Tuesday, June 25, 2013

American exceptionalism

Outraged Turks and Brazilians have taken to the streets protesting authoritarianism and corruption. 

Outraged Americans have taken to Facebook and Twitter protesting the firing of a TV cooking host.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cheap food: when it's good and when it's bad

Today is the 18th anniversary of arriving in West Africa to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. I saw a post recently about a local whole foods place wondering if customers would be willing to pay $7.50 for a certified organic pineapple. And it reminded me of one of the things that struck me when I lived in West Africa.

Fresh food was cheap - even without the help (?) of Monsanto - and processed food was expensive, the complete opposite of what is true here in the United States. In my village, I think a fresh pineapple (obviously organic if not "certified"), harvested literally hours before, would cost you the equivalent of about a quarter. 10 fresh oranges cost a dime.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The non-unique threat posed by militant Islam

The Huffington Post had an article about recent revelations on the depth of National Security Agency spying on Americans.

Key passages: It's as if the United States has two governments, one open and one very much not... Obama's 2009 marching orders for classifying documents closely resembled those of his predecessors at least back to Ronald Reagan... ‘Secrecy has become an obstacle in many areas of public policy. And we still are living with a classification system that is a legacy of the Cold War era.’

This belies the propaganda that militant Islam represents a unique threat, unprecedented in American history, requiring brand new measures that disregard the Constitution in order to combat.

In reality, it’s the same threat we've faced in the past with different demons. That’s why use the same rhetoric and tactics, only with different names.