Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ethanol or Tequila?


The ridiculous push for Ethanol has even driven Mexican Agave farmers to burn off their tequila-producing agave land and plant it with corn so they can cash in on the ethanol craze.

Here's a little insight into the ethanol hoax, reprinted without any permission or anything from The American Enterprise Online:

The most perverse aspect of subsidized ethanol production was uncovered by David Pimentel. He calculates that it actually consumes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than the ethanol itself provides. While a 2002 report from the Department of Agriculture claims that increased corn yields have converted ethanol from a net energy waste to a net energy gain, Pimentel’s 2003 study maintains that ethanol uses 29 percent more energy than it creates due to tractor fuel, irrigation pumps, and other inputs. According to Pimentel, 99,119 BTUs of energy are expended to create the 77,000 BTUs in a gallon of ethanol. In other words, the government is keeping farmers busy by paying them to waste energy.

Of course, the other fun thing is that our government (read: Senators in corn-producing states) has decided to subsidize the corn farmers, since if the "playing field were level" (hey, wait - aren't liberals always bitching about uneven playing fields?) the cost of growing corn would make ethanol more expensive than gasoline. So now Archer-Daniels-Midland gets something about $400 Million a year from the government to grow corn in South Dakota and Iowa (hmm, they have primaries in Iowa, don't they?). Land that should be left alone as forest or meadow is now being stripped and fertilized for corn crops, which adds tons of nitrate contamination (another baddie according to all the greenies!) to groundwater. And burning ethanol, far from being "cleaner" than petrol actually adds more crap to the air, water, and soil when you factor in the fertilizing, farming equipment, irrigation, production and the ethanol exhaust itself.
And don't forget, many states have mandated ethanol content in their gas (and therefore mandated subsidies) - which, if eliminated, would actually help the environment, not hurt it.

But, hey. Don't let facts get in the way of feel-good greenspeak! Corn is renewable! Who cares how much it costs to produce! Who cares if it artificially drives the cost of feed corn and food corn (that'd be corn for animals and people to eat, respectively) through the roof! The mamacitas in Mexico aren't going to be able to afford to make tortillas! But who cares! Poverty and starvation in Mexico ain't our problem, we have to quit burning oil!

Jeez. Does it ever end? Here is a good article with more scholarly presentation than my venting.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fat Lazy Americans, Indeed!

And I thought I was a couch potato. Jeez.

nicked from LiveJournal

Monday, May 21, 2007

Insect Slapstick

Pretty cool. Apparently it is a Samsung commercial for very thin phones...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Three Amigos Trivia

After viewing the comedy classic "The Three Amigos" this weekend, I was digging around for information on one of the kids in the movie ("...can I have your watch when you are dead?"). He looks familiar, like he may be "someone" now. Anyway, I couldn't find anything. But I did see that Sam Kinison actually had a cameo role but it got cut. Wikipedia says:

He had a supporting role as a Mexican bandit in the 1986 movie ¡Three Amigos!, but his scene was cut. Kinison believed this was due to Chevy Chase being jealous of how Kinison stole several scenes in Back to School.

I also wonder, knowing Sam's "colorful" vocabulary, if his scene might have garnered the film an "R" rating instead of the more socially acceptable "PG-13". Incidentally, the descripion of PG-13 might read: "Some material may not be suitable for viewers under 13, or your Baptist Singles Department gathering". Is there a movie made for grown-ups that is actually funny without resorting to locker-room humor? I wonder...

Hate Crime Update

Sometimes you have to wonder at the blatant pandering of our wonderful elected officials. I mentioned HR 1592 in a previous post, and the House actually passed it. Unbelievable.
Thankfully, President Bush has pledged to veto it (this would only be his third or fourth, I believe).
In an email newsletter, Congressman Ron Paul summed up the unconstitutionality (hey, don't let that old piece of paper get in the way of pandering to gays and minorities! We got votes to buy!) of the resolution, and it bears reading:

May 7, 2007

Last week, the House of Representatives acted with disdain for the Constitution and individual liberty by passing HR 1592, a bill creating new federal programs to combat so-called “hate crimes.” The legislation defines a hate crime as an act of violence committed against an individual because of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Federal hate crime laws violate the Tenth Amendment’s limitations on federal power. Hate crime laws may also violate the First Amendment guaranteed freedom of speech and religion by criminalizing speech federal bureaucrats define as “hateful.”

There is no evidence that local governments are failing to apprehend and prosecute criminals motivated by prejudice, in comparison to the apprehension and conviction rates of other crimes. Therefore, new hate crime laws will not significantly reduce crime. Instead of increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement, hate crime laws undermine equal justice under the law by requiring law enforcement and judicial system officers to give priority to investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Of course, all decent people should condemn criminal acts motivated by prejudice. But why should an assault victim be treated by the legal system as a second-class citizen because his assailant was motivated by greed instead of hate?

HR 1592, like all hate crime laws, imposes a longer sentence on a criminal motivated by hate than on someone who commits the same crime with a different motivation. Increasing sentences because of motivation goes beyond criminalizing acts; it makes it a crime to think certain thoughts. Criminalizing even the vilest hateful thoughts--as opposed to willful criminal acts--is inconsistent with a free society.

HR 1592 could lead to federal censorship of religious or political speech on the grounds that the speech incites hate. Hate crime laws have been used to silence free speech and even the free exercise of religion. For example, a Pennsylvania hate crime law has been used to prosecute peaceful religious demonstrators on the grounds that their public Bible readings could incite violence. One of HR 1592’s supporters admitted that this legislation could allow the government to silence a preacher if one of the preacher’s parishioners commits a hate crime. More evidence that hate crime laws lead to censorship came recently when one member of Congress suggested that the Federal Communications Commission ban hate speech from the airwaves.

Hate crime laws not only violate the First Amendment, they also violate the Tenth Amendment. Under the United States Constitution, there are only three federal crimes: piracy, treason, and counterfeiting. All other criminal matters are left to the individual states. Any federal legislation dealing with criminal matters not related to these three issues usurps state authority over criminal law and takes a step toward turning the states into mere administrative units of the federal government.

Because federal hate crime laws criminalize thoughts, they are incompatible with a free society. Fortunately, President Bush has pledged to veto HR 1592. Of course, I would vote to uphold the president’s veto.

As much as I think Bush has messed up, he gets some things right. This is definitely one of them. Texans may recall that he wouldn't sign hate crime legislation into law in this great state - and the NAACP created one of the most disgusting, polarizing, divisive, race-baiting commercials ever to air on the "public airwaves" (but Imus had to lose his job... I digress). They ran "re-enactment" video of the James Byrd dragging incident while his daughter provided the voiceover: "(I)t was like my father was killed all over again." because Governor Bush wouldn't sign the hate crime bill. Hmmm. Two of the three perpetrators got the death penalty and the third got life in prison. What more is there? You get killed "extra good" if it's a hate crime? Besides, I thought the NAACP was against the death penalty because too many blacks get death sentences. Oh wait... if it's white guys, they're all for it (and then some!), apparently.

Friday, May 04, 2007

For Noelle

Cibo Matto - "Sugar Water" video

I was reminded of this while watching Bajo Fondo's "Perfume" video over at Noelle's blog. Lots of split/multiple screen stuff!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How is This Not "Hate Speech"?

Well, we can all rest easier now. Rage Against The Machine has reunited. Lead singer Zack de la Rocha apparently missed the Imus debacle:

Stomping, shouting into his microphone, grabbing his curly hair and inciting the audience to "keep fighting," de la Rocha powered through songs ranging from the bass heavy "Bulls on Parade" to the anthem "Killing in the Name."

He also railed against the war in Iraq and likened Bush administration officials to Nazi war criminals.

"This current administration is no exception. They should be tried and hung and shot," he said.

So, if you make an idiotic comment about some basketball players, you pay with your career. If you compare your President and his administration to Nazis, then call for their death... what, you're some kind of visionary? A hero? A role model?

If he had said it "on the public airwaves", would that been a problem? That's the excuse for the "Imus outrage". Somehow, I doubt it. After all, why would we care what a rapper/singer says when we let sitting members of Congress compare the administration and even our troops to Nazis & Commmunists and call them (in the case of the military) terrorists (Kerry) and cold-blooded murderers (Murtha). We obviously have higher expectations of our shock-jocks than our elected officials.

By the way, keep your ears open for the latest "if we repeat it often enough, people will believe it's official" term: "Hate Speech". It's been used somewhat in the past, but there's going to be a full-court press to shove it into the American lexicon as a catch-phrase, hopefully leading to sweeping unconstitutional legislation violating the 1st amendment. Just like "Separation of Church and State", or "Hate Crimes", it will be in so many sound bites that people will start parroting "Hey, that's hate speech" and assume that somehow it's illegal. Then will come the laws. Check out HR 1592. It's coming.

Of course, "hate speech" will only refer to white male conservatives saying things that any non-white, non-male, or non-conservative finds unpleasant. Calling the President a Nazi is Free Speech, saying he and his administration should be shot is Free Speech... but asking to be seated with English-speaking students in your elementary school is Hate Speech. See the difference?

Hey kids, open wide! Here comes another heapin' fork full of Double Standard Pie! Yum!