and gardens. Rehabilitation of Kimberley coast, bushland and pastoral regions are also high on our agenda. This includes planting seedlings, weed control, damage from erosion or any other environmental matter that comes to our attention. We come from all walks of life, from Professionals and Trades oriented occupations, Pensioners and Students, Public Servants and the Unemployed. We have a community plant nursery where we trial many old and new species, with a view to incorporating these into our landscaping trials. Our labour force are mainly volunteers, but with considerable help from the 'work for the dole' program, Indigenous Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) groups and the Ministry of Justice, with their community work orders; in this way we manage to train many people in the horticultural skills needed for indigenous plant growing. We constantly undertake field trips that cover seed and plant collection in the Kimberley. Networking around the Kimberley region and the east Pilbara is a necessary part of promoting our activities. We consult on a range of Environmental and Landscaping matters that deal with our region. Our activities involve improving Broome's residential streetscapes by including 'waterwise' priciples in planting out nature strips. Sustainable environmental horticulture is practised by members of our group. We use existing vegetation as the backbone of any plantings, using these species to advantage when planning to develop tree forms or orchards. The Broome region is sensitive to development. Subsequently many weed species have become dominant in and around developed areas. The use and movement of heavy machinery is the biggest single cause of environmental degradation. We dont live in a 'Tropical Paradise' but on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The plants that survive best here, grow in well-drained pindan sand, and are found from the Dampier Peninsular southward to where average rainfall is below 600mm. When we use rainforest species, detail is important when planting, water catchment, sunlight and understorey species are all considered. The use of recycled 'grey' water is an advantage here as well as treated waste-water, although many local species do not fare well with nutrients from this source. We use waterwise planting methods which include harvesting asmuch rainwater as possible, with swales designed to hold up to 200 litres, to help recharge the local groundwater aquifer. There has been a serious decline in this aquifer over the last few years. With the fast expansion of the Broome peninsular, more and more land is being covered by concrete, iron and bitumen so that much less water is available to replenish the aquifer, allowing the salt content to become significantly higher. The small Broome Peninsular is on the south-western corner of the Dampier Peninsular (bound by Broome, Derby and Cape Leveque at the northern tip). Compaction by vehicles also inhibits water retention due to the content of our local pindan sand, hard as concrete in the dry, going to soft and sloppy mud after rain. None of us are botanists, inevitably we have got some names wrong, names changed, or have not gone to sub-species level. If you note a photo or description may be wrong, please e-mail to kimenvhort@yahoo.com.au
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