May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

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There are 2033 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 234

Frankenfish (Glofish) Enter the Market

Ethics or science? That's the conundrum facing the California Department of Fish & Game. The battle centers on a transgenic aquarium fish.

First developed at the National University of Singapore as a pollution marker, researchers spliced a sea anemone gene into what nature intended as a black-and-silver zebra fish. They made a freshwater fish that appears bright red - the color of a tropical saltwater reef dweller in normal light. In a dark room under ultraviolet or black light, however, the fish appear to glow.

Dubbed the FrankenFish, critics are concerned that it may survive in the wild and affect natural species. The species has been trademarked as the "Glofish."

Commissioners of the CDFG aren't "ethically" comfortable with the new species, although the science behind the fish led biologists to recommend approval. California is the only state to prohibit sales of the Glofish, which account for one-eighth of the country's ornamental fish sales.

Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the National Environmental Trust, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Consumers Union all objected to the lack of regulation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. They all said in a joint letter to the FDA that a decision not to regulate the zebra fish will open a "floodgate" for other transgenic species to hit the market with no oversight. The Center for Food Safety plans to sue to force regulation of such transgenic species.

You can check out the Glofish site, and also this detailed article for more information.

They go on sale elsewhere on January 5.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 at 11:43. Comments Closed (0) |

Trains, Kisses, Population and New Year's

Think about this as you kiss on New Year's Eve. The U.S. Census Bureau today projected the January 1, 2004, population of the United States will be 292,287,454 up 2,816,586 or just 1.0 percent from New Year's Day 2003.

The Census Bureau offers us these mathematical calculations. In January, the United States is expected to register one birth every 8 seconds and one death every 13 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person every 25 seconds.

So, if one train is approaching at 50 miles an hour, and the other is traveling at 120 miles an hour, and the wind is out of the east ... you get the idea.

The result is an increase in the total population of one person every 12 seconds. So, where does everyone go?

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, December 29, 2003 at 23:23. Comments Closed (0) |

Ground Zero - Legislation by the Executive Branch

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is gloating. Along with 11 other State's Attorneys General, he challenged the USEPA's proposed regulations scaling back Clean Air Act regs.

As an early Christmas present, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals (actual opinion not released as of today) issued a decision on December 24 blocking the USEPA's loosened regs.

The import of the ruling is not so much that the Court blocked the USEPA's regulations changing the Clean Air Act, it's more that the Court prevented the USEPA from making a change by means of regulation. Although there appears to be no firm ruling yet, the Court signaled that it was not inclined to allow the USEPA (read: the Bush Administration) to change a legislative act by executive fiat.

In other words, the Court is upholding that old separation of powers. If President Bush wants to change laws, he has to do it through Congress, not by changing the regulations that implement the laws.

This article from the Salt Lake Tribune quoted several commentators, long ago quoted in this MIPTC blog posting. In fact, MIPTC scooped this New York Times article more than a month ago.

Nice to know you can get up-to-the-date news here first. Now you can stop reading the newspaper for legal news, and just turn to MIPTC.



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, December 27, 2003 at 12:11. Comments Closed (0) |

Trespassing in Cyberspace

NPR, or National Public Radio, recently featured an hour-long program on Trespassing in Cyberspace. It features an interesting discussion about whether unsolicited emails constitute trespass.

If you're interested in an intelligent discussion of the issue and have some time between shopping trips to return those unwanted gifts, it's a worthwhile listen.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, December 26, 2003 at 16:45. Comments Closed (0) |

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Legally Speaking

Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter, the "House" a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to, to wit, a mouse.

A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stocking, socks, etc., et al., had been temporarily affixed by and around the chimney in said House, with appropriate care, in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick a/k/a St. Nicholas a/k/a Santa Claus (hereinafter, "Claus") would arrive at sometime thereafter.

The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House were located in or around their individual sleeping locations, or beds, and were nestled and engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e. dreams, wherein visions of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums (without and not meeting FDA labeling requirements) did dance, cavort and or otherwise appear in said dreams.

Whereupon the party of the first part, (sometimes hereinafter referred to as I ("I")), being the joint owner or tenant-in-common in fee simple absolute of the House, with the party of the second part, (hereinafter "Mamma"), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep (at such time, the parties of both parts were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g. kerchief and cap) for a long, seasonal ("winter") nap.

Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e., the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance ("clatter"). The party of the first part ("I") did immediately arise and rush to a fenestration ("window") in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance. In the process, the party of the first part ("I") mistakenly tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The party of the first part noticed the moon, in full phase, on the topmost part of the new-fallen snow. The party of the first part was informed and believed, and based upon such information and belief, alleged that said moon gave the lustre of mid-day, otherwise known as noon, to objects below. At that time, the party of the first part ("I") did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter the "Vehicle") being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus.

Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter "the Deer"). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional co-conspirator named "Rudolph" may have been involved.)

The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the top of the porches, walls and/or roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.

Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit with white fur, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe, and blowing circles that resembled wreaths in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.

The party of the first part observed that Claus's eyes would not have passed a field sobriety test in that they twinkled. Moreover, Claus's facial expressions (i.e. "dimples") appeared overly joyful. As further evidence of his state of being, Claus's cheeks were very red, almost like roses, his nose was likewise red like a cherry. Claus's mouth could have been said to look like a bow, and the extended hair growth under his chin could likewise be said to be as white as the snow.

Although Claus did not speak, he did laugh, which caused his rotund stomach area to move about in a manner similar to, but not quite like, a bowl full of jelly. Claus thereafter immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute "gifts" to said minor pursuant to the applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.)

Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as "lookouts." Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.

However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim: "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"

Or words to that effect.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 25, 2003 at 12:37. Comments Closed (0) |

Cleaner Motorcycles for a Small Cost

Two of my favorite subjects are in the news today: motorcycles and the environment. The USEPA issued a final rule for motorcycle emissions.

The USEPA placed limits on motorcycle emissions, which produce more harmful exhaust per mile than cars or large SUVs. The plan is to cut about 54,000 tons of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides per year from motorcycle emissions. Hydrocarbons react with nitrogen oxides and sunlight to form ground-level ozone, a key component of smog.

These regulations were first proposed last year, and starting in 2008, the rules should save about 12 million gallons a year of gasoline escaping from fuel hoses and fuel tanks.

The rules also implement improved technologies such as secondary air injection, electronic fuel injection systems and catalytic converters in 2006. Manufacturers of motorcycles, small scooters and mopeds will be required to reduce emissions 60 percent.

When fully implemented in 2010, the rules are expected to add $75.00 to the cost of an average bike.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 at 09:18. Comments Closed (1) |

No Net Loss Program Intact

In a surprising move, President Bush, the USEPA and the US Army Corps Of Engineers yesterday committed the federal government to "no net loss" of wetlands in the United States. USEPA and the USACOE announced that they would not issue a new rule on federal regulatory jurisdiction over isolated wetlands.

According to a USEPA press release, "Across the Federal Government, the Bush Administration has reaffirmed and bolstered protections for wetlands, which are vital for water quality, the health of our streams and wildlife habitat," said USEPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. Assistant Secretary of the Army John Paul Woodley Jr. added, "We will continue our efforts to ensure that the Corps' regulatory program is as effective, efficient and responsive as it can be."

The Supreme Court's 2001 decision in the case of Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (commonly referred to as to "SWANCC," and pronounced like it looks) overturned the USACOE's assertion of federal jurisdiction over certain isolated wetlands based on the presence of migratory birds.

Of course, USEPA and the USACOE responded by issuing revised guidance to their field offices. At the same time, the two agencies reaffirmed federal jurisdiction over the majority of wetlands not impacted by the decision.

The Bush Administration has 30 programs in place to protect and restore millions of acres of wetlands. These include the Food Security Act's "Swampbuster" requirements and the Wetlands Reserve Program, both under the authority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

USEPA programs include its "Five Star Restoration program" grant program, the EPA wetlands grants programs and the National Estuary Program.

Other federal programs include the Fish and Wildlife Service's "Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program" program, the National Marine Fisheries Service's Coastal Wetlands Restoration Program and the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.

Who woulda thunk it?



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 at 09:19. Comments Closed (0) |

Wear a Vest or Dodge Bullets? Maybe Both.

Bulletproof may not mean exactly that anymore. A company known as Second Chance Body Armor has been making bulletproof vests since the company's founder got shot while delivering a pizza.

Inspiration comes from the oddest circumstances.

The company has constantly been searching for newer, more lightweight fabrics to use in its vests. Second Chance thought they found it with Zylon, a new polymer material.

Until Oceanside, California Police Office Tony Zeppetella was killed while wearing a Second Chance vest. Second Chance is now being sued by Officer Zeppetella's wife. More troubles are on the way for Second Chance, as well. Six other lawsuits are pending over the allegedly defective vests. Claims have been made that Zylon breaks down under heat and humidity more quickly than originally thought.

Second Chance offered a 5-year warranty on the vests, but has now withdrawn them from the market, and posted news of investigations and other warnings on its site.

The AP article notes that 200,000 officers use vests with Zylon out of the 700,000 police officers who wear vests.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "dodging a bullet."

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, December 22, 2003 at 15:57. Comments Closed (1) |



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