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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

January 3, 2010



Rules of Thumb - How to give the perfect high-five: keep your eye on your opposing high-fiver's elbow before slapping hands.


Still hearing
from readers who didn't like the story claiming that dog paw prints are worse than those of a SUV. Dave Richardson writes: It was based on research conducted by reading the labels of dog food cans. It is not factual for at least the following four reasons:

1. Like us humans, canine obesity is a problem. The solution is to use dry food which is both cheaper and less palatable to the dogs.

2. A substantial proportion of dogs' diets consists of leftover human food that would otherwise be wasted, and hence has a zero environmental "paw print."

3. Dog food manufacturers routinely recommend over-consumption of their product and hence overfeeding.

4. What the manufacturers print on the cans isn't regulated, so they are free to exaggerate the amount of meat they include, and unsurprisingly they do.

Therefore, any conclusions regarding the canine environmental paw print based on the contents of dog food cans will not be at all close to the actual situation. In fact, they are wildly exaggerated.


Concerning the piece
on activism vs. organizing, a reader writes:Another valuable contribution to the literature is "Who Spoke Up?: American Protest Against The War In Vietnam, 1963-1975" authored by N.L. Zaroulis. The book places the origin of the Vietnam protests to small groups of suburban housewives in the very early '60s.


A reader: I donated the right lobe of my liver to try and save my mother's life back in 2002 at Columbia Pres. Hospital in NY. I was never told by anyone on the staff about possible problems with health insurance. For years I have been paying over $300 more a month for coverage than if I didn't have that pre-existing condition. Granted I did have two more operations for complications from the liver operation in the following 8 months. Columbia did pay for most of the cost of those operations, but my doctor did charge my health insurance at the time. I was also told by both my doctor and the coordinating nurse not to be expected to have the hospital cover me for "all my health issue in the future." I told them if it was related to the organ donation operation, I thought they were morally obligated to do so. I guess they felt every extra penny they had to spend on my follow-up complications was taking away from their profit margin of the original charge they received for the original operation which was between 400 and $500,000 thousand dollars.


Blogger Fatmex said...

To Health Care: It just goes to show that no good deed EVER goes unpunished. The "morally obligated" line really brought me a much needed laugh. Thank you. You have a great sense of humor. If it weren't for your liver donation, they would not have made as much cash. If anything, they owe you a piece of the profit.

January 4, 2010 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the rebuttle on a dogs ecological foot print. While the writer makes good points about dog obesity and overfeeding, that only suggests that the number should be brought down to a mid sized dog is more like a station wagon or light truck then an SUV, from a carbon footprint perspective.

Yet 2 of the statements of this poster are way off.

2. "A substantial proportion of dogs' diets consists of leftover human food that would otherwise be wasted,"
This statement is as unscientific as one could hope for. It is pure conjecture and while it may be true of the writer, it is certainly not true of all dog owners, and until it is studied, there is no idea of how many dog owners feed "substantial" amounts of human food leftovers to their dogs.

"4. What the manufacturers print on the cans isn't regulated, so they are free to exaggerate the amount of meat they include, and unsurprisingly they do."
I am not doubting that the manufacturers are dishonest to one degree or another on the can labels, but if they are shorting the amount of meat stated, then that volume must be made up with other substances. Usually this is soy or corn, which unless one buys fancy organic dog food, will usually be dangerous GMO soy or corn, grown in fields that are heavily sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, or fat and bone meal, which come from the same sources as the meat. Neither of those fillers will do much to lower the carbon footprint of the food.

Not to mention the processing and shipping of pet foods is an energy intensive activity.

It seems that some dog owners are grasping at straws to deny that their dogs have an ecological foot print that should be considered if one is trying to lower ones own carbon footprint. Being aware of what premade dog food costs ecologically means the dog owner must take personal responsibility for their pet, and work to improve the matter, like making dog food at home.

Unfortunately most people don't want to take that level of responsibility for their dogs. If they did, the dog food industry would be miniscule.

January 6, 2010 1:03 PM  

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