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Published: Wednesday, 3/8/2006

'Factory farm' is very much a misnomer

As a developer of large-scale dairy farms in the Midwest, we take issue with your characterization of our farms and those our clients operate, in your Feb. 24 editorial, "Regulating factory farms."

We've heard the term "factory farms" used many times but this term is very much a misnomer. In fact, these are large family farms. Our clients and their families live on or near the farms. They are part of the local community.

Dairy farming is one of the most regulated and inspected industries in agriculture. We follow strict state and local water quality regulations. We abide by clean water laws that don't apply to smaller farms. Government agencies regularly inspect and test our water.

We're happy to comply with these high standards. Quality groundwater is essential to dairy farms. Dairy farms need clean water to feed our cows so they will produce quality milk. And because our clients and their families typically live on or near the farms, they usually draw their drinking water from the same aquifer, which provides an extra incentive to protect the water against contamination.

In our industry, protecting the environment has much more to do with proper management and recycling of manure than with the number of cows on the farm. Farms of all sizes work hard to protect the environment. Please don't single out large farms.

Cecilia Conway

Vreba-Hoff Dairy

Development LLC

Wauseon

The statement in the Feb. 23 Blade by Muslim University of Toledo student Emad Abouarab referring to President George W. Bush as a "terrorist president" may well be within his right to free speech, but it does little to garner support for area Muslims.

Rather than call our President names, maybe Mr. Abouarab would be better served if he would use his voice to loudly denounce and disavow the evil acts of some of his fellow Muslims carried out against U.S. citizens throughout the world in the name of religion.

We all need to try andget along and live in peace, but it is a two-way street.

David Nicholson

Gunckel Boulevard

In my effort to gain an understanding of the Islamists' tenets, please help me sort some things out.

Let's see, it is a sacrilege to draw a picture of Mohammed, but it is OK to blow up an ancient holy shrine, not to mention innocent bystanders. Then I hear that the leaders of this religion call on all to stop demonstrating, i.e. burning, pillaging, killing in the name of Allah, and they do so as quickly as turning off a light switch.

I don't know about you, but considering that the leaders, both religious and political, of this ideology call for the destruction of Israel and America ("the great Satan") - make that all of the West - and for the continued refining of nuclear materials, I do understand one thing very clearly, and that is why we are in Iraq.

David D. Georgia

Briarwood Lane

Would you rather believe words or deeds? Michael Chertoff and others in the Bush Administration have stated that the United Arab Emirates' port control company officials promise that all possible safety and security measures will be employed in its management of U.S. seaports.

In 1941, Japanese ambassadors were in Washington to assure the Roosevelt Administration of their country's peaceful intentions. Meanwhile, bombers were winging their way toward Hawaii.

Harry T. Loeffler

Maumee

Dan Simpson's recent column, "Democracy may be best, but it's not for everyone," reminds me of one of the antebellum pro-slavery arguments. You know, the one that says the slaves wouldn't understand or appreciate freedom anyway because they are mentally inferior.

Mr. Simpson accurately quotes President Bush's 2005 inaugural speech: " It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." Yet he finds fault with this admirable policy as " a zealous American effort to install democratic movements and institutions - presumably like ours - across the world." Note the difference in phrasing, and recall what happens when one assumes.

Democratic freedom is the great alternative; it is the carrot to complement the stick when persuading those who might otherwise support our enemies. It is the thing that our enemies dare not offer, the right to choose.

That is what we're talking about here: supporting other people's right to choose freedom. It's a good thing. It's also wise for our own security, and the world.

In his closing paragraph, Mr. Simpson admits that democracy is the highest form of government, and that he is not saying it is appropriate only for America. He should have stopped there.

All people want to be free. There is no nation anywhere whose citizens want to be enslaved or terrorized by their government, regardless of their " history and culture." It's ridiculous to claim some people don't want democracy - the right to choose. They might not want our particular brand, but you can be sure they want the basic product.

Spencer Luster

Thoman Place

The total dollars lost from the alleged actions of Tom Noe will be much greater due to the reaction of the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

In response to the alleged theft of $13 million, the BWC reallocated the majority of its $14 billion portfolio to conservative corporate and government bonds. Most institutional and government agencies have their dollars in stocks, bonds, cash, and real estate.

Historically, a bond-heavy portfolio has grown a lot less than the more typical asset-class diversified portfolio.

For every 1 percent lost in lower investment earnings, the BWC will forgo about $140 million per year. Almost right away $13 million is going to look like chump change. I hope that soon the BWC will feel comfortable taking measured risks with its assets.

Fred Quinn

Cloister Court

How much longer are the working people, the senior citizens, the poor, and underprivileged going to get figuratively shot in the back by President Bush and his conservative Congress and judges? Under this administration companies are being allowed to cancel pensions and health benefits to employees who have given more than half of their lives to the companies. These are benefits that were lawfully bargained for.

Companies are being allowed to go to foreign countries to lower their costs, but the American workers often must go to work at a $6 to $8 an hour job, which is the type of jobs the administration has created.

They go to work, sometimes working two jobs to survive, but can't afford to keep up a decent standard of living or afford to pay the high prices being charged by the gas and oil companies so they can make their exorbitant profits.

In the latest move to reduce the budget, benefits are being cut to less fortunate college students, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid recipients. Now he wants working people to set up health-savings accounts to take care of health problems. Tell me how much people making $6 to $8 an hour can save for that. Are they supposed to quit eating so they can prepare for their health needs in the future?

EVERETT WILBURN

Princeton Drive

Evolution? Intelligent design? Why did the chicken cross the road? Shouldn't we be more concerned about where we are going rather than where we came from?

PAULINE FRAZIER

Wauseon



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