It seems to us: Food fight grates on Schumer, tug of war over aid for jobless and Dyngus trouble - The Buffalo News

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It seems to us: Food fight grates on Schumer, tug of war over aid for jobless and Dyngus trouble

Sen. Charles E. Schumer was cheesed off the other day by the possibility of a transatlantic trade war over, of all things, the names on cheeses made in the United States.

The European Union wants to ban the use of European names like Parmesan, feta and Gorgonzola on cheese made in the United States. The EU has already reached an agreement with Canada so that, for example, new feta products manufactured in Canada can only be marketed as feta-like or feta-style, and they can’t use Greek letters or other symbols that evoke Greece.

Schumer, D-N.Y., and others are standing firm, and rightly so, against such interference.

Immigrants brought their recipes to America, where their takes on cheeses became hugely popular and profitable. This is no time to upset that industry, particularly in New York, where it is growing fast.

Summing it up, Schumer said: “Muenster is Muenster, no matter how you slice it.”

A fascinating bit of political theater – with real ramifications – is playing out in Washington right now. Since Congress cut off benefits to the long-term unemployed in December, Democrats and some Republicans have pressed to renew them. On Thursday, senators from both parties agreed on a measure to restore those benefits retroactively.

In an economy still trying to shake off the aftereffects of the severe recession, they clearly did the right thing and members of both parties should be proud.

But Republicans senators who support this legislation must also know they are putting their party in an uncomfortable light, because attention will now shift to the Republican House, which is unlikely to approve the bill. It’s not the ideal way to go into an election season, and perhaps the House will take note of that before acting. Either way, it will be of interest to voters across the country, and especially to the unemployed who still have trouble finding work.

Buffalo wouldn’t be Buffalo without its Polish population. If it were only for the world’s best pierogis, the city’s Polish-American residents would have made a notable contribution to our culture. But of course it’s much more than that. It is churches and fairs and civic engagement and, yes, pussy willows. Which brings us to a problem.

There aren’t enough pussy willows for Dyngus Day, a Polish-American tradition that celebrates both the end of Lent with its season of sacrifice, and the blessed arrival of spring. But spring is slow to arrive after this year’s frigid and snowy winter, a combination that is doing a number on the supply of pussy willows.

It’s yet another reason to resent the winter of 2013-14, though we have no suggestions on what to do except to cope and pass the pierogis.

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