Washington, D.C. Rep. Jim Costa opposed a highly partisan, misguided Farm Bill that passed the House this week. This legislation was made public late Wednesday evening when Republican Leadership made the decision to spring the bill to the floor for a vote. This bill was opposed by almost every organization representing agricultural and nutrition interests. The legislation did not reauthorize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and included repealing the 1938 and 1949 laws endangering future efforts to reform the nation's agriculture policies.
During a speech to the House Costa said, "The Farm Bill is usually one of the most bipartisan things we do, not today. Even though unlike myself, many of my colleagues were not farm kids, I assumed they could tell a horse's head from his rear, but they're totally backwards on this one.
"This stunt makes a mockery of Chairman Lucas, Ranking Member Peterson, and the committee's work over the last year and a half. Farmers, ranchers, and anyone who believes in government transparency must be shaking their heads and saying there they go again.
"Unlike many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle, I supported the Farm Bill when it failed a few weeks ago because I believed in moving the process forward. This does not move us forward; it moves us back."
But Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) voted in support of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture, Reform, and Risk Management Act (FARRM) of 2013, which calls for reduced spending, smaller government and common-sense reform to our farm programs.
"As a farmer, I know how critical the farm bill is to Valley farmers, ranchers and rural communities," said Rep. Denham. "This bipartisan bill, which is nearly four years in the making, provides much-needed reforms to the programs that our agriculture industry relies on most. It will provide certainty and predictability to our nation's farmers, who help keep our economy running."
Zone overhaul bills have strong valley ties
>To twist a proverb, success has many friends as well as fathers, and that was evident this week as Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the plan to overhaul the enterprise zone program and use other types of tax credits and incentives to encourage business development in California.
As is his custom in signing a law he especially likes, the governor made a to-do about signing the two bills Senate Bill 90 and Assembly Bill 93 and invited plenty of others to the party.
The event was at Takeda, a biotech firm in San Diego, because it will be one of the immediate beneficiaries and because it fits the governor's philosophy that California's best economic hope rests on building on its intellectual capacity and its strong universities.
The new economic plan moves away from hiring credits, which were being abused, and will use sales tax exemptions for manufacturing and research companies and other tax credits.
We would still like to see Brown come to Stanislaus and-or Merced counties, which we consider the epicenter of the state's troubled economy, for such ceremonies. But we do note that Sens. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, and Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, were among those invited to the signing ceremony. Cannella especially had a hand in negotiating compromises that should help our region.
Our region's other state senator, Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, was the primary author of Senate Bill 90.
For more on the business approach, go to the state website intended to show California is business friendly: www.business.ca.gov.
A toast to the best
The New York Times recently published a story entitled "Nation of Wineries," noting that every state now grows winegrapes. Some, however, do it better than others. There were short profiles of up-and-coming wine states. But when it came to California, The Times said simply: "California: World Champion." It reported that California accounts for 90 percent of the nation's wine production and that one winery in particular, Modesto's E.&J. Gallo, has 16,000 acres of winegrapes. That's four times the total acreage for the entire state of Virginia.
Michelangelo would approve
Anyone upset with Colin Kaepernick's coverless appearance on the cover of ESPN's magazine and its website probably should avoid taking any trips to Italy.
Kaepernick's physique is (how do we say this without sounding envious?) spectacular. It's no wonder he was chosen for conspicuous display.
That he has a well-toned body isn't surprising. Kaepernick is, after all, a professional football player, an occupation that demands strength, agility and durability. But Kaepernick, who grew up in Turlock and whose parents live in Modesto, clearly goes beyond being "in shape" which the photos amply prove.
Strategic positioning ensures there's nothing lewd about the images. And they remind us of nothing less than the world's most famous sculpture Michelangelo's David, which stands 14 feet tall in the Italian city of Florence.
And that brings us to the fact that some people are upset with the photos (and, presumably, the photos of other similarly unclothed athletes) in the magazine.
Those folks should take a deep breath.
Even 500 years after his arrival in downtown Florence, no one tut-tuts David's lack of apparel.
There's no historical record about who posed for Michelangelo as he carved David. But Kaepernick might want to do a little digging to see if there are any Italians in his family tree.>