China's president to visit Microsoft, White House

in that order. Which speaks volumes...

China's leader Hu Jintao has left on his first visit to the United States since becoming president, keen to allay America's trade and currency concerns.

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23:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Italy owes wine legacy to Celts

Interesting stuff - many forget that Italy was peopled by lots of different tribes, not just Latins. The Lombards in the North were a Germanic folk who (mythologically speaking) got their name from Frigga.

Alcohol has always played an important role in Heathen religious rites. While most modern groups celebrate with mead or beer or ale, wine is just as traditional.

For two history buffs with a passion for the tipple, northern Italy has the barbarians to thank for its long wine-making tradition.

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23:00 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

Did Uncle Sam cause high gas prices?

Well, here's another case where the policy mavens inside the beltway shot themselves in the foot and us in the wallet. But it's all for a good cause, right? It'll help the American farmer by demanding more use of ethanol... oops, not necessarily(PDF). That will mostly help large agribusiness conglomerates who can play off South American and Caribbean suppliers to get the lowest possible price, since they use sugar cane to create ethanol while we use higher fiber (and thus less efficient) corn stalks.

This explains why the oil industry and agribusiness were so keen on CAFTA, and why Congress was in such a rush to push it through. Why am I not surprised?

As gasoline prices spiral upward ahead of the high-demand summer season, some traders and consumer advocates are laying at least part of the blame squarely on the doorstep of the federal government.

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23:00 /Agriculture | 7 comments | permanent link