Upsetment
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Curated by Kenneth Weene
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Cost of #government rises when local #newspaper closes, study finds | #Media #press

Cost of #government rises when local #newspaper closes, study finds | #Media #press | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A study inspired by a Jon Oliver segment has analysed data from 1,266 US counties and tallied the cost of losing a print watchdog
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When the founding fathers assured freedom of the press, they knew that the free flow of ideas and information was essential for democracy and for good government. Sadly, with a few exceptions we are losing our press. Yes as this article points out we are losing it locally, but more importantly it is disappearing at the state and national levels as well. Replaced by partisan networks that give scant attention to facts or events and certainly next to none to the workings of government at any level. 

How many newspapers do you read? Do you subscribe to your local paper? Do you subscribe or support any on-line papers? 

Growing up in New England, I revered the idea of local government, especially those Town Meetings. Of course, I had to write about them, which I did in The Stylite, the first of the three pieces in Broody New Englander. Check out the trailer at https://tinyurl.com/y9t7qt3c ;
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Weedkiller found in granola and crackers, internal FDA emails show. How dangerous is our #food?  #safety #government 

Weedkiller found in granola and crackers, internal FDA emails show. How dangerous is our #food?  #safety #government  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The FDA has been testing food samples for traces of glyphosate for two years, but the agency has not yet released any official results
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Here are some questions that this article generated in my head:

First question: Does anybody believe that the government should not be monitoring levels of weedkiller and pesticides in our food supply? For my part it is one of the basic responsibilities of government to provide not only protection to its citizens but also the information necessary for people to protect themselves through their decisions.

Second question: Does anybody question the findings of the government? I don't doubt that they are finding dangerous chemicals in just about everything. Such chemicals are ubiquitous. I am not surprised that individual chemists who are concerned are finding higher levels than government reports. Science is to some degree biased even in this age of computers. 

Third question: What should we be doing about these chemicals. Should we be banning pesticides and weedkillers? That would be nice for bees and maybe even for our children, but our food supplies would become more expensive and would probably require more labor, labor which is now being provided largely by immigrants. (Strange how everything ends up connected.) Also, are we willing to have more weeds in our lawns and more insects buzzing around our picnics to say nothing of in our houses?

One proposal I strongly support is limiting the amount of chemicals in some areas. Create chemical free zones in which life can flourish. As a homeowner I never allowed the city to spray my trees and of course never used sprays myself. The result was a yard replete with happy birds and a lawn that my neighbors would have objected to had I not had a high fence to screen it from them. 

In general, I do prefer that we use fewer chemicals and more work. I no longer buy into that old motto, "Better things for better living through chemistry." 

Of course, the Dutch have been doing some great things in terms of moving farming indoors. Using more hydroponic and partial soil techniques they not only can reduce the presence of weeds and insects thereby reducing the use of chemicals, but they can also target natural fertilizer created by composting and produce great produce. 

Not too many years ago, there was a movement for community farms. These mutual efforts really are great. Not only do families end up with excellent fresh food, but kids also learn about their food and farming. How about if we create a similar movement using the malls and carton stores that are growing obsolete in this day of Internet shopping. One of the big advantages of indoors farming is that seasons become less relevant. Instead of masses of tomatoes to the point of waste  at one point in the year and then resorting to importing them form elsewhere, indoor farms could allow communities to plan their crop yields. 

Now, I doubt that the infrastructure for such an undertaking can be afforded privately unless we get a few multi-billion sponsors, but should the government be helping to fund this kind of new farming? 

Should government be an engine for social engineering or not? Before you give a snap ideological answer think about HOV lanes and Agricultural colleges. Think about the national highway system and the Common Core curriculum. Think about the Americans With Disabilities Act and school integration and about who goes into which bathroom. 

If you think this is a long reach from weedkiller in your corn to this basic question of government function, well then welcome to my world, a world in which I constantly ask myself these kinds of questions. 
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Mr. #Trump Promises To Help #Chinese Company That Violated U.S. #Sanctions On #Iran. What's going on? Perhaps its all about the #StockMarket; it certainly isn't about consistent #government.

Mr. #Trump Promises To Help #Chinese Company That Violated U.S. #Sanctions On #Iran. What's going on? Perhaps its all about the #StockMarket; it certainly isn't about consistent #government. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
ZTE pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Not sure I can wrap my head around this one. Mr. Trump pulled us out of the Iran deal because it was so bad and he wanted to impose more sanctions. Then he wants to allow this Chinese company that admitted to breaking sanctions against Iran to return to business as usual because it might be costing too many Chinese jobs. So, I guess those Iranian sanctions aren't that important when it comes to what, the stock prices of some of the corporations that were doing business with ZTE. Something's rotten in this story, and I think the stink is once again coming from Washington. 

The stock market is not the measure of America. Nor is it our strength. However, it may be the indicator of how our moral compass has changed. 

Speaking of greed and government, have you read Times To Try the Soul of Man? Get your copy at https://tinyurl.com/y87tnwd7
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