By on September 29, 2015

Passat TDI  engine, Picture Courtesy of Volkswagen

A report by the New York Times estimates that Volkswagen cars that illegally polluted up to 40 times more nitrogen oxides may have contributed to more than 100 premature deaths in the U.S., nearly equal to the faulty GM ignition switch that has been linked to 124 deaths.

The researchers calculated the effects of the increased nitrogen oxides by using numbers derived from U.S. counties where power plant emissions had been reduced. Those counties removed 350 tons of nitrogen dioxides per year and had 5 fewer deaths per 100,000 people. Calculating the number of VW diesels and their average emissions at 39 times the legal limit, the writers concluded that the cars could be responsible for 106 premature deaths nationwide.

(Read More…)

By on August 3, 2015

Prison Jail

Over the weekend, the New York Times detailed the story of a black woman in Baltimore who, 18 months after being arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol level of .09, has endured more than a year of unusually stiff penalties and harsh treatment.

The story highlights the tale of 40-year-old Donyelle Hall who had a clean criminal record before her arrest on Christmas Day 2013 for drunken driving. After her arrest, the woman was forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorney and court costs, spend more than a month in jail and lost her job. Monthly probation costs for the woman were $385 a month alone.

(Read More…)

By on July 7, 2015

The Gulf Of Mexico Dead Zone... absolutely caused by ethanol corn production (courtesy: Wired)

Last week’s news of BP’s $18.7 billion settlement with federal and state governments brought to close the second act of one of the worst environmental tragedies of all time. There’s no promise that the third act won’t drag out for decades and ultimately end in heartbreak either.

BP’s structured settlement means the oil producer will pay roughly $1 billion each year over the next two decades to state and local governments impacted by the 3.9 million barrels of oil dumped into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Of course, there’s no amount of money that could assuage the grief from families of the 11 workers killed in the spill.

But the settlement doesn’t address the hundreds of individual or class action lawsuits, or many of the claims made against BP by local business owners and people since the 2010 spill. Some of those civil cases are still in court, some on appeal, and many are years away from a meaningful conclusion.

(Read More…)

By on April 21, 2014

cobalt report 19

Since arriving at TTAC, I have been continually challenged and impressed by the B&B. The knowledge, wisdom, and rather civil discourse that arrives in response to the so-called journalism I produce is awe inspiring, often. Thank you, B&B. I’ve also been tasked with handling the GM recall story, given my technical background and my familiarity with GM’s processes at the dealer level – but today, I want to turn the floor over to you.

(Read More…)

By on February 24, 2014
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The New York Times reported Sunday on how strict enforcement of parking violations in Manhattan is causing problems for government agencies as they are forced to reclaim official vehicles that have been towed. In most cities, official vehicles are kept immune from the effects of parking enforcement by dashboard placards that allow government officials to park in red zones or without feeding the meter while they are on the job.

(Read More…)

By on August 14, 2013


You’ve always suspected that BMWs don’t respect pedestrian safety. Now there’s a survey that confirms what you already believed, making you feel very warm and fuzzy inside.

(Read More…)

By on February 26, 2013

Tesla CEO Elon Musk found the perfect scapegoat for lost Tesla sales and a 13 percent drop of the company’s stock: John Broder of the New York Times. Musk told Reuters that “Tesla has lost about $100 million in sales and canceled orders due to the Times story, which said the sedan ran out of battery power sooner than promised during a chilly winter test drive from Washington D.C. to Boston.”  Musk should look in the mirror if he needs a scape goat. (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2013

As a retired operative of the auto propaganda community, I watched the schoolyard brawl between Tesla’s Elon Musk and the New York Time’s John Broder with detached interest. I won’t re-hash it again. Unless you live in a monastery in Tibet, and your Samsung Note 2 was impounded, because you were caught masturbating to Google image search, it was impossible to escape the fallout from the war of tweets, blogs, and counter-tweets. To this day, bullets and barbs still ricochet through the Internet. Only hours ago, Musk was still seen tweeting about an “impressively out of touch NYT auto editor,” while the world at large is utterly confused. And that is the true tragedy. This after-action report is dedicated to the victims.

(Read More…)

By on February 19, 2013


The New York Times had their public editor (think ombudsman) publish a response to the whole “Dead Tesla’ fiasco (summary by our own Dan Wallach here), and it is far from kind to reporter John Broder.

(Read More…)

By on February 15, 2013

Pull up a chair, get some popcorn. The fireworks have been flying fast and furious. New York Times reporter John Broder wrote a piece about his press loaner Tesla running out of juice. Tesla, already smarting from the perceived slight given them by BBC’s Top Gear, decided they needed an ace up their sleeve: data logging. Chairman Elon Musk penned a response that included detailed data logs from the press car. Broder responded in general terms and then with a point-by-point response to Musk’s charges. The NYT’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, has also chimed in with the opening of her own investigation. Notably, Musk hasn’t returned her calls. Her tentative conclusion? “I reject Mr. Musk’s central contention that Mr. Broder’s Sunday piece was faked in order to sabotage the Model S or the electric-car industry.” She also called for Tesla to release all the data they’ve got in proper machine-readable form, not just their pretty annotated graphs with the circles and the arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one. (Read More…)

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
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