Vilsack for Ag Secretary; The Good and the Bad

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President-elect Barack Obama named former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack as his Secretary of Agriculture. First, the good news. Vilsack's appointment drives some progressives nuts because he apparently supports biotech crops. The Organic Consumers Association asserted:

Vilsack has a glowing reputation as being a schill for agribusiness biotech giants like Monsanto.

On the other hand, both Obama and Vilsack have been enthusiastic supporters of federal subsidies for ethanol produced from corn. However, turning food into fuel contributed substantially to steep increases in global food prices earlier this year. In addition, recent scientific studies have shown that subsidizing corn ethanol causes more land to be plowed up which actually boosts greenhouse gas emissions. Mr. Obama has declared that "my administration will value science." Let's hope that means that he will direct his new Secretary of Agriculture to ask Congress to cut wasteful and environmentally-damaging corn subsidies.

Putting science ahead of ideology and politics on both issues would be a nice change.

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  1. All government is bad.

  2. Yes, let’s hope Chu chews their ears off.

    But really, how many other obvious lobbyists have been appointed cabinet positions? What Ag science expertise does an ex-governor have? This smells like a reward. Was Nutsack an Iowa campaign manager or something?

  3. On the other hand, both Obama and Vilsack have been enthusiastic supporters of federal subsidies for ethanol produced from corn.

    For that he deserves to have a bushel of corn cobs shoved up his ass. Maybe now that he’s out of Iowa he’ll see sense. But I doubt it. We got in this mess because DC is Iowa’s bitch.

  4. This idea that the Democrats are going to be all pro-science is an interesting one. I’ll believe it when I see it, because all evidence is that they just politicize difference areas of science than the GOP.

    Appointing someone that isn’t anti-biotech crops is good, but I bet the appointment has 100% more to do with ethanol and corn subsidies.

  5. Yeah, ending the ethanol subsidies will happen, as soon as Iowa quits being an initial caucus state for the presidential election.

    Change, when it’s politically expedient, you can believe in.

  6. “because all evidence is that they just politicize difference areas of science than the GOP.”

    This.

  7. And the only reason the oppose politicizing one area vs. another, I’m convinced, is because they have a knee-jerk reaction of doing the opposite of the other side. It’s why liberals in California want marijuana decriminalization while favoring smoking bans. Or the reverse–conservatives being against smoking bans, but for continued criminalization of marijuana.

  8. You here at reason must like central planning! Here’s the deal, as long as there is a Federal “Secretary of Agriculture,” there is no “good news”! Get with the program!

  9. Vilsack’s appointment drives some progressives nuts because he apparently supports biotech crops.

    I’m starting to like this Obama guy.

  10. “Putting science ahead of ideology and politics on both issues would be a nice change.”

    It would also be unbelievable. You call yourself a scientist, Ron!

  11. Didn’t Vilsack used to play bass for GWAR?

  12. Considering Obama spake the phrase “energy from farm fields, not oil fields” (or words to that effect) in his announcement/ introduction event, I won’t get my hopes up about any reduction, much less abandonment, of the ethanol boondoggle.

    And Senator Sec’y of the Interior (and college classmate of yrs trly) Salazar: take yer fuckin’ hat off!

  13. “Good? Bad? I’m the guy with the gun.”

  14. The biofuels scam drives progressives nuts as well.

  15. Putting science ahead of ideology and politics on both issues would be a nice change.

    We shall see.

  16. And- on the topic of hereditary succession, I read in the Denver Post that Senator Salazar’s brother is rumored to be on the short list for the soon-to-be vacant Seat.

  17. However, turning food into fuel contributed substantially to steep increases in global food prices earlier this year.

    I’m not starving, so what the fuck do I care?

  18. “Putting science ahead of ideology and politics”

    As long as it’s supported by Iowa farmers, then sure.

  19. Putting science ahead of ideology and politics on both issues would be a nice change.

    That’s change I can’t believe in. Much as I’d like to.

  20. MMMM, Vilsack initially endorsed Clinton, this is his payback for that.
    P.B., I heard farm fuels, too. I wasn’t aware the hard left was anti-etho, for the wrong reasons, but good none the less. Maybe this will be the Democratic rift I’ve been waiting for.

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