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Only one in four Americans hails from a town of fewer than 50,000 people. But nearly half of all NFL players and PGA golfers come from small towns, according to a couple of recent studies. In baseball, it’s 40%.

Queen’s University’s Jean Cote, who co-authored the study, credited the over-representation to a kind of “Hoosiers” effect, where sports stars are deeply valued. He also thinks sports in cities is over-organized. In small towns, kids spend more time just playing.

• A Texas appeals court overturned a murder conviction, finding that “scent linups” were not reliable.

The case involved a man convicted of killing a man in Coldspring, Texas. The jury convicted the man based on evidence from bloodhounds. The dogs were given a scent from the murder scene (kept for more than three years). The dogs then ID’d the suspect from a “lineup.” By barking, of course.

So-called “scent lineups” have been used to convict others in Texas, according to Chuck Lindell in the Austin American-Statesman. Dogs and trainer are above. 

• The Texas Farm Bureau has refused to endorse in the state’s governor’s race. Normally a staunch supporter of Republicans, the Farm Bureau is still mad at the incumbent, Republican Rick Perry, for vetoing an eminent domain bill and for proposing a cross-Texas toll road initiative that would have condemned thousands of acres of land. 

•Arkansas columnist John Brummett says the rural parts of his state should think twice before jettisoning Sen. Blanche Lincoln, the Democrat seeking re-election. Lincoln is trailing her Republican opponent John Boozman by double digits in recent polls. 

“You are getting ready to turn down a revenue stream for withering rural Arkansas in exchange for giving Oklahoma its third senator,” Brummett wrote. “That is to say you are preparing to eject from the U.S. Senate a woman who is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees a federal Agriculture Department that does much more than subsidize big farmers. It administers all manner of rural development grants and loans.”

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