The Wind Machine

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Occasional thoughts on the politics and activities of Washington, D.C., as they may have relevance to our tree fruit industry.

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Schlect: Immigration reform and dried cherries to the rescue

● Democrats are attempting this week to underscore the lack of movement on immigration reform in the House of Representatives by filing a committee discharge petition. If successful, this would get the measure to the House floor for a vote. This attempt has zero chance of practical success, [...]

Schlect: The Serbian scallywag

●  Sarah Bittleman, who was the senior agricultural counselor at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,  is now on U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s staff as legislative director and is also a key legal adviser to the Finance Committee. Senator Wyden (D/Oregon) is the new chairman of Finance.

●  Next Wednesday, I [...]

Locke out

● Two non-browning Arctic Apples have cleared an important regulatory hurdle, with USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service announcing on November 8 that the two genetically engineered apples do not pose a pest or disease risk if introduced into commercial production in the United States. Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. [...]

Mr. Foley

● Initiative-522, on labeling genetically-engineered foods, failed this week (55.83% to 45.17%) in Washington state. I thought it would pass, but apparently the well-funded anti-I-522 campaign was successful in pointing out to voters the many flaws in this proposed retail labeling measure. It did carry Seattle’s King County by [...]

The Big Easy

● On Wednesday, I travel to New Orleans for the annual convention and trade show of the Produce Marketing Association. Along with absorbing information at  PMA’s educational sessions and meandering around and through the extensive trade show floor, I will be attending side meetings to be held by the [...]

Shut Down

Last week I attended, along with about 500 others, the United Fresh Produce Association’s annual Washington Public Policy Conference. The partial shut-down that occurred with the end of the federal government’s fiscal year–Monday at midnight–threw something of a wrench into the event’s planned two-day schedule. Some officials were unable [...]

That fellow behind the tree

Earlier this week I attended a legal education seminar on estate planning as part of my obligation to keep my law license current. While the technical details were unfathomable to me, I did come away with renewed contempt for our nation’s overly complicated tax system and increased despair that [...]

The Big Apple

●  I was in New York City for three days on a family visit, before returning home on Tuesday, September 10. What struck me first upon arrival in the Big Apple was the concentration of humanity: NYC has about the same number of people (8.2 million) residing within its [...]

Cuba Still Defying the Law of Gravitation

● Syria has managed to generate headaches not only for Middle East policy experts, but also for all those desiring quick Capitol Hill action in September on such pending matters as the Farm Bill, immigration reform, and appropriations. With President Obama now asking for a congressional debate and vote [...]

The Windy City

●  Last Wednesday and Thursday the United States Apple Association held its 2013 Apple Crop & Marketing Conference in Chicago. I attended this annual conference and then stayed over for the set of USApple committee and board meetings that followed in its wake on Friday and Saturday.

● At the [...]