The Hazards of Onshore Drilling
Our addiction to oil can have disastrous impacts on the environment and economies that depend on it. We saw a prime example of that this summer as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico washed oil-drenched birds and fish on our shores and fishermen lost the source of their livelihood almost instantly. Luckily, President Obama reinstated an offshore drilling moratorium for sensitive areas [last] week, which will help protect those ecosystems and people who depend on them. However, this moratorium does not take land-based drilling into account, which impacts New Mexico directly.
This summer we learned that the agency in charge of issuing offshore drilling permits did not require site-specific assessments of environmental impacts. This has since been remedied for offshore drilling, but the loopholes still exist for onshore oil and gas drilling, increasing the chances that spills and accidents can and will occur.
Congress has the ability to require agencies to review individual drilling sites for environmental impacts and potential hazards. Senators Bingaman and Udall should lead the way to ensure safe drilling practices in New Mexico and the United States.
Don’s Often Right
[Letters, “Don Schrader on Marriage,” Dec. 2-8] I know, it's easy to snicker at Don. He's an easy target: He's visible, different, opinionated and has an exotic hygiene regimen. Maybe listening to him feels threatening. After all, if he can do it, maybe I should do at least some of it, too.
He's right, of course, about marriage. It's uncomfortable for me to jump on the marriage equality band wagon, knowing what happens when church, state and the IRS start investigating the bedroom. I appreciate that everybody should have equal rights. I just wish we didn't live in this fairyland delusion of "happily ever after," because it's really not honest, causes a lot of damage and holds us hostage in a system that exploits our love relationships and children to make us comply.
If being thoughtful and living ethically make one a crack pot, sign me up.
[Letters, “Don Schrader on Marriage,” Dec. 2-8] So, is Don against marriage? Well not really—he would go to the reception, which wouldn't occur without a wedding. Is he against cars? Well not really—he loves the flea market, which wouldn't occur without parking lots full of cars. Is he against TV? Well not really—he won't watch it, but has his own show, which requires pricey cable subscribers. He "boycotts" America, well except for his monthly government check. Etc., etc., etc. ...
Food for Thought But Too Much Frosting
[Food, “Farm vs. Factory,” Nov. 25-Dec. 1] Thanks, Ari LeVaux, for the alert about pending legislation SB 510. Within limited column space, LeVaux rightly warns that SB 510 proposes both remedies and risks, and his piece showed the Alibi at its best.
I would add that one needs to know and trust one's food source and supplier. The best advice is "you get only what you pay for" and "buy local and buy organic." Shopper complaints that organic is too expensive don't always hold up under examination: Check the price of organic produce at Smith’s and Albertsons and you find that La Montañita Co-op and Whole Foods are usually the same price or less expensive and the produce is always fresher (which means less rot to discard because it doesn't spend time spoiling and losing nutritional value during transit from out-of-state warehouses).
If only the Alibi restaurant reviews were as substantive. Admittedly my family and most of the people I go out to eat with are either vegan or vegetarian, but when omnivores are among us we search for eateries that can satisfy all our choices (places like Taj Mahal, Vivace, Standard Diner, Winning Coffee, Thai Vegan). Whether an eatery caters to vegans, omnivores or carnivores, it should be judged by the quality of many offerings from the menu, rather than the reviewer wasting most of the column space on bar offerings, decor, and chitchat about the owners and waitrons. Too many of the Alibi restaurant reviews get mired in the chic factor. Food faddies like fashionistas and hipsters are sooo G. W. Bush era.
That said, the recent review of Thai Vegan [Oct. 28-Nov. 3] was a well done exception.
Restaurant critic’s response: Your recommendations are great, though my editor’s mandate has me focusing on new blood in the restaurant community. My reviews of Saffron Tiger, Annapurna, Viet Q, Budai, Persian Market, Salathai and Casa Vieja should satisfy your party of omnivores. If you know of any good new places, by all means, let me know.
As for wasted space: About one-eighth (or less) of the average review is dedicated to nonedibles like decor and service. Food doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If it seems frivolous to acknowledge the people and environments that enable you to eat meals out, you might consider staying at home and cooking for yourself.
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.