Banning Foie Gras: Basically the Same Bad Idea as Banning Gay Marriage

I don't mean to diminish the absurdity that is the failure to reject Proposition 8 in California, and the general national impulse to prevent gay people from entering into legal marriages. And there is a critical difference between the two bans: banning gay marriage is so obviously a flawed idea, while banning foie gras is a more nuanced issue (yes, tastes good, but generally agreed that the animals-except in rare exceptions-suffer). But I can't help but feel that the effort to ban foie gras in the United States and abroad is misguided in the same way that the efforts to ban gay marriage are. What I mean is that in a world where the environment is in rapid and dangerous decline, 800 million people in developing countries are illiterate, treatable diseases kill millions annually, war is a continuous reality-hell, even the fact that Venice is sinking-how can anyone be wasting any amount of time or resources on these relatively niche issues?This idea occurred to me while reading Carrie Meathrell's well-reasoned post about the flaws in the recent West Hollywood foie gras ban (West Hollywood being, ironically, one of the gayest cities in the country). She argues that restaurants shouldn't be penalized for the tastes of their consumers, and that the ban will be hard to enforce (as it was in Chicago). But more importantly, she puts it in the larger context of the problems in the food industry:Foie gras foes who decry the cruelty of the production method ... are overlooking-or purposely ignoring-the every day horrors of the food industry. Why can't the City Councils of the world focus on eliminating salmonella in vegetables? Cramped and painful conditions for pigs, cows, and chickens all over California? ... Why can't they ordain that all restaurants must buy locally and organic, from cruelty-free producers?Issues don't exist in a vacuum, they exist in the context of a world with lots and lots of problems. If there were a way to harness the collective energy and passion of the scattered protestors, activists, scientists, philanthropists, and everyone else who cares about anything, and channel it toward an issue that is universally supported-Eliminate poverty? Cure cancer? Fix education?-I don't image there's much they couldn't get done. This is, of course, impractical; What inspires people and compels them to action is a very personal thing. But it begs the question: Does the world need a ranked list of what issues are most important?Photo by Flickr user PeterForret.
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Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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