Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fuel….for Whom….or What?

There is no way that I will post the text of the full article, but here is the link to a story from the New York Times regarding the creation of fuel from food stocks.


Should it be that you don’t want to read the entire thing, I’ll break it down in a kind of condensed version. The story begins with the information of using a root called Cassava in everything from tapioca pudding and ice cream to paper and animal feed. But, as the story goes on to point out, 98 percent of Cassava chips exported from Thailand, the world’s largest Cassava exporter, went to just one place and almost all for one reason. To China for biofuel

This sort of practice leads to the depletion of food stocks, thus making it much more expensive in just about any kind of market. To me, it has always been a waste to take a product that is a food product with so many other uses as well and convert it to a fuel. (For now, I won’t go into the overwhelming need for the U.S. to begin to tap into its own fuel sources. The price of gasoline and diesel ought to point that out.)

In a sense, mankind is getting to the point of burning our own food and creating shortages that will then increase prices. Just here in the United States we have done the same thing with Ethanol, which is a fuel product that is inefficient to create and also hard on the internal combustion engines. More and more products, especially those with small engines, are warning against using Ethanol in the fuel for those products.

If I remember correctly, the current push to convert corn to Ethanol is not the first time for this country. It didn’t have good results before, and we are seeing a repeat of the same now. Within the last couple of years there have been complaints of the cost of food because of our actions. There were complaints coming up from Mexico about the cost of their corn tortillas. All so we can create a diluted fuel.

If one were to look around, I’d bet that one could find numerous examples of American prices going up as well. Plus, using the corn for fuel is reducing the corn that is available for cattle feeding, thus also increasing the cost both for cereals and beef. The other day, an acquaintance told me that if I was worried about using up corn, the answer was to raise switchgrass for a biofuel or ethanol fuel.

So, I asked him where he would suggest we raise that switchgrass. His response was that we could raise it just about anywhere, that it was not impossible to raise it even in the northern parts of the United States. (He shouldn’t have brought that up, since I am VERY familiar with agriculture.)

I then went on to explain that while we might not be using corn to make the fuel, we would be taking away tillable land for the production of an inefficient fuel. Thus we would again be reducing the amount of food stocks that we would be able to create for man and animal. In addition, we would have to be using trucks and railroads to move the crop (whether corn or wheatgrass) from field to market, thus consuming more fuel. On the other hand, if we were going for more fossil fuels, a lot of that can be transported around the country via pipelines. It wouldn’t be tearing up the roads either.

While I’m not too quick to point out who it is that needs to be blamed for conceiving the idea of Ethanol as a fuel additive, I will say that we are creating a ripple effect that will eventually bite us. I think that with all the other nonsensical things that we are doing, if our grandkids had any clue as to what the adults are doing to their futures, they would probably seek retribution.

Just within the last year President Obama has put a moratorium on drilling in certain areas of the gulf. For the American market and the American companies, that is. He has given American tax dollars to Brazil to help them with their oil drilling so that we can “become their best customer.” How about we become our own best customer? And, WHY should we help another country with funding? If they can’t find investors to fund their ambitions, then it may be because there are limited benefits for an investor or limited resources. At any rate, Americans don’t need to fund Brazil’s oil production.

Besides, doing that is just making the U.S. MORE dependent on foreign oil and is not doing anything to really benefit our citizens. It is time for us as parents and grandparents to be sure that our children and grandchildren get an opportunity to learn the fallacy of Ethanol, funding foreign companies, and refusing to exploit our own resources.

Could we use alternatives? We certainly can, but I caution us against making ourselves dependent upon sources that are limited in natural ways, such as wind energy when the wind isn’t blowing and solar energy when the sun isn’t shining. It should also be time to begin to develop more nuclear energy for electrical generation

Even then, wind, solar, and nuclear won’t do much to drive our vehicles, and we will be dependent upon vehicles for a long time to come. And, most of those vehicles will need to be run on fossil fuels.  Oh, and while I’m at it, we don’t need to subsidize any fuels either.  If they don’t show enough promise for investors to fund or the fuel to create its own profitability, then don’t even try to develop them.

So, as Sarah Palin would say, “Drill, Baby, Drill.”

Hopefully, this won’t be in our future….

2011 GM Obummer Car

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