IPCC Climate Report

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its long awaited climate change report. An executive summary was released on Friday, and the complete but unedited report will be available on Monday.

Grist has an excellent collection of links to writings about the report, including a sprinkling from the usual skeptical sources. You really need to look no further than Fox News in order to find some of the loudest denials.

In other news this week, the GOP attempted to attach riders to gut new EPA controls on coal power plants as part of a ‘deal’ to raise the debt ceiling, while the federal government kicked off the process to auction oil rights in the Arctic. Ah well, at least the US government isn’t likely to board protest ships and keep the crew jailed for months.


Thank the NRA…for controlling overabundant elephant populations


NBC has cancelled Under Wild Skies.

The show—hosted by NRA lobbyist Tony Makris—isn’t being canceled for that episode with the elephant shooting, exactly (though that didn’t help). Instead it’s because Makris compared his critics to Hitler earlier this week.

Hitler. How quaint.


Those folks at the NRA…they never stop in their quest to do right by the world.

Take a recent story that’s been appearing in the LA TimesHuffington Post, and elsewhere. An NRA playbook man by the name of Tony Makris was recently shown on an episode of NBC’s “Under Wild Skies”, shooting an African bull elephant. “Right between the eyes”, we’re told, and then delicately sipping glasses of champagne after.

Glasses of champagne. Nice touch, that.

All sorts of folks are upset at the shooting, and at NBC for airing this NRA paid for extravaganza. But hold on partners, don’t let emotion cloud your judgement about what’s happening. Let’s look at the science behind this act.

The NRA has long been the Champion and Protector for hunters. Without hunting, we’re told, there would be too many animals for the environment and they’ll starve to death. So Mr. Makris wasn’t indulging in a fit of machismo, just because he could. Mr. Makris was performing a public service, and helping all elephants by culling an excess member from an overabundance of African elephants.

What a guy.

To give you some idea of how quickly Earthlings are exterminating elephants in 1980 there were about 1.2 million African beasts. Last year the estimate was at most 400,000 remaining. Since 2002, the African forested elephant population has plummeted by 76 percent. In Tanzania alone the population estimate in 2008 was about 165,000 — today there are fewer than 23,000 elephants left.

War Against African Elephants Rages On

In a highlighted reel from this week’s episode, Makris travels to Botswana and hunts an elephant, shooting this innocent and magnificent creature several times in the face before the animal dies, groaning as the host watches and laughs and makes small talk about other animals he wants to kill.

Wayne Pacelle, HSUS

Yup, that Mr. Makris, what a guy. And thank the NRA for bringing him to us.

Critters Legal, Laws, and Regs

TRO for all horse meat plants set to same date

Update on Front Range Equine Rescue et al v. Vilsack et al:

Responding to a filing yesterday, Judge Armijo agreed to set the expiration date for the TRO for Rains Natural Meats to the same date as the other two plants: October 31, 2013. By that time, Judge Armijo will have a decision in the case.

Rains Natural Meats has asked the court to include it in the bond set by Magistrate Judge Scott. In the meantime, the USDA has filed a Supplemental Administrative Record covering Rains. I have issued a FOIA for the associated documents. I am particularly interested in reading the communications related to not needing a wastewater permit from the Missouri DNR.

You can see all of these documents at Docs at Burningbird.

There was also a hearing in the Missouri court case related to Missouri DNR being prohibited from issuing wastewater permits for horse meat plants. I don’t have access to these court documents, but can guess from the docket filings (available on Case Net) that the purpose of the hearing was to expedite a decision on this case, too.


Open Feynman Lectures

At Quantum Frontiers:

Last Friday the 13th was a lucky day for those who love physics — The online html version of Volume 1 of the Feynman Lectures on Physics (FLP) was released! Now anyone with Internet access and a web browser can enjoy these unique lectures for free. They look beautiful.


Judge agrees to TRO for Rains in confusing order

horseGood news, and confusing news.

Judge Armijo enjoined the USDA from providing inspectors for horse meat processing to Rains Natural Meats, which is good news. However, she did so in a rather baffling order.

Unlike the earlier Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) associated with Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation, the TRO related to Rains is given a termination date of Oct. 4, with the Magistrate Judge then determining whether to extend it beyond this date. The Judge extended the TRO for the other two plants until October 31, 2013, when she expects to have her decision in the case.

So the TRO for one plant ends earlier than the TRO for the other two plants—all for the same case. And the Magistrate Judge is the one to determine if the evidence is such that the TRO should be extended for Rains, when Judge Armijo was the one to determine the length of the TRO based on the legal merits for the other two plants.

I’m reminded again that I’m not a lawyer, because I don’t see any good and logical reason why Judge Armijo would have Judge Scott determine whether the TRO should extend beyond that date, when she didn’t do so with Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation. Perhaps there’s some hidden logic that requires legal training in order to assess the reasoning for issuing such an inconsistent order.

Or perhaps I just need to hit my head against the wall a dozen times in order to understand.

In the meantime, the USDA FSIS sent me a CD with the documents associated with the Administrative Record index for the case. There’s no direct link between the index and the documents; you’ll have to look up the document number in the left column of the index, and then search for the document in the ordered file list.

Interesting reading, even if the USDA did get a little heavy handed with the redactions.