Monday, August 11, 2008

An Earful of Corn

UPDATE: below

Remember Barack Obama claiming that proper tire inflation could save as much oil as easing off-shore drilling restrictions? Well if improving auto mileage is the centerpiece of the candidate's energy plan--or simply more than just a public service announcement--shouldn't the Dems reject current inefficient and expensive ethanol subsidies? My "source was the New York Times" on July 26th:
The most common blend of ethanol is called E10, which is about 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol by volume. All modern nondiesel cars are certified to run on a blend of up to 10 percent.

(E85, a much higher ethanol blend of about 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is only for vehicles specifically designated “flex fuel.”)

Gallon for gallon, pure ethanol contains one-third less energy than gasoline, and the ethanol industry acknowledges that E10 reduces mileage by about 2 percent.

Some drivers think the change is notably greater. Chuck Mai, a vice president of AAA Oklahoma, reported that his organization has been getting calls from members blaming E10 for mileage drops of 8 to 20 percent.

Drivers in Tulsa, he said, are complaining to their local service stations , saying, “‘I used to get 28 mpg; last time around, I’m getting 25. What’s going on?’”

In chat rooms at Edmunds.com and elsewhere, plenty of people are blaming ethanol for substantial mileage drops.
As Henry Payne says on Planet Gore: "The ethanol mandate: Raising your food prices while reducing your fuel mileage. What a deal."

MORE:

Texas governor Rick Perry in the Wall Street Journal:
At what price will corn be so expensive that the federal government will decide that it is time to stop driving up the price of food? . . .

As we can see now, the diversion of our corn supply from grocery stores to gasoline pumps has caused the price of corn to spiral out of control. Corn prices were once driven by market forces. Today they are artificially driven up by a government mandate. In 2004, before the mandates were imposed, the cost of corn hovered around $2 per bushel. Now it is close to $8 per bushel.

This is driving up the cost of staple food items at the grocery store. And it is also driving up the price of corn-based feed, devastating the livestock industry to the point that Texas cattle feeders have been operating in the red since 2007.

20 comments:

Geoffrey Britain said...

dems won't repeal any attempt at promoting alternative energy. No matter how counter productive.

It is their 'issue', their cause, why Nancy Pelosi seeks to Save the World! Didn't you realize?

One does not abandon one's religion:-)

OBloodyHell said...

> One does not abandon one's religion :-)

Especially not a polytheistic one with interlocking ghods like Global Warming, "Small is Beautiful", Labor Union, Wise Old Gummint and, of course, the eeevil ghod of Big Business.

They have their twin profets (note:that's intentional):
The Great Obamessiah
and
The Goracle.

And now they have a symbol.
(my own take: "O" for "Orifice". It's what *your* orifice will look like after they get done with the country).

bobn said...

Since seeing the effect on food prices and learning of the tiny if not "negative improvements" ethanol brings to the energy situation, I have considered the ethanol subsidies obscenely immoral.

Poor people here and abroad are to starve, so that we can delude ourselves that we are doing something about something.

Vile.

But the GOP has their share of this too. Bush has also outright refused to lift the tarrif on Brazilian cane Ethanol - which apparently *is* energy and cost effective. Current tariff is $0.53 per gallon.

And McCain seems also to have bought into the AGW madness.

MaxedOutMama said...

Bob - dead on. Yes, corn ethanol is immoral. We are starving people for political correctness. This is gross. And carbon cap and trade schemes are mostly advocated as a form of protectionism.

But McCain is one of these types. People are saying Obama just converted on domestic drilling, but he changed his tune just about a month after McCain changed his.

Also, Bush held out for a while but then caved into this.

OBloodyHell said...

> People are saying Obama just converted on domestic drilling,

And this will change back about 4 hours after his election is confirmed.

Anyone who believes one damned thing Obama says is an idiot and a fool. Trust his voting record, not his mouth.

bobn said...

Anyone who believes one damned thing Obama says is an idiot and a fool. Trust his voting record, not his mouth.

McCain is not much, if any, better in this regard.

OBloodyHell said...

> McCain is not much, if any, better in this regard.

bob, without even looking at your links, no debate.

Note: McCain is even further from "conservative" than Bush is, by a long shot. He is, if anything LEFT of center. Just in case you needed help figuring this out. No, I cannot explain how he got the nom. Some have claimed that the Centrist Dems did it by voting as GOP, but I have never seen any credible evidence to support that, so it's nothing but a sour grapes claim at this point. I only repeat it because of the obvious question that follows my observation, and it is the only vaguely reasonable answer I've heard, even if totally unsupported.

As far as McCain, however, he is at least near the middle of the road, not off in the fields digging newer ditches even further away from the roadbed.

So, given the lack of any other seriously viable laternative, "Who Ya Gonna Vote For?"

bobn said...

OBH,

I honestly believe that McCain cannot fulfill the oath of office. See here for more of my reasoning. I plan on adding to that as well, but I hope you see where I'm coming from.

I fully admit that Obama is much further left than I like and much further left than McCain. His associations - especially the radical Islamic professors - leave me highly concerned.

I am left trying to pick which candidate will do the least damage to the Constitution - McCain with his disdain for the Habeas Corpus and the 1st Amendment or Obama with his disdain for the 2nd amendment.

As you once said, it's easier to figure out who to vote against - and reading about AUMF and MCA, and the court decisions around them, have hardened me against McCain, even if Obama is nearly as disgusting.

Carl said...

bobn:

Oh, lord, McCain's "distain for Habeas Corpus"? You're closer to the mark critiquing his campain finance reform record. But as for Habeas, read these three posts--and quit worrying about Mr. Padilla and Mr. Hamdamn both of whom had their cases reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Carl said...

Returning to topic, I agree with Geoffrey, M_O_M, bobn and OBH that ethanol subsidies are so perverse as to be not just bad policy but positively immoral. Kudos, then, the McCain for saying so—at a campaign stop in Iowa.

OBloodyHell said...

> I plan on adding to that as well, but I hope you see where I'm coming from.

I see where you're coming from, I don't fully agree. I don't like McCain, and I do take issue with much of what McCain-Feingold suggests from what I know of it, but that's not quite the same. And for all McCain's flaws, he's not going to screw everything up as thoroughly as The Big O.

> and OBH that ethanol subsidies are so perverse as to be not just bad policy but positively immoral

Actually, I didn't expressly state an opinion on that, but, since I was predicting, over five years ago, the effect of using excess agricultural production for ethanol would mean less food in the hands of the world's poor, and thus leading to a moral question of feeding starving people or make gasohol, I certainly don't take issue with the assessment.

;-)

bobn said...

Carl,

Your "at a campaign stop in Iowa" link is broke. Here's one though.

Also, you stoop to new lows when you stated that Padilla was reviewed by SCOTUS. Here is the money quote from the only time Padilla reached the Supreme Court:

" 1. Because this Court answers the jurisdictional question in the negative, it does not reach the question whether the President has authority to detain Padilla militarily. P. 1."

WOW. We're all safe now!

Padilla would have had another shot at it in SCOTUS, having refiled in the correct District, but Bush et. al. were so determined *not* to have SCOTUS review the "right" to detain a citizen forever with no charges or reason, that they buckled and tried him after all - but they didn't even indict him for the infamous "dirty bomb" plot. Since the famous saying is that you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, we really are left wondering just how great the gov't intel was.

Oh, and why does a government fight so hard for the right to imprison citizens with no redress? Because it intends to use that "right". Why aren't you conservatives screaming your heads off?

OBloodyHell said...

> Since the famous saying is that you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, we really are left wondering just how great the gov't intel was.

bob, not to suggest in any way which side I am on in this case, it is incredibly obvious that the Fed may have intel of significance which reveals sources and/or facts which the opposition (i.e., the terrorists) may not be aware of, and which has substantial further usage in thwarting and/or capturing the terrorists.

1) I'm not saying that's the case. I'm saying it could be.
2) If it is the case, then, short of that information, "the case" may well be inadequate to indict a ham sandwich.
3) As a result, you have basically given the government no option -- either they reveal information which is critically useful in ongoing investigations, or they will not be able to hold people they know to be dangerous criminals

I more than amply agree -- that can certainly be abused, and massively. But you can't ignore the other side, either -- you are dealing with individuals with no compunction, with no sane limits on their acts.

As a result, you have a major problem on your hands. Either choice is bad. So it's possible that the choice is going into the one which protects the most people at the moment, rather than the one with the better long-term consequences.

Context. Stop trying to ignore it. Nothing happens in a vacuum. For every action, there is a trade-off.

And if you want to argue the issue, then do it recognizing both sides of the argument, or else your arguments are worthless.

Probably what is called for is an independent branch of the judiciary whose job it is to provide oversight of the treatment of any US citizens (and only them -- not foreign nationals) and be granted limited access to the evidence against them to see that it is sufficient to suggest guilt or innocence, and also to oversee their treatment and handling. Such individuals to be appointed by the SCotUS, not by the legislative or executive branches, and reporting to them.

Carl would probably argue that that is a violation of executive privilege, but I do think there are issues here when US Citizens are involved which do not apply to the Executive Branch powers for warmaking, or which supercede that. The potential of the powers in question for massive abuse ARE not to be underestimated.

> Why aren't you conservatives screaming your heads off?

Because this is much more of a libertarian issue than a conservative one, as you'd know if you were exposed to conservatives.

bobn said...

OBH says:

it is incredibly obvious that the Fed may have intel of significance which reveals sources and/or facts which the opposition (i.e., the terrorists) may not be aware of, and which has substantial further usage in thwarting and/or capturing the terrorists.

I think that is possible. But if the plot was more than brain-fever, should there not have been some sort of external evidence that could have been used, independently of the intel? Pure speculation, I guess.

you are dealing with individuals with no compunction, with no sane limits on their acts.

... So it's possible that the choice is going into the one which protects the most people at the moment, rather than the one with the better long-term consequences.

Context. Stop trying to ignore it. Nothing happens in a vacuum. For every action, there is a trade-off.


OK, conceded, there are some pretty vicious people out there.

But somebody I know, arguing elsewhere here on the Heller thread, noted that the biggest killer of human beings last century was their own governments. And so I am very nervous about the arrogation of such extreme powers to the guys with the guns and prisons.

Probably what is called for is an independent branch of the judiciary whose job it is to provide oversight of the treatment of any US citizens (and only them -- not foreign nationals) and be granted limited access to the evidence against them to see that it is sufficient to suggest guilt or innocence, and also to oversee their treatment and handling. Such individuals to be appointed by the SCotUS, not by the legislative or executive branches, and reporting to them.

Carl would probably argue that that is a violation of executive privilege, but I do think there are issues here when US Citizens are involved which do not apply to the Executive Branch powers for warmaking, or which supercede that. The potential of the powers in question for massive abuse ARE not to be underestimated.


And I can agree with that - though the issue of citizenship must be included in independent review - too easy for the gov't to state that "he's not a citizen - into the hole!"

Separately I'm not sure if the line should be drawn at citizenship, but at least review by non-military non-executive-branch for citizens would be a huge start. A check and a balance.

OBloodyHell said...

> I think that is possible. But if the plot was more than brain-fever, should there not have been some sort of external evidence that could have been used, independently of the intel? Pure speculation, I guess.

Unfortunately, given the matter, I'm going to hold off on judgement.

> the biggest killer of human beings last century was their own governments.

I've made that point myself numerous times. It's one of the things which makes me nervous about this sort of thing, and one of the reasons I want to put some chains on this stuff myself, allowing it to be directed outward, but not inward. Outside forces threaten not just the government but the people. Inside forces only (or mostly) threaten the government.

> to the guys with the guns and prisons.

For the most part, we got the guns, and as long as that holds sway, the Fed is held in check.

If we lose that, all bets are off.

OTOH, if we hold off for another 10-20 years, they can't outlaw guns any more -- even now, computer-controlled lathes are cheap enough that anyone can own one (ca. 5k -- not cheap, but within the price range of anyone who really wants one) and, although they currently won't work tool steel, they allow for all sorts of possibilities in plastics and ceramics.

Give them another 10-20 years and tool steel will be doable, too. Once those are reasonably widespread, outlawing guns will be defacto impossible.

> too easy for the gov't to state that "he's not a citizen - into the hole!"

I've no major problem with that because there will always be enough citizens to raise issue with that if the individual isn't a terrorist in the first place -- hell, even terrorists get supporters, look at the attorney defending the 1993 WTC bomber, who is part the reason for the whole incommunicado thing in the first place. That bitch is the one who screwed Padilla.

Further, while I believe that we ought to try to provide the same protections for Foreign Nationals that citizens get, I don't think we are under any definite obligation to do so.

bobn said...

For the most part, we got the guns, and as long as that holds sway, the Fed is held in check.

If we lose that, all bets are off.


It is Obama's complete support of every left-wing whack-job form of gun control - while he claims to "support" the 2nd amendment - that I find most off-putting about him. Not to mention that he lies about it. I'm beginning to think that, by argument I've made elsewhere, Obama is also unfit to take the oath of office, on this issue alone.

But I am dubious of the usefulness of firearms in the face of a state that can imprison citizens at will and without reasonable review. Especially if the 4th amendment is weakened, how do citizens get together to use the force they have?

Here the context and the trade-off become extremely painful.

I've no major problem with that because there will always be enough citizens to raise issue with that if the individual isn't a terrorist in the first place

Not if the fellow citizens are intimidated by the state's power to imprison.

Check out this: Naomi Wolfe Interview - The End of America. Even if we concede that the threat of terrorism is not "over-hyped", she still makes some disturbing parallels.

OBloodyhell said...

> But I am dubious of the usefulness of firearms in the face of a state that can imprison citizens at will and without reasonable review.

No amount of prison can deal with a people willing and determined to assassinate their so-called leaders.

Guns tend to keep them in check all by themselves:

"Among other things, being disarmed causes you to be despised."
- Machiavelli -

They form the function of a noose:

"A Monarch's neck should always have a noose about it... It keeps him upright."
- Robert Heinlein, 'The Cat Who Walks Through Walls' -

> Especially if the 4th amendment is weakened, how do citizens get together to use the force they have?

They tell the ones attempting to order them around to f*** off. Hint: they won't be "reasonable" liberals.

> Not if the fellow citizens are intimidated by the state's power to imprison.

See previous comment about "reasonable" liberals. It won't be the reasonable ones objecting. And it won't be the likes of Code Pink, either. Their "bravado" extends almost entirely to those who won't fight back.

Carl said...

bobn:

You may have a right to a lawyer, but not necessarily to a better-than-average-lawyer who understands jurisdiction (e.g., me). And, again, I remind you again (OBH too) that the Supreme Court said in the 1940s that citizen enemy combatants are not entitled to criminal law-type protections, including Habeas, and may be tried under military law. Besides, Padilla ultimately was tried--and convicted--in American courts under ordinary criminal law.

OBH:

It's not just Executive Priv., what you propose is a major change to separation of powers--and so would require a Constitutional amendment. Since any power can be abused, I would not favor changing the Constitution because of speculation about a hypothetical but unrealized concern.

bobn said...

Carl said:

You may have a right to a lawyer, but not necessarily to a better-than-average-lawyer who understands jurisdiction

But for 2 years, Padilla was denied access to any lawyer or anybody else. And was the jurisdiction wrong because of the filing or because the government moved Padilla after the filing? In any case, you're still trying avoid the fact that the real issues of Padilla were not addressed by SCOTUS.

And, again, I remind you again (OBH too) that the Supreme Court said in the 1940s that citizen enemy combatants are not entitled to criminal law-type protections, including Habeas, and may be tried under military law.

I'll check out your link (you haven't been having the best of luck with those lately IMO.) In any case, if this is true, it means we must be exceedingly careful who gets the power to declare people enemy combatants. I can see some case for the military having control of that in a foreign battlefield, but it gets much more dangerous and slippery on the home front.

Besides, Padilla ultimately was tried--and convicted--in American courts under ordinary criminal law.

After 3.5 years of imprisonment which may well have robbed him of his sanity. You keep ignoring these inconvenient facts.

Carl said...

In the case I cited and linked, the enemy combatants were captured on the home front. You're not having the best of luck with precedent lately IMO.