Wednesday Roundup: OK’s Boren Retires
• Meanwhile, Arizona burns.
• The congressman from the ninth most rural district in the country says he won’t be running for re-election in 2012.
Rep. Dan Boren, Oklahoma’s only Democratic member of Congress announced he would retire after five terms. Boren, the son of former senator, governor and now Oklahoma University president Dan Boren, is 37 years old and was a member of the fast-dwindling Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats. His hometown is Muskogee.
• Former Interior secretary Bruce Babbitt gives a speech Wednesday where he encourages the Obama administration to expand wilderness areas in the U.S.
• The march to Blair Mountain in opposition to mountaintop removal coal mining continues, with a few hiccups.
The marchers thought they could spend the night in one spot, but the local constabulary said that wasn’t permissable. Things worked out, though there were some tense moments, according to Paul Nyden in the Gazette.
• Sen. Jon Tester of Montana has proposed revised regulations that could delay limits on credit card swipe fees for one year instead of two. Tester has been worried that limits on swipe fees would work a special hardship on rural banks — a view that has not been disputed by federal banking officials.
The Senate could vote on Tester’s amendment today.
• Could the E. coli outbreak seen in Germany happen here? In The Atlantic, Marion Nestle gives a very good rundown of the problems in Europe and why the same kind of thing could happen in the States.
• Rancher and Summit County (Utah) Council member David Ure has written to the Salt Lake City paper that he favors the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Ure says he convinced that AT&T is “making a major commitment to rural America, rolling out wireless 4G broadband to an additional 55 million Americans….” He writes:
The new technologies and investment that would facilitate AT&T’s proposed 4G broadband coverage would mean that vast underserved areas in the Uintah Basin, Carbon and Emery counties, the Four Corners region, and the Kanab area would have access to wireless broadband. Instead of a thin band down the I-15 corridor, major swaths of Utah would enjoy full coverage. It is not only a safety issue, it is a boon to job creation and quality of life throughout the state.
• The New York Times has a long story about the effect of global warming trends on the ability of the world to feed itself. Here is what Justin Gillis found:
The rapid growth in farm output that defined the late 20th century has slowed to the point that it is failing to keep up with the demand for food, driven by population increases and rising affluence in once-poor countries.
Consumption of the four staples that supply most human calories — wheat, rice, corn and soybeans — has outstripped production for much of the past decade, drawing once-large stockpiles down to worrisome levels. The imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in two huge spikes in international grain prices since 2007, with some grains more than doubling in cost.