I will tell you what the sparrow told me about it

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The Politics on Our Plates

Combine the sheer abundance with the “omnivore’s dilemma” — the anxiety created by the multitude of food options — and it is easy to understand the well-fed human’s predicament in the 21st century. Further adding to the anxiety is that the people of plenty now must reckon with the reality of finite resources: the water, oil, and arable land that have driven the modern agricultural revolution. There are also fears that industrial food culture has damaged the social fabric as well as the environment. The rise of fast food combined with other social and cultural phenomena (more single-parent and two-income families, cars built with cup holders and food trays) have led to changes in domestic food practices, which have in turn been viewed as having affected family life and even civil society. Whether this is accurate remains to be seen. While I think it is possible (as some do not), for example, to have a meaningful meal prepared from a microwave or around a table of fast food, I am persuaded by the opinion articulated by some of these authors that by its nature, quickly produced and quickly eaten food changes the qualitative experience of a meal.

Some interesting observations on how sitting sharing a meal can reinforce family bonds, but also raises some challenges to the conventional wisdom on what constitutes ethical meals.What’s ethical might be related more to region then whether its vegan. Then there is the eternal question of waste, almost half the food we buy is thrown away.

Pollan observes, for example, “However we choose to feed ourselves, we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world.” In the end, Pollan tips his hat to the “conscientious omnivore,” the person who may not always make the most sustainable food choice but who is at least cognizant of and grappling with the complicated, often fraught provenance of the food we eat.

Your essential North Korea links, McCain Covers Up For Bush’s Nuclear Failures.
One has to blame Bush’s failures on Iraq and North Korea on The Big Dog because to admit that Bush erred on this or any issue is to admit flaws in the dogma of conservatism, which is like questioning the literalness of the Koran or the Bible among fundamentalist believers. The logic goes if they admit that one parable of conservatism is not true or not virtuous then they admit that the whole of conservatism may be flawed, deeply flawed. How can the followers of the supposedly infallible conservatism be expected to follow an orthodoxy that if we judge by recent history gets very little right. Mush easier for the true believers to do a mental shut-down, batten down the hatches and not let in that awful stench of truth and facts. From Fred Kaplan, May 2004, How the Bush administration let North Korea get nukes.

In response, Clinton pushed the United Nations Security Council to consider sanctions. North Korea’s spokesmen proclaimed that sanctions would trigger war. Clinton’s generals drew up plans to send 50,000 troops to South Korea–bolstering the 37,000 that had been there for decades–as well as over 400 combat jets, 50 ships, and additional battalions of Apache helicopters, Bradley fighting vehicles, multiple-launch rockets, and Patriot air-defense missiles. Beyond mere plans, Clinton ordered in an advance team of 250 soldiers to set up logistical headquarters that could manage this massive influx of firepower. These moves sent a signal to the North Koreans that the president was willing to go to war to keep the fuel rods under international control. And, several former officials insist, he would have. At the very least, they say, he was prepared to launch an air strike on the Yongbyon reactor, even though he knew that doing so could provoke war.

From April 2002 – US grants N Korea nuclear funds

Under the 1994 Agreed Framework an international consortium is building two proliferation-proof nuclear reactors and providing fuel oil for North Korea while the reactors are being built.

In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework’s requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

President Bush argued that the decision was “vital to the national security interests of the United States”.

In Search of a North Korea Policy

Then in 2002, the Bush administration discovered the existence of a covert program in uranium, evidently an attempt to evade the Agreed Framework. This program, while potentially serious, would have led to a bomb at a very slow rate, compared with the more mature plutonium program. Nevertheless, the administration unwisely stopped compliance with the Agreed Framework. In response the North Koreans sent the inspectors home and announced their intention to reprocess. The administration deplored the action but set no “red line.” North Korea made the plutonium.

There is something to be said for the right-wing Foley Conspiracy theory nonsense that Democrats were behind the revelations that a conservative sexual predator was on the lose in the way of entertainment value. Its like watching monkeys in little dresses ride on the back of a circus elephant, but other Republicans keep coming forward spoiling the whole parade, The former page and current college student stressed that he is a ‘staunch Republican’ who ‘wouldn’t vote for a Democrat ever.’

“‘I decided that it was in the best interests of kids in general, pages and my friends specifically that Foley be dealt with quickly and swiftly so that he couldn’t hurt anyone else,’ the Republican student wrote in his e-mail. ‘We’ve seen how long the Justice department and every other government bureaucracy can take to deal with criminal issues and abuse. I knew the media would be the fastest way to get Foley the justice he deserved.'” (WaPo)

This actually digs the hole a little deeper for Republicans as it gives more credence to those that think the Foley scandal was indicative of the conservative mind set. How long has this Republican page known about Foley and why is he coming out with these revelations now. Is it possible that he held back as long as he could purely for partisan reasons. ABC’s investigation blew the lid off so now we have Republican finger pointers running around swearing that they knew and it was wrong and wanted something done, only nothing was done by people like Dennis Hastert(R-Ill.)

“Kirk Fordham will insist that he warned Speaker Dennis Hastert’s chief of staff about the conduct in 2003 or possibly the previous year, Fordham lawyer Timothy Heaphy said.” (AP)

Update: According to TNR Foley(R-Fl) might have retired if the Whitegouse and Karl Rove hadn’t convinced him to stay, HOW ROVE TWISTED FOLEY’S ARM

But there’s more to the story of why Foley stood for re-election this year. Yesterday, a source close to Foley explained to THE NEW REPUBLIC that in early 2006 the congressman had all but decided to retire from the House and set up shop on K Street. “Mark’s a friend of mine,” says this source. “He told me, ‘I’m thinking about getting out of it and becoming a lobbyist.'”

But when Foley’s friend saw the Congressman again this spring, something had changed. To the source’s surprise, Foley told him he would indeed be standing for re-election. What happened? Karl Rove intervened.

So much for the meme that the Foley scandal is a problem of one individual and not a problem of conservatism.

OFTEN after a thunder-storm, when one passes a field in which buckwheat is growing, it appears quite blackened and singed. It is just as if a flame of fire had passed across it; and then the countryman says, “It got that from lightning.” But whence has it received that? I will tell you what the sparrow told me about it, and the sparrow heard it from an old willow-tree which stood by a buckwheat field, and still stands there. It is quite a great venerable Willow-tree, but crippled and old: it is burst in the middle, and grass and brambles grow out of the cleft; the tree bends forward, and the branches hang quite down to the ground, as if they were long green hair.

from the story The Buckwheat by Hans Christian Andersen