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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For Some, Nursing Homes Are a Prison

By MATT SEDENSKY

PLANT CITY, Fla. (Sept. 20) - Charles Todd Lee spent a lifetime going backstage at concerts, following politicians on the campaign trail and capturing iconic shots of everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Mick Jagger to Mickey Mantle. Today, he enjoys such freedom only in his dreams.
The 67-year-old photographer has been confined to a nursing home for five years, the victim of a stroke that paralyzed his left side. And he's angry.
Charles Todd Lee, seen in his room at the Community Care Center in Plant City, Fla., has lived in a nursing home for five years after suffering a stroke
John Raoux, AP

Charles Todd Lee, seen in his room at the Community Care Center in Plant City, Fla., has lived in a nursing home for five years after suffering a stroke.

"Most of the people come here to die, so you want to die," he said. "It is a prison. I can't escape it."
Lee is among the Medicaid recipients across Florida challenging the nightmare of the old and disabled: to be forced from comfort and familiarity into a nursing home.
They say the state is illegally forcing them to live in nursing homes when they should be able to live where they choose. Advocates charge that nursing homes, afraid of losing money, have successfully pressured politicians to make qualifying for community care more difficult. They have filed a federal lawsuit seeking class-action status on behalf of nearly 8,500 institutionalized Floridians.
Whether the litigation gets Lee and others moved out of nursing homes remains to be seen. But at the very least, it has illuminated the frustration experienced by older people or those with disabilities who say they're shuttled into nursing homes when they are healthy enough to live at home, with relatives, or in other less institutional settings.

"There are very, very, very few people who cannot be cared for outside in the community," said Stephen Gold, a Philadelphia disability lawyer who, along with AARP attorneys and others, is representing the group. "Why should the state give a damn whether you put the money in the left pocket of the nursing home or the right pocket of the community?"
Americans who qualify for Medicaid and get sick or disabled enough to require substantial care typically have little problem gaining admission to a nursing home. But obtaining Medicaid-supported services at home, such as visits from an aide, is substantially harder and often involves a long waiting list, even though it may cost the government less.
Advocates for the elderly and disabled had hoped a 1999 Supreme Court case would change that. The Olmstead decision, as it is known, involved two Georgia women, both Medicaid beneficiaries with mental retardation who wanted community-based services, but were refused and were treated in institutions.
The high court ruled unjustified isolation of the disabled in institutions amounted to discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It said states must provide community services if patients want them, if they can be accommodated and if it's appropriate. Medicaid is the state-federal partnership that provides health coverage and nursing home care to the poor.
"There's a lot of concern that the nursing home industry is very powerful in many states and has made sure that a lot of Medicaid dollars go to institutional care as opposed to home and community-based care," said Toby Edelman, an attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
States have been putting more money into community services, but not nearly enough to meet the demand of people who would rather stay at home than go to a facility. Nationally, state Medicaid payments for long-term community care have skyrocketed since the Olmstead decision, from $17.4 billion in 1999 to $42.8 billion last year, though spending on nursing homes and other institutions is still substantially higher.
A total of $59.5 billion was spent last year on institutional care through Medicaid.
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and Gov. Charlie Crist's office — the three defendants — all declined to comment on the litigation. So did the attorney general's office, which is representing the defendants.
In court filings, the defendants have claimed the plaintiffs lack standing because they haven't proven that treatment professionals deemed community-based care appropriate for each patient.
"Plaintiffs are not alleging that Florida's Medicaid program has failed to cover their medically necessary services," the defendants wrote. "Instead, plaintiffs want this court to second-guess the manner by which Florida's elected officials and policymakers have chosen to make those services available in light of the state's available resources."
The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging represents about 5,700 not-for-profit organizations from nursing homes to adult day care to in-home aides. A spokeswoman, Lauren Shaham, said there is "an institutional bias" in the Medicaid program that limits home and community care, but also noted nursing homes are needed for some of society's frailest or most disabled.
The American Health Care Association, which represents about 11,000 nursing homes and long-term care facilities, a majority of them for-profit, also said such institutions were often most appropriate for round-the-clock care. Spokeswoman Susan Feeney noted, "You don't want to be there but sometimes for health reasons beyond your control, you have to be."
John Boyd, 50, has been in a nursing home for the last nine years. He hates them. He became a quadriplegic 36 years ago when he fell off a wall and broke his neck.
"I can't choose what meal I want, I can't have a visitor after 8 o'clock — it's just like a prison without bars," he said. "People are making decisions for and about me that don't even know me or even care about me. All they care about is the money they're getting for me."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

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Men with sexist views 'earn more'

Aggressive man
Sexist - and rich?

Men who grow up thinking women should stay at home may be labelled "old-fashioned" - but could end up well ahead in the salary stakes.

A US study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, suggests that they will consistently out-earn more "modern-thinking" men.

On average, this meant an extra $8,500 (£4,722) a year.

One UK psychologist said men inclined to wield power in their relationships might also do this at work.

It could be that more traditionally-minded men are interested in power, both in terms of access to resources - money in this case - and also in terms of a woman who is submissive
Dr Magdalena Zawisza
Winchester University

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Florida, was conducted on a large scale, with 12,686 men and women interviewed in 1979, when they were aged between 14 and 22, and three times in the following two decades, the last time in 2005.

The researchers asked them whether they believed a woman's place was in the home, or whether the employment of women was likely to lead to higher rates of juvenile delinquency.

Predictably, more men tended to hold these views than women, although the gap has narrowed significantly over time.

However, when the men were asked about their salaries, another gap emerged, with those holding "traditional" views earning significantly more.

Conversely, women who held the opposite view did earn slightly more, on average $1,500 (£833) more than women with "traditional" views.

Dr Timothy Judge, one of the researchers, said: "More traditional people may be seeking to preserve the historical separation of work and domestic roles - our results prove that is, in fact, the case."

HAVE YOUR SAY
There are also a lot of men who have gained good positions and are not sexist
Jhonsie, Exeter

Dr Magdalena Zawisza, a psychologist from Winchester University, said that there were a number of theories which might explain the difference.

She said: "It could be that more traditionally-minded men are interested in power, both in terms of access to resources - money in this case - and also in terms of a woman who is submissive.

"Another theory suggests that employers are more likely to promote men who are the sole earner in preference to those who do not - they recognise that they need more support for their families, because they are the breadwinner."

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FTC Sweep Stops Peddlers of Bogus Cancer Cures


Public Education Campaign Counsels Consumers, “Talk to Your Doctor”

The Federal Trade Commission today announced 11 law enforcement actions challenging deceptive advertising of bogus cancer cures. The FTC charged the companies with making unsupported claims that their products cured or treated one or more types of cancer. In each case, the company is charged with violating the FTC Act, which bars deceptive claims. Some complaints allege that the companies also falsely touted clinical or scientific proof for their products.

“There is no credible scientific evidence that any of the products marketed by these companies can prevent, cure, or treat cancer of any kind,” said Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Of the 11 complaints the FTC announced today, six have been resolved by proposed settlements; the rest will be litigated. In all cases, the companies will be required to notify consumers who purchased the products challenged in the complaints that there was little or no scientific evidence demonstrating the products’ effectiveness for treating or curing cancer. They also must urge these customers to consult with their doctors about the products. In addition, the companies will be prohibited from selling or disclosing their consumer lists to others. The products the companies marketed include essiac teas and other herbal mixtures, laetrile, black salve (a corrosive ointment), and mushroom extracts.

“Many of these products are scams,” Parnes said, “and let’s face it, when you’re battling cancer, the last thing you need is a scam. The best idea is to talk to your doctor about any treatment that you are thinking about taking.”

The FTC also announced a new Web site about bogus cancer cures. The site – www.ftc.gov/curious – tells consumers how to spot and report bogus claims they see online, and urges people with cancer to talk to their treatment team about any products they’d like to try.
The site features a video and includes a list of resources on cancer treatments from a variety of agencies within the federal government. Information is provided in English and Spanish.
The cases announced today began through an Internet surf conducted by the FTC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Competition Bureau Canada in June 2007. Following the surf, the FTC sent warning letters via e-mail to 112 Web sites between August 2007 and January 2008. Of these, nearly 30 percent either closed their sites or removed the problematic cancer treatment claims. The remainder were reviewed to determine whether a law enforcement action was warranted or whether they should be referred to the FDA or the Competition Bureau.

The FDA sent warning letters to 23 U.S. companies and two foreign individuals. The warning letters stated that because the marketed products claimed to cure, treat, mitigate, or prevent cancer, and because they are not proven to be safe and effective for their labeled use, they are unapproved new drugs marketed in violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The Competition Bureau sent warning letters to Canadian companies that were selling fraudulent cancer cures online. Almost all the companies have adequately corrected their marketing materials, and the bureau will take additional enforcement actions to ensure compliance by the rest.

Administrative Cases. The FTC sued five companies. The cases will be tried before an administrative law judge at the Commission. In each case, the Commission seeks an order prohibiting the respondents from representing that their products prevent, treat, or cure any type of cancer unless the representation is true, non-misleading, and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. The FTC also will seek orders prohibiting the respondents from making representations about any health-related products without competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Alexander Heckman d/b/a Omega Supply – Among the products this company marketed are laetrile, which can cause cyanide poisoning when taken orally at high doses; hydrazine sulphate, which is classified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a potential carcinogen; and cloracesium, which contains celsium chloride. According to the complaint, in addition to making deceptive and false claims that these products are safe and that they effectively prevent, treat, and cure cancer, the respondents also made false claims that the products are scientifically proven to work.

Native Essence Herb Company – The products marketed by this company include herbal concoctions (Rene Caisse essiac tea blend and cat’s claw), the herb chaparral, and maitake mushrooms extracts. In 1992, the FDA classified chaparral as unsafe because of its “association with acute toxic hepatitis.” According to the complaint, the respondents made deceptive and false claims that these products are effective for treating and curing a variety of cancers, eliminating or shrinking tumors, and for preventing breast cancer.

Daniel Chapter One – This company markets several herbal formulations as well as shark
cartilage. According to the complaint, in addition to making deceptive and false claims that these products effectively prevent, treat, and cure cancer, the respondents also claim that one of their herbal formulations mitigates the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. In addition to the FTC action announced today, this company received a warning letter from FDA.

Gemtronics, Inc. – This company markets a product called RAAX11, which is made of chrysobalanus icaco, a derivative from a tropical bush, and agaricus, a medicinal mushroom.
According to the complaint, in addition to making deceptive and false claims that these products
effectively prevent, treat, and cure cancer, the respondents also made false claims that these products were scientifically proven to work. In addition to the FTC action announced today, this company received a warning letter from FDA.

Mary T. Spohn d/b/a Herbs for Cancer – Spohn sold Chinese herbal teas in varying formulations. According to the company’s advertisements, these teas were formulated to fight 16 different types of cancer. A seventeenth type [of blended tea] is represented as a “special formula” for “cancers not on our list.” According to the complaint, in addition to making deceptive and false claims that these formulations effectively treat and cure cancer, the respondents also claim that some of them are scientifically proven to work. In addition to the FTC action announced today, this company received a warning letter from FDA.

Proposed Settlements. The defendants and respondents in the six proposed settlement cases are barred from representing that their products prevent, treat, or cure any type of cancer unless the representation is true, non-misleading, and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. They also are barred from making representations about any other health-related products without competent and scientific evidence. Each proposed settlement also contains various monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting provisions to ensure compliance.

Three of the proposed settlements will be filed in federal district court:

Nu-Gen Nutrition, Inc. – The defendants marketed cantron, an electrolyte liquid, and apricot seeds containing laetrile as treatments and cures for various types of cancer. Based on the amount of sales of these products, the company and its principal have agreed to pay a judgment of $830,434, all but $246,000 of which is suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay. If it is determined that the financial information given to the FTC was untruthful, then the full amount of the judgement will become automatically due. This case was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. This company also received a warning letter from FDA.

Westberry Enterprises, Inc. – Claiming that their products could treat and cure various types of cancer, the defendants marketed herbal tea containing burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm bark, and Turkish rhubarb root; melatonin; a woody vine found in the jungles of Latin America that is known as cat’s claw; saltwater blue-green algae; and a mixture of roots,
leaves, and barks from various plants. Based on the amount of sales of these products, the
company and its principal have agreed to pay a judgment of $225,000; all but $15,000 of which
is suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay. If it is determined that the financial
information given to the FTC was untruthful, then the full amount of the judgement will become
automatically due. This case was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Alexandria Division. This company also received a warning letter from FDA.

Jim Clark’s All Natural Cancer Therapy – Claiming that their metabolic therapy products could prevent, treat, and cure various types of cancer, the defendants marketed laetrile, apricot
seeds, digestive enzymes, okra-pepsin-E3, and coral calcium. The two individual defendants –
James Franklin Clark and Carrie Ann Hatcher – have agreed to pay separate amounts. Clark has agreed to pay $353,702, all but $25,000 of which was suspended because of his inability to pay. Hatcher has agreed to pay $207,676, all of which was suspended because of her inability to pay. If it is determined that the financial information provided to the FTC was untruthful, then the full amount of the judgments will become automatically due. This case was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.

The FTC has issued administrative complaints for the remaining proposed settlement cases, which involved smaller sales volumes than the federal district court settlements. Violating an administrative order can result in a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation.

Bioque Technologies, Inc. – The respondents marketed an extract from the soursop or guanabana tropical fruit tree and claimed in their advertisements that it could prevent and treat melanoma. They also represented that the product, called Serum GV, was clinically proven to do these things. Under the proposed agreement, the respondents are required to pay the full amount of Serum GV sales, $9,035.85, in consumer redress.

Holly A. Bacon d/b/a Cleansing Time Pro – The respondent marketed a corrosive product called black salve, in both ointment and tablet form. Black salve has been reported to cause severe burns and permanent scarring at high concentrations. Claiming in advertisements that either formulation could prevent, treat, and cure various types of cancer, individual respondent
Holly A. Bacon represented herself as a satisfied user of the product without disclosing that she was the owner of the company. She also represented that black salve was effective at
preventing, treating, and curing numerous viral infections, including HIV, SARS, and Avian Flu.

Premium-essiac-tea-4less – The respondent marketed an herbal remedy known as essiac tea. According to the complaint, the respondents’ advertisements recommended “a daily intake based on whether the consumer is well, sick with cancer or another disease, trying to prevent a relapse of cancer or another disease, or currently undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.” The FTC complaint challenged the respondent’s claim that its essiac tea product was an effective treatment for cancer, AIDS, ulcers, hepatitis C; and many other diseases.

The Commission vote authorizing the issuance or filing of the 11 complaints and agreed-upon final orders was 4-0. The three federal district court proposed settlements were filed on September 18, 2008.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest.
The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant or respondent has actually violated the
law. The stipulated final order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. A stipulated final order requires approval by the court and has the force of law when signed by the judge.

The administrative consent orders will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through October 17, 2008, after which the Commission will consider whether to make them final. Comments should be sent to: FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-3707
STAFF CONTACT:
Richard Cleland
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3088
(Cancer Cures NR.wpd)

Original here

Krispy Kreme hopes to heat up sales with ice cream

By Lauren Shepherd, Associated Press

A Krispy Kreme Doughnuts shop is seen March 15, 2002 in Rosemont, Illinois. The company is planning to build smaller locations that are less expensive to build than its older "factory store" model that allowed consumers to watch the doughnuts being made.

A Krispy Kreme Doughnuts shop is seen March 15, 2002 in Rosemont, Illinois. The company is planning to build smaller locations that are less expensive to build than its older "factory store" model that allowed consumers to watch the doughnuts being made.

NEW YORK — Krispy Kreme's signature glazed doughnuts may be best hot, but its sales have been anything but in recent years. Now the chain is hoping that going cold — with its new soft-serve ice cream — will be the catalyst it needs.

The company has been trying to revive its sales for nearly three years, amid a health craze that made its glazed doughnuts an indulgence that many just couldn't stomach.

Now industry watchers say Krispy Kreme Doughnuts' latest turnaround plan — which includes launching the new ice cream as well as opening smaller stores and expanding overseas — still may not be enough to help the chain climb out of its hole.

"They're trying to reposition themselves as more of a treat concept" that offers consumers desserts and indulgences, said Bob Goldin, executive vice president at food industry research firm Technomic. But "it'll be hard to argue it's a growth business" given trends toward eating healthier, he said.

The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company replaced its chief executive with its chairman, James H. Morgan, in January to try to revitalize the management team. That followed years of losses as the company attempted to recover from allegations of mismanagement, bankruptcy filings of its franchisees and the resurgence of competitor Dunkin' Donuts.

Krispy Kreme's stock price has reflected the turmoil, falling to an all-time low of $2.23 earlier this year. The stock had been trading nearer to $50 at the beginning of the decade.

In the first half of the fiscal year that began in February, Krispy Kreme posted a profit of $2.1 million after reporting a $34.4 million loss a year earlier. But that gain was mainly due to a lack of one-time charges that had weighed down the prior year's results.

Sales actually declined 8% for that period and same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, dropped 6.5% in the six months ended Aug. 3.

During the company's second-quarter earnings conference call, Morgan laid out his plans to regain the confidence of investors and analysts, who have largely dropped coverage of the company.

Morgan said Krispy Kreme will begin opening smaller locations that are less expensive to build than its older "factory store" model that allowed consumers to watch the doughnuts being made. The company plans to open the first of those stores in North Carolina and Tennessee during this fiscal year.

Spokesman Brian Little said the company is expecting the stores to perform well, particularly since it has used the model in its international locations and sales have been "very positive" there.

Internationally, the company has been expanding aggressively, adding 58 stores since February. More than half of its stores are now located outside the U.S.

Another key part of the plan is the company's new Kool Kreme soft serve, which will be featured with a toppings bar. The product is being tested in several stores around the country.

Whether the new offering will boost sales remains to be seen, but analysts have yet to be impressed — especially as Krispy Kreme's competitors are trying to attract health-conscious customers with egg-white sandwiches and whole-grain pastries.

"There's no question that Americans are changing their attitude about health as a way to add good things to your diet," said Harry Balzer, vice president of consumer research firm NPD Group.

Balzer said that although diners "will always have a desire for indulgent food," if restaurant chains want to stay competitive they must be responsive to the healthy eating trend.

Little said the "nutritional concerns of our consumers are always a consideration" but that the company sees its products as "an affordable indulgence" and one of "many sweet treats available to consumers worldwide."

Goldin said regardless of whether it speaks to consumers' desires, ice cream may not be different enough from other products already on the market. McDonald's Corp., for example, sells a soft serve treat for less than a dollar in some areas.

"I'm not saying it won't work, but how are you going to compete against that?" Goldin said. "I just don't think that's a product that's going to carry that well."

Still, he said, "they've got to do something."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The 7 Ugliest Cars Ever Built

Auto makers employ some of the world’s most skilled designers to help them create the general aesthetic for their brand, and the subtle nuances that help create an identity for each of their models. Sex appeal has always played a role in car design, as sales are often driven as much by functionality as they are by desire.

Bob Lutz, GM’s current head designer, has said that one of the main goals in automotive design is to “create an emotional connection with the buyer.” In the case of these seven… things, I think it’s safe to assume that emotion is either despair or embarrassment. Here are the seven ugliest cars ever built.

7. - Yugo GV

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The Yugo GV entered the American market for the first time in 1986 with the compelling price tag of $3990 for a brand new car. The car was marketed as basic, reliable transportation in the tradition of the VW Beetle and the Ford Model T. Basic, yes. Reliable? Not really. Yugo gets a hat tip for offering a new car for under 4 grand that still managed to make buyers feel ripped off.

The ironically-badged “Great Value” Yugo was powered by an anemic 1.1 liter motor generating a feeble 58hp mated to a transmission which Car & Driver described was “like trying to shift a baseball bat stuck inside a barrel full of coconuts.”

So it comes as no suprise that the Yugo’s looks weren’t doing the car any favors either, and the GV became the prime example of a foreign sh!tbox economy car. The Yugo's appearances in movies and TV didn’t help its appeal, either.




6. - Mercedes Benz G-class

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Born out of a joint venture between Mercedes Benz and Austrian company Steyr-Puch, a company who most likely made either security safes or refrigerators previously, the “G-wagen”, as it’s commonly known, started to come into favor with the blinged-out crowd a few years ago, for no discernable reason.

With the aerodynamics of a brick and the visual appeal of a vending machine, these vehicles weren’t officially released in America until just a few years ago, and were instead sold on the gray market by European companies who would convert them to US standards and sell them for around $135,000 – complete with roll-up windows and diesel motors, a la the Hummer H1.

Sorry - even if ugly costs 135 grand, it’s still ugly.

5. - Ford Mustang II

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After the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, a dark, dark cloud formed over Detroit. The cars produced afterward suffered from some of the lowest quality and worst designs in automotive history, as the pursuit of fuel economy and cheaper building costs resulted in some truly abominable cars.

One of the models that suffered the effects the most was the iconic Ford Mustang. Where just four years previous was a luxurious muscle car, boasting well over 400hp in some iterations and timeless style, now stood the Mustang II, which was essentially a Ford Pinto with a pony emblem on the grill.

Suffering from an overly generous helping of mid-70s “ideas”, the Mustang II was a sobering realization of just how bad things had gotten. Performance-wise, the top shelf motor for the 1974 model was a 171 cubic inch V6, generating a depressing 105hp, good for a 0-60 time of 14.2 seconds. Try to imagine going flat out for 15 seconds and still not hitting freeway speeds. And this was the optional motor. Yikes.

4. - Pontiac Aztek

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One of the reasons the Aztek is particularly notable is because this is a pretty recent design – I mean, you’d think that with some 90+ years of market research and design trial and error, disasters like this space-shuttle-meets-Gobot mutant would’ve been a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, Pontiac ignored the warning signs and produced this malformed atrocity, and the Aztek was almost immediately hailed as one of the ugliest automotive designs of all time.

This stigma apparently just fueled Pontiac’s designers even more, as they began adding more plastic moldings, chrome pieces, and various lights and vents - perhaps in an attempt to confuse and distract potential buyers into some sort of purchase-crazy frenzy before they could come to their senses.

Mercifully, it didn’t work, and the Aztek was gone after 2005, concluding its four year run.

3. - VW Thing

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Probably the most accurately-named vehicle on the list, the first time I saw one of these, I reflexively declared, “What the hell is that?”

I guess VW knew it was weird too – I mean, who names their car a Thing without consciously being aware of the fact that its appearance can best be described as bizarre. Initially designed for the German military for patrolling tasks, its civilian duty was short lived due to the fact that it was deemed unsafe by American safety standards. With doors that could be removed by hand, a collapsible windshield, and an unprotected roofline, the Thing was kind of a deathtrap.

The fact that it resembled the bastard child of aluminum siding and origami probably didn’t help either.

2. Citroën 2CV

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Seriously – who authorized this? What sort of rationale is required to sign off on such a repulsive car? French designer Pierre-Jules Boulanger pitched the car in the initial design brief as a low-priced, rugged “umbrella on four wheels." Boulanger also had the roof raised to allow tall persons to drive the 2CV while wearing a hat. Neither of these things helped to make the 2CV a looker.

Part of the 2CV’s design mission was to basically create the cheapest car possible, both from a manufacturing and retail price standpoint. The result, while hailed by many automotive critics as a very functional vehicle, was a vehicle that was just flat-out horrendous to behold. The 1949 debut model wasn’t much of a driver either, considering its motor generated– and this is not a typo – NINE horsepower.

Not even James Bond could make this car cool. I think is the only car chase I've ever seen where the one of the cars needed a push-start midway through.

Apparently, it didn’t matter to the French though, as the 2CV had a production run of 42 years. Really, I swear.



1. - AMC Pacer

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The fishbowl on wheels. Upon its arrival in 1975, American journalists tried to make the best of a bad situation by complimenting its “very modern styling” and “ample passenger room”. The British press, however, were less polite when The Motor declared, “We Tested the AMC Pacer – And We Wish We Hadn’t” and The Independent wrote that the Pacer “looked horrible, drove badly, and ate money.” Despite being powered by a paltry 95hp inline six cylinder engine, the Pacer still managed to average an observed fuel economy of less than 18mpg. Truly, it was not Detroit’s finest hour.

But what really sets the Pacer apart from the rest, aside from being just straight-up painful to look at, is the fact that it was such a bad car that it helped spawn a kitschy off-shoot car culture based around vehicles that were the considered the butt of the joke in their heyday. As the Pacer has aged, it has become the hallmark of bad 1970s automotive design, and an almost perverse interest in the car has resurfaced over the past few years. This phenomenon made its first major move back into pop culture consciousness via the Pacer’s appearance in Wayne’s World, complete with an ironic flamejob treatment to the paint.

Sadly, the flames don’t make this car suck any less, and it’s still the ugliest, and possibly worst, car ever built.

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