In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 8, 2007 / 18 Teves, 5767

One Word: ‘Switchgrass’: Will President Bush emphasize sensible energy ideas, or trendy ones?

By John H. Fund

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the classic 1967 movie "The Graduate," Dustin Hoffman plays a young man with a new college degree but no clear vision of what he wants to do. A family friend insists on giving him career advice: "I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. . . . Plastics." Following the GOP loss of Congress, the Bush White house appears similarly fixated on just one phrase: "alternative energy."

Members of Congress who have recently visited with Mr. Bush in the Oval Office have found him both fixated and fascinated by alternative fuels. "He's all into switchgrass," Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat, told the San Francisco Chronicle. She said Mr. Bush was "very engaged and wants to move forward" on bold plans to cure America's "addiction to oil."

The plans will apparently be bold indeed. Recently White House energy policy coordinator Al Hubbard told an audience that Mr. Bush's State of the Union message this month would generate "headlines above the fold that will knock your socks off in terms of our commitment to energy independence." Some observers think that could mean the White House will even embrace a big increase in gasoline mileage requirements. They note that influential GOP Sen. Ted Stevens of oil-rich Alaska, a longtime foe of such increases, has changed his mind and just unveiled a bill to raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to 40 miles per gallon within 10 years.

The Bush White House is clearly interested in not having anyone steal its thunder on energy before the State of the Union. Last month, a federal advisory panel was prepared to release a report that called on the administration to launch a nationwide education campaign to tout the benefits of biofuels and the "real costs" of oil use. It also called for the U.S. to produce 13 billion gallons of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel by 2015, more than double today's level.

But the administration was not pleased by the timing. It ordered the panel not to publicize the report because it might upstage upcoming announcements from President Bush. The report was finally released only after persistent media inquiries about it.

Free-market advocates worry that the administration may be about to abandon common sense and embrace alternative energy as a cure-all. They believe that in the current euphoria the "real costs" of alternative energy aren't fully understood.

Take wind energy, long touted as the most economic of renewable energy sources. Ed Feo, a leading wind energy analyst, has estimated that two-thirds of the economic value of wind projects comes from the tax benefits it's given.

As for corn-based ethanol, Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute calls the current mania to subsidize it "the closest thing to a state religion America has." Corn farmers have done a good job of disguising the fact that it still takes more than a gallon of fossil fuel — 29% more is the best estimate — to make a gallon of ethanol. In addition, various mandates requiring the use of ethanol significantly increased gasoline prices last summer and led to spot shortages because ethanol can't be carried through pipelines and requires special blending plants. James Glassman, an economist with J.P. Morgan Chase, notes that expensive ethanol was a big factor in the sticker shock consumers encountered at the pump this summer. "We'd probably have retail gasoline prices between $2.30 and $2.40 a gallon if not for ethanol," he told The Wall Street Journal last June, when pump prices were topping $3 a gallon.

The Bush administration recognizes some of these distortions and claims its new policies will seek to mitigate them. The use of switchgrass and other plants to make cellulosic ethanol would negate the need for the energy inputs and fertilizer that go into growing the corn that now goes into ethanol. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding an 18-month project in North Dakota to develop a new military jet fuel made from organic materials that could allow the Air Force to become energy independent.

Plans for experiments in oil-shale production — one of the most infamous energy boondoggles of the Carter years — will take advantage of new technology that can remove oil from rocks in place by methods such as heating them, which is cheaper than the old approach of crushing them. One oil company estimates that even after allowing for the use of natural gas and electricity to heat the rock, the energy payoff is three times that which is put in. If true, that makes a lot more sense than corn-based ethanol.

"The Bush administration will reject a Manhattan Project crash approach to alternative energy," says James Lucier, an energy analyst for Prudential Equity Group. "It plans a McDonald's mass-market approach that will seek to drive the costs down to where the market can take over and expand on them."

It's a foregone conclusion that Mr. Bush's State of the Union speech will be full of paeans to the prospects for switchgrass, solar panels and the conversion of turkey waste into diesel fuel. Some of these ideas are genuinely exciting and indeed hold promise to achieve greater energy independence. But here's hoping in his fervor for alternative energy, Mr. Bush doesn't forget that he should also press for fewer restrictions on nuclear power — a remarkably safe and clean energy source — as well as more ways to safely explore for oil and gas in Alaska and off the coasts of states that welcome offshore energy development.

Alternative energy is an ever-expanding fad right now, but Mr. Bush should remember that fads pass. When that happens, the country will be better off with a balanced approach that combines excitement for the new with sober reliance on tried-and-true sources that keep today's economy humming. Such an approach would also help Mr. Bush meet another of his self-proclaimed major goals: "making sure the federal government prudently spends tax dollars and restrains wasteful spending."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

Comment on this column by clicking here.


© 2006, John H. Fund