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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth IsHummer Owners Also Lose Tax Break  (thanks to www.Dontbefueled.org for the heads up)

In the last edition of Kicking Asphalt, we introduced a new section entitled "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is". We have since learned that a small number of you did not receive it, so we want to introduce the section one more time. If you wish to receive a copy of July's Kicking Asphalt, just email us. Those of you who read the section last month can skip the next two paragraphs

This section is inspired by the perception that "conscious consumers" are now mainstream, not a Birkenstock wearing fringe, exceeding 60 million Americans. A Roper poll found that 27% of Americans would pay more for green products while a comparable number would choose the green product if it were no more expensive than the competition. A Yankelovich poll concluded that there were nearly 10 million "committed" environmentalists--and another 60 million "interested" ones. Yet we are unaware of our numbers--or our Buying Power.

Voting every two years is not enough. We need to vote with our dollars every day. But consumers need Information to make this easy. Better World will start by providing information as a regular feature of Kicking Asphalt that enables you to "put your money where your mouth is".

Mercury SUV Hybrid Gets Good Reviews

The new Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV, American-made and built by union workers, will appear in showrooms this fall, but is already on sale. Environmentalists realize that with American companies now offering hybrids, it’s important that they are seen as winners. "If we can work with Ford to make its Mercury Hybrid a hit," says Dan Becker, head of Sierra Club’s global warming program, "Ford will be convinced that it can make clean vehicles and make money."

The Sierra Club also reports that because the Mariner's electric motor provides enough juice to drive at low speeds, the 133-horsepower gas engine can automatically shut down in stop-and-go traffic. So it gets even better mileage in the city (33 miles per gallon) than on the highway (29 mpg). Another efficient feature is regenerative braking -- when you brake, you generate electricity that recharges the battery.

Nike Takes a Step Forward

A few months ago, Nike released a report that has been described as “warts and all” by Fast Company Magazine on the problems of Nike’s manufacturing operations including evidence of child labor and sexual harassment and the regions where they occurred. This is a great first step. It’s hard to believe Nike resisted this for so long and let’s hope that its expanded consciousness will lead them to correct the problems that they have identified. (Disclosure: Better World Club has an Employee Discount Program with Nike.)

GM Doesn’t

GM pulled $20 million in advertising from the LA Times because it didn’t like the fact that GM has missed the market on hybrid cars with its “Big is Better” market strategy. “Shooting the Messenger” doesn’t seem like a precise enough axiom when you also pay the messenger to get the word out on your product. Is “Shooting the Shill” an expression?

He Doesn't Even Get A Percentage...And People Knock Lawyers

Robert McCallum, today Associate Attorney General in the Department of Justice, but not long ago a lawyer for RJ Reynolds’s law firm, apparently ordered Justice lawyers to slash $120 billion in penalties from the federal lawsuit against Big Tobacco. The stock of Altria Group, the maker of Marlboros, hit an all-time high.

I Only Want What’s Fair: Say $30.00 for Each Dumped Worker’s Pension...Plus My Salary

United wiped $9 billion off its books by handing its pension problem to the Feds. This means a substantial loss to United’s 120,000 current and former workers, but CEO Glenn Tilton pocketed $4.5 million. As President Bush says about being a President, “It’s a tough job. Really, a hard job.”

Pat Robertson Comes Out Against CITGO Buycott

Gee, Kicking Asphalt thought it was done talking about Hugo Chavez, the Prime Minister of Venezuela, which owns CITGO Oil. As you may remember, KA has reported Jeff Cohen's call for a CITGO "buycott" and last month we included an exchange between BWC President Mitch Rofsky and one of our members on the subject. But last week, it was reported that Rev. Pat Robertson wanted to "take Chavez out". Naively, we thought he meant on a date (which KA encourages), but no he meant by assassinating him.

We believe Chavez is one of the toughest world leaders to get a handle on. As stated in earlier blurbs, there was controversy over how democratic the last democratic Venezuelan election was. However, a New York Daily News columnist has stepped forward to say that Chavez is in trouble because he wants to offer oil priced below market to third world nations. You can find it here: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0825-30.htm. and make up your own mind.

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