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Eating Liberally Blog

OBESITY: IS IT CONTAGIOUS?

Sunday’s NY TIMES magazine cover story explores the possibility that obesity may be caused, in part, by viruses passed from one person to another. Well, that would explain all the fat cats in Washington. But really, shouldn’t all those friends of Jack Abramoff be looking a bit leaner these days now that the era of free filet mignon is over at his steakhouse, Signatures?

Abramoff’s history of trading meat for favors goes back further than you might think; his first political scandal dates back to elementary school, where he was disqualified from a run for student body president after he was caught trying to get around the school’s limits on campaign spending by bribing his classmates with hot dogs.

Politicians and pork, the eternal equation. Would we have less corruption in DC if we elected more vegetarians?

ANOTHER HERD OF ELECTRIC CARS TO BE SLAUGHTERED?

The triple-digit heat wave that steamrolled across the country last week killed thousands of cattle and poultry and cooked crops in the field before farmers could pick them. And experts say consumers will help foot the bill.

In California, the nation's No. 1 agriculture and dairy producer, the temperature peaked at more than 115 degrees in late July, killing 16,500 cows, and 1 million chickens and turkeys; countless peaches, nectarines, nuts and melons were destroyed.
AP - August 9, 2006


The first seven months of this year are the warmest on record, and sea levels are rising far faster than expected. But Detroit continues to fiddle while the country burns.

If you’ve seen the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? , you already know how GM pulverized hundreds of perfectly good, ultra-energy efficient EV1s despite the fact that the people who’d leased them wanted desperately to buy the cars outright.

GM only produced the EV1 in the first place because it had to, in order to comply with a mandate passed by the California Air Resources Board in 1998 that 10 percent of new cars be emission-free by 2003. Instead of promoting these sleek, silent cars that could go about a hundred miles on a single charge, GM actively sought to sabotage their success.

Detroit’s Big Three lobbied relentlessly to have the mandate overturned, and with a sympathetic administration in power, including chief of staff Andy Card, former GM lobbyist, their wishes were granted in 2005.

So now the city of Pasadena, which had invested in a fleet of zero-emission Nissan Hypermini EVs and the charging stations to support them, has been ordered to surrender the cars. The Pasadena Star News has the whole sad saga (hat tip to Cookie Jill at Skippy):

"We asked if we could buy them, but they said absolutely not," said John Hoffner, public benefits manager at Pasadena Water and Power, of the 11 Nissan Hypermini EVs the city leased. "They were not going to allow any zero-emission vehicles on the road. They weren't going to sell them at any price."

Nissan did not renew the leases in December and soon began asking for the cars back. Since last week, the mint- and silver-colored minis have sat in a corner of the city's yards, waiting to be taken away.

Meanwhile, the price of oil’s only going up and we’re bogged down in the Middle East, but it’s business as usual for the Big Three; American automakers have consistently fought greater fuel efficiency standards and continued to churn out gas guzzlers, while Toyota and Honda take the lead in developing more fuel-efficient cars.

New electric cars like the Tesla are in the works, and people are converting their hybrids to plug-ins, while President Bush blows smoke up our tailpipes with his hype for hydrogen-fuel cell technology. As Who Killed the Electric Car? makes painfully clear, hydrogen-fuel cell cars are a pie-in-the-sky solution that’s decades away from being viable.

I saw an auto executive on the news recently explaining that the reason they’re not making more fuel-efficient cars is that consumers aren’t asking for them. But how do you ask for a product that no one’s producing? And if there’s no demand for fuel-efficient cars, why can’t they keep the hybrids in stock?

If you haven’t seen Who Killed the Electric Car?, run—don’t drive—to your nearest indie movie house. You’ll be fueled with indignation.

FRIDAY GARDEN BLOGGING



Farmer Kitty’s carting this season’s first Black Krim tomato from our garden to its final destination, between two slices of multigrain bread layered with baby lettuce leaves and pasture-raised bacon from the Greenmarket. BLT = Biodynamic, Local, & Tasty!


THE HELPING HAND OF HYSTERIA


“…they use this kind of news as sort of a Hamburger Helper for their red meat that they want to throw out politically…I sometimes think the motto that these folks have is, ‘the only thing we have to use is fear itself.’”

--Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter talking with Keith Olbermann last night about the GOP using the UK terrorist plot to paint Lamont supporters as terrorist huggers.

 

CHOW DOWN & RISE UP!

PicnicWelcome to Eating Liberally, the website with an appetite for activism. Our democracy may be eroding like an arctic glacier, but there’s hope; people-powered politics is rising up even faster than our sea levels.

Ned Lamont’s victory over Joe Leiberman this week was a triumph for grassroots democracy, but the battle’s just beginning, and we’ve got to nurture this nascent movement in every way we can.

Thanks to Drinking Liberally, thirsty progressives all over the country get together each week to foment social change over fermented beverages. But we sensed, well, a hunger for a little more sustenance. The netroots need feeding!

So Eating Liberally invites you to take a break from the blogosphere and break bread with your netroots neighbors. Get a roomful of Kossacks, MyDD devotees and Atrios addicts together and you’ve got a virtual wonky wind farm. We can harness that energy to bring about real change.

And it’s contagious; it’s viral. The Bush cavalcade of cronyism, incompetence and corruption is not just on the wrong track, it’s driving our democracy right off a cliff, and that’s galvanizing people who’ve been apathetic or downright allergic to politics. We need to stir those embers and get people fired up. You can start by joining, or forming, a chapter of Eating Liberally. We’re launching the first Eating Liberally chapter in New York City next Tuesday, August 15th, so if you’re in the neighborhood, we’d love you to join us, from 6:30 to 8:30 at Rudy’s, 627 9th Avenue (bet. 44th st. & 45th st.)

The website’s still under construction, so please bear with us while we work on links and compile resources. Eating Liberally will offer a forum to talk about food, politics, and the politics of food. Is Industrial Organic an oxymoron? Is it always better to buy local? Should soda be banned from schools? We’ll serve up a full menu of entries about the issues of the day.

Our nation’s food supply is saturated with oil, and not just the lethal trans-fats that fast food is fried in. American agribusiness is essentially an extension of the military-industrial complex; nowadays, “corn-fed” means “factory-farmed;” there’s nothing wholesome about it. Corporations peddle nutritionally bankrupt junk foods to toddlers and the USDA lets tainted meat sit on supermarket shelves, putting corporate profits ahead of protecting consumers.

Meanwhile, peak oil prophets like James Kunstler warn that trucking produce across the continent or flying it in from foreign lands is not a sustainable way to put food on our plates. Instead of burying our heads in the sand--hoping, perhaps, to find more oil there-- we’d do better to seek new solutions to our energy needs and encourage greater efforts to conserve our finite resources.

There are tangible things you can do to make a difference, from supporting local agriculture by buying your food at the farmers’ market or joining a CSA, to leaving your car at home, when you can, and opting to walk, bike or ride mass transit instead, where possible. And we’ll be glad to give you guidance if you’d like to grow your own greens, too. We here at Eating Liberally hope to inspire, inform, and interact with fellow progressives who share our concerns and want to grow the grassroots—organically, of course!

CHOW DOWN & RISE UP!

Welcome to Eating Liberally, the website with an appetite for activism. Hungry for change? Join the club! Our democracy’s eroding like an arctic glacier. But there’s hope--people-powered politics is rising up even faster than our sea levels.

Ned Lamont’s victory over Joe Leiberman this week was a triumph for grassroots democracy, but the netroots need feeding. The battle is just beginning, and we’ve got to nurture this nascent movement in every way we can.

For Eating Liberally, that means encouraging progressives to take a break from the blogosphere now and then to get together, face-to-face, with your netroots neighbors. Get a group of Kossacks, MyDD devotees and Atrios addicts together, and you’ve got an electrifying amount of energy; a virtual wonky wind farm. We can channel that energy to bring about real change.

And it’s contagious; it’s viral. The Bush cavalcade of cronyism, incompetence and corruption is not just on the wrong track, it’s driving our democracy right off a cliff, and that’s galvanizing a lot of people who’ve been apathetic or downright allergic to politics. We need to stir those embers and get people fired up. You can start by joining, or forming, a chapter of Eating Liberally. We’re launching the first Eating Liberally chapter in New York City next Tuesday, so if you’re in the neighborhood, come and join us, from 6:30 to 8:30 at Rudy’s, 627 9th Avenue (bet. 44th st. & 45th st.)

The website’s still under construction, so please bear with us while we work on links and compile resources. Our goal is to offer a forum for discussion about food, politics, and the politics of food. Is Industrial Organic an oxymoron? Is it always better to buy local? Should soda be banned from schools? We’ll serve up a full menu of entries about the issues du jour.

Our nation’s food supply is saturated with oil, and not just the lethal trans-fats that fast food is fried in. American agribusiness is essentially an extension of the military-industrial complex; nowadays, “corn-fed” means “factory-farmed;” there’s nothing wholesome about it. Corporations peddle nutritionally bankrupt junk foods to toddlers and the USDA lets tainted meat sit on supermarket shelves, putting corporate profits ahead of protecting consumers.

Meanwhile, peak oil prophets like James Kunstler warn that trucking produce across the continent or flying it in from foreign lands is not a sustainable way to put food on our plates. Instead of burying our heads in the sand hoping, perhaps, to find more oil there, we’d do better to seek new solutions to our energy needs and encourage greater efforts to conserve our finite resources.

There are tangible things you can do to make a difference, from supporting small family farms by buying your food at a Greenmarket or joining a CSA, to leaving your car at home, when you can, and opting to walk, bike or ride mass transit instead, where possible. And we’ll be glad to give you guidance if you’d like to grow your own greens, too. We here at Eating Liberally hope to inspire, inform, and interact with fellow progressives who share our concerns and want to grow the grassroots—organically, of course!