Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don't rain on this corn parade!

I'm an ethanol supporter, this we know. I think it stands as an alternative to oil importation and our dependence on foreign energy.

DISCLAIMER: I understand the government subsidizes ethanol, and as a conservative, I should despise that concept. But if we're talking subsidies, you right-nuts out there, perhaps we should equally despise fossil fuels?:
•The federal government provided substantially larger subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewables. Subsidies to fossil fuels—a mature, developed industry that has enjoyed government support for many years—totaled approximately $72 billion over the study period, representing a direct cost to taxpayers. -Source: Environmental Law Institute
No. I'm not for that. Just shutting up the critics for the time being...

Arguments aside, I want to call attention to Senators John Thune and Amy Klobuchar, whose recent editorial in the Forum is calling attention to their efforts in Washington, D.C. on behalf of this renewable fuel.
As a Democrat and Republican, both of us are strong advocates for American-made biofuels. But we also recognize that times have changed. Ethanol is no longer a new industry, and our country is facing serious fiscal challenges. Given the shifting tides in Congress, we felt it was important to get ahead of the curve so that ethanol could determine its own future.

Despite divisions in Congress, we worked with Sen. Diane Feinstein of California to map out a compromise that balances the need for deficit reduction with the need to continue promoting domestic renewable fuels as an essential pathway to energy independence.

The outcome of our efforts is a bipartisan agreement reached on July 7 that is supported by ethanol industry groups, as well as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union.

In summary, this is what our compromise proposes:

It eliminates the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit at the end of this month instead of the end of 2011. This change would result in savings of just over $2 billion.

Under the bipartisan agreement, $1.3 billion from the remaining credit will be dedicated to reducing the federal budget deficit.

And unlike many legislative proposals that would have eliminated any support for biofuels, the remaining $668 million of the 2011 VEETC savings will go to targeted incentives for small ethanol producers, infrastructure like electric charging stations and blender pumps that are needed to bring greater competition to the fuel market, and cellulosic incentives. Our agreement gives consumers a real choice at the pump and is good for all families struggling with high fuel prices.
I'm for this- eliminating VEETC to save $2 billion. Not rocket science, eh?

Bipartisan work to support agriculture, development, and energy independence while also making CUTS - snip snip snip. And paying down the deficit. And giving incentives to small producers, which eventually benefits CONSUMERS.

I can hear the scissors rockin'.

That said, get your own ethaknowledge.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Aaron Rodgers: Ability on his feet

I find this diatribe quite telling, to single Aaron Rodgers out for playmaking on his feet. This elevates him above Manning and Brady, one author believes:
What Brady and Manning have on Rodgers is they’ve performed great and won big over long careers. Rodgers still faces the test of time.

But Rodgers has something neither Brady nor Manning ever have had, and that’s the ability to make plays with his feet. In the last two seasons, Rodgers has rushed for 672 yards, which is second in the league over that time, behind only Michael Vick (771 yards in seven fewer games). At ages and 26 and 27, Manning rushed for only 174 yards and Brady only 91.

Running can be a double-edged sword, because it also leaves a quarterback vulnerable to big hits, and the greatest threat to the Packers the next couple of seasons is the two concussions Rodgers suffered last year. Brady and Manning, while lacking playmaking ability outside the pocket, are masters at sliding in the pocket to avoid rushers and quickly getting the ball out when they can’t avoid, as their sacks numbers show. Manning has been sacked an average of only 17.8 times a season in his 13 years as an NFL starter and never has missed a game. Brady has averaged 27.1 sacks in his nine seasons as a starter.
If you actually watch Aaron Rodgers on the run, it's timed- it's almost premeditated. He finds a hole on his way to the endzone and somehow floats into it. Rarely do you see him rushed. Rarely is it anything more than a few feet in the RedZone, ball in a one-handed palm grasp, and held over the goal line for 6 points.

It will be this effort, not the frantic scrambles of his predecessor, that I think the coaches will include in their playwriting. Sure, the ill-fate of a Michael Vick rushing high and tackled to season-ending injury is a possibility.

But with the smarts like Manning and the cool like Brady, I think Rodgers will best them all.

Remembering Bob

As we remember Bob Stenehjem today, what comes to mind is not only the loss of a father, a brother, a husband, and a friend, but of a community leader.

Though I only knew Bob a short time, it was time well spent. Whenever I saw him, he was jovial and joking, serious but always willing to break character for a laugh. Bob's institutional knowledge of the state of North Dakota and politics will be sorely missed.

We know he is resting comfortably with our Maker.