Flawed farm bill
Congressional leaders are under pressure from the agriculture-subsidy lobby to attach a subsidy-laden farm bill to legislation designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”
There has been no open debate or public hearings on the five-year, near-trillion-dollar piece of legislation that would be devastating for the environment.
Industrial agriculture is the largest contributor to America’s water pollution problem but most farm operations are exempt from the Clean Water Act.
State governments have little authority to control soil, pesticides and chemicals flowing off farms into water supplies. This leaves the farm bill’s current conservation program as the only line of defense.
Farmers were formerly required to engage in common-sense conservation measures in exchange for generous crop insurance subsidies.
Despite their importance and overwhelming support from farmers, both Senate and House versions of the farm bill cut $6 billion from conservation programs.
Conservation programs are particularly effective at fighting climate change by keeping large amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere. But this bill would encourage farmers to plow up poor and environmentally sensitive land on an industrial scale, pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Ethanol mandates, non-conservation subsidies and high prices have contributed to the loss of millions of acres of wetlands and grasslands in the Great Plains.
Plowing on marginal lands has decimated wildlife and increased water pollution from farms.
Members of Congress who care about clean water should resist the undemocratic attempt to sneak this badly flawed farm bill into law.
Peggy B. La Point,
Wrong thing to do
Bob Michaelsen wrote a very clear letter [DRC, Dec. 19], justifying the confiscation of the property of a minority by a majority.
Let us pretend that Michaelsen owns a modest three-bedroom/two-bathroom house and that he is doing his best to pay his bills and, with justifiable pride, take care of what he owns.
Suppose that he saves money by doing his own yard work, dusts and vacuums and paints his own house.
Now, let us pretend that I have family members who are poorly educated and underemployed: my brother would love to a be a gardener, my sister a maid and my cousin a painter, but they cannot find work.
Michaelsen owns a house and has a job.
What should be done in the current circumstances to stimulate the economy? We should create infrastructure, retrain our work force and invest in energy and education.
Those are all good things and all we have to do is take property from those who have more than I do and are not using it properly to fund these activities.
I suggest that we take Michaelsen’s house, turn it into a solar farm and retrain and re-educate my family to accomplish this public service.
After all, he has more than those three and he is not currently spending his money to provide for their employment.
If this suggestion should elicit protest, that is because taking from others without their consent is wrong.
Enjoy and give thanks.
Wednesday night’s Professor’s Corner at the South Branch Library sponsored by the Texas Woman’s University English Department is exciting entertainment at a reasonable price: free.
I cannot compliment enough the recent fascinating presentation by professor Guy Litton on Celtic literature.
Dr. Litton engaged his audience of primarily college and high school students (parents could enjoy this event with their children in the future) with a scholarly yet delightful discussion of the origins and continual influence of Celtic literature and culture.
His enthusiasm and humor prompted the college students to ask for his syllabus for spring courses he plans to teach, indicating not only did they appreciate the effort Litton invested in his presentation, but they also wanted to learn more from this gifted speaker.
Please note the second Wednesday of every month for the upcoming talks by professors from TWU and the University of North Texas listed on the library’s website and posted in the Denton Record Chronicle.
Dr. Stephen Souris, TWU professor, coordinated the program with the library and moderated the evening’s event.
How fortunate Denton is to have such a cultural opportunity, and how gracious it was of Litton to donate his precious time and remarkable scholarship to educate the community on an interesting topic.