I’ve been enjoying a subscription to the New York Times this year. I’m not spending an hour a day combing through it, but I do manage to check in a few times a week and see what their headlines are and what their op-ed folks are saying. It’s valuable, though I have to admit it helps keep my worldview on the negative side.
Exhibit A: Why Bambi Must Go
In an op-ed piece, a professor of biology at William & Mary notes that the decline in many migratory bird species such as certain warblers is due to the overly successful management of forests for maximum populations of white-tailed deer. The deer reach population densities up to 75 per square mile, and eat every piece of greenery they can reach, which destroys the nesting habitat of warblers that nest low to the ground, such as hooded and Canada warblers. The professor’s suggestion is to stop managing for deer (and deer hunters), something that I’m sure will not be embraced by the armies that hit the woods for two weeks every November. Yet another example of humans meddling in the affairs of critters, resulting in unintended consequences, to my mind.
Exhibit B: The Beginning of the End of the Census?
The House of Representatives have voted in support of legislation that would kill off the American Community Survey, an adjunct to the constitutionally mandated decennial census that collects a wide variety of economic and sociological data on the U.S. population. This data fills so many needs of businesses, researchers, and government policy makers and affects everyone. But, according to the ironically named Daniel Webster, first-term GOP representative from Florida, it is too big an intrusion into the homes of Americans, and costs too much to boot. Apparently he even uses ACS data on his own website; it is not known what he will do if he is successful and no longer has access to current data.
Exhibit C: Of Bile and Billionaires
Regular NYT columnist Frank Bruni starts with the story of the SuperPAC funder who wanted to bring President Obama’s former association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright back into the news in an attack ad (which, even though the ad has been canceled, was successful in reminding us of the former association). Bruni eventually says what I realized a while ago, that political discourse from almost all sides has degenerated into “bile instead of reason, catcalls in place of conversation, and the basest of instincts.” I would say one can’t have a functional society if you can’t talk to each other reasonably. Bruni at least finds some solace in that voters seem to be fed up with the nonsense too.
Those who would control us would rather we just listen to the boilerplate positive spin they put on what they talk about and not ask further questions. I’m glad that there are still some journalists who are asking questions and telling us what They don’t want us to know.