Thursday, March 30, 2006

Blathering political Jamie

I am on Charlie Norwood's e-mail list. Not because I have anything in common with him whatsoever, as near as I can tell, but merely because I've written him letters about NAIS and other issues. His database has me tagged as a concerned citizen, I guess.

The other day I received an e-mail from Mr. Norwood. It cast a few aspersions on people from the country immediately to our south, attempted to inflame my patriotic spirit, and then directed me to a web page where I could take a poll on immigration legislation. Instead of taking the poll, I wrote him another letter (the cycle continues!), telling him that while I did not have an opinion on amnesty for illegal immigrants--at least not one that could be boiled down to filling in "yes" or "no" bubbles on his web site--I did have an opinion about legislators who use immigration as a hot-button issue, spreading xenophobia and hatred.

The aide who reads his mail must just love me.

But if I didn't want to talk about immigrants, what did I want to talk about instead?

Well, lemme tell ya. And then I'll tell Norwood next time he tries to involve me a polarizing push-poll.

Yesterday on the evening news I saw a report that said that by the end of this year, Brazil's automobiles will be completely independent of Middle Eastern oil. For a decade, they've been developing a sugarcane ethanol program. They started out with ethanol-gasoline blend at the pumps and began selling flex-fuel cars. Now almost all the cars in the country are ethanol-compatible. They're ready.

Meanwhile, we are sitting on our hands, doing nothing. In Minnesota there was 90-10 ethanol blend available at the gas pumps, but we can't even get that here in Georgia. We have a lot of corn and all the scientific capabilities, yet we are 10 years behind on this. Why? Because while the oil lasts, it's making money for certain people. Therefore, energy independence is not a priority. Now that's a hot-button issue.

In more encouraging news, there's a guy in a nearby county who is opening a plant that burns a mix of wood chips and chicken manure--basically what you scrape off the floor of a chicken house. Since Georgia is one of the biggest producers of chickens in this country, he does not envision running out of fuel. A local electric company is buying his energy output and will be selling it as "green" electricity for only slightly more than the cost of petrochemical-generated energy. What a great idea!

I think we need to convince our representatives that this is what we'd like done with our money.