Tuesday Roundup: Rural Genius?
New Yorkers tell us (and tell us and tell us) that the smartest people live in New York City, and it must be true. We looked at the list of the 23 MacArthur Fellows announced yesterday — the so-called Genius Grants. And, sure enough, six of them came from NYC, or thereabouts.
And what's more, not one genius could be found in rural America. The odds were that at least two out of 23 geniuses would come from a rural county, but not this year. No rural geniuses.
Rural came close with Nancy Rabalais, a marine ecologist who lives in Chauvin, Louisiana. She works for the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and does research in the Gulf. Still, Nancy lives in a metropolitan county.
One out of eight Americans live in a nonmetropolitan county. According to the MacArthur folks, the proportion of geniuses is quite a bit smaller.
The Arkansas Lege — Arkansas is the only state in the old Confederacy to still have a Democratic chamber. The Washington Post reports on a concerted effort by Americans for Prosperity (backed by the Koch brothers, Charles and David) that will spend $1 million to make the last slightly Democratic state legislatures in the South solidly Republican.
AFP is running a bus tour through the state, giving away barbecue and political advice. “These policies start in Washington, D.C., but they come to us in the state of Arkansas,” the group’s state director, Teresa Oelke, told a crowd of about 30 gathered recently in Paragould. “That’s where they’re implemented and that’s how they move forward.”
Did We Start This? — Last week, the National Rural Assembly released a poll saying Mitt Romney was up by 14 points over President Obama among rural voters in swing states.
Then The Onion, the satirical newspaper, wrote its own story, saying that a new poll found that the “overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama."
THEN, The Fars News Agency in Iran picked up the Onion story and ran it verbatim — as real news. Some people just don't get Onion humor.
Read about the fiasco in The Washington Post.
No More Airline Subsidies — Great Lakes Aviation has collected subsidies for two decades to provide airline service to Dickinson, North Dakota. Last year, it got $2 million under a federal program that helps support air service in rural areas.
Great Lakes says it no longer needs the subsidy. Dickinson is in the middle of the North Dakota oil and gas boom. Last year, the airport had 19,000 boardings (up from just under 4,000 in 1993). Through August of this year, it has already had 17,000 boardings.
Post Office Meetings Galore — The Postal Service has scheduled 1,518 meetings for the period between October 8 and October 15 to discuss reduced hours, Save The Post Office reports.
The Postal Service plans to shorten hours at 13,000 post offices. Before making a final decision, the Postal Service says it will hold a public meeting, if one is requested.
Most of the meetings will be held in the lobbies of existing post offices. You can get a list and map of the meetings by looking at this story. Or you can find the same information on the USPS website.
STPO says that the Postal Service plans to announce a final decision on hours one week after the meeting, and the new hours will take effect 30 days later.
Final Nebraska Debate — Democrat Bob Kerrey and Republican Deb Fischer held their final debate in the race for an open seat in the U.S. Senate. Omaha World-Herald's Robynn Tysver reports:
Kerrey thinks global warming is man-made; Fischer doesn't.
Fischer says Kerrey's plan to create a nonpartisan Congress is unrealistic; Kerrey argues he can get it done.
Kerrey has proposed a Constitutional amendment that would turn Congress into a nonpartisan political body, much like the Nebraska legislature.
Shipping News — The drought has lowered the water level in the Great Lakes enough that shipping is being affected, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The lakes are down a foot from last August and could break a record set in 1964 in the next few months.
I Farm -- You Eat — We liked a column written by Ann Chaney Kalmey, dairy farmer, for the Louisville newspaper. (See picture above.)
Kalmey tells what it's like to be a dairy farmer there days. It ain't pretty:
I see my husband work 16-hour days, no vacations, no church, no long holidays and he has done this for most of his life. He is nearing retirement age now and while others are thinking of slowing down, we are faced with borrowing money against sweat equity in order to continue in business. That’s our retirement, but dairy farmers never seem to retire.
We are not looking for a handout. We are asking for those who set the milk prices to also figure in inflation and what it cost to produce our product. Wouldn’t that be the fair way? Some say if you don’t like it get out, but it is nearly impossible to quit at this age. We never gave up hope all those years of low milk prices that someone would see their mistake and fix it, but no one is listening! How many job opportunities are there for a senior citizen?