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Thursday, September 18, 2003

Tell me, Mr. Summers, do you also consider laws against smoking in enclosed public places “copious busy body regulations?” No. Because unlike consensual sex, or getting your kid a puppy, other people not involved in the choice are negatively affected. “Liberty-loving Americans” have a right not to have their lungs harmed by someone else's choice. So why is your decision to drive a vehicle that produces enormous amounts of smog any different? Emissions have to be regulated to protect the rights of people to breathe clean air. Like cigarette smoke, there is abundant scientific evidence that gas-hogs are harmful to others. Regulations are needed because people and industries don't care if they are harming others. Without regulations, people and companies rake, take, use, and abuse. Whether or not you install a low-flush toilet is not a matter of “personal choice” simply because it takes place in your home. Water shortages affect all of us.

Without regulations there wouldn't be a single old-growth forest left. The 11,000 endangered species would be long gone. The ocean would be empty of life and poisonous. Regulations are neccesary on things that harm our environment because it is not just about you. Regulations are neccesary to protect the right of future generations to an inhabitable planet.

Having 50 investigators take your house apart (like Josh Connole) simply because you kinda-sorta look like a criminal on a security tape is an invasion of privacy. Going to jail for selling water pipes (like Tommy Chong), which not only harm no one, but reduce heat damage from smoking, is an assault on your civil liberties. Saying “you're not going to feed my kid junk food at school everyday” is just being responsible.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Re: “Go Ahead, Get Fresh” (LA Times, Food, Sept. 3, 2003)

L.A. may be “brimming” with fish, but the ocean is not. We have killed ninety percent of large ocean fish since fishing became industrialized after Word War II. Elliot Norse, president of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute (MCBI) says, “If we give the oceans a chance now, we'll be able to take food from the sea for as long as there are people on earth. But we have to start now, not in five years, not in 10 years.”

Pollution, habitat destruction, and the ways we fish all need to be addressed immediately. At the same time, our seafood buying choices make a critical difference. Fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council are sustainable and well-managed.

For more information on making responsible seafood selections, the Monterey Bay Aquarium (mbayaq.org) and National Audubon Society (audubon.org) have downloadable, wallet-sized lists of what to enjoy, go easy on, and avoid. The Seafood Choices Alliance (seafoodchoices.com) is a comprehensive resource for cooks.

If we vote and buy smartly, not only will we always be able to eat and enjoy a wondrous variety of seafood, our descendants will too.

Miserable Failure

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