Eleven people in Oregon have been charged in what have been described as “kind of demented social club” that would kill and even decapitate animals in thrill kills that became a massacre. The poachers killed bears, deer, and other animals in a disgusting competition of who could rack up the greatest number of kills. Despite the carnage, they only face misdemeanors, albeit over 100 such charges. Police have already confirmed seven bobcats, four cougars, five bear, 35 deer and one silver gray squirrel among the trophy kills.
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt seems a virtual perpetual motion machine of scandals. With 11 different federal probes into his conduct, two of his top aides quit their jobs in the middle of the investigations, according to the New York Times. I certainly will not deny my opposition to many of the actions taken by Pruitt, who is widely viewed as one of the most anti-environmental EPA chiefs in history. However, this is not about policy differences. Trump is fulfilling his campaign promise to reduce regulations and he is entitled to take the EPA in a different direction. Rather this is about fundamental values of good government. Pruitt continues to be an embarrassment in his relations with lobbyists and alleged spending of public funds — a sharp and glaring contradiction to the pledge of Donald Trump to “drain the swamp.” Continue reading
Police have been looking for a rather unique felon. A woman was caught on security cameras at the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati stealing a rare blue morpho butterfly. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, they have now arrested Jamie Revis, 36. Without deciding guilt, I must confess that, if I was to guess at a butterfly thief in a line up, I just might pick Revis.
Blue morpho butterflies only live for 115 days. They are native to Central and South American rainforests. It also means that the removal of the butterfly likely resulted in its death due to the change in environment.
The surveillance tape shows the suspect going into the exhibit and being confronted by a woman at the facility:
For the purposes of a theft charge, it would be interesting to see how they put a price on the butterfly. There is likely no market for the rare butterfly but there is a market for butterflies for collectors. In any case, it should be easy to satisfy a felony charge based on value.
We previously discussed the shameful loss of the famed Denali wolf pack to hunting and development. Now North Carolina is on the brink of losing the last of its wild population of endangered red wolves. These beautiful and iconic animals have been reduced to just a few dozen due to the failure of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials (and state officials) to take necessary action to protect them.
I recently discussed my chagrin at a challenge to the wonderful outdoor program for first-year students at Bates College. As a lifelong backpacker and hiker, I have always admired Bates for the program. One of the oldest college clubs is the Penn State Outing Club, which is 98 years old. In one of the most moronic decisions of the year, Penn State has announced that its outdoor recreation club will not be allowed to go outside because it is too dangerous to be out in the wilderness.
This weekend, the New York bar lost one of its most accomplished lawyers, David Buckel, 60. Buckel reportedly burned himself to death in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on Saturday morning. Buckel was the lead attorney in the lawsuit brought by Teena Brandon, a transgender man who was raped and slain in 1993 in Nebraska. The case inspired the 1999 movie “Boys Don’t Cry.” He left a suicide note reading “I am David Buckel and I just killed myself by fire as a protest suicide. I apologize to you for the mess.”
This incredible picture is from NOAA and shows the sun which is going through an extremely low activity period — the lowest since 2009. The picture is breathtaking. There is a discussion of whether we are into what scientists call a “grand minimum,” which could cause global cooling.