We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, October 28. 2007
World's hottest pepper.
Harshest food critic ever, at The Onion. Bad language.
How New Hampshire turned Blue. Opinion Journal
Rufus would debate this: UN official warns of biofuels driving up cost of food worldwide
Biochemist Arthur Kornberg dies at 89.
Kling on The Road to McMedicine. He quotes Shannon Brownlee's book:
Tom Lantos: Europeans more upset about Gitmo than they were about Auschwitz. True. You have to notice that critics say Gitmo symbolizes bad things - not that it is a bad thing. Confusing symbols with reality is insane.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Terrorists: Vote Hillary; Kill Rudy
so let's se, she has the Chinese and the Islamofascists, but 52% od the American people say they WOULD NOT VOTE FOR HER for any reason.
Will Bush really bomb Iran?...does a chicken have a pecker?
Protesters call for end to Iraq war..Reuters...this is dog bites man stuff
Jim Rogers: Get Out of Dollar Now
Dollar Losing Reserve Status, Headed for Steep Decline
"He’s now calling for the yuan to "triple” and even "quadruple” in the next "decade or so” as the dollar’s historic role as the medium of foreign exchange inexorably dissipates.
Part of the reason is the decision by China to decouple the dollar in July 2005. The yuan has gained 10.3 percent on the dollar since then.
At the time of the decoupling, in July 2005, Rogers told the Oxford Club that he expected the Chinese currency to become fully convertible by the Beijing Olympics in 2008, although he declined to say he was speculating in yuan — also called the renminbi — in a big way."
The Honorable United States Representative Tom Lantos is a luck man. There is not comparable person on Capitol Hill that occupies the moral high ground history handed him. It is to his credit he chastised the Europeans for their puling attempt to connect the Holocaust and Nazi ovens to Gitmo or any other facility we have.
But that is the type of chest puffing one gets from an entire continent that was saved by the English and the Americans. Somehow in the psyche they must attempt to build an edifice of steel and stone instead of the reality of their Potemkin village countries.
They must find ways to look at themselves and say in some way, ”we matter, we make a difference”, when in reality they do not . Europe since WWII has been the greatest recipient of aid from the United States, monetarily, morally, and most of all in defense than any selection of countries in the history of the world. In fact they have been the recipient of the great largess ever provided any place on this Earth, by anyone at any time in history. Under this huge umbrella paid for by US citizens sacrificing their toil for the European adoption of socialism they can only offer the rancid hypocrisy of criticism they regurgitate.
They know, they must know that without the USA they would be occupied countries. It is time to let them find out with tougher trading, tougher demands on them to produce, and perhaps a time to bring up reciprocity in both guts and gilders, muscle and Marks, and Euroweenie Euros.
I'll refute the fool, later. It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and his idiocy isn't worth it.
I'll just say this, NOW. Energy Security leads to Food Security. Oil is at $92.00/barrel; We're Consuming more Oil (worldwide) than we're Producing; and, it's going to be worse next year than this year.
We, also, have the arable land (worldwide) to replace 100% of our oil, and Feed at least twice as many people as we currently have. We just have to get the politics, right. Think Zimbabwe!
Oh, by the way, the "cost" of the corn in that 14 oz. box of corn flakes in your pantry is up a whopping 1.5 cents since the "run-up" in corn prices.
I wouldn't worry about it. The article begins.
A United Nations expert
Enough said my friend..just enjoy the weekend.
Possumtater says hi.
Actually, Rufus, if you were a mom you would know that groceries have gone up far more than that in the last year. But hard to say whether it's oil prices or corn prices that are responsible.
IMHO, Ethanol is a scam, supported by the taxpayer, to support a few fat cats and “green” profiteers. As loathsome as Gore and his offsets….
Also Rufus, just because we are the richest, most fortunate nation in the world and have the arable land to try the experiment, does not make it right for us to waste food that could feed a hungry world, nor should we encourage third world nations to plant food for fuel while their people go hungry.
Am sure you will instantly demolish my amateurish perspective, as you are probably more "expert" than I am (I am just the cliched suburban mom), but there is something really screwy about the whole food for fuel business. In my family, when we are feeling broke and worry about the utility bills, we turn the heat down, put sweaters on, conserve generally. When gas prices go up, we drive less, walk more. We do not start burning up the furniture, the pictures, the books to stay warm....I get hundreds of pounds of manky looking but delicious apples every year from organic apple trees that would give about two days worth of firewood--so I react with horror at the idea of just using food for fuel.
For those interested in the battle over ethanol:
On a happier note, a fun story for Bird Dog:
“The strong do what they have to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.”
For it's daily oil consumption, the USA is now exporting around one billion dollars per day.
The other side of the ledger is, since the all-time high over a quarter-century ago ($100+ inflation-adjusted), we're getting twice the work out of that barrel of oil.
IOW, we're trading on a spread--and that spread is volatile (no pun intended). Of its several inputs we're losing more and more control daily.
Our fantastical productivity gains have masked the problem. These gains--which have been the result of the so-called information revolution--are how durable, rate-wise? That's the so-called "second derivative" and as such is more akin to a weather pattern than a plan.
So, where is this energy problem going? Nobody really knows. Some suspect "world war". Some say, it's already on and this is how it's being fought. East vs West, but with both reluctant to let it go to WWII levels. IF this is the truth of the matter, then, we actually need DAVID PETRAEUS as president.
Same to you, and Possumtater, Habu. We've got about the most beautiful day going here we've had all year.
Aw, come on, Retriever; we pay farmers Billions of dollars/yr NOT to plant crops. So do the Euros.
People in Africa are hungry because they are POOR, and cannot afford to "Buy" Food. They, primarily, are "energy" deficient. They can't afford the petrol to "raise" food. There are, literally, billions of arable acres going to waste.
If General Mills uses a one and a half cent increase in the price of the corn they use in a box of corn flakes as an "Excuse" to raise the cost of a box of cereal $0.75 it's NOT the fault of biofuels. You're being conned by "Big Oil," dear. A one dollar increase in a gallon of petrol results in 3 TIMES the effect as a one dollar cost in a bushel of corn.
You want a scam? Look at that steak you're eating. Some vegetarian is "Subsidizing" the heck out of it. Or, at least he/she was. The Meat Packers were getting their cattle feed for about a dollar/bu less than it takes to grow it; thanks to the FOUR BILLION/YR that the gov. WAS paying out in Corn Subsidies. I say, "Was," because that is no longer the case.
Is it a "Scam" when the Gov helps a New, and Vital, industry get started? What about the $13 Billion that was in the last Energy Bill for "Offshore Drilling?"
Is it a "Scam" that instead of having a Two and a Half Million Barrel/Day "Shortfall" in "Liquids" we only have a 1 1/2 million barrel/day shortfall thanks to a million barrel/day production of ethanol?
Retriever, let's let the Democrats do the "Feeling" thing. Let's us study the issues, and attempt to determine the Truth. It's the Only way we will survive.
I have no love for Big Oil. I do agree with much that you write, Rufus. Nor am I a lover of the Democrats, but I am on a feeling roll today, having heard an inspirational sermon by a visiting Indian (as in India) missionary, and ashamed of how fat we all look next to the pictures of the starving orphans they try to raise and educate on what pathetically small amounts we think we can "spare..." .
Africa...don't get me started! Good movies about Africa we have talked for hours about with the children lately have been: "BLood Diamond,"" The Constant Gardener", "Tsotsi." Have a young doctor relative who spent much time giving care in various impoverished countries there, and a steady parade of missionaries at my church, and I admire their zeal, but wonder if any of our help will do any good until the people there develop politically and overcome tribalism, corruption, etc.
Like some on Maggie's Farm, I think, I am no fan of any agricultural subsidies in this country. They were a good stopgap measure to save family farms once upon a time (Dustbowl? an occasional terrible harvest?), but I have no sentimental wish to pay agribusiness not to grow certain crops, or to grow biofuels. Subsidies should be abolished.
I would be the first to admit my ignorance of many aspects of the biofuels issue, but the following seem pretty problematical to me:
--the amount of oil needed to grow all that corn
--the environmental damage done by growing even more corn than now (it exhausts the soil, contributes to erosion, and the genetically engineered corn increasingly being used is starting to have pretty alarming ripple effects on adjacent eco-systems)
--the fact that it needs subsidies to get going (the issue is not one of needing government dollars for new technology--Manhattan Project was an appropriate use of government funds, as one might argue would be the development of life saving new drugs-- but the unwilling donations of our tax dollars to make it profitable for corporations to produce ethanol seems like Big Government of the bully variety).
--The fact that ethanol is not a good fuel. I don't want ethanol in my car or my lawn mower, they don't run as well...(Incidentally, any observant housewife like myself can tell you that the new energy efficient appliances and household items like toilets, etc. simply do not work as well as the energy guzzlers they are replacing. They may use less fuel and/or water, but they often do not clean or cool or power as well. ALso, most of them are now made in China to shoddy standards and have to be replaced every few years. So how is that environmentally friendly? If someone told a radiologist that they had to use new "energy efficient" equipment that missed 20% of the tumors presently being caught, they would riot! It is interesting that we consumers are all being gradually forced to use products that work less well by our Big Government. One can take some measures, like buying last year's model dishwasher that still swishes dishes cleaner with more water than the new "improved" model, but they are reactive and don't affect anybody.
I think we will have to do more with nukes, and people will have to cobble together ways to be more personally energy independent. Cheaper solar panels, a windmill on every farm again, using the water power on one's own land, things that used to be for off the grid wacko hippies could be adapted even to some suburban locations. Hybrid cars, if they can make them with less toxic batteries.
Use, reuse, make do and do without may come back in fashion...
Personally, I'm a mostly frugal New Englander about everything except whichever particular few toys particularly thrill one. So, for example, my ugly 1950s house in a good school district has never been remodelled or added on to (vintage floors, cabinets, yukky styling), but we do buy the family hot computers and cameras and books (tho the latter mostly second hand), and I indulge myself with French cast iron cookware. Otherwise: clothes from the thrift shop, no household help, no fancy cars, no vacations (no air travel), no meals out, grow as much of our vegetables and fruit as we can, buy local and organic food (never eat anything foreign, and choose the local over the Wussified Whole Foods stuff flown thousands of miles to us at inflated prices). Church is the center of our social life, we walk a lot, and we heat one room at a time in winter, except for 65 degree bedrooms after 10. We trade hand me downs with friends, carpool, and our major luxury is a large dog. When kid got first parttime job (only way to get an ipod) she gave 1/3 of salary to fund an orphan in a program run by people we know from church.
I am probably provincial and behind the times. I think there are many instances where the government should help a vital new industry get off the ground. And of course energy is an issue of national security. But I think focussing on decreasing our own domestic consumption rather than merely changing fuels would be a good place to start. Otherwise, we will just be like all the idiots who switch to diet foods but continue to eat too much, and wonder why they are still unhealthy.
Enough, have to go cheer on my beloved Red Sox.
And now for something completely different, to take one's mind off horrible energy angst: