Rex Murphy could stand to do more research on biofuels, before spouting off about them. While I can find a few points to agree upon, especially his comments on algore and the rest of the climate change religious fanatics, he is, like every other anti alternative energy mouthpiece, cherry picking his facts, and spinning them to make them sound like their is going to be a global calamity and mass starvation thanks to ethanol.
Hoosier Ron already has a thread in the alternative energy forum, regarding the growing of food crops, versus fuel crops. The stats in that thread pretty solidy debunk Murphy's claims. While it is true that growing corn to use as fuel is an unsustainable practice, it is not causing poor people to starve and riot for food. High OIL prices are what is causing the shortages in poor countries, as they cannot pay for the fuel required to get product to the shelves.
He also totally ignores the technological advances with cellulosic ethanol, which will serve to send corn ethanol packing, as corn ethanol simply cannot compete in cost of production.
On the claim of more energy in versus energy out, this WAS true back in the 70's, 80's and 90's, when ethanol was simply being used as an oxygenate for winter blend gasoline. Technological advances since, have tipped corn ethanol modestly energy positive.
Murphy is of course, ignoring the cost of going to war to secure the increasingly scarce "cheap oil." Add that to the cost at the pump, and people would be rioting in the streets over the price.