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My usual corn rant

July 30, 2009

Many of you may or may not know, that for many years now I have collected “evidence” as to why corn is bad.  Bad for our health, bad for our environment, and bad for a whole host of reasons.  It first started with small observations, like that corn kernels come out whole in one’s poop (sorry, but I had to use the word poop there, bowel movements just seemed too medical); and that corn syrup, which the body has trouble processing, is a major ingredient in many/most of the foods attributed to obesity i.e. soda and snacks.

Then there was the issue that we use a lot of corn, most of it actually, for things that either don’t need it or should have it.  If you haven’t read it, I recommend the first section of The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  In the book Michael Pollan describes not only how the corn is grown, but then how it ends up in our livestock feed (along with insane amounts of antibiotics, but that is a whole other entry).  There is a reason our beef tastes bland, let’s just put it that way.

Finally, as I got older (and possibly wiser) I realized that there was more than just food at stake.  Around this time the debate over clean fuels – and in particular ethanol – was taking off.  Ethanol we were told was going to be our savior.  We  then found that that it was beyond inefficient and was very expensive.

But then I realized that the real problem lies in the timing of the Iowa Caucus.  No candidate can win Iowa without sucking up to corn.  And no candidate can afford to lose Iowa by big numbers.  David Rothkopf put it well:

But once again, America’s electoral system rears its ugly head. So long as presidential campaigns begin in Iowa, Iowans like Grassley will use the system to put the interest of their state’s three million citizens and the most vocal special interests within their midst like the corn lobby, ahead of the three hundred million or so of the rest of us.

So my take away here is that until we change our political system so that less weight is placed on the decisions being made by corn farmers we will see plenty more wasteful ethanol, bland beef, corn syrup induced obesity, and corny poop.

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