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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Food Fight: An Unappetizing Development

by Andrew Thomas

Our regulation-hungry leaders in Washington are acquiring a new taste in governmental control. A sumptuous feast of tempting regulatory delicacies awaits them under the guise of improving the safety of our food supply. Is this a well-meaning but horrendously misguided attempt by the administration to "protect" the public through draconian regulations heaped onto farmers and small food processing businesses? After all, leftist policy-makers are the masters of unintended consequences.

Radical environmentalist organizations such as the Sierra Club have long fought battles alongside the EPA against individual farmers for producing "animal emissions" and farm dust. Now the EPA is using the Endangered Species Act of 1973 as a weapon against agriculture. The latest and most egregious example of this is the EPA enforcement of the act to turn off the water supply to the farmers of the San Joaquin valley. Arguably the most essential of America's "bread baskets", it was producing as much as 12% of the nation's agriculture, at least until the EPA decided that the protection of the three-inch Delta Smelt was more important and deserved the water more than the farmers. Now up to 40,000residents are out of work and short of food. They are waiting in lines up to five hours long for food packages marked "Product of China". Farms are going bankrupt and being abandoned in droves. Obama has so far denied requests to reverse the EPA's decision.

There are 1,320 officially-designated endangered species in the US. Each one can be used to regulate and restrict agriculture as the EPA so deigns. I agree with George Carlin, who used to say, "Species disappear at a rate of 25 a day, regardless of our behavior. Let them go gracefully."

That brings us to the two-edged sword of the FDA. I have worked with the FDA (known to insiders as "the Agency") for over thirty years, so I know from personal experience that it can be a force for good in protecting public health. It has restrained many a pharmaceutical and medical device business from illegal or unethical practices. On the other hand, it has destroyed good companies and prevented beneficial products from reaching the market, many times based on the political agenda of the Agency at the time. In this case, the sword is being directed by Obama political appointees and the legislation currently before Congress. It is pointed directly at the heart of the food industry.

Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.