Letters 10-17-2016

Here’s The Truth The group Save our Downtown (SOD), which put Proposal 3 on the ballot, is ignoring the negative consequences that would result if the proposal passes. Despite the group’s name, the proposal impacts the entire city, not just downtown. Munson Medical Center, NMC, and the Grand Traverse Commons are also zoned for buildings over 60’ tall...

Keep TC As-Is In response to Lynda Prior’s letter, no one is asking the people to vote every time someone wants to build a building; Prop. 3 asks that people vote if a building is to be built over 60 feet. Traverse City will not die but will grow at a pace that keeps it the city people want to visit and/or reside; a place to raise a family. It seems people in high-density cities with tall buildings are the ones who flock to TC...

A Right To Vote I cannot understand how people living in a democracy would willingly give up the right to vote on an impactful and important issue. But that is exactly what the people who oppose Proposal 3 are advocating. They call the right to vote a “burden.” Really? Since when does voting on an important issue become a “burden?” The heart of any democracy is the right of the people to have their voice heard...

Reasons For NoI have great respect for the Prop. 3 proponents and consider them friends but in this case they’re wrong. A “yes” vote on Prop. 3 is really a “no” vote on..

Republican Observations When the Republican party sends its presidential candidates, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people with a lot of problems. They’re sending criminals, they’re sending deviate rapists. They’re sending drug addicts. They’re sending mentally ill. And some, I assume, are good people...

Stormy Vote Florida Governor Scott warns people on his coast to evacuate because “this storm will kill you! But in response to Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Florida’s voter registration deadline be extended because a massive evacuation could compromise voter registration and turnout, Republican Governor Scott’s response was that this storm does not necessitate any such extension...

Third Party Benefits It has been proven over and over again that electing Democrat or Republican presidents and representatives only guarantees that dysfunction, corruption and greed will prevail throughout our government. It also I believe that a fair and democratic electoral process, a simple and fair tax structure, quality health care, good education, good paying jobs, adequate affordable housing, an abundance of healthy affordable food, a solid, well maintained infrastructure, a secure social, civil and public service system, an ecologically sustainable outlook for the future and much more is obtainable for all of us...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Relearning how to eat
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Relearning how to eat

Robert Downes - May 12th, 2008
Relearning How to Eat
There’s a touch of suspense in our visits to the grocery store these days. We creep cautiously over to the milk aisle, bracing for the price. If it’s under $3 a gallon, a small victory has been won, but the trend seems to be heading in the other direction, and someday I suppose that $3 milk will be just a misty memory.
So, put this in the “One More Thing to Worry About” file: the rising cost
of food.
Those of you who buy milk each week probably don’t need a bunch of fancy statistics to underline the fact that food is getting more expensive, but here goes:
Food prices went up by four percent last year on top of 2.4 percent the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And prices could rise as much as 10 percent this year.
So, let’s be optimists and assume the worst: by 2009, food prices could be up as much as 16.4 percent of what you paid in 2005.
But some staples have gone even higher: in the past year alone, milk rose 13.3 percent, white bread went up 16.3 percent, and eggs were up 29.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A record 28 million Americans will be on food stamps this year.
Even so, we’re light years away from the food riots that took place recently in Cameroon and Egypt: the Department of Agriculture reports that Americans spent just 5.8 percent of their incomes on food in 2006, which is far less than the citizens of other countries.
But that’s probably small comfort if you’re traveling from the gas station to the grocery store.
Who are the culprits in rising food prices? They are many, but somehow, they all circle back to ourselves.
• In India and China, for instance, people have a higher standard of living and are eating much better these days, thanks to all of the flatscreen TVs, video games, tainted dog food and other stuff they’ve sold to American consumers. That means higher prices for grain, rice, fish and meat over here in Consumerland.
• Then too, one-fifth of the U.S. corn crop was diverted to produce ethanol last year. We’re literally feeding corn to our automobiles instead of to chickens, hogs and cattle. That means higher prices for chicken, pork and beef are coming to a grocery store near you soon.
• Higher fuel prices for shipping foods to market are being passed on to consumers. It makes you wonder how much longer we’ll be eating tomatoes from Holland, strawberries from Mexico and shrimp from Thailand, among other imported foods.
• Global warming is the 600-ton Godzilla on the table whose effect on food prices remains unknown. Record heat waves have already destroyed crops around the world -- such as 36 percent of Italy’s corn crop in 2003, according to Newsweek. “Overall, global warming will bring more rainfall,” notes science writer Sharon Begley in Newsweek. “But rainfall has been coming in fits and starts -- dry spells interrupted by deluges. This is a prescription for withering crops and then washing them away.”
• Big news recently was the fact that Costco and Sam’s Club started limiting customers to two or three bags of rice. It’s not that the world is running out of rice: it’s simply that India, China, Vietnam and Thailand are cutting back on their imports in order to meet rising demand in their own countries. The price of their fancy for-import-only basmati rice rose from $850 per ton to $2,000 this past year.
There’s not much we can do as individuals about the price of rice in China or droughts in Italy. And we may be stuck with the price of staples like milk and eggs, the same as we‘re stuck at the gas pump.
But there are some things we can do to take charge of our own lives and cut costs.
For starters, we could relearn how to eat. That involves simply eating less, which is the norm throughout the world.
It’s common knowledge that Americans have an obesity problem. Currently, 60 percent of adult Americans are overweight, and it’s predicted that by 2020, half of all American children will be overweight if current trends continue.
Yet, it‘s almost impossible not to gain weight with the huge food portions we‘ve come to accept as normal in America.
That‘s not the case beyond our borders. In most of the world, for instance, meat is considered more of a garnish than the main event at a meal. Outside of America and a few Western countries like Germany, people don’t eat hunks of meat the size of bricks for dinner and consider that “normal.” They typically use a few shreds of meat -- a palmful at most -- in their rice or pasta, along with plenty of vegetables.
Also, a sandwich overseas is more on par with what we’d consider a snack here -- it’s small and waistline-friendly.
Many fine restaurants already practice the less-is-more philosophy, concentrating on flavor, rather than heaping portions.
But, if you believe that you need a shovel-full of food on your plate for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, then switching to a Weight Watchers-style diet is probably a bitter cruel, unthinkable idea.
Also worth noting: inexpensive home cooking has become something of a lost art in America. How many young people do you know who get most of their meals from fast food restaurants or rely on processed foods? It‘s a recipe for poor nutrition as well as a hefty food bill.
Maybe it’s time to return to the home economic skills our grandparents took for granted: Things like slimming down your diet, planting a garden, and relearning how to cook inexpensive, healthful meals out of soups, casseroles or the kind of nutritious “peasant” cuisines of stir-fries and wraps that are popular all over the world. The brave new Age of Thrift seems to be here at last. It’s time to adapt -- or pay dearly.
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