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Monday, March 7, 2011

Shark Fin Watch, Gadfly Alert, the Cereal Shot

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 5:29 PM

click to enlarge Shark finning has become a focal point all over the Chinese diaspora for discussions about environmental issues. - POLYTROPOS/FLICKR
  • polytropos/Flickr
  • Shark finning has become a focal point all over the Chinese diaspora for discussions about environmental issues.

Today marks the launch of Talking Points: Notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other miscellanea dredged up from the food media.

1. Shark fin watch. One of the criticisms I've heard of AB-376, California's proposed shark-fin ban, is that this state is such a

small part of the global market that it will be ineffective in curtailing shark finning. Even though AB-376 has yet to go to committee (Mar. 22, if you're interested), it's inspiring hundreds of blog posts all over the planet; yesterday the bill made the front page of the New York Times.

What's most interesting to me is that the issue of shark finning has become a focal point all over the Chinese diaspora for discussions about environmental issues. Bill Wong, one of the founding members of the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance, forwarded me a link to this post from an activist in Singapore. The questions it has raised about whether eating shark fin is really a part of Chinese cultural heritage mirror ones Salon's Francis Lam considers in a post today (disclaimer: I get a mention). Even if AB 376 fails, it is making people all over the world talk about changing the way they eat. That's hardly ineffective.

click to enlarge The cereal shot. - SPRUDGE.COM
  • Sprudge.com
  • The cereal shot.

2. Oh, San Francisco! C.W. Nevius brings up an oldie but a goodie: How is that San

Francisco's permitting processes allow a single gadfly to block

something as seemingly benign as sidewalk tables for a little cafe in the Tenderloin?

The problem seems as intractable as an easy drive through downtown's grid of one-way streets. Maybe the city should open itself up to creative solutions to deal with

these disputes: required group therapy sessions, say, or opening up the

approve-or-deny question to American Idol-style text-message voting.

3. Department of bad ideas. For all their talk of variable-pressure espresso machines and coffee-estate elevation, the Third Wave proves it is not immune from Double Down-worthy stunts. Take the cereal shot, for example.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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