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Making a Mess of Law; Congress Fails in Duty – Bold Business

In an exclusive interview with Bold Business, James Copland, Director of Legal Policy, Manhattan Institute, says that the key to legal reform in the United States is to scale back the federal regulations and give power back to Congress and the people. He states that a bold idea to tackle this regulatory overreach is to “return law-making to the Congress.”

Copland claims that Congress today, “writes broad, open-ended statutes” and they “delegate most of that rule-making to the Executive Branch.” However, experts warn that Congress has delegated too much authority. And most of that power doesn’t reside with the President; instead, it ends up being held in the halls of the hundreds of federal agencies where long-term employees shape and enforce the law.

Congress holds power to make and approve laws, to declare war, regulate commerce, establish the rules of immigration. But in many cases they cede this power to the administrative and regulatory agencies, giving them broad authority actually to make the rules and execute those rules. Of course, these agencies are loosely accountable to the President, but they are in no way accountable to the people.

If we can rein that in, then we can return some of the power to Congress and in effect to the people.

It is important to remember that the executive branch agencies could not have seized this power on their own. Congress gave it to them by failing to right laws that were detailed and specific. The good news is that this is fairly easy to remedy. Congress needs to follow the Constitution and create laws that are complete, enforceable, and understandable. When they do that, they can insist that agencies follow the law as written.

However, Congress is hugely unpopular. Today, most of the real decisions are made within the White House, in the administrative state, and by regulatory bodies.

Obama used an unprecedented number of executive orders to change laws, from healthcare to immigration, taxes to welfare, and even invoked public safety orders to give police and government agencies the upper hand over ordinary citizens when there is conflict.

Congress is the Root of the Problem

According to The Week, the problems facing the legal system in America are structural, and the root stems from Congress.

Congress is supposed to step in if the President steps beyond his prescribed role, but Congress has almost abandoned this task. Instead, they criticize from the choir, rather than exerting the power that they do have under the Constitution. It almost seems as if Congress benefits from letting agencies and the President take the blame for actions which must be done, rather than setting the guidelines and parameters from the beginning.

Congress and federal regulations agencies gathered on State of the Union in 2005

“The administrative actions that Congress has been delegating to the executive branch fundamentally reshape the way our government works. If we can rein that in, then we can return some of the power to Congress and in effect to the people, and if we can get the judges to do common sense reviews of these regulatory actions then we’ll be making real progress by scaling back the federal regulations state,” Copland said.

Congress previously passed the REINS Act, which allowed them to take back some of the power from the executive branch. REINS has been hailed victorious because it gives the people’s representatives a final say over how the laws they pass are executed. However, the act only concerns economically significant on federal regulations agencies of over 100 million USD.

It may well take many bold actions by Congress to restore the balance of power.

James Copland is a Senior Fellow and a Director of Legal Policy at the Manhattan Institute. He was named to the National Association of Corporate Directors “Directorship 100” list, which designates the individuals most influential over U.S. corporate governance. Before joining the Manhattan Institute, Copland was a Law Clerk for Ralph K. Winter on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a Management Consultant with McKinsey and Company in New York.

 

Innovative Train Technology To Prevent Train Crashes

Trains have largely been displaced by cars, trucks, buses and planes within the United States. Trains as an option for traveling is typically used as a last priority, except for those who commute daily from the suburbs to the city.

…firefighters would be able to assess the situation before they have to enter the impacted area. This innovation could help save the lives of firefighters, trapped citizens, and emergency response teams.

In Europe and parts of Asia, particularly Japan and South Korea, there are modern high-speed train systems which commuters prefer for the faster travel time, comfort, and excellent service. In these countries, there is a real dependence on consistent train service. However, one problem that rail systems have in common with roads and highways is that accidents still happen, even in a controlled environment.

The Transportation Technology Center is a place where train safety is currently under study. They have a 52 square mile training and research facility in Pueblo, Colorado. Their aim is to develop new innovative technologies in order to prevent accidents and future derailments. The facility has train tracks where train accidents are simulated. These include various types of trains at different speeds, as well as cargo and weight configurations. The Center is isolated from the general population, and as a matter of policy, no cameras are allowed except those which are used to record the experiments.

Detecting Cracked Train Wheels

Some of the most important research being done deals with detecting cracked wheels. The stresses on a wheel sometimes can cause it to break. This is due to microscopic stress points on the wheel itself. Trying to detect these stress points can be tedious, considering the number of wheels, cars, flat beds and vans. In order to be cost-effective, and to make sure that all the wheels are inspected, the method of inspection has to be quick and give a high probability of being correct. There are several methods for this, including thermal imaging.

Train Safety Improvement Needs Innovative Train Technology

When a wheel cracks while the train is rolling, it leaves more work and pressure for the other wheels to compensate. In some instances, the wheel breaking up can also cause the cab to jump off the tracks. Depending on what happens to the wheel, the cab and the rest of the train can completely halt, derail, or even uncouple.

Nowadays, ultrasound pictures are taken to detect cracked wheels. This is a fast and easy method and could easily be used to prevent any unforeseen accidents.

Another important safety aspect that the Center is studying involves positive train control. This is a computerized procedure where the train slows down automatically when it approaches a curve, or a red light. Due to the nature of the tracks and curves, signals are used to inform the train engineers when there is another train on the track, track conditions, as well as warning lights.

The Center is also studying the use of sensor-dropping drones which can be used to evaluate fires or chemical spills. These complications can cause clouds of material or smoke to appear, hindering the use of cameras. Utilizing the sensors, firefighters would be able to assess the situation before they have to enter the impacted area. This innovation could help save the lives of firefighters, trapped citizens, and emergency response teams.

These are just a few of the bold technologies which can be used for safe train travel, as well as for rescue and firefighting. These technologies are all tested on site before they can be deployed in the field. As the transportation industry continues to evolve, it is critical for technology to take a bold action into train innovations. Without these ideas being implemented successfully, we will carry on seeing a steady decline of trains across the US.

Mental Health Digital Technology: The Need to Jumpstart its Slow Progress

In the great health care debates, mental health is often one of the first items to be cut. The uncertainty has led to a situation in which there has been relatively little innovation and modernization over the years. Yet, it is a field in which technology could be hugely helpful—saving cost and improving lives. Many of the bold ideas that could impact mental health are already used in other fields. A bit of bold action to adapt them could lead to a bold impact on people everywhere. And advancing the development of mental health digital technology is a must.

Mental health has been impacted by the way the Affordable Health Care Act debate played out. The question has those in the mental health industry and who need mental health care concerned with the long-term funding for these programs. The issue may be political—however, the results affect a wide range of people. In the debate about how to reduce costs, mental health appears to be a low priority item in terms of health insurance coverage. Additionally, people already suffering from mental health illness don’t seek help when they need it, to avoid having it affect their health insurance costs. However, according to the National Alliance for Mental Health, approximately 1 of every 5 adults has a mental health problem.

The Need To Develop Mental Health Digital Technology

In terms of utilizing innovative technology through digital health apps, products, and devices, there has not been much development. The current initiative is focused on wearables, as well as on early detection of diseases and health monitoring. Unfortunately, there is not much initiative today in making apps specifically for mental health uses.

The truth is that these tools are already available, but developers have not taken a look at mental health as a field where these digital tools can be useful. Such is the plight of a mental health digital technology. This situation may seem short-sighted, but it’s considered an oversight more than anything else. Yet, there are fields of study and specializations in IT which can be utilized today to help professionals treat or handle mental health patients.

Journaling for Mental Health

A journaling app is important for the patient to keep monitoring how they feel, as well as get an idea of their mental status. They can talk to the app or key in what they are feeling. A journal app should be secure and, at the same time, portable and accessible across other platforms. The therapist can access the data and keep track of their patient’s behavior between visits. The visits remain as important as ever. But with the constant monitoring via the journals, therapists can have a better idea of what is happening daily and if the patient is improving.

a photo of a therapist holding a notebook and and male patient holding a phone while speaking to each other amid the need to jumpstart the development of mental health digital technology
With mental health digital technology, a journal app can be a helpful tool for both patient and therapist!

Artificial Intelligence and Health Care

There is a large push towards artificial intelligence and machine learning, especially as these are already being used for smart devices and smart homes. Nevertheless, when coupled with a smart device, an app with a dedicated AI can effectively help patients. One problem patients have is the need to talk to their therapists on a regular basis, as well as the need to talk to their therapists in an emergency situation. One possible solution to this issue involves having an AI app with customized or scripted answers that can respond to a patient in distress.

AI can be taught to talk to the patient when the need arises. The script can follow standard discussion threads, which are designed to help alleviate the patient’s situation. With the help of AI and ML, these threads can be tailored to a person’s specific needs.

Mental Health Digital Technology: Big Data Yields Health Rewards

During this process, there is a ton of new data available for the AI to mine and comprehend. This case is due to the interactions that occur between the patient and the AI, allowing a patient profile to be gathered. Big data is what powers AI. One aspect of big data is that by using an app, this information can be mined by the therapist as well. With careful study of the data, the therapist can better understand clues about a person’s mental health, thus helping the therapist prepare for the patient’s future visits.

These bold ideas can change the lives of many mental health patients across the country. It is time to take bold action and implement these ideas to improve the lives of 1 in 5 people in America.

Yale Entrepreneurship: Yale Students Impact the Food Business Industry

Fresh, affordable and healthy food options are at the center of several recent startups that have one other thing in common— Yale entrepreneurship. That means their founders are either current students or alumni of Yale University. Their companies are in sync with their generation’s trend towards health-conscious foods. They also are showing they have an eye for healthy profits. The health and wellness market is projected to be the next trillion-dollar industry. Healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss sales have collectively grossed $277 billion—just behind beauty & anti-aging products at $679 billion, and fitness & mind/body exercise at $390 billion.

Today, more and more Yale entrepreneurship ‘fruits’—that is “Yalies”—have explored the possibility of creating food businesses. Zoni Foods co-founders Nilofer Ahmed (SOM ‘16) and Zoë Lloyd (FES/SOM ‘17)—who both took their MBAs at Yale—say that convenience, health, and sustainability are the primary reasons many fellow Yale students and grads launched similar ventures. They took that good idea and put some bold action behind it, to create an entirely new food line.

Ahmed states that this generation’s lifestyle led her and Lloyd to create their frozen fresh meal kit company. The two banded together to create easy, healthy and affordable food—a holy trinity that many college students used to only dream of.

Yale Entrepreneurship Highlight: Zoni Foods

Zoni Foods is something the duo would have wanted for themselves—access to reasonably priced food that doesn’t skimp on nutrition or ease of preparation. On their website, they have stated they were “frustrated by the lack of healthy, convenient meal options on the market to get them through the midweek time crunch”.

Meals from their upcoming frozen product line are all plant-based and easy to prepare. They cook in a single pan on your stovetop. Each flash-frozen meal kit, such as their Sweet Potato Spirals in Cashew Garlic Sauce or Lentil-Kale-Mushroom Fritters, have only three cooking steps and are done in less than 15 minutes. They also come with a recommended additional protein, herb and wine or beer pairings, so food choices can feel as personalized and homemade as needed.

Perfect Food Trio: Healthy, Affordable, Easy

Ahmed says that students and young professionals are busy and often spontaneous, which makes them “want the flexibility of having something in the freezer”. This entrepreneurial move by the duo has been well-researched and is only one of the many food-related companies that have started by Yale students in the past few years.

Most meals do not fit perfectly into the healthy meal Venn diagram. That is why many people get frustrated with current food options and led to new and innovative ideas from the “Yalies” as a response. It’s no surprise that the Ivy League institution located in New Haven, Connecticut is No. 8 on the list of United States’s top universities that order vegan and vegetarian, coming in at 130 percent above average—as compared to other universities.

Junzi Kitchen was co-founded by three Yale graduates, namely Yong Zhao (FES ’08 Ph.D. ’15), Wanting Zhang (FES ’11) and Ming Bai (ART ’13). They are one of several Yale entrepreneurship food startups that were granted $100,000 from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI) Innovation Fund last January. Junzi is quite popular in New Haven’s Broadway scene. They have Northern Chinese food reimagined into easy-to-eat forms like wraps (a.k.a. “bings”) and made-to-order noodle dishes, which include braised meats, Chinese vegetables, pickles, garnishes and sauce. Even back in 2015 when they started, The Tab (a university news network) labeled the restaurant as one that will “revolutionize American fast food”. The restaurant also recently opened a new location near Columbia University. The startup owners are maintaining both locations within the tri-state area.

a photo of meal choices from Zoni—a startup brought about by Yale entrepreneurship
Meals from Zoni’s upcoming frozen product line are all plant-based and easy to prepare.

Other Startups Brought About by Yale Entrepreneurship

Another company co-founded by two Yale undergrads is Chops Snacks, the second Yale entrepreneurship startup that received a $100,000 grant from the YEI Innovation Fund. The beef jerky business that Luke Sellers (YC ‘17) and Aaron Jones (YC ‘17) created improved on Sellers’ father-in-law’s original small idea. The pair banked on creating tender beef jerky that uses only high-quality ingredients, especially premium USDA Choice & Select beef brisket, for easy-to-chew and flavorful jerky.

Walden Hill—a food venture by Jennifer Milikowsky (MBA/FES ‘15)—was created to support local farmers in New England. She, along with Tylan Calcagni, built the business around sustainable acorn-fed pork. “From the farmers to the chefs, to the butchers, it’s exciting to help support local agriculture and connect all these different pieces,” says Milikowsky. As a result, both cooks and customers alike have nothing but praise for the tastier pork.

Four Yale undergrads Matt Czarnecki (YC ‘18), Andre Monteiro (YC ‘18), Bennett Byerley (YC ‘19), and Isaac Morrier (YC ‘17) created Verb Energy Inc. What started as Czarnecki’s dorm room pitch, Verb is all about caffeinated energy bars powered by green tea and a few other recognizable, simple ingredients. The idea of an automatically renewed subscription allows buyers to have discounted Verb bars delivered to their door with no need to reorder, thus saving customers time and money. Yale entrepreneurship alumni Kevin Ryan—who founded Business Insider—helped fund the project along with YEI’s fellowship.

Food Startups From Yale Students Are on a Roll!

Other YEI-supported food startups include: Umi, a home-cooked food delivery service by Jason Gilliland (LAW ‘17) and Khalil Tawil (LAW ‘18); Re-Harvest Foods, a guilt-free snacking service conceived by Cat Wu (SOM ‘17); Renewal Mill, a sustainable food production company by Sumit Kadakia (MEM/MBA ‘16) and Claire Schlemme (MEM ‘11) created FiberPro™, a flour blend that has white flour taste but whole wheat nutrients; and, lastly, Mud Snacks, a gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar snack brand by Georgiana Wagemann (YC ‘15) and Tess Maggio (YC ‘16).

These bold Yale entrepreneurship ideas by students and graduates alike all have one major thing in common: answering the demand for food that meets the needs and wants of an entire generation. “Our lives are frantic, we’re eating on the go, and our values have changed,” Ahmed explains. “We’re thinking about what we’re eating and the impact it’s having.”