Archive for Smithfield Foods

Strange Cotton

Posted in Ecological resilience, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2013 by rgwallace

Weighing cotton2Southern trees bear a strange fruit, / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, / Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, / Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. – Abel Meeropol (1936)

My momma was raised in the era when / Clean water was only served to the fairer skin / Doing clothes you would have thought I had help / But they wasn’t satisfied unless I picked the cotton myself… / I see the blood on the leaves. –Kayne West (2013)

Our political consciousness gestates early enough, perhaps in a rudimentary fashion as far back as the womb, but certainly on the playground and at the dinner table, daddy or mommy haranguing some politico. On the other hand, we also never really make it there. A 90-something I know, nodding out her window, copped to asking herself, Am I ever gonna figure that out?

Along the way there are revelations, some more trap doors than epiphanies. We learn history is both contingent and unexpectedly accumulative—shit happens in a growing pile—even as the pathways along which any set of circumstances converges aren’t always clear.

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The Hog Industry Strikes Back

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2009 by rgwallace

Swine flu H1N1 appears at one and the same time moving full-boar and on its cloven heels. The World Health Organization reports 15,510 official cases in 53 countries, with new countries regularly reporting in. An order or two more cases are likely unreported and together represent an atypical spring surge for influenza. At the same time, the strain’s virulence appears presently no more than along the lines of a bad seasonal influenza.

One of the mistakes we need avoid is to assume we’ve been victimized by a media-fueled hysteria. Given the mortality rates reported at the beginning of the outbreak in Mexico—exceeding that of the 1918 pandemic—it looked like we were in for it. Previous pandemics teach us that preparing for the worst is the prudent option. Imagine the reaction if only feeble preparations were made in the face of a truly deadly pandemic. The cost of a Type II error, thinking no pandemic possible with one imminent, is catastrophically greater than that of its Type I sibling, thinking a pandemic imminent with none in the offering.

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