Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 35

Good morning! It’s a gorgeous day in the Ozarks. There is a lot to complain about today and we shall get to it presently. Before we go there, let’s think about limericks. That familiar and delightful meter has been with us a long time and still retains its popularity. I confess to adjusting this one somewhat to alter the tempo but I can’t claim it as original:

There once was a man named Al Gore,
Who loved ethanol to the core.
Then grain and rice,
Went way up in price,
Now he’s blamed for starving the poor.
Is anyone interested in a solution to the impending doom of encroaching hunger? Would you be interested if I told you it is FREE! That’s right; it wouldn’t cost you a dime. The solution lies in the simple expedient of repealing the subsidy on foodstuffs which are congressionally enabled in the ethanol program. What we are entering here is the realm of unintended consequences.

To demonstrate their willingness to “do something” about the stranglehold which OPEC has on our fuel, our masters in DC came up with this entire ethanol mess. In typical governmental style they proceeded to throw money at it. They offered the farmer an opportunity to finally grow more corn and other crops to supply the burgeoning bio-fuel production with government subsidies. Farmers have dirty days but they don’t have dumb ones. They took the money.

A quick look at some numbers demonstrates the foolishness of the program. It takes roughly 500 pounds of corn to fill a twenty gallon gas tank with ethanol. For about a third of the world’s population, that is enough to feed one adult for an entire year. My Explorer would use that twenty gallons on less than three trips to church and back. You figure it out, Verona, MO to Miami, OK. Those five hundred pounds of corn could also be used to feed a cow which could provide milk, calves, and finally a decent T-bone and some hamburger. I didn’t even mention a new pair of boots. Let’s also assume that my numbers are of by a factor of ten: That would only result in feeding an adult for 36.5 days.

Were it not for a suicidal desire on the part of legislators to appease the farm lobby, this problem could be easily solved by repeal of the legislation. It is well know that there are other sources of biomass which are equally useful in the production of substitute fuels.

Embracing the perspective of the people who experience actual hunger and not that sinking feeling when you find Taco Bell closed early, we see the prospect of unaffordable and unavailable food stuffs. If the raw food is not there at any price, they will have to do without. For most people in the disadvantaged world, food can represent 50% to 70% of an individual’s total expenditure. But, you cannot buy that which does not exist.
UPDATE: To complete the irony of the above entries, please consider the following. Way back in 1994, the original biofuel legislation had passed the house and went to the senate for confirmation. It stalled there with a 50-50 deadlock. As the constitution mandates, the tie-breaking vote was furnished by the vice-president who presides over the senate and only votes in case of a tie. He voted and the issue then became the law.

Do we remember the name of the vice-president in 1994? Ah yes, it was Al Gore.
I am more than a little puzzled this morning with the outcome of the raid on the compound in Texas of the Yearning for Zion Sect. I am puzzled but not surprised. I am never surprised when the authorities raid a “sect,” especially in that neck of the woods. We do remember Waco and the late congregation who died under the hands of the BATF, FBI, and with the OK given by then Attorney General Janet Reno don’t we? There is apparently something about crossing the line into Texas which suspends constitutional protection.

Child Protective Services, regardless of location has a long and infamous reputation as an unwieldy and poorly managed service of the government. I rarely cruise the net without seeing yet one more example of overkill from these folks. This latest escapade will rank right up there with some of the largest and more outrageous. Separating lactating mothers from their babies, putting impressionable preschoolers in strange foster homes, forcing 5 to 10 year olds into alien environments without indictments – let alone convictions – of parents is patently unjust. Surely this is not the will of the good people of Texas.

In no way do I wish to defend the practice of polygamy or encourage arranged marriages for underage girls regardless of their faith. Law enforcement has tools to arrest, investigate and pursue legal remedies for the preceding. There was no need to totally destroy the familial relationships and traumatize those youngsters. I would hope we will soon see some evidence that the men involved will be called to account and the law can then stop picking on the helpless under the guise of protecting them. Have we totally forgotten the presumption of innocence in matters such as this? If Texas has a beef with members of the sect, let them prove it in a court of law and not in the nursery.
Some guy in Indiana received one of those annoying phone calls from an eager campaigner for one of the candidates. He patiently listened to the pitch of promises for hope, change and a great America. When the surveyor then asked for his response, it was simple. “I want a pony!” The caller responded, “What?” “I want a pony. You have promised everyone everything else and I have always wanted a pony!” The phone went dead.
The struggle continues on the center place message board. Amid warnings from the moderator they continue to assert that which they sincerely believe. You will not find a contribution to the dog fight by this writer. I am reasonably certain that I would be deleted, banned, folded, spindled and mutilated upon the first post. Further, Lois, Jared, Jay and others express their opinions and interpretation of the scripture far better than I. They also do so with a sufficient degree of modulation to avoid the wrath of the masters.

As in all things, I am content to believe that the will of God will prevail. Although I am not eager to join the heavenly realm, I will admit that I do have the desire to learn the absolute truth of many of the issues being discussed. That is, I’m certain, the only venue where it prevails.

In the meantime, be at peace and look forward to a lengthy piece on the “company we keep.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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