Make that 2 tons concrete, 4 barrels soy

Who knew soy could be used as carpet backing, adhesive, printing ink, industrial cleaner, paint stripper or even roof coating? As part of the growing “Green Building” trend among the nation’s home builders, the United Soybean Board set up a booth at the builders’ tradeshow in Las Vegas this week to educate people about this renewable resource’s industrial uses. Soy is replacing about 20-30 percent of petroleum today and the organization hopes builders will help them push that number even higher. Soy-based products promise to lower energy costs and add about 5-10 years to the life of a roof. With 80 million acres of soybeans in the U.S., the little wonder bean could help lower building costs and raise home sales. –Jessica Swesey

What do birds have to do with housing?

You may have heard or read last week that Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small, former Fannie Mae big shot, pleaded guilty to possessing and importing Amazon artifacts made of feathers and other parts of endangered species.

Weird.

Now go back three years when Small yielded to intense public pressure and dropped his then plans to close the Smithsonian’s Conservation and Research Center facility in Front Royal, Va. The CRC is dedicated to the study of endangered species and habitats.

Proof that Fannie Mae is too fat and happy; this guy left the mortgage giant with enough lettuce to purchase a 1,000-piece collection of stuff made by Amazon tribes in Brazil.

Obscene, insane consumption is how we see it.

Federal preemption puts consumers in peril

The Republican party platform calls for shrinking the federal government and giving more power to the nation’s individual states. But the Bush Administration has adopted exactly the opposite approach on at least two issues: banking and junk e-mail.

The federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency told national banks and their operating subsidiaries to ignore state banking laws, while the new federal Can-Spam Law replaced state anti-spam regulations.

The federal government’s preemption of state banking and anti-spam laws could help people in states that had no such protections. But in states where better protections already existed, consumers now face greater exposure to onerous banking practices and predatory e-mail. The Bush Administration’s actions were unfortunate, unnecessary and contrary to Republican ideology. –Marcie Geffner

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