Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hungry? So What

ROME - In an “unforeseen and unprecedented” shift, the world food supply is dwindling rapidly and food prices are soaring to historic levels, the top food and agriculture official of the United Nations warned Monday.1218 08

The changes created “a very serious risk that fewer people will be able to get food,” particularly in the developing world, said Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

The agency’s food price index rose by more than 40 percent this year, compared with 9 percent the year before - a rate that was already unacceptable, he said. New figures show that the total cost of foodstuffs imported by the neediest countries rose 25 percent, to $107 million, in the last year.

At the same time, reserves of cereals are severely depleted, FAO records show. World wheat stores declined 11 percent this year, to the lowest level since 1980. That corresponds to 12 weeks of the world’s total consumption - much less than the average of 18 weeks consumption in storage during the period 2000-2005. There are only 8 weeks of corn left, down from 11 weeks in the earlier period.

Prices of wheat and oilseeds are at record highs, Diouf said Monday. Wheat prices have risen by $130 per ton, or 52 percent, since a year ago. U.S. wheat futures broke $10 a bushel for the first time Monday, the agricultural equivalent of $100 a barrel oil. (Page 16)

Diouf blamed a confluence of recent supply and demand factors for the crisis, and he predicted that those factors were here to stay. On the supply side, these include the early effects of global warming, which has decreased crop yields in some crucial places, and a shift away from farming for human consumption toward crops for biofuels and cattle feed. Demand for grain is increasing with the world population, and more is diverted to feed cattle as the population of upwardly mobile meat-eaters grows.

“We’re concerned that we are facing the perfect storm for the world’s hungry,” said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Program, in a telephone interview. She said that her agency’s food procurement costs had gone up 50 percent in the past 5 years and that some poor people are being “priced out of the food market.”
@ Common Dreams


It appears there is more interest in pumping more oil than growing more food.

Strange being part of humanity. When it comes to money, it is king. Do not concern yourself with those starving masses, instead put a new Excesscalade in your driveway and a cabin in Tahoe for Christmas.

What will we ever do with all the emaciated corpses? Can we recover their oil?



micki said...

Physics Professor is a Web STAR

I love this story!

Now, back to another reality....gotta read Den's post and comment.

Gerald said...

A day or so has passed when we mentioned the importance of water and the fact that 67% of fresh drinking water will be gone by 2025 and that green is good for the economy. We must be caring stewards of our environment. Now, we read about hunger. If people would only realize that caring for each other is what life is all about, it would make our lives happy and enjoyable. But, we are rats caught in a maze created by the devil incarnate nation, the United States of Evil.

Here is where I stand and what I truly believe.


Here is what America and the world need in order to attain peace and justice on our planet for all of God’s children. Here is also what I believe God wants for His children and His vision for the world.

Shalom translated means peace but it is much more than peace. Shalom is a vision of social wholeness; a state of well being for all, where everyone has access to the goods of creation intended to meet the needs of all. Shalom is the substance of the biblical vision of one community embracing all creation where all enjoy the resources that make communal harmony joyous and effective.

Shalom is nothing less than God’s intended vision of the world, a dream of God that resists our tendencies for division, hostility, fear, lust, and misery. If there is to be well-being, it will not be just for the isolated and insulated individuals, it is security and prosperity granted to the whole community: the poor, the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, the tax collector and the sinner, the despised and the rejected, young and old, the have and the have nots, the powerful and the dependent. We are in it together. Together we stand before God’s blessings and together we receive the gift of life. Shalom comes only to the inclusive embracing community that excludes no one.

I have included some of my words in John Lennon's song, "Imagine."

Imagine (My Version)

Imagine there's a Heaven
It's easy if you try
And a hope of no hell below us
Above us the sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And a religion of brotherly love too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

micki said...

I remember as the new millennium approached, amid the Y2K cacophony, saner heads expressed concern for the scourge of hunger that was worse than ever around the world.

We must honor the Earth. We must conserve our natural resources. We must work on the challenge to secure food all year, affordable and available to all. We must be responsible stewards of the planet.

But, here we are, as 2007 comes to a bitter end, with the United States ignoring its responsibility to lead on policies, legislation, technology, regulatory mechanisms to help ensure that water and land resources are used for the maximum social good.

I can't wait for this administration to get out of the way. Then, possibly we'll make some progress. I really don't know if we will or not.

micki said...

And the world will live as one

Gerald, thanks. There's lots of work to do. Time to roll up our sleeves and get crackin'.

micki said...

Fire breaks out in Executive Office Building This Morning

Maybe the busheviks were destroying more tapes and other evidence and he fire got out of control?

Or maybe Darth Cheney's batteries blew a fuse.

micki said...

Our Decrepit Food Factories -- TNYT

From this perspective, the story of Colony Collapse Disorder and the story of drug-resistant staph are the same story. Both are parables about the precariousness of monocultures. Whenever we try to rearrange natural systems along the lines of a machine or a factory, whether by raising too many pigs in one place or too many almond trees, whatever we may gain in industrial efficiency, we sacrifice in biological resilience. The question is not whether systems this brittle will break down, but when and how, and whether when they do, we’ll be prepared to treat the whole idea of sustainability as something more than a nice word.

micki said...

You know, I was sort of being facetious earlier this morning, when I "joked" about the fire in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (and yes, there was construction underway), but the more I think about it...

This fire could provide cover for cheney (whose office is in the building). He and his staff can claim "those documents were unfortunately destroyed in the fire on December 19, 2007."

micki said...

Okay. I'll shut up about conspiracies now.

Don't want to get anything started. :-))

micki said...

I stand corrected. Darth Cheney's CEREMONIAL offices are in the EOB.

His *working offices* are in the West Wing.

micki said...

Damn it anyway! So, TNYT jumps through the hoop!

White House asks NYT to remove sub-headline from CIA tape story

By Klaus Marre | Posted 12/19/07 9:20 AM [ET]
December 19, 2007

The White House on Wednesday took the rare step of publicly asking The New York Times to change the sub-headline of a story on the destruction of CIA tapes showing the interrogations of suspected terrorists.

At issue is the story’s sub-headline that stated: “White House Role Was Wider Than It Said.” The White House called this sub-headline inaccurate and demanded that it be corrected.

“Under direction from the White House General Counsel while the Department of Justice and the CIA Inspector General conduct a preliminary inquiry, we have not publicly commented on facts relating to this issue, except to note President Bush’s immediate reaction upon being briefed on the matter,” stated White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. “Furthermore, we have not described – neither to highlight, nor to minimize -- the role or deliberations of White House officials in this matter.”

The White House argues that the newspaper article implies that “there is an effort to mislead in this matter,” adding that such a conclusion is “pernicious and troubling.”

Catherine Mathis, senior vice president of corporate communications for the newspaper, stated that the sub-headline has been changed, adding that a correction would be printed. However, Mathis also pointed out that the White House did not challenge the contents of the article.

carey said...

What will we ever do with all the emaciated corpses? Can we recover their oil?

Brilliantly written, Den. That says it all.

carey said...

Oh, Micksters!

The story of the M.I.T. professor is wonderful!

How profoundly do I love physics. A science that somehow tries to explain how matter flows, including thought waves and light, as in psychic connections. The discipline is ultimately wholly creative.

Einstein rules.

carey said...

Hey, did I tell you I don't like Blogger/Google? It's fussy.

carey said...


Keep praying. We're going to need as much of it as we can as we starve and freeze to death.

carey said...



Oh my God. It is not Al Gore???

I don't believe it. Really. That's a stunner and a total wam-bam to the solar plexus.

carey said...


Your ponderings about the fire are well-placed.

carey said...

I've gotta get crackin'.

carey said...

This New York Times bullshit, Micki.

They're totally weird--all over the map. They are not who they once were, that is for you-know-what sure. And the same is true for the LA Times.

People are not noticing the hoops the NYT is jumping through. I can't figure out why.

They look really, really bad. You know what I mean. Journalistically, not a good deal going on over there. Just total politics.

carey said...

The "preview" clicker doesn't work.

David B. Benson said...

A start: Please thank your senators and representative if they voted for this legisslation and admonish them if they did not.

Biopact: US becomes biofuel nation as Congress approves Energy Bill

But whichever way they voted, do point out this is far, far from enough...

David B. Benson said...

Carey --- Preview works for me.

Clear your cookies and try again.

No, not those cookies, the virtual ones in your computer!


micki said...

Dr. B -- the Biopact link doesn't work for me.

Get a "Not Found" message.

I'll try again.

Does it work for everyone else?

Gerald said...

"Look, Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous, if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

-George Bush, Dec. 4, 2007

"We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. . . . Bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant."

-Prof. Harry Frankfurt (1986)

Alan said...

Didn't work for me either, Micki. This might be the correct one tho...

US becomes biofuel nation as Congress approves Energy Bill

micki said...

Carey, if you keep in mind that the Person of the Year is not always a *good* person, nor is the selection an honor, nor is it an endorsement of the person's actions, character, or popularity, then it makes sense for Vladimir Putin to be chosen this year.

Putin's leadership is bold and will potentially change the world, in one way or the other, for better or for worse. One criterion on Time's list in the selection process is "what has this person done to shape the changes in the world?" (I'm paraphrasing)

But, I wish the Person of the Year was Al Gore because that would have given Al one more high-visibility opportunity to get the message out about the climate crisis.

micki said...

Hey, thanks, Alan!

David B. Benson said...

Yes, Alan did it right.


carey said...

Oh, (a full mouth's chew noises gulfing down cookies) no? I was having a wonderful time eating up the yummies as requested, David.

carey said...

But, I wish the Person of the Year was Al Gore because that would have given Al one more high-visibility opportunity to get the message out about the climate crisis.

That's the point. It would have been more globally appropriate to name Gore. Putin's endeavors are wonderful and all, but global warming, well, y'all know.

David B. Benson said...

Why does Al Gore predict apocalypse in 2017 CE?

Gerald said...

Praying Each Day: December 19

Gerald said...

Keeping Christ in Christmas is up to us

Gerald said...

Here I Am, Lord: Serving God' People Today

“We are all called by God.We all need to serve one another and to call each other to holiness.Each of us has a special gift that no one else can give.”

—Carol Powell

God is Calling

Say “vocation” and we tend to picture priests and ministers, rabbis, religious sisters and brothers.

The truth is that vocation is more a process than a particular job. And it doesn’t involve just certain people – all are called. It’s about finding the way that God asks us to become fully the person He created us to be. It’s also about loving others as God loves us.

Every one of us has a “God-job” – the uniqueway that we can make God known and show His love to others. Our vocation is really our call from the Lord to follow and serve Him, whether our service is as priest or parent, single person or married, minister or teacher, office worker or CEO.

St. Francis de Sales wrote about the call to a blessed life – and its unique application for each person.

“Devotion must be exercised in different ways by the gentleman, the workman, the servant, the prince, the widow, the maid, and the married woman,” he counseled. He saw the absurdity of a bishop’s trying to lead the life of a monk, or a married couple living the same way as those called to consecrated religious life.

“Wheresoever we are, we can and should aspire to perfect life,” he wrote, encouraging us to use the “fire in (our) hearts for love of Jesus;” to be dedicated to the love of God and others – whoever and wherever we are.

How do we know we’ve got God’s message? How can we be sure that we have found our particular call to holiness?

When we become like Jesus, answers Sister Fidelis Tracy, C.D.P. – compassionate, forgiving and healing toward others. “If I think about the people in my life whom I would readily call ‘holy,’ I would think of neighbors who reached out to those in need when it was not convenient and those who were concerned about suffering people in poor countries,” she explains. “Or I might associate holiness with courage in adversity. Holiness is manifested in selfless love, forgiveness and service.”

Know the God of your father, and serve Him with single mind and willing heart; for the Lord searches every mind, and understands every plan and thought.If you seek Him, He will be found by you.
1 Chronicles 28:9

David B. Benson said...

Big Atom is about to get its begging bowl filled:

Nuke Industry Is On Verge of Getting $25 Billion Handout

carey said...

It's been heading in that direction, David, hasn't it? They have one powerful lobby, the nukey people do.

David B. Benson said...

I predict that in 2009, people will discover that Malthus was right.

That is, according to Hadley Centre, the year in which global warming will start becoming most noticably warm...

DEN said...

Did ya see this?- The White House on Wednesday made a rare public demand for a formal correction from the New York Times for implying that it had misled the US public over the destruction of CIA interrogation videos.

The US Justice Department, the White House, and US lawmakers have all launched probes after CIA chief Michael Hayden revealed earlier this month that the agency in 2005 destroyed tapes of interrogations of two Al-Qaeda suspects.

Hayden said the recordings, made in 2002, were destroyed to protect the identities of CIA agents, but the news outraged lawmakers and human rights groups who charges the agency may be covering up possible torture.
Perino refused to comment on the substance of the article, but zeroed in on a Times sub-headline -- "White House Role Was Wider Than It Said" -- and made a rare public, written demand for a correction to that "pernicious" assertion.


OOOO!, OOOOO!, did we hit a nerve in the somewhat devious brain? (microscopic as it might be)

When will they ever learn?

micki said...

Malthus was right about what? Population and production and the food supply?

micki said...

Den, I posted about that earlier today. Boo-hoo. You didn't read it. :-)

You know, don't you that TNYT pretty much rolled over for the busheviks, don't you?

micki said...

OOps..too many "don't yous" in that post.

I sounded kinda pushy, don't you know.

DEN said...

Shit! thought i read it all!

Getting old.

micki said...

Tom Tancredo is dropping out of the race.

Tom who??????????????????

Who cares.