U.S. History

America’s Farming Soul

Sometimes it’s even hard for me to believe what I read in the newspaper. The latest “someone-really-said-that?” moment arrived courtesy of The Milkweed, the sharp-penned, monthly dairy newspaper owned and edited by Peter Hardin in Brooklyn, WI.
In its July 2018 edition, Milkweed writer Jan Shepel highlighted the controversy fueled by Marin Bozic, a dairy foods […]

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The Forgotten Lessons of the “Carter Embargo”

Once, when walking across the Charles Bridge in Prague, a friend asked if I knew the story behind the stunning, 14th century marvel under our feet. No, I replied, mostly because my education did not require much European history.
“Then,” my friend replied, “you are not educated.”
It wasn’t snobbery; it was a fact. Most Americans not […]

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All Mud, No Zen

Success in sports, business, and politics requires skilled leaders who know their jobs and know how to fold disparate talents and personalities into something greater than the logical sum of its parts.
Take Phil Jackson, a North Dakota high school basketball star, who coached two different teams to 11 National Basketball Association championships between 1991 and […]

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What’s The Matter with Kansas?

For over 100 years, some Kansans have either built or added to their journalism reputation by asking this simple question: What’s the matter with Kansas? The answer, however, is far from simple.
      The first to ask was William Allen White, the publisher and editor of the Emporia Gazette. White, a mainstream Republican, posed the question as the […]

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Might Over Right

One of the clearest memories I have as a second grade student is looking north from my classroom windows nearly everyday to see fellow second graders, Ricky W. and his sister, Regina, running to school, late as usual, with their arms, feet, and homework flying.
I also remember the two were usually met at the classroom […]

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Wisdom Should Come with Age

In May 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus, a Pole living in Prussia, published On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, a book that used mathematics and astronomy to postulate how the earth and the then-known planets rotated on their own axes as they orbited a stationary sun. Within days of its printing, however, Copernicus died.
His theory of […]

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Plowshares Into Swords

Texan Mike Conaway, the Republican chairman the House Ag Committee, went full cowboy on committee Democrats after he learned all 20 of them would vote no on his 2018 Farm Bill if he presented it with what they said were 20 percent cuts in SNAP, the nation’s $68-billion-a-year Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Conaway’s reaction was like […]

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Seventy Crops

Shortly after he turns 86 on April 10, Eugene Glock will begin planting his 70th corn crop on the Butler County, NE farm he operates with his son. “He runs the place,” explains Gene by telephone, “and I’m the hired hand. I plant all the corn, though.”
And, the Lord willing, he adds, he will harvest […]

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Slouching Toward 2014

In this space on Feb. 2, 2014, I offered a blunt assessment of the just-passed (and still current) Farm Bill and its key handler, Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican who was chairman of the House Ag Committee.
In particular, I criticized Lucas’s description of the legislation that he and his Senate counterpart, Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow, […]

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Rising Woe in Rural America

The gap between America’s rural poor and non-poor, like in urban America, continues to widen. The difference in rural America, however, is that the gap is widening faster than in any of the nation’s grittiest cities or suburban counties.
That’s the conclusion of two recent reports by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University […]

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