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Asher Price in the Austin (TX) paper has an interesting story about Clifton, a rural Texas town that sees its future in art. (Old postcard of Clifton above.)

Clifton argued before the Public Utility Commission that a transmission line project that would skirt the town would hurt its ability to attract artists. “We have worked very hard to use natural Hill Country beauty to develop our internationally recognized art community,” Fred Volcansek, the mayor of Clifton, told the commissioners Wednesday. If the line is built, “Why would these artists come?” 

Price says the commissioners were unimpressed.

• “Anybody who doesn’t have access to some kind of online way to look things up now is probably too old to be able to read the print in the white pages anyway,” joked Robert Thompson, a pop culture professor at Syracuse University. 

Very funny. We are glad to see that condescension is still alive and corrosive within the university.

• The estimated state budget deficit in California is now reported to be $25.4 billion. To get back to even, the state will have to cut its general fund budget by 29%, the L.A. Times reports. 

• If Iowa’s new governor, Terry Branstad, doesn’t support a Chicago to Iowa City high speed rail proposal, Iowa will lose $80 million.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has already awarded Iowa and Illinois $230 million to upgrade tracks and purchase new rail cars and locomotives in a plan backed by Democratic Gov. Chet Culver. But Branstad, a Republican, hasn’t made his thoughts known. If he opposes the plan, the money stays out of Iowa. 

• The GIPSA wars continue.

Yesterday, those who favor new regulations governing the sale of livestock held a press conference in Kansas City. “We really view it as a farmer and rancher bill of rights,”  Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said of the GIPSA rule. “We have a system in the meat market that is basically broken.” 

Meanwhile, a study paid for by meat packers (opponents of the GIPSA rules) finds that the new regulations would cost the U.S. livestock and meat industry more than $1 billion a year. 

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