postcards from the handbasket

Our trip to hell in a handbasket has been mostly passing through environmental markers, with occasional — okay, frequent — forays into the economy and civil rights. Now we’ve got rising bread prices, a scary sign that I have personally never seen in my nearly 40 years of life.

So now, farmers want to take land out of conservation programs in order to grow high-priced commodity crops. NYT 4/9 Why are the commodity crops high-priced? Because of government mandates about biofuels: The Bush plan on global warming and the energy crisis is to burn more food crops. Wow, good idea. Of course, farmers are not just being greedy. Their costs on their current croplands — fuel and fertilizer — are also rising, which means they need the most bang for their buck out of croplands. Jeff Krehbiel, apparently a wheat farmer from Oklahoma, put it this way: “Let’s hurt the farmer in order to shut the bakers up, is that what we’re saying?”

Instead of tax dollars for truly clean and renewable technologies, and conservation, the Bush people are putting our money on “clean” coal, biofuels, nuclear, hydrogen fuel cells, and other less promising technologies. Of course there are roles for these, and all technologies, but I don’t get the math.