Last September, Hamid Karzai, the outgoing president of Afghanistan, made a number of disparaging remarks about U.S. involvement in that country. “America did not want peace for Afghanistan because it had its own agendas and goals here,” he said after pointedly leaving the U.S. out of the group of countries he thanked for helping during the course of his largely U.S.-backed administration. John Oliver, the former “Daily Show” correspondent, responded on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” by reading a series of negative Yelp reviews of The Helmand, one of the four Baltimore restaurants owned by Qayum Karzai, the president’s older brother. “It was a funny joke,” Qayum says, pulling up in front of the restaurant in what he calls his “mujahideen Jeep—because you can only jump in and jump out.” “They did not do their due diligence,” he adds. “It is known to everybody that my politics is not the same as my brother. I’m sorry that [Oliver] is thinking about collective guilt. My brother is a different person.”
The costs of importing non-native foodstuffs: Despite the call to vegans in the headline, this is an issue that effects all eaters as international lands are stripped to feed the appetites of more wealthy nations. The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken.
Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds is the latest quadrennial report from The US National Intelligence Council (NIC). (Report: PDF / Talking Points: PDF.) Similar to its predecessors, '2030' attempts to predict 'alternate visions of the future.' An official blog discusses their speculations. The Atlantic Council has published a "companion publication": "Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World." [more inside]
Researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute say they've uncovered a pattern that triggers riots wherever it's found. What is that pattern? The price of food. When it rises to a certain level, social unrest & violence are soon to follow. According to their calculations the food price index is due to peak in August of 2013, assuming no corrective action is taken. The original paper is here.
Annia Ciezadlo, author of Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War [reviews, excerpt] discusses Iraqi intellectualism, war and food, ancient Iraqi cooking, the Middle East's dependence on imported wheat, and the link between bread and civilian uprisings. [more inside]
Subsidizing Healthy Foods by Taxing Unhealthy Foods. Mark Bitman proposes a "national program that would make progress on a half-dozen problems at once — disease, budget, health care, environment, food access and more — while paying for itself." [NYT] [more inside]
""You can't forget there are people listening when you say you are going to do things, and I try not to overpromise."
This past March, former US President Bill Clinton acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that tariff policies his administration championed in the mid-1990's helped destroy Haiti's rice production and contributed to the impoverished nation's inability to feed itself. But while most of the world has stopped paying attention to Haiti's woes, Mr. Clinton has become the de facto leader of the effort to rebuild it after the catastrophic earthquake this past January. Will his influence be enough? Reports from the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti indicate that the reconstruction progress has been slow. [more inside]
"Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with." [more inside]
Before You Criticize the Food Choices of Others… think about how people with disabilities face limitations on how vegan/organic/fair-trade/free-range/local/food-political they can be.
Opening this Friday in L.A, New York, and San Francisco, Food, Inc. is a documentary about the modern food industry that features Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Joe Salatin of Polyface Farm, and Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Yogurt. Here's the trailer. And here's a New York Times article about the film. [more inside]
"Dear Mr. President-Elect, It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food." Michael Pollan advises the next president on what he can and should do to remake the way we grow and eat our food. [Via]
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, what are the most important people in the political spectrum eating for breakfast then? Obama eats eggs, McCain eats cereal, Pelosi eats... ice cream? Politicians and reporters divulge their breakfasts inside the beltway.
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin. This Saturday will mark this article's four year anniversary. Frankly, I was mildly surprised not to have found it mentioned before in MeFi. It's a good read about a sad state of affairs; how our government is turning its own people into outlaws, because freedom has been traded in for an illusion of security. ...but then we already knew that. Don't we?
"How do the tacos help gumbo?" Hold the tacos, New Orleans says. In yet another pig-ignorant move in Post-Katrina New Orleans, local politicians have decided to destroy the booming taco-truck business that is feeding the workers (and plenty of the locals) who are rebuilding the city. Blame racism, blame taxes, blame immigration politics: A hundred years ago this line of reasoning would have banned the muffulettas and poor-boys that those invading hordes of Sicilians were using to corrupt our youth.
The new war on hunger. No strangers to controversy, the Food Not Bombs Network generated further discord while distributing meals to others. In the course of its work, FNB's food lines often neglect the issue(s) of sanitation disposal. In response, Legislation has been swiftly drafted to correct problem; feeding the destitute in public gathering areas has since become a criminal offense in a number of cities.
Walk A Mile project brings policymakers and people on assistance together. One of their programs is Living on Food Stamps, where policymakers try to eat for a month on the same amount of food stamps regular people receive. Here's how it went in Oregon, and some lessons learned by legislators.