Billionaire Bill Gates runs afoul of Georgia’s Vidalia onion police

AJC file

AJC file

Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates should know better than to tangle with Vidalia onion growers. From Bloomberg News:

A farm owned by a Gates-related company is on probation in Georgia after neighboring farmers accused it of substituting garden-variety bulbs for renowned Vidalias, the Bordeaux grapes of the onion world.Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog

The farm was disciplined in June for a lesser violation and paid no fine, although it lost onions valued at more than $100,000 when they rotted during the probe, according to state estimates.

“We felt that spoilage that took place was discipline enough,” said Gary Black, Georgia’s commissioner of agriculture. If it errs again, the farm could forfeit its license, state officials say.

The whole article is worth a read, particularly the tactics rival farmers used to catch Stanley Farms yellow-handed.

Updated at 4:20 p.m.: Bloomberg has gone back and corrected some info from Black on the do’s and don’ts of Vidaliaology. To wit:

“There are two things you cannot do,” Black said. “You cannot pack a yellow onion in a Vidalia onion bag. And you cannot have non-Vidalia yellow onions in the packing facility when Vidalia onions are present.”

Other onions can be kept under the same roof as Vidalias only if separated by a seal that only the state can break, he said. The Stanley onions were improperly sealed.

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WXIA-TV’s Doug Richards asked U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., for his thoughts on Donald Trump — the presidential poll-leading businessman who swings into Georgia this weekend for the RedState Gathering.

As he continues his own re-election bid, Isakson carefully avoided criticizing Trump, while diagnosing the reasons behind The Donald’s rise:

“He’s tapped into an anger. There’s an anger with Washington, as there historically almost always has been — too much regulation, too much taxation, things of that nature. He’s tapped into that, and he’s fed off of that in the early parts of the campaign. …

“I learned a long time ago — this is my 18th political race for office — if there’s a presidential race and you’re on the ballot, the best thing to do is pick the winner late, not early. Because if you pick the wrong one early, you’re in trouble.”

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The Daily Beast reports that Democrats will announce their presidential debate schedule this week, “with six debates beginning in the fall, and with penalties for candidates and media outlets that stray from the sanctioned schedule.”

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We told you earlier this week that RedState Gathering head honcho Erick Erickson, of WSB Radio fame, had purposely not invited former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum to this weekend’s doings. Something about poor behavior during the 2012 race. Now Politico reports that Santorum’s 2016 campaign is in serious disarray:

Campaign manager Terry Allen, Iowa state coordinator Jon Jones and digital strategist Steve Hilliard — Allen’s son-in-law — departed several weeks ago, leaving the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses without a campaign manager and raising questions about whether Santorum can last until Iowa votes on Feb. 1 next year.

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Leo Frank

Leo Frank

This Aug. 17 will mark the 100th anniversary of the lynching of Leo Frank, who was convicted of the 1913 murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan. Prominent members of Marietta society organized the lynching of Frank, who was Jewish, after Gov. John Slaton commuted his death sentence to life in prison.

In 1986, the state Board of Pardons and Parole gave Frank a posthumous pardon, but the case still simmers. From today’s Marietta Daily Journal:

The latest salvo in the century-long saga over Leo Frank’s guilt or innocence was fired on Monday when a digital billboard went live at the intersection of Upper Roswell Road and Sewell Mill Road in east Cobb. It features a photo of Frank and reads “Leo Frank Was Innocent” and adds details about the upcoming 2 p.m. service Aug. 16 at Temple Kol Emeth.

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Count the Sons of Confederate Veterans among the fans of the U.S. Army’s decision not to rename the 10 military bases named for Rebel soldiers.

The group sent a release Monday praising the Pentagon’s decision to let stand the names of bases like Georgia’s Fort Benning, named after a Confederate general, amid “attacks recently upon all things Confederate.” Said the group:

The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans applauds the unwillingness of the US Army to yield to the unpopular, albeit loud, cries of the politically incorrect enemies of Southern heritage in their attempt to eliminate every vestige of our noble heritage.  

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The leaders of Atlanta’s business community have spoken – and they aren’t fans of President Barack Obama’s latest push to combat climate change.

The Regional Business Coalition of Metropolitan Atlanta, a group of more than a dozen regional business boosters include the Metro Atlanta Chamber, said the ruling will increase energy costs across the nation. Mike Stephens, the group’s chair, called it “an unprecedented attempt by EPA to set energy policy for the entire country.”

The rule change will require Georgia to cut carbon emissions from its power plants by one-quarter over the next 15 years. One of your Insiders has a lengthy piece on the change that includes this snippet:

While some states could refuse to implement the rule, Gov. Nathan Deal said he had directed the state Environmental Protection Division “to develop the best approach to this rule for Georgia.”

After Georgia officials beseeched the Environmental Protection Agency, the state got more breathing room under the standards that were first proposed more than a year ago. As a result, Georgia Power’s massive investment in nuclear energy at Plant Vogtle near Augusta will help the state meet the requirements.

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton said he “appreciated” the EPA’s shifts, but he still thinks the agency is overstepping its bounds and electric rates will go up.

“Some of these folks in Washington are trying to put the word out there that somehow this is going to decrease electric rates, which is really just a bunch of phooey,” said Eaton, a Republican.

Read the rest right here.

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Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld, the most recent vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has joined the faculty at Georgia Tech. A Tech graduate, Winnefeld will be based in Arlington, Va., at the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s office there.

According to the school, Winnefeld “will work with Georgia Tech faculty, researchers and students on a number of projects, classes and presentations.” He’ll hold the title of distinguished professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

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Sorry Paul Broun: In the wake of the Cecil the Lion controversy, Delta Air Lines is changing its cargo policies. From the Associated Press:

Delta Air Lines had a major change of heart about shipping hunting trophies, announcing Monday afternoon that it would no longer accept lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies.

Competitor American American Airlines also announced a similar move Monday on its official Twitter account but Spokesman Ross Feinstein said it’s largely symbolic because American Airlines does not serve Africa.

The moves come after an American dentist killed a well-known lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe last month in an allegedly illegal hunt, setting off a worldwide uproar. The dentist, Walter James Palmer, lives in Minnesota, which is a major hub for Delta.

As recently as May, Atlanta-based Delta had said that it would continue to allow such shipments — as long as they were legal. At the time, some international carriers prohibited such cargo.

 

 


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