Food and Farming
The corporate propensity for rationalizing the irrational in the pursuit of profit appears to be boundless. Consider J.R. Simplot, a giant agribusiness conglomerate whose phosphate mining operations in Idaho have grossly polluted creeks with selenium, a highly toxic metal.
This year, spring arrived early as a record-breaking heat wave swept across the nation. It feels like summer in Minnesota, Virginia, and many other parts of the country. Farmers are either already planting their crops or just about to start. Consumers who shop at farmers markets throughout the Midwest will soon be sampling fresh-picked local asparagus a few weeks ahead of schedule.
Many products already bear labels proclaiming the number of calories, the grams of sugar, fiber, and fat, and other details for every serving. Labels say whether the products we put in our bodies are sugar-free, kosher, organic, and more. Shouldn’t we also know whether the food we’re eating is genetically modified?
There’s a nasty fight brewing in Washington over the budget that could determine whether a farm bill is enacted in 2012. Given the gridlock that has afflicted Congress since before this election year even got underway, some lawmakers say it should wait until 2013. I couldn’t disagree more. Our farm and food system is broken, and it’s wrecking the lives of family farmers here in the United States and across the globe.
The bad news is that Hostess Brands has sunk into bankruptcy. It couldn’t stay afloat with the $860-million debt piled onto it after a group of Wall Street speculators took over the 82-year-old company. The good news, though, is that devoted customers can still get their daily fix of five kinds of sugar, partially hydrogenated oil, polysorbate 60, artificial flavors, and yellow dye No. 5 — just a few of the ingredients in Hostess Twinkies.
Why do the Republicans in Congress hate unborn babies?
I feel uneasy sleeping in a house without functioning smoke detectors. I lock my doors at night. I salt my sidewalk when it’s icy. I always wear my seatbelt. Like most people, I prefer to minimize my chances of getting hurt or wrecking my car or house, despite the fact that my house, my car, and my health are all (thankfully) insured.
For a symbol of how America’s decade-long war is going in faraway Afghanistan, look at the beautiful fields of red poppies flowering so bountifully there. Unfortunately, that bounty symbolizes the failure of an ambitious Western initiative against Taliban forces.
Ever since Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed the nation’s strictest immigration measure into law, he’s faced criticism from religious leaders and immigrant advocates.
Here’s one resolution for all you consumers hoping to improve your health and the environment: Starting in 2012, avoid genetically engineered foods.