Thursday Roundup: The Rural Vote

The best thing about the drought — fewer tornadoes • Judge favors Keystone XL pipeline • Wind turbine controversy in Hawaii • Farm Bill is not an urban concern

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The good news about the drought — yes, there is some — is that there are fewer tornadoes, the Kansas City Star reports

There were fewer tornadoes in July than in any other July in the last 60 years. Normally, the U.S. records 850 tornadoes in the peak season, from mid-April through July. This year, there were fewer than 300.

The reason may be the drought. “You need to have thunderstorms as a starting point, and that hasn’t happened,” meteorologist Harold Brooks said. “We’re all aware of that.”

Through March, the nation was 100 tornadoes above average. Then, the drought took hold.

Rural Backs Romney — Republican Mitt Romney holds a 47 to 38 percent lead among rural voters, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll

President Obama is ahead of Romney nationally, 48 to 44 percent, a slight change from July, when Obama was ahead 49 to 43 percent.

Romney led among whites (53 to 40 percent) and seniors (49 to 41 percent).

Legalize Hemp — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (the Kentucky Republican) has joined with the state’s ag commissioner to promote industrial hemp

Kentucky once was a center of hemp production, but law enforcement officers have opposed bringing back the crop because it is hard to distinguish from marijuana. Kentucky is reviving its Industrial Hemp Commission.

Sen. Paul was even wearing a hemp shirt.

Farm Bill An Urban Orphan — Lawmakers in urban areas “are focused on a host of other issues such as the economy, jobs and rising gas prices ahead of the November election,” writes Gannett’s Christopher Doering. “They have little reason to spend their political capital on the farm bill.” 

Who cares about the drought in New Jersey, say analysts. So why should urban members of Congress spend any time worrying about a Farm Bill?

That’s why little attention was paid to the measure before Congress adjourned for the election season, Doering writes. 

Farm Bill Now — There’s a new organization representing all manner of farm groups pushing to get a Farm Bill passed now. 

They plan a rally at the U.S. Capitol on September 12. And, of course, there’s a website

A Black Gold Jobs Plan — Republican Mitt Romney will be in New Mexico today promoting his energy and jobs plan. 

According to the National Journal, Romney will “make the case that aggressive new drilling will create up to 3 million jobs by 2020, while driving a robust economic recovery. He’ll speak at Watson Truck & Supply, a trucking and oil-services company that manufactures drilling equipment, services oil rigs, and hauls heavy equipment.”

Texas Judge Favors Keystone — A judge in Lamar County, Texas, ruled Wednesday night that TransCanada has eminent domain powers to condemn land in that state.

A group of ranchers had been fighting those powers, arguing that TransCanada was not a common carrier, open to all oil companies.

“Of course we are incredibly disappointed in today’s ruling,” farm manager Julia Trigg Crawford said in an e-mail late Wednesday night. “Disheartened that Texas landowners must still challenge oil corporations in court on what should be State-level permitting issues …. and disturbed that a foreign corporation like TransCanada is allowed to hide behind the skirt of the Texas Railroad Commission and its Common Carrier rubber stamp.”

Akin Still Has A Chance — The New York Times says Rep. Todd Akin still has a chance to defeat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri. 

A Wind Controversy — A plan to build a field of 45-story wind turbines on a Hawaiian island is stirring up folks. 

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has bought 98 percent of Lanai, a 141 square mile island, but the man Ellison bought the island from retains the rights to build the windmills if he gets government approval. 

 

 

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