Media and Issues To Consider - 11/5/18

Books, Articles and Thoughts worth a Review…

It’s not only a right,
it’s also a responsibility. 

 A Change of Focus on Another Issue: Something Bigger Than Politics – Jonathan Swift in 1711 said, “Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”  We’re there and we’ve got the blinders on.  In the last couple of months, we’ve heard a lot about the trade difficulties with China and other countries, the “unfair” tariffs, the implication of the tax cut passed into law by the Republican Congress – and, a host of other issues.  Mudslinging seems to have become the mainstay.  But, there’s one issue you may not have heard about which is the new, evolving threat to Maine’s lobster industry.  Yes, this is not about health care (yet), it’s about lobsters!! This brief missive is about the severe bait shortage facing lobstermen (and, women).  Now for a foodie – like myself – this is a big issue and for us Mainers, it’s not only a food issue, it’s an economic issue which makes it really BIG!!

You think I jest.  I’m not!!  In essence, regulators held this year’s herring landings at last year’s levels – or, 50,000 metric tons – and, are planning to slash next year’s quota of herring (= the most popular lobster bait) down to 30,000 metric tons. Why?  Well, there is a record low number of newborn herring entering the fishery off the coast of Maine.  Why?  In large measure it’s because the Gulf of Maine is among the fastest-warming bodies of water across the entire globe. It’s been local news since around 2015 and the problem is accelerating.  Due to warming, the lobsters have already moved about 150 miles further north off the coast of Maine in search of cooler waters and, are expected to move even further north.  They’re accompanied in their northerly travels by cod, northern shrimp and a host of other species that dominated the waters in the Gulf of Maine – including the herring!  Then, on top of all of that China and Europe are both threatening a tariff on lobster from the USA.  Need I say more?   Well, just a bit more… 

There is a controversy on what to do about the herring which takes us into a much longer discussion even further away from health care (NOTE: occasionally, that’s a sanity improvement strategy). Leave it to say that there’s a big debate on how to proceed between the New England Fisher Management Council, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) on what to do.  But, unlike debates in other parts of our society, this one is civilized and – more importantly – trying to find a solution.  The fly in the ointment is that the problem is global warming.  Yes, you heard it here – global warming. Now, that is an issue that I hope we can all rally around.  Several weeks ago, I noted the invasion of ticks at our southern border due to “global warming” and the diseases that were beginning to show up.  Now, it’s lobsters and herring.  It’s a climate issue today.  It will be a health care issue tomorrow.  Mark my word… 

Kudos to the American College of Physicians (ACP) –  The ACP is one of the largest associations of physicians and a leader among such organizations on all considerations related to health care.  Of note, they just updated their firearms policy paper, “Reducing Firearm-Related Injuries and Deaths in the U.S.” which includes nine (9) evidence-based strategies to help reduce firearms-related injuries and deaths by keeping guns out of the hands of those at risk of harming themselves or others. The new recommendations include such ideas as passing laws to prohibit individuals with a history of domestic violence – including those under restraining orders – from buying or possessing firearms. There is even a call to allow family members to seek an immediate court order for removing guns from a family member who is at risk of using firearms to inflict harm on themselves or others. After the experiences of the last couple of weeks – YET AGAIN – at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the yoga studio shooting in Tallahassee, Florida we clearly need to address firearms violence and hate crimes which are happening far, far too frequently across the country. Do we make this a healthcare industry issue as well?


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