As the USDA's latest appointee, Elisabeth Hagen has been charged with keeping our food safe. But can one person fix a system that in some ways still resembles The Jungle? Monica PottsFeb 01, 2010
Last week, after leaving the post vacant for a year, President Barack Obama nominated Dr. Elisabeth Hagen to be undersecretary for food safety at the Department of Agriculture. The appointment comes after years of food-borne illness outbreaks spread by everything from spinach to peanut butter, and after George W. Bush weakened biotechnology oversight as he was headed out the door. During the time the post was unoccupied, TheNew York Timesrevealed that much of the ground beef we consume contains ammonia -- an additive meant to kill E. coli and salmonella, of course. That kind of lax regulation of the industrial food chain is exactly the kind of thing food-safety advocates hoped Obama would change.
In yesterday's New York Times, Gretchen Morgensonwrote that the soured deal to buy Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan -- two rent-regulated apartment buildings bought at the top of the market by developers who intended to turn them into higher-rate rentals -- was just the most high-profile failure. Little deals like that all over the city sucked up about 100,000 affordable apartments, or about 10 percent of the rent-regulated stock, she writes.
President Obama wasn't the only high-profile critic of the United States Supreme Court for its ruling in the Citizens United case. Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote a 2003 decision the law reversed, gave a speech at Georgetown University Law Center a few days ago.
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor did not sound happy on Tuesday about the Supreme Court’s big campaign finance decision last week. It repudiated a major part of a ruling Justice O’Connor helped write before her retirement from the court in 2006, and it complicated her recent efforts to do away with judicial elections.