Custom Search

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just Another Crazy News Day

Biden Praises Arab Spring on Same Day Egypt Dissolves Its Parliament

( - Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a high school commencement ceremony in Virginia Thursday, called the Arab Spring a “democratic movement” -- on the same day that the Egyptian high court nullified the Islamist majority parliament and the Egyptian military assumed control of the legislature. . .

Crop Insurance Proposal Could Cost U.S. Billions

( At the same time that high crop prices are prompting farmers to expand into millions of acres of land once considered unsuitable for farming, Congress is considering expanding a federal insurance program that reimburses farmers for most losses or drops in prices. The combination could cost the government billions of dollars if the newly farmed land does not yield enough crops and especially if crop prices fall, says the New York Times.

Advocates, including farm interest lobbyists and lawmakers with a long history of creating and protecting benefits, argue that the new program would save Washington money by replacing a longstanding one costing $5 billion a year, known as direct payments, that pays owners of farmland a set amount regardless of whether they have planted crops.

However, the subsidization of crop insurance has a significant perverse incentive, in that it encourages farmers to exploit land with exceptional risk, overextending their operations.

  • The sharp rise in the price of corn, wheat, soybeans and other crops has already caused farmers to plant land long prone to erosion and flooding.
  • Farmers are somewhat tempered in this expansion effort by potential losses at these locations where, for example, a flood may wipe out a large crop yield.
  • The new farm bill, however, would further exacerbate this problem: it would further subsidize the premiums paid by farmers for crop insurance and would also cover much (if not all) of their deductibles for the same.
  • The end result of these policies, it seems, is that farmers will be incentivized to engage in extraordinarily risky operations -- after all, they'll be paid anyway. . . .

Fire in Juárez destroys church, spares Virgin of Guadalupe image

(El PasoTimes) A fire destroyed a church in Juárez early Wednesday morning, but spared a Virgin of Guadalupe image, despite the fierce blaze, Juárez officials said today.

The incident took place at about 4:04 a.m. on Wednesday, at San Agustín Chapel at Paseos del Alba and Paseos del Ángel Streets, Juárez Fire Department officials said. . .

Obama in desperate race for campaign cash, but at what cost?

( are real indications now that President Barack Obama has not really been governing the country since April 2011, because by all indications his 2012 reelection campaign has been in full swing since then.

As evidence, Mark Knoller of CBS News, the unofficial keeper of presidential statistics, counts President Obama as having held 124 fundraisers - about one every three days - since he launched his re-election bid in April 2011, compared with just 57 fundraisers President Bush held during the entire 2004 election cycle, according to Toby Harnden's April 26, 2012 UK Daily Mail article. . .