A day after the State of the Union address -- in which Barack Obama outlined a massive public investment in clean-energy infrastructure -- the president went on a trip to Wisconsin. He visited a renewable-energy tech manufacturer, an aluminum manufacturer, and a wind-turbine plant: "It's here in Manitowoc that the race for the 21st century will be won," he said in one Wisconsin town.
A few months ago, Prospect contributor Courtney Martin wrote about the frustration feminists felt toward Michelle Obama. Here was a trailblazing career woman, a Harvard- and Princeton-educated attorney at a major Chicago law firm who nonetheless billed herself as "mom-in-chief." For Martin, this branding of Michelle Obama was a calculated political move, an attempt to project an image that did not ruffle feathers or detract from the president's campaign.
Simulated Monica's troubles began as soon as I hit play. She could never work her way past an entry-level job on the graveyard shift. No one in her family could cook, which left them all to subsist on a diet of takeout pizza. One day, Sim Monica's husband moved out and was gone forever, leaving Sim Monica a single mom. Their son was never entertained, sated, or well rested enough to study, and he earned F's until he was shipped off to military school. Sim Monica, alone and penniless, eventually died of starvation and neglect because I never figured out that a misplaced kitchen cabinet was blocking her access to the refrigerator.
While many factors are contributing to the growing unrest in Egypt -- and the crumbling of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak's regime -- it's important to note that one of the causes is the global rise in food prices. Price shocks for staples like wheat and grain led to rioting in many poor countries in 2007 and 2008, and price volatility in the global food market is likely here to stay. For a poor country like Egypt, changes in food prices have drastic consequences.
TAP spoke with Rene McGuffin, a senior public-information officer for the World Food Programme in Washington, D.C., about the role food prices play in Egypt, political unrest elsewhere, and what we can expect in the future.
What role are higher food prices playing in Egypt?
Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns with students at Tucker Elementary School during the unveiling of the MyPyramid for Kids (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
On Monday, the United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services -- the guys responsible for the ever-evolving "food pyramid" -- released their national nutrition guidelines, which they update every five years. The basic message of the report: Eat less, make more of what you eat vegetables and fruits, and eat much less salt.