April 24, 2008

Let Them Eat Potato

Yes, Walmart joins the "rationing." Customers limited to 200 POUNDS of rice at a time.
(Related: As prices skyrocket, experts warn of an impending world wide shortage of airbrushed goalie masks. This may be the time to stock up.)

Posted by Kate at April 24, 2008 12:02 AM

Food Alarmism Underscores American Reality: "There will never be a shortage of bullshit."

LOL so true!
They'll never be a shortage of alarmists, nor the fodder than feeds them.

Maybe walmart can get some from the Pali's at a good rate.

Posted by: ldd at April 23, 2008 11:56 PM

"Maybe walmart can get some from the Pali's at a good rate."

er, rice that is...the bullshit is free.

Posted by: ldd at April 23, 2008 11:58 PM

Careful for what you wish for.

All the goalies I know are a little bit off.

You may have more phone calls from highly unusual, slightly flakey individuals asking for a "only a goalie gets it" mask-done yesterday.

Posted by: jeff k at April 24, 2008 12:30 AM

Once you get the ketchup on the rice - they all taste pretty much the same.

Posted by: ural at April 24, 2008 1:11 AM

Ketchup on rice??? Oh dear, try some butter and vinegar...but ketchup? Yuck! Now I have to stockpile rice along with the pasta and regular light bulbs? My pickle room is getting full.

Posted by: Hunter at April 24, 2008 1:40 AM

Kate, I want my airbrushed goalie mask to have a picture of two hot naked chicks making out. That way it'll match the tank on my Harley (um, you are going to do the tank on my Harley, too, right?).

Posted by: Ed Minchau at April 24, 2008 2:58 AM

(Related: As prices skyrocket, experts warn of an impending world wide shortage of airbrushed goalie masks. This may be the time to stock up.)

use an empty RICE bag over the head, they more valuble!!!!!!

Posted by: GYM at April 24, 2008 5:04 AM

socialism continues its march around the world. as people continue to look to government to solve the perceived problems things will get worse. paying farmers not to grow food, that is definately not a conservative idea. burning food in your car while on vacation not a real good idea. well, you get the idea. south africa, once the breadbasket of africa is now a hopeless mess run by a native son. the white man was sooooo evil. the problems of the world will never be solved by government.

Posted by: old white guy at April 24, 2008 6:52 AM

"the white man was sooooo evil"

Whch is why I'm puzzled by all the fuss over Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

Didn't we support the Zimbabwean people during their epic struggle all those years against the hated Ian Smith white Rhodesian regime.

Was Mugabe the triumphant leader they wanted for Zimbabwe?

Smith is dead, Rhodesia is no more, Mugabe rules Zimbabwe. The Zimbabweans shouldn't be moaning nor should the West: all our wishes for the country have come true.

Nothing to see here. Move along now.

Posted by: JJM at April 24, 2008 7:21 AM

This reminds of Gilda Radner's Emily Litella character who once fretted about "endangered feces."

Posted by: Mississauga Matt at April 24, 2008 8:07 AM

Any word on the rumored custom painted brain-bucket shortage? ~:D

Posted by: The Phantom at April 24, 2008 8:15 AM

This must have started a month or so ago. I remeber being in Loblaws and I saw a Chinese family, large community in my area, going by me followed by dad with the cart. In the cart there were at least 10 if not 15 huge bags of rice. Dont know the weight but they were twice the size of sandbags that I see used in floods.

So this panic has been going on for at least a month if not more. When there is hording there is inevitably a crash. Give it another couple of months and I am sure the price of rice will fall through the floor. That family wont be buying ANY rice for a year and I am sure they arent alone.

Posted by: Stephen at April 24, 2008 8:44 AM

I don't think I've eaten 200 pounds of rice in my lifetime -- and I do like rice. I would think the price has to do with the futures market -- but this is only my guess. Now with countries rioting over food shortages (as some always are) and the intense media coverage during an election year, I can understand prices increases but not to the levels they are now. And yes, as oil increases in price the cost of transporting food internationally will increase. If you look at the price per ton of the commodity verses the price to transport it, I can easily see price increases.

Posted by: Orlin at April 24, 2008 8:54 AM

Commodities traders are driving food prices up. A big part of the problem is the weakened dollar. When the dollar is waek, the price of oil and commodities rise. Hording rice is a big part of the problem now.

Rice prices more than doubled in the past year as countries, including India and Vietnam placed limits on exports to safeguard domestic supplies and cool inflation. The Philippines, the world's biggest rice importer, received offers to supply just two-thirds of the volume the government tried to buy at a tender April 17, stoking concern about a food shortage.

Misguided government subsidies for biofuel crops are playing havoc with global food prices too. It's all so unnecessary. Americans are downsizing their cars and driving less, market forces at work to conserve oil. It's always the stupidity of government interventions that screw things up. Where was Bush's mind when he passed that lame ethanol bill?

Posted by: penny at April 24, 2008 9:04 AM

Penny, his mind was on the shrieking of the MSM for "green" fuel and the agribiz lobby whispering "votes!" in his ear. It was a vote buy.

Bush is a Big Government guy, lets not kid ourselves. So is McCain. Their constituency is conservatives though, so they are more restricted in what they can do compared to the proudly Big Government DemocRats.

Posted by: The Phantom at April 24, 2008 9:47 AM

We let politicians run our governments so we get political solutions to all our problems. Because most political solutions are political compromises, they are invariable subject to the Law of Unintended Consequence. Most of us adjust our habits and plans even at a relative subconscious level to minimise the actual impact. The subtle impact of all of us buying just an extra pound of rice, just in case, creates nothing but havoc in the marketplace.

A year ago, the ethanol bill was a touted as a success by farmers, consumers, strategic analysts, and politicians alike. Today, we are starting to see the politically driven economic consequence of turning food into fuel.

Both food and fool are a limited resource, and the ability to turn one into the other just allows shortages to be concentrated at the expense of the other. The cost of keeping fuel prices down raises the price of food. We would not be happy if the equation ran in the other direction either. The issue begs further political decisions....

Now that Ontario and Quebec have announce plans to eliminate chemical pesticides (a political decision since Health Canada continues to state that such chemicals are perfectly safe when used as directed), expect a run on existing supplies and subsequent media articles on shortages of Wipe-out.

Posted by: john at April 24, 2008 9:57 AM

Incidentally, and completely off topic except as it relates to fuel, I have discovered a way to make the Mercedes Smart Car driveable and attractive.

You yank out all the wussified eco friendly Mercedes guts and shoehorn in a Suzuki Hayabusa engine.

Video of Smart Car blowing the doors off a Ferrari.

There's nothing in the automotive world that can't be improved with a couple hundred more horsepower. ~:D

So Kate, what does one paint on a Smart Car that can eat a Ferrari?

Posted by: The Phantom at April 24, 2008 10:16 AM

Not only did he invent the internet and the global warming scare I think he can take responsibility for the food shortage around the world (rice rationing) as prople now think they need to burn food in the gas tank to save our air. Whats next for this super brain?
I wonder if his carbon credits will buy rice in China and India etc. where he and his ILK want to redistribute the worlds wealth.
As the saying goes Beware of what you ask for, you just might get it.

Posted by: capt_bob at April 24, 2008 10:19 AM

What ever the supply chain issue may be, the retail chain is taking gross advantage of the rumor panic.

I really like Basmati top grade aged rice...I buy about 10 pounds of it a year...recent trips to the grocery retail outlet, that I get real Indian Basamati from, shoe they have recently doubled the price of this item even though they are still selling supplies they have had over a year.

Every "shortage" scare is an opportunity for profiteering.

Oh well, time to switch to Japanese sticky rice.

Posted by: WL Mackenzie Redux at April 24, 2008 10:20 AM

I see the Sky is STILL Falling!

Posted by: OMMAG at April 24, 2008 10:36 AM

the other half buys bulk organic brown rice thru a buying club. it collects dust in the basement.

OTOH, Ontario get ready for the weed infestation.
Dalton will be reversing the pesticide (herbicide?) policy in a couple years, like the clothesline ban.

Posted by: puddin and pie at April 24, 2008 10:45 AM

I better hurry and get out to buy my 200 LBS of rice!


Did Walmart start the crisis?

the sky is falling again, the sky is still falling, the sky is falling again, the sky is still falling, the sky is falling again, the sky is still falling, the sky is falling again, the sky is still falling, the sky is falling again, the sky is still falling, the sky is falling again, the sky is still falling,

Posted by: dinosaur at April 24, 2008 11:06 AM

The roots of all price crashes are found in the price bubbles that preceed them.

This too will pass. We will be seeing stories on low rice prices and poor rice farmers next year at this time.

Posted by: Stephen at April 24, 2008 11:25 AM

I still have oranges left over from the great orange famine predicted last year. You remember - the one created by the global warming frost in California...

Posted by: Kate at April 24, 2008 11:40 AM

QUICK CALCULATIONS!! If you lived on rice alone, with three 8oz sevings a day, you could survive for 133 days on 200 lbs of rice. Not a good idea, rice is way too high in carbohydrates. Good old Saskatchewan steak will prolong your life.

Posted by: Jack B Nimble at April 24, 2008 11:57 AM

QUICK CALCULATIONS!! If you lived on rice alone, with three 8oz sevings a day, you could survive for 133 days on 200 lbs of rice. Not a good idea, rice is way too high in carbohydrates. Good old Saskatchewan steak will prolong your life.

Posted by: Jack B Nimble at April 24, 2008 11:57 AM

My big beef is that the very reporting of this "shortage" causes the average Joe or Jane to go out and stockpile amounts they will never use. Although my larder is empty at the moment, I recall a while back having a couple of 3 or 5 gal plastic pails that I occasionally threw a 10 or 20 pound sack of white or brown rice in. Even with two teens it was never a weekly or even monthly buy item. Now maybe if I was into making saki...

Posted by: Texas Canuck at April 24, 2008 12:57 PM

I guess it is also a good thing that the prairies are too dry to grow rice otherwise the Canadian Rice Marketing Board would screw that up too.

Posted by: Texas Canuck at April 24, 2008 12:59 PM

Think of how much that chinese dinner is going to cost you now. Maybe those restaurants use that much rice at a time, but who else does.
As for the price of gas/liter, how much is a starbucks/liter.
Vinegar on rice, must try it, but my son does put ketchup and cheese on his. This is a kid that got a bottle of ketchup in his xmas stocking for years. Me, I like butter and brown sugar.

Posted by: MaryT at April 24, 2008 1:33 PM

My girlfriend is in the Philippines as we speak. This "so called" rice shortage is, unfortunately, all too real there. There are many causes. Many Filipino people here and in the US are actually buying up rice here and shipping it to the Philippines, because money was useless when there was no product. So we're buying product produced in Nearby Thailand, and shipping it to the Philippines from Canada. Not very efficient.

The government has taken to bringing in mass shipments and selling what they get from the legislative grounds.

We can theorize about causes and speculate as to whether it's real all we want, but when you can't buy rice because it isn't available or when you can't afford to buy the rice that is available, everything else is BS.

Posted by: Jimbo at April 24, 2008 1:40 PM

"Thursday, April 24, 2008
Food Prices to Rise?
Madely in the Morning - 7:10am --- Steve Madely is joined by Tom Buis, president of the US National Farmers Union, to discuss his belief that speculators are driving up the market."

Posted by: MadMacs of Bytown at April 24, 2008 1:47 PM

Jimbo, your account does beg the question though: Why is there a shortage in the Phillipines when there is enough produced in Thailand to ship over to Canada?

If I was a Thai producer I would jump at the chance to sell to Manila at the same price as Vancouver and get the added profit from cheaper transportation expenses. Heck, if I was a wholesaler here in North America I'd seriously think about buying a boatload on the docks before it is unloaded and turn it around to sell in the Philipines.

No doubt people are going hungry but why?

Posted by: Texas Canuck at April 24, 2008 2:14 PM

Don't hold me to it, as I'm too busy to look it all up right now, but I'd heard something about Thailand cutting exports to save more for home. And the Philippines, which imports most of its rice, has also converted much of the rice growing lands they did have to industrial/commercial/residential land.

And I've heard some rice producers have converted to grain crops, because the Chinese are eating more meat, which requires grain for feed. There are also the growers who convert to biofuel crops as legislated levels are put in place by many industrialized nations.

One particularly troubling explanation is that investors burned by the credit crisis have moved their money into foods, fueling speculation that has driven the prices sky high. I don't understand enough about high finance to elaborate or speculate with any confidence, but when we're talking about feeding people, especially millions of the poorest people on the planet, temporary market adjustments and eventual corrections are fine distinctions that don't go over well to those starving in the meantime. I'm afraid it's coming down to the kind of corporate brinksmanship that has driven oil prices sky high - whereby traders raise prices using a supply/demand model, and in this case daring governments to respond with subsidies as they know people can't go without these basic foodstuffs.

I'm interested in hearing the views of those who understand this a lot better than I. Please respect that I cannot agree with the "not really happening" positing, or abide the "too bad for them" argument. If anyone thinks we should starve off a few hundred million people, we part ways morally and philosophically, as much as I may see the point pragmatically.

Posted by: Jimbo at April 24, 2008 4:02 PM

"Endangered feces" is almost as funny as

Les: Monster lizard ravages east coast! Mayors in five New England cities have issued emergency requests for federal disaster relief as a result of a giant lizard that descended on the east coast last night! Officials say that this lizard, the worst since '78, has devastated transportation, disrupted communication, and left many hundreds homeless!
Johnny: Monster lizard?
Les: The wire service never lies!
Johnny: Les, the "B" is out on the printer! It's monster blizzard!

Posted by: richfisher at April 24, 2008 4:15 PM

MaryT, here's my kids favorite, ketchup and brown sugar, a nice quick sauce he can make.

Posted by: Hunter at April 24, 2008 4:32 PM

Jimbo - I concur that it is really happening, what do you expect when commodity traders have run prices through the roof. Where is any evidence of catastrophic failed rice crops? Countries are in hording mode. And, that the usual government suspects rushing to fix things will screw this up badly. It's always after the famine that history notes that the food could have been obtained if not for the artificial barriers.

One of the most idiot bills that Bush signed was the ethanol subsidy, signalling to the world that fuel was more important than food, never mind free market forces solving both situations.

Posted by: penny at April 24, 2008 9:30 PM

Maybe rats ate it!,2933,351740,00.html

Posted by: richfisher at April 24, 2008 10:07 PM

200 pounds of rice would last me about 10 years.

Posted by: Friend of USA at April 24, 2008 10:59 PM

And 200 pounds of lasagna would not last me a year!

Posted by: Friend of USA at April 24, 2008 11:01 PM

many enviromental extremists would rather have starvation then plenty to eat becuase they have listened too long to PAUL EHRLICH and his POPULATION BOMB poppycock bull kaka

Posted by: Spurwing Plover at April 25, 2008 12:24 AM