Saturday, November 25, 2006

Black Friday Hangover

The term "Black Friday" has been around for some time -- and often refers to the day after Thanksgiving -- a day of major Retail shopping sales. It's said to be the biggest sales day of the year for retailers, although some stats indicate it's actually the 5th biggest of the year.

It was called "Black Friday" because supposedly, it's the turnaround for the retail industry when their red ink (from losses) starts turning into black ink (for profits).

Others say "Black Friday" actually refers to a darker time in history -- the day of the largest stock market crash ever -- the dawn of the depression.

It was said to have been preceeded by a "bubble" in the economy -- a bubble that eventually burst. Learn more about "crashes and bubbles" here.

Briefly, a quote from the site referenced above describes it well:

"Like the soap bubbles a child likes to blow, investing bubbles often appear as though they will rise forever, but since they are not formed from anything substantial, they eventually pop. And when they do, the money that was invested into them dissipates into the wind."

I've received some very interesting feedback from my post: "The Ethanol CAFO Connection?"

Some who stand to profit were, needless to say, very upset. There is major hype and spin being directed towards the ethanol picture (which wears the eco-friendly disguise label: "bio-fuels"). And like any issue, there are people standing on both sides. Marty's "Big Eastern" blog brought up a few good links on both sides of the subject in his 18Sept2006 post titled "Bubble Trouble" are a few more:

- Crunching the Numbers on Alternative Fuels by Popular Mechanics

- Drunk on Ethanol by Business Week

- Ethanol Investing: Counterpoint by FSU

You'll notice the above links are not too pro-ethanol. You can get plenty of that from the major players and stakeholders in the ethanol game.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for progressive steps that will clean up the environment and reduce or eliminate the many toxins and related health risks assaulting us and our planet each and every day.

But the "pro ethanol spin" hasn't convinced me it's a viable solution. I still believe it was a necessary step in Gov. Daniels big plan. Think about it. His big goal when taking office was to double pork production in the State of Indiana. Since everyone who is anyone in the ag industry knows one of the biggest drawbacks for CAFOs are the damages they do to our environment, it's not too big of a stretch to think he piggybacked the big pork push with the environmental spin of bio-energy.

Ethanol has become the "darling" of some mass media outlets, as this Bio-Town video on ABC Nightline clearly indicates. Turning all that gawhd-awful smelling hog manure into ethanol to power up our nation sounds like a perfect solution on the surface, right?

Stepping ahead on his plans to paint the "green" picture, Daniels gave away 200 FREE 2-year leases on brand new hybrid vehicles to residents in his BioTown -- namely Reynolds, Indiana. They don't have an ethanol gas station -- yet -- so those 200 vehicles are now guzzling up the gas, running at approx 27% less fuel efficient than other vehicles.... but hey, it's the thought that counts, right?

In politics, it's the "thought" that really counts when it comes to image. While Daniels makes his strongest push ever to "green" up his agenda for the State of Indiana spear-heading his PR campaign with the ethanol push, few people even know about his hidden plans "to increase timber harvest by 400 to 500% on State Forests"

...and it's not just him pushing the ethanol agenda. The subsidies in place (that expire in 2007) come right from the top -- where ethanol was madated as the fuel additive of choice, replacing another additive that was proven to pollute groundwater.

A little known fact about ethanol emissions can be found in Consumer Reports article, "The Ethanol Myth."

QUOTE: When we took our Tahoe to a state-certified emissions-test facility in Connecticut and had a standard emissions test performed, we found a significant decrease in smog-forming oxides of nitrogen when using E85. Ethanol, however, emits acetaldehyde, a probable carcinogen and something that standard emissions-testing equipment is not designed to measure. But that might be a relatively minor evil. "Acetaldehyde is bad," says James Cannon, president of Energy Futures, an alternative-transportation publication, "but not nearly as bad as some of the emissions from gasoline."

What is Acetaldehyde?

I'll bring you more on that (and other important health related info) next week. Stay tuned.

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