Category Archives: coffee muses

The Ethicurean: Chew the right thing.

The Ethicurean Blog always has some intriguing posts about the food we eat and how it is raised or shows up at our table. Maybe I’ve been reading them too much, ’cause this whole dependence on corn is beginning to remind me of something else. Are we planning to trade in a petroleum habit for something that is even worse.

Defending their corn: meatpackers, soft drink makers and food companies go after ethanol by Mental Masala – 16 June 2007.

The ethanol boom is inspiring some surprising behavior in the food and farming community. Philip Brasher, the Des Moines Register’s Washington Correspondent, wrote about pushback from the food and drink industry over ethanol in Thursday’s newspaper. The article illustrates how the ethanol boom is leading to some hypocritical demands and Machiavellian strategies.

Let’s start with makers of soft drinks. Brasher writes:

Coca-Cola, which relies on corn syrup to sweeten its soft drinks, has joined chief competitor PepsiCo Inc., food companies like Kellogg Co., and groups representing meatpackers and livestock producers in raising alarms about a Senate energy bill that would require the usage of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. Current law requires motorists to use 7.5 billion gallons of biofuels by 2012, a target that will be surpassed in coming months as dozens of new ethanol plants come on line.

Does anyone remember “new coke”? It took them a while to get the formula right didn’t it. So what, old coke was sugar, new coke was…something else, classic coke was/is corn syrup? Makes sense to me. After all of that tweaking and reformulating now they may have to do it again because the revenuer’s are changing the rules and taking their sweetener away from them. Do we still raise cane in these parts? I know they shut down the sugar plant in Sugarland just up the road here.

You know, in my part of the world they sell Mexican Coke in almost all of the stores. You know the stuff with the actual sugar in it…Seems the immigrants, legal or otherwise, don’t like the gringo cola…

It all goes back to the Food Bill…I mean, it all goes back to the Farm Bill and the way Industrial Agriculture has learned to game the system. Isn’t great to live the American Dream?

Does George Will look at the world thru rose colored glasses?

To judge by his latest columns my answer would have to be yes. It looks like I’m not the only one who thins so either. Marbo is Guest Posting over at The Carpetbagger Report this weekend and has a systematic rebuttal to George Will’s latest column telling us how good the economy is. He closes his argument with these lines…

The problem, George, is this: The plan your team has for all of this is, to be blunt, crap. It’s aimed at people who have a lot of disposable income, and that’s not us in the middle class. You offer us modest tax rebates or various pre-tax plans to save up for every possible contingency. We are encouraged to put aside large amounts every month to pay for college costs, retirement, unexpected medical expenses that may not be covered and so on. But we can’t put all that money away. We need something to live on now.

George, you need to get out of the house more often. You need not go far. Just a few miles from your glitzy suburb are some middle-class neighborhoods where good people who go to work and raise children struggle every day just to get by. The view from their front porches isn’t quite so rosy.

Go check out the rest of the post.

Source: The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » The view from George Will’s house is just peachy

It’s Saturday so I don’t have to go glow in the dark…

American Agriculture – Do you trust a CEO to decide what you eat?

It may just be my inherent distrust of corporations or the complete lack of values most corporations have shown in the course of this country’s history, but, I really do not trust my food quality and safety to someone out to squeeze the last penny of profit from each transaction.

Tom Philpott has a new article on “industrial agriculture” at grist that has been eating up my morning muse time today. Maybe it’s because it locks in with my preconceptions…Or, maybe it is because it makes way to much logical sense, but I find myself agreeing with Tom more often than not.

Food production and retailing have gotten so squarely under the heel of a few corporations that even the USDA is raising an eyebrow.

At the top, the agency teems with PR flacks for the agribusiness giants. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t competent researchers among the rank and file. One of them, Steven W. Martinez, has issued a useful report (PDF) on consolidation in the food industry.
Source: Not (entirely) USDA-approved | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist

The more I read and hear on the radio and TV, the less I like about our food system. Everyone keeps blaming portion size on America’s obesity problem (and lord knows I am a member of the over the belt fraternity) but I can’t help but feel there is a problem with the growth hormones and antibiotics that are being pumped through the foods we eat to get that last fraction of a percent of profit. That is why I find myself being pulled to the local food movement. I want a farmer/gardener raising what I eat who takes pride in what they do, not someone looking to make a killing (figuratively, even if the literal killing is only a byproduct of their greed) and get out of the business.

Presidential Politics – American Web Style

Now forgive me if I enjoy a moment here…For years I was a liberal in Tom Delay’s district and hated every minute of it. A more perverse Congressman couldn’t exist (in my opinion anyway). Then, thanks to Tom and his “Texas Republican Forever Redistricting Plan” I found myself in the Congressional District of the only libertarian leaning Republican in Congress, Ron Paul. Now believe it or not, as a social liberal, I actually found more to agree on with my new Congressman than I ever had with my old one. So the fact that the buzz on the internet is all about Ron Paul just makes the whole Delay fiasco that much sweeter…

On Technorati, which offers a real-time glimpse of the blogosphere, the most frequently searched term this week was “YouTube.”

Then comes “Ron Paul.”

The presence of the obscure Republican congressman from Texas on a list that includes terms such as Sopranos, Paris Hilton and iPhone is a sign of the online buzz building around the long-shot Republican presidential hopeful — even as mainstream political pundits have written him off.

Rep. Ron Paul is more popular on Facebook than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). He’s got more friends on MySpace than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. His MeetUp groups, with 11,924 members in 279 cities, are the biggest in the Republican field. And his official YouTube videos, including clips of his three debate appearances, have been viewed nearly 1.1 million times — more than those of any other candidate, Republican or Democrat, except Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

I think it’s the good Doctor’s stand on government in this post George W era that is getting him all of the attention, particularly is stand on George W’s invasion of privacy stand. And while I cannot agree with a lot of his stands on some issues, I’ll smile as he confounds the Republican Power brokers all the way to next November…

Especially to someone such as Brad Porter, who obsessively writes about Paul on his blog, subscribes to Paul’s YouTube channel and attended a Ron Paul MeetUp event in Pittsburgh last week.

The 28-year-old Carnegie Mellon student donated $50 to Paul’s coffers after the first debate, and an additional $50 after the third debate.

“For a poor college student, that’s a lot,” said Porter, a lifelong Republican. “But I’m not supporting him because I think he could get the nomination. I’m supporting him because I think he can influence the national conversation about what the role of government is, how much power should government have over our lives, how much liberty should we give up for security. These are important issues, and frankly, no one’s thinking about them as seriously and sincerely as Ron Paul.”
Source: An Also-Ran in the GOP Polls, Ron Paul Is Huge on the Web –

Now I promise, you will never see me link to anything about Paris Hilton, I blame the Washington Post for any and all Paris Hilton links…Time to meander off to other things today…Catch ya later

Slideshow from my PhotoBlog

From My PhotoBlog at

I just learned an interesting fact. If you ever had a Blogger Blog that you posted photo’s to, you seem to also have a Picas Web Album for that blog. You can go to your Web Album and create a slideshow like the one above from your album and insert it into your blog. Nice.

At least the Web Albums they created aren’t open to the public unless you change the default permissions.