Roundup

The Law of Unintended Consequences and its corollary, The Government Messes Up Everything It Tries to Fix, plays out again with ethanol production

Two years ago, the newly-Democratic Congress struck a blow for a greener planet by demanding a level of ethanol production based on current estimates of gasoline use.  This delighted corn farmers and ethanol manufacturers, and most everyone else assumed that little harm could be done by growing more corn and turning it into something other than food.  No one thought about what a recession might do to gasoline demand, or how a parallel Democratic push to force automakers to produce more efficient cars would impact the need for all of the ethanol Congress demanded.

Great.  Now food prices are higher, impacting the poor that the Democrats insist they care about.  And the government may force higher ethanol ratios which could damage your car and increase pollution.

My Continental.com itinerary page had a convenient option where I could have donated $12.37 to Sustainable Travel International, a non-profit organization  faux guilt relief scam, to offset the CO2 used for these flights.  Here’s a better idea if you like to give to groups like that: Send your money to me and I’ll send you an encouraging email to pump up your fragile ego.  Or better yet, donate it to a real charity and then release some endorphins.

Robin of Berkeley explains why the left hates Sarah Palin — Yep.  If they just disagreed with her ideas and explained why it would be fine.  That’s what we do with Obama.  Yet we’re called racist for that?!  I have never said anything remotely insulting of Obama like what Liberals do with Palin.

The Left has declared war on Palin because she threatens their existence. Liberals need women dependent and scared so that women, like blacks, will vote Democrat.

Theological Liberals’ ethnocentric views on display as they claim that African Christians are manipulated into claiming that homosexual behavior is a sin.  What frauds. 

A Massachusetts think tank has released a new report alleging that North American church renewal organizations are manipulating African churches and exporting hostile views of homosexuality.

“Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia” has been authored by Political Research Associates (PRA), which labels itself “a progressive think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society.”

The organization says that its mission is to “expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights.” The PRA website lists projects promoting abortion advocacy, gay causes and challenging Christian right “theocracy.”

They are the real homophobes, as they are so fearful of the Politically Correct Police that they’ll deny common sense and the God they allegedly worship. 

I know many African Christians and they were very disappointed when they heard that some U.S. churches were blessing same-sex behavior.  There wasn’t even a hint of them thinking, “Gee, you Americans are so darn smart, perhaps we should re-think our position.”  It was more a reaction of bewilderment.

Maybe if the theologicaly Liberal folks were authentic Christians and took the Bible seriously they’d notice these facts:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

0 thoughts on “Roundup”

  1. Subtext to the last part: African-Americans are much stronger opponents of SSM than are their Caucasian counterparts. About 70% of African-Americans voted against SSM in the California Prop 8 ballot question; those numbers are similar throughout the country.

    What the Left does not want to have happen is for the African-American community to become values voters. They don’t want them looking around at teenage pregnancies, drugs, abortions, homosexuality, and wondering why the people who claim to help them have caused so much damage. So the liberals will fight more politically correct targets – African churches themselves – rather than address the dissent in their ranks.

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    1. I agree with you and I am very passionate about this topic being a visible minority myself.

      But I wonder whether part of the problem is that African-Americans believe that government-administered wealth redistribution is consistent with the Bible, and that this trumps value concerns? Do you agree with that?

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      1. But I wonder whether part of the problem is that African-Americans believe that government-administered wealth redistribution is consistent with the Bible, and that this trumps value concerns? Do you agree with that?

        Huh?

        Obviously, my theology is lacking, so I can’t opine on this particular issue. The only thing of which I’m certain enough to dare offer an opinion, as a non-religious person, is that the Bible does not mandate socialism and seems to discourage it (“God likes a happy [?? forget the word] giver,” other admonitions to be charitable with one’s own money, etc.).

        Not being African-American, I have very little to offer as to why most of them (even the well-educated ones who pay more in taxes than they get in services) tend to vote for Democrats. My guess is that it’s often about hostility and (perceived?) oppression, not necessarily about welfare. Maybe I’m an optimist, but I do think that most people (aside from the few crazies who happen to be dominating the political scene) want the dignity of a job and a middle-class life, not government handouts. We just do a bad job convincing them that our policies are the better way to achieve those things.

        On a side note, the Left has a vested interest in ensuring that women and minorities do not become too prominent within the Republican party. The wholesale destruction of Sarah Palin was mostly due to the fact that if the Republicans had her on as VP, she would single-handedly destroy the “conservatives are sexist so vote Democrat” tripe. Likewise, there’s a lot of effort that goes into daemonising conservatives as racists, as that seems to be preferable to attacking our policies.

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      2. I agree that the Bible doesn’t mandate socialism, and I think it’s consistent with capitalism. What I was saying was that part of the reason why African-Americans vote Democrat is that they don’t agree with us on that. And that’s too bad, because there are good books out there that discuss the substantial agreement between Christianity and capitalism, such as Ron Nash’s “Poverty and Wealth” and Hay Richards “Money, Greed and God”.

        We also agree that conservatives need to do a better job on persuasion. And I think that Christian conservatives REALLY need to do a better job showing that capitalism and Christianity go hand in hand.

        Really, I don’t know why state-sponsored confiscation and redistribution to promote secular ends would be viewed by ostensible Christians as good. But then again, a lot of people call themselves Christian but their behavior doesn’t match the talk. For example, on the chastity issue.

        Regarding women in the Republican, I guess pretty much everyone knows by now that I like Michele Bachmann the most of all and want her to be President. There’s something about a fiscally conservative mother of 5 children and 23 foster children that appeals to me. Women ought to like children, and they ought to like small government – and she does both very well. She’s very passionate about it, too.

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      3. And I think that Christian conservatives REALLY need to do a better job showing that capitalism and Christianity go hand in hand

        I’m not sure that Christianity could really be said to endorse either capitalism or socialism, specifically. Some verses seem very socialist, if not down right communist (such as Acts 4:32) but the general principle of private ownership is upheld throughout the Old and New Testaments. However, we need to be careful when expecting the bible to speak to every contemporary issue. I’m very sceptical of anyone who claims that the bible supports a certain issue and then they cite some vague passage that could be interpreted in pretty much any way one wants. The writers of the bible were not concerned with 21st century issues, of which they could know nothing. They couldn’t and didn’t anticipate the huge social upheaval and associated benefits and disadvantages of industrialisation. What is clear is that they were deeply concerned about the issues of the day, and of course there are principles to be learned. For example, for me, there are few better life lessons to be learned than Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness based around Matthew 18.

        As someone with a major degree in Economics (ok, you can stop laughing, and it was a looooong time ago), I am genuinely interested in a study on this proposition that Christianity and capitalism go hand in hand.

        And I have a suggestion for all churches. Many charismatic, evangelical, call them what you will, churches today claim to follow closely the model of the 1st century Christian church. You want to truly follow that model? Then tell your pastor to get a real job, sell the church building (now that could raise some serious cash and put the humanists to shame), and meet in each other’s homes.

        Seriously.

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      4. There is significant evidence that, by the late 1st century and early 2nd century Christians rented out Roman basilicas and forums for Mass.

        Not trying to quibble with your point, just being a history nerd.

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      5. Wait. You are confusing socialism with voluntary charity. The Bible, OT and NT have always embraced the idea of voluntary charity. Never socialism. Give me one example where the Bible support socialism/Communism, and not voluntary charity.

        The closest you’ll come is the old law commandment to leave the corner of their crops for the poor to come and harvest. Even then, the poor were expected TO GO to the crops and HARVEST THE CORNERS THEMSELVES.

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      6. I understand that Acts 4:32 is a verse that promotes voluntary banding together of Christians in a communal living arrangement. By socialism, I mean the idea of government taxing people involuntarily, based on productivity, and then redistributing wealth based on the goal of equalizing life outcomes regardless of personal responsibility in order to buy the votes of the majority. The government is lso secular. I don’t think the Bible supports that.

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      7. Boo,

        I don’t think the writers of the Bible were concerned with ANY century, even their own. By this I mean that what was being taught by Jesus, and even in the OT law, had little to do with what tools are available or how advanced the technology. None of that matters to how we treat each other, how we relate to “stuff”, or most importantly, how we relate to God. (A good example of this is in the realm of human sexuality. Our current knowledge of reproduction and contraception have absolutely no bearing on the teachings regarding marriage and celebacy. If we could advance our abilities to the point where we could simply will whether or not pregnancy will occur, it would not change the teachings regarding how we are to conduct ourselves outside of marriage.) They were only concerned with human nature and that hasn’t change since the beginning of time. Fancy toys and tools hasn’t done a thing to alter that.

        As to which economic system is favored, I think it is clear that the charity taught is taught for the benefit of how each of us as individuals live. Even in a totally communist society (simply meant “communal” society), there would still be a need for individual acts of charity to which an individual might heed or ignore. That the communal society might be able to handle most needs of all the people, circumstances would likely arise that would require one person to do even more, even at a personal cost, which is the type of charity the Bible stresses. It does not stress governmental confiscation of wealth for distribution to others.

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      8. M.A. said: I don’t think the writers of the Bible were concerned with ANY century, even their own.

        I’m curious — Marshall or anybody else, perhaps Neil, you’ve made comments on this a few times: what then do you make of the change in God’s laws from the Old Testament to the new? Why exactly were they appropriate to Jewish theocracy but never thereafter? It’s scary to me that you think (e.g.) a death penalty for gays was the best thing even back then.

        –As Uganda is horrifically proposing this very minute.

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      9. God set aside the Israelites with a special role. If they were to carry the message of salvation to the world they were to be undefiled and above reproach. Stricter punishments for various infractions were appropriate.

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      10. So living among the Israelites back then, you wouldn’t have protested executions of your gay friends? You wouldn’t have felt any disquiet about the situation?

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      11. Disobeying God = bad idea. Who knows what I would have done then? But I’ll tell you now that regardless of the earthly penalties the “in your face, God” position of he pro-gay “Christian” groups is a losing strategy.

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      12. Neil said: Disobeying God = bad idea. Who knows what I would have done then?

        Right. My hope, of course, is that you would actively wonder about God’s demands of you with an eye to considering that He might not make sense, and therefore might not exist. You sometimes seem pretty content to chalk up his crueler moves (like “one-time-off” Year Zero massacres, Hell-which-is-a-larger-atrocity-than-all-human-atrocities-combined) to “God makes the rules, not you.” Which rather begs the question, since what I’m of course trying to suggest with such examples is that we made God, that the biblical God is chock-full of contradictions.

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      13. No contradictions that I can see. God creates all life and can end them when he likes. Create your own universe from scratch and you can do the same.

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      14. No one will argue that an omnipotent being would have the *ability* to kill whom he likes. The salient question is whether it’s the nice thing to do.

        I hope you condemn Uganda’s proposal?

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      15. (It’s scary to me because it suggests that a death penalty for gays could again come to be the best thing, given the right circumstances).

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      16. seasofbrightjuice said

        God’s demands of you with an eye to considering that He might not make sense, and therefore might not exist.

        With this logic, I might not exist.

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      17. We have no such mandate to take a life for any crime that is not murder.

        As to your previous question regarding how one might respond back in the day, I would like to believe that living during a time when direct (or near direct) contact and communication from God Himself, that I would make every effort to simply obey the law He handed down without questioning it. Or, given the opportunity to question Him directly, He might explain what I can already assume about His laws regarding sexuality. In short, sex is very selfish and self-centered. One is intent on pleasing one’s self. God, being a jealous God, cannot abide such idolatry, which is a level sex easily becomes in the lives of too many. Death for sexual sins shows God’s intolerance of actions that so deviate from His plan for us—one man, one woman united as one flesh until death parts them.

        As to laws changing from OT to NT, that’s not true. God’s methods might have changed, but His laws remain the same. That is, how we are to behave as believers, the setting apart from the rest referred to by Neil, all that is not only the same, but clarified and more sharply defined by Christ.

        A more detailed explanation can be found in my very first post at my blog. Feel free. Neil may have such an explanation in his archives as well.

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      18. Thanks Marshall, it’s a relevant thought re: God being more part of the family back then. (I of course consider that someone’s sheer imagination, but there we are). On the other hand, one might think a very present God should make severe penalties *less* necessary.

        It’s a fair enough point that God still requires people to be hetero (I mean, the literary character, “God”), even if he no longer punishes gay love with death. But even if his desires for how we should behave are unchanged, he still laid down concrete earthly laws back then which he has since repealed, no? And don’t things like dietary laws mark a change even in how he requires us to behave, not only in the earthly enforcement of his laws?

        I’ll check out your blog soon, thanks for the heads up.

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      19. Ditto what M.A. said.

        However, we need to be careful when expecting the bible to speak to every contemporary issue.

        I’m assuming by this that you define issue by the struggles that take place in a given time regarding which way a people should go or should do. This is true, except that I would remove the words “every contemporary”; we should be careful. But being careful does not mean assuming that because we live in a time of great technological advancement that the Bible has nothing to say to our age, for indeed it does.

        Any person who approaches the Bible from the perspective that it is merely a book written by ancient men will never be able to grasp its true Author. He will always be sidetracked by the human element and the impositions of the age in which it is read onto his thinking. You actually provide an example of this in your last idea:

        You want to truly follow that model? Then tell your pastor to get a real job, sell the church building (now that could raise some serious cash and put the humanists to shame,

        This kind of church is actually available and is actually growing. Does this change your mind on anything?

        Focusing on the sinful human element, an element that the church readily admits to, is a distraction from the Author and His appeal to man. Every single Christian who ever existed, even the writers of the NT, provided plenty of reasons to reject the God they proclaimed and worshiped, much less the Christians who were not Christians at all, should that be the focus. The epic struggle is and always has been with sin, both in our own hearts and its collective results in our society; whatever the system by which it was governed and whenever or wherever it may exist or have existed.

        But to dig a little deeper, the answer to why we even should deal with problems may shed some light on the matter, for such a universal question requires universal answers. Capitalism, in and of itself, provides no answers, it only applies a universal assumption, that man is not inherently good, to an economic system. Socialism applies an opposite assumption, that man is basically good. History reveals the system that provides the most good for the most people, but this history must be examined in light of the the prevalent thinking of the society being examined because capitalism, I am convinced, is dependant on the former assumption, that man is not inherently good, which in turn is dependant on a Christian worldview as it pertains to the heart of man.

        (Since you state that you are genuinely interested in a study on this proposition that Christianity and capitalism go hand in hand I will go on a little while longer. I too am interested in that subject.)

        Let me explain. Capitalism is seen and evaluated as a dog eat dog system. But we are not dogs, or even advanced apes. We are made in the image of God and therefore our “good” is not a universal ex nihilo good, but good based on a true universal good. Once this is rejected Capitalism does turn into a dog eat dog system. But this is were the dichotomies come in for the lamenting socialist because even though capitalism is seen by him as involving entities that are only a more advanced, but still meaningless, agent than a dog, he wants to assert as if his own ideas of good are universal. I am told over and over that I have no right to impose “my” morality on others by the same people who wring their hands over CEOs who exploit the poor for exorbitant wealth. This is the contradiction faced by every socialist who’s answer to the problem is, of coarse, to impose an ex nihilo universal standard on the CEO. There is still more contradiction yet because those few who are empowered to impose this standard fail to impose the same standard on themselves. Furthermore, the CEO is only acting according to what he was taught, as are the “imposers”, that is, that this life is all there is and there is no absolute truth. Why should he not take advantage of the opportunity to exploit? This brings us back to the Bible and the reason why the “whys”, as opposed to the “whats” are always the real issue.

        For an excellent talk on this issue see this little speech.

        In case my link doesn’t work here is the URL:

        http://www.pjtv.com/video/Afterburner_with_Bill_Whittle/A_Tale_of_Two_Revolutions%3A_The_War_of_Ideas_%26_the_Tragedy_of_the_Unconstrained_Vision/2403/

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      20. This kind of church is actually available and is actually growing. Does this change your mind on anything?

        I’m very much aware of house churches and consider it to be a much better church model, for a variety of reasons. I was making a serious suggestion, not trying to score cheap points in an argument. Please read what I’m actually saying, without trying to insert meanings behind my words that aren’t there.

        Thanks for the link, the video didn’t do much for me, as I’m not advocating pure socialism and never have. My point is that the bible does not address the social issues raised by capitalism and socialism as these were not issues in the day. Of course the bible deals with certain fundamental principles of human behaviour, quite accurately too, and this is one of the things I admire about it. This admiration no longer extends to granting it supernatural authorship, however. But to state that “capitalism and the bible go hand in hand” is like saying that the bible guides me in changing the oil in my car. I would object just the same if someone claimed, as I’m sure they often do, that the bible is some sort of socialist manifesto.

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      21. Here’s a way to see the comparison: Belief in God is always a matter of choice. Free will factors heavily in whether or not one is saved. We have the choice to abide God and His Will or to reject Him and abide our own desires. Capitalism shares this dynamic. Though is allows for dog eat dog, we don’t have to succomb to that practice, nor do we have to live in poverty if we don’t. Wealth does not require malevolence in order to aquire it. Indeed, thinking in terms of how to provide a product or service that is affordable for the most people is a nice thing and the real key to success in business. You might make more money by nefarious strategies, but it isn’t necessary and the risks involved need not be taken to succeed.

        Socialism removes much of the individual freedom that leads to levels of success comensurate with one’s desire to attain it. Choices are limited or removed in order to attain a form of equality or level playing field that is entirely unnatural and impossible on this earth or in man’s design.

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      22. Belief in God is always a matter of choice. Free will factors heavily in whether or not one is saved.

        I don’t think that there is any free will involved in belief. One either has seen enough evidence to convince oneself, or one has not. I cannot look at a dog and tell myself it is a cat, and say that I have chosen to believe something.

        This is why i don’t mind being an atheist despite the possibility I could be wrong. I know I have searched for truth, and I know I have been honest with myself about what I have seen.

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      23. Dan, I should probably add at this point that I do appreciate the effort you’ve put into the discussion. I’m not dismissing what you’ve said out of hand. But you’ve thrown out an interesting proposition, that capitalism is based on the assumption that man is not inherently good. Could you expand on that? We have police stations due to the same assumption, but our management of the police services is not based on the bible.

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      24. Let me see if I can expound with brevity. First, by “not inherently good” I do not necessarily mean law breakers requiring police. It is not against the law, nor could it ever be, to not be motivated to help our fellow man. But I think we would both agree that to not be willing to do so are not qualities one would look for in a “good” person. (Just to clarify, when I say to help our fellow man I do not mean to vote for someone else to help our fellow man using someone elses money, but rather, the help that costs us something personally, and brings us face to face with the recipients of our help.)

        With this in mind consider the proposition I heard recently from a person who was a hard core socialist, that every person should be paid the same, period. As a person considers such an economic system, he innately begins to realize the kind of future it would bring about. If this sounds like a system doomed to failure to you then consider the reasons that you think that this is so, then consider if those reasons are consistent with the idea that man is basically good.

        Capitalism assumes self interest, a kind name for self contriteness and ordinary greed, that is as opposed to inordinate greed. It assumes that man will be industrious, innovative, invest, and be productive; not out of the kindness of his own heart, which would be a good thing, but in return for personal gain.

        I’m interested in your thoughts, and if my explanation made sense. Oh, and BTW, I didn’t mean the question “does this change your mind” as a cheap shot, although I can see why you’d think I did. I’,m sure my point could have been made without it. Thanks for overlooking it.

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      25. “self contriteness” should read “self centeredness”. Didn’t know if everyone would get that one.

        And there you go…, spell check tried to do it to me again.

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  2. #1 Corn prices can do whatever they want. Corn is not good for fuel (takes more gasoline to grow it than it replaces with ethanol), or food (it’s not a naturally edible grain). We shouldn’t be growing it like we are. The only reason we are is because of government subsidies.

    #2 I don’t hate Sarah Palin. She seems like a nice lady. I think she would be great on the ticket in 2012, since I think she actually does represent the majority of the republican party.

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    1. Ryan, I have read a lot of opinions in the past. Never have I heard anyone argue that corn it not a good food crop. Wow.

      First, corn is a staple in much of our food source. Both directly (eating corn or derivatives from corn), and indirectly (corn fed cattle and other animals). Your point about government subsidies is a good one, but not in this context.

      While you are correct to say it is grown in the quantity that it is because of subsidies, that doesn’t diminish it, in any way, as a food source.

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      1. Hey, don’t get me wrong – I love corn. My point is that corn was never a food source until a mutant variety was cultivated and grown by humans. It’s not eaten by other animals naturally. We grow it because along with soy, it is the cheapest thing in the world to grow, and it yields more per acre than anything else. In the last 20 years, through genetic modification, corn yields have gone through the roof, and when you modify a crop (or anything) for one specific trait, you often compromise another trait.

        Something like corn fits fine in a balanced diet, in moderation, but we eat ridiculous amounts of it. Corn is in almost every processed food in the supermarket, usually in multiple forms. High fructose corn syrup as as ingredient is a great indication that you should never eat that product.

        We also feed an exclusive diet of processed corn to most of our cows, chickens and pigs, animals that naturally eat grass and green plants. That means that the natural protein in their diets has been replaced by corn, simply because it is cheap, and it quickly makes them nice and fat. The protein in most supermarket meats, and dairy products is now derived from corn.

        Farmers have replaced their once varied crops with a rotation of corn and soy, two crops that get them subsidies, and good yield. There are states that now need to import crops (sometimes from overseas) because they are no longer grown locally.

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      2. Ryan, I simply disagreed with your assessment of corn not being “not good for……. food”. I agree with everything else you said, and based on your comment (which echoed much of what I just said) you agree with me.

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      3. I took Ryan’s point to be that corn is not healthy in the way that Americans eat it, which is influenced by policy in Washington.

        As a group, Americans are overweight, diabetic, don’t get enough fibre, don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, and eat far too much junk food. Most of this is related to the fact that corn and wheat (and, therefore, the junk foods often made from them) are inexpensive compared to vegetables.

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  3. re “•100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.”

    How I imagine their response:

    “What’s a verse?”

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  4. re: ethanol check out this site

    http://healthandenergy.com/ethanol.htm

    basically making ethanol uses more energy than it creates and to power just all American cars with ethanol would require growing corn on 97%!! of the land area of the USA.

    Some people just can’t do simple math.
    While we need energy independence until either:
    a. ethanol production enercy costs become at least twice as effective or
    b. the ethanol car becomes 100 times more efficient
    ethanol is not the way

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  5. Sustainable Travel International (STI) is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote sustainable development through responsible travel by providing programs that help travelers, businesses and destinations protect the environment, preserve cultural heritage and promote economic development.

    STI is recognized as a leading catalyst for sustainable development designed for the travel and tourism industries through comprehensive customizable and scalable solutions that improve performance measures of social, environmental, and economic factors.

    Offerings include carbon management including offsets that are certified to the highest standards including The Gold Standard, giving back programs that community development initiatives, capacity development through education and training, sustainable tourism certification, and much more.

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