State ag chief disputes ethanol criticismST. PAUL — Minnesota’s agriculture commissioner says the country’s grocery stores are misleading Americans when they claim that corn-based ethanol is driving up food prices.
By: Don Davis, The Republican Eagle
ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s agriculture commissioner says the country’s grocery stores are misleading Americans when they claim that corn-based ethanol is driving up food prices.
“Some of this message is the result of calculated efforts from groups such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association,” Commissioner Gene Hugoson said.
“Sensing an opportunity to advance its agenda, this
organization of food companies created a high-profile public relations campaign to mislead consumers into focusing on ethanol as the primary culprit behind rising food prices even though only 20 percent of the price grocery shoppers pay for a food item is due to the actual food cost and the rest is for non-farm costs such as advertising, packaging and transportation.”
Ethanol helps the agriculture economy because it uses so much corn, and state leaders such as Hugoson and his boss, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, promote it as a way to help wean the country from foreign oil.
Hugoson said high corn prices are caused by, among other things, “record energy costs, increasing demand from Asian markets, and speculative investing in commodities markets by large financial interests.”
While today’s ethanol mostly comes from corn, researchers are finding new ways to make fuel that would not compete with foodstuffs like corn. That next generation is a few years away.
Veep rumors continue
Fueling rumors that Sen. John McCain is looking at Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty as his running mate is confirmation that the two were in the same place at the same time recently.
From MSNBC: “Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) did a CNBC hit from McCain HQ in Arlington today, where McCain himself was doing interviews. A Pawlenty aide wouldn’t confirm if he spent time with the senator, though. Officially, he was in Washington today for a quarterly meeting of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council.”
Pawlenty is a McCain national campaign co-chairman. The governor said late in the week that he does not know if McCain is considering him as his running mate.
A different mode
The Minnesota House speaker was unavailable, so House Majority Leader Tony Sertich of Chisholm was called upon the other day to discuss his party’s legislative races.
But while he is a political junkie, he had other things on his mind. After all, it was just days before he was to get married.
“I have a different list from a different leader,” he said when asked a question for which he had no answer.
If the shoe fits...
Looking down at a gathering of Republican Minnesota state House candidates proved interesting.
Some wore dress shoes. Some wore walking shoes. There even was at least one pair of cowboy boots. And one woman decided to slip off her footwear on a nice, warm day.
It was an unusual array of footwear among candidates, all of whom are donning political running shoes for the next five months.
Republican state House candidates gathered on the front Capitol steps, with leader Marty Seifert of Marshall proclaiming that the party will field a candidate for every one of the 134 House seats.
The political prom
The election results are in.
No, they are not from a political race but from an online poll of the sexiest Minnesota Capitol dwellers.
The Rake, an online magazine, accepted nominations for “the most beautiful, spectacular and otherwise hot people who labor at the Capitol.”
Five men and five women — lobbyists, legislative staffers, a lawmaker and even a press corps members — made the cut.
They took part in a photo shoot featured on The Rake’s Web site as they vie for “king and queen of Minnesota politics.”
There were plenty of nominations, and a few people unhappy with the results.
Consider this snippet from an online post by “AL”: “True to the ‘old boys club’ mentality that has been a part of the Capitol scene for so many years, it is not surprising that the girls are mostly in their 20s, wearing miniskirts, CFM heels or boots, while the men are older and wearing suits.
State Capitol reporter Scott Wente contributed to this report.