Oil spill and presidential approval

As if you needed more evidence that the president can really do very little about his approval ratings, consider how Obama is faring now that they’ve actually plugged the oil well.  Via Kevin Drum:

Here’s a trivial little tidbit from the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll:

What a difference a couple of months makes. Nothing at all has changed in Obama’s actual handling of the BP spill, of course. He’s doing exactly the same things he was doing back in June. But now the leak has finally been capped, and that must mean he’s doing a better job, right?

So, if BP had messed this up and it was still leaking, presumably Obama would be down under 40, despite the fact that the technical success of the well-plugging is basically totally removed from anything Obama does.  I wonder if there’s a way of making money off the irrationality of the American public?  (Oh yeah, credit default swaps).

Friday Book post (piscine edition)

Interesting article by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker reviewed several new books about fishing and the state of our oceans.  Short answer: not good.  I suspect if we could actually see what’s going on underwater, people would care a lot more.  Alas, we’re destroying ecosystems right and left and it’s off the radar of over 90% of the public.

Anyway, this article reminded me of a terrific book I read on the topic a good decade ago, Song for the Blue Ocean by Carl Safina.  (Safina is actually referenced briefly in the article).  Here’s the review from my webpage way back when:

Safina tells the tale of how we are not so slowly destroying the wildlife in our oceans and the people and communities that depend on them.  Far from a meaningless recitation of facts, Safina tells stories of fish and of people and beautifully interweaves the two.  What sets this book apart from many about our environmental calamaties is that Safina so clearly demonstrates the often hidden human cost.  Incredibly educational and just plain interesting reading as well.

I suspect the book is only more relevant today.  Also, gave me a new and terrific appreciation for some under-appreciated sea creatures– most notably the Bluefin Tuna.  If Bluefin Tuna were land animals, people would think they were just as cool and fascinating as lions and tigers– truly amazing marvels of carnivore evolution.  Anyway, if you like the ocean– take a look.

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