Published on: June 24, 2019…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…
• USA Today
has a piece about how record-breaking rains in Ohio have “put thousands of acres – and farmers – underwater across the state.
“This time of year, Ohio's farmland should be alive and brand new again, peppered with the pop of bright green corn stalks already reaching the height of a tall man's shins. Instead, standing water comes up to the knee in some fields. Plots are more like muddy swamps where the only thing that's growing is mold and disease and mosquitoes.” There has been far less planting than there normally would be at this time of year.
What this means, according to the story, is that “fewer plants mean lower yield means less money in the bank. All of this also means more hardship and heartache for a position that already has the highest suicide rate of any job in this country, double even that of veterans.
“This isn't just about the farmers, though. These crops – corn and soybeans – are tied up in a lot of what we all eat and how much we spend on it. So the long term and less obvious impact of today's rain and mud? That could show up on higher grocery bills.”
And, as USA Today
writes, this is “not a problem that stops at the Ohio border. The planting season, overall, is at its slowest pace in 40 years.”
reports that Panera Bread Co., “which does most of its business at lunch with its soups and sandwiches, wants to draw more customers for dinner, so it’s testing new menu items in two cities that are designed to resonate later in the day … The dinner menu will be available in Lexington, Kentucky, starting in July and Providence, Rhode Island, in September. The new items will leverage existing ingredients like dough for flat breads, but additional staff will be required in the evening to prepare and cook the dinner foods, the company said.”
Panera believes, the story says, that it will be able to use “the drivers it has hired in its nationwide food delivery expansion” to reach customers who might never have thought of the company for dinner in the past.
• The Wall Street Journal
reports that “San Francisco is expected to become the first city in the U.S. to ban e-cigarettes this week, a move that will likely pit the city against one of its fastest-growing startups: Juul Labs Inc.
“The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will hold a final vote on the ordinance, which bans the sale, distribution and manufacturing of e-cigarettes, on Tuesday. The measure will then need to be signed by the mayor, London Breed.”
Even if the ban goes through as expected, it won’t necessarily be permanent; the Journal
writes that permanence will depend “on a Food and Drug Administration assessment of the health risks of e-cigarettes. Currently, the agency is giving Juul and other e-cigarette companies until 2022 to submit their products for a health review by the FDA.”The story notes that “Juul has voluntarily stopped selling sweet and fruity flavors in bricks-and-mortar stores, curbed its use of social media and strengthened the age-verification tools on its website.” But it also just accepted a $13 billion investment from tobacco producer Altria … which some of us would suggest has a history of addicting young people to poison, and so there’s little reason to think that it suddenly has its customers’ best interests at heart … which has to play into the thinking of San Francisco lawmakers.