Saturday, June 18, 2011

Victorious Valedictorians

In the month of June we are subjected to graduation ceremonies and the inevitable controversies that crop up regarding the role of religion and prayer therein. Years back, the controversy was more limited to whether a prayer, invocation or benediction by anyone in authority would breach the sacrosanct “wall of separation” between Church and State. During hundreds of thousands of graduations during the first couple centuries of the republic, the thought didn’t even cross anybody’s mind that this would be a problem, but courts in their infinite wisdom have nonetheless placed official prayers off limits.

Corny Capitalism

My commute to work is accompanied by a host of messages from advertisers, whether via radio ads during my drive to the train station, placards inside the commuter train, or a host of colorful signs and messages and even huge floor decals that grace the walkways of Washington’s Union Station.

This month’s billboards have been sponsored by a group called the “Corn Farmers Coalition”. Hmmm. It never occurred to me that busy commuters and travelers running to catch the Acela train or the Metro would be interested in corn. Yet the colorful billboards seem intent on presenting us with some interesting facts. For instance, did you know that 90% of all corn produced is grown on family farms? Well according to the USDA and the Corn Farmers Coalition, that is an important fact you ought to consider, and it is illustrated very nicely by the lovely picture that graces Union Station and the Corn Farmer’s Coalition Website. Isn’t that a nice family with the Dad holding up the big “90”, surrounded by his lovely wife and adorable kids in front of some tall stalks of corn on their idyllic farm?