Baucus the go-to senator on health AND climate? Harkin predicts passage of plan with public option

By Al Cross A powerful, increasingly conservative senator from a state with vast rural areas, Democrat Max Baucus of Montana, has become the bellwether of the Senate, first on health care and now on climate change, reports Lisa Lerer of Politico. “His power play could put Baucus at the helm of the Obama administration’s domestic [...]

Health Insurance Watch: Good News, Bad News

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Over at the Blog For Rural America, Steph Larsen has a good news, bad news post about the public health insurance option currently under consideration in Congress. Here’s the good news: Inventing Controversy There’s nothing the media loves more than a good horse race. A little controversy – or a lot [...]

N.A.I.S. R.I.P?

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson I’ve been grousing about NAIS, the National Animal Identification System, since 2006, when we got a letter from the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture inviting us to put radio frequency ID tags our poultry so the government could come and slaughter them if someone, somewhere, came down with a case of bird [...]

Dem Senators Reach Out to Rural America

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson The White House may have its Office of Urban Affairs, but we rural folk have almost half the US Senate watching our backs.  Democratic Senators on Wednesday unveiled a new web site devoted to rural issues. Introducing the site, Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, newly appointed Chair for Rural Outreach, said Our [...]

Senate Dems are Listening

by Matt L. Barron When Democrats expanded their majority last year in the U.S. Senate they did so by winning in some very rural areas. Freshmen like Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Kay Hagan (NC) and Mark Begich (AK) each hail from states which are more than a third rural. And President Obama polled seven points better [...]