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Betting on thoroughbred horses dropped $903 million last year, or 7.3%, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. 

There are a slew of horse farms for sale now in the Kentucky Bluegrass, as people has sought quicker ways to lose their money gambling. 

• The Census Bureau reports that the recession has caused states to lose nearly one-third of their revenue in 2009. 

And as revenues collapsed, unemployment and health care needs increased. And things are going to get worse next year.

Global food prices hit a record high in December and they are expected to continue rising in 2011 if bad weather continues. The result could be a repeat of civil unrest (food riots) seen in 2007 and ’08. 

The Food and Agricultural Organization warned Wednesday that the world faces a “food price shock” as inflation strikes many developing countries, including China and India. 

• Pioneer will offer drought resistant corn this spring. 

The corn seed is conventionally bred (that is, no genetic monkey business) and could raise yields 5 percent in times of drought. Monsanto has a genetically engineered product it says could increase yields 6 to 10 percent. 

• Ken Ward Jr. notes that the federal government is lagging in efforts to “end black lung” disease, the stated goal of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Black lung is caused by breathing coal dust and is fatal to many. 

 The incidence of black lung has been growing in recent years and the Obama administration has said it aims to rid the coalfields of black lung altogether. Ten thousand miners have died of black lung in the last decade. But Ward says the administrations efforts are in a lull.

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