MORNING BUZZ: Finding our Center, GMO and Family Time

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Good Morning!
I will get into this in a few minutes but Sally, the Boys and I just got back from Chicago. We went for a family wedding (which I’ll get to in a minute as well), and to see some friends. Mission accomplished on both fronts.

Finding our Center 1
The extremes of both parties may have finally overplay their hand. The Government Shutdown and playing “chicken” with the Debt Ceiling have taxed the patience of voters who are at the center of the american electorate. Congressional approval ratings are lower than ever (we didn’t think that was possible). The silent majority in Congress seems to be getting a backbone. A lot more people are paying attention now. The soundbite driven, poll tested phrases that Republicans have been using may have helped turn the soundbite battle in their favor…but I get the feeling no one seems to know what the endgame of this is going to be. I keep hearing interviews with prominent republicans who think the strategy to tie funding to repeal of Obammacare may be a fatal mistake for the mid-term elections. Of course the guys who engineered it aren’t worried, they’re in gerrymandered districts…no one has a realistic chance of beating them. Unless…

Finding our Center II
NBC News and Esquire Magazine put out a very interesting study this morning on It shows that when you question people over a broad range of topics and about their feelings on government, the plurality are moderates. If this group ever finds a funding source to rival the ends of the political spectrum, the Liberal left and the neo-conservative right could be marginalized. I bring up the study because you can take the quiz. I’d be interested in hearing where you fall on the scale.

The Des Moines Register did a fine job covering a panel discussion on GMO, basically…Genetically modified food…plants and animals. It was interesting to hear what the experts have to say.
I was struck by one thing in particular… the people who are telling anyone who will listen that GMO food is bad, a conspiracy, illegal, and even deadly are the same people who are marching around saying having enough food to sustain yourself is a human right. Ambassador Ken Quinn said it well the other day…finding a way to feed the billions in new population around the world in the next 20 years may be mankind’s biggest challenge. The modifications made to seeds and to animals to make them resistant to weather and disease have allowed millions of people to eat and live. Until you find a way to make enough food for those people to eat in a cost-effective way…
you can’t have it both ways.
I’ll admit to being a little put off by the expert on the panel that blamed, a lack of wildlife, soil erosion…heck I think he blamed the Kennedy assassination and Jimmy Hoffa’s death on GMO. When one expert said there is no research proving GMO food has any negative health effects, the anti GMO guy on the panel said, there is not evidence that IT DOESN’T…
We certainly need to find as much balance as we can…we need to strive for sustainable ways to farm and feed the world. Science should be a part of that. It seems to me its easy to reject GMO food when you’ve just come from a fancy luncheon and there’s more food in a 1 mile radius than 30-thousand people can eat.

Family Time
I went to one of the most unusual weddings I’ve ever attended this past weekend. My Cousin Tim and his new Bride Jen got hitched. Jen is a tattoo artist, so needless to say, there was some body art in the room. Tim has spent his young adulthood in struggling punk rock bands and now finds himself a successful small business owner in Chicago.
The short marriage ceremony performed by their friend never mentioned God and didn’t come close to adhering to any major religious tradition…That said it was one of the purest expressions of love, commitment, joy and family I’ve ever heard. “Authentic” is the word we kept using to describe it. I found myself thinking about the debate over marriage we are having in this country. Though Good wasn’t mentioned, I believe God was watching this union and will continue to bless it. It doesn’t have to adhere to your tradition to be right.

I also got the chance to see family and some friends I don’t often see. It was good to reconnect and catch up on kids, jobs, significant others and my aunts and uncle’s lives in well deserved retirement.