Jul 13, 2021 - Podcasts

The deer problem

It’s the ever-famous shark week on the Discovery Channel this week -- but if we’re talking about deadly animals, did you know that deer are actually the deadliest in America? They’re the cause of death for about 200 Americans a year in collisions with cars, and injure tens of thousands. Felix Salmon says it's a market failure, and he has a solution.

  • Plus, an update on the crisis in Haiti.
  • And, Denver hopes the MLB All-Star Game will be a big boost for the city.

Guests: The Miami Herald's Jacqueline Charles, Axios' Felix Salmon and John Frank.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, Amy Pedulla, Naomi Shavin, and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected]. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

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NIALA BOODHOO: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today!

It’s Tuesday, July 13th. I’m Niala Boodhoo.

Here’s how we’re making you smarter today: what an All Star Game can do for a struggling city. Plus, Felix Salmon’s solution for the nationwide problem of deep overpopulation.

But first, today’s One Big Thing: the crisis -- and the mystery -- deepen in Haiti.

A Haitian doctor with ties to Florida was arrested yesterday as the suspected leader in the plot to assassinate Haitian president Jovenel Moïse. International teams have been arriving on the scene in Port-au-Prince to help in the investigation into the murder, while the country’s political crisis grows... I called a former colleague of mine from the Miami Herald for more -- Jacqueline Charles is a longtime Caribbean correspondent. And she spoke to us from on the street in Port-au-Prince.

I asked her what we know about U.S. involvement in the crisis right now.

JACQUELINE CHARLES: A doctor Pristina Emmanuelle Sanon. He is a Haitian doctor, we assume because we do not have any evidence if he is a doctor in Florida, but he was arrested as one of the leaders of this assassination.

We were told that they currently have 18 Colombians in custody to Haitian Americans. And now Dr. Sanon, who makes a third Haitian from Florida, who has been connected to this, So outside of the individuals that they have in custody, the investigation is still ongoing.

NIALA: What do we know about the U S involvement at this point?

JACQUELINE: Well, at this point, we know that acting Haitian prime minister Paul Joseph has requested additional help, both in terms of troops. So there was a team that arrived, um, over the weekend, along with a delegation from the state department, department of justice in national security council, which were addressing the political.

Aside of this issue, but this other team came in to do an evaluation of Haiti security, as it relates to the airport to Seaport and meeting with the police. We know that Haiti has had huge insecurity issues. The police are overwhelmed, they've also requested help in terms of the FBI to assist with the investigation. there is a team from Columbia that includes Interpol police officers who are helping put together the pieces of this puzzle.

And at identifying who these individuals are, what was their purpose? When did they come into Haiti who paid for their flight and what exactly was their marketing?

NIALA: There's a lot of questions here, Jackie, what are you watching for this week?

JACQUELINE: More information to help us get down to the bottom of this huge mystery. How does somebody enter the president's private residence, where he is guarded by members of his security detail gain access, not just to the grounds, but to the house and then to his bed. It We're also looking to see what's happening here in Haiti. Today we have three different individuals that are vying to take charge of this country. So the constitution does not have a provision for what happens when a president dies is killed or leaves office and parliament does not exist. So, you know, that is why we had to segregation from the state department, department of justice, as well as from the NSC that arrived to meet with all three of these political.

And to try to figure out, Hey, can you guys come together and come to a consensus? This is a country that's already volatile that was already dealing with a number of different crises. Hold it there still not a vaccine available in Haiti and the numbers are going up. There's a humanitarian crisis is a malnutrition crisis. And of course it's the political, social, economic, constitutional prices.

And everybody wants to avoid having any of those crises deepen, widen, and where you're in a situation in Haiti where. It it's even more unlivable for the people that are here.

NIALA: Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald stay safe. Thank you.

JACQUELINE: Thank you.

NIALA: Just 50 miles of ocean separate Haiti from another Caribbean country in turmoil…. In Cuba, thousands have been in the streets over the last few days, protesting an economic crisis that’s led to shortages of food and medicine. The pandemic has made the situation more dire -- and President Miguel Díaz-Canel told the country in a televised address that he blamed the US trade sanctions. Here’s what President Biden said yesterday:

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I don't think we've seen anything like this, uh, in a long, long time, if quite frankly ever, um, the United States stands firmly with the people in Cuba, as they assert their universal rights.

NIALA: We’ll have more on this story tomorrow.

We’ll be back in 15 seconds with the mile high city’s high hopes for the All Star Games.

NIALA: Welcome back to Axios Today. I'm Niala Boodhoo.

Major League Baseball's All-Star Game is today in Denver and local officials are hoping the game is the economic shot in the arm the city needs to recover from the past year. Denver isn't the only city hoping a big event like this will help them.

But John Frank who writes the Axios Denver newsletter says we've got to temper expectations. Good morning, John.

JOHN FRANK: Morning.

NIALA: First - how's the city preparing for the game?

JOHN: The city didn't have much time to prepare because just back earlier this spring is when Major League Baseball decided to move it to Denver from Atlanta. But what we're seeing on the ground is a mass mobilization to get all these events together.

NIALA: Do we know how much it's cost the city to get ready for all of this?

JOHN: We still don't have those estimates and that's a big number to keep in mind because you have to almost deduct that in a way from the economic incentives that come from the game. When you talk to economic experts, they'll tell you that these gains don't necessarily bring in as much money or tourism as you might expect.

For instance, a decade old study that looked at Major League All-Star games found they didn't boost employment in their host cities and only did a little bit when it came to tourism dollars and that's in part because it costs the city. And also the fact that we would have had visitors here in Denver that weekend anyway.

NIALA: Could an event like this help in any way with long-term recovery?

JOHN: That's what the mayor is hoping. He sees this as a moment for the city to really shine. And he's even suggesting that we'll see a long-term tourism boost because the people that are here this weekend will want to come back. He really sees this as a big moment to move Denver past the pandemic and fill up downtown which has been slow to recover because workers aren't coming back and because we're not seeing the tourists that we originally were hoping for.

NIALA: Axios Denver's John Frank. Thanks, John.

JOHN: Thank you.

NIALA: It’s the ever famous Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, but if we're talking about deadly animals, did you know that deer are actually the deadliest in America? They're the cause of death for about 200 Americans a year in collision with cars and another 30,000 are injured. Our own Felix Salmon says this isn't just a tragedy. It's a market failure, and he has a solution for us. Good morning, Felix.

FELIX: Good morning, Niala. Did you have venison for breakfast this morning?

NIALA: I did not have venison. I do not eat a lot of meat, but Felix, I think we should start this conversation with a disclaimer. I don't know that we can talk about journalistic impartiality for you when it comes to deer.

FELIX: What, just because they call them rats with legs?

NIALA: Just because of that, yes.

FELIX: Well, they are pests, right? They are generally agreed to be pests. Environmentalists hate them. Gardeners hate them. They just eat up all of the natural undergrowth, which is where all the natural songbirds live. They eat your vegetable gardens. They eat your saplings, so if you want to grow trees to absorb carbon and save the planet, you hate deer. There's really no reason to like deer, except that they are actually extremely tasty.

NIALA: [laughs] Is that your proposed solution?

FELIX: Yes! We should-we shouldn't let them run around, running into cars and killing people. Instead, we should eat them.

NIALA: But why isn't wild deer or venison widely sold in the U.S.? Just as a serious market question.

FELIX: You can shoot a deer and eat it. But, what you can't do is sell it. We have people across America who have like massive chest freezers full of wild game that they shot, but we just don't have a market in it. And that's why it's a market failure. If you buy venison in America, it is going to be kind of bland tasteless stuff that was raised on a farm. Can you imagine anything crazier than raising deer on a farm to turn into venison? They are infesting half of the country. We need fewer of them. The last thing we need is to raise them on a farm.

NIALA: Axios’ Chief Financial Correspondent Felix Salmon with his market solution for deer. Thanks, Felix.

FELIX: Thanks, Niala.

NIALA: That’s all we’ve got for you today! You can reach our team at [email protected] or reach out to me on Twitter. You can also text me feedback and story ideas to (202) 918-4893.

I’m Niala Boodhoo - thanks for listening - stay safe and we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.

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