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A lot of science is about trying to find the best questions. Because the best questions can lead us to better answers. So, in the spirit of better questions here goes.

By loosening environmental regulations aimed at pollution prevention or remediation, the mandarins reporting to POTUS 45 have apparently made the calculation decided that some resulting uptick in pollution is justified by the jobs created thereby.

Question 1: For any given relaxation in regulations that result in an adverse biological, chemical or physical insult to the environment, what is the limit of tolerable adverse effect?

Question 2: How will the upper limit of acceptable environmental insult be determined?

Question 3: Will the upper limit of acceptable environmental insult be determined before or after the beginning of the adverse effect?

For a given situation there should be some ratio of jobs to acceptable environmental damage.

Example: By relaxing the rules on the release of coal mining waste into a river, X jobs are created and, as a result, Y households are denied potable drinking water. What is an acceptable ratio of X to Y?

Those are enough questions for now. Talk amongst yourselves.

The blog Patently-O is a worthwhile site to visit periodically.  That is if you’re interested in the arcane cosm of patents like I am. The fellow who writes the blog is Dennis Crouch, Asst Prof. at the University of Missouri School of Law. The post on USPTO guidelines on obviousness is particularly interesting.  I find this to be the most vexing part of patent law. 

EDTexweblog documents patent litigation in the East Texas district. I especially like the litigation haiku.  Reference and comparison is made to Vogon poetry.

Anything Under the Sun, by Russ Krajek, is another useful site to visit if you want to glean useful tidbits on patent practice.  These sites are maintained by people interested in their field and are happy to share insights with others.

You know, I really do like Texans. I lived there for a few years and I think I have an accurate sense of the place.  But Texans are Texans. It really is “like a whole ‘nother country” sometimes.

The Texas legislature recently passed the Fish Fraud law which specifically addresses the problem of fraud at fishing tournaments. The bill passed the house 142 to 4 and the senate 30 to 1 and awaits signing by the governor.  The bill provides penalties for fraud starting at a Class A Misdemeanor for the first offense to a third degree Felony for fishing crimes involving greater than $10,000 in prize money.  

According to the article, game wardens and prosecutors approached Representative Dan Flynn about  a fish fraud incident at Lake Ray Hubbard east of Dallas in October of 2009. Rep Flynn jumped on this outrage and brought the beady eye of scrutiny to bear on those dark hearted anglers who dare to flim-flam fishing tournaments. Case in point:  A semi-pro angler forced a 1 pound weight into a 9.5 lb bass, misrepresenting the weight of the fish and thus defrauding the tournament organizers. 

Without the benefit of a Fish Fraud law, the crooked angler got 15 days in jail, 5 years of probation, and loss of his fishing license for the duration of his probation.

It certainly seems to me like Texas Justice was swift and unblinking in this case without a special law on the books. The miscreant who perpetrated this act was nabbed by the local constable and thrown behind bars.

Ever wonder why there are so many laws on the books? This is an example of how it happens. Somebody games the system and legislators rush in to pack legislative caulking into a perceived hole in the wall. The Texas legislature has felonized yet somethng else. 

Are we really better off with an ever expanding definition of felonious acts?  The fisherman’s wickedness is plain for all to see. But does this one case merit the enactment of yet one more piece of legislation?  If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Maybe it’s best if we take some time off from inventing new laws and look at what we’ve wrought?

Looks like the major law firms in the USA are pitching staff overboard. These corporate Zepplins have hit hard times as the money dries up. According to Law Shucks, this year 2,289 people have been laid off from the top tier firms as of this posting. 

It’s prob’ly a good time to getcher self a cheap deevorce, seein’s how there oughtta be a bunch’a hungry attorneys scratchin’ in the gutters.

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