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● Senator Patty Murray (D/Washington) is one of twelve members of Congress to be appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSC). She will serve as co-chair of the committee, after her appointment yesterday by Majority Leader Harry Reid. The other co-chair of the JSC is Jeb Hensarling (R/Texas), as named today by Speaker John Boehner. The nation’s political spotlight will be on Senator Murray and Representative Hensarling as the JSC works to achieve bipartisan agreement on specific measures to bring the nation’s fiscal house in some semblance of order. $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction recommendations is expected of the JSC by Thanksgiving Day.

● Mark O. Hatfield died on Sunday at age 89. The former U.S senator from Oregon, a Republican, served as chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the 1990s. He was one of the notable political figures of his time. ● My closest brush with Senator Hatfield was the day I was taking a taxicab from Capitol Hill to my downtown hotel. At the time, cab drivers in Washington, D.C., were allowed to stop and bring on other riders who might be going in the same direction as the fare they already had on board. After I was in the cab for about one block, my driver swerved to the curb in front of the Russell Senate Office Building and picked up one of the most powerful and distinguished men in Washington, D.C. It was thus that Senator Hatfield and I came together by chance to chat about the pear crop in Hood River.

● Due both to the need for cost-cutting and the advent of the smart phone, the House of Representatives has decided to end its page program this month. For 175 years, young people (boys until recent decades) have traveled to Washington, D.C., to help deliver messages on Capitol Hill and learn about our federal government.

● Next week I travel to Chicago for marketing and policy meetings of the United States Apple Association.