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Midweek briefing ...

| Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011

The federal government has spent at least $13 million to help 2,400 farmers in 43 states erect greenhouse-like structures known as "hoop houses" over their crops to conserve warmth, extend the growing season and increase crop yields and profits, reports The Associated Press. Taxpayers are picking up the tab for anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent of the cost. But why• If "hoop houses" are such a success, shouldn't farmers risk their own money and reap the benefits• ... The United States has slipped to ninth place in The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom. The decline is attributed to "huge increases in government spending, which has led to nearly $14 trillion in total debt, and more regulation." As if anyone would expect anything less from such government behavior. ... A pet cat in Boston has been summoned for jury duty by Suffolk County (Mass.) Superior Court. And the owners have been told that the cat's inability to speak or understand English is no grounds for disqualification. The obvious misunderstanding is expected to be cleared up when the cat, named "Sal," reports for jury duty on March 23. Or not. Considering this matter has gone to this level, expect Sal to be not only selected for a jury but named the jury's forecat.

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