Letter to the Editor

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The Causes and Impacts of Food Price Inflation
by Thanh-Ha Luong

According to “Food Price Inflation: Causes and Impacts,” a CRS Report for Congress presented on April 10, 2008 by Specialist in Agricultural Policy, Tom Capehart and Specialist in Domestic Social Policy, Joe Richardson, higher farm commodity prices and energy costs have caused food price inflation, which in turns, has affected low income and high income families, federal funding, and food donation in the United States.

Higher farm commodity prices and energy costs have significantly increased food prices in the United States. Farm commodity prices are rising, because there is a greater demand for corn with increasing ethanol use. Catastrophic droughts in Australia and Eastern Europe and unpleasant weather condition in Canada, Western Europe, and the Ukraine have reduced global stocks of corn, wheat, and soybeans. Food scarcity leads to elevated prices. The rising incomes have also changed global food consumption. For instance, people around the world consume more meat, processed food, vegetables, and fruits but less grain based foods. In addition, the United States combats against the depreciating U.S. currency by placing higher demands and prices on U.S. exports. Food prices have also increased, because input costs have risen. With higher energy costs, the costs of transportation, processing, and retail also increase.

Food price inflation has affected low income families, high income families, federal government programs, and food donation in the United States. Low income families in the United States are on a stricter budget, because food expenditures take up a large portion of the whole expenditures. Higher income families eat more at home than at restaurants. This allows families to save money without reducing consumption but it hurts businesses. Inflation on food prices also forces federal government to provide more funding on Food Assistant Programs. Higher commodities and food prices also reduces the United States' ability to donate food to other countries.

For a more detailed report, click on this link: http://www.bread.org/learn/rising-food-prices/congressional-research-service-on-food-price-inflation.pdf.

Blogs Can Heal Woman Mentally
by Irene Djuwidja

How blogs can help someone mentally? Because, if we think logically, it doesn’t really make any sense at all.

By definition, blogs is just a place or site where people can write some journals telling about their life, problems, and experiences secretly or publicly. However, this definition tends to be too ordinary for women who were kept a “beast” within their body for their entire life. This statement goes along with an apprehensive new (“Blogs help cancer patients cope with disease”, Seattle Times, July 25) which tells me about how blogs affect Sather (53), Teri Hartman (47), Deanna Kingston (44) life as a supporter. Thanks to blogs, where with it they can meet and share about their condition frequently. They often give strength and advice to each other, but the most important thing is they do understand each other feeling. Without doubt, blogs seem to be their “best friends” where at the end, it brings them altogether meeting in Sather house. In that event, they don’t just sit and talking all day long about cancer, but they also try to build a strong connection and sharing about something that others may not being able to understand it fully, like how is it feel to have cancer in your body.

As I read this article, my impression towards blogs changes directly. Personally, blogs can be categorized as an extraordinary thing, because it can help someone mentally. One of them said, “Our blogs don't tell people what to do, we just state what we did. It doesn't mean it's right -- sometimes we talk about it because our decisions were wrong” This statement explains that through using blogs, woman can express their feeling freely as well as discussing their problems, stories, experiences with other bloggers that might have the same problems. Thus, let’s make a blog and support them.
Dog off the Menus by Arnica Luther

I have recently seen several articles about how the city of Beijing has, for the duration of the Olympic games, taken dog meat off of its restaurant menus in order to prevent any offense given to any foreign patrons of these restaurants. I thought this was a very interesting decision made by the city: certainly there are people who would take offense, but dog meat IS a part of Chinese nutritional culture. What about the snack vendors on the streets of China's capitol, who sell roasted scorpions, pupae, and starfish? I suppose that these kinds of foods are different though: to an average "Westerner", eating dog meat would be immoral, while consuming a scorpion kebab would be merely unappetizing. Keeping this in mind, it was probably a wise decision for Beijing to make, as a foreigner could easily order dog and not realize it. Here is a link to an article written by a man with his opinions on the subject:
http://openmike.msnbc.msn.com/default.aspx?p=1

Since we are on the subject of China, I also wanted to relate my experiences with Chinese cuisine when I was in Beijing four years ago. I remember being surprised at how different REAL Chinese food was from American Chinese food. There were quite a few things which I wasn't familiar with, including this dish which I initially thought was meat, but ended up being tofu saturated with a very salty sauce. It was an eye-opening experience for me - seeing how the same cuisine was so different when I had it in its country of origin. I also remember eating at the "Peking Duck" restaurant: it was the best duck I have ever had.

The hospitality that I received in China was also very warm. At every meal I was offered a fork, though I had vowed to myself that I would not use a fork on my entire trip. On my last day, my host family took me to Pizza Hut, which I found funny: I traveled all the way to Beijing, only to end up at Pizza Hut.