Readers dish the straight poop on pigs, cougars and cheese plates

Gut Check, July 24, 2008

That Stinky Cheese

Down with Ian! I wish I had the right words to describe how disappointed I am to see that Ian Froeb has another place in your review section. He thinks he is being smart and enlightening but he's just a dumb, pretentious oaf. In his Gut Check column about the cheese plate, it is obvious to me that the waiter had a sense of humor, and Ian Froeb does not. I don't think he is a clever or intelligent writer, especially when he has to make innocent people and pizza (St. Louis Style) look bad just to make himself look good.
Heather Woodside, via the Internet

Feature, July 17, 2008

More Cougar Flapdoodle

Predator and prey: The term cougar implies that older women are always the hunters, and that is just ridiculous. I get hit on by younger men all of the time and I rarely meet one that I'll actually go out with. But I don't think there is anything wrong with it. And besides, older men have been hitting on young women since the beginning of time. Read the profiles on match.com and you will see that most men are not even looking for women their own age.
The Hunted, via the Internet

Consensus: A waste of space! Cougars? The name implies a somewhat gracious animal. Sleek and smooth. Was there anything gracious about these women? Twenty-five years ago when I worked the bar scene, we just referred to them as old barflies and had pity. Why glorify the degradation these women see as power with a cover story along with equally awful pictures?

Is there nothing else more interesting going on in this city to report about? I've yet to talk to one woman, of any age group, that thought this was cool. This article was a true waste of space.
Karen Irwin, via the Internet

News Real, July 10, 2008

The Pig Poop

Thirty-five years and still filthy: In regard to Keegan Hamilton's "Craptastrophe," the federal Clean Water Act was passed by Congress about 35 years ago. The goal of the act was to make America's waters swimmable and fishable by the year 2000.

Our politicians and leaders have failed us in regard to the CWA. Just look at the tens of thousands of acres of lakes and the tens of thousands of miles of streams that still are impaired by pollution including animal waste.

Cities must treat their waste. Farms don't have to treat waste, including tons of poultry waste entering our streams and lakes.

Thanks to the many Missourians who are backing Oklahoma's federal lawsuit naming poultry corporations for polluting the Illinois River watershed.
Riverok, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, via the Internet

The lesser half: Riverok is wrong on several points. Many water bodies are much cleaner than when the CWA was passed 35 years ago. Although there is more work to be done, a lot of progress has been made. But it would have required a much larger infusion of federal, state and local government funding to realize the full intent of the CWA in only 35 years. Americans' aversion to higher taxes prevented that to some extent. Could our politicians have done better? Maybe. Would we have been willing to pay for it? Well, we had the chance and didn't. Besides, the majority of U.S. waters were fishable and swimmable then, as they are now.

When you consider the vast extent of lakes and steams in the U.S., "tens of thousands" equals a low percentage.

Riverok singles out animal waste but fails to mention that the most extensive pollutant in U.S. waters is silt. That is right, common old dirt washed off construction sites, eroded lawns and fields. Many, many of those impaired acres and miles of U.S. waters are listed as being impaired by silt.

Riverok's point about treatment of city waste versus farm waste is misleading. Nearly all cities are allowed to discharge large amounts of pollutants in partially treated effluent directly into surface waters every day. And some are permitted to discharge untreated sewage if they get a bit too much rain for their wastewater-treatment plant to handle, which occurs frequently.

On the other hand, farms are not allowed to discharge effluent except in cases of catastrophic storms. When farmers apply residuals from livestock production over fields, they are accomplishing two tasks. First, they apply nutrients to promote crop and forage growth, just like other farmers do with purchased fertilizer. Second, they are treating the residuals. The soil, microbes and plants in a field act as chemical, biological and physical filters to treat the effluent. Microbes feed on the manure and propagate, thereby increasing the organic matter content of the soil, which is highly desirable. In the process, the microbes digest other pathogenic bacteria, complex organic matter, chemicals and hormones and convert these things into simple, non-harmful substances.

The sewage sludge from many cities' wastewater-treatment plants is handled in the same way. It is spread on fields so that the soil-plant filter can effect treatment of the sludge through beneficial reuse.

When one looks at impaired water bodies, most times you will find that agriculture is usually not alone. Much of the blame can be traced back to urban and suburban sources.

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