July 14, 2017

Miscellany #74

Majesty in Miniature The amazing and mesmerizing beauty of hummingbirds flying, shaking and drinking captured in slo mo by National Geographic.  They flap with a twist and drink with a forked tongue.

“Put a high-speed camera on it, and you’re like, ‘Holy cow! That’s what the bird’s doing?’ ”

 Hummingbirds-And-Tongue

Can Goats be Scabs?

Western Michigan University is one of the top four-year colleges in the nation. Its five campuses in and around Kalamazoo, Mich., comprising more than 1200 acres, feature plenty of green, open spaces meticulously maintained by union members of the local AFSCME chapter.  In addition to all those green lawns, there's a 12-acre section of woodland where a titanic struggle is being waged between the AFSCME local and university officials over the use of non-union labor, a herd of 20 goats.

 Goats

The union has sued the school alleging they are using scab labor to maintain the woodland and didn't inform them of their plans to do so....University spokeswoman Cheryl Roland said a small goat crew has been on campus this summer... to clear undergrowth in a woodlot, much of it poison ivy and other invasive species that are a problem for humans to remove. "Our analysis showed the goats to be a sustainable and cost-effective way of removing them."

Man's big toe transplanted on to his HAND after his thumb was torn off in a cattle accident

Zac Mitchell was working on a remote cattle station in Western Australia state in April when his hand was kicked by a bull and thrust against a fence, slicing off his right thumb....With the nearest hospital five hours away, the 20-year-old cattle handler put the thumb on ice until he could receive treatment, but attempts to reattach it were unsuccessful...'To recreate a thumb you can just use skin and bone, but that doesn't work so well, so really the toe is just the best option by far- when it works well,' said plastic surgeon Sean Nicklin, who performed the operation, adding the procedure had a success rate of over 95 percent. ...Mitchell will receive ongoing hand therapy and is expected to have feeling in his new thumb after about a year.

 Big Toe Now Thumb

What's directly across the ocean if you're in North and South America

Mom ‘Dresses’ Daughter In Food And Flowers

 Food Dresses Girl

Your Brain Treats a Blink Like a Tiny Nap

You probably don’t realize it, but you spend a good chunk of time each day walking around with your eyes closed. Scientists estimate that the average person blinks somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 times a day.

A Gallery of Iconic Guests Of The Ed Sullivan Show  I remember many of them, the Beatles, Diana Ross, the Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, the Jackson Five and George Carlin who cracked me up. 

 George Carlin George Carlin in 1968 on Ed Sullivan show.

Best story of the week. Stuck inside an ATM

 Atm Help

An unidentified man was fixing a lock inside the ATM room at Bank of America, Corpus Christi, when he accidentally locked himself in, and then realized he'd left his phone in his truck.  The contractor resorted to posting notes begging ATM customers for help 'Please Help. I'm stuck in here, and I don't have my phone. Please call my boss'.  Numerous ATM users wrote the note off as a bizarre practical joke until one did call his boss. Eventually, the police were called and kicked down the door, freeing the man who had been trapped for 2 hours.

Ancient Easter Island civilization did NOT obliterate itself by exhausting its natural resources

 Easter Island

The inhabitants of the remote location, off the coast of Chile, were believed to have been wiped out by bloody warfare, as they fought over dwindling resources. New research, however, has flipped these findings on their head, suggesting the islanders were highly competent at managing their resources.

An international team of researchers analyzed human, animal and plant remains from the island, known as Rapa Nui, famed for its Moai statues....'The Rapa Nui people were, not surprisingly, smart about how they used their resources. ..they had extensive knowledge of how to overcome poor soil fertility, improve environmental conditions, and create a sustainable food supply.

So what did happen to the Rapa Nui? Some claim the first Dutch ship to arrive in 1722 brought illness and that, as the died in huge numbers, the islanders lost their faith in the protection of the Moai and knocked them over.

What we do know is that ships passing between 1862 and 1864 kidnapped up to 3,500 Rapa Nui from the already-dwindling population. These included all the elders who could read glyphs known as Rongorongo and who passed on the tradition. They were used as slaves in Peruvian mines and just two survived long enough to return to the island, bringing yet more disease with them. By 1868, there were just 111 Rapa Nui left. Today’s population of about 4,000 Rapa Nui stems from those 111 people.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:18 PM | Permalink

"The most dangerous text published in America in decades"

To speak about administrative law is to introduce automatic yawns in any audience. No one noticed that the administrative agencies evolved into an 'enormous rogue beast'.  Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes, "You didn’t give these clowns power. They just grabbed it."  Unelected bureaucrats are running our lives

How did a system designed to provide government of, by, and for the people devolve into a system in which bureaucrats unaccountable to voters (though exquisitely accountable to political players and special interests) produce masses of law that was never voted on by an elected official? Simple: on purpose.

In the early days of the Republic, the franchise was limited. But as the mass of voters became larger, more diverse, and less elite, those who considered themselves the best and brightest looked to transform government into something run not by those deplorable unwashed voters but by a more congenial group. As Hamburger says, “They have gradually moved legislative power out of Congress and into administrative agencies — to be exercised, in more genteel ways, by persons like … themselves.”

It has been, in essence, a power grab by what Hamburger calls the “knowledge class,” or what others have called the New Class: A group of managers and intellectuals who, although they may not actually be especially knowledgeable or elite in practice, regard themselves as a knowledge elite.

Philip Hamburger, a Columbia University law professor, exposes the rogue beast in The Administrative Threat which Joseph Bottum calls "the most dangerous text published in America in decades—the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of our time. A Dangerous Book 

Philip Hamburger has provided the populist right with something that had been missing: a theoretical rationale for the national irritation with the current regime of administrative law. Where before there was only a kind of wordless rage, there exists now an actual articulation: a serious and convincing constitutional explanation of what's wrong with the way the nation is being run......

Through their rule-making powers, the administrative agencies manage and direct both the national economy and national manners with a particularity unrivaled and unexpected. Through their administrative hearings, they exercise judicial functions outside the judiciary: deciding cases, interpreting laws, and imposing penalties. And through their enforcement arms, they can arrest and charge those who violate their rules.

This kind of authority, Hamburger notes, "evades many of the Constitution's procedures, including both its legislative and judicial processes. Administrative power thereby sidesteps most of the Constitution's procedural freedoms. Administrative power is thus all about the evasion of governance through law." We have "a state within a state," a shadow government that is "the dominant reality of American governance." And this administrative state is now the "preeminent threat to civil liberties."

The Tyranny of the Administrative State by John Tierney

Sometimes called the regulatory state or the deep state, it is a government within the government, run by the president and the dozens of federal agencies that assume powers once claimed only by kings. In place of royal decrees, they issue rules and send out “guidance” letters like the one from an Education Department official in 2011 that stripped college students of due process when accused of sexual misconduct.

Unelected bureaucrats not only write their own laws, they also interpret these laws and enforce them in their own courts with their own judges. All this is in blatant violation of the Constitution,

“Essentially, much of the Bill of Rights has been gutted,” Hamburger says, sitting in his office at Columbia Law School. “The government can choose to proceed against you in a trial in court with constitutional processes, or it can use an administrative proceeding where you don’t have the right to be heard by a real judge or a jury and you don’t have the full due process of law. Our fundamental procedural freedoms, which once were guarantees, have become mere options.” ​
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The Supreme Court capitulated further in decisions like Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1984), which requires judges to defer to any “reasonable interpretation” of an ambiguous statute by a federal agency. “Chevron deference should be called Chevron bias,” Mr. Hamburger says. “It requires judges to abandon due process and independent judgment. The courts have corrupted their processes by saying that when the government is a party in case, they will be systematically biased—they will favor the more powerful party.”

One example: Amish farmer sold herbal health products. He’s going to prison for 6 years
The government said that Girod misbranded his Chickweed Healing Salve, TO-MOR-GONE, R.E.P. products. The jury found that Girod also processed those products in an establishment that the FDA did not have registered and that the product labels did not bear adequate directions for use.

R

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:20 PM | Permalink