In theory, splitting up the farm bill to deal separately with farm policy and nutrition assistance makes a lot of sense.
Farm subsidies used to go mostly to actual farmers who could use the help. So while the pairing of farm aid and food aid was always politically motivated, it also made some sense: the farm bill was safety-net legislation, and food stamps fit right into that. As agriculture has changed, agricultural policy has become more and more of a mess of corporate welfare that's against the public interest. And one big thing protecting this status quo has been the fact that liberals can't vote against a business-as-usual farm bill, because it's also how hungry people get fed.
I don't have any brilliant insights on the George Zimmerman verdict. Some say the story's about racism; others say it's about guns; others say it's about Florida's horrible self-defense laws. Pretty sure it's all of the above.
Last week Pew released some more data from its spring survey on the rise of the nones. They asked people if they thought the growing number of "people who are not religious" is good, bad or neutral for American society. One interesting finding: while most of the nones said neutral, nearly as many said "bad" as "good." Almost a fifth of the nones think the growth of the nones—of their own group—is bad for society.
The more the food movement goes mainstream, the more you hear casual descriptors like "local or organic or eco-friendly." Local becomes one of several labels that can stand in for eco-ethical food generally.
David Brooks says some silly stuff, but his June 14 column included a doozy even for him: "In Corinthians, Jesus tells the crowds..." The text was soon corrected to identify the letter as First Corinthians and its writer as Paul, though as of today it still has him telling crowds things. Whatever.
For most of my life now, I’ve been sucked ever deeper into various forms of Americana music. I love the simple forms and catchy tunes, the plainspoken emotion and humor, the fiddles and mandolins and banjos. In a worship context, I’m drawn as well to the music’s accessibility and its cross-generational appeal.
"Extraction companies are buying up the rights to drill on private property with unprecedented speed. At stake are geysers of money. And in the thousands of cases in which the landowner is of the Amish faith, their business partner would never dream of taking them to court should things go awry."
There were two surprising things about Hillary Clinton’s first tweet.
Clinton broke her Twitter silence this week with this bio: “Wife, mom, lawyer, women and kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD . . . .” A photo by Diana Walker showing a serious-looking Clinton in black and looking at her Blackberry through dark glasses is her avatar.
A new WaPo/Pew poll finds that 56 percent of Americans thing it’s acceptable for the National Security Agency to secretly access millions of Americans’ phone records. Sixty-two percent favor investigating terrorist threats “even if that intrudes on personal privacy.”
If you’ve been here long, you won’t be shocked to hear that I’m not impressed by a lot of what American conservatives have to say about domestic poverty. (Though I do appreciate the basic political courage it takes for an elected official to even use the word.)
But there is at least one idea from the right that I’m more or less on board with: we should be very careful about cutting the tax deduction for charitable contributions.
It’s farm bill season again. That’s right: time for our divided government to get together and reauthorize the five-year omnibus bill that affects everyone who grows, sells or eats food—or at least to go through the motions for a while before punting again like last year.