Layoff Silences an Important Voice

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Philip Brasher, one of the last Washington-based reporters focused entirely on agriculture and food policy, has lost his job at the Des Moines Register. Brasher, along with 12 other Register reporters, fell prey to a mandate by parent company Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain, that it’s 80-some properties lay off [...]

Rebuild the Dream

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson This video runs about 20 minutes. It’s from Netroots Nation, the bloggers’ convention that took place last weekend. Van Jones issues a challenge to us all to Rebuild the American Dream. (Jones, you may remember, was an advisor on environmental matters to the Obama administration until right wing radicals hounded him [...]

USDA’s MyPlate: Lipstick on a Pig

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson I respect pigs. I really do. They are highly intelligent animals, good natured, and endowed with a sense of humor, if you’re subtle enough to detect it. But pigs are not pretty, and putting lipstick on them doesn’t make them any prettier. Neither does putting lipstick on the USDA’s Food Pyramid, [...]

Another USDA Threat to Small/Organic Farms

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Undaunted by the passage last year of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which took responsibility for safe food out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and gave it to the Food and Drug Administration, USDA is trying to re-establish itself as the arbiter of food safety, at least where leafy green [...]

Sometimes You Get the Bear

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson In March, and again in April, a group of union members and supporters rallied on the common in Greenfield, a small (18,000 population) city in Western Massachusetts. The first rally was in response to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting legislative project, the second was part of the AFL-CIO’s “We Are One” [...]

Will This Help? You Tell Me.

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson President Obama last week signed an order establishing a rural council within the White House. The council’s role will be advisory; its task is to suggest ways to improve the economy and quality of life in rural America, home to sixteen percent of the nation’s people. It will look for ways [...]

Daily Yonder editor disputes urbanites’ assertions that rural America gets too much federal money

By Al Cross Two pillars of the Eastern liberal establishment keep propounding the false assertion that rural America gets too much federal money, Bill Bishop reports in the Daily Yonder. “The Brookings Institution and The New York Times are convinced the federal government spends ‘vastly more’ per person in rural areas than in the cities,” [...]

More Twisted Priorities

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson One of the best things the 111th Congress did was enact the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which President Obama signed into law on Jan. 4, 2011. At that point it became Public Law 111-353. The law took away from the United States Agriculture Department responsibility for food safety inspections and [...]

Continued Without a Finding

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson In March, I told you about a well-known sports figure who was arrested hereabouts on charges of arguing while black. I didn’t give his name because I didn’t know how widely the story would be reported and didn’t want to contribute to his public humiliation. Well, the story was widely reported, [...]