FROM Vincent Smith
The Farm Bill and America's Food Supply The Farm Bill dates back to the Great Depression, when family farms were in trouble and many Americans could not afford what they needed to eat. It gives taxpayer support to a huge range of Americans, from the poor who survive on food stamps to wealthy farmers insured against losses. New versions have passed roughly every five years on a bipartisan basis, but the latest effort is more evidence that there is no bipartisanship any more. Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate have passed different versions, and compromise may fall victim to competing interests and ideologies. A conference committee with 41 members from both sides is meeting behind closed doors to work out a compromise. If there's no agreement, farm policy could revert back to 1938, driving an increase in the price of some foods.
Does the Farm Lobby Really Want to Cut Subsidies? Last Friday was the deadline for suggestions to the bipartisan supercommittee on debt, which received more than 175,000 ideas from other lawmakers, think tanks, lobbyists and the public. Among them was a proposal from farm-state legislators to reduce agricultural subsidies by $5 billion. But that's not all they wanted. Is it pulling a "bait and switch?"
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.