Congress

Ag’s New Math

It might be a new year but the old year’s weaknesses persist.
For example, I still try to type the word “separate” with one “a,” still can’t walk past a display of cherry licorice without buying some, and still can’t do high-end math like, say, division.
Part of that latter weakness goes back to the 1960s when […]

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Books, Plans, and “congress”

A week or two into every new year, most folks review, often regretfully, their list of resolutions already bent, broken or buried.
That never happened on the big southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth for one simple reason: We never made any New Year’s resolutions.
We didn’t. Honest.
In fact, I can’t recall one instance that of […]

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Another satisfied customer

There are two file folders in the lower, right drawer of my desk. One is labeled “Mail,” the other “Another Satisfied Customer.”
The former is filled with complimentary or question-asking reader mail. The latter holds mail that’s more acidic than affectionate, more hammering than humorous.
Like an email from “Gil” in response to an October column on […]

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The triumph of dumb

Somewhere along his long, winding way from Delaware to Indiana to Washington D.C., Bart Chilton picked up a desire for public service, a view that government should serve the powerful and powerless alike and a trusted way to bring people together to write straightforward, fair public policy.
Appointed in 2007 by President George W. Bush, Chilton […]

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Want respect? Show respect

Some things never change: In 1981, the White House and Congress were locked in a Farm Bill fight the likes no one had seen before.
On one side was an overwhelmingly Democratic House and Senate that wanted more active federal policies on export embargoes, target prices and dairy support prices. They easily had the votes to […]

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You can’t make this up

A month ago an editor friend replied to a draft copy of one of these weekly efforts with the simple email comment: “You’ve got to be kidding.”
My reply assured him I wasn’t kidding because, “No one, not even me, can make this stuff up.”
For example, could you make up the fact that when the circus, […]

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High mileage chicken

Just before the Labor Day weekend began Friday, Aug. 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that China was welcome “to export processed, cooked chicken to the United States.”
If USDA hoped this little nugget might get overlooked during summer’s last, languid holiday, that thought was deep-fried by noon when Politico, the fast-rising […]

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Shut up, butt out, get lost

On Aug. 27, the late summer heat of Washington, D.C. was spit-roasting locals and tourists alike up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Inside the U.S. District Courthouse, a half-block off the main thoroughfare and just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol, however, all anyone from Mexico to Canada could talk about was COOL, the American law that […]

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Time to Make Hay

As this July forever fades into this August and the sweaty, hardworking part of high summer slides into the sleepier, dog days of late summer, our hired hands in Washington, D.C. have less than 20 legislative days to put up a year’s worth of hay before Congressional winter begins September 30.
They won’t make it. The […]

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