This article discusses the appearance of food co-ops in urban neighborhoods. These co-ops provide healthy, organic foods and at a discounted price if you volunteer hours working at the store.
But deeper than that, the story touches on the problem of food inequality across American cities. Many poorer, minority dominated urban neighborhoods don’t have access to healthy foods. Grocery stores will simply not build there, leaving dollar store and convenience store offerings as the people’s only options. These kind of geographical gaps are partially to blame for fact that America sees malnutrition coupled with obesity in our low-income population.
Supposedly co-ops are there to ‘bridge the gap’. Members do get discounted prices and food stamps are accepted as payment. Yet the problem of food deserts is so entrenched than accessibility is no longer the only obstacle. Many residence of these areas feel out of place in a co-op which attracts upper or middle class whites to the neighborhood. There is also a gap in education. Confronted with a Jerusalem artichoke or a head of kale many people don’t know how to even begin to prepare it, lower-class or not. It takes time and energy to overcome these barriers. Energy which may not seem worth investing after working long hours, it’s easier to stay with old habits
I don’t think that food co-ops are a very effective solution to food deserts – unless they are paired with other outreach programs. But I do think that the problem itself is one that needs to be addressed. In Columbus where I grew up, there was a non-profit called ‘local matters’. They did outreach programs to educate kids how to cook healthily in public schools in these areas. They also ran gardening programs, where the leadership were all residence of the target area so that the project would be sustainable within each community. There are a lot of different kinds of solution which could be applied and I think that it’s only in a combination of these that we see real success and change.
President Obama is traveling to Mexico this Wednesday in order to close trade ties with Mexico and Canada. Although his political party’s leaders in DC disagree with the Presidents’ efforts, he believes that this juncture is critical in negotiating a broad Asian-Pacific trade pact that would include about 40 percent of the global economy.
The negotiation is primarily centered around the TPP “Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Not only does this partnership upgrade trading with Mexico and Canada but also with nine other countries. Although roughly one-third of United States exports go to Canada and Mexico which supports about 14 million jobs, President Obama feels that North America is in need of strengthening oversee trading and increasing trans-pacific relations with our oversee allies.
Security will be a major focus and precaution during President Obama’s visit to Mexico. Powerful drug cartel groups have been identified and monitored with the hopes of protecting this negotiation visit.
As the United States continues to globalize and extend it’s arms towards other nations and cultures, it will be interesting to see how many other nations will be willing to trade with and associate with the United States. I feel like President Obama has spent a great deal of time trying to “mend” international relationships that President Bush didn’t necessarily entertain. Now entering his 6th year as president of the United States, President Obama’s efforts will become apparent, whether or not they were successful is yet to be seen.
An interesting method of selling the Affordable Care Act to America. This article describes the efforts of liberals in Florida who, based off finely tuned maps, attempted to locate and sell this plan to uninsured, working-class Americans. As interesting as it may seem, the results were less than expected. The article reports that 2,623 people were contacted, however, only 25 were signed up. The reactions of those whose doors were susceptible to the salesmen represented an interesting side of this new act. Reports of doors slammed, hostile arguments, or alternate options were a few of these.
I think this is really interesting. President Obama claims to cater to this class of Americans, yet, here they are, slamming the door in his face. It makes me think more on where he had hoped this act would go. The current ineffectiveness of this law is not the only thing wrong with some of the recent new legislature. I understand that we are in a tough spot in many of the fields of economics, the job market, etc… and that no legislation will ever satisfy everyone, but when the majority of people aren’t benefiting, I think it is time to rethink the plan. I’m interested to hear what you all think, because I am not entirely sure on a lot of the past developments that have lead to this act.
Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal’s front page featured a picture of a man in SWAT gear and a hostage near the boarding ladder of a plane. The story is as captivating as it is strange. Most plane hijackings are attempted by passengers, like Leila Khaled’s famous heists from the late 60s and early 70s. This one, however, was made by the co-pilot of Ethiopian Airlines . The co-pilot felt unsafe in Adis Ababba and claimed asylum in Geneva, where the plane landed.
This story elucidates a couple of important points. The article didn’t use the word terrorism, which is highly significant. Terrorism is defined by the political use of force. The co-pilot’s actions do not reflect any political agenda. The press finally seems to be using the term correctly. Another key theme is that of asylum seekers. Switzerland is known to have liberal laws about asylum, which attracted the particular hijacker, who faces up to 20 years in prison for his actions. The information minster of Ethiopia, however, is requesting the co-pilot be extradited to Ethiopia. Looks like the hijacker might not get what he planned for.
The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has announced that all Canadian diplomats inside the Ukraine are safe. This announcement comes amid the most dangerous day of protests that Ukraine has seen since its separation form the Soviet Union. Twenty five people have died in the last day as protesters up the anty and get more aggressive with the police forces in Kiev.
An unknown number of protesters have sought refuge in the Canadian Embassy. Harper says that “We expect these individuals to leave the embassy safely and free from intimidation, violence or harassment”.
The conflict in Ukraine has remained constant as anti-government protesters want the government to sign a deal with the EU and move away from its relationship with Russia. This is juxtaposition to pro-government supporters who often clash with their counterparts. Gatherings for both sides have spread across the country, and many of Ukraine’s major cities now host protest sites. These cities include Kiev, L’viv, Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Donetsk.
When travelling to Kiev, tourists should avoid the downtown area since that is where all of protests and clashes are taking place. These sites include Independence Square, City Hall, Dynamo Stadium, and the streets immediately around these locations.
However, the important thing, as Stephen Harper mentioned, is that the Canadians are safe. While Canadian diplomats enjoy the delights of Tim Bits and hot cocoa with protesters in Ukraine, their fellow citizens back home are lining up at the drive-thru’s to do the same. I could really go for some Tim Hortons.
Because I have no extensive knowledge concerning the history or ethical background of Ukraine, I’m not trying to be offensive or derogatory towards the situation in Ukraine.
Something that does stand out was the high rate of unemployment and the economic difficulty faced by many Ukrainians that has become a major factor in the uprising. In ways, it shares similarities to the conflict in Syria which has reached a stalemate with nothing getting accomplished. Though I don’t quite understand the full reasons behind this conflict, I can’t agree that what both sides are doing is the best way to approach this issue.
Futhermore, Russia seems to have quite a say in this case as well; therefore, it can be assumed that nothing can actually be accomplished through the UN like the situation in Syria. Even if amendments are made to the constitution and to establish a new cabinet, it is doubtful how much will actually change.
Though this is just a personal assumption, unless some kind of peaceful negotiations are established with a compromise that could be acceptable to both sides, this seems like another case that could escalate into a full civil war.
This article discusses the changes that President Obama is trying to make in our environment. He is taking measures that allow him to bypass the congress and make the changes all by himself. His main idea and changes are towards, as the title says, big trucks although he also put new standards for major factories. The Republicans are arguing this for the main reason that they don’t believe that he should have the ability to make these changes single handedly. Another group of people who are arguing it is the major vehicle factories. Their main reason for the argument is it is going to make them go through more efforts to make these changes and as a result it is going to raise the price of manufacturing greatly and also may reduce the safty of the vehicles. This goes back to a common theam I have been thinking about in the last few discusions we have had in class, what are the limits to peoples rights and what do we do when someone crosses the line of their jurisdiction. This seems to be a very common problem that you can apply to almost any issue in the world today. The main conversation should be on how to prevent actions like this and also the consequences when something like this does occur.
Ukraine is not the only European state that is dealing with protests these days. Although in a slightly smaller scale, Bosnia and Herzegovina is dealing with protesters as well. The violent anti-government protests have even started to spread out. The protests started in the capital of Bosnia, Sarajevo. One of the main reasons why people are dissatisfied and revolting against the current government is the high unemployment rate of around 40%. According to a New York Times article, this is Bosnia’s most widespread government protest since the end of the war. In addition, the article talks about how Bosnia has struggled a lot since the Dayton Agreement. The protests seem to be a product of the corruption in the government and the economic stagnation.
Although the Dayton Agreement was very successful in stopping the genocide in Bosnia, the consequences of it are felt even today. Whenever one talks about Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is impossible not to talk about the ethnic problems that exist within the state. Some of the major disagreements that exist among the population come as a result of the Dayton Agreement which created a system of ethnic power-sharing. This has been one of the major reasons for political and economic problems that Bosnia faces today. The problem is also even more serious considering the fact that Bosnia is in the process of becoming an EU member. However, in order to be a strong candidate, the government needs to perform better in every level. People want to become part of the EU as soon as possible, and enjoy the benefits that come from being an EU member. With how little progress Bosnia has made, it is safe to say that EU membership remains pretty far from reach at the moment. As a result, the protests are not surprising at all.
It is also interesting to see similar problems that arise from similar agreements. States that come out of war, like Bosnia, usually have to go through a long and tedious process of proving themselves worthy of becoming part of a larger international organization or system. However, it seems like the international community can learn a lesson or two from previous cases they have resolved. Bosnia could be used an example of what-not-to-do; yet, it is not always used as such. For example, one of the conditions that EU imposed for Kosovo was having a similar ethnic power-sharing local government. Knowing that that system has caused a lot of headache in Bosnia, it is logical to think that they would not repeat a same pathway. Therefore, cases like Bosnia could and should be used to learn lessons for future conflict resolutions.
Uganda has come under fire from the international community, including the United States, as President Yoweri Museveni moved forward with measures to sign tough antigay laws. Under the bill, the consequence for a first conviction of “promotion or recognition” of homosexual relations is a 14-year prison sentence, followed by potential life imprisonment for any convictions that follow. President Obama warned Museveni that the legislation “will complicated our valued relationships with Uganda.” The bill would obviously be an enormous step backwards insofar as human rights in Uganda are concerned. In 2009 a similar proposal by the Ugandan Parliament included death sentences in antigay measures. Ugandan leaders justified the bills “after 14 medical experts presented a report that homosexuality is not genetic but a social behavior.” The idea that 14, certainly bias, corrupt, or both, doctors are determining the fate of the gay community in Uganda is worth the world’s attention.
However, the issues in Uganda are only a fraction of the larger problem at hand. Amnesty International reports that 38 of 54 African countries have outlawed homosexuality. Just last month, Nigeria enacted a law criminalizing homosexuality. The results have been devastating to the gay community, with arrests, beatings, and even deaths reported. Uganda could see similar effects, and reports of persecution against gay men and lesbians have already begun to rise. Leaders in Uganda, however, don’t seem to care. As the President Museveni’s spokesman, Ofwono Opondo, so eloquently stated on Twitter, “Hey guys supporting homosexuals take it easy Uganda is a sovereign country.” How much should the United States do in response to these measures being passed that could have devastating effects on the basic, human rights of Ugandan citizens? While President Obama’s condemnation of the measures is politically important, it remains to be seen how much of an effect it will truly have on the actions of Ugandan leaders, who, based on statements like that above, don’t seem to be influenced by the opinions of our leaders.