A recent contributor to Vox Pop (What's worse, May 27) opines that pollution from Minnesota farms is worse than the current oil tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. This opinion is supported by a statement that ninety-eight percent of our wetlands are now drained, causing a 200-mile side dead zone in the Gulf. While a full discussion of these issues is beyond the scope of this forum, I would like to address some basics.
First, according to a multi-agency report, Minnesota has 11.5 million acres of wetlands (source: Wetland Status and Trends in Minnesota, MN DNR and MPCA, February 3, 2009.). In addition, Minnesota farmers have enrolled more than 500,000 acres in programs to protect wetlands (source: MDA).
Second, the hypoxic zone is driven by many factors including nutrients, layering of salt and fresh waters and coastal winds. In fact, scientists focusing solely on nutrients predicted the size of the hypoxic zone in 2009 would be around 8,000 square mile, three times larger than actually measured. In addition, the U.S. EPA's Science Advisory Panel on Gulf hypoxia notes that nutrients can come from many sources, such as fertilizers applied to agricultural fields, golf courses, and suburban lawns; atmospheric contributions; erosion of soils containing nutrients; and sewage treatment plant discharges. In other words, it isn't just a farm problem.
And finally, readers should know that here on our central Minnesota farm, like the vast majority of Minnesota farms, we are doing more today than ever before to protect soil and water. The manure produced on our farm is tested for nutrient values. The results are given to our crop consultant who takes soil samples from all fields and makes recommendations on the kind and amount of fertilizer to apply to raise healthy crops while protecting our waters.
Thanks to George W. Bush
These are true facts for the tea party and Republicans to remember and think about!
1. American poverty rolls increased from 31.6 million people in 2001 to almost 40 million in 2008! Thanks George W.
2. In 2007 the last year of the Bush, Cheney, Rove, expansion, middle class income was lower then when George W. Bush took office! Thanks George W.
3. By 2007 the top 1 percent owned 34 percent of all American wealth and the next richest 9 percent of people owned 38 percent, i.e. a total of 72 percent of our nation's wealth was in the hands of the richest one tenth of us! Thanks George W.
4. From 2002-2007, the wealthiest 1 percent with incomes of more than $400,000 per year hauled in two-thirds of America's total income! Thanks George W.
5. In 2007 the richest 400 American families had an average income of $348 million each, more than double their take in 2001! In this time span their income tax rate was slashed from an average of 29.4% to (get this) 16.6 percent allowing them to pay only half the rate paid by the average worker! Thanks George W.
6. And the worse gets worser! Thanks George W.
7. Pray for our troops and veterans!
More atheistic intolerance
A recent writer suggested the original Pledge of Allegiance be studied in order to shed some light on what our founders believed regarding Christianity in the public square. It's true that the phrase under God was a later addition to the pledge; however, the change was suggested as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which states that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom. Given the Gettysburg Address is hardly a sectarian creed, it's hard to understand how anyone could get worked up over it on religious grounds. Furthermore, the original Pledge of Allegiance was written over 100 years after we declared our independence, so while studying the original text may be an interesting intellectual exercise, it really can't shed any light on whether this country was founded on Christian principles. It would be safe to say; however, that given the author of the original pledge was a Baptist minister, it is unlikely he held anti-Christian sentiments.
The addition of the phrase In God We Trust to our currency can also be traced back to the Civil War era. During that war, Christian religious sentiment experienced a great resurgence and the Treasury received many requests from devout believers that God be recognized on our national currency. As a result of those efforts, the first coin bearing n God We Trust was minted in 1864, shortly before the war came to a close.
Of course, complaints over such historic references to God generally have nothing to do with fears that they may negatively affect religious freedom in any meaningful way, and everything to do with atheistic intolerance for Christianity, which in practice is remarkably like any other type of religious intolerance and should be rejected for exactly the same reasons.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.