Thursday Roundup: Country Cool…Again
It’s not just True Grit that has country fashion the rage, reports Adam Tschorn. There’s Gwyneth Paltrow in Country Strong. And there are reports that a jumpsuit worn by Johnny Cash sold for ten times the expected amount recently at auction ($50,000).
It’s as clear as a dust cloud on the horizon coalescing into a stampede of bison: Call it country, Western, country-and-Western or something else altogether, but popular culture can’t seem to get enough of rural Americana.
•The Kentucky legislature is considering a bill that would require a prescription for the over-the-counter cold medicines that contain the ingredient used to make methamphetamine.
Last year, nearly 1,100 meth labs were found in Kentucky. U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, the Somerset Republican who is the new chair of the House Appropriations committee, favors the bill. Rogers has long campaigned against drug use in his mountain district.
The state already limits the number of pills containing pseudoephedrine (the ingredient used to manufacture meth) that a person can buy during a 30-day period.
Oregon and Mississippi have passed bills similar to the one Kentucky is considering, and both states report “drastic reductions in the number of meth labs,” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
• A Harvard University study finds that we should provide better occupational education for those who don’t graduate from college.
The study finds that only one-third of the jobs to be created in the coming years will require a full, four-year college degree. The authors say the U.S. should create better ways for young people to develop occupational skills that lead to jobs.
• Food riots appear not just because food prices have risen. People take to the streets, as they did recently in Tunisia, because they sense injustice.
Two writers in Foreign Affairs find that it’s not so much the price of food that leads to Molotov cocktails, it’s people’s belief that they are being cheated.
• Another biotech issue arises: corn designed specifically for ethanol.
The Des Moines Register’s Philip Brasher reports that Syngenta Seeds has engineered a new kind of corn that cuts the cost and the greenhouse gas emissions in making ethanol. The GE corn would make crumbly corn chips and soggy cereal but good-to-go ethanol.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is expected to approve this corn shortly, but “corn millers are urging him not to do so yet, claiming the biotech kernels could accidentally get into the processors’ grain supplies and ruin them, a fear Syngenta says is unfounded.”
This is the same fight we saw with alfalfa and also sugar beets. Last week Vilsack approved genetically engineered alfalfa over the objections of organic growers who feared the new seed would contaminate their fields.
The millers say that as little as one kernel of GE corn in 10,000 kernels of conventional corn would be enough to contaminate the entire batch.
• While we’re on the topic, DTN’s Chris Clayton reports that a hearing has been set for later this month on the GE sugar beet case at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.