Thursday, July 17, 2008

Editorial - Man-Made Hunger - Editorial -

Editorial - Man-Made Hunger - Editorial -

Of those, perhaps the most wrongheaded are the tangle of subsidies, mandates and tariffs to encourage the production of biofuels from crops in the United States and the European Union. According to the World Bank, almost all of the growth in global corn production from 2004 to 2007 was devoted to American ethanol production — pushing up corn and animal feed prices and prompting farmers to switch from other crops to corn.

Long-standing farm subsidies in the rich world have also contributed to the crisis, ruining farmers in poor countries and depressing agricultural investment.

Rich countries are not the only culprits. At least 30 developing countries have imposed restrictions or bans on the export of foodstuffs. Importing countries are now stockpiling supplies, which takes more food from global markets. Export barriers also reduce farmers’ profits and discourage them from investing in more production.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Television - Ed Burns, Now Wired Enough to Move On to Battles Beyond the Streets -

a (sort of) hopeful argument for art, and for life...

Television - Ed Burns, Now Wired Enough to Move On to Battles Beyond the Streets -

Mr. Burns said he was surprised by all the attention “The Wire” received from policymakers who were piqued by the show’s gritty civics lessons — the very sort of people, he said, who more or less ignored him when he worked in the public sector.

“The irony is that you have to be somebody before anybody listens to you,” he said. “I wasn’t an expert when I was an expert, and now that I’m not an expert, I’m an expert. It’s kind of curious.”

He considered the often bleak worldview of “The Wire,” with its overarching theme that no matter what a person does, it will never be enough to stop the city from grinding over him. “I’m not a fatalist,” he said. “I’m very optimistic. In America, before we notice things, things have to become bad.”

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Police Impersonator’s Arrest Stuns Missouri Town -

Police Impersonator’s Arrest Stuns Missouri Town -

"In addition to having a badge and a car that seemed to scream law enforcement, Mr. Jakob offered federal drug enforcement help, Mr. Schulte said. (Local officials thought the offer must have somehow grown out of their recent application for a federal grant for radio equipment.) Mr. Jakob even asked Chief McCrary to call what he said was his supervisor’s telephone number to confirm Gerald’s need for his help, the mayor said.

When the call was placed, a woman — whose identity is unknown — answered with the words “multijurisdictional task force,” and said that the city’s request for federal services was under review, the mayor said. Mr. Schulte said he now suspects that Mr. Jakob adapted the nonexistent task force name from the “Beverly Hills Cop” movies starring Eddie Murphy.

“Not only were these officers taken in, but so was everybody else,” said Chet Pleban, a lawyer for Mr. McCrary and the other two members of the police force who lost their jobs after Mr. Jakob’s real identity came to light.

Of the firings, Mayor Schulte said, “Nobody wanted to, but the city’s lawyer recommended it.”

When residents first began noticing Mr. Jakob, he certainly looked the part. His hair was chopped short, residents recalled, and his stocky chest filled a black T-shirt he sometimes wore that read “Police.” They said he wore military-style boots, pants with pockets running down the legs and carried a badge (his lawyer said it was from a former job as a security guard in St. Louis). And his off-white Ford Crown Victoria was decked out with police radios and internal flashing lights, residents said.