To prevent anyone from thinking that I focus only on things to be pissed off about, here’s a piece of good news from the journal Science. Some fisheries are beginning to recover from overfishing, due to more stringent regulation from governments and more public interest in fishing practices. I’ve been a big proponent of sustainable fishing for as long as I’ve known the term (thanks, MBARI), so it’s nice to see that there’s some good news out there. Of course, there’s a bit of bad news as well – Europe, for all its vaunted “better than America” rhetoric, is demonstrably worse in managing their fisheries. We’ve had Alaska as an example for decades, with their seemingly neurotic obsession with sustainability, and we’ve been expanding that down the coast now. It looks like Europeans aren’t learning from the mistakes of the past, and they’re gonna kill off the bluefin tuna population if they aren’t careful.
Check out the map with the NPR article – all of the North American fisheries are either healthy or recovering; none are declining. We’ve got something to be proud of there. Regulations can be good.
The other day, I was watching the news when a clip from Fred Thompson’s radio show was played. The person talking to Thompson was Betsy McCaughey, a constitutional scholar and former Lt. Governor for New York, claimed that the health care plan being promoted in the House would mandate that all elderly people get counseling on how to end their lives sooner. This meme has been promulgated far and wide, and a video was next on the news, with the President being asked by an audience member at a town hall meeting whether the rumors were true that his hoped-for health care public option would encourage the elderly to die.
My son, all of nine years old, was able to see how ridiculous this was, and said there’s no way that anyone in the government would try to kill off their own citizens. He didn’t have any sophisticated analysis of this, of course, but even he has enough of a BS detector at his age to wonder why anyone would believe such ridiculous statements.
It’s a sad state of affairs when seemindly sane adult human beings can actually believe that their government wants to kill them (hard to get votes that way) and that the President is a foreigner (Snopes, people!). Evidence be damned, we will continue to believe ludicrous things because they reinforce what we want to believe. And the pundits who encourage this behavior? Yay for the First Amendment, you can say and believe any fool thing you want, but this is just shameful behavior. Fanning flames of anger and fear (always fear – talk to any winger and you’ll hear the words afraid or scared frequently) just to get ratings or get political points…disgusting.
Run any statement any politician or pundit says past a nine year-old; if he says it’s ludicrous, assume it is.