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Ethanol may be the answer


Fri, Mar 31st, 2006
Posted in Commentary

The answer to America’s dependence on gasoline could come from the Midwest, not the Middle East.Using ethanol as a transportation fuel can be traced back to Henry Ford and other transportation pioneers. Ford’s Model T, produced in 1908, had a carburetor adjustment that would allow the vehicle to run on ethanol fuel produced by farmers. Ford’s vision was to “build a vehicle affordable to the working family and powered by a fuel that would boost the rural farm economy.”Shortly after the Model T was introduced, rising taxes imposed on ethanol limited its use as a fuel alternative. Low gasoline prices and a well-run campaign by the major oil producers kept ethanol from catching on as a transportation fuel. In spite of this, interest in alcohol-based fuels as a supplement to oil-based fuels was revived during the oil shortages of WWI. During WWI, vehicle fuels contained a mixture of 20% alcohol and 80% gasoline. The use of alcohol and gasoline as a blended fuel was again reintroduced during WWII when the government took over whiskey distilleries and transformed them to produce alcohol for fuel. Following WWII, oil prices dropped to an all-time low, the petroleum industry was opposed to using ethanol blended fuels and campaigned to cancel any further incentives for use.The production of alcohol fuels was on hold until the oil crisis of the 1970s, and ethanol production was again recognized as a beneficial, renewable, alternative fuel source. In 1979, the OPEC oil embargo had created long lines and higher prices. There was national concern about the transfer of wealth to the Middle East and the vulnerability of the United States from increased oil imports. President Jimmy Carter spotlighted the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels, promoted renewable energy and developed an ethanol program. In 1986, the Minnesota legislature initiated a program to increase the use of ethanol by creating a state tax credit for ethanol-blended gasoline. At the same time, rural Minnesota was also in the throes of a major agricultural market depression with low crop values and the loss of eight thousand farms between 1984 and 1986. In response, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture began developing an ethanol program intended to encourage rural economic development through farmer-owned value-added processing, while reducing the state (and nation’s) reliance on imported energy.Minnesota’s support for the ethan .....
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Shock and shame

Fri, Mar 24th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

The 1970’s Academy Award winning documentary Hearts and Minds, which detailed the course of the Vietnam War, from our initial contacts with the Ho Chi Minh resistance during World War II to our ultimate draw down of troops in 1973, documents how succ ..... 
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DOMA: The marriage of discrimination and religion

Fri, Mar 10th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

With the start of the 2006 Minnesota Legislative Session on March 1st, Republicans were aggressively pushing their tool to prevent gay marriage, the so called Defense of Marriage Amendment. Hundreds of thousands of DVDs distributed around the State f ..... 
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So long to number 34

Fri, Mar 10th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

I think it was May, 1992, but don’t quote me. We were visiting Minnesota from our home in Michigan, and my sister had given us Twins’ tickets. What I remember about the game was that Kirby Puckett hit a grand slam, and the announcer said it was Pucke ..... 
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A budget is a statement of ethics

Fri, Mar 3rd, 2006
Posted in Commentary

The Union of Concerned Scientists asked its’ members to write to the local papers concerning the Bush administrations perverse use of scientific research, the muzzling of scientists, and use of political litmus tests for hiring and appointment to rev ..... 
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Ben Franklin and the opinions of men

Fri, Mar 3rd, 2006
Posted in Commentary

Sometimes we print things people don’t like to read. I guess that’s the nature of a newspaper.

Sometimes people don’t like what I write; at other times, they don’t like what others write that we print.

And ..... 
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Legislative survey doesn’t inspire confidence

Fri, Feb 24th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

In today’s mail I received a 2006 Legislative Survey from Representative Greg Davids who says he appreciates my opinion. Let’s hope he appreciates this.

1.Would you support an effort to use a portion of Minnesota’s budget surplu ..... 
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A sustainable environment is not optional

Fri, Feb 17th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

A sustainable environmental policy is not optional. By definition if it is not sustainable, the earth as we have known it and the human race cannot live with it long term. To assure the survival of our children it is imperative that we realize our pl ..... 
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On second thought...

Fri, Feb 17th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

That was Minnesota’s own Senator Norm Coleman watching the Administration’s back in Senate hearings two weeks ago when he went after former FEMA head Michael Brown of “you’re doing a heck of a job Brownie” fame.

Brown testified ..... 
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