Friday, May 18, 2007
Hysteria, Famine, and "Poisoning"
Yesterday, I stumbled across two articles that discuss interesting aspects of two methods of reducing the consumption of fossil fuels that are currently all the rage due to global warming hysteria.
The first, an article from the Los Angeles Times, discusses the many reasons "Why Ethanol Backfires" due to government interference in the economy designed to shift 40% of the world's corn supply towards an inefficient method of producing ethanol.
[T]he price of corn has doubled in the last year -- from $2 to $4 a bushel. We are already seeing upward pressure on food prices as the demand for ethanol boosts the demand for corn. Until the recent ethanol boom, more than 60% of the annual U.S. corn harvest was fed domestically to cattle, hogs and chickens or used in food or beverages. Thousands of food items contain corn or corn byproducts. In Mexico, where corn is a staple food, the price of tortillas has skyrocketed because U.S. corn has been diverted to ethanol production.The article does unfortunately accept the premise that the government ought to be doing something about global warming, but it was worth reading for its methodical dissection of the stupidity of our government's encouragement of converting corn to ethanol.
And any sort of shock to corn yields, such as drought, unseasonably hot weather, pests or disease could send food prices into the stratosphere. Such concerns are more than theoretical. In 1970, a widespread outbreak of a fungus called southern corn leaf blight destroyed 15% of the U.S. corn crop.
The second article was a short posting at American Thinker which points out that compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can fill the air in an average room with enough mercury to constitute dangerous levels of chronic exposure. I regard this article as too focused on pointing out hypocrisy and borderline alarmist, but very instructive in one respect: Could you imagine environmentalists being on board with any other such "unsafe" product?
For the sake of possibly shaving a few tenths of a degree off the earth's temperature -- if certain climatologists and their computer models are correct -- we are to accept greater government intrusion into our lives, not to mention more expensive food, and (by the lights of the environmentalists anyway) the risk of mercury poisoning.
No wonder Al Gore is stirring up a frenzy. He knows that a moment's thought would tank his whole political agenda.
I Think Not ....
Geico Caveman commercials have been known to make me laugh out loud, but I'm dubious about the idea of turning the spots into a television series.
I'm not saying this can't be done, but this strikes me an attempt, similar to the Mr. Bean movie awhile back, to stretch a good gag a wee bit too far.
"I ALWAYS agreed with the Rev. Falwell."
Other than the above quote, Ann Coulter's latest, a rambling column in praise of Jerry Falwell gave me little else but mild curiosity about which of these products -- and how much -- she consumed before writing it.
Oh, yeah. I guess there is also the matter of whether she will succeed in bursting through the phalanx of Fred Phelps supporters who plan to attend the funeral in time to hurl herself into the grave after his coffin.
Hmmm. It felt soooo ... catty to write that!
Here's a Trial Balloon for You
The Houston Chronicle has put out an article that doesn't really say very much, except to insinuate that Rush Limbaugh's conservative commentary is little different than Don Imus's constant barrage of idiotic off-color jokes. By itself, this is pretty standard lefty fare.
It's only when you consider the headline that the whole point of the article becomes apparent: "Is Limbaugh above the law? Regular on his show makes fun of Obama as well as Sharpton"
The last time I checked freedom of speech wasn't illegal.
Oh, wait.... With the Democrats trying to bring back the "Fairness" Doctrine, it would effectively become illegal on radio if they succeeded. In that context, the headline seems clearly intended to lead irate readers by the nose into supporting the revival of this old form of censorship when these efforts pick up more steam.