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Can I still purchase a new Macbook Air with Mountain Lion?
don't think so, but you can purchase, or if you have a copy of mt. lion, you can set up a partition and dual boot. the trick is to figure out if the macbook specs are compatible with whatever os you want to downgrade to. mac forums may be able to help, as mac support probably will be hesitant to tell you. (you may get someone cool enough to tell you the truth, tho.)
i have a mac pro with 10.4.11 and purchased snow leopard and for the sake of simplicity and convenience, put the "new" os on a separate hd. i was able to import all of the same user settings to the new os and am able to switch between the two when i want. the plus of this is, some apps work well in one os, and not so well in the other. so i can switch depending on what i want to do. since mac doesn't do a very good job of supporting older os', this is a good future workaround, as well.
a mac support guy did tell me that dual boot will void warranty tho. since my machine is six years old anyway, i didn't care, lol. but it was like pulling teeth to get him to tell me i could actually dual boot to begin with. eventually i found a mac forum explaining the process in detail. pretty easy to do.
Dual boot shouldn't have any affect upon the warranty. Boot camp is an Apple program and that dual boots. And Macs run Windows as well as any PC and better than most. That said, I wouldn't worry about Mavericks unless, you need software that won't run on it. I upgraded and it's fine and no software of mine that ran under Mountain Lion was lost during the upgrade. (Something that did happen with the upgrade to Snow Leopard.) Generally if the software you think you need won't run on a Mac, you can easily find GOOD software that will run just fine. (It's pretty hard to find crap Mac software.)
"Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
- George Carlin
"It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
- Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears
"The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
IF this helps (and hopefully I'm allowed to disseminate this information) there is an outfit in southern California called DV Warehouse that deals in used and refurb Macs. You can Google them. And no, I do not own nor am I in any way affiliated with DV Warehouse. I have had pretty good luck dealing with them, though.
The hijacking of the Republican party by the religious right really did send the party into a tailspin of fundamentalism and black/white politics. It's really scary how it transformed the party.