Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A counter-intuitive proposal - "What large mammal regularly kills humans in the Eastern United States? And what other large mammal might significantly reduce those deaths?"


"The answer to the first question is the white-tailed deer. Deer do not set out to murder people, as far as anyone knows, but they do jump out in front of vehicles so often that they cause more than a million collisions a year, resulting in more than 200 deaths.

The answer to the second question, according to a new scientific study, is the cougar.

Laura R. Prugh, a wildlife scientist at the University of Washington; Sophie L. Gilbert, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Idaho; and several colleagues argue in the journal Conservation Letters that if eastern cougars returned to their historic range, they could prevent 155 human deaths and 21,400 human injuries, and save $2.3 billion, over the course of 30 years.

And although cougars do kill humans sometimes, the scientists estimated that number would be less than one per year, for a total of less than 30 lives lost, far less than the number of lives saved."

For the rest of this article see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/science/too-many-deer-on-the-road-let-cougars-return-study-says.html?_r=0 

Would you take any action if it was up to you?

Is this proposal skillful? Is it appropriate?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Creating suffering and harm where it need not be - self-centeredness in Zika politics

Evidence shows that just in the US to-date, July 16, 2016, at least 649 women have a Zika infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is a bill that has passed both Houses of Congress, has been through conference and House conference report approval, that is now awaiting Senate approval of the conference report to then get to Presidential approval. Approval would lead to funding - but self-centered politics is now getting in the way of reducing harm.

Here is an excerpt from a critical editorial, with a link to the full article:

"A bipartisan $1.1 billion compromise on the White House funding request passed both the House and Senate overwhelmingly, and the House recently passed the conference report, which can’t be amended. Only after the report came to the floor of the Senate did Democrats discover they couldn’t support the bill, which failed in a 52-44 procedural vote.

Democrats now claim the measure would have “banned” Planned Parenthood from the health-care providers list and restricted funding for birth control. In fact, Planned Parenthood simply isn’t on the specific list of public health clinics and community health centers that will receive additional and immediate social-services block-grant funding in Zika-hit locales like Puerto Rico."

http://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-zika-obstruction-1468623781

After reading the details in the editorial, what do you think?

Are the reasons given for changing their support of the bill and the Zika prevention funding into opposition to this funding bill, to vote against the bill, are these reasons sufficient to justify the increased threat and harm to mothers, children and society?

What is appropriate and skillful action for those with legislative responsibility in the face of the Zika virus threat?

What about the rest of us?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Another Federal Judge protecting the people from an Federal Executive Administrative abuse of power -An answer to the question of Quis custodiet ipsos custodes - Who guards the people from the "guardian" governmental officials?


Below is a report from NPR on an important recent decision. 

NPR, based on past reporting, is in favor of the Federal Executive exercise of power. Nevertheless, the fundamental points regarding the federal ruling are clearly stated in the excerpt below.


"A federal judge in Wyoming has struck down the Obama administration's regulations on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn't have the authority to establish rules over fracking on federal and Indian lands.

In the ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Congress had not granted the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) that power, and had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight.

Skavdahl made it clear what he was — and wasn't — considering in his ruling.

"The issue before this Court is not whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment or the citizens of the United States," he wrote. The question, instead, is "whether Congress has delegated to the Department of Interior legal authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. It has not."

Skavdahl (who was appointed by President Obama) concludes that, because Congress specifically removed federal authority to oversee fracking, the nation's legislators weren't intending for another federal agency to step in and take on a similar role.



"The BLM has attempted an end-run around the 2005 EP Act; however, regulation of an activity must be by Congressional authority, not administrative fiat," he writes. "The Court finds the intent of Congress is clear, so that is the end of the matter."

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/06/22/483061014/federal-judge-strikes-down-obama-administrations-fracking-rules 



For another perspective, see the ruling itself or the WSJ report, both linked below:

http://www.wyd.uscourts.gov/pdfforms/orders/15-cv-043-S%20Order.pdf


http://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-strikes-down-obama-rule-on-fracking-on-public-lands-1466600116