The Economic Research Service sent out this chart showing the relationship between obesity and hours spent watching television. On average, the more obese a person, the more hours he or she spends watching television.

[imgcontainer left] [img:time_use_hamrick.png] [source]ERS[/source] The Economic Research Service sent out this chart showing the relationship between obesity and hours spent watching television. On average, the more obese a person, the more hours he or she spends watching television. [/imgcontainer]

Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog at the Washington Post found what it called the “10 oddest items in the GOP platform”  — several of which, from our point of view, aren’t so odd at all.

Okay, there are some clunkers in the Republican platform. The Republican Party wants to reinstitute the gold standard, for example. Farmers 150 years ago were the first to see that the gold standard depressed farm prices and benefited those who lent money instead of borrowed. The end of the gold standard came from Yonder voters, not from the cities.

But then Klein says it is “odd” to support the Electoral College. This comes from the urban obsession with how we govern ourselves and a belief that this disadvantages the cities. New York gets two senators (and their electoral votes) and so does South Dakota. Unfair. 

But is it “odd” to support a way of government that has worked fairly well for more than two centuries?

And then Klein’s Wonkbook finds a Republican plank calling for an end to dependence on foreign imports of fertilizer. 

Har, har, har. Those silly Republicans. Fertilizer! What an odd thing to think about.

Wonkbook links to an article in the Daily Yonder by Auburn economist C. Robert Taylor that tells you this isn’t an odd goal at all. Anything but. Taylor describes how the world’s farms depend on a mineral that is declining in production and is controlled by a cartel of companies. “Troubling, ain’t it?” Taylor writes. 

Darn right it is, and good on the Republicans for making it an issue of concern.

Meanwhile, Wonkblog again shows itself to be a column written by myopic urbanites totally out of touch with issues beyond the reach of a subway line. 

Youth Rules…in North Dakota! — “has identified 10 states where youth rules.” 

The online financial site has compared data that might be important to young people — insurance rates for young drivers; the number of bars that made Esquire Magazine’s list of Best Bars in America; the number of Abercrombie & Fitch stores per million residents; the average age in the state; employment rates for those 20-24. The data gave the site a list of the best states for the young. And the results are…..

North and South Dakota were one and two. Iowa was third, Montana fourth and Nebraska fifth. Vermont, the most rural state in the country, was seventh.

Utah Oil Sands Update — A federal administrative law judge has ruled against two environmental groups attempting to block a Canadian company’s plans to open the first large-scale oil sands mine in the U.S., reports InsideClimate News. 

The groups had argued the state of Utah should have required U.S. Oil Sands to get a pollution permit before opening a mine. “The judge agreed with the (Utah) Water Quality Division’s opinion that there is so little ground water within 1,500 feet of the surface of the proposed mine that additional safeguards weren’t needed,” reports David Hasemyer.

“Substantial evidence . . . supports a finding that ground water has not been located and may be assumed absent in the project area except for a deep regional aquifer,” ALJ Sandra Allen said in her 40-page recommendation released Tuesday afternoon.

The mine is to be located on 6,000 acres of state-owned land on the Colorado Plateau in Eastern Utah.

Winning Colorado — The Denver Post’s Allison Sherry notes that Republican Mitt Romney’s first visits to Colorado were to “the sparsely populated red areas of Craig and Fort Lupton” and to Grand Junction and Golden.

The strategy, say Colorado Republicans, is aimed at getting Republicans to the polls, not convincing Democrats to vote for Romney. Sherry writes:

Inspiring GOP loyalists is a numbers game in Colorado. Republicans outnumber Democrats and unaffiliated voters alike by more than 100,000 in active voters. By agitating this hearty group in places such as El Paso County and Grand Junction — assuming unaffiliated voters either break even or break Romney’s way — he can lock up the state’s nine electoral votes and upset its recent blue voting streak.

Iron Range Strike — If the United Steelworkers and five Minnesota taconite plants don’t reach a new agreement, 2,770 workers could soon be on strike in the state’s Iron Range. 

John Thune on Rural — Here is South Dakota Sen. John Thune speaking to the Republican convention:

I hate to say it, but that dream is in serious jeopardy. We have a sluggish economy, burdened by Obama administration policies that are weighing down our job creators. Middle-class Americans, in cities and on farms, are bearing the brunt…The big-government bureaucrats of the Obama administration have set their sights on our way of life. Instead of preserving family farms and ranches, President Obama’s policies are effectively regulating them out of business.

R-CALF and the Beef CheckoffR-CALF USA has asked for the immediate and permanent suspension of all contracts between the Beef Checkoff and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. 

And here is former GIPSA administrator J. Dudley Butler talking about the need to “save the independent family farms and ranches of our country.” Butler says this begins by “by suspending all current contracts with and deny all future contracts to NCBA.” 

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