Monday, April 28, 2008

I support McCain

...at least on how silly ethanol subsidies are. However, unlike McCain, I think the whole industry makes little sense. Turning food into fuel seems crazy, not least because almost as much oil-energy is used in the production of ethanol as is gained from the result. And so, by using one-quarter of its corn crop for biofuel last year, the US cut oil consumption by 1%. At the same time, they helped push up global food prices and delay investment in more rational forms of alternative energy.

Perhaps this is one of the biggest differences between Obama (who supports subsidies) and Santos (who didn't).* Oh, apart from the fact that Santos was a fictional character.

Since my (non)-vote in the US presidential election is going to be crucial to the outcome, I thought it was important to share that.
H/T Rev Sam for the image.

*UPDATE: Oops, my memory of West Wing series 6, episode 13: "King corn" was inverted. All three candidates knew how crazy ethanol subsidies are. Santos, the charismatic Democrat from a racial minority (his character was based on Obama years before Obama was a presidential nominee), caves in to pressure to pander to the Iowa corn lobby. Only Vinick, the spry Republican contender, actually makes a stand against it, despite the advice of his staff that it will be politically suicidal.

19 comments:

geoffc said...

Pollan suggests that if you live in a high rise, look into geting a plot in a community garden. Do you know of the whereabouts of these in inner Sydney?

I say it because my wife is obsessed at the moment with vege gardens, and we've spent all this money on pots and stuff, but miniscule yar gets about a dime of sunlight, so our stuff isn't growing all that well.

geoffc said...

whoops.

in the second paragraph it should read "but our miniscule yard gets about a dime of sunlight"

geoffc said...

lol. double whoops.

the comments were for the "Why bother" post.

Emergent Pilgrim said...

Like a friend of mine says, "If you can't drink their booze, take their money and then vote against them, then you're in the wrong business" :-)

meredith said...

I've heard there is a community garden on Addison Rd Marrickville - i'm sure the local council will be able to give you details.

Church in the Graveyard (Newtown) is thinking about developing one in the cemetary in the next year, but there are some heritage and management issues etc we need to get our heads around first.

But community gardens are the way fo the future for inner westies, i think. especially those of us who don't even have a balcony!

D said...

Kind of inverts the whole Oil for Food program. I actually saw DIAPERS the other day made from corn!!!!!!!

Emergent Pilgrim said...

And they say Iowa isn't a diverse state!

Benjamin Ady said...

the image is killer.

I've never seen west wing, so thanks for the help on who "Santos" was. I had a really kewl friend from Republica Dominicana named Eileen Santos. She could *sing!*

byron smith said...

Benjamin - I can't believe you've never watched West Wing. Really? Oh man, there's a whole world of joy awaiting you!

Geoff - Community gardening is beginning to happen in some places in Sydney. Apart from Meredith's suggestions, I know that Moore College in Newtown (for instance) has also recently started one. Some buildings use their roof space for one. There are many possibilities. If you can't find one near you, why not start one?

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

To clarify, Obama supports subsidies for cellulose ethanol, made from the part of plants one CAN'T use for food instead of the food itself. This is what Brazil has done, using the left over parts from sugar cane.

But this does show the impossibility of quick fixes for catastrophic climate change. Quick fixes end up with disastrous consequences for the poor.

geoffc said...

I didn't know Moore had one...none of the lecturers are talking about it in class.

I also found out that my church has one, though it's on our grounds but isn't run by the church. I'll have to look into it.

Anonymous said...

The creative community should be supporting John McCain. Barack Obama has given direct support to Shepard Fairey, a visual artist who is a known international copyright violator. Obama has had direct contact with Shepard Fairey and has sent Shepard Fairey letters praising his activity and art even though dozens of art organizations are against artists like Shepard Fairey and others who support the Orphan Works bill. This connection needs to be exposed. Where does Obama stand on the rights of artists when he supports Shepard Fairey who has violated the work of Mederos and others?

The media keeps trying to paint McCain as being a copyright violator by the songs his campaign has played, but McCain is not directly behind the choice in the songs and in every case so far the campaign bought the rights to use the songs and were nice enough to not use them upon finding out the thoughts of the artists behind them. Obama continues to use the service of Shepard Fairey even though artists have demanded him to stop and to be clear on his position with the Orphan Works bill. Obama has been silent. He won't answer!

How is it out of touch to stand against Obama and Shepard Fairey when dozens of art organizations have spoken out against artists like Shepard Fairey and the potential of the Orphan Works bill being passed. Seems to me that the Obama campaign is out of touch with the needs of the creative community and that certain people in the creative community are going along with it just because they can't put their politics aside in order to honestly support the rights of artists.

You want truth?
http://lgwilliams.com/obama/obama_poster_challenge2.html

byron smith said...

Anonymous, while your point may well have some validity (I'm not particularly familiar with the issue you raise) I'm a little puzzled by your final claim: certain people in the creative community are going along with [the Obama campaign] just because they can't put their politics aside in order to honestly support the rights of artists.
Even granted that your point is accurate, why ought the rights of artists be the one issue on which artists ought to vote? In calling for them to put aside their politics, are you asking them to suspend their considered judgement over the best course of action in pursuing the common good across a range of issues in order to prioritise the pursuit of a limited good for a few on a single issue?

I believe art is of great importance, but it is far from the only (or the most important) issue. Artists (like the rest of us) ought to vote for what is best for all, not "what is best for me".

byron smith said...

Speaking of subsidies, the fossil fuel industry receives US$550 in them each year, 75% more than previously thought.

byron smith said...

Hahaha - oops, small detail missing from previous comment. Fossil fuel subsidies are US$550 billion with a "b" each year.

byron smith said...

Corn ethanol subsidies protected by corn belt senators once again.

byron smith said...

Guardian: The great fuel fail.

byron smith said...

The Conversation: Biofuels and world hunger.

byron smith said...

CP: Food or fuel. Some useful, and sobering, stats on corn ethanol in the US.