Importing Bulbs and Seeds

Adam Fikso
Tue, 27 Jan 2009 17:41:17 PST
I fully endorse Ellen's position and do not think that this is "bickering". 
The term "bickering" diminishes the importance of the subject.  I have been 
critical before of APHIS during this administration, and expect to be 
again. But they do seem to be getting their act together. The work is 
important, but it will only be through a back and forth exchange of ideas 
and criticism of ideas and procedures that the system will be improved.

At  present, there are NO foolproof methods for ensuring that potential 
pests can be stopped at our door.  And the nature of the problem is such 
that it CANNOT be made fool proof.  Organisms mutate. Wind blows.   Pests 
from China ride the winds around the world 6 miles above our country,  and 
pollution is not only from "those foreigners", but from every country in 
the world, including ours, all mixing in the "soup" of viruses, molds, 
bacteria, excreta, metal powders, radioactive particles, etc. that we all 
live in.

I am absolutely for an open exchange of ideas including criticisms.  It is 
the only way to improve our common welfare]

A few days ago, I was annoyed about the repetition of "old" ideas and their 
repetition, and posted my annoyance-- because apparently, some folks had 
not yet learned about the ongoing restrictive conditions for 
importation.  But some people come late to knowledge that may be "old 
hat"  to others, and room needs to be made for newcomers with tolerance for 
repetition of old information

I note in passing that Mr Aley may not be aware of how threatening his 
arrival, coupled with his  eMail address, on this list was-- to some 
people. He probably regards himself as benign, and his workplace as equally 
benign. but, others it had the effect of a comment such 
as   (Hmmm...  You have relative in Odessa?  No?   Minsk?   Is all 
right..Ve can check.) The implied threat could also be rendered in more 
clearly defined Cyrillic or Germanic overtones.

The Department of Homeland Security and its nearly unlimited power under 
the PATRIOT Act is not viewed as altogether necessary nor benign.  So, 
Bill, I'm old enough to be a vet of WWII, and may therefore have a longer 
view of certain kinds of events, including the forcible overnight removal 
of my Japanese friends to places we didn't even know about for a quite a 
while. Having the USDA under Homeland Security is downright spooky even 
though it may be logical if one thinks only in terms of apparent 
effiiciency and economy in a Table of Organization.  It remains to be seen 
whether it will be.  Also, it's hard for the military aspects of DHS to be 
reconciled in many  minds with peaceful little flowers.  Not ham and eggs, 
but ham and chocolate truffles, with mayo on the side  as an analogy--or 

Regardless of the utility or necessity of certain government moves 
undertaken by the recent past administration, or one's view of them 
politically-- politics affects bulbs, and diseases of geophytes, and their 
survival in out of the way locations.  I note the fact that military bases 
have been havens for many threatened and endangered species, in California 
for the kit fox, in Israel (The Golan Heights for oncocyclus irises ). I 
mention this because there is a tendency in this group to set the 
boundaries of acceptable topics for discussion wa-a-ay too narrowly.  Down 
to the species level and below for taxonomic distinctions of no use to 
anybody except a taxonomist, and the connoisseur who wants to be sure that 
s/he has the "true"  species, when there may be no recent agreed-on picture 
of the entity in question.  PBS works to supply it.  Sometimes annoyance 
follows close on the heels of such concerns being voiced...but 
rarely.      And Mary Sue does a magnificent "presidential " job of 
moderating the discussions. If she wanted to drop my entire presentation 
here, I'd understand--and accept it .

But I think that in order to advance the case of the PBS, and its future 
without its becoming hidebound or calcified, we need to work out ways of 
easier importation and distribution so that we continue to have samples of 
what we talk about.  If Bill Aley (WDA) and his associates can help us do 
this, I'm for welcoming him.  Maybe he could even help simplify some of the 
rigmarole of getting registered as an importer of small samples.   Do we 
really need a 10-letter password composed of 2 symbols from the top 
line,... etc?.   Sincerely,
Adam Fikso, Ph.D.,(psychology-- not one of the botanical subspecialties.)

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