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  • Good cop, bad cop: How the police became a public enemy

    Police subdue a protester at an Occupy Wall Street rally in New York City.Photo: Audrey Pilato Over the past couple of weeks, the fight between “the 99%” and the powerful Wall Street and Washington elite has devolved into a street battle between protesters and the police. Black-suited cops have pepper sprayed peaceful protesters, bloodied kids […]

  • The Climate Post: Hu Jintao's visit prompts soul searching in U.S. energy and climate circles

    The amount of material that came out after China President Hu Jintao's visit shows how pivotal energy and climate change are between the US and China

  • Obama admin takes aim at China's renewable-energy subsidies

    Last week, the Obama administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over China's wind-power subsidies.

  • Report: China overtakes U.S. as best country for green investors

    A new Ernst & Young study confirms that China has now surpassed the U.S. as the most attractive place for green tech investment.

  • Prelude to COP15: Climate justice actions sweep the U.S. before Copenhagen talks

    Tuesday in the U.S., climate justice activists turned up the street heat to corporations in the financial and energy sectors most responsible for the climate crisis. Initiated by the Mobilization for Climate Justice and the Climate Pledge of Resistance, the day of action came a week before social movements converge in Copenhagen at the U.N. […]

  • Reparations for Climate Chaos

    Remember when the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund were constantly making global headlines for their fierce opposition from people’s movements around the world? Well, international Finance Institutions (including the World Bank) are rearing their ugly heads again — this time with the U.N. as their vehicle. Today, more than 50 […]

  • Picking the battles will be key to reforming food policy

    Ah, the House Agriculture Committee. Never will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

    Well, maybe that's a bit of an overstatement, but not by too much, I don't think. As Michael Pollan put it, "It's where decent ag legislation goes to die."

    Does sustainable agriculture have any hope of support there? Well, we can be somewhat cheered by the fact that, with the Republican caucus as small as it has been in decades, the House Ag Committee has a mere 17 Republicans in contrast to its 29 Democrats. And the House being the House, you can be sure that those 17 Republicans will have plenty of time to work on their canasta skills (or whatever it is minority members do with all their spare time) because they certainly won't be writing legislation.

    Unfortunately for us, the Democratic membership is mostly comprised of Blue Dogs (i.e. conservative Democrats) from farm states who have no real interest in or incentive for reform. And one thing is certain: Committee Chair and Blue Dog extraordinaire Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.) is no Henry Waxman, the hero of reform and oversight now leading the way on climate change and health-care reform.

    In some ways, it's good news that the Farm Bill won't come up for re-authorization for several years. First, it means President Barack Obama doesn't have to dive right into this political-capital destroying mess of subsidy reform -- he has, after all, promised to eliminate subsidies for farmers who make more than $250,000 in farm income, two-thirds less than the current limit (and he put it in writing, no less). But more importantly, it gives us time to plot.

    What should a foodie do between now and then? Now that we've got our shiny new President, it'd be nice to take him out for a spin, food policy-wise, even if we can't immediately head for the rocky terrain of the Farm Bill. Dave Murphy has written about what we might expect from the USDA, the good as well as the bad and the ugly. But what about some of the other areas that impact food and agriculture policy beyond the USDA and beyond what's contained in the Farm Bill? I thought I might do a series of posts on some of these areas since they'll deeply affect the development of sustainable agriculture. Let's start small. How's international trade policy grab you?

  • Food should be controlled by farmers, not corporations

    Food is an important part of most Holiday celebrations, not just because we need food to live, but food connects us to our culture, our past, and whether we know it or not, our future. Food Is Different: Why the WTO Should Get Out of Agriculture is a great book by Peter Rosset — one […]

  • Food sovereignty needs to be the center of renewed negotiations

    With each new event or international conference in 2008’s saga of economic and food crises, there are calls to complete the long-running Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. The international players all act as if achieving a Doha agreement, seemingly any agreement, will help solve one or more aspects of these crises. The latest […]