January 6, 2015
It Was a New Day Yesterday
I may have a new hero:
Feeling Detached From The Production Of Your Food? Blame Jethro Tull
In the early 1700s, Tull introduced planting equipment that allowed farmers to grow their crops in rows and cultivating equipment for hoeing the weeds that grew between them. This innovation dramatically increased the amount of land that one farmer could tend. For thousands of years the production of food was the full time occupation of all but a small, elite proportion of the population. Starting with Tull's innovations, Western civilization was on a track towards an agriculture system that required less and less hand labor. Since then there has been a steady stream of innovation that has further enhanced the productivity and efficiency of farmers thus freeing up the rest of the population to do other things.
I agree with every single word in this excellent and fact-filled piece. But, they see it as a bad thing.
Posted by John Kranz at 7:26 PM
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December 24, 2014
Picture this: Kevin, a college student from a solidly middle-class family in Washington State, is at a food bank with a friend who sometimes picks up donations there. A woman with a clipboard approaches them. "Are you college students?" she asks. When they say "Yes," she asks a second question: "Did you know you're entitled to food stamps?" And then she says, "Let's get you signed up. We can get you $200 today."
Kevin interrupted, he told us. "I get money from my parents for food, and I'm not poor."
"But you're a college student, and if you work part-time or do work study on campus or get federal student loans I can sign you up," the woman said.
That woman, a recruiter, is part of a widespread effort to enroll every American who qualifies for benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, regardless of whether or not they need them or want them.
We can debate the safety net. But I suspect we all might agree that paying
SNAP recruiters on commission is evil.
Merry Christmas. Hat-tip David Boaz
Posted by John Kranz at 12:56 PM
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Like drug dealers trying to get kids to try cigarettes, joints, cocaine, meth, heroin at a young age. "Customers for life" I think they call it.
April 10, 2014
Thank you Senator!
Senator Harry Reid (Hypocrite-NV) vigorously defended federal funding for a Cowboy Poetry Festival in his state 3 years ago, slamming Republicans who sought to cut it from the federal budget as "mean spirited."
He might feel that move has come back to haunt him, as the manager of a ranch under siege by the Obama Administration's Bureau of Land Management for letting cattle eat desert grass, as the family has done since about 1870, seems to have benefited from the event.
"They're trying to take our stewardships,
And run us off the land that we love best.
But I think they'll find the hard way,
that we're still willing to fight for this here west.
I hope them fellers soon hump their holes
or some of us will lose our souls,
'cause killin' it ain't right
but don't expect to take this land without a fight.
The fire is ragin' once again in the western man's eyes,
and these eastern folks are gettin' thicker than flies.
We're tyin' our ropes into twelve-coil knots,
our guns are loaded and our hammers are cocked.
So you'd better help us find a solution
or pull your hats down tight and get ready for the western revolution.
-Derrel Spencer, Ranch Manager
I wonder who he would say is more "mean spirited" - Republican legislators or armed BLM agents engaged in cattle rustling?
Posted by JohnGalt at 6:26 PM
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A mendacious old codger from Searchlight,
Thought your tax dollars his birthright,
Koch brothers he fought,
While liberty's sons sought,
His majority's eventual twilight.
February 3, 2014
Love is in the air!
This Dodge Ram guy's favorite Super Bowl commercial? Chevy trucks.
I called it the PETA favorite.
Posted by JohnGalt at 6:43 PM
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!!!! That one was good, too!
I thought the PETA favorite was clearly Broadway Joe's coat.
Someone ought to remind PETA that footballs are still made out of pigskin. I'd like to volunteer to be that someone.
The Refugee likes the music selection: "I Believe in Miracles" by Hot Chocolate.
September 18, 2012
Government Business Boondoggles, Alaska Style
This article from Alaska contains some nice illustrations of just how truly, truly awful-terrible government can be at business. Oh my, how easy it is to pony up huge sums when it's not your own money. We're not talking a mere few millions of dollars here and there, folks. No, in Alaska they do things big:
Point MacKenzie Dairy Project — early 1980s
Tipsy on a strange brew of Alaskan pioneering spirit, burgeoning oil revenues and Soviet-style top-down ambitions, the state set aside 15,000 acres of mostly well-drained forest and spent millions installing a grid of new roads and power. More than 2,000 people bid on 31 tracts, including 19 slated to be working dairies with 100 to 150 cows each.
The goals? At least 30 to 40 families would ultimately make a living milking cows and growing feed — reviving the flagging local dairy industry while providing a sure market for barley grown at the 10,000-acre sister project near Delta Junction and a quality product for a struggling local dairy. It didn’t happen.
“Most went under in just a few years, victims of crushing debt brought on by diving milk prices and the high cost of reshaping wilderness into viable dairies,” wrote Alaska journalist S. J. Komarnitsky here.
By one estimate, the state sunk at least $9.6 million directly into Point MacKenzie farms. The New York Times later reported that the state lost up to $120 million for its agricultural hubris, ultimately foreclosing on $40 million in loans by the early 1990s.
"You want to know how to lose money in a hurry?" said Harvey Baskin, the last of the original farmers and a stubborn, hard-working man who held on until his death in 2002, in this story. "Become a farmer with the State of Alaska as your partner. This is what you call negative farming."
The article has six fine examples, so here's one more taste:
Anchorage seafood plant
The stench of dead fish is part of life in a state that's home to some of the nation's richest fisheries, but this deal stunk to high heaven.
What started out as a grand idea to diversity the state's oil-trapped economy quickly began to rot and finally ended when Alaska Seafood International's huge seafood plant went belly up in 2003.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority gambled and lost on this mega-monster. Working with ASI founder Howard Benedict and Taiwanese investors, the state development agency blew $50 million to build the plant and millions more in failed attempts to save it.
The 202,000-square-foot Anchorage processing plant was supposed to employ hundreds of workers churning out frozen seafood meals, largely salmon and halibut. But for many reasons -- including distance from the fishing grounds and trouble lining up buyers -- production stank. The state never got paid rent.
But, hey, look what it spawned: A nondenominational Christian group, Grace Alaska, bought it with food distributor Sysco for $25 million after borrowing millions from AIDEA. Now it's ChangePoint church, a cold-storage distribution center and indoor soccer fields.
Well, the government is pretty good at building soccer fields, anyway.
Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 2:10 PM
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July 5, 2012
The GOOD News for Colorado
Please ignore the headline and refer to the end of this AgJournal article-
Back at the Colorado Climate Center, however, Doesken is a little more optimistic.
“If we’re going to have extreme heat, the last week of June and the first couple of weeks of July is historically when the most intense heat is recorded,” he said.
Not only is it likely summer heat is at its peak, meteorologists believe the Southwestern monsoon, a seasonal wind pattern that brings subtropical moisture and summer rains to the Front Range in mid-summer, appears strong and is arriving earlier than in some years. Indication that an El Nino weather pattern is forming over the equatorial Pacific also hints at the prospect for relief.
“The onset of El Nino is usually a good thing for Colorado,” Doesken said. “We’ve had more summers with heavy rains when we are transitioning from La Nina to El Nino like we are now.”
Posted by JohnGalt at 6:26 PM
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