Thanks to Kudlow for linking to this article at the Corner. From JEFF GOODELL at The Rolling Stone site:
Midwest farmers will get rich, the air will be cleaner, the planet will be cooler, and, best of all, we can tell those greedy sheiks to f--k off. As the king of ethanol hype, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, put it recently, "Everything about ethanol is good, good, good." This is not just hype -- it's dangerous, delusional bullshit. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the planet and stave off global warming.
[6-12-09 Update: deleted expletive to redeem my hypocrisy.]
Contrary to common beliefs the financial world is not fully disconnected of religion or faith.
In fact, the rise of Islam oriented societies in the Middle or the Far East has led to the development of approaches that differ from the traditional ways of finance. For instance, the development of six income securities: the Islamic Sukuk.
Due to the constant revenues by oil, this asset class is growing at a very fast base. On the other hand, as the development of the system is relatively recent, capital raises in a shariah-compliant nation can be structured in many complex ways. Consequently, new ways of structuring Islamic securities are constantly developed and introduced in the market. Increasingly new corporate or sovereign sukuk are to be available.
The rules of efficient Islamic finance will be fully understood. Learning about them is the principal purpose of this conference. Among its main topics are:
Understanding the main words of Islamic finance: Riba, Gharar, Maysir, Mudarabah, Musharakah, Murabahah, Istinah, Salam, Ijarah, Sanduq.
Legal and tax considerations for the Islamic capital market
Step by step comparison between sukuk and traditional securities including conventional bonds and asset-backed securities.
How to choose the most suitable mode of Islamic housing finance
How to convert conventional real estate into Shariah-compliant transactions
How to assess risk and enhance credit in real estate sukuk
How to differentiate Islamic REIT's from ordinary real estate funds and sukuk
What are the basic principles of international contracts in shariah (aptitude, consent, alliance, word commitment, permissivity and variability/reality)
Understanding the shariah named financing contract (musharakah, murabahah, muzakha, salam, leasing)
How to share and exchange loan international contracts
For those of you who don't know who he was, think Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. From the article to which LJ linked:
Though he was proudest of his work championing "the little guy" and helping secure medical care for needy children, he was best known for stories he did a mere seven months after starting the job in 1973 that led to the closing of the state's best-known "bawdy house," as Zindler called it — a notorious La Grange brothel known as the Chicken Ranch.
Got it a couple of weeks ago. As they usually do, they start trickling the articles out on-line after the dead tree version hits the post office. Several great articles now available here.
Dalrymple's on Tony Blair is particularly interesting. It describes TB as, "...morally and possibly financially corrupt, shallow and egotistical, a man who combined the qualities of Elmer Gantry with those of Juan Domingo Perón."
I can't ignore what toll these events are taking on them.
Dad is now on an anti-depressant that is causing him to want to just sleep more than anything else. Mom is seeing this as Dad taking a big turn for the worse. We try to explain that even with completely otherwise healthy individuals this would be the result as the body adjusts to the drug. (She'll get that eventually though that was part of my unspoken objection to administering the drug...what if he'd prefer to being fully aware?) We visited before going to church this morning after breakfast and it was clear all he wanted to do was go to sleep. Mom left sobbing and it was left to me to provide comfort as I pursued her out of the room. As LJ and Michael can attest, this is not my strong suit...emotional availability, even to the one person who loves me more unconditionally than anyone save G-d. Still, I was able to put my arm around her and mumble something that quieted her...hopefully something of comfort and not just something stifling her sobs. For such a woman who adopted me as an infant and treated my like her very own and loves me like she does, why is it so difficult for me to be more comforting? Yes, she can push my buttons like no other, however subconsciously that might be but she deserves better from me.
Back to the drug; I have really mixed feelings about this. So far I've been overruled in my belief that Dad should be fully apprised of his condition, the theory being that what is the benefit to him if he wakes every morning only to wonder, "Will this is be the day I die?" I understand that from an emotional/comfort argument the medication makes sense, but what if he doesn't realize these will be the last days that he has to say something to his wife, children or G-d? I probably underestimate him greatly. He probably has to already knows.
The elder of my two younger sisters informed me that the prognosis is more likely a max of three months, not six, contrary to my previous post.
As for the sibs, two of the three were there this weekend. Baby sister in Montana with her husband's family and her four children on a long planned trip...available to return on a moment's notice. (What about my trip to Alberta for fly fishing at the end of August?) For the first time I'm starting to see the toll this takes on them, too. Extreme efforts to be as comforting as possible to Mom and Dad. I am grateful to the three of them and to baby sister's husband as well. All three really fill the gaps that I'm incapable of filling.
Since this whole post is such a downer, I have to leave on something positive. Regarding this "facility" Dad inhabits., I couldn't be more pleasantly surprised. No, it is not a high dollar facility where fortunes are spent to have oneself pampered as life's end nears. It is a pretty basic nursing facility in a small town in East Texas. Still, Dad's primary caretaker apart from genuine nursing or medicine has been a short, though robust 60 year old woman who has taken her job seriously for more than 40 years...making Dad as comfortable as possible while doing impossible tasks...all the while not taking any guff from Dad or anyone else. For that, I am grateful, too.