Drought Impacting Shipping On the Mississippi River

By: Tuesday August 21, 2012 2:05 pm

Marcy Wheeler alerts me to the huge economic consequences of the drought of 2012 as it relates to the Mississippi River. Since those canny Ron Paul supporters shut down the NAFTA Superhighway, the might Mississippi remains the key shipping highway connecting north and south in America. And because of the drought, the water level has dropped so significantly, that barges have to delay their passage.


Iran Nuclear Negotiations Begin

By: Wednesday May 23, 2012 7:45 am

Nuclear talks between the P5 +1 – permanent Security Council members China, Russia, France, Britain and the US, plus Germany – and Iran begin today in Baghdad. This comes on the heels of an imminent announcement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, based on talks from recent days in Tehran.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Tracie McMillan, The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table

By: Sunday May 6, 2012 1:59 pm

In her landmark book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America published in 2001, journalist Barbara Ehrenreich went undercover working in a series of minimum wage jobs (waitress, nursing-home aide, maid, etc.) to learn what life is like for the “working poor” in America. For most of those thrown off the welfare rolls, women in particular, these were the jobs that were available to teach the former welfare recipients the “dignity” of work. What Ehrenreich found was demanding and exhausting work paying sub-poverty wages so low that workers could scarcely afford to feed and shelter themselves, no job security, no benefits, and no future.

Eleven years later in The American Way Of Eating Tracie McMillan has traced a similar path, only this time exploring the economic and societal implications of how we grow our food, harvest it, ship it, and market it in America. Why do Americans make so many bad food choices? Why do we eat so poorly? What is a “food desert” and why do we have them? The answers reside in the ever more powerful supermarkets with their massive infrastructure and distribution systems which have displaced the local grocers, and with the cookie cutter restaurant chains where the food is not so much cooked as it is assembled from pre-packaged portions which are microwaved and served to a clientele who want a night away from their own kitchens where they, most likely, would have been emptying a salad bag into a bowl while a frozen packaged entree slowly spins in the microwave. Combine that with a populace who increasingly know less about the food they eat and seemingly spend more time watching cooking shows on TV and cooking less because they “don’t have enough time” and we have serious food issues in America.

Iran’s Threats to Close Strait of Hormuz Would Have Major Economic Implications

By: Wednesday December 28, 2011 1:30 pm

The Iranian threat to close off the Strait of Hormuz would have implications across the board. 15 million barrels of oil pass through it every day. This, incidentally, is the entire acknowledged purpose of the US military presence in the Middle East: to ensure safe shipping for hydrocarbon tankers.

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