If you're like me-- and I know I am-- you probably kinda wanted to hate Michael Bloomberg when he first appeared on your radar. A disgustingly rich guy attempting a broad, populist appeal? Puh-lease. And maybe it's because I only smoke when I'm drinking, but I always find people who crusade to ban smoking in bars unbearably sanctimonious. "Wanna ruin your liver while attempting to lower your inhibitions enough to have unprotected sex with a stranger? Fine. But keep your lungs pure."

(The mostly non-smoker in me realizes that the issue is more complicated than that-- that it's more of a worker's rights issue than a "protect you from yourself issue." But it's hard to remember that when I've had four beers and am dying to light up).

Nevertheless, over the years, I've found myself appreciating Bloomberg more and more. Maybe it's because Hizzoner-- the former mayor and police brutality-apologist-- has turned into such a shill for his party's reprehensible agenda. Bloomberg has to look good in comparison. Or maybe it's stuff like this:

From today's NEW YORK TIMES:

"NEW YORK (AP) -- The city's yellow taxi fleet will go entirely hybrid within five years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday.

"'There's an awful lot of taxicabs on the streets of New York City,' Bloomberg said. 'These cars just sit there in traffic sometimes, belching fumes.


"Nearly 400 fuel-efficient hybrids have been tested in the city's taxi fleet over the past 18 months, with models including the Toyota Prius, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Lexus RX 400h and the Ford Escape.

"Under Bloomberg's plan, that number will increase to 1,000 by October 2008, then will grow by about 20 percent each year until 2012, when every yellow cab -- currently numbering 13,000 -- will be a hybrid."

This is just an across-the-board good idea. Would it be nicer if the change could happen more quickly? Sure. But it would also be nicer if the auto industry hadn't scrapped the electric car, if the Supreme Court hadn't appointed George Bush president, and if the guys from ABBA hadn't continued to try to have careers in music after their wives divorced them. It's not a perfect world, but plans like this go a long way towards improving it.

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