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Yesterday, Rep. Ike Skelton, the outgoing chair of the House Armed Services Committee warned that a “chasm” could develop between the U.S. military and the rest of the country. 

Skelton (above, right) was one of the rural Democrats who lost in the mid-terms. He’s 78 and has been giving a Veterans Day speech at Lincoln University for the past 24 years. Skelton comes from a rural district and he knows that a disproportionate number of people in the military come from rural communities, so the “chasm” he is describing isn’t just between uniform and civilian, but between urban and rural.

“I am fearful that a chasm will develop between those who protect our freedoms and those who are being protected,” he said. “I am concerned that the attacks on September 11, 2001, will fade in the American consciousness, and that the purpose of our efforts against extremist terrorists will fade. It could come to pass that the American military could become isolated from American society and that Americans in their thoughts may fail to consider our men and women in uniform.”

Philip Brasher runs down the cuts in farm programs suggested by the White House’s bipartisan deficit-reduction commission. The total cuts suggested come to $3 billion. 

Urban Lehner looks at the evidence of a bubble in farm land prices. 

•More news out of North Dakota about Sen. Kent Conrad’s plans. The Democrat is chair of the Senate Budget Committee, but may decide to take over the Agriculture Committee. The Ag chair is open with the loss of Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.

Conrad told the Grand Forks Herald that the Budge Committee is important because it funds farm programs. 

“I represent the state of North Dakota and I’m talking to constituents and talking to colleagues about where do people think it would be most valuable for me to be,” Conrad said, according to The Hill’s report. “Those conversations are continuing.”

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