Supreme Court smacks Obama administration in Horne v. USDA.

No hat tip for this: because, truthfully, I heard it through…

Either 8-1 or 5-3-1, depending how you score it. The short version is: the US government seizes a portion of the raisin crop each year in order to keep prices up (they typically either sell the raisins for below market value*, or stick ’em in school lunches, or things like that).  Problem is, the Fifth Amendment says that you can’t do that without paying the property owners… and the raisin owners finally complained (took ’em decades to do it, mind you). The Ninth Circuit held for the government, of course – and the Supreme Court smacked them for it. Turns out that the Court couldn’t see the difference between personal property and real estate, no matter how hard the administration wanted them to. And the argument that ‘government keeping raisin prices high’ is equivalent to ‘just compensation’ didn’t really fly with the Supreme Court, either. Continue reading Supreme Court smacks Obama administration in Horne v. USDA.

Obama to farmer: ‘Call the USDA.’

Ye gods and little fishes.

So, Wednesday – while campaigning in Illinois, although I understand that we’re supposed to pretend that Obama isn’t actually campaigning, for some bizarre reason – the President of the United States faced with a technical question (the effects of new EPA’s soil and dust regulations on Illinois farmers) by a technical expert (an Illinois farmer).  Despite the fact that the technical question is in fact supposedly within Barack Obama’s level of expertise, the President decided instead to make slight fun of the probably-not-voting-for-him-anyway technical expert by chiding him about believing rumors and suggesting that the technical expert call the Department of Agriculture.

Well.  There was a Politico reporter who actually decided to see what would happen if s/he did precisely that.  So s/he did.  As near as I can tell, the original inquiry about “information related to the effects of noise and dust pollution rules on Illinois farmers” turned into a two day affair involving at least ten phone calls, seven separate, discrete offices (almost all of which also included internal phone tag), and at least twelve individuals.  And as for the final answer?  This is what they sent (yes, sent, via safely distancing email):

“Secretary Vilsack continues to work closely with members of the Cabinet to help them engage with the agricultural community to ensure that we are separating fact from fiction on regulations because the administration is committed to providing greater certainty for farmers and ranchers. Because the question that was posed did not fall within USDA jurisdiction, it does not provide a fair representation of USDA’s robust efforts to get the right information to our producers throughout the country.”

Shorter USDA: “I dunno. Call the President.” Continue reading Obama to farmer: ‘Call the USDA.’

The War on Salt… Crystallized.

This administration is kind of anti-choice, isn’t it?

This article (H/T: The New Ledger) says absolutely everything that you need to know about the messianic zealots assailing the Food and Drug Administration right now. Quick context: somebody in North Carolina (quick, North Carolinian voters: how does your legislator feel about wrecking the taste of your bacon?) noticed that the FDA is gearing up a set of rules on sodium levels that might have an adverse effect on North Carolinian foodstuffs, like country hams.  And by ‘adverse’ I mean ‘endangers consumers’:

Candace Cansler, director of the National Country Ham Association, said U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations require country hams to have at least 4 percent salt content. Any less and the meat is subject to microbial contamination.

DeWitt said the FDA probably wouldn’t write a rule contradicting the USDA’s 4 percent minimum rule
, but it might set a salt content maximum at 6 or 7 percent.

Bolding mine.  Here is a hint for Christina Dewitt of the Institute of Medicine and [Oklahoma State University; my apologies for the error]: when somebody informs you that there needs to be a minimum level of a particular food additive present to prevent people from becoming infected, saying that the rule ‘probably’ won’t be changed is not very… smart, really.  It suggests a certain sort of close-minded, theocratic fanaticism that is no less worrisome for not being violent.  After all, the problem here is not that Christina Dewitt wants to eat ham that is less sodium-enriched; she wants me to eat ham like that, too – whether I want to, or not.  And her definition of acceptable risk is broader than mine.  And her sect has some say in setting FDA standards, apparently.

Put another way: I don’t particularly care one way or another about the Institute of Medicine’s religious beliefs.  But I do care if they’re trying to turn said religious beliefs into public policy, particularly when doing so raises a health risk.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.