“10 Ways the Sequester Will Expose Americans to Greater Health Risks and Other Perils”. That link-baity headline is the intro to a slew of alarmist clap-trap from the: Center for American Progress (CAP).
The truth is, it is not known which programs or projects will be cut as a result of sequestration. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post has a much more reasonable take on Congress’s inaction (unlike CAP, Klein seems to have read and comprehended the Budget Control Bill):
The sequester is set to cut spending across the board. But how? We know an awful lot about what the sequester can’t do. It can’t cut Social Security, Medicaid, military salaries or any number of of exempt programs. It can’t mess with federal pay scales. It can’t favor certain programs over others. But the actual process by which cuts are to be determined, and who is involved in that process, is more obscure.
The problem, budget experts say, is that the Budget Control Act was simultaneously very strict in its dictates and not specific about what those dictates mean. “The law states that the ‘same percentage sequestration shall apply to all programs, projects, and activities within a budget account,’ ” former OMB director Peter Orszag says. “That’s pretty restrictive, giving little room for creativity.”
What room there is comes from defining exactly what is meant by “programs,” “projects” and “activities.” “There is not a standard definition,” Stan Collender, a longtime Congressional budget hand currently at the PR firm Qorvis, explains. “It’s not something that exists anywhere else in nature.”
The world’s oldest-known wild bird — a 62-year-old albatross on Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean — is also a new mother. The bird, a Laysan albatross whom biologists have named Wisdom, hatched a chick this week, her sixth in the past six years….
The chick, which scientists describe as healthy, hatched Sunday.
The mother, by now an old pro at the finer points of the birds and the bees, received her first identification band during the Eisenhower administration, in 1956. Back then, USGS scientist Chandler Robbins estimated she was 5 years old. Since then, she has worn out five ID bands, returning year after year to lay an egg at Midway, a remote island northwest of Hawaii that was the site of a famous 1942 naval battle. Today, it’s a U.S. national wildlife refuge where hundreds of thousands of albatrosses nest every year.
Albatrosses lay only one egg a year. Legendary long-distance marvels of the animal kingdom, they fly thousands of miles across the ocean, gliding on wind currents with their large wings. They feed on fish, squid and other marine life. Researchers estimate that if Wisdom flew typical routes, she quite probably has traveled 50,000 miles a year as an adult. That’s at least 2 million to 3 million miles since she was first banded, the equivalent of four to six trips from Earth to the moon and back.
Most Laysan albatrosses live between 12 and 40 years, although some have been documented surviving into their 50s. About 70 percent of the bird’s world population nests on Midway. Researchers estimate that Wisdom has hatched up to 35 chicks in the past half-century.
Excellent city design helps older and disabled folks, too. Especially good to think about as Americans get older. Btw, the EPA, USDOT, and the FHWA all have excellent resources on adapting infrastructure for better communities.
Nice direct cycle paths for wheelchair/handbike/adaptive bike users instead of being forced on sidewalks with badly placed utility boxes and dangerous ups-and-downs of ada curbs (or worse, lack of them).
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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