Every now and then I'm reminded of just how awesome the world we live in is. Today's reminder came during a walk on the beach, as I watched a young osprey hunting for lunch just offshore.
I had my camera, and was able to get a few pictures of the dive and catch. One's above the fold, and there are a few more below. As always, you can click on the pictures to see a larger version.
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My scientific background leaves me more inclined to trust laboratory results than people, and I'm no more inclined to give athletes the benefit of the doubt in doping cases than anyone else who's been paying attention over the last couple of decades. When I heard that Jessica Hardy had tested positive for a banned substance at the Olympic Trials, and most likely will not get to swim in the olympics, I wasn't really surprised. Swimming hasn't been plagued with the same sort of doping scandals that other sports have seen, but it would be shocking if there weren't at least a few cheaters out there waiting to get caught. That's why there are tests. Someone tested positive? Toss them off the team and move on.
But when I took a few minutes to read the full story, something didn't make sense. I looked at a couple of more stories, and the situation made even less sense. At this point, I'm hopelessly confused, but I'm going to keep writing this anyway. If you keep reading, one of two things will probably (hopefully) happen: either you'll be able to spot something I missed, and unconfuse me in the comments, or you'll join me in confusion and the hope that someone else will be able to clear this one up for us.
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You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.
and what kind of Liberal are you?
(via The Greenbelt)
Yesterday afternoon, Judge Donald Molloy of the Federal District court for Montana issued a preliminary injunction reinstating Endangered Species Act protections for grey wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. This is very good news for the wolves. Although a preliminary injunction will only protect the wolves until the lawsuit is resolved, a judge will only issue one if it appears likely that the party requesting the lawsuit is going to win at trial.
A friend of mine emailed me a copy of the decision. It's forty pages long, and very little of it is kind to the Fish and Wildlife service. It certainly leaves no doubt whatsoever as to which party the judge believes is likely to ultimately prevail when the trial is concluded. After examining the claims made by each party, Judge Malloy concluded that it appears that the FWS arbitrarily and capriciously reversed several of its own prior conclusions and decisions in order to justify their decision to delist the affected populations.
The timing for this decision really couldn't be better. Without the preliminary injunction, all three states would have been able to go ahead with plans for wolf hunts this fall. Montana and Wyoming hadn't yet published their hunting guidelines and quotas, but had they been anything like the ones proposed in Idaho, the consequences for the species could have been severe. (I can't honestly say that Idaho's guidelines would have decimated their wolf population, but that's only because "decimate" implies that the mortality would only be 10%. They were planning on shooting more than a third of the wolves in the state.) The decision also came on the same day that fish and wildlife officials in Washington state confirmed the presence of at least a small group of wolves in their state for the first time since the 1930s.
The plaintiffs (a group of environmental groups) made argued that the Fish and Wildlife Service should not have delisted the grey wolf populations for several different reasons. Let's take a quick look at at a couple of these reasons, why they're important, and how the court viewed them.
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