On the Record (Spring 2010 Trust Magazine perspective)

Source Organization: The Pew Charitable Trusts

03/19/2010 - Recent quotes from Pew's experts are highlighted here.

“When Peter Benchley wrote Jaws, when Steven Spielberg turned it into a film more than 34 years ago, and when those of us who acted in it helped create the first summer blockbuster, nobody imagined the unintended consequences that would follow. “Jaws intensified the public’s already existing fear of sharks, fueling misperceptions that have given cover to an industry which kills vast numbers of these magnificent creatures each year, thereby depleting a keystone predator that helps maintain the health of our oceans. . .

“We can write a new chapter in the relationship between people and sharks, one based on an accurate portrayal of these creatures and the vital role they play. When Peter Benchley fully realized the plight of sharks, he devoted much effort toward the end of his life in trying to alter their image in the public eye. Peter was right. Rather than fearing sharks, we should fear for them.”

—Richard Dreyfuss, actor, and Joshua Reichert, managing director, Pew Environment Group, in an op-ed in the Miami Herald

“At a certain point, if you keep cutting and cutting, you start eating away at the fabric of what makes your city your city, what makes it different than other cities, what makes it a good place to live. There obviously is a tipping point.”

—Larry Eichel, project director, Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative, in an article on budget cuts in Phoenix, Ariz., in The Arizona Republic.

“We need to extend the MOVE [Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment] Act’s improvements to state and local elections and fix an outmoded voter registration system that has failed to keep pace with technology. Overseas voters—just like their neighbors at home—deserve a system that works no matter what races are on the ballot. “As states implement the changes required by the MOVE Act, they should make it easier for military and overseas voters to cast state and local ballots as well. At the same time, states should modernize their registration systems to ensure that these highly mobile voters receive ballots and voting information at the correct address.”

—Rear Adm. (Ret.) James J. Carey, senior policy adviser, Pew Center on the States, and founding chairman, National Defense Committee, in an op-ed in The Washington Times.

“All of our meetings confirmed that Denmark’s swine industry is successful and growing post-ban [i.e., the ban of the use of antibiotics in healthy food animals]. The pork producers and those who represent them are fiercely proud of how they raise their pigs. “Contrary to U.S. agribusiness claims about the ban, the average number of pigs produced per sow per year has increased from 21 to 25 (this is an important indicator of swine health and welfare, according to veterinarians).

“Most important, total antibiotic use has declined by 51 percent since an all-time high in 1992. Plus, the Danish industry group told us that the ban did not increase the cost of meat for the consumer.”

—Laura Rogers, project director, Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, in an online op-ed at the Huffington Post.

“[F]or a while, we were all told that deficits didn’t matter. As we’ve learned, they do matter. We may have not been able to avoid deficits in the past two years as the government tried to fix the economy, but I’m not worried about two years. I’m worried about the path that our debt is on, even after the economy gets better.” —Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Stenholm, co-chairman, Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, in an op-ed in the Ft. Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, upon release of the commission’s report, Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt

“Minnesota is a couple of years ahead of a wave of activity across the states. It’s an idea that is sweeping the country.” —Shelly Gehshan, director, Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press about a new Minnesota program to license dental therapists.

“Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt have recognized that the Grand Canyon, America’s national icon, must be preserved for future generations to enjoy. Now it’s time for Congress to safeguard the Grand Canyon from threats posed by the 1872 mining law and permanently protect this natural wonder.” —Jane Danowitz, director, Pew Environment Group’s U.S. Public Lands Program, after the Department of the Interior received 98,355 messages for such action.

“We’re standing at an important crossroads for public health in the United States. Chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes are increasing, and health-care costs are increasing along with them. . . . “We now know that the social, environmental and economic conditions in communities are important drivers of health. If we’re going to address chronic disease, we need to create the conditions in communities where everyone can be healthy.”

—Aaron Wernham, M.D., director, Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, on YouTube.

“People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology. College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.” —Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, quoted in The New York Times.

“Our nation’s highway system benefits all Americans, even those who are not drivers. However, in recent years, user revenues are paying for a smaller share of the pie. That means the broader population is paying a bigger share.” —Marcus Peacock, director, Pew Economic Policy Group’s Subsidyscope, upon release of an analysis showing the funding sources of U.S. highways.

“State after state has looked at the data and made sensible investments in pre-kindergarten education. Now, federal lawmakers have a chance to make a new important investment in children’s earliest learning years.” —Susan K. Urahn, managing director, Pew Center on the States, in a Forbes commentary on strengthening the pending Early Learning Challenge Fund bill in Congress.

“I spent 30 years in the U.S. Senate working on behalf of our men and women in uniform serving our country and on the issues related to the impact of climate changes on their future military roles and missions. Leading military and security experts agree that, if left unchecked, global warming could increase instability and lead to conflict in already fragile regions of the world. “We ignore these facts at the peril of our national security and at great risk to those in uniform who serve this nation.”

—Former Sen. John Warner on panel discussions of the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate.

“What’s really exceptional at this stage of Obama’s presidency is the extent to which the public has moved in a conservative direction on a range of issues. . . . Pew Research surveys throughout the year have found a downward slope in support both for an activist government generally and for a strong safety net for the needy, in particular.” —Andrew Kohut, president, Pew Research Center, cited in The Weekly Standard.

“Poetry has given people solace for thousands of years, entertained and nurtured them, but these days it seems odd to many of us. It doesn’t affect the stock market, and it can’t change the course of a war. Why read poetry?” —Jeanne Murray Walker, 1998 Pew fellow in the arts, discussing her latest book of poems, New Tracks, Night Falling, in the Wilmington, Del., News Journal.

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