Friday, July 13, 2007

Lady Bird Update

Was in my office kitchen moment ago and watched as the honor guard proceeded to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to take her to the LBJ Library. I'd guess that there were two sets of twenty State Troopers riding in pairs before the hearse.

Even though the hearse was empty, many drivers did pull over and stop to show their respect. When did we stop doing that? Granted that most funeral processions pass by so quickly today that it is difficult to pull over quickly enough before they pass but I think it sad that so many just don't care.

My grandfather would not only pull over, he'd get out and remove his hat.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nice Words for Lady Bird

at NRO. My Lions Club has been hosting about 28 seventeen to twenty year-olds from Europe and the Middle East for a few days this week. Unfortunately, they were scheduled for the LBJ Presidential Library today...which was closed in her honor. She lies in state (is it "in state" when she really held no office?) there tomorrow and Saturday.

Update: Apparently, she is lying "in repose."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More facts about Ethanol Hooey

From today's Tech Central Station (the article is called Political Liquor's Economic Hangover Just Beginning, I couldn't get a link directly to the article):

President Bush has set a target of replacing 15 percent of domestic gasoline use with biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) over the next 10 years, which would require almost a five-fold increase in mandatory biofuel use to about 35 billion gallons. With current technology, almost all of this biofuel would have to come from corn because there is no other feasible, proven alternative. However, it is unlikely that American farmers will be able to meet such demands: Achieving the 15 percent goal would require the entire current U.S. corn crop, which represents a whopping 40 percent of the world's corn supply [emph. mine].

Politicians like to say that ethanol is environmentally friendly, but these claims must be put into perspective. Although corn is a renewable resource, it has a far lower energy yield relative to the energy used to produce it -- what policy wonks call "net energy balance" -- than either biodiesel (such as soybean oil) or ethanol from many other plants.

Moreover, ethanol yields about 30 percent less energy per gallon than gasoline, so mileage per gallon in internal combustion engines drops off significantly. Finally, adding ethanol raises the price of blended fuel because it is more expensive to transport and handle.

Brazil and other major sugarcane-producing nations enjoy significant advantages over the U.S. in producing ethanol, including ample agricultural land, warm climates amenable to vast sugarcane plantations, and on-site distilleries that can process cane immediately after harvest. At current world prices for sugar and corn, Brazilian ethanol production would remain competitive even if oil prices were to drop below $30 per barrel, but U.S. corn-based ethanol plants would be losing money at forty-dollar oil, even with the subsidy. Thus, in the absence of cost-effective, domestically available sources for producing ethanol, rather than using corn it would make far more sense to import ethanol from Brazil and other countries that can produce it efficiently — and also to remove the 54 cents-per-gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol imports.

Subsidies, mandates, tariffs...leave the market alone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nobel Prize Material

Women exercise power in marriages [HT: Jeff Ward].

Monday, July 09, 2007

Re: What a Shock Comments

While I don't justify the pardons of one administration by comparing those of other administrations, don't forget the FALN pardons.