Category: Politics

Who’s the President?

OT for me, but this is a bizarre headline, enough said. Bubba’s still presidentifying!

Print Story: Clinton deal cuts school snack foods on Yahoo! News

Clinton deal cuts school snack foods

By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer 15 minutes ago

Snacks sold in schools will have to cut the fat, sugar and salt under the latest crackdown on junk food won by former President Clinton.

Just five months after a similar agreement targeting the sale of sodas in schools, Clinton and the American Heart Association announced a deal Friday with several major food companies to make school snacks healthier — the latest assault on the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic.

“By working with schools and industry to implement these guidelines, we are helping to give parents peace of mind that their kids will be able to make healthier choices at school,” said Dr. Raymond Gibbons, president of the heart association.

The agreement with Kraft Foods Inc., Mars Inc., Campbell Soup Co., Groupe Danone SA and PepsiCo Inc. sets guidelines for fat, sugar, sodium and calories for snack foods sold in school vending machines, stores and snack bars. Those companies make everything from M&M’s, yogurt and granola bars to Frito-Lay potato chips, Snickers bars and canned soups.

Under the guidelines, most foods won’t be permitted to derive more than 35 percent of their calories from fat and more than 10 percent from saturated fat. There will be a limit of 35 percent for sugar content by weight.

War?

Way off topic, but war’s been on everyone’s mind of late, and the horribly devastating oil spill in Lebanon is but one example of the crazy devastation caused by war. An event that would be an international emergency by itself is only a footnote in the death of many innocent people, destruction of the happiness of entire communities and populations, not to mention all those blown up bridges, power plants and homes.

Los Angeles Times: Why Good Countries Fight Dirty Wars

The citizen-soldiers sent into the field by the United States or any other Western popular government are expected, by virtue of not so long ago having been free civilians themselves, to be more empathetic with the plight of the noncombatants with whom they come into contact. Certainly, brutal incidents like the My Lai massacre or the Abu Ghraib scandal occur from time to time, but they are widely viewed as cultural aberrations. This interpretation, however, is as simplistic as it is misleading. All too often the armies of modern democracies have tolerated and even initiated outrages against civilians, in manners uneasily close to those of their totalitarian and terrorist enemies. Israeli troops are currently demonstrating this fact in their response to the Hezbollah rocket offensive — a response most of the world community, according to recent polls, believes is taking an unacceptably disproportionate toll on Lebanese civilians. And there have been times when democratic leaders have been even more open about their brutal intentions: Speaking of the Allied bombing campaign during World War II that culminated in that consummate act of state terrorism, the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, Winston Churchill flatly stated that the objective was “to make the enemy burn and bleed in every way.”

Excellent article, there really is no moral war, no just war, no holy war, no noble war, no happy war, no easy war, and there really should be no war other than a reluctantly fought, and limited war. There are no noble warriors, no heros, only real people doing things to their fellow human beings that are for the most part, unspeakable horrors. Anyone who tries to argue with me that their war is somehow different because of a host of reasons is not going to convince me.

While history books can be cleansed to blind future generations to the actual costs of war on the people fighting it, and the damage that ensues, fighting affects everyone who fights significantly, and rarely for the better. Eventually, it dehumanizes you, how can you kill someone (except in close combat where there’s a clear survival motivation) except by dehumanizing them? You’d have to think that a whole neighborhood is somehow inhuman to drop a bomb on them that kills maybe one terrorist and 15 innocent humans.

The history we learn has a lot to do with our willingness to tolerate this much war. The science lessons we get in school are a culmination of centuries of accumulated knowledge, the mathematics we learn goes back 10-15 centuries, we are taught to be self-critical, to learn from our mistakes, to think, yet the history we learn is pure propaganda, none of these edicts seem to apply. Being a “pacifist” has gone from normal to “loony coward fringe element” in a few years. Oh well…

California’s Prop 65 on Deathbed

House votes to dump state food safety laws

See this post for some context.

The vote Wednesday was a sign of the tremendous power of the food industry in Congress. Corporations and trade groups that joined the National Uniformity for Food Coalition, which backed the bill, have contributed more than $3 million to members in the 2005-06 election cycle and $31 million since 1998, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

The industry also has many top lobbyists pushing the bill, including White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card’s brother, Brad Card, who represents the Food Products Association.

Well, will it die in the senate? One wonders.

Why bother with an elected goverment if all it does is pass bills written by big industry? Maybe it’s time to get the middlemen out and have big business actually run the country, maybe GM can take a shot! Or maybe the top guy on the Forbes list for the year can take over as president for the year, this will give Warren Buffett good incentive to knock off Mr Gates.

Varanasi hit by blasts

VaranasiBBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Indian temple city hit by blasts

The first explosion took place in the major Sankot Mochan temple dedicated to the Hindu God Hanuman at about 1815 local time (1245 GMT). At least 10 people were killed and a number of others injured in the blast, Uttar Pradesh officials said. An eyewitness, Siddharth Suri, told the BBC that thousands of people were at the temple at the time of the blast. Tuesday is a special day at the Sankat Mochan temple and the explosion took place just minutes before the main worship.

It’s so friggin’ easy in India, so many targets, so many people, so much activity. The motive is obvious, to incite a hindu reprisal on muslims that can ratchet up the tension even further. Don’t worry, the BJP-RSS-VHP troika is more than willing to play the game…

The BJP has already given a call for a Varanasi bandh while the VHP has gone a step further to call for a statewide bandh in UP. The BJP has also given notice to suspend Question Hour in Parliament tomorrow. On its agenda: the blasts and the alleged ‘‘competitive minorityism’’ that has encouraged ‘‘jehadi terrorism’’ to flourish, party leaders said.

While that was for the record, Sangh Parivar insiders view the latest development as an opportunity. Their calculation is that the BJP, which has declined considerably in UP over the last few years, would benefit from a communal polarisation in the state.

A similar polarisation in the early 1990s helped Hindutva forces transcend the differences of caste that lies at the root of UP’s politics of identity. The party has not been able to revive that ‘‘Hindu unity’’ since, but is now hoping that a replay of the ‘‘Mullah Mulayam’’ theme could work.

The Indian voting population has so far tended to vote more on bread and butter issues and caste/community lines than on religious lines, which makes for a fragmented voting pattern that is harder for the political parties to manage. But the forces of Hindutva would like nothing better than to polarize the electorate on religious lines, it would make the system much more “efficient”. I guess “either you’re with us, or you’re against us” is easier to manage than “either you’re with us, or you’re with them, no, you’re with the other them, no wait???” – See US of A for classic two party “efficiency”.