Rejecting the European diet
"Thwarting Consumer Choice," (AEI Press, $24.95)
Gary E. Marchant, Thomas P. Redick and Guy A. Cardineau (two lawyers and a biotechnologist, respectively) stand against mandatory labeling requirements for genetically modified foods. In this slim volume, published by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, the authors argue that while GM labeling is designed to give consumers more choice at the grocery store, the law will actually harm consumers by pushing such foods off the shelves. Europe, with its strict labeling laws, is held up as a worst-case scenario. "Thwarting Consumer Choice" is one-sided, so readers should reach for other literature to understand the full controversy, but it provides interesting food for thought.
Trouble without limits
"Living in Emergency" (Red Floor Pictures)
This powerful documentary, playing at Landmark's E Street Cinema, follows five doctors who volunteer for the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders. The idealistic docs are beaten down by practicing medicine under extreme circumstances in Congo and Liberia: too many patients, never enough supplies, time or staff. Most volunteers never advance past their first nine-month mission. The troubling central message of the film is eloquently stated by anesthesiologist Christopher Brasher: "The demand is pretty much infinite. It's just a question of choosing what you can do. They're tough choices, but you have to make them."
-- Rachel Saslow