Wednesday, August 22, 2007

BIOFUEL Realities - Not so fast big guys!

Spread the word biofuels the way big agri-business sees it will ruin the environment and raise food prices. Have you bought an ear of corn lately? There are alternatives. The chart attached to this Sierra Club article is very concise. Print it out get informed and tell others. The link in the title above takes you to a very good Wikipedia entry that has a lot of information and discusses the downside. In short breaking down corn into fuel is a bad idea.

But harvesting our landfills solves several problems. Trash for fuel. It looks like the "Back to the Future" movie and "Mr. Fusion" wasn't that far out after all!


Sierra Magazine

click here to print this article!click here to tell a friend

Bio-Hope, Bio-Hype
A users' guide to biofuels
By Frances Cerra Whittelsey
September/October 2007

Chart: Comparing Biofuels

IN OUR BEAUTIFUL BIOFUEL FUTURE, cars and trucks are powered by wood chips, prairie grass, wheat straw, fast-food grease, garbage, and even algae--whichever material is most plentiful locally and least damaging environmentally. With cars getting 40 miles a gallon or better, greenhouse-gas emissions plummet. The biofuel revolution sparks an economic boom by keeping U.S. dollars at home instead of sending them to Middle Eastern sheikhs.

Biofuels can be made from nearly any organic material. By essentially recycling carbon from living things (as opposed to the ancient biomass in coal and petroleum), biofuels help fight global warming. But some could also add to our environmental problems: In an equally possible but less rosy future, governments and agribusiness clear rainforests and wetlands for vast plantations of biofuel crops like oil palms. With arable land increasingly devoted to fuel production, food prices push higher. The roads clog with biofuel SUVs that still get lousy mileage. Global warming slows insignificantly, if at all.

Which future is ours? It depends on choices being made today. At present, for example, corn is the source of 95 percent of the United States' ethanol. Although politically popular in farm states, corn is a problematic source of fuel: It requires good land and petroleum-intensive cultivation and fertilization, and it can also readily feed both humans and livestock. (Food prices are already increasing because of competition with ethanol.) If the mill processing the corn is powered by coal, ethanol produces more net greenhouse gases than gasoline does. "It's easier to do bad than good in this area," warns Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. "But there's also potential to make the production of fuel more decentralized and more democratic." The chart below lays out the pros and cons of the major biofuels; now it's up to us to get the right mix.

Virtue Rewarded
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has boosted bioenergy by ordering that the carbon content of all fuels sold in the state be cut by 10 percent by 2020. Each fuel will get a life-cycle carbon analysis, showing how much greenhouse gas it emits from origin to tailpipe. Fuel suppliers will need to blend ingredients to meet their reduction targets, which should increase demand for cleaner options like cellulosic ethanol.

The Urge to Splurge
Putting a dent in global warming requires conservation as well as biofuels. A 3 percent increase in fuel-economy standards for vehicles, for example, would save more gas than the entire 2006 production of corn ethanol. Sadly, we've been driving in reverse: For the past five years, U.S. gasoline consumption has increased by 1.4 percent annually, and diesel by 3.6 percent.

Conserving Critters Too
The rush to biofuels is putting the squeeze on wildlife. Nearly 40 million acres of farmland are currently idled under the federal Conservation Reserve Program, which seeks to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and provide habitat. The Bush administration has proposed that land set aside under the program be converted to fuel production. The proposal is part of the 2007 Farm Bill, which is likely to be voted on this fall.

Best-Case Scenario
The best sources of biomass for fuel are waste products and native perennial grasses, which provide more usable energy per acre than corn ethanol or soybean diesel. In fact, says a report by the University of Minnesota, fuels made from native plants can actually be "carbon negative," because they store excess carbon dioxide in their roots and the surrounding soil, reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Crying in Your Biodiesel
Here's where some get off the biofuel bus: It's raising the price of beer. In Germany, subsidies for corn and rapeseed production are squeezing production of barley--an important ingredient in the national beverage. The effects of higher barley prices are starting to appear at the tap. The price of a liter mug of beer at this year's Oktoberfest, for example, will be up by 5.5 percent.

Illustrations (see chart) by Peter Hoey; used with permission.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Michael Vick is a Stupid Punk

The link above takes you to the original article by Stu Bykofsky from the Philadelphia Daily News a huge sports town. Here is his definitive article on Michael Vick and the seriously flawed, unenlightened individual he is and those of his friends and worshipers all who define not having a clue!

Thank you Stu!


ATLANTA Falcons star quarterback Michael Vick is not the lowest, most detestable scum imaginable.

He is not the lowest of the low.

On the bottom rung of the ladder to hell are child molesters, the human garbage who prey on the innocent and the defenseless. That's why decent people feel gut-rage at their offenses.

Animal abusers are one rung up, but they also target the innocent. When Vick yesterday agreed to plead guilty to one felony conspiracy charge, defense lawyer Billy Martin said Vick took the deal "to accept full responsibility for his actions."

That's certified crap. The plea bargain is Vick's attempt to avoid "full responsibility" for acts that were not only criminal, but also heartless and vicious.

He took the deal under the pressure of a grand jury that was thought to be preparing even more federal charges against him. I don't blame Vick for trying to dodge the bullet, but don't tell me it's contrition.

It's bad enough Vick bought a property and with pals (aka other defendants) bought, bred and trained American pit bull dogs for the purpose of turning them against each other, according to the 19-page federal indictment.

Even worse was what Vick and his dog pound did to pit bulls that didn't measure up, according to the indictment - they were shot, or hanged, or drowned, or electrocuted, or killed by being slammed to the ground. Man's best friend.

I suspect national outrage tackled Vick because he violated the special compact we have with dogs. We are closer to them than any other animal, even "companion animals" like cats, horses and hamsters.

Dogs helped searched for victims at 9/11's Ground Zero; they are the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf, the legs of the disabled; the comforter of children, the protector of women; the puller of sleds, the sniffer for drugs and explosives. They help humans in so many ways and ask for a pat on the head in return.

The unique bond between human and canine can't be explained, but if you've lived with a dog, you've felt it.

An anonymous writer explained the human-dog relationship in "A Dog's Plea," which you may have seen before. It fits here:

"Treat me kindly . . . for no heart in all the world is more grateful than the loving heart of me.

"Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hands between blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.

"Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps fall upon my waiting ear.

"Please take me inside when it is cold and wet, for I am a domesticated animal, no longer accustomed to bitter elements. I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.

"Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.

"And, my friend, when I am very old, and I no longer enjoy good health, hearing and sight, do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. . . . Please see that my trusting life is taken gently. I shall leave this earth knowing with the last breath I draw that my fate was always safest in your hands."

That is the heart and the trust betrayed by Michael Vick - who despite his fame and fortune is a wretched waste of DNA. *

Friday, August 17, 2007

Little Big Man

I recently rented this gem from NetFlix the other day. I haven't seen this movie since the 70's. If you have never, ever in your life sat down to watch this movie you really should. Interestingly enough I found the content very timely in regards to the politicians of today and the blatant hypocrisy of those in power. Dustin Hoffman gives a great, hilarious performance along with Faye Dunaway. Why is it that Faye seems to be in every great honest movie from this decade. Chief Dan George (who was in The Outlaw Josey Wales) also plays a subtly nuanced role. When he gets caught in the rain his line delivery is perfect. There's also a lot of Native American culture and wisdom portrayed in this movie. Indeed the White man does see everything as dead.

This movie will make your heart soar like a hawk. For those of you out there in generation next take a clue from an old boomer - go see this movie - rent it now - it's a classic - the portrayal of Custer is hilarious but probably horrifyingly close to the truth as any good parody would have it.


Shop Girl

Movie review time - I know I'm about ten years too late on this one (actually not that bad) but seriously if it wasn't for NetFlix I wouldn't have a clue. I saw Claire Danes with Leo in a remake of Romeo and Juliet. Watching that movie I realized that she has this quiet dignity that really shines on screen. I like Claire quite a bit and also respect that she's not fodder for the Tabloids. Poor Britney what a mess and Lindsey Lohan's Mom should be beaten for what she has done to her child. Okay back to Shop Girl. Years ago Steve Martin produced a play and I ran to the Ford theater to see it in Washington D. C. "Picasso at the Lapin Agile". I loved it! The triple threat to Shop Girl is Jason Schwartzman. I have to believe Bill Murray told Steve to work with this guy and I loved Jason in Rushmore.

What possibly could go wrong with this cast. Nothing. If you haven't seen Shop Girl grab your significant other and rent this movie. I would even say it's worthy of a buy for your home collection. The story has depth and lightness and Claire carries the whole thing off with aplomb.

Four Stars - for intelligence, thoughtfulness and laughs. Much like the Gilda and Steve dance number from way back when on SNL. Mr. Martin has always infused his work with a poignant, bitter sweet quality with laughs to spare. Shop Girl tones the guffaws down quite a bit but there are still some light hearted moments. Above all else a real human chord is struck throughout the movie. So ignore the cheesy DVD cover and delve into this one.

Enjoy and let me know what you think,


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ted and Rupert Sitting in a Tree

Ted Stevens gets his home raided by the F.B.I. and I.R.S. I guess being a complete whore for the Oil Industry has its consequences.

And Rupert Murdoch buying the Wall Street Journal (the Prestigious, inbred, bastion of the right) will eventually (clown up) and Fox News the rights holy grail of a news paper (but not change its politics). The leading prestigious newspaper tucked under every arm of the "holier than thou" will be nothing more than a tabloid screaming it's position instead of trying to nuance the same nonsense.

In the end the right wing, conservative, monied power elite's favorite rag will now be dressed up in clown makeup and drag the whole bunch down with them leaving Reverend Moon's "Washington Times" as the leading rag of the right wing elite.

This is fantastic I love it. That veneer of prestige and elitism of the monied Wall Street reader (most just carried it around never reading it) have lost their flagship.

Like putting McDonald's Arch's at the front gates of all their Country Clubs their air of superiority self dissolves into a tabloid reality of O'Reilyness, and will bring the eventual rejection by the salt of the Earth who's loyalty they trounced. Leaving now only the Armageddonist fanatics and beer soaked Nascar dads to carry the flag of Conservatism as the Neo Con's implode on the Hill.

Well done - they have done themselves in quicker than the progressives can even blog about it.