Catching up with what happened this past week.
As in I wish I could. I occasionally suffer from insomnia and it’s been pretty bad the last few days. I’m not sure why. Which is why I’m writing this at two in the morning instead of being asleep. I know, I’ll try looking at photos of, oh, blossoming apple trees. That will put me to sleep!
Ah, well, apparently not. Didn’t work. Still it’s a really pretty tree.
Spring is coming! I hope. Getting so tired of cold, wet weather, and especially the lack of sun. So I’m going to drop in some photos of spring and summer flowers in an attempt to lure spring a bit closer.
Agriculture Secretary Hearings
The senate ag committee hearings and questioning of the administration’s nominee
Sonny Perdue finally took place on March 23. Unlike the hearings for most of the administration’s nominees, this one was relatively short, cordial and even pleasant for the most part. Mr. Perdue is perhaps the least controversial nominee put forward by the administration. He is also unusual in that he actually seems to know something about the agency he would be running.
Brazil Beef Scandal
The government of Brazil arrested 38 people involved in an alleged scam where inspectors were bribed to permit rotten and tainted beef to be passed for sale at a beef exporters JBS
and BRF. Several countries have instituted temporary bans against beef imports from Brazil. Here in the US some government officials are calling for a ban as well but there is none as yet. USDA says it is stepping up inspection of meat coming from the country. But USDA also certified Brazil’s inspection system as being as good as that here in the US, so who knows…
Addendum: Since the US was forced to repeal the Country Of Origin Labeling law (known as COOL) US consumers no longer have any idea where their food comes from. But there is nothing to prevent beef processors, wholesalers, etc. from doing it voluntarily.
The Great Water Fight
It seems to have slipped under the radar of most media, but there is a rather nasty (and expensive) fight going on between the state of Mississippi and the city of Memphis, Tennessee. At the core of the fight is the question of exactly who owns the water being pumped out of wells.
Memphis sits on the Mississippi river but gets it’s water from wells that draw from the
Memphis Sand Aquifer that stretches under Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. And like most aquifers, water is being pulled out of the ground far faster that it is being replaced.
Back in 2005 Mississippi demanded that Memphis pay for the water it was withdrawing from the aquifer, claiming that the city was actually sucking up Mississippi water. The state is demanding over $600 million from the city.
This has been dragged through the courts ever since, with Mississippi losing at every level. But now the state of Tennessee has been dragged into the case as well giving it new life, and it’s going to the Supreme Court.
This case has the potential of setting off a hornet’s nest of problems if the SC rules in favor of Mississippi. It could cause major legal problems wherever large aquifers are used for water supplies and could even extend into international disputes. it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
There, now I’m going to try to get some sleep!