Curtis Dahlgren
STATE OF THE UNION? You want the cold, hard facts?
By Curtis Dahlgren
January 27, 2014

"Propane is scarce . . Demand has just been unprecedented . . [and] farmers used more of it than usual to dry [corn] after a wet harvest." – Wall Street Journal (1-25-14)

THEY SAY IT'LL BE A COLD DAY IF WE EVER GET AN HONEST 'STATE OF THE UNION.' It will be cold, but I'm not going to listen to it. It should be given outdoors like inaugural addresses; that would shorten the standing ovations. The whole speech could be given in two words: "It sucks." Or, if you prefer, "It stinks."

Speaking of that wet harvest, that was related to the cold spring we had last year. That shortened the growing season, plus the fall was wet, so it took a lot of propane to dry that "bumper" crop of corn that the Federalis encourage farmers to grow (via "Renewable Fuel Standards"). When the Federal government becomes "Central Casting," you can bet on lots of unintended consequences. Farmers are growing less wheat and more corn, lots of it on marginal hilly land (and corn is more susceptible to soil erosion than any other crop). Some farmers are even cutting down wood land to make more crop land. Many "green" policies backfire, like windmills killing eagles.

Government statisticians tell us that there is hardly any inflation. SURE – if you don't count gas, diesel, electricity, or propane! Five years ago, a gallon of regular averaged about $1.87 a gallon. It costs almost that much to produce a gallon of ethanol, before adding in the costs of blending and shipping and handling, from the wholesale market to the retail store. The ethanol lobby brags that at least it's not Arab fuel, but we could have said the same thing about oil from ANWR, or Canadian oil and the Keystone pipeline.

Senator Oboma promised in 2008 that he would stop the seas from rising, implying that he would stop the globe from warming; maybe he OVER DID IT! This morning it was almost 20 below zero, again, and people who burn propane are paying two- or three-times as much for a gallon of propane compared to the start of the heating season. I wish I were a speech writer for the President.

You know it's going to be a cold day when people in Brownsville, Texas are freezing their butts off. You know it's going to be a cold day with the illegals crossing the border the other way. You know it's going to be a cold day when some Floridians are thinking about moving back to Cuba. Just kidding about that one, but it might be a good time to stock up on citrus fruit, move spring training to the Dominican Republic, and post-pone the Super Bowl until 6 weeks after Groundhog Day. Let's move the Mardi Gras offshore. The winter Olympics could be cancelled due to cold weather.

I wonder if da prez will even mention Global Warming this year? Their new tourist slogan is "SKI D.C.!" It was so cold last week that John Boehner went to California, and wished he could go to Hawaii. Our modern-day Bolsheviks are looking for a New Siberia, and are preparing to send Chris Christie and Denesh D'Souza to northern Maine or the U.P. of Michigan. Our high tomorrow is going to be about ten below.

The gods must be crazy. Or, is it our politicians? John Holdren, turn off your geo-engineering machine! Congressman Pocan, please phone home; your water pipes are freezing!

I hate to be flippant, but I grew up reading Jim Murray, the sports writer. Sports topics aren't as serious as current events, but the latter have some humour nonetheless. For new readers, the January 31, 1971 National Enquirer page one headline was:


I wonder if that's where Al Gore got the idea for his video? Seriously, we need to pray for people on fixed incomes, especially the elderly, who are battling this "INCONVENIENT COOLING" with a shortage of propane (or money for electricity and other energy).

PPS: There was a fly on the wall at the White House and two speech writers were wondering what the President should say about the energy shortage. One of them said, "Just put on another sweater and quit your belly-aching."

[The year was 1977. Or
was it?]

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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