Thursday, March 12, 2009

Because you can't spell "humane" without "human".

Paul Krugman was quoted after the Bobby Jindal speech as saying "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." His particular complaint was about Jindal deriding the money in the stimulus bill for "volcano research". It sounds funny and he expects his audience won't know anything about it, so it's just another example of the wasteful stuff government does, unless brave public servants like Jindal rip the lid off of it.

There's nothing particularly new about this. During 2000, the standard George W. Bush stump speech would deride Gore's plans to give tax credits for people buying hybrid cars. "I don't know what a hybrid car is. Do you?" Bush would ask, and the audience would thunder back "Nooooo!" to a chorus of boos and derisive laughter aimed at the silly ideas of Goofy Al Gore.

You can look it up. Nine years ago, a crowd of people could proudly say they had no idea what a hybrid car was.

During the 2008 campaign, Sarah Palin would scrinch up her cute little nose and warn the good folks in Cornhole, Nebraska about how much money the Democrats wanted to spend on "fruit fly research". She and her audience seemed blissfully unaware that genetic research uses fruit flies as the standard test animal and has done so for decades.

Now getting in on the fun is Senator John McCain, deriding the money in the new stimulus package for "beaver management", an earmark put in the bill by Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina.

I did a little research on this program and not surprisingly, though beaver dams have advantages for natural habitats, sometimes their dams cut off water flow and cause flooding. One such beaver caused flood in North Carolina weakened supports for a railroad bridge and the resulting train crash caused a serious toxic spill.

So, beaver management. Pretty good idea that an old man decided to mock so he could say "beaver" in public.

Heh heh... heh heh.

But as much as I dislike the making of political hay at the expense of science, I also dislike this sentence from the Charlotte Observer article about beaver management.

In North Carolina, beavers are caught in humane traps that kill them instantly.

Okay, I want to say here that I'm not the poster boy for PETA. I love animal protein. I wear shoes made of leather. I have done both these things for many, many decades. But the idea that a "humane trap" kills these critters instantly stretches the definition of humane farther than I am willing to accept.

Researching the topic further online, non-lethal beaver management is an option. I suspect it is more expensive, but I wouldn't mind a little more of our tax dollars spent so that beavers who have made a dam in a place inconvenient to humans aren't just wiped off the face of the earth like they were disease carrying insects. They are clever creatures who deserve better treatment, and the humans who decide to slaughter them for being inconvenient don't deserve to call themselves "humane".


dguzman said...

I'm so sick of these politicians who oversimplify and then make fun of legitimate programs, KNOWING that many Amurkans are so effing lazy and ignorant that they'll just go along and laugh and spread the word that "beaver management" (or whatever) is stupid. Somehow, though, they NEVER make fun of the DOD's bright ideas like putting nanotechnology into bugs or sharks to use them as weapons. Yeah, THAT shit is a good idea!

jolie said...

tell me if I missed it, because I hope I did: while signing the budget bill yesterday, I wish obama had said something, anything, to point out that many of those damn earmarks (that made the bill so "imperfect") were in fact inserted by the very same republicans who were railing against it. you know, like mitch mcconnell for example.

Matty Boy said...

Hi, Jolie. He didn't say anything at the signing ceremony, but he has brought the matter up in speeches.

Lockwood said...

Off topic, but here's another link for you and your people. Can't tell whether it's a balloon or similar, or photoshopped... but I'm leaning to the former.

Lisa said...

So well said. And I love DGuzman's comment. Yes! The oversimplification is killing us. There's no room for nuance or reflection - it's all black and white, right and wrong, left and right. And it's ridiculous. Children could govern better because they would at least ask questions.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

"... the idea that a "humane trap" kills these critters instantly..."

This was the justification for the Guillotine remember.