Ethanol and Bird Poop

I saw on my newsfeed that while President Biden was speaking the other day about increasing ethanol production a bird pooped on his lapel. I can sympathize. It’s happened to me twice; double the indignity.

I don’t remember much about the second fly-over, but the first is emblazoned in my memory even though it happened many years ago when I was a reporter for The Indianapolis Star.

It was a summer morning and I was wearing one of my new, lightweight dresses and walking toward the back entrance to the newspaper office. I was feeling on top of the world.

I saw it coming. A giant glob sailing through the air toward me. I tried to step out of its way, but it was a direct hit just below my waist. It felt wet when it struck. And it must have been a big bird, because it was a substantial in size.

By the time I got to the door and the building guard, I was laughing hysterically. I could tell he thought I was nuts until I explained that I had just been bombarded by bird poop. I pointed to the white and green mess on my dress.

“Oh my,” was all he could think to say. Then he laughed, too.

I went immediately to the ladies’ room and washed out the droppings, drying the flimsy dress material under the hand dryer. I chuckled about it the rest of the day, sharing the story with my co-workers and friends, some of whom I’m sure thought it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

I had the same feeling when I read the Biden-ethanol and bird poop story. Sometimes the president deserves a little something nasty on his lapel for the ill-advised decisions he makes.

I may not be an expert on the pros and cons of ethanol, but I have always wondered why the U. S. thinks it’s okay to burn up 40 percent of the corn it grows in our gas tanks when we have so many other alternatives available. And is ethanol that much better for the environment than gasoline – or other forms of abundant energy in this country?

While traditionally we have allowed 10 percent of our gasoline to be ethanol, Biden wants to increase that number to 15 percent. Talk about your bad timing.

For starters, the war in the Ukraine is likely going to mess with two major harvests in that country this year: a large load of wheat starting in July, and an even larger load of corn starting in October.

According to Asia Times, the autumn corn crop was mostly intended to feed animals over the winter, so that it wasn’t going to affect food in supermarkets until 2023. The Times says that gives farmers time to adjust to the projected loss of Ukrainian corn, including simply planting more corn elsewhere. I’m not sure where that would be. Preferably not in the path of Russian tanks.

Biden must have no plans to ask our farmers to step up and fill in the dwindling corn supplies in those countries that get their grain from the Ukraine. And if he does, how much more can they produce when a large chunk of our fertilizer comes from Russia?

In 2021, the U. S. imported an estimated $10.3 billion worth of fertilizer for crops in 2021. Of that, $1.3 billion came from Russia, which is now off the market.

Less corn. Higher food prices. Shortages. Sidestepping our abundant energy sources to please the far left. All in all, I’d say the bird expressed my sentiments about what the president had to say the other day – and many days.

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