Running commentary — UPDATED and UPDATED again

Today just hasn’t worked as a blogging day, what with one thing and another and another and another, ad infinitum (or do I mean ad nauseum?). I’m therefore going to take a page out Laer’s book, and just compile a whole bunch of posts into one big post. I’ll also keep updating this as I get moments to do so, so keep checking this one (assuming, of course, that you’re interested).

How un-green was my corn-growing valley

Walter E. Williams details how decidedly ungreen ethanol is:

Ethanol contains water that distillation cannot remove. As such, it can cause major damage to automobile engines not specifically designed to burn ethanol. The water content of ethanol also risks pipeline corrosion and thus must be shipped by truck, rail car or barge. These shipping methods are far more expensive than pipelines.

Ethanol is 20-30% less efficient than gasoline, making it more expensive per highway mile. It takes 450 pounds of corn to produce the ethanol to fill one SUV tank. That’s enough corn to feed one person for a year. Plus, it takes more than one gallon of fossil fuel—oil and natural gas—to produce one gallon of ethanol. After all, corn must be grown, fertilized, harvested and trucked to ethanol producers—all of which are fuel-using activities. And, it takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. On top of all this, if our total annual corn output were put to ethanol production, it would reduce gasoline consumption by 10-12%.

In other words, ethanol will run your guy, require massive amounts of some fuel to ship; reduce cars’ fuel efficiency; require massive amounts of water to produce; divert food crops from hungry people — and all for a measly 10-12% reduction in gasoline consumption. In a real marketplace, of course, nobody would fall for this kind of thing as an alternative to the current situation. Sadly, we don’t live in a marketplace. Instead, we have a government that is forcing this incredibly inefficient, food-stealing, car damaging, water hog on us:

Ethanol is so costly that it wouldn’t make it in a free market. That’s why Congress has enacted major ethanol subsidies, about $1.05 to $1.38 a gallon, which is no less than a tax on consumers. In fact, there’s a double tax—one in the form of ethanol subsidies and another in the form of handouts to corn farmers to the tune of $9.5 billion in 2005.

That’s not all. If you want more insight into the scam what am when it comes to this particular alternative fuel, read the rest of Williams’ article.

What it is with these New York/New Jersey governors?

I’d barely gotten over my shock at Spitzer’s stupidity, and my repugnance about McGreevey’s menage a trois, when I was forced to confront the fact that newly sworn-in New York governor David Paterson wasn’t completely honest about his cheating. Rick Moran points out that he not only may have had another affair last year, but he may have used his governmental powers to get his most recent cupcake a job. You know, I was pretty thrilled to have the first legally blind governor step up to the plate (as someone pretty nearsighted myself), but now I’m feeling jaded and betrayed. Has it gotten so even the near-sighted can no longer be trusted?

Getting the goods on Gaza

The Palestinians assured the world that the catalyst for their aggressive behavior was Israel’s unconscionable presence in the territories. If Israel would just do the morally right thing and go away, was the implied and expressed promise, the Palestinians would be free, happy, and peaceful. Oh, yeah. After saying that, the Palestinians also dragged out title papers to the Brooklyn Bridge, which they promised to sell at a bargain. Whether because it believed the promises or because it found endurable being responsible for Gaza, Israel did in fact pull out — and look what it got her. I actually can’t blame the Palestinians. Anyone with half a brain could see that they were lying when they said that they sought only Israel’s withdrawal and that everything would be sweetness and light once they achieved that goal.

Giving credit where credit’s due — the AP id’s a Democratic malfeasor’s party affiliation

California State Senator Carol Migden (D – San Francisco & Marin [yup, she’s mine]) has had a bad time of it lately. In 1997, she was diagnosed with leukemia, a fact she hid when she successfully ran for office in 2004. Last year, she was arrested for hit and run driving, which came to an end after she hit a second vehicle, and then demanded of her victim “Do you know who I am?” That’s when she first revealed her leukemia, saying that the drugs she was taking impaired her (yet she still drove). Things have now gone from worse to worse:

State Sen. Carole Migden has agreed to pay a $350,000 fine for nearly 90 violations of campaign finance laws – the largest penalty ever imposed by California’s political watchdog agency on a state legislator.

Putting aside the tragedy of her leukemia, as to which I wish her the best and many years of health, Migden has gone from lying to the public, to driving under the influence, to hit and run driving, to the worst campaign corruption in California history. Where’s the good in all this, you might ask? In a surprising place. In the second paragraph of the article about Migden, the AP identifies her as a Democrat!

The Fair Political Practices Commission on Tuesday released a stipulation signed by the San Francisco Democrat, who also represents Marin, acknowledging she had violated 89 counts of the Political Reform Act from 2003 to 2007. That included using more than $16,000 in campaign donations for personal use. (Emphasis mine.)

Will wonders never cease?

More wonders and miracles from the media

The New York Times reviews Under the Same Moon a movie that won raves at Sundance last year. The movie ought to be right up the Times‘ aisle, since it involves an illegal alien mother in Los Angeles who has weekly phone calls with her little boy in Mexico. Given the premise you can bet that the movie is strong on how morally wrong we are to separate families this way. (I agree — send Mommy back to Mexico.) Surprisingly, though, the reviewer doesn’t like the movie at all, castigated it for being nothing more than heavy-handed polemic:

“Under the Same Moon,” an “Incredible Journey” for the socially conscience-stricken, arrives in theaters trailing a standing ovation from last year’s Sundance Film Festival and more than a whiff of sanctimony. And even allowing that Sundance audiences are notoriously unreliable arbiters of quality — for every “Spanking the Monkey,” there’s a “Spitfire Grill” and a “Quinceañera” — their wholehearted embrace of this manipulative, saccharin product is dispiriting.

Aside from the movie’s boring predictability, even Jeannette Catsoulis, the NY Times‘ employee can’t take the movie’s hostility towards Americans, and fawning love for all people of color:

If only predictability were the worst of it. When Carlitos loses his caretaker and resolves to journey to Los Angeles on his own, the movie lines up a succession of nasty gringos to block his path. As he evades the clutches of a drug addict, child traffickers and the United States Border Patrol, nonwhites rally to protect him in the form of kindly migrant workers and traveling musicians. Meanwhile, jaunty musical interludes ensure that none of this becomes too depressing.

I don’t see Catsoulis lasting long at the Times if she’s going to be this honest about the failures in a PC movie.

Okay, but it’s still the New York Times.

Lest you think the Times has completely lost its marbles and become objective, you can reorient yourself to the real world and read the Times’ absolutely fawning review of Obama’s speech. The title alone is a giveaway as to just a wee bit o’ bias: Mr. Obama’s Profile in Courage. Did Mr. Obama run into a burning building to save a child? No. Did Mr. Obama save an old lady from being mugged? No. Did Mr. Obama enlist in the American military and fight for his country? No. What Mr. Obama did was give a speech and talk about his religion. Of course, unlike Mitt Romney, who did precisely the same thing, Obama did it the right way — which is to say the way that the New York Times liked — my black religion good, your white attitudes bad. (And yes, I do believe that is what’s buried under all of Obama’s fussy and false rhetoric.) I mean, you really have to read it to believe the Times‘ swoon:

There are moments — increasingly rare in risk-abhorrent modern campaigns — when politicians are called upon to bare their fundamental beliefs. In the best of these moments, the speaker does not just salve the current political wound, but also illuminates larger, troubling issues that the nation is wrestling with.

Inaugural addresses by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt come to mind, as does John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on religion, with its enduring vision of the separation between church and state. Senator Barack Obama, who has not faced such tests of character this year, faced one on Tuesday. It is hard to imagine how he could have handled it better.

Mr. Obama had to address race and religion, the two most toxic subjects in politics. He was as powerful and frank as Mitt Romney was weak and calculating earlier this year in his attempt to persuade the religious right that his Mormonism is Christian enough for them.

There’s lots more in this vein, but if I understand it correctly, Obama showed a bravery uncommon in ordinary human beings by attending a racist church for 22 years, lying about his relationship to the church and its ideas, and then giving a speech that manages in one package to lie, make invidious comparisons, deny race is an issue, set himself up as the living embodiment of racial healing, and parrot the usual leftist crap about victimhood and the need for government money. Give the man a medal!

A reminder of just what Obama was hearing

Obama’s denials about his 22 years of ignorance during his attendance at Wright’s church don’t ring true. Or, rather, they open up a lot of possibilities. (And that’s not even to touch upon the fact that his “courageous” speech essentially acknowledges that, yes, he was listening; he just didn’t say anything.) Either he heard and he’s lying when he said he didn’t. Or he didn’t listen, proving that his attendance was a meaningless exercise to give him political leverage in a black neighborhood to offset his extremely upper class education. Or he’s an idiot — and this one I doubt. In any event, America isn’t Wright’s only enemy. American Thinker reminds us of just how hostile Wright is to Israel and, by extension, to the Jews.

This post opened with a snippet about the un-green-ness of ethanol; it closes with one about the un-green-ness of CFL bulbs

If I recall correctly, Congress was kind enough to bless the American people with legislation outlawing our good old incandescent bulbs, with their reliable, softly glowing, quiet light.  As I’ve blogged before, it turns out that, just as Congress may have been a tad precipitate when it embraced ethanol, the same is true for its turning its back on my beloved bright whites:

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, long touted by environmentalists as a more efficient and longer-lasting alternative to the incandescent bulbs that have lighted homes for more than a century, are running into resistance from waste industry officials and some environmental scientists, who warn that the bulbs’ poisonous innards pose a bigger threat to health and the environment than previously thought. …

As long as the mercury is contained in the bulb, CFLs are perfectly safe. But eventually, any bulbs — even CFLs — break or burn out, and most consumers simply throw them out in the trash, said Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins University and editor of the journal Environmental Research.

“This is an enormous amount of mercury that’s going to enter the waste stream at present with no preparation for it,” she said.

Hat tip:  Hot Air