citations omitted

In the United States, foreign adoptees are arriving at the rate of one child every 48 minutes. Many of these children traditionally have come from Asian countries, such as Korea. However, within the last ten years Latin America has become a major supplier of adoptable children to the developed world, particularly to the United States. As in Korea, the exporting of children from Latin America to the U.S. has been going on for as long as the U.S. has been politically and militarily involved in the area.

A primary cause of this trafficking in women and children is the ravaging of countries by U.S. supported military and civilian governments. The creation of massive-scale refugee camps, in El Salvador, for example, is the tragic consequences of the country’s U.S. backed civil war. Prostitution, unwanted and abandoned children, are the least talked about results of militarism. And along with war comes the war against women–rape. Unwanted pregnancies from rape by Guatemalan soldiers is one of the three major products of militaristic violence in the Guatemalan highlands. Soldiers often are paid for bringing babies and orphans back to the barracks and passing them on to illegal adoption networks.

The outcrop of U.S. involvement in Central America–in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador–has traditionally been exportable products such as coffee and fruit. Now, women and children have become the most recent cash crops, for sexual and reproductive purposes. In Guatemala, for example, the exporting of children has become the “primary nontraditional product” of the country. Guatemala produces more than 20 million dollars annually in profits from this “product.” Taking the region as a whole, “Latin America ranks first in the sale of children to foreigners”.

—  Janice G. Raymond. “Children for Organ Export?” Reproductive and Genetic Engineering: Journal of International Feminist Analysis 2.3 (1989). 237-245. Internal citations omitted.
Forbes: FDA May Destroy American Artisan Cheese Industry

Forbes.com has published a really solid piece of reporting on the growing firestorm over the FDA “no cheese on wood” story. In the piece, Gregory McNeal makes some excellent arguments not just on why this could hurt cheesemakers, but more importantly, why the FDA action is deeply troubling from a political and regulatory perspective, and may even be legally without merit. 

As he says: 

“The regulation does not ban wood, in fact it doesn’t even mention wood.  It mentions surfaces that must be “adequately cleanable” and “properly maintained.”  Of course, the FDA is entitled to argue, as Metz did, that wooden boards can never be clean enough to conform with the regulation.  But, there are two problems with this argument.  The first is science, the second is law.”

It’s a long piece and I won’t try to summarize it, but it’s a must-read if you care about this issue. 

FDA May Destroy American Artisan Cheese Industry

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an executive decree banning the centuries old practice of aging cheese on wooden boards. One bureaucrat within the FDA, without citing to any science, and without public commentary, has rattled hundreds of small businesses across the United States. Consumers who eat any kind of aged cheese should prepare for a potentially catastrophic disruption in the market for artisan, non-processed cheese.

The FDA’s decision will not only harm American cheese makers, but may also bring a halt to the importation of artisan cheeses from abroad as Canadian and European Union regulators have not imposed such draconian measures and still allow for the use of wood boards to age cheese. Rob Ralyea of Cornell University’s Department of Food Science, commenting on the FDA’s action noted “the great majority of cheeses imported to this country are in fact aged on wooden boards and some are required to be aged on wood by their standard of identity (Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon, to name a few). Therefore, it will be interesting to see how these specific cheeses will be dealt with when it comes to importation into the United States.”

Keep reading

The historical background of [the immigration provision in question] demonstrates that Congress and the [Board of Immigration Appeals] have long required a direct link between an [immigrant]’s crime of conviction and a particular federally controlled drug. The Government’s position here severs that link by authorizing deportation any time the state statute of conviction bears some general relation to federally controlled drugs.

The Government offers no cogent reason why its position is limited to state drug schedules that have a “substantial overlap” with the federal schedules… . This sweeping interpretation departs so sharply from the statute’s text and history that it cannot be considered a permissible reading.

We therefore reject the argument that any drug offense renders an [immigrant] removable, without regard to the appearance of the drug [in the federal controlled substance law].
—  Mellouli v. Lynch, 575 U. S. ____ (2015) (majority opinion) (citations omitted).