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Oil vs Ethanol - Part 2 - "How To Eat Crow"

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Mark Lloyd
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Corn - Part 2

I recently watched a TV ad where a guy sticks what looks very much like yummy sweetcorn in his gastank and "fills'r'up".
You may have seen it. I wrote an article here based on it.

The ad offended me.

When I sat down to write about it, I had two thoughts I wanted to convey, one big, one small.

The small one - what if a starving kid in Darfur could see that ad, and what would he think? Maybe
"Why is that guy putting that corn in his truck instead of eating it? I'd like to eat it".

The big one - why use good farming land to fill F150 gastanks when 1600 kids a day are dying from hunger-related causes?

The piece I wrote received 100% negative response and for good reason. It was factually incorrect and misleadingly put together. I fell in love with my own view of the ad that ethanol looks like it's produced from edible sweetcorn, and proceeded headlong down the kind of pulpit-thumping righteous path that I usually despise. And what's worse, I knew damn well it was a false premise while I was writing it.

Five Guinnesses certainly did not help with the construction of the piece.

Not Brilliant!

Here's my well-deserved slap on the wrist from a man who really knows, the CEO of the US Corngrowers Association who took the trouble to personally email me and put me straight.

Dear Mr. Lloyd - My point is that there is no shortage of corn. There
> is no conflict between food and fuel. We have a surplus and the ability to
> produce tremendous amounts more. Sweet corn is not what is used to make
> ethanol. Prices for corn have been depressed for the last several years
> because of huge production. Use for ethanol will pull down some of the
> surplus and raise prices and stimulate more production.
> The conflict you allude to is not there at all and in fact, your
> arguements run counter to the point you make. When corn is processed into
> ethanol the starch is removed and what is left is a high protein, fiberous
> byproduct that goes for livestock feed - dairy, beef, etc. There is
> research into seeing if it can be used for human consumption. Only a third
> of corn kernal is used to make ethanol, the rest is a byproduct. Ethanol
> is green. It is renewable. It does not conlict with food production and in
> fact will stimulate more. Ethanol in fact is 190 proof alcohol when it
> comes out of the plant and is consumable by humans. The federal government
> requires it to be "denatured" by adding gasoline to it so that it is not
> fit for human consumption.
> Anyway, there is a real and fascinating story in all of this, but it is
> much different than what you wrote about. If you are interested, I would
> be glad to share more information.
> Rick Tolman, CEO National Corn Growers Association

I am hereby told !

Let's step back a little though. If you are still reading this, I just had another thought.

Hey folks, especially you conservative/Republican folks - isn't this kind of nice? A person admitting error. A little truth. My only defense is poetic license, and I'm not even a poet! Or even a good writer! I had a couple of decent ideas but totally failed to communicate or execute them properly. Where else have we heard that recently?

So, with all humility and respect; -
George W Bush, Richard Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Douglas Feith, Mr. Wolfowitz, General Pace, Mr. Gonzalez, General Hayden, Mr.Santorum, Mr Pombo, Mr. Lay, Mr. Skilling, Mr.Rumsfeld, Mr.DeLay, Mr Ney, Mr.Lieberman, Mr.Bremer, Mr.Frist, and the rest of you cast of god-fearing born-again Christians who've run this country and others into the ground for the last six years; - WWJD?

If an evil godless liberal like me can cough up to mistakes, it can't possibly be too good for you.
Can it?
Let's have some truth. We can handle it.
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Mark Lloyd is a working stiff in Minneapolis. He grew up in Yorkshire, England during the socialist 70's and Thatcher & Reagan's 80's and disliked both mobs. His fierce interest in politics, history and The Truth combined with the appalling start to (more...)
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