[imgcontainer right] [img:Rural-grocery-stores-fade-but-some-towns-fight-back.jpeg] [source]Christian Science Monitor[/source] High school student Melissa McMullin hands Jim Crowder (center) his groceries at The Bulldog Express, the only grocery store in Leeton, Mo. To keep the store open, the local high school agreed to run it with help from students in its entrepreneur and agriculture classes. [/imgcontainer]

Yes, the past is never past when you’re running for president. 

In 1992, then Gov. Rick Perry of Texas ate some barbecue from Eastern North Carolina. The bbq came from King’s of Kinston and was served at the Republican National Convention in Houston. Perry tasted some and said, “I’ve had road kill that tasted better than that.”

While the rest of us may be wondering how often Rick Perry had eaten road kill, folks in North Carolina have taken umbrage at his comments about a state religion. 

North Carolina bbq is about pork. Texas bbq is about beef. “Now I have heard that Texans like to drink a lot, and I guess it must be true, because only a state full of drunken cowboys could come up with the crazy idea that you make BBQ out of cows,” wrote Jeffrey Weeks in the Charlotte Examiner. “People of America, you make steaks out of cows. Read my lips, BBQ comes from a gosh-darned pig.”

Hey, it’s about lunch time. We’ll take pork or beef.

• Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is opposing an oil and gas pipeline safety bill that even the industry supports, the AP reports. Paul, a Republican, is opposed to any additional regulation. 

Paul is the only Senator opposing the bill, but his opposition can keep the measure from reaching the floor. The bill requires automatic shutoff valves on new pipelines and it would authorize more federal inspectors. 

The measure is “a balanced solution to the very important issue of improving the safety of pipelines,” said Martin Edwards, the interstate gas association’s top lobbyist.

• Yes, the Senate passed a bill yesterday that will continue funding of federal disaster efforts. The vote was 79 to 12 in the Senate to keep FEMA rolling until November 18. 

Then, writes Ezra Klein, we’re back in the stew. By Nov. 18, the Congress needs to have the 2012 budget complete or, yes, there could be a government shutdown. Klein counts this as the fourth threatened shutdown in 2011. 

• The Des Moines Register reports that the state is about ready to have the richest harvest in Iowa’s history. With commodity prices still high, the 2011 income for agriculture in Iowa could bring $20 billion. 

• Agri-Pulse reports from a Congressional subcommittee hearing in Illinois on broadband. 

There was some discussion of how the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines “rural” and how that affects rural development programs. Members of the committee are peeved that the USDA has not yet submitted a new report that clarifies “rural.”

• There were public hearings sponsored by the U.S. State Department yesterday in Port Arthur, Texas, and in Topeka, Kansas, on the XL Keystone oil pipeline, that would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

In Port Arthur, the terminus for the pipeline, people spoke in support of the project.  In Kansas, the hearing was mixed, as 200 people attended. In Topeka, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownbeck supports the pipeline. 

The State Department is to decide on a final permit for the pipeline by December. 

• The Christian Science Monitor tells how some rural towns are working to keep their local grocery stores open. In Leeton, Missouri, high school students run the town’s only grocery. That’s cool. 

• Rihanna was shooting a music video on a farm in Northern Ireland. As is her style, she was baring a lot of flesh, and that got the farmer peeved. He asked the singer to put on some darn clothes. 

“I thought it was inappropriate. I requested them to stop and they did,” Alan Graham told the BBC.

• Oil drillers in North Dakota are burning off enough natural gas every day to heat half a million homes, the New York Times reports. 

The companies are after oil and they see the natural gas as waste. So they burn it.

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