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Guest Blog

Read about different aspects of the industry from a variety of perspectives.


The traditional Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall reaches a climax when the National Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by 16 cannons and city church bells, plays Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” The piece celebrates the forcing of Napoleon out of Moscow in 1812 and Russia’s ultimate victory two years later when Tsar Alexander I led a triumphant Russian army through the streets of Paris.

Napoleon had waged war in Europe for almost 23 years and, at that time, boasted the best army machine (being best does not guarantee victory, however). As a result, Napoleon ruled most of Europe until he was sent to exile on the island of Elba. He did not stay long. Nine months later he escaped and led the 100-day campaign that ended with his final defeat at Waterloo.

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In the closing days of the 111th Congress, the DREAM Act passed the House with bipartisan support and fell just a few votes short in the Senate despite receiving support from both Democrats and Republicans. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) reintroduced the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2011 or “The DREAM Act” a few months ago as S. 952. In late June, the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security of the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on S. 952.

The DREAM Act offers permanent legal status to illegal immigrants, up to age 35, who arrived in the U.S. before age 16, provided they complete two years of college or serve two years in the military. These individuals draw special attention because, in most cases, they are in the U.S. not by their own actions, but by those of their parents.

Here are excerpts of statements made and testimony presented at the hearing.

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I have come home. From the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest, from Washington D.C. to Washington State, and from the nation’s capital to the evergreen states of the Pacific, my journey is a pilgrimage home.

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On a hot and humid Memorial Day weekend, I visited the Arlington National Cemetery. There, on the green hills and beneath the frequent shade trees, the white stone markers jut up so we may read the attributes of our fellow soldiers and civilians.

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On June 23, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture held a public hearing to review and discuss the opportunities and benefits of agricultural biotechnology for farmers, the environment, food and energy security, and competition in the global marketplace. Here are excerpts of testimony presented during the hearing:

“Global population growth creates a pressing humanitarian challenge. We can either meet this demand by utilizing marginal lands and lands with fragile soils and poor water resources, or we can make the smart choice of increasing the production capacity of the plants and animals themselves. Innovation in agricultural science and technology is the key.”
Chairman Timothy V. Johnson

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The Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth II, like all cruise ships, is an entertainment venue on the high seas. Center stage for the QE II is the Grand Lounge, a two-story room with a stage at one end. Passengers enjoy the evening entertainment or nightly dance 65 feet above the waterline.

On September 11, 1995, a different show occurred in the room. As the ship crossed rough Atlantic seas, a wave hit the windows of the Grand Lounge, crushing them. Less than a quarter of an hour later, Captain R.W. Warwick saw what he later described as the “white cliffs of Dover” straight ahead of the ship.

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