The U.S. winter wheat crop is expected to be down 9 percent from last year
at 1.71 billion bushels according to the US Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile,
the corn crop is expected to be around 9.64 billion bushels, which would make
it the second-biggest year on record, and soybean is expected to be up 3 percent
to a record 2.8 billion bushels.
So if corn and soybean are so plentiful, whats the deal with wheat? Is
environmental degradation finally getting the best of the American farmer? Hardly.
The per bushel price of wheat is in a free fall as world markets are glutted
with wheat thanks to strong competition from the European Union. Whereas last
year the average price per bushel topped $4, this year farmers will be lucky
to get $3 per bushel. Many farmers have switched to other crops as a result.
Finally, Floridas orange crop is also expected to reach a new record
level of 14 million tons, up 11 percent from last year.
This is all great news for consumers and people who like cheap food, but lousy
news for farmers who made enormous profits after 1996s disappointing crops.
Already the USDA is talking about propping up the price of farm commodities
in response to the EUs competition.
Winter wheat crop down 9 percent from last year. Curt Anderson, Associated
Press, May 12, 1998.
Hard times predicted for US farmers. Charles Abbott, Reuters News Service,
May 12, 1998.
The hype over Judah Folkmans
research into the effects of angiostatin and endostatin on mice reached
a fever pitch in the first week of May after The New York Times ran a
front page story which quoted Nobel laureate Dr. James Watson claiming,
Judah is going to cure Cancer in two years.
is important, but this level of hype was ridiculous. Both of these drugs
are at least a year away from being tested in human beings. Folkman certainly
has a creative approach to stopping cancer. The compounds hes investigating
work by cutting of the blood supply to cancerous tumors thereby causing
them to shrink and disappear — at least in mice. Chemotherapy research
into mice achieved similar results, but when applied to humans was far
less effective than the trials with mice indicated.
Even if Folkmans research
doesnt create a cure for cancer, however, what he has
learned from his animal experiments represent important advances in human
understanding of cancer. The idea that the blood supply of cancerous tumors
could be blocked was considered ludicrous when Folkman began working on
the idea; thanks to Folkmans experiments understanding of cancer
tumors is much improved.
Eric Noonan, Cancer drugs effective in mice; human testing planned.
Associated Press, May 3, 1998.
Josh Ellerman, 19,
disappeared shortly before he was scheduled to be sentenced for his part
in a March 11, 1997 attack on the Fur Breeders Agricultural Cooperative.
Ellerman reached a plea agreement
with prosecutors whereby he plead guilty to 3 of 16 felony counts in exchange
for cooperating with investigators in identifying other members of the
animal rights terrorist group, the Animal Liberation Front.
According to Ronald J. Yengich,
Ellermans defense attorney, Ellerman fled after receiving threats
from the ALF. Ellerman fled his home without a change of clothes, money
or a car.
On May 4th a two alarm fire
destroyed a veal processing plant near Tampa, Florida. Police believe
members of the Animal Liberation Front were responsible for the fire,
which did $500,000 in damage.
A.L.F. had been
spray-painted on the side of the plant.
A communiquÃ© from a group identifying
itself as the Florida ALF claimed responsibility for the attack saying,
…the action was done on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of calves
every year in the American veal industry who are kept in isolation, denied
freedom of movement and fed a deliberately unhealthy diet for the entirety
of their short lives until they are slaughtered at a hell like Florida
The communiquÃ© also claimed
the Florida ALF was responsible for an October 1997 arson at Palm Coast Veal
Corp. in Lauderhill, FL.
Florida A.L.F. Florida A.L.F. CommuniquÃ© May 4, 1998.
Americans for Medical Progress ALF suspected in veal plant and USDA
arson; ALF press officer surfaces.
A couple years ago there was an enormous flap over an opponent of animal rights who registered the peta.org domain, claiming he represented People Eating Tasty Animals. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals whined and moaned about the peta.org site and threatened to sue the owner of the domain. Eventually the domain was suspended, and PETA currently uses petaonline.org.
So now it is 1998 and what is PETA doing? ThatÂ’s right, deceptively registering domain names associated with their opponents. Recently it registered ringlingbrothers.com and posted information on that web site accusing Ringling Brothers of mistreating animals. Just as PETA did a few years ago, Ringling Brothers filed a lawsuit demanding PETA stop using the domain name.
On May 14, Ringling Brothers agreed to drop the lawsuit in exchange for PETA transferring control of ringlingbrothers.com to the circus. Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, didnÂ’t sound all that disappointed to see the domain name go saying, “The site had served its purpose. Ringling had brought all the attention in the world to it.”
Sorry Newkirk, but the only thing highlighted by this fiasco is PETA’s own hypocrisy.
“PETA agrees to turn over domain name to circus,” Associated Press,
May 14, 1998.
Several months ago Population News reported the Sierra Club would
vote on a measure to change the group’s immigration stance from neutrality
to active opposition of immigration. Voting on the measure took place
in April and the 85,000 Sierra Club members who voted soundly rejected
the measure 60.1 percent voting against the measure and 39.9 percent voting
Adam Werbach, the Sierra Club’s
Gen-X president, actually came close to making sense for a change when
he reiterated that, “the Sierra Club should not be involved in immigration
Alan Kuper, a Sierra Club member
who helped organize the vote, lamented the horrors that will befall the
world from Sierra Club’s refusal to take a stand against immigration.
“It’s a terrible loss because it means another year,” said Kuper.
“When you have great population growth, it’s a great burden on the
natural resource base.”
Even assuming Kuper’s claim is
true, exactly what is the connection with immigration? Kuper and his nativist
friends seem to think that a) the United States is currently overpopulated
and cannot possibly hold more people and b) that immigration somehow encourages
population growth in other countries. Both positions are unsupported by
the available evidence. Lets hope that this sort of anti-immigration nonsense
from environmentalists proves to be unsustainable.