Thursday, April 14, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different...

"Shut up! They did not just screw us, did they?"
 Just a quick rant to start you thinking about how politics really work.

As you all are painfully aware, the economy sucks, in spite of rumors of recovery. Government spending, whether you agree or disagree with it, still brought about the threat of a shutdown because our elected officials couldn't agree on a budget. Thankfully, disaster was averted and the government and its employees are still chugging along. I think that to a degree that's good. After all, having thousands of employees out of work and in danger of not being able to make their house payments might just be unhealthy for the banking industry.

There's just a minor problem. Some folks from Montana and Idaho have quietly attached a rider-completely unrelated to the budget itself, btw-to the budget, so that if the budget passes, their rider passes right along with it. If anyone turns down the budget because of it, the rider doesn't pass, but protesters will be blamed for not passing the budget. Tidy, huh? So what's the rider?
It removes wolves from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. If you don't believe me, read the article about how the budget rider will affect wolves in the L.A. Times.

Why does this matter? As the article states, this will be the first time Congress has the power to de-list endangered species, and sets a dangerous precedent. Once this passes, what's to stop Congress from removing a plethora of endangered species from protection, particularly if said species is deemed to be inconvenient to, say, cattle ranchers who don't want to bother keeping an eye on their cattle and find it convenient to blame missing animals on wolf and coyote depredations? Not a damn thing, that's what. Add a healthy bounty to each wolf skin brought in, and you've got a recipe for extinction.

I'm not saying problem wolves should never be relocated or killed, nor am I taking a rose-colored, Disneyfied "tra-la-la isn't nature just wonderful and aren't people evil" standpoint. Some listed species have recovered enough to legitimately be removed, and the reality remains that there are times when a choice has to be made between human and animal lives, as little as we may like it.

I'm just saying that the human race has a pretty shitty track record where species conservation is concerned, and that peddling fear and claiming that people and industry are under constant threat by wolves is pretty ridiculous. (But people believe it because it's in the local paper, folks!) Sit down and read Don Coyote: The Good Times and Bad Times of a Much Maligned American Original or Never Cry Wolf to get a pretty good idea of how these predators work, from a more scientific standpoint.

Congress is not qualified to determine the definition of endangered, nor should they have to be. I think they've got enough on their plates without having to worry about things that, for a very good reason, are not in their purview.

For special interest groups to have the power to attach things of this nature to the budget sends a message of the worst kind. Look for more of them to be coming across the wire, and very soon.

Look here for other articles concerning the de-listing of wolves. Look here for the de-listing of other species. Look here for some info on the Endangered Species Act.

I swear, the "smarter" we get as a species, the dumber we get.


  1. hallelujah! hey, maybe you should run for office!

  2. Pam, I have too many skeletons in the closet! LOL!


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