Rural Hotline to the White House

Doug McKalip, who advises the president on rural affairs, took questions (and avoided others) from the public via Twitter this morning. How's he supposed to explain Syria?

Share This:

It was a little like standing in line for popcorn at the drive-in – congenial, noisy and mildly frustrating.

The White House-sponsored an online “chat” concerning rural issues today 10-11 a.m. Eastern time. Broadband, regulations in agriculture, rural infrastructure, and philanthropy  were among the topics raised – as were genocide in Burma, international conservation and, repeatedly, online poker.

For an hour Senior White House Advisor on Rural Affairs Doug McKalip fielded questions via the online social networking site Twitter. The Daily Yonder posed three questions. We asked McKalip what the upshot will be from all the testimony the Department of Justice took in its investigation of anti-trust violations in agriculture. To date, nothing has come of the declaration Obama’s DOJ officials made early on in his administration that the federal government would take action to break up monopolies in the nation’s seed and food production and retailing.

McKalip replied: “@dailyyonder POTUS (the President of the United States) believes that hard work and playing by the rules should be rewarded & Admin actions will follow that.”

The anti-trust “rules” on the books have been ignored for decades, however, and despite having solicited and received many hours of testimony on the issue, the Administration has yet to take action.

We also asked how proposed executive reorganization would affect rural small business owners.

Twitter permits only popcorn questions and replies, 140 characters or less. McKalip sent back a two part answer: “USDA budget down $3 billion since 2010. USDA leading way with excellent proposal on field office structure …“

“also, Rural Council already leveraging federal agencies efforts to ensure improved services to rural communities.”

The White House held 19 of these “office hours” sessions Thursday and Friday on a variety of topics from Latinos to Foreign Policy.

The twitter format delivers a sense of contact but lacks the potential for real engagement on important issues — obviously not the fault of the White House. Still, these “chats” seem an ideal way to attract attention and trickle out slogans without having to provide meaningful answers. (McKalip was also able to screen out questions via the White House Live twitter site and to devote those minutes instead to plugs for the administration’s efforts, especially as the hour drew to a close).

The rural office hours also indicate the harrowing, random and sometimes bizarre pressures on those in public life. What does Larry the Cable Guy have to do with anything? And why should an expert on rural policy know about civil war in Syria? Since this morning, we have also realized how determined and well organized are the advocates of legalizing (or as they write, “regulating” – same number of characters) online poker.

Daily Yonder posts the entire “Office Hour” on rural issues below. We’ve edited the proceedings by pasting replies next to questions. The unanswered questions follow in order of posting, and thereafter Doug McKalip’s closing tweets.

Twitter chat with Doug McKalip, White House Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs
10 – 11 a.m. EST, January 27, 2012

Doug McKalip

WHLive White House Live
Hi, Doug McKalip here to take your rural questions. First time tweeting Looking forward to a great discussion. #WHChat

RCAPInc RCAP
#WHChat SOTU mentioned infrastructure but beyond roads and broadband, what does admin plan to do about replacing aging water infrastructure

WHLive White House Live
@RCAPInc POTUS pointed out that 69% bridges are structurally deficient and will build upon water resource investment from ARRA. #WHChat

********

itaguy itaguy
USDA has championed rural telecom development. Is WH concerned about the impacts of FCC rule change on USDA loans? #WHchat #RUSloan

WHLive White House Live
@itaguy POTUS very committed to rural broadband. 7 million residents have it as a result. Will engage thru rural council on usf #WHChat

********

dailyyonder Daily Yonder
#WHChat What happened to the DOJ/USDA anti-trust inquiry? There were hearings all across rural America. Now what?

WHLive White House Live
@dailyyonder Published GIPSA rule on FB reforms recently and seeking input on additional aspects. will enjoy additional dialogue #WHChat

********

AGreenEnergyLLC AGreen Energy LLC
Are digesters considered by the WH a clean energy option to promote rural development, energy independence? 1 cow can power 1 home! #WHChat

WHLive White House Live

@AGreenEnergyLLC Admin committed to digesters and seeking actions toward goal of one per week and want to include in green evergy #WHChat

********

nstraw10 Nancy Straw
@WHLive #whchat Water infrastructure in rural nearing end of useful life. Can we afford to repair/replace all, or will towns go without?

WHLive White House Live
@nstraw10 Administration has invested heavily so far. POTUS stated, let’s take half of savings from wars and nation build here! #WHChat

********

ArtoftheRural The Art of the Rural
#WHChat Arts & culture create the narrative for rural America. Has WH and rural council engaged with the NEA or NEH to help tell the story?

WHLive White House Live
@ArtoftheRural Rural Council engaging with sustainable efforts – partnership in promoting jobs and opportunity for main street #WHChat

********

dailyyonder Daily Yonder
#WHChat DOJ hearings concerned not GIPSA but bigger ?s of ag anti-trust: seed, retail, etc. What will come out all that testimony?

WHLive White House Live
@dailyyonder POTUS (the President of the United States) believes that hard work and playing by the rules should be rewarded & Admin actions will follow that .

********

CorbinTimes Corbin
Whyare americans not afforded free training like foreigners are in the USA and why are foreignersexpeditedtoEmploymentoveramericans? #WHChat

WHLive White House Live
@CorbinTimes POTUS leveling playing field on business outsourcing -package on education and learning will benefit rural #WHChat

WHLive White House Live
#SOTU outlined manufacturing objectives as well. Agriculture is the foundation. Americans spend only 7% on food & invest in economy #WHChat

********

COF_ CouncilonFoundations
#WHchat Want to thank @USDA Sec Vilsack for
support of public-philanthropic partnerships advancing #rural
communities ow.ly/8IAGs

WHLive White House Live
@COF_ Couldn’t
agree more. Sec. Vilsack has been incredibly supportive of
public/private & leader in leveraging rural investment #WHChat

********

(McKalip takes a question from the previous hour’s chat on Disability)

leclairtammy Tammy LeClair
How will the admin. increase affordable, accessible, and integrated housing so PWD can live in freedom? #WHChat @WHLive

@leclairtammy
In rural area, alone, the admin has helped 456k families in 21k
communities buy, refinance homes. Stay tuned for more. #WHChat

********

dailyyonder Daily Yonder
#WHChat DOJ hearings concerned not GIPSA but
bigger ?s of ag anti-trust: seed, retail, etc. What will come out all
that testimony?

WHLive White House Live
@dailyyonder POTUS
believes that hard work and playing by the rules should be rewarded
& Admin actions will follow that guidance. #WHChat

WHLive White House Live
Also
note that US achieved $137 billion in ag exports last year — a record
with $42B trade surplus. POTUS wants to build on this #WHChat

********

dailyyonder Daily Yonder
#WHChat
How will the proposed executive reorganization improve services to
rural small business owners? What are downsides for rural areas?

WHLive White House Live
@dailyyonder
USDA budget down $3 billion since 2010. USDA leading way with excellent
proposal on field office structure (1/2) #WHchat

WHLive White House Live
@dailyyonder
also, Rural Council already leveraging federal agencies efforts to
ensure improved services to rural communities (2/2) #WHChat

********

Unanswered questions

gregoryahale Greg Hale
My coop wants to invest in broadband & keep rates affordable. Regulatory uncertainty concerns us. How can WH help? #WHchat #ruralbroadband

DrLaPrairie Dr. K. LaPrairie
Classroom technology is a key component to college and career readiness. Will there be funding for #edtech in Pres. Obama Budget? #whchat

OU_STAND Ohio Univ. STAND
#WHChat How will you help work toward security sector reform in #Congo?

IsaacHickman Isaac Hickman
Consumer protection will be strengthened if the US regulates Internet #poker. Do you support regulation of Internet poker? #WHChat #SOTU

ybfmiami ybfmiami
@WHLive #whchat Romney has audacity to claim “Obama Isn’t Working” when he has done nothing for years but decorate mansions & run for Prez

itaguy itaguy
Small telecom providers employ many rural Iowans. Has WH & Rural Council examined impact of FCC’s USF reform on jobs? #WHchat #USFreform

NTCAconnect NTCAconnect
RT @gregoryahale: My coop wants to invest in broadband & keep rates affordable. Regulatory uncertainty concerns us. How can WH help? #WHchat

HUtweets Humanity United
No mention of #Sudan during SOTU. What is being done to protect civilians from Bashir’s ongoing violence & possible famine? #WHChat

adbridgeforth ABWisdom
#SOTU outlined manufacturing objectives as well. Agriculture is the foundation. Americans spend only 7% on food & invest in economy #WHChat

popesbeats Elizabeth
Tired of hearing about Medicaid, SSI and critical services for people with Disabilities getting cut. Progress towards freeing people #WHChat

endgenocide End Genocide
@WHLive Death toll in #Syria is rising & intl. action has been ineffective. What is the US doing to stop it? #WHChat

endgenocide End Genocide
@WHLive Many see hope for democracy in #Burma, but what’s being done about attacks against ethnic minorities? #WHChat

COF_ CouncilonFoundations
#WHchat How can #rural areas with fewer resources better compete with urban communities for matching grant programs?
2 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

queking7427 Jim Groot
Consumer protection will be strengthened if the US regulates Internet #poker. Do you my right to play Internet poker? #WHChat #SOTU
36 seconds ago Favorite Retweet Reply

World_Wildlife World Wildlife Fund
Pls RT Nat’l security is strengthened when natural resources are less scarce. Will POTUS promote internat’l #conservation? #WHChat @WHLive
53 seconds ago Favorite Retweet Reply

uschamber U.S. Chamber
#TellTheWhiteHouse we can create millions of new #jobs w/o raising taxes or increasing the deficit.http://bit.ly/qdJExl #WHChat

EquiisSavant Mary Day-Petrano
How will the White House defend against Medicaid cuts that threaten the freedom of Americans with disabilities? #WHChat

telecompetitor telecompetitor
@whlive What is the status of the National Wireless Initiative 1.usa.gov/zuEMW4 – promised spotlight on rural 4G #WHchat

Only4RM TMiami
@WHLive Larry the Cable Guy’s gonna ask for royalties for that one! #WHChat

pharmboy46 Caleb Hamilton
Millions
of poker players will be protected with regulation of US Internet
#poker. What is your stance on this issue? #WHChat #SOTU

McKalip’s closing remarks

WHLive White House Live
#SOTU, POTUS emphasized hiring Veterans — very important with 44% vets coming from rural areas. Let’s get r done! #WHChat

WHLive White House Live
Follow all of the Administration’s rural efforts at whitehouse.gov/administration… #WHChat

WHLive White House Live
Thanks all. Really enjoyed the rural chat – 140 characters is HARD. Great weekend to all – last day of deer season this week in MD! #WHChat

 

x

News Briefs