I read The Sunday New York Times, so you don’t have to: June 5

First music of the day, Bill Frisell’s Disfarmer. First sounds from outside, coming through the open windows: crows.

1, A food crisis is coming to our planet, and it is our fault. “The rapid growth in farm output that defined the late 20th century has slowed to the point that it is failing to keep up with the demand for food, driven by population increases and rising affluence in once-poor countries,” The Times writes in its lead story. Price jumps, the result of that high-school economics class primary rule of inequity between supply and demand, have hit poorer countries harder. But now we’re seeing the effects of global warming on crop yields as well, say scientists, and it’s coming much sooner than they’d expected. The planet’s population, at about 7 billion, is expected to grow to 10 billion by the end of the century. Food production will have to double before that, and we’re making it hard on ourselves to meet that goal. “Unlike in the past,” The Times writes, “that demand must somehow be met on a planet where little new land is available for farming,where water supplies are tightening, where the temperature is rising, where the weather has become erratic and where the food system is already showing serious signs of instability.”

2, “In reports of Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s death on Friday at the age of 83, the general rule of obituaries held,” The Times writes: “Do not speak ill of the dead.” The face of assisted suicide, his obituary does note that Kevorkian was a difficult man, described as “erratic, loud, playing by his own rules.” Praise for his efforts on behalf of terminally ill patients taking charge of their own end of life was decidedly muted, The Times notes. Dr. Kevorkian, as best I can tell, did not pass on while hooked up to one of his “suicide machines.”

3, The Smith Corona manual typewriter on which the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski tapped out his manifesto was sold in auction last week for $22,003.

4, Conservatives want a nation with the lowest tax burden of any major country, limited government with little regulatory powers, where one’s religion is a litmus test and prayer in schools is encouraged, same-sex marriage is outlawed and outlaws are tortured, the military is the top spending priority, generals rather than civilians make policy decisions and none of its zealously patriotic citizens ever burns a flag. If this is your fantasy nation, careful what you wish for. In noting those goals, so typical of the Tea Party and many Republicans, columnist Nicholas D. Kristof writes that “when many Republicans insist on ‘starving the beast’ of government, cutting taxes, regulations and social services – slashing everything but the military – well, those are steps toward Pakistan.”

5, In Arts & Leisure, we learn about how the marvelous HBO series Treme, set in New Orleans, is increasingly emphasizing food in its story lines. Real chefs and food writers make cameos, and Anthony Bourdain has been doing some of the writing. David Chang, owner of a couple of tiny but trendy New York City restaurants, gets his close-up next Sunday. “I take back everything I’ve ever said about actors..,” he says. “Moving a piece of vegetable into another container in a really hot kitchen while you’re speaking is a real feat. I started thinking,’Wow, that Tom Cruise guy is an amazing actor. How the hell does he talk and shoot a gun at the same time?’ ”

6, In the magazine, Bill Keller wonders why smart folks can be taken in by conspiracy theories. “Our receptiveness to the outlandish is primed by the fact that that we know of actual conspiracies,” he writes. “Watergate happened….” The loss of faith in authorities further loosens the bricks in the foundation, and these days holds open the door for “self-appointed authorities.” But conspiracy theorists fly in the face of proven incompetence, Keller writes. “In my own experience, governments, corporations and other powerful institutions are not usually that good at making things happen according to plan, let alone at keeping secrets.”

7, The Summer Reading edition of the Book Review is here! Fifty-six pages of biblio-ecstasy! But too much to read this morning. I have to mow the lawn now.  I’ll report back later.