Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Westminster: Wrecking Dogs (and now Cats!) for 140 Years

Westminster: Meet the New Breeds

The New York Times  by Christine Hauser

A pumi, right, with two sloughi. They are among three new breeds that will be shown at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. CreditGeorge Etheredge for The New York Times JANUARY 31, 2017

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the most prestigious canine competition in the United States, has added three new breeds to its annual event, which for the first time will also include a program featuring cats.

The introduction of the new breeds into this year’s show was announced in a news conference at the show’s venue, Madison Square Garden in New York City, on Monday. The show runs on Feb. 11, 13 and 14, and it is expected to feature more than 2,800 dogs. Agility, obedience and individual breed competitions will be part of the show’s judging.

An American hairless terrier, the third new breed allowed in this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. CreditLucas Jackson/Reuters 

A feisty little dog with a smooth coat “good for allergy sufferers,” Gail Miller Bisher, the event’s spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “It is curious and active; definitely a terrier mentality.”

Toby, 5, left, and Izzy, 4, both sloughis. CreditBebeto Matthews/Associated Press 

This is a medium-large athletic hound with short, smooth hair; the breed was developed in North Africa for its hunting skills. The animals can be attached to their owners but aloof with strangers, Ms. Bisher said. (pronounced SLOO-ghee)

A pumi is introduced at Madison Square Garden on Monday. CreditTimothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images 

An ancient Hungarian herding breed. “They are a cute and strong herding dog,” said Ms. Bisher. “Again, very interested in pleasing their owner and a quick learner.” (pronounced POOH-me)

The Westminster Kennel Club introduces new breeds into the show after the American Kennel Club has officially recognized a breed, a process that can include record-keeping showing the animals are purebreds.

“So these breed clubs have worked for many years to become recognized,” said Ms. Bisher. “They are oftentimes very popular in other countries,” such as the pumi and sloughi, which are just gaining popularity in the United States, she said.

The Bengal cat will be featured at the 141st Westminster dog show. CreditBebeto Matthews/Associated Press.. 

Dogs and cats showing together

The new dogs aren’t the only change at the 140-year-old show. This year’s official program will also feature — gasp! — cats, Ms. Bisher said. (A “meet the breeds” event has featured felines in the past, but it’s traditionally been held separately.)


Oh, brother!

Pumi working Racka sheep. source

Consider the Pumi. Under the tender management of the AKC it will soon be characterized by inbred illness, complete loss of working ability, and a uselessness that can only be seen by a pet-bred/show-bred pastoral dog.

 Sloughi coursing a hare Vincenzo Fileccia

And then there's the Sloughi. A damn fine dog to course hare or gazelle, with or without the help of a falcon. An absolute hunting machine. Well, until the AKC has its hooks well sunk in.

As for the American Hairless Terrier... A breed which was the
unwanted, hairless result of a rat terrier mating.  Yes!  It's got a rare mutation!  Let's base an entire breed on it! Can it work?  Who cares!  People will pay megabucks for it, and the vets will get rich trying to keep it healthy!

From the AKC website:

"The American Hairless Terrier  is the product of a rare, major mutation that occurred in a litter of Rat Terriers in 1972. A completely hairless puppy was born in a litter of otherwise normal Type A (short-bodied) Rat Terriers in Louisiana. The breeders were unsure of what to do with this pink skinned puppy with black spots."

And oh yeah!  Let's breed cats that most people won't be able to live with and charge 4 or 5 figures for them!  Well, yeah, that means crossing perfectly normal cats with a wild species that shouldn't even be held in captivity, but they're so preeettty

from: http://petazi.com/bengal-cat/

"Although unusual, they may suffer from emotional instability due to their wild genes. That’s why fourth generation Bengal cats are recommended because their genes of domestication are consolidated. You only have to make sure not to skip routine pet visits to keep them healthy."

So the AKC is having so much trouble making money on dogs, they're branching out to cats.  What's next?  Miniature horses? 

The 'Disposal' of Our Land

Bears Ears National Monument, designated just last year, is one of the many areas of public land that may be marked for transfer or sale under a new bill in Congress. Photograph: Vince Bradley

The Guardian  Tuesday 31 January 2017 

Now that Republicans have quietly drawn a path to give away much of Americans’ public land, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced what the Wilderness Society is calling “step two” in the GOP’s plan to offload federal property.

The new piece of legislation would direct the interior secretary to immediately sell off an area of public land the size of Connecticut. In a press release for House Bill 621, Chaffetz, a Tea Party Republican, claimed that the 3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), served “no purpose for taxpayers”.

But many in the 10 states that would lose federal land in the bill disagree, and public land rallies in opposition are bringing together environmentalists and sportsmen across the west. 

Set aside for mixed use, BLM land is leased for oil, gas and timber, but is also open to campers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts. 

As well as providing corridors for gray wolves and grizzly bears, low-lying BLM land often makes up the winter pasture for big game species, such as elk, pronghorn and big-horned sheep. 

Jason Amaro, who represents the south-west chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, describes the move as a land grab.

“Last I checked, hunters and fishermen were taxpayers,” said Amaro, who lives in a New Mexico county where 70,000 acres of federal lands are singled out. In total, his state, which sees $650m in economic activity from hunting and fishing, stands to lose 800,000 acres of BLM land, or more than the state of Rhode Island.

“That word ‘disposal’ is scary. It’s not ‘disposable’ for an outdoorsman,” he said.

Scott Groene, a Utah conservationist, said the state’s elected officials were trying to “seize public lands any way they can”, without providing Americans a chance to weigh in. If residents knew their local BLM land was being threatened, said Groene, “I’m sure the communities would be shocked”.

Chaffetz introduced the bill alongside a second piece of legislation that would strip the BLM and the US Forest Service of law enforcement capabilities, a move in line with the Utah delegation’s opposition to all federal land management. 

“The other bill hamstrings our ability to manage and ensure that our public lands are being kept safe,” said Bobby McEnaney of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “When you have those two combined, it’s a fairly cynical approach to how public lands can be managed.”

The 10 states affected are Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Residents can see how much acreage is earmarked for “disposal” in their counties by checking a PDF on Chaffetz’s website

Due to a controversial change this month to the House of Representatives’ rules, the sale does not have to make money for the federal government. A representative for the interior department, Mike Pool, who weighed in on a version of the bill in 2011, said selling those 3.3m acres “would be unlikely to generate revenue”.

A Republican conservation group in Utah likened it at the time to “selling the house to pay the light bill.

The acreage identified is drawn from a 1997 survey conducted by the Clinton administration, which sought to identify potential offsets to revive the Florida Everglades after decades of pollution from the sugar cane industry.

The actual language of the 1997 survey, which did not result in land being sold, prefaced its findings with a caution: “Please note many lands identified appear to have conflicts which may preclude them from being considered for disposal or exchange.”

The vast majority of the thousands of parcels have “impediments to disposal”, according to the survey, including hosting endangered species and wetlands or having “cultural significance”. 

Barack Obama created at least two federal protections in counties with large swathes of BLM land now designated for disposal: New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monument, in 2014, and Utah’s Bears Ears national monument, in 2016. Arizona’s Parashant national monument, near the Grand Canyon, was designated by Bill Clinton in 2000 and also sits in a marked county.

A spokesperson for Chaffetz said he was not available for comment. 

To outdoorsmen like Amaro, selling off individual parcels of national land creates a “multiplier problem”, where a small parcel of land turned private can cut off access for many. That’s what happened in Coronado national forest, he said. Ten acres that led on to hundreds of thousands of acres of public property were turned into state trust land.

“Access has been eliminated for much of the forest. The private landowners now effectively have their own private hunting preserves by not allowing public hunters a way into the national forest,” Amaro said.

Chaffetz’s proposal might in fact be in violation of the common-law Public Trust Doctrine, which requires that the federal government keep and manage national resources for all Americans. Courts have upheld the policy that sale or use must be in Americans’ interest.

John Gale, conservation director for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in Missoula, Montana, said the Utah representatives were pushing the bills despite their proven unpopularity.

“It’s not only an assault on our traditions,” Gale said. “It’s the idea that they’re stealing that from our children.”

Monday, January 30, 2017

Clear Violation

All the many ways Trump’s Muslim ban goes against the Constitution.

People protest against the travel ban imposed by President Donald Trump’s executive order at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport international arrivals gate on Sunday. Laura Buckman/Reuters

President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and noncitizens states that one of its purposes is to ensure that people admitted to the country “support the Constitution.” It’s clear from the rest of the order, which runs afoul of a number of constitutional provisions, that the president does not. 

How unconstitutional is the Trump executive order? Let us count the ways.

Following initial victories won in court by tireless lawyers working at our nation’s airports, in the coming days a new phase of litigation will begin. Lawsuits will turn to the constitutionality of the entire order, and not just how it affects the scores of individuals unconstitutionally detained in the U.S., but all of those affected abroad. Many wonder whether early victories will last. After all, the president has substantial power to oversee immigration. But this order violates not just one but a gamut of mutually reinforcing constitutional rights—and that is why it should not last in the courts.  

As law professors who teach constitutional law and immigration law, we fully recognize that executive power over immigration has long been described by courts as broad, even “plenary,” and sometimes able to, well, trump the rights of noncitizens. Yet that power is also committed to Congress, which passed no law authorizing this order. And noncitizens still have constitutional rights, sometimes quite strong ones. 

How unconstitutional is the Trump executive order? Let us count the ways:

1. Equal Protection. This order raises discrimination concerns surrounding the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, singling out individuals for their religion and nationality by focusing on seven predominantly Muslim countries. Additionally, our immigration laws already forbid such discrimination in issuing visas.

2. First Amendment. The order raises religious freedom concerns, including issues surrounding the ban on government establishment of religion. The law suspends admission of all refugees but asks the secretary of homeland security to “prioritize refugee claims” by members of a “minority religion” in a given country. This effectively means explicitly deprioritizing Muslim refugees in majority-Muslim countries. As Mark Joseph Stern has explained, the apparent preference for Christians of the order itself as well as Trump’s long history of comments supporting a “Muslim ban” will not help the law’s success in the courts.

3. Due Process. The procedures used to enforce the order, if they can be called procedures, are arbitrary. Past Supreme Court cases have permitted individuals to be excluded at the border but only after some modicum of individualized review and administrative process, authorized by laws and regulations. A lack of due process under the Fifth and 14th amendments for those affected should not be hard to show, considering the hasty, sweeping changes enacted without administrative process or legislation, confusion on the ground, and reports of outright refusal to follow court orders. Moreover, green card holders and lawful permanent residents have enhanced rights against arbitrary treatment. This is true not just on U.S. soil or at the border but also for persons abroad.

4. Habeas Corpus. Lawyers at airports have been filing habeas corpus petitions around the clock for people being detained. In recent years, the Supreme Court strengthened the protections of habeas corpus for noncitizens repeatedly in rulings in cases brought by Guantánamo detainees. Less known were earlier rulings strengthening protections for noncitizens in detention facing removal, such as Zadvydas v. Davis. The national security or “plenary” power over immigration did not faze the justices in such rulings.

5. Fundamental Rights. The tragic stories of separated families bring out yet another constitutional right at stake that few have commented on: The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the importance of the fundamental right to family relationships. Family reunification is also of primary importance in immigration law. 

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges emphasized how multiple constitutional rights magnified the harm of denying same-sex couples the right to marry. “The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. The constitutional violations in that case were made worse because there was discrimination—over something as important as the fundamental right to marry. Today, these constitutional violations are worse because the order discriminates on the basis of religion, nationality, and ethnicity, over rights as important as due process, the right to family relationships, and the right not to be excluded unlawfully. The equal protection, due process, First Amendment, habeas, and fundamental rights violations that we describe are important standing along but even more devastating to the legality of the order when seen in tandem. As we have written in a 2015 article for the Boston University Law Review, constitutional rights magnify their power when they share reinforcing interests.

There will always be cases where national security interests outweigh constitutional rights. But those should be handled on a case-by-case basis and not as a ban that stereotypes and discriminates against an entire group of people. Lawmakers should step in to reaffirm through legislation that national security regulation can be done right, and constitutionally. In the meantime, the courts should strike down this order as unconstitutional in its entirety.

Kerry Abrams is professor of law at the University of Virginia School of Law. 

Brandon Garrett is the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.  He is currently working on a new book, End of its Rope: How the Demise of the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice for Harvard University Press.