Gold in that ethanol

Unlike at least half a dozen other neck-snappers in the audience at the Asia Society, I managed to stay awake through a long discussion of China’s environmental crisis and came away with one clear thought, offered by the moderator at the beginning: There is no such thing as a national issue these days — everyone everywhere is in this mess together. (Although, as one panelist noted, China is in much better shape than America simply because “their leaders believe in science.”) And so everything that seems like a distant “Darwin’s Nightmare” is just disaster moving closer to us: the Chilean salmon industry collapsing from the lethal combination of antibiotics and greed; rice running short; dioxin in the buffalo mozzarella. (Hey, was that garbage strike ever settled in Naples, or did a shiny new object just get waved at correspondents?) Reading how the U.S. “farm” bill is shaking out was the pissiest part of the week, though. Crop prices are heading skyward, average people cannot afford basics, but still the handouts are unceasing. Beneficiaries can have income of up to $2.5 million a year, the WSJ reported — and it wasn’t talking about the mesclun producer at Union Square whose greens go for $48 a pound and had a passer-by marveling: “The salad is more than the meat?” Big Agribusiness will inevitably prove the Rolling Stones wrong: You can always get what you want. Just let lobbyists give Congresscritters more than they need.