**A Post By Shifra**
Two years ago, when hearing a clip of Obama urging Latinos to “punish the enemy,” I violated one of my “rules,” namely, that “words have meaning.”
“Nah,” I thought at the time, “Obama sure gets carried away with himself sometimes. Nothing much to see here.”
Sadly, I was wrong.
In its bid to make the sequester as painful as possible, the White House announced Tuesday that it is canceling all visitor tours of the White House “during the popular Spring touring season.” This fits President Obama’s political strategy to punish the eighth graders visiting from Illinois instead of, say, the employees of the Agriculture Department who will attend a California conference sipping “exceptional local wines” and sampling “tasty dishes” prepared by “special guest chefs.”
Yes, even as the White House warns that the modest automatic spending cuts will force the furlough of meat inspectors, two divisions of the Agriculture Department will underwrite the 26th California Small Farm Conference in Fresno next week.
The event will feature USDA speakers, field trips, a banquet and a tasting reception, according to the conference website. Conference organizers promise the tasting will be a “mouthwatering event” featuring “fine wines and exceptional micro-brews paired with seasonally driven culinary delicacies.” How can we sign up?
In April, the penny-pinchers at the USDA will also sponsor the Priester National Health Extension Conference in Corvallis, Oregon. The pressing object of this four-day event will be to “provide resource support to professionals and community leaders working to improve community health,” although attendees will sneak in their own wine tasting. We recommend the state’s pinots.
Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn noted in a Tuesday letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that while these conferences may be “fun,” or “even educational,” they reveal an agency unable to set priorities that serve taxpayers as opposed to its own bureaucratic interests. The agency fans public fear about salmonella outbreaks even as its public servants serve themselves haute cuisine.
Mr. Coburn and others are providing Americans with a window on this and other fiscal contradictions at #SequesterThis on Twitter, and we recommend that readers take a look. Then decide if the federal government is so wonderfully efficient that it can only cut spending that most hurts the public.
I don’t think Pogo had this in mind when he uttered his famous words, but somehow, his line now seems all too prescient: