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OpenMarket: Brian McGraw

  • Ethanol Shills Never Tire

    October 27, 2010
    This time it's retired general Wesley Clark. The language is anything but honest, and unfortunately very convincing to the average reader.
    It’s an $821-million-a-day addiction to foreign oil. That’s $300 billion a year, or about $1,000 for every American—man, woman, and child. In June we sent $27 billion abroad; in July it was over $29 billion.

    If a foreign country came here and said, “Pay us this tax,” we would consider it an act of war. Yet when a political party discusses trying to recapture $300 billion a year in taxes, it’s political suicide. Americans pay billions of dollars per month to foreign countries—some of them incubators of terrorism, nearly all of them unstable dictatorships—and it isn’t even a campaign issue.


    That means we are still...
  • Ethanol in The Wall Street Journal

    October 26, 2010
    The editorial staff at The Wall Street Journal have not been kind to ethanol over the past months. They ran two editorials (one in July -- "Survival of the Fattest", one last week -- "The Ethanol Bailout") criticizing U.S. biofuel policy.

    The most recent editorial sparked a letter to the editor from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The letter reiterates many of the talking points Vilsack made in his recent address. The...
  • The Chevy Volt: Just Another Hybrid

    October 22, 2010
    It turns out GM wasn't being completely honest when they touted the Chevy Volt as an all electric vehicle. From Edmunds:

    GM Lied: Chevy Volt is Not a True EV.
    Um, well, no. Even conceding that all engineering projects involve compromise and chalking that phrase up to marketing hyperbole, the Chevy Volt isn't as electric as GM pretends it is. And it isn't as electric as GM has been saying for the past three years.


    In fact the Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid and it has more in common with conventional "series-parallel" hybrids like the Toyota Prius than the marketing hype led us to believe. There are circumstances in which the Volt operates with the internal combustion engine directly driving the front wheels. That's right, like a Prius.

    This is...
  • Ethanol and Energy Efficiency

    October 21, 2010

    The U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke today at the National Press Club on the future of biofuels in the United States. His remarks contained the expected boilerplate that the White House had previously blogged about here.

    Growth Energy, the cheerleader of the ethanol industry, were very supportive of his remarks. But both Vilsack and Growth Energy got one thing wrong -- the efficiency of ethanol production.

    Growth Energy...

  • China Might Halt Rare Earth Exports

    October 19, 2010
    The New York Times reports: "China Said to Halt Some Mineral Shipments."
    HONG KONG — China, which has been blocking shipments of crucial minerals to Japan for the last month, has now quietly halted shipments of some of those same materials to the United States and Europe, three industry officials said on Tuesday.

    The Chinese action, involving rare earth minerals that are crucial to manufacturing many advanced products, seems certain to further ratchet up already rising trade and currency tensions with the West. Until recently, China typically sought quick and quiet accommodations on trade issues. But the interruption in rare earth supplies is the latest sign from Beijing that Chinese...
  • China Mocks U.S. Over Subsidy Investigation

    October 18, 2010

    An update to Friday's post:

  • "Illegal" Green Energy Subsidies

    October 15, 2010

    In a move that surprised no one, The New York Times reported today that the U.S. agreed to go ahead and formally investigate a complaint filed by the United Steelworkers in early September, accusing China of illegally subsidizing their green energy industry. The original story on the filing of the case is here. A summary of the complaint is here.

    Two quotes from the summary, emphasis mine:

  • Food vs. Fuel? Part Deux

    October 15, 2010

    Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its estimate on yields from 2010 corn crops to 12.7 billion bushels for 2010 from the previous September estimate of 13.2 billion bushels. In 2009, 13.1 billion bushels were produced. The lowered estimate led to the largest daily corn spike since 1973 (Financial Times, free registration required). A rise in corn prices raises the price of food...

  • Ethanol: Following the E10 to E15 Debate

    September 29, 2010

    The ethanol industry was patiently waiting for the EPA to approve an increase from 10 percent ethanol blends to 15 percent in gasoline. They are still waiting, but no longer patiently.

    Numerous groups have voiced their opinion to keep the blend wall at 10 percent, or at least not to approve the increase until further testing is done. Despite the fact that the opposition comes from organizations such as the National Council of Chain Restaurants (this one is admittedly confusing), the Engine Manufacturers Association, and the Motorcycle Industry Association, the domestic ethanol industry is convinced this...

  • An Unpaid Internship at the White House

    September 27, 2010
    @whitehouse on Twitter alerted me this morning that applications for internships at the White House are due by October 3. I couldn't help but look at the details, all the while reminded by a quote from the satirical

    White people view the internship as their foot into the door to such high-profile low-paying career fields as journalism, film, politics, art, non-profits, and anything associated with a museum. Any white person who takes an internship outside of these industries is either the wrong type of white person or a law student. There are no exceptions.

    If all goes according to plan, an internship will end with an offer of a job that pays $24,000 per year and will consist...


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