National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer May 6, 2010

Shout out, do not hold back!

   Lift up your voice like a trumpet!

Announce to my people their rebellion,

   to the house of Jacob their sins. 

Yet day after day they seek me

   and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that practised righteousness

   and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgements,

   they delight to draw near to God. 

‘Why do we fast, but you do not see?

   Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’

Look, you serve your own interest on your fast-day,

   and oppress all your workers. 

Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

   and to strike with a wicked fist.

Such fasting as you do today

   will not make your voice heard on high. 

Is such the fast that I choose,

   a day to humble oneself?

Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,

   and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?

Will you call this a fast,

   a day acceptable to the Lord? 

Is not this the fast that I choose:

   to loose the bonds of injustice,

   to undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

   and to break every yoke? 

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

   and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover them,

   and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,

   and your healing shall spring up quickly;

your vindicator shall go before you,

   the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. 

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

   you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. 

If you remove the yoke from among you,

   the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 

if you offer your food to the hungry

   and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,

then your light shall rise in the darkness

   and your gloom be like the noonday. 

The Lord will guide you continually,

   and satisfy your needs in parched places,

   and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

   like a spring of water,

   whose waters never fail. 

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

   you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach,

   the restorer of streets to live in. 

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  • Ing

    “I can’t think of any way to change the system of food production in our country that would not impact disproportionally upon those with special dietary needs, whether those are health related, religiously motivated, or otherwise determined. But I think that doing NOTHING will eventually lead to greater harm to a greater number of people. Right now, our current method of producing cheap abundant food relies heavily upon sugar, fat, salt, and highly processed quasi-foods, dependent upon an industrialized agri-business that is enormously destructive of the environment. I don’t think that is sustainable. I don’t have the specialized knowledge to propose a fair and effective solution, let alone a simple one.”
    Ok I have to point out that our agriculture gets a lot of bad mouthing. No one likes steroids in their meat, no one likes pesticides on their veggies, no one wants any GI food at all.
    And yet for all the naughty things agri-business does to the environment, it’s still less of the impact that it would be if we made the same amount of food without using those methods. We feed more people with those methods and make formerly luxary foods available to more and more people. But nope, our nation is a bunch of ingreatful luddites who think that because they can’t see the benefit of the technology there must not be one.

  • Leum

    Keeping truly strict kosher must be awfully tough. Most Jews I know who keep it at home make exceptions for restaurants, take-out and other people’s houses, to avoid the problems your poor friends ran into.

    One of my Jewish ancestors ran a non-kosher deli or bakery or somesuch. Every morning she’d get up at about four to make kosher meals for her family, then make non-kosher meals for her customers. Presumably she had two kitchens to accomplish this task.

    Ok I have to point out that our agriculture gets a lot of bad mouthing. No one likes steroids in their meat, no one likes pesticides on their veggies, no one wants any GI food at all.
    And yet for all the naughty things agri-business does to the environment, it’s still less of the impact that it would be if we made the same amount of food without using those methods.

    THIS. If our species is to survive, we don’t have a choice about pesticides and genetically modified foods. We’re going to go over to them. Organic farming–and for that matter probably free-range meat farming*–is a luxury we cannot afford.
    *Possibly meat farming, period. Chicken and farmed fish** are relatively low-impact, but red meat? It’s going to be a serious luxury item. Possibly milk, leather, and wool, too.
    **Oh, and say goodbye to commercial fishing, btw. Fisheries are dying off, and even the well-managed ones are at risk due to habitat destruction.

  • Amaryllis

    @lonespark: sorry to hear it, and I hope you find something quickly in your new area.
    @ing: I admit that I know very little about the details of our food production system. But I don’t think it’s being an ungrateful Luddite to look dubiously at some of its current practices. Specifically, since you mention it, the heavy use of steroids and antibiotics in meat animals. From what I hear, there’s a very minimal benefit to such things compared with the environmental and public-health risks, and we’d be better off with less “technology” and more care with the way the animals are raised and fed, with basic sanitation all along the raising-slaughtering-packaging chain, and with regular inspections by an agency with real teeth.
    I don’t know what the answer is in general, either. No one wants to go back to having most of the population living on family subsistence farms; barring the whatever-kind-of apocalypse, that’s not going to happen. For most of us, achieving a wholly local diet isn’t much more likely, and as mmy and others point out, would have severe drawbacks. So what’s the intermediate stage? Is there some happy medium between Farmer John and PanConAgra, and how do we get there?
    Chicken and farmed fish** are relatively low-impact
    Doesn’t that depend on how you raise the chickens? Factory chicken farming is responsible for a lot of polluted runoff that ends up in the rivers and bays, and the chickens are as full of antibiotics and steroids as any cattle herd.

  • Caravelle

    Lila :

    I got The Sharing Knife as a mother’s day present and have already finished it….

    For me, the way you know a book is a present for my mother and not just a family book I happened to pay for is that I give it to her before I read it. Sometimes I’ll even let a few days pass before I borrow it.

  • truth is life

    truth is life: Local means local, that is grown close to the place of consumption. As noted, that means celiacs, Jews, Muslims, and anyone else who needs a specialized diet is often up a creek without a paddle. Other ethnic cusines would surely be in the same boat. .
    Okay, I am going to be touchy here. First of all, people whose diets are restricted for medical or religious reasons are not part of the set “ethnic cuisines.” We don’t eat or not eat things because they remind of us home or that is the way our mothers’s taught us but for reasons of health and deep beliefs. ‘Ethnic cuisines’ is liking rice instead of bread with your meal. Being a celiac means I can’t digest wheat bread–no matter whether I grew up eating Canadian or Chinese food.
    Second, Not that people who do happen to be able to get along with whatever the local production is will be much better off; they will get to experience all the “joy” of malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies, together with much more monotonous and boring diets
    Yes they will be much better off. They will be alive. There is a hell of a lot of difference between “monotonous and boring” and life threatening.
    This is, as I said above, a touchy subject with me. And with a lot of other people who have no choice about things. If the food distribution chain breaks down I will not be bored — I will curled up on a floor (hopefully not a carpet) in pain, I will have stomach and intestinal cramps so bad that I will pass out and I will quickly become so weak that I will probably die of an opportunistic disease. And I will have it better than a lot of other people whose food issues will cause things such as blindness and loss of limbs.
    Edited to add: Within the last month I watched my mother die, basically of starvation, from an inoperable bowel blockage. For part of that time my father was also in the hospital — admitted on an emergency basis with what was thankfully a reduceable bowel blockage. This is not an “academic” interest for me. If my father wasn’t able to get the right foods he would die — painfully — in, I would guess, less than a month.

    Okay, I apologize. The worst food issue I’ve ever had is maybe, possibly, million-to-one chance that somehow tomatoes screwed me up real bad for a year. I haven’t lived your situation and so I don’t understand how it affected your life.
    That said, the point I was trying to make there was:
    1: It would surely be impossible, or at least difficult, for people prefering some particular culture’s food to get it if they are limited to locally available foods. This is either because the local climate doesn’t support the necessary base (eg., trying to get rice in Kansas) or because they are a small island in a much larger dominant culture, and so there isn’t anyone local who cares to produce whatever food they happen to prefer (the mention of the one Kentucky Jew).
    2: Even the people who don’t have life-threatning food illnesses like celiac or diabetes would then have the issue of ensuring a sufficiently balanced and complete diet to avoid getting something like scurvy or beri-beri or simple starvation, all of which of course could then kill them just the same, only more slowly. Furthermore, there would shortly be a major pressure to preserve food, which could itself become rather challenging, and lead to exactly the same issues. The trick is that without fuel our agricultural systems can’t produce enough food to support everyone (therefore, mostly they won’t be alive), and most people don’t know how to farm anyways or preserve their food (meaning even more of them will die). So plenty of people who could get along with the local production wouldn’t be much better off than you and your father; they just get to die more slowly and probably in less pain.
    @Leum: Farmed fish aren’t any good either. Some species actually have a bigger impact being farmed than wild-caught in terms of impact on fisheries, since they’re fed with wild fish. Also, I have to mildly point out that we already have gone over to pesticides–the question is more whether we will be able to keep using them to provide an adequate amount of food to the world.

  • Andrew Glasgow

    Holy fuck, this thread got really depressing over the last page or two.
    @Daughter
    You forgot the protocol, http:// — without that, it assumes whatever you’ve put in the address is relative to the current page.

  • Arynne

    Lonespark – I feel your pain. I got sacked myself last month and I still haven’t landed another job.
    Anybody in New York need a secretary/nanny/actor/brewer of tea? :-p

  • Spearmint

    Every morning she’d get up at about four to make kosher meals for her family, then make non-kosher meals for her customers. Presumably she had two kitchens to accomplish this task.
    Well, as long as you didn’t need to make meat lasagna or something, you could do most of your prep in the kosher kitchen and then just move the food to the deli for final assembly. You could even manage ham-and-cheese sandwiches that way.
    When we run out of oil a ton of people are going to starve anyway, because we can’t make our fertilizers or pesticides without it and without those there simply isn’t enough cropland on Earth to feed everyone. Locally grown food isn’t going to solve the problem.
    And let’s face it- Europe used to survive the winter on salt cod and cabbage. Our idea that we can eat tasty food year round and tropical fruit (or coffee!) as anything but a rare luxury item is a very modern one- as recently as the early 1900s kids were getting oranges for Christmas presents because they were so rare. Even for the people who live in rich countries and don’t starve, life after the crash is gonna suck.

  • Ryan

    “The crash”? Oh dear, I’ve gone from feeling guilt over losing interest in reading to worrying about some future food crash.
    He sits down to start reading, but trips and falls and breaks his glasses, thus doomed to spend the rest of his life surrounded by books he can’t read.
    Until he finds the one intact store with a selection of eyeglasses, am I right? …

  • Spearmint

    “The crash”? Oh dear, I’ve gone from feeling guilt over losing interest in reading to worrying about some future food crash.
    It probably won’t get bad in the U.S. or Europe within your lifetime. Uh, don’t reproduce. And don’t move to Africa or Southeast Asia.

  • Lee Ratner

    Mmy: I am sorry for the loss of your mother and I hope your father is doing better.
    The local grown food movement is a bit problematic for me because I never heard a clear numerical value for what local means except the one time I heard the answer as a 100 mile radius. I like farmer’s markets and fresh fruits and vegetables as much as anybody but I also like pineapples, figs, oranges, bananas, coffee, tea, and many other foods that are not local in New York. My clients are Chinese and the streets of Chinatown are filled with groceries selling all sorts of non-local foods and telling them that they can’t serve those foods anymore could possibly result in a riot. Telling most people that they can’t get their coffee and tea because they are not locally grown could possibly result in an insurrection. Plus, they are people with Mmy’s problems and these people are not to be over-looked. My general feeling is not that the local food movement is Luddite but they have a very romantic vision of what eating was like when most foods were locally grown that does not quite mesh with the reality of the situation, in short the suffer from golden-ageism like many conservatives do. Golden ageism is pretty much completely wrong and the past must be approached with a grain of salt. One thing that I do believe with the local food movement is that people should eat more seasonally appropriate food though.

  • Ryan

    Stickin’ it to the grandchildren, huh? I can get behind that!

  • Spearmint

    past must be approached with a grain of salt
    Which indeed we will need a lot of, if we’re going to survive the winter on locally grown food.
    Stickin’ it to the grandchildren, huh? I can get behind that!
    “You kids get off my lawn! You’re trampling your food supply!”

  • An article on organic farming, with numbers and stuff. Talks about the diminishing returns of factory farming methods (including petroleum-based fertilizers) and how you make organic farming look really bad. (Include “no-input” farming with your organic data; don’t include deaths from water contamination when you’re counting food-related deaths, and suddenly factory farming is the best!) Anyway, it’s something I was reading recently.
    My roommate kept kosher by being vegetarian. As far as I know, there’s nothing special you have to do if you don’t eat critters.

  • Lori

    But nope, our nation is a bunch of ingreatful luddites who think that because they can’t see the benefit of the technology there must not be one.

    No. The issue is not ingrates who think there are no benefits because they can’t see them. It’s people who are concerned about the substantial downsides/harm because they can see those. Plenty of the crap they put in our food supply doesn’t do nearly enough good to be worth the harm it does. We do it because it’s become a habit, because we always want believe that the next discovery is going to save us and because some very large corporations make very large amounts of money getting farmers into a position where they have to do it or go out of business.
    Or, what Amaryllis said.

    Chicken and farmed fish** are relatively low-impact
    Doesn’t that depend on how you raise the chickens? Factory chicken farming is responsible for a lot of polluted runoff that ends up in the rivers and bays, and the chickens are as full of antibiotics and steroids as any cattle herd.

    Exactly. Factory farming, whether on land or in the water, is not low impact.
    The other thing that bugs me about all this talk about how we can’t grow enough food to feed everyone if we don’t use environment destroying methods is that we’re still paving over prime arable land to build suburban sprawl. If, as seems highly likely, we’re going to have to feed ourselves in the future in a very different way than we feed ourselves now we’ve got to stop paving over our farms and orchards to put up ticky tacky houses and big box stores.

  • I certainly agree we have to be more rational about the ways in which food is produced — I just think “local foods” is a false friend. Affordable good food is a better goal in my opinion.

    With this I agree. I don’t have any issue with making local foods more accessible and more affordable, but what started us down this line of conversation is what it seems like *always* ends up being the proposal when someone wants to make local foods more available: they always think the way to do it is to make the alternative *more* expensive and *less* accessible.
    (In fact, that seems to be the most common solution to *every* problem in this class: want to make public transportation more accessible? Don’t improve public transportation, just make driving cars prohibitively expensive so that we have no choice! Want people to eat healthier? Don’t increase production and quality of healthy foods, just ban the unhealthy ones! Want people to exercise more? Illegalize escalators!)

    All the above having been said, we may very well end up having to eat “local food” if something catastrophic occurs to the world’s transportation network.

    And the day that happens will invariably involve a body count. I don’t feel the need to design food policy around the possibility of societal collapse, because in the event of societal collapse, it’s pretty low on the list of things that are going to kill me (Behind Zombies, Looters, the fact that I am functionally blind once my eyeglasses break, and running out of my medications — basically the only reason I can still enjoy zombie novels these days is that the absolute knowledge that I personally will not survive societal collapse prevents me from falling into the distatesful “And then everyone will see that my crackpot theories on how the world ought be run were right!” line of fantasy).

  • hapax

    I’m not sure how anyone got from my “current agricultural methods are not sustainable” to “ban pesticides and coffee”, but that’s not what I was arguing. Or what Lori, Amaryllis, et al said.
    Telling most people that they can’t get their coffee and tea because they are not locally grown could possibly result in an insurrection.
    One of Doris Egan’s IVORY books features a rebellion that brings the Evil Overlords to their knees by disrupting the (planetary equivalent of the) coffee trade. (What made it especially fun is that Our Heroes were on the side of the Evil Empire.)

  • Daughter

    what started us down this line of conversation is what it seems like *always* ends up being the proposal when someone wants to make local foods more available: they always think the way to do it is to make the alternative *more* expensive and *less* accessible.


    Since I’m the one who started this conversation, at least on this thread, I’m going to strongly disagree. I never once suggested making non-local foods less accessible or more expensive. (Nor do I think anyone else did, IIRC). Just the opposite, in fact: I said that I want to see locavores do something similar to what recycling advocates did back in the ’90s. They adopted strategies to make recycling easier for people, and I want locavores to do the same thing with local eating. I suggested such things as mobile slaughterhouses, more CSA home deliveries, and creating cookbooks of seasonal recipes.
    I didn’t make the following suggestion because I had to get off the computer (and when I returned I had forgotten), but I was thinking about it based on some of the points people made: locavores should also help people address questions such as, How can you adopt more local foods into your diet when you have dietary restrictions? How can you eat locally in cold climates in the winter, while still having interesting meals? In addition, local eating doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition; people can incorporate more local eating into their diets without going all the way.
    Seriously, your response made me feel like the discussions that come up elsewhere on the web about breastfeeding. Someone makes a suggestion to make breastfeeding easier for women (such as providing breastfeeding rooms in public facilities, or requiring employers to make break times for pumping available to breastfeeding employees), and someone else will respond that breastfeeding nazis are calling women who bottle-feed bad mothers! Even though no one has said that.

  • @Daughter: I was attributing the start of this line of conversation to Cat Meadors, who said:

    But I don’t really know if it would work in reality. Maybe if you looked at it as ingredients vs. processed food? (For ex, carrots are ingredients, whether they’re fresh, frozen, or canned. But carrot cake is a processed food, and would be taxed at a higher rate. Or something, I dunno. But I think it’s possible to tweak it so it would work, or at least as well as any other hypothetical consumption tax.)

    (Though I see that you *did* speak earlier in support of taxing every step in processing foods in order to make carrots bought at a farmer’s market cheaper than carrots in a bag at a grocery store cheaper than frozen cheaper than carrot cake. How is that *not* “I want to make local foods more accessible by taxing the alternative.”?)

  • mmy

    @Daughter: Seriously, your response made me feel like the discussions that come up elsewhere on the web about breastfeeding. Someone makes a suggestion to make breastfeeding easier for women (such as providing breastfeeding rooms in public facilities, or requiring employers to make break times for pumping available to breastfeeding employees), and someone else will respond that breastfeeding nazis are calling women who bottle-feed bad mothers! Even though no one has said that.
    I don’t know if you place me (metaphorically) among the people calling nazi in the above discussion. I just want to make it clear that what I am responding to — quite emotionally I admit — is my own experiences. To continue your breastfeeding analogy — I feel like the woman who cannot breast feed for medical reasons reading a discussion about encouraging breast feeding when she has often heard suggestions
    a) that if the cost of formula was increased 10fold then more people would breast feed
    and
    b) if formula becomes massively expensive it will be a drag for breastfeeding mothers too — since they won’t have any alternatives and life will be monotonous and a drag.
    This may not have been any part of what you originally suggested but — to bring in a Tea Party analogy — people tend to get tarred with brush of others in a movement. I have heard people in the “sustainability” camp basically tell me (and others) that “too bad” we are shit out of luck and then go back happily to planning their world. Which, by the way, smacks of golden ageism.
    As Ross said above, if there really is a global collapse it won’t be the celiacs and diabetics and people with lactose intolerance who are up the creek without a paddle. It will be everyone. T
    Like Ross, I can’t function without my glasses. If those break and cannot be replaced I wouldn’t even be able to find the store so it wouldn’t matter that I couldn’t eat what was stocked.

  • Daughter

    (Though I see that you *did* speak earlier in support of taxing every step in processing foods in order to make carrots bought at a farmer’s market cheaper than carrots in a bag at a grocery store cheaper than frozen cheaper than carrot cake. How is that *not* “I want to make local foods more accessible by taxing the alternative.”?)
    Nope, again. Please re-read what I wrote. I was quoting Thom Hartmann, who made that suggestion on his radio program. I said I completely disagree with it, because it will make buying food more expensive for low-income individuals and families, who often don’t have access to fresh produce.

  • Daughter

    mmy, I wasn’t referring to you at all. You were describing your experiences and making a very good point about the limitations of local food, and I thank you for it. I was addressing Ross, who has now misrepresented my words twice.
    And let me apologize to everyone for inserting the word “nazi.” I used it because it is thrown at breastfeeding advocates a lot and I was making an analogy with debates about breastfeeding. But since no one on this thread had used the words, I shouldn’t have used it either. It cheapens the discussion.

  • Daughter

    PS, my eyesight is about 20/300. I’m another person who’d be SOL if something happened to my glasses.

  • Kim Aginary

    Thought this was relevant: Not So Conservative When It Comes to Saving Energy:
    Providing feedback on energy use can actually backfire with some Republicans, causing them to increase consumption.
    High-five to mmy – ethical chronically-ill people represent. I’m vegan with a condition very similar to coeliacs. Not much fun, but makes browsing restaurant menus very simple.

  • mmy

    Daughter — thank you. I know I am very emotional about this right now and so sometimes I come over rather strongly. Medicine/resource allocation issues are always fraught with emotions and, unfortunately, often a lack of information as to the real impact of changes in the system.
    One of the things my dad has mentioned was the health of British recruits in the 10 years after WWII. Dad was on training courses in Britain (that is, he was in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) when they still had National Service. The years of severe rationing had a real impact on kids who grew up then. It may have been okay in the country or among some classes but he routinely saw young men who had boils in their mouths, had already lost many of their teeth and stunted growth. Britain bounced back — but I wonder if that experience had anything to do with the drive to create a national health service.

  • mmy

    And a high-five back to you Kim :)
    Okay, one of the things that being a vegetarian/somewhat lactose interlorant/coeliac is that it doesn’t take me long to pick out what I am going to have at a restaurant.
    You can imagine my excitement when my cousin found a restaurant near the hospital where there were SEVERAL THINGS ON THE MENU I could eat. And even more excitement after I gave my order. The meal came with bread–when the waitron took the order I answered the question “what type of bread” by asking Mr.Mmy what he would like. I didn’t specifically mention I couldn’t eat bread. She brought the toast on a separate plate and mentioned “It sounded like you were gluten intolerant so I didn’t want the bread to touch your food.” She got a tip like you can’t imagine.

  • Lori

    Providing feedback on energy use can actually backfire with some Republicans, causing them to increase consumption.

    I remember reading that. All I could think was, dang how big of an asshole can you be? I understand having a sort of knee-jerk “you’re not the boss of me” reaction. FSM knows I feel that way more often than I care to admit. However, I rarely act on it because, you know, I’m no longer 6 years old.

  • Daughter

    Lori, what’s really funny is that one of the commenters says, “If you want people to be concerned about saving electricity, just raise the prices. That’s how markets work. Jawboning is a rather ineffective economic tool.
    So encouraging people to voluntarily change and making suggestions on how to do so is a bad thing, but forcing people to change by manipulating the market is good?

  • Lori

    @Daughter: Yeah, they’re not real big on doing the work required to figure out a coherent position.

  • @mmy – I’m not even vegan outside the house and I’m used to picking The Thing on the menu I can eat. Which is fine, saves a lot of time. But doing that all of my adult life has left me with no tools to decide what to eat when I go to a vegetarian restaurant. It’s completely baffling; how do people pick when there are so many options?
    As far as the other idea, I don’t know or really care; I was just trying to find some way to make it somewhat implementable, assuming some economic god came down tomorrow and forced it on us. If I had my own copy of the US to play with, I’d start with taking away all the subsidies we give to meat farming and give them to (non-feedstock) non-meat farming, and see what happens from there. (Almost 75% of U.S. government subsidies go into meat and dairy production, but less than .5% goes into fruit and vegetable production.)
    And I wish I could share my local groceries with you all – my favorite has a sizable gluten-free section, including gluten-free beer. (Also vegan wine, if you need any.) And it’s mostly not more expensive than, say, Safeway, except for the specialty stuff you flat-out can’t get anywhere else.

  • Lori

    how do people pick when there are so many options?

    In my case, there are some restaurants where I always get the same thing because I like it so much I can’t pass up a chance to have it, even thought always getting the same thing is sort of boring. For the rest I pretty much create a basic decision tree. I eliminate everything that I don’t want to eat (which can be most of the menu because I’m sort of a picky eater.) I then break the remaining items into 2 parts as appropriate for the restaurant (sandwiches vs dinner plates for example) and make a this or that choice. Break chosen group into 2 parts and decide this or that. Repeat until dinner is chosen.
    Yes, I am a giant geek. Why do you ask?

  • I remember reading that. All I could think was, dang how big of an asshole can you be? I understand having a sort of knee-jerk “you’re not the boss of me” reaction. FSM knows I feel that way more often than I care to admit. However, I rarely act on it because, you know, I’m no longer 6 years old.

    One of the other reasons the article mentions is the possibility that if you tell a republican “Congratulations! You’re using half as much electricity than your neighbors!”, even one who likes the idea of saving money can think “Great, so I can double my consumption and still be no worse than everyone else!” (Or, more sinister, “Well why should *I* do without when my neighbors aren’t?”)
    I think that may be more of a factor than temper-tantrumy “Don’t tell me what to do!”, just because it’s less blatantly cutting off your nose to spite your eyeglasses.

  • Ryan

    I was touched by Truth Is Life’s statements about how we kept partying for thirty years after knowing there was a problem, continuing to party right up until the piper needs to be paid, mainly because I thought of all the people I know who would cry “How DARE you try to stop the party? You’ll never convince ME of your lies about unsustainability!”

  • Lee Ratner

    Spearmint, good point. Before the development of transportation and shipping technologies and techniques capable of making fruits and vegetables year round, people in non-tropical climes had to resort to various methods to preserve food for the winter months.

  • Spearmint, good point. Before the development of transportation and shipping technologies and techniques capable of making fruits and vegetables year round, people in non-tropical climes had to resort to various methods to preserve food for the winter months.

    @Lee: Also, there were a lot fewer of them, a lot of them were chronically undernourished, they didn’t live as long, and a lot more of their babies died.

  • K.Chen

    So encouraging people to voluntarily change and making suggestions on how to do so is a bad thing, but forcing people to change by manipulating the market is good?

    I’d say relying on voluntarily change is a questionable strategy, especially on the large scale, and altering the market to produce the right incentives is an excellent strategy for large scale change. “Good” and “Bad” shouldn’t really enter the equation as normative judgments, since neither is really impinging on anyone’s freedoms. The other reason is, if you manipulate the market by futzing with the prices, since everyone is undergoing the same pressures, supermarkets will adjust, and in turn, so will agribusiness.
    I have, by the way, access to a farmers market, in addition to your bog standard array of bulk goods stores and supermarkets. By and large, the apparent quality is the same, or inferior, the service is the same, or inferior, I know equally little or even less about the ultimate origin of these foods, its inconvenient, and the prices are somewhere on the order of 400, 500 percent greater, including staples like milk and eggs. I have roughly the same reactions to farmers markets and their supposed virtues as I do the virtues of botique fashion rather than going down to the local big box store and buying myself a 10 dollar shirt.

  • Leum

    The other thing that bugs me about all this talk about how we can’t grow enough food to feed everyone if we don’t use environment destroying methods is that we’re still paving over prime arable land to build suburban sprawl. If, as seems highly likely, we’re going to have to feed ourselves in the future in a very different way than we feed ourselves now we’ve got to stop paving over our farms and orchards to put up ticky tacky houses and big box stores.

    This is a big problem in southcentral Alaska. The Mat-Su valley (where Sarah Palin made her name) has some of the best farmland in the state. Great soil, nice and level, good sunlight, the works. It’s also rapidly becoming Anchorage’s suburbia. All that wonderful farmland? Alaska’s largest city’s best source of non-imported food? Being turned into mansions.

  • Arynne

    mmy –
    Maybe. However, a lot of guys were turned away from the army during the war for that same reason: growing up in the deep South or the inner cities during the Great Depression had left them so severely malnourished they were unfit to be soldiers. The school lunch program was the innovation of a (Republican!) President who had seen this himself. He explained it as a national-defense measure, to pacify conservatives who were still surly about things like Social Security.
    But we didn’t get national health care, and ever since the tendency has been to blame all of society’s ills on things like free lunches for poor children and a pension for the elderly. The lower classes have got the cockamamie notion that they deserve enough to eat and a place to slep, and not to die when there are perfectly good hospitals nearby. Worse, they think other people have some kind of moral duty to help them. If it isn’t stopped now, it will never end!

  • Perhaps these people are trying to calculate 8% in their heads

  • Vickey Silvers

    I am an editor for Christian.com which is a social network dedicated to the christian community. As I look through your web site I feel a collaboration is at hand. I would be inclined to acknowledge your website offering it to our users as I’m sure our Pentecostal audience would benefit from what your site has to offer. I look forward to your thoughts or questions regarding the matter.
    Vicky Silvers
    vicky.silvers@gmail.com

  • I’m so glad I found your blog.
    You’re exactly who we need to help get the word out about two amazing women who are raising money for orphans by running 50 miles in 50 states – the Running Hope Through America (http://www.runhope.com/) project.
    I’m friends with Lisa Smith Batchen (http://tri.nity.me/cGvA1E), the ultra-marathon runner and Sister Mary Beth Lloyd, the Catholic nun who are at the core of Running Hope Through America effort. CNN did a story on them that you can watch here (http://tri.nity.me/9j7ZFs).
    Lisa has already run two thirds of her 2500-mile journey across the US, raising money for the Orphan Foundation of America, AIDS Orphans Rising and Caring House Project. As a mother of five children I feel like I’m running and running to get it all done, but she is literally running and running! 50 miles in every state, no matter the conditions, and she’s doing it all for the children. The woman is an angel on earth.
    I’ve created the Trinity Cross (http://tri.nity.me/bzBTvO) as a result of my faith in miracles and my devotion to family and God. Lisa is wearing a Trinity Cross on her run. In an effort to support Lisa and her team, we are asking people to make an $80 donation via this page (http://tri.nity.me/d79gqF).
    Anyone who donates $80 or more will receive a Trinity Cross as a memento of Lisa’s effort to bring Hope to orphans.
    When you know that a mere six cents a day can feed a hungry child, any amount will make a difference. Imagine –with an $80 donation more than 1300 children could be fed.
    Please email me and let me know how you can help spread the word. We aren’t just looking for donations but partners in our mission to end suffering for these poor orphans displaced by AIDS. I know, together, we can make a difference in the lives of so many children.
    I know, together, we can make a difference in the lives of so many.
    As Always,
    Coleen
    Trinity Cross Collection (http://tri.nity.me/bzBTvO)