People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

But Will It Taste Better?

Exciting news from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

U.S. to get low-cal, low-carb Heineken beer

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands Heineken NV said yesterday that it will offer a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate beer under the Heineken name in the United States, hoping to gain more of a growing segment within a stable market.

The new beer, Heineken Premium Light, will compete with domestic brands such as Anheuser-Busch Cos.' Michelob Ultra and SABMiller PLC's Miller Lite, as well as foreign brands such as InBev SA's Beck's Light -- and Heineken's own Amstel Light, the best-selling foreign light beer.

According to Heineken, light beers made up 47 percent of the U.S. beer market in 2004, up from 44 percent in 2000.

Heineken said the beer would help it "capture an ever-growing share of the premium import segment of the U.S. beer market." (link)

I've never tasted cow urine. And I don't ever intend to. But my estimate of what it must taste like comes close to the taste of Heineken. We can only hope this new Premium Light isn't as icky.

Never Mind ...

Several days ago I suggested that Condoleezza Rice might make a great 2008 candidate for the presidency. I'm already changing my mind. Bad news comes to us from the Washington Times:
2008 run, abortion engage her politically

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday pointedly declined to rule out running for president in 2008, and gave her most detailed explanation of a "mildly pro-choice" stance on abortion.

In an interview with editors and reporters in the office of the editor in chief at The Washington Times, she said she would not want the government "forcing its views" on abortion. (link)

"Mildly pro-choice." "Government forcing its views ..." Come to think of it, I read those weasel words and realize she might make a good politician after all.

Just not mine.

You're Paying a Lot More Than You Think

This bit of news (from the AP this morning) should surprise noone.
Congress may cut food aid, not farm aid
By LIBBY QUAID, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Cuts in food programs for the poor are getting support in Congress as an alternative to President Bush's idea of slicing billions of dollars from the payments that go to large farm operations.

Senior Republicans in both the House and Senate are open to small reductions in farm subsidies, but they adamantly oppose the deep cuts sought by Bush to hold down future federal deficits.

The president wants to lower the maximum subsidies that can be collected each year by any one farm operation from $360,000 to $250,000. He also asked Congress to cut by 5 percent all farm payments, and he wants to close loopholes that enable some growers to annually collect millions of dollars in subsidies. (
You occasionally read or hear about "farmers" like CBS Newsman Sam Donaldson, billionaire Ted Turner, and billionaire David Rockefeller (link) who receive checks from the federal government to "subsidize" the price of commodities that they as "farmers" produce. In Donaldson's case, it involved wool. I remember being in Iowa several years ago and was talking to an individual who told me that he "earned" more from the wool subsidy than he did from the sale of the wool itself.

That subsidy derives from your tax dollars, folks.

But you don't have to jump in your car and drive out to Iowa to see your government giving away your hard-earned tax dollars in order to subsidize farmers. Just look out the window.

Here in Bland County, Virginia, the average personal income per capita in 2000 (when the last census occurred) was $17,082. The percent of households living below the poverty line the prior year was 12.4%. (link)

What none of these (768) people have learned (yet) is how to work the system. Here's what they need to know: Get a few dairy cows. Hang out a sign that reads "Ernie's Dairy Farm." And send in a completed application to your friendly Department of Agriculture. They have piles of money they have to give away before the next truckload comes in.

Although it may not be quite that easy, the rewards can be immense. Guess how much the top ten recipients of farm subsidies here in Bland County received from the federal government between 1995 and 2003.

1) Rex Morehead, Bland, VA 24315 $195,641

2) Rich Valley Dairy Inc, Ceres, VA 24318 $123,759

3) J C Kidd, Ceres, VA 24318 $89,157

4) Morehead Farms LLC, Bland, VA 24315 $80,205

5) Hill Dairy Inc, Bland, VA 24315, $78,134

6) M H Bowen Jr, Bland, VA 24315 $73,514

7) Faulkner Farms, Bland, VA 24315 $60,167

8) Meek H Bowen III, Bland, VA 24315 $39,491

9) Steven E King, Ceres, VA 24318 $23,720

10) George T Bird, Wytheville, VA 24382 $21,178 (Source: Environmental Working Group)

Each of these farmers received more in subsidies than the average Bland Countian earns in a year. In a county that has staggering poverty.

Not all of these are dairy farmers of course. But all received your tax dollars. And lots of them. To milk those cows. Shear the sheep. Shuck that corn. Etc. Etc. Etc.

So. Next time you go to the grocery and complain about the price of that gallon of milk, think about what you are really paying for it. Kinda makes you want to switch to orange juice, doesn't it? Uh, wait. The price of those oranges is subsidized too.

Your tax dollars at work.