Looking Into Our Electric Vehicle Future

On the roads of Norway.

“In March this year, 16,238 passenger cars were registered in Norway. Of those, 13,983 were battery-electric vehicles. That’s an amazing 86% of all cars registered that month. Meanwhile in the US, according to the Argonne National Laboratory, sales of light-duty vehicles with plugs (including hybrids) made up just 5.85% of the market in March. That was nearly a 40% increase over the previous year, but still floundering in the single digits.

Why the disparity? Is Norway just a utopia of forward-thinking EV zealots? Not exactly. Where state and federal governments in the US have engaged in a haphazard collection of half-assed, confusing incentives to spur EV adoption, scattering a middling collection of carrots here and there over the years, the Norwegian government has instead chosen the biggest of sticks: taxes. Want to buy a gas-powered machine? Be prepared for a painful whack.”

The “greatest country in the world” is getting its ass kicked. Again.

Hypocrisy On A Staggering Level

A reader writes, “Hey Ron, who should I read and follow to better understand the housing crisis?”

Jerusalem Demsas.

But why did Marc Andreessen, billionaire venture capitalist and vocal affordable housing advocate, just block Demsas on Twitter?

Because of her brilliant reporting and scathing takedown of Andreessen in this Atlantic essay, “The Billionaire’s Dilemma”. In thirteen paragraphs Demsas teaches a master class on contemporary American life and the wealth gap more specifically.

The money paragraph. . . pun intended:

“Unfortunately, when local officials charged with overseeing development are confronted with balancing exercises, they almost always default to blocking or delaying projects. This happens in part because the future beneficiaries of new development cannot advocate for themselves. No one knows who will eventually live in new housing, what kids will be born there and go to school in the neighborhood and grow up to make the community better. But the present-day neighbors who are worried about construction, who believe that their home values might “MASSIVELY decrease” if teachers live near them, who are prejudiced against renters and people who live in multifamily housing—those people can and do speak up. And often, local officials bow to the pressure or are elected because they themselves oppose new housing development.”

I listened to an in-depth interview of Andreessen recently and was blown away by his intelligence. Demsas’s piece is a powerful reminder that the heart trumps the mind.

What To Think About Hellfire Missiles

That are designed to kill a single person.

That’s what my government’s Central Intelligence Agency decided to use to kill Ayman al-Zawahri in Kabul last week as he read on the balcony of a “safe house”. Two missiles to be exact.

We’re supposed to celebrate this. “There’s no where to hide. We will find you no matter how long it takes.”

But I don’t find the revenge satisfying at all because it will do nothing to slow, let alone reverse, the mutual hatred between Al Qaeda and my government, and the back-and-forth killing associated with it.

As I read the account of how the C.I.A. tracked al-Zawahri (Netflix production probably in progress by now), two analogies came to mind. That of a mafia war where competing families ramp up the violence and that of a gang war where competing sides mindlessly kill more and more of one another.

Are we supposed to feel safer with al-Zawahri gone? As if there aren’t younger successors waiting in line to seek revenge on our seeking revenge?

Where does it end? What’s the non-drone, non-hellfire missile plan for deescalating the violence?