Biofuels are one of the best examples imaginable of why geography matters.  Demand for fuel, food, and profits at the national and international levels are all connected in multiple and complicated ways.  This New York Times article lays it out very well, although they quote a number of people who seem to miss the point.  No, August Schumacher, rice may not be something that is used for biofuel, but when land is devoted to growing oil palms (now the world’s largest fruit crop) rather than rice, food prices go up.  No, Senator Grassley, corn is not likely to be directly consumed as food, esp. the feed corn that many of your Iowa farmers grow.  But when land is devoted to growing corn rather than soybeans, cooking oil prices go up.  And as the NYT pointed out a month or so ago, even the very poorest people who grow their own food still need to purchase cooking oil.  And if that one commodity goes up by 40%, they can’t cook their food.

Other stories of note: Housing Woes in U.S. Spread Around Globe, Retail Chains Going Bankrupt, and the end of the stockyards in South St. Paul.  We’re all connected.