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Posts published in “Day: December 14, 2008”

Before and after

READING In scanning through some of Joel Connelly's recent columns (for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and running across this side-note, which seemed useful for a spotlight here as a new presidential administration starts to work through its plans for social policy. Connelly is writing here about the approaches used in Vancouver, British Columbia . . .

The city has embarked on a treatment-based, not punishment-based, drug strategy. The head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration flew in to lecture a business lunch on dangers of the city's plans for a "safe injection center."

The Yanks' drug czar was, thankfully, ignored.

Vancouver has experienced a steep decline in deaths from heroin overdoses and other illegal drugs. British Columbia had 396 drug deaths in 1998, 191 in Vancouver. The figures so far this year are 133 provincewide, and just 30 deaths in the city.

The Yamhill Secretary of Food proposal

READING In his column that ran today in the Oregonian (and Wednesday in his home New York Times) Nicholas Kristof succinctly rounds up a whole batch of key changes in American agriculture and winds up with the idea that the federal agency needed on the subject isn't the Department of Agriculture, but a Department of Food. He makes an excellent case, and the column is solidly recommended reading.

We reference it in this Northwest blog because of some of the background Kristof, who has traveled an astonishing number of places around the globe, brings to this issue: His growing up on a farm located near Yamhill, Oregon (which is about three miles north of this site's home base). Among his observations: "I grew up on a farm in Yamhill, Ore., where my family grew cherries and timber and raised sheep and, at times, small numbers of cattle, hogs and geese. One of my regrets is that my kids don’t have the chance to grow up on a farm as well. Yet the Agriculture Department doesn’t support rural towns like Yamhill; it bolsters industrial operations that have lobbying clout. The result is that family farms have to sell out to larger operators, undermining small towns."

You could replicate that story in small towns all over the country.

His blog post on the column includes a bonus, a 1975 picture of Kristof at the Oregon State Fair, showing off the sheep he raised for an FFA project.