I'm sure you've run across this little episode in the annals of Sun City, Arizona (where but Arizona?), but now it's been set to music:
What more can I say?
What more can I say?
Thirteen million years ago, as many as seven different species of crocodiles hunted in the swampy waters of what is now northeastern Peru, new research shows. This hyperdiverse assemblage, revealed through more than a decade of work in Amazon bone beds, contains the largest number of crocodile species co-existing in one place at any time in Earth's history, likely due to an abundant food source that forms only a small part of modern crocodile diets: mollusks like clams and snails. The work, published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, helps fill in gaps in understanding the history of the Amazon's remarkably rich biodiversity. . . .
Before the Amazon basin had its river, which formed about 10.5 million years ago, it contained a massive wetland system, filled with lakes, embayments, swamps, and rivers that drained northward toward the Caribbean, instead of today's pattern of eastward river flow to the Atlantic Ocean. Knowing the kind of life that existed at that time is crucial to understanding the history and origins of modern Amazonian biodiversity. But although invertebrates like mollusks and crustaceans are abundant in Amazonian fossil deposits, evidence of vertebrates other than fish have been very rare.
Credit: Copyright Aldo Benites-Palomino
The Center for American Progress, states it would cost more than $50 Billion to deport the entire population that the president is protecting.
And here's the deal - I've never heard of a Republican (and I will stand corrected if any Republican corrects me) I've never heard of a Republican complaining when President Eisenhower used his executive order power to help immigrants, when President Nixon did the same thing to protect immigrants, when President Ronald Reagan, their hero, protected immigrants, when George Bush Sr. protected immigrants, when George W. protected immigrants, they all used their authority.
Show me one Republican that stood up and said, 'Oh, this is outrageous! Let's impeach the president!' But it's President Obama. And they're annoyed because he won twice. Sorry. Sorry. Wake up and smell the roses. He IS the President. And he is doing the right thing for America, because he loves America. So I say to my Republican friends. There's a presidential race coming. Forget this last one. Get over it. Okay? Let's work together. Listen, I served with five presidents. I'm a strong Democrat. Everyone will tell you that. But I respect the office of the presidency. If I didn't agree with Ronald Reagan, I came down here and said it. But we had the respect back and forth. If we lost, we lost. And we moved on. And that worked both ways. I know what it is not to like the policies of a president. I get it. But don't overdo it and make it so personal. Get on with it.
Grow up. Do your job, you know? Do your job! Have respect for the office of the presidency.
Don't suddenly say executive orders are bad when the president you don't like does it, but you don't say one word when a Republican president does the same thing!
Regardless of where one stands on Ukraine or Vladimir Putin, just for a moment consider where the pro-family movement would be if it hadn’t been for the Ukraine coup. Russia would still be (relatively speaking) a respected member of the international community offering an alternative, genuinely pro-family model for social policy. There would likely be at least a half-dozen nations which would have adopted the anti-propaganda law for themselves (with many more considering it) and there would be a healthy international debate raging on pro-family vs LGBT visions for the future. I believe the tide would probably have begun to turn in our favor, at least on the global scene, if not yet in the US or EU. Is it really so far-fetched to believe that morally wicked, Imperialistic, Alinsky-ite Obama (credibly alleged to be a homosexual himself) started the Ukrainian civil war to punish Russia for opposing the 'core value' of America, the priority of his State Department? Or (more importantly to the 'gays') to prevent the Russians from leading a pro-family counter-revolution in the world?
Noted activist Scott Wooledge, who you'll recall played an instrumental role in the identifying of the three gay bashers currently on trial for an attack on a gay couple in Philadelphia, spoke to The Post about the lack of movement from national organizations over SB 202 and about his own involvement: “For some reason, many LGBT organizations have been slow to respond on state level fights,” he explained. “Mostly I stepped up because I felt like there was not going to be a national response.”
Michelangelo Signorile went further, accusing the HRC of malpractice for its silence on SB 202:
Signorile was directing much of his criticism at HRC president Chad Griffin, who hails from Arkansas. “Whatever the reasons, many LGBT national leaders are nowhere on this terrible and potentially enormously impactful law,” Signorile wrote on Friday morning. (Griffin eventually released a statement to the Arkansas Times in a blog post dated Friday afternoon.)
The bill, named the "West Virginia Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act", claims its intent is to "improve intrastate commerce" and business by enacting "uniformity" of laws, thus benefitting "the businesses, organizations and employers seeking to do business in [West Virginia] and will attract new ones to [it]." In actuality, the bill prevents local governments from protecting its LGBT citizenry from discrimination.
Nearly six years after the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously legalized same-sex marriage, 23 Republican lawmakers are still battling to overturn the ruling.
Sen. Dennis Guth, R-Klemme, and Rep. Greg Heartsill, R-Columbia, have introduced resolutions in the Iowa Senate and House seeking a statewide referendum on a state constitutional amendment to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The resolutions are co-sponsored by 21 other GOP legislators.
This past Monday the Kentucky Senate Education Committee revisited and approved Senate Bill 76 in an 8-1 vote in an attempt to force transgender students to use the bathroom at their school that matches their biological sex rather than their gender identification. In a particularly shady move, the committee kept its agenda for Monday in perpetual "Pending" status and no mention of the bill was ever made to the public until it was brought up at the meeting.
Sworn public officials have to do their duty, and this not-so-clever bit of legislating is certain to be found unconstitutional. Magistrates and registers of deeds don't get to cop out of their jobs based on their personal beliefs.
This is amateur hour at the General Assembly, and a petty action that could get expensive. The legislature already has spent nearly $100,000 to have outside lawyers appeal the federal rulings on same-sex marriage. State Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, wisely decided not to press on with appeals once the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the issue.
If the high court rules that laws banning gay marriage are unconstitutional, it follows that a silly maneuver like this one regarding magistrates will fall quickly in the courts as well.
With an eye on what has happened in California and New Jersey, today an Oklahoma House committee approved state Rep. Sally Kern's bill to prohibit the state from regulating "ex-gay" torture therapy. Kern, the chair of the committee, claims her bill is the first of its kind in the nation. Her bill is expected to face strong opposition before the full chamber.
If you’re curious, or perhaps frustrated, as to why every Republican candidate is probably going to be asked about Obama’s faith this week, look no further than the people they have to pander to for the next year and a half: Republican primary voters and activists, who run the gamut from uncertain about Obama’s Christianity to absolutely convinced that it doesn’t exist[.]
A majority of Republicans nationally support establishing Christianity as the national religion, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday.
The poll by the Democratic-leaning firm found that 57 percent of Republicans "support establishing Christianity as the national religion" while 30 percent are opposed. Another 13 percent said they were not sure.
In an interview with the Associated Press published Monday, Judge Moore attempted to illustrate just how much the legalization of same-sex marriage would actually change the institution of marriage across the nation.
"You're taking any definition of a family away," if the Supreme Court finds a right for same-sex couples to marry, the Alabama jurist claimed.
"When two bisexuals or two transgendered marry, how large is that family?," he posited. "Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?"
A few judges are still refusing to see gay and lesbian couples in Alabama. Texas has had its first lesbian marriage, and now state officials are scrambling to find a way to undo it. And some major national anti-gay figures are preparing to release a new manifesto to stop the freedom to marry.
In an opinion concurring with an order by the Alabama Supreme Court stating that it wouldn’t tell Alabama probate judges whether they had to follow the federal court order that legalized same sex marriage, Justice Glenn Murdock suggested that maybe the court should just stop giving out marriage licenses.
He argues that if the state legislature had known that banning same sex marriage violated same-sex couples' right to equality, then maybe it would’ve been better to make everyone equal by letting no one get married.
“Considering the meaning of the term ‘marriage’ intended by the Legislature in those statues, they may be deemed to survive, or must be stricken as wholly void, if they are not to be applied solely to a union between a man and a woman,” he wrote.
He references a decision that states that laws can be entirely struck down if, “the invalid portion is so important to the general plan and operation of the law in its entirety as reasonably to lead to the conclusion that it would not have been adopted if the legislature had perceived the invalidity of the part so held to be unconstitutional.”
A team of researchers in the U.S. and U.K. has developed a statistical technique that sorts out when changes to words' pronunciations most likely occurred in the evolutionary history of related languages.
Their model, presented recently in the journal Current Biology, gives researchers a renewed opportunity to trace words and languages back to their earliest common ancestor or ancestors - potentially thousands of years further into prehistory than previous techniques can do with any statistical rigor.
For example, the modern languages of English and Latin descended from a common predecessor called proto-Indoeuropean. In English, the words father and foot took on an initial f sound, but in Latin those words retained their p sound, as in pater and ped. This transition occurred across the English language in many words that had featured a p sound.
"Our new method is another exciting step to understanding how languages and genes evolve," says Pagel. "It will allow us to go back in time further than before, making it possible to reconstruct ancient proto-languages, words that might have been spoken many thousands of years ago."
"Let's think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings," he continues. "Let's think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation."
"With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator," the pope says. "The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate."
"God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth," Francis says. "The design of the Creator is written in nature."
A florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding has rejected an offer from the Washington state attorney general to settle a discrimination case by paying a $2,000 fine.
The rejected settlement also said if the florist chose to continue selling flowers for weddings she would have to sell the items to all couples, including same-sex couples.
“Our state would be a better place if we respected each other’s differences, and our leaders protected the freedom to have those differences,” Barronelle Stutzman wrote in a letter Friday to Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
She wrote that gay couples are allowed to act on their views, but “because I follow the Bible’s teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, I am no longer free to act on my beliefs.”
Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom on Wednesday rejected arguments that Stutzman’s actions were protected by her freedoms of speech and religion.
The First Amendment protects religious beliefs but not necessarily actions based on those beliefs, Ekstrom ruled. The state has the authority to prohibit discrimination, and Stutzman can be held personally liable for damages if she breaks bias laws, the judge said.
Stutzman "stands to lose her business, her home, and her personal savings," a CNN op-ed today wrongly claimed.
And The Heritage Foundation ran this apparently fictive piece today:
In a phone interview with The Daily Signal, Barronelle Stutzman said the decision—and its accompanying fines—will put her flower shop out of business, or worse.After the fines and legal fees, “There won’t be anything left,” Stutzman said.“They want my home, they want my business, they want my personal finances as an example for other people to be quiet.”
“Surely it is the nature and quality of a relationship that matters,” the authors wrote. “One must not judge by its outward appearance but by its inner worth … We see no reason why the physical nature of a sexual act should be the criterion by which the question whether or not it is moral should be decided. An act which expresses true affection between two individuals and gives pleasure to them both, does not seem to us to be sinful by reason alone of the fact that it is homosexual.”
The report asserted that “sexuality, looked at dispassionately, is neither good nor evil — it is a fact of nature.” it also explored the meaning of morality itself. “It seems to us,” the report continued,” that morals, like the Sabbath, were made for man, not man for morals, and that as society changes and modes of conduct with it, we must always be searching below the surface of human behavior, to discover what is in fact happening to people, what they are seeking to express, what motives and intentions they are satisfying, what fruits good or bad, they are harvesting.”
Things are finally settling down in Alabama. We'll take a look at just how messy it got last week, and what happens now. Plus, Justice Ginsburg makes some pretty candid predictions for the Supreme Court's upcoming marriage decision.
The universe may have existed forever, according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein's theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once.
The widely accepted age of the universe, as estimated by general relativity, is 13.8 billion years. In the beginning, everything in existence is thought to have occupied a single infinitely dense point, or singularity. Only after this point began to expand in a "Big Bang" did the universe officially begin. . . .
"The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there," Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology, both in Egypt, told Phys.org.
Ali and coauthor Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, have shown in a paper published in Physics Letters B that the Big Bang singularity can be resolved by their new model in which the universe has no beginning and no end.
“The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous,” Ginsburg said. “In recent years, people have said, ‘This is the way I am.’ And others looked around, and we discovered it’s our next-door neighbor -- we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that they are one of us.”
How can Ginsburg possibly think that it’s proper judicial conduct for her to speak out on this issue while the marriage case is pending before the Court? If she had any sense of her duty to maintain both the appearance and the reality of impartiality, she would recognize that she is now obligated to recuse herself from the case. But of course she won’t.
“Even the attempt to posture that as a judge you’re obeying a code of ethics is now gone,” Brian Brown, the group’s president, told WND.
“They do whatever they want. She should recuse herself. It’s embarrassing for the judiciary.”
Brown said basic judicial ethics “that any judge should follow would clearly advise against commenting on a case currently coming up before you.”
The bill claims that homosexuality is not a “disorder, deficiency, or shortcoming,” stating that “The major professional associations of mental health practitioners and researchers in the United States have recognized this fact for nearly 40 years.” What specifically does this mean? Are the bill’s sponsors asserting as fact that engaging in homoerotic activity is not morally disordered, morally deficient, or a moral shortcoming? If so, where is their conclusive scientific proof for such a claim about the moral status of freely chosen activity?
The truth is that many Republican strategists are privately hoping the Court legalizes gay marriage. It would remove the issue from the political arena and save Republicans from having to choose between between their evangelical base and a majority of voters in the 2016 election.
Well, look, we're a nation of laws. That's why I've said I want the Supreme Court not to overturn our law, and that's why, ultimately, if the Supreme Court were to do this, I think the remedy would be a constitutional amendment in the Congress, to tell the courts you can't overturn what the states have decided.
Marriage starts today in Alabama, and the usual suspects are still trying to figure out some way to stop it. Nebraska accidentally passed a bill that will recognize gay and lesbian couples, but only when they're carrying a concealed firearm. And we're on a fast track for rulings in several southern states.
Some judges across the state had already signaled they would do nothing to aid gay couples and, in some instances, any couples. “Marriage licenses and ceremonies are no longer available at the Pike County Probate Office,” the office said.
And Washington County Probate Judge Nick Williams released a “declaration in support of marriage” in which he said he would “only issue marriage licenses and solemnize ceremonies consistent with Alabama law and the U.S. Constitution; namely, between one man and one woman only, so help me God. . . ."
“With all due respect to Chief Justice Moore, he’s on the Alabama Supreme Court, and he’s not a federal judge,” said Alan L. King, a probate judge in Jefferson County, said last week. . . .
“I don’t want to see judges make the same mistakes that I think were made in this state 50 years ago, where you have state officials not abiding by federal orders,” said Judge Steven L. Reed of Montgomery County, who added, “The legacy always hangs over us until we show that we’re beyond it.”
Congressional Republicans are accusing the White House of having "an improper influence" over the Federal Communications Commission's decision on net neutrality, and are launching an investigation.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today demanding documentation of all communication between FCC personnel and the White House, as well as calendar appointments, visitor logs, and meeting minutes related to meetings with the White House, and all internal documents discussing the views and recommendations of the White House.
The committee's document request had several other components, including "all documents in the possession of FCC personnel working in the Office of Chairman Wheeler and the Office of General Counsel."
I believe communications companies may have been having improper influence on this committee. I'd like to see their communications, meetings with company representatives, and any documents in their possession.
The story is different for men. The sexuality of straight men has long been understood by evolutionary biologists, and, subsequently, the general public, as subject to a visceral, nearly unstoppable impulse to reproduce with female partners. Consequently, when straight men do engage in same sex contact, these encounters are viewed as incompatible with the bio-evolutionary coding. It’s believed to signal an innate homosexual (or at least bisexual) orientation, and even just one known same-sex act can cast considerable doubt upon a man’s claim to heterosexuality.
Parts of the Kinsey Reports regarding diversity in sexual orientations are frequently used to support the common estimate of 10% for homosexuality in the general population. However, the findings are not as absolute, and Kinsey himself avoided and disapproved of using terms like homosexual or heterosexual to describe individuals, asserting that sexuality is prone to change over time, and that sexual behavior can be understood both as physical contact as well as purely psychological phenomena (desire, sexual attraction, fantasy). Instead of three categories (heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual), a seven-point Kinsey scale system was used.
The reports also state that nearly 46% of the male subjects had "reacted" sexually to persons of both sexes in the course of their adult lives, and 37% had at least one homosexual experience. 11.6% of white males (ages 20–35) were given a rating of 3 (about equal heterosexual and homosexual experience/response) throughout their adult lives. The study also reported that 10% of American males surveyed were "more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55" (in the 5 to 6 range).
A controversial bill signed into law this afternoon by Gov. Chris Christie would allow for fast-tracking the privatization of many public water systems in New Jersey.
The Water Infrastructure Protection Act removes the public vote requirement to sell water systems throughout the state under emergency conditions that many systems currently meet.
Looting the public treasury for private benefit — it’s bipartisan! At In These Times, Rick Perlstein (The Invisible Bridge, Nixonland, Before the Storm) introduces us to “Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago, the privatized metropolis of the future“:
… For over a decade now, Chicago has been the epicenter of the fashionable trend of “privatization”—the transfer of the ownership or operation of resources that belong to all of us, like schools, roads and government services, to companies that use them to turn a profit. Chicago’s privatization mania began during Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, which ran from 1989 to 2011. Under his successor, Rahm Emanuel, the trend has continued apace. For Rahm’s investment banker buddies, the trend has been a boon. For citizens? Not so much.
That is the promise of privatization in a nutshell: that the profit motive can serve not just those making the profits, but society as a whole, by bypassing inefficient government bureaucracies that thrive whether they deliver services effectively or not, and empower grubby, corrupt politicians and their pals to dip their hands in the pie of guaranteed government money…
However, the rush to outsource responsibility for housing the poor became a textbook example of one peril of privatization: Companies frequently get paid whether they deliver the goods or not (one of the reasons investors like privatization deals). For example, in 2004, city inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations at Lawndale Restoration, the largest privately owned, publicly subsidized apartment project in Chicago. Guaranteed a steady revenue stream whether they did right by the tenants or not—from 1997 to 2003, the project generated $4.4 million in management fees and $14.6 million in salaries and wages—the developers were apparently satisfied to just let the place rot…
On the other hand, there’s a real problem in some academic studies in which perspectives other than those of dead white European guys are still being frozen out. For centuries, women were locked out of contributing to both eastern and western civ, but that doesn’t mean current, well-documented gender bias in academia can be ignored. And the philosophy departments of American universities continue to shortchange Asian philosophies.
“I was having a discussion with someone, and we were at a Starbucks in my district, and we were talking about certain regulations where I felt like ‘maybe you should allow businesses to opt out,'" the senator said.
Tillis said his interlocutor was in disbelief, and asked whether he thought businesses should be allowed to "opt out" of requiring employees to wash their hands after using the restroom.
The senator said he'd be fine with it, so long as businesses made this clear in "advertising" and "employment literature."
“I said: ‘I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says “We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom,” Tillis said.
Make them bake cake! That's the verdict of an administrative judge in the case of Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein. The couple, who became the brave face of America's religious liberty clash, were informed yesterday by the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries that in the battle over marriage, their First Amendment rights no longer counted. Unfortunately for the parents of five, wedding vendors like them may soon have no choice. In the free market, the courts no longer seem to recognize the right to believe what you want. Owners of small businesses like Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Arlene's Flowers, Simply Elegant Wedding Planning, Hands On Originals, and others are seen as nothing more than tools of the government to think and believe as the state sees fit. If they refuse, as Aaron and Melissa have done, Oregon is threatening to bring the full weight of the government to bear. Where are all of those writers who insist that conservatives 'can't even convincingly demonstrate that anyone is hurt in any way by a gay wedding?' Still denying reality no doubt.
Marriage could be starting next week in Alabama. Anti-gay officials are saying that they don’t have to let gay couples get married, but their reasoning isn’t exactly what you would call true. Oklahoma’s marriage equality backlash is getting dangerous, with a proposed law that would hand new victims to ex-gay predators. And the National Organization for Marriage thinks they’ll have an impact on the 2016 presidential election.
Health fads aren’t new at all, but fads about diets have gotten so prevalent they’ve spawned a new term — orthorexia. Suddenly gluten is bad. Suddenly people have to de-tox. Like we didn’t have livers for that. Not that I’m exactly a role model of sensible eating, but I do run into people who are absolutely obsessed with only eating certain foods from a few trusted, and out of the way, sources. It’s like anything sold in a chain grocery store might cause sudden death.
My working theory for at least some of this craziness is that food and health fads have taken the place of religion for some people as a means for protecting themselves and their loved ones for the scary things out there. Prayer has been replaced by colon cleanses.
The measles outbreaks also reminds us that the things we do, or don’t do, really do affect other people in myriad ways. We can go around pretending that our personal choices are just our business, but it’s not always that simple.