Coach of the death penalty

SeaWorld has challenged a $12,000 penalty and an order prohibiting "close contact" between its staff and killer whales during performances.
WASHINGTON — Florida’s SeaWorld has a killer whale of a case coming before an influential court.
Represented by a high-powered attorney with a famous pedigree, SeaWorld is challenging a federal penalty imposed after the February 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau. The veteran trainer died after being dragged underwater by Tilikum, a bull orca based at SeaWorld’s Orlando, Fla., facility.
Animal rights activists and corporate officials alike are watching closely Ergonomic seating, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit prepares for the crucial oral arguments Tuesday. More than a monetary fine is on the line.
“There are certainly broader implications for SeaWorld,” Jared Goodman, an attorney for the PETA Foundation, an animal rights group, said in an interview Friday. “They’re continuing to fight this, because they are trying to get their trainers back into the water with the whales.”
The 30-minute argument Tuesday morning will itself be a bit of a show, as the appellate court has relocated it to the Georgetown University Law Center. Eugene Scalia, the Labor Department’s former top lawyer and the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is representing SeaWorld.
Substantively, the case involves the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s response to Brancheau’s death. OSHA, which is part of the Labor Department, imposed what’s now a $12,000 penalty, as well as additional safety requirements. The company’s appeal of the OSHA penalty was directed to the D.C.-based appellate court.
For SeaWorld, part of a larger company that includes Busch Gardens, the proposed fine amounts to a drop in the bucket. More troublesome for the company is the Labor Department’s accompanying order prohibiting “close contact” between its staff and killer whales during performances. If it remains intact, that prohibition could sap some of the crowd-thrilling zing at SeaWorld shows.
“For us the case is about the safety of our trainers and the welfare of our animals. The ways in which we interact with these whales is critical for both,” Fred Jacobs, a vice president at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, said in an email Friday. “It really comes down to what SeaWorld has done every day for nearly 50 years: share killer whales with our guests in ways that are enriching g-suite cardinal manchester, educational and inspiring.”
More broadly still, the case could set a precedent for other regulatory actions that involve workplace protections and responsibilities. Rulings by the D.C. circuit court can be influential because they cover the broad range of federal government administrative actions.
The case involves the so-called “general duty clause” of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which requires employers to provide “a place of employment which (is) free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” A key question is whether SeaWorld violated this duty in having a 120-pound trainer become so intimate with a 12,000-pound, 22-foot-long marine mammal.
“On rare occasions, killer whales can be dangerous,” Scalia and his colleagues acknowledged in a legal brief. “SeaWorld has taken extraordinary measures to control that risk. But it cannot eliminate it while facilitating the interaction between humans and whales that is integral to its mission.”
On Feb. 24, 2010, the 40-year-old Brancheau was leading a routine afternoon show at SeaWorld’s Shamu Stadium. As subsequently recounted by the Labor Department, she was reclining on a platform a few inches below the surface of the water. Tilikum was supposed to mimic her behavior by rolling onto his back. Instead, Tilikum grabbed Brancheau and pulled her off the platform into the pool.
“She could not break free,” one witness, John Topoleski, subsequently testified.
Tilikum held on to Brancheau for about 45 minutes before other trainers could coerce the animal into a smaller pool and retrieve the trainer’s battered body. It wasn’t the first such fatality attributed to Tilikum.
In February 1991, while housed in Canada, Tilikum grabbed a trainer by the thigh and kept submerging her. Witnesses estimated that the trainer was “conscious for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour” before drowning, Labor Department attorneys subsequently recounted. The next year, SeaWorld bought Tilikum and moved the animal to Orlando, where officials instituted special safety procedures.
“SeaWorld’s training program is highly detailed, well-communicated and intensive. Yet it cannot remove the element of unpredictability inherent in working with killer whales,” Administrative Law Judge Ken S. Welsch subsequently wrote.
In appealing, SeaWorld contends that it shouldn’t be required to eliminate all risk associated with an activity that’s essential to the company’s work, any more than the Labor Department could “post speed limits at Daytona or require two-hand touch in the NFL.”
The Labor Department countered with a recitation of troubling incidents involving SeaWorld’s killer whales, nuskin hk concluding that the company’s reliance on “operant conditioning” and safety protocols are “ineffective at protecting trainers from the risks of close contact with killer whales.” Instead, Labor officials want SeaWorld trainers to work behind barriers or maintain safe distances between themselves and the whales, moves that SeaWorld fears would undermine the show.

In Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena

A dog says "woof," a cat says "meow," but what does the fox say? If you follow any medium of pop culture these days, you should know the answer to this by now.
OSLO — Norway has a population of 5 million, which perhaps explains why brothers Vegard and Baard Ylvisaaker are stunned that their joke video "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" has more than 130 million hits on YouTube.
The catchy video, set partly at an animal costume party and partly in a forest, is in the top 10 of the U.S. Billboard Streaming Songs chart g-suite cardinal manchester.
The video starts with a question: "Dog goes woof, cat goes meow, bird goes tweet and mouse goes squeak...but there's one sound that no one knows: what does the fox say?"
It provides several possible, if improbable, answers: "ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringedin", "joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff" and "wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow".
The video hit 100 million views on Google's YouTube quicker than it took Korean singer PSY's "Gangnam Style", the record holder with 1.8 billion, to reach the same mark.
The brothers, who host a talk show on a Norwegian television station, have just returned home from doing the rounds of U.S. talk shows, g-suite in oldham including "Today", "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show".
"It's embarrassing but every time we meet with somebody we get asked: 'What do you want to do next?' And we say we don't know," says Vegard, 34. "But the meetings opened doors."
Brother Baard, 31, joked to Reuters that they may take over the world, g-suite cardinal or the International Space Station. "We're planning a tour of Antarctica," he threw in for good measure.
"The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" is one of several videos that the brothers make each year to promote their show "Tonight with Ylvis" on TV Norge which features routines like pranking hotel guests with a voice-activated elevator that sings and jokes or a song in homage to Norway's top peacekeeper.
The video was produced by New York-based Stargate, which works with stars like Beyoncé and Rihanna, and owed Ylvis a favor. Now the brothers get crazy requests, like to fly down to New Zealand for a five minute gig, and while they turned that down they are open to suggestions to stay ahead of competitors.
"Any day a Danish wolf song can come and we'll be so last month," Vegard joked.


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