Protective Nanny or Protectionism?

SWMBO grew up in Wisconsin where they would put her in jail for selling a homemade cookie. I’m eating one of her oatmeal cookies right now and am here to tell you that law would have deprived her neighbors from heaven on a plate.

Factory CookiesRufus has always called her “Cookie Lady.”

Wisconsin is one of just two states to ban the sale of home-baked goods (New Jersey is the only other). If SWMBO were to sell her brownies or cookies or muffins from her own kitchen to the public there, she could go to jail.

The Wisconsin law requires bakers to buy a license. The license requires a commercial kitchen, health inspections and, of course, fees. Cottage Food laws or regulations generally include some form of kitchen inspection, a zoning permit, a business license, restriction on pets, and more.

“Protecting other businesses from competition is not a legitimate government interest.”

Wisconsin’s commercial bakers claim the ban evens the playing field for the licensed businesses by removing the unfair advantage for home-based cooks. Still, the state allows the sale of other homemade foods such as jams and canned goods, all made on regular stoves, so I’m thinking state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos puts homemade jam on his muffins.

Worthy of note, Wisconsin and New Jersey are not the only states with “Cottage Food Laws.” Many states require some form of kitchen inspection, a zoning permit, a business license, and restrict pets if you home bake cakes, cookies, pies, and breads, make jams and jellies, popcorn or candies, and more.
Vermont banned brownies to turn kids on to kale and gluten-free paleo lemon bars.
New York City‘s public schools allow PTAs to hold fundraisers that include homemade baked goods only “once a month or weekdays after 6 p.m.”

Delicious news: three Wisconsin farm women challenged that state’s law last year. A LaFayette County judge sweetly overturned the law last month after the women’s attorney argued that the state Supreme Court has ruled that “protecting other businesses from competition is not a legitimate government interest.”

In his oral ruling, the judge said that the ban mainly served business interests.

Naturally, the Department of Justice says the state is considering an appeal.

 

Facing Down the T00b, II

Face the Nation was all about the Comey testimony Sunday.

I didn’t get to watch Sunday’s episode. Thank goodness for a written transcript.

When all is said and done, Mr. Comey went on record with what Mr. Trump had said all along: Mr. Comey admitted that he told Trump he’s not under investigation. Mr. Comey conceded that the nine one-on-one encounters with Mr. Trump were “uncomfortable, but not impactful.” Mr. Comey also made it very clear several times that Mr. Trump never asked him to stop the Russia investigation. Period. And Mr. Comey acknowledged that Mr. Trump only once said, “I wish you would let this go” about the Flynn investigation.

The investigations continued unimpeded. The conversations were no doubt unusual and likely inappropriate to a politician used to dealing in nuance and undertone and spin and politics as usual but not illegal. As I recall, the current President was elected to run Politics as Usual right out of town.

And how are the Democrats responding?

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told John Dickerson, “The cloud hanging over this administration has just gotten a whole lot darker.”

Uh huh.

Sen. Lindsey “Is this Watergate or Peyton Place” Graham (R-SC) actually talked pretty straight when on Face the Nation he told Donald Trump, “you may be the first president in history to go down because you can’t stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that, if you just were quiet, would clear you.”

And Mr. Graham had the line of the week:

Donald Trump “can’t [even] collude with his own government. Why do you think he is colluding with the Russians?”


Speaking of Mr. Schumer, he surely loves spin. “To have this issue, which affects a sixth of our economy, tens of millions of people’s coverage — millions would lose coverage, lose preexisting conditions, hurting the elderly, hurting women, to do this in private, without hearings, without amendments, it would be one of the most outrageous examples of legislative malpractice in decades.”

Taz, SpinningI guess he doesn’t remember “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it…”

I guess he doesn’t remember that the House passed the original Obamacare bill on November 7, 2009, on a 220-215 vote. Nobody knew what was in that bill. I guess he doesn’t remember that he and 59 other Senators rushed to pass a similar, although not identical Obamacare bill on Christmas Eve 2009 in a 60-39 vote. Nobody knew what was in that bill, either. I guess he doesn’t remember that when Republican Scott Brown won the Massachusetts special election, it left Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Obama in a dilemma. They had to have the House pass the Senate bill before Mr. Brown was sworn in because he would upset the Democrat’s supermajority. The House did that and Mr. Obama signed the Un-American Care Act, a law that was passed with not one Republican vote, two days later on March 23.


This turns out to be a story not of “he said, he said,” but of who can spin faster. Mr. Schumer may be ahead on points in a contest only a Tasmanian devil should want to win.

CBS News contributor Ed O’Keefe has it figured out. “Every week there’s probably going to be something like this, some public forum where it gets raised again and attention is put on it. Committee rooms and closed door meetings will be the centers of the drama on The Hill in the next few weeks.” Or months. Or years.

Congress is supposed to be building a budget, changing ObamaDon’tCare into actual health care, punishing Iran and Russia, passing the odd law or two, paying off the National Debt, and all its other duties but instead it chooses to pretend that political oneupsmanship is more important than statesmanship.

Margaret Chase Smith was the junior Senator from Maine in 1950 when she delivered a fifteen-minute speech known as the “Declaration of Conscience” on the Senate floor. She denounced “the reckless abandon in which unproved charges have been hurled from this side of the aisle.” She said McCarthyism had “debased” the Senate to “the level of a forum of hate and character assassination.”

I think she must have seen Face the Nation on Sunday because she was really talking about Congress today.

 

Facing Down the T00b, I

I’m back in North Puffin, adapting to the changes I experience after living in the Conch Republic. In either place, I like to watch CBS’ Face the Nation with my Sunday morning brunch.

Brunch, whether here or there, usually takes the form of pamcakes or waffles with maple syrup and bacon or sausage. Some Sundays I have eggs and English muffins with bacon or sausage instead.

Sunday, I didn’t get much of any of that.

Regular readers may remember that I’m a news junkie.

FTN is, I think, the longest-running news-ish program on the air with analysis of the newsmaking (mostly) political issues of the day. John Dickerson who took over from Bob Schieffer asks reasonably tough questions of politicians and other newsmakers and then has a roundtable discussion of current events with a pretty well balanced panel of correspondents.

The program ran for 30 minutes when it first aired in 1954; it expanded to the current 60 minute format in 2012 which added the time needed for the roundtable discussion. Sadly, there is a purposeful break between the first and second halves of the program to allow the local affiliates to switch over to “paid programming” if they want. WCAX, the local affiliate in Vermont, so wants.

About 81% of the affiliates do air the second half-hour contiguously with the first although WFOR, the CBS Miami station, bounces it back and forth with their “side channel,” My 33, for no apparent rhyme nor reason. A few broadcasters air the second half on a tape delay after primetime following their late local newscasts. WCAX currently chooses Person of Interest reruns for that later time slot.

The power went bloop at 10:43 a.m. here and stayed off almost until noon. That’s unusual, particularly in good weather. Swanton Village, our local utility, has the best “up-time” record in the state and maybe in New England.

We haven’t been out to shop yet so there are no eggs in the house.

Uh oh. No pamcakes. No waffles. Not even a fried egg and a muffin even if I could have cooked. And no news. I ended up with frozen sausages and toast and jam and a book at about 12:30.

Anyway, FTN airs from 10:30 until 11:00 or 11:30 in the East. The power went bloop halfway into the first half and stayed off almost until noon. Thank goodness for online transcripts. I was able to read all about it to write the next piece, Facing Down the T00b II, later in the day.