Thursday, December 18, 2014

Water Writes (Rights)

Yesterday I was listening to an old CSPAN podcast of a Supreme Court water rights argument in the
case of Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado.  There are some interesting points that arise in the case as you listen to the SC Justices integrate the prosecution or petitioner and the defendants.

The Case
At issue is violation of both the Republican River Compact and known wrong doing, which seems to arise as a separate issue in my opinion.  Let me simplify this and get to the point because it is made out to be a typical overly complex litigation with meaning getting lost in the language.

These three states made a compact about use of the Republican River.  The violations go back over 10 years.  Nebraska had under estimated water use requirements and violated their use because they argue that the tools to estimate water needs was not accurate enough.  One of their models for the baseline analysis was the dust bowl era.  Seemingly that would be a valuable baseline for water minimums, and it is.  However as it turns out, that water minimum is not the lowest water levels that have been reached over the time since their compact.  Now you might be able to see where this is going.

Colorado is supporting Nebraska's argument, but Kansas is arguing that modifications in the compact are not allowable without acceptable revision (simplified here).  Further Kansas states that such revisions are a "threat" to their water rights; there is also no precedence for addressing disputes for violations of the Compact as can also be found in the Cornell review of that case.

Now there are other factors in the conversation but I am choosing not to go into those because I am not necessarily going in that direction.  As a last note Justices Ginsberg, Alito, Roberts and  Scalia-- as to my memory.

The bigger issue here is the value of water itself.  When considering the volume of water, it is one matter.  And clearly at risk is future violations and what exactly those violations mean going forward if there is not real consequence.  But also this should be an alarm for the real threat of water availability and scarcity.  As we encounter greater concerns over usable water an pollution of it from farms and other industrial requirements for water, how much influence do we as citizens have over this water.

As individuals we lack the power in most cases to even bring our arguments to the Supreme Court, yet our concerns are no less valuable.  Granted that we are getting use from the water that is stated in this case, but I am more concerned about the very nature of the argument that Kansas is making, which is how do we generate consequences for a dispute that satisfies an individual, let alone a state?

Oh!  I found it very interesting that one of the Justices (I believe it to be Justice Scalia) made a point of saying that if better ways of measuring water consumption from the River,  become available that doesn't necessarily meant that you are suppose to continually ask this court to make allowable revisions in the Compact.   Now it is my understanding that the whole point of law is to adapt when things are not accurately accounted for including human behavior relative to the greater good or violations of ideologies that were once though to be sufficient as in the case of civil rights arguments.

This is probably enough to marinate on but it does get you thinking about the importance of water and perhaps how we should elevate our awareness of what it actually means to and in our society.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Over Simplification

Today I had a task, seemed simple enough... WAIT!

It's rarely that simple.  Let's talk about the task first.  On the front of an off road vehicle or SUV as
some call it, there is a bull grill or a grill guard.  This device is used to add to the physical appeal of the vehicle or if you live in the high country can be used to fend off large animals that cross the road in the high country area (obviously this could be low lying country areas as well).

There are four bolts and nuts that hold on that grill.  As you might imagine these bolts and nuts are not the typical nuts and bolts you would simply use around the house.  They are stainless steel, with heavy duty threads.  They are designed to hold a heavy load and maintain their strength under more than typical stress.

I was suppose to remove these nuts and bolts as a courtesy to someone close to me.  "...just borrow the neighbors tools..."  First mistake, letting someone who knows nothing about automotive tasks offer directions to a task that will require some time and effort.  Correction some time and a great amount of effort.  But in an attempt to satisfy her request and frustration with my rejection of the task, I took it on.

Now my better senses would have simply said, there is a shop that can do this quicker and easier than the amount of energy I would have to put in; that would have been the smart thing to do, but I did not do that.  Mistake!

So what is the real problem here.  The highest concern is that I would injure myself carrying out this task without the proper tools that would make this task easier.  All the other party is concerned with is carrying out the task that meets their satisfaction, while I am considering all the other factors including injuring myself for one simple reason... sorry two reasons: 1) I know much more about what I am doing 2) I am concerned with more than just the task.  You see often other people are not concerned with the risk simply because, if they are not experienced in the matter, they can psychologically distance themselves from the risk since the risk is not their own; or to phrase it better, they have nothing to lose, including serious injury.

There is yet another issue.  The quality of the work being done.  A comprehensive knowledge also means your results will be much output if you are seriously concerned with your input.  Or let's put it another way, your output is determined by your input.

So in the future, one of the best conversations you can have with someone is to tell them to inquire as to the level of involvement with a task.  If they better understand what is involved, they are more likely to reconsider what they are asking of you.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Greatest Love

Love is not  reserved for one person.

The greatest Love is all the Love I've ever known and all that sstill awaits.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Efficient Outcomes

We live in a world that is flawed by you, and everyone you do and don't know.  Those everyone's are humans; homo sapiens that reside at the top of the food chain but way below the chain of common sense.

Not to beat up on humans, I love being one, but let's take a look at some primary accusations the rest of living organisms might make if they could, well...only find a way to communicate with us.  One perfect example can be found in a book titled Ishmael.  While I don't purport this novel to answer humanities failures, but it does probe into the culture of our behavior. 

We lack the ability to respond to a fundamental reality of finite resources because in an economic system the value of these resources are externalities that hold little meaning in comparison to wealth building in financial terms.  We fail miserably in efficient outcomes.

Why?  A culture of belief that never ending consumption, is the key to our remaining at the top of the evolutionary chain.  This includes development, a term that has evolved from the establishment of civilization. Humans have a tendency to conquer rather than coexist.  As Darwin might say, survival is based on one's ability to thrive over another organism.  Evidence of this can be seen not only in grand edifice as a symbol of human greatness, but in our crowing achievement of eliminating disease.

To be certain, there is no turning back the magnitude of our achievement, though cataclysmic they may be in
scale.  Sure we will see glimpses of a change in the tides but culture is a difficult thing to change.  Not only are we slow to respond, in many cases we are just to late.  It is human culture that  is the greatest contributor to the accelerating background extinction rate, dominating the landscape with estimates from 1000 to 10,000 times normal extinction rates of other living organisms-- that is the impact of a civilized society.  Wikipedia has a very interesting way of stating it, as long as species have been evolving, species have been going extinct; no species is evolving faster than humans.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Visiting Africa


How do you see South Africa.  It is  a beautiful place but not without its challenges.

Faces of Africa is a compilation of video and still photography of recent travels there

Enjoy the Africa video link here

Thank you all for your feedback, I am really glad you enjoyed it!