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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Daily Drift

Ten Days To Go ....

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Today in History

1862 Nathan Bedford Forrest crosses the Tennessee River at Clifton with 2,500 men to raid the communications around Vicksburg, Mississippi.
1862 In New Orleans, Louisiana, Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler turns his command over to Nathaniel Banks. The citizens of New Orleans hold farewell parties for Butler, "The Beast" – but only after he leaves.
1864 The battle at Nashville begins.
1890 As U.S. Army soldiers attempt to arrest Sitting Bull at his cabin in Standing Rock, South Dakota, shooting breaks out and Lt. Bullhead shoots the great Sioux leader.
1903 The British parliament places a 15-year ban on whale hunting in Norway.
1920 China wins a place on the League Council; Austria is admitted.
1924 The Soviet Union warns the United States against repeated entry of ships into Soviet territorial waters.
1938 Washington sends its fourth note to Berlin demanding amnesty for Jews.
1944 The battle for Luzon begins.
1946 Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh sends a note to the new French Premier, Leon Blum, asking for peace talks.
1961 Adolf Eichmann, the former German Gestapo official accused of a major role in the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews, is sentenced by a Jerusalem court to be hanged.
1965 The United States drops 12 tons of bombs on an industrial center near Haiphong Harbor, North Vietnam.
1967 President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the meat bill in the presence of Upton Sinclair, the author of the controversial book The Jungle.
1972 The Commonwealth of Australia orders equal pay for women.
1973 The American Psychiatric Association votes 130 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders.
1976 The oil tanker MV Argo Merchant causes one of the worst marine oil spills in history when it runs aground near Nantucket, Massachusetts.
1978 US President Jimmy Carter announces the United States will recognize the People's Republic of China and will sever all relations with Taiwan.
1981 In what is often called the first modern suicide bombing, a suicide car bomb kills 61 people at the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, Lebanon; Iraq's ambassador to Lebanon is among the casualties.
1993 The Downing Street Declaration, issued jointly by UK and the Republic of Ireland, affirms the UK would transfer Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland only if a majority of Northern Ireland's people approved.
2001 The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after an 11-year, $27 million project to fortify it without eliminating its famed lean.
2005 F-22 Raptor Stealth fighter enters active service with the US Air Force.

Non Sequitur

http://assets.amuniversal.com/f0adf2903eaf01314d7c001dd8b71c47

Xmas Countdown Xmas Stories

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."
The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."
"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.
"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."
Down rippled the brown cascade.
"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
"Give it to me quick," said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"
At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."
"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"
Jim looked about the room curiously.
"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"
And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

Did you know ...

About the warts on Xmas

About the U.S. obscene wealth inequality

Just how corrupt is your country?

That science proves: cats don't care

It’s Obvious That Democrats Did All the Compromising on The Budget Agreement

It was fairly clear by the giddy-ass grin on Paul Ryan's face that Senator Murray likely did all the compromising to agree that an austerity budget defying…
House And Senate Budget Chairs Unveil New Government Funding Plan
Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more people to reach an understanding, resolve a point of contention, or produce an agreement and craft outcomes to satisfy the interests of the people involved in the negotiation process. Simply put, negotiations are intended to reach a compromise where each party gives up part of their demand. When Paul Ryan and Patty Murray announced they had reached an agreement for the nation’s budget yesterday, it was fairly clear by the giddy-ass grin on Ryan’s face that Senator Murray likely did all the compromising to agree that an austerity budget defying sane economic comprehension was the optimum deal to send President Obama a message that his income inequality speech was a waste of breath.
It was obvious the two-year agreement was a deficit hawk’s dream based on Speaker of the House John Boehner’s response to the Koch Brothers, Freedom Works, Heritage Action, Americans for Prosperity, and Club For Growth. Boehner accused the teabagger groups of “using our members and using the American people for their own goals. Listen, if you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.” Boehner is right, the budget is all about reducing the already falling deficit and nothing about revenue by closing corporate and the wealthy’s tax loopholes that would have made the austerity budget palatable. Since 2010, the victims of austerity-mad repugicans have never been the richest Americans, and the only difference in this agreement and earlier austerity is it targets a different segment of the population; federal employees.
As soon as details of the budget’s spending were released, one wondered why Senator Murray did not just sign off on Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget and be done with any pretense of negotiations. But wait, doing so would not have cut spending as much as Murray negotiated in yesterday’s budget negotiation announcement. Ryan’s austerity budget that Democrats could hardly stomach two years ago set discretionary spending at $1.039 trillion in 2014 and $1.047 trillion in 2015, and this proposed “agreement” with Democrats would put discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015; both years are less than repugicans demanded in Ryan’s budget. It is glaringly obvious that repugicans have so mesmerized Democrats with their austerity madness since they took control of the House in 2010 that this “deal” is considered a good compromise.
The only good news in this agreement is that a tiny amount of the sequester cuts are repealed for only two of the sequester’s remaining nine years, but they are paid for with other “entitlement” cuts, a tiny increase in “user” fees for Americans wealthy enough to “fly about the country,” and demonic cuts to federal employees’ pensions. There was absolutely nothing in the Ryan negotiating with Ryan budget remotely close to tax reform that, dog forbid, addressed the increasingly devastating income inequality because repugican austerity will never affect the wealthy; this agreement certainly maintains that sick income equality producing practice. Speaking of advancing income inequality, the middle class will be paying the major share of the budget that reverses part of the sequester.
To pay for relieving a small portion of the sequester’s damage, Murray and Ryan intend on punishing federal employees by robbing their pensions in future years by increasing federal employee pension contributions. Federal employees have already paid for more than their share of austerity madness since 2010 when their pay was frozen. According to the Congressional Budget Office, federal employees purchasing power has taken a 7% hit since 2010, and Murray and Ryan just agreed to an additional 1.2% pay cut to save the wealthy and corporations from paying anything for Republicans’ austerity. This attack targeting public pensions, which are already under an all-out assault in the states from ALEC, the Kochs, big tobacco, and Kraft foods by way of their State Policy Network, is yet another brilliant move to increase the devastating income inequality President Obama addressed at length in his economic speech last week. One wonders if Murray and Ryan took a break during their negotiations to watch, and laugh hysterically, while the President spent an hour talking about how much damage income inequality was wreaking on the economy and Americans who are not members of the wealthiest one percent of income earners. That they agreed on ravaging federal employees pensions, like the Kochs, ALEC, and SPN are doing in the states and Republicans plan for Social Security pensions, is a clear sign that Americans will be spending their retirement years suffering the effects of income inequality they lived with during repugican-borne austerity madness during their working lives.
What is curious about this agreement is not that Ryan likely pushed hard for a deep austerity-laden budget, but that Murray acquiesced to an economic theory that is proven to ravage an economy during a tepid recovery. Has Murray not been conscious to see the devastation in Europe after three years of austerity, or have Republicans so polluted the minds of Democrats that they think trying the same failed policies over and over again will have a different result because this is America? And where was revenue-producing tax reform by closing loopholes for corporations and the filthy rich? There were no provisions for infrastructure improvements guaranteed to create jobs, and those tiny two-year reductions in the sequester cuts still do not address the devastation over the next nine years the cuts will do their worst damage and kill millions of jobs. It is beyond the pale that Murray could stand there next to Ryan and announce a budget agreement as acceptable giving everything repugicans lusted for two years ago that Senate and House Democrats rejected out of hand as barbaric and totally unacceptable in 2011 and 2012.
This so-called agreement is as unacceptable today as Ryan’s Path to Prosperity was two years ago, and worse, it contains deeper discretionary spending cuts than Democrats railed against then. Of course repugicans love it, it contains no revenue, or tax reform affecting their dirty rich patrons, and it pays for the minute sequester cuts with other entitlement cuts and federal employees’ pensions. If any American depended on Murray, or her Democratic colleagues, to fight for Americans and wage a war on economy devastating austerity, they can put those hope to rest because it is apparent that the negotiators were unconscious during last year’s election. Agreeing to this budget sent a clear message to Americans that Democrats lost the 2012 elections and repugicans won; especially the war on austerity.

'Boner' unloads on wingnut groups

John BoehnerIn his presser, Speaker Boehner(r-OH) accused wingnut groups of using their members and said they lost all credibility.
He told the press that the House had been working on jobs all year (what?). He concern trolled Obamacare and gave a hat tip to the orgasmic repugican fantasy of the IRS targeting wingnuts.
But the Speaker had a cold this morning which may have emboldened him. Asked about the wingnut groups targeting repugicans for real (unlike the IRS) over the Murray/Ryan “Mini Budget”, the Speaker told reporters, “Frankly, I just think they’ve lost all credibility.” He then proceeded to unload on them, ending with him shouting, “Are you kidding me!!!?”
“These groups are using our members. They are misleading their followers, they’re pushing our members in places they don’t want to be. They’ve lost all credibility. They pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare and to shut down the government. And most of you know, our members know that wasn’t exactly the strategy I had in mind. One of these groups stood up and said ‘We never really thought it would work?’”
Boehner’s entire face twisted in outrage as he continued shouting over the reporters’ laughter, “I said, ‘Are you kidding me!!!?’”
Boehner looked as shocked at his own behavior and the repugican cabal shutdown as any sane person. Poor thing.
Asked if repugicans would be more willing to compromise now, the Speaker said, “When groups come out and criticize an agreement they’ve never seen, you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are.” This is ironic, since repugicans criticize all kinds of Obama’s policies and agreements that they’ve never read about and indeed, we have all wondered just how credible those actions are.
Boehner was then asked if this was an example of him finally saying no to the tea party. A reporter asked, “Some tea party groups are calling this a sellout bill that you’re compromising too much. Is this an example of you finally saying no to the tea party?”
Boehner puffed up proudly, “This budget will get us more deficit reduction than what we have under the Budget Control Act. I came here to cut the size of government!” (When he’s not making sure the House gym is operating during a repugican cabal shutdown.)
What Boehner didn’t say is that compared to the sequester, imposed by his party and then publicly denied by his party when it cuts things the public wants, the “Mini Budget” is a “compromise”. It is not a compromise in any real sense and it does not acknowledge the fact that Democrats won the White House and the Senate running on their plan for Americans, while repugicans only kept the House by gerrymandering themselves into safety. But by doing anything at all or even pretending to do something, Boehner causes the repugican cabal to lose austerity points.
A reporter then asked a very clever question that the Speaker pretended not to understand, and that was if his members agree to this budget then they won’t have any cause for a debt ceiling showdown since they approved the spending. Clever woman. But Boehner’s not having any reality imposed upon his presser. He pronounced, “I don’t understand. Listen we are taking these issues on one at a time. The goal for today is to get this budget agreement passed.”
The Speaker is pretending that the House’s approval over spending would have no bearing on their refusal to pay for said spending come time to raise the debt ceiling. Luckily for Boehner, the repugican base doesn’t understand the debt ceiling.
Now we know where repugicans feel safe drawing the line with the big money that runs them. If the big money attacks Paul Ryan, the repugicans “jesus”, even Speaker Boehner will find his center. And that is truly the only reason he felt safe enough to stand up. He had little Paul Ryan, the repugican cabal jesus, next to him in spirit.
But the truth is that this show that Boehner is “compromising” with this noxious deal feeds into a narrative that helps repugicans. The repugicans are seen as unwilling to compromise, the party of “No”. So it helps Boehner to make a big show of saying “No” to the groups leading his party around by the nose.
In reality, any budget touched by Paul Ryan is bound to be a way to enrich the top 2% at everyone else’s expense, and true to form, this budget acts as if repugicans had a leg to stand upon when it comes to fiscal responsibility. They do not.

Some 166 House Democrats Stand Up to repugican cabal Cruelty and Fight For The Unemployed

van-hollen-unemployment 
166 House Democrats are pulling out all of the stops, including trying to keep the House in session through Christmas, as they battle the repugican cabal’s cruel plan to harm 1.3 million unemployed Americans.
During Rep. Van Hollen’s interview with Andrea Mitchell, the conversation turned to extending unemployment benefits. Van Hollen was talking about Boehner’s habit of not allowing votes, when he said, “Let us have a vote right now on extending unemployment compensation. If repugicans want to vote no, that’s fine, but again allow us to have a vote, and the refusal to allow democracy to work its will is one of the reasons why people are so disappointed.”
Mitchell asked when Congress was leaving for the Christmas holidays through the end of the year. Van Hollen answered, “The House is currently scheduled to adjourn this Friday. Many of us are going to be opposing, we are going to vote against the adjournment resolution, to stay here, to finish the work on a lot of these issues including the most pressing one right now is the fact that unemployment compensation will expire two days after Christmas for over one million Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, are looking for jobs as we speak, and it would just be unconscionable to pack our bags, leave here, and not even allow a vote on this issue.”
Van Hollen and Rep. Sandy Levin planned to appeal to the House Rules Committee to force a vote on extending unemployment benefits, but the odds of the repugican controlled committee agreeing to this are zero.
165 House Democrats joined Rep. Levin in sending Boehner a letter urging him to bring the unemployment benefits extension to the House floor, “Even with the progress our economy has seen since the depths of the recession, there are still 1.3 million fewer jobs today than when the recession started six years ago. Additionally, approximately 4 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed, and have been looking for work for more than six months. Now is certainly not the time to further decimate vital federal assistance to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own and who must actively seek work in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits. We therefore strongly urge you to immediately bring up a one-year extension of the current EUC program.
One of the main problems with the budget deal is that Democrats didn’t press for the unemployment benefits extension. Democrats are going to try to campaign against repugicans for not extending UI, but that does absolutely nothing for the 1.3 million people who are going to lose their benefits.
The only reason that this is happening is that Democrats prioritized getting a deal over helping the unemployed. Democrats knew that including an extension in this deal probably would have killed it in the House.
It is good to see that House Democrats are fighting for the unemployed, but it’s unfortunate that congressional Democrats would rather prove a point and, ‘get something done together” than stick to their principles and fight for the unemployed.
If Democrats don’t fight for the long term jobless, who will?

With the ACA Succeeding Darrell Issa Threatens to Charge Kathleen Sebelius With a Crime

issa-loser 
Darrell Issa’s endless abuse of his investigative powers hit a new low today, as he threatened to charge HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with a crime.
In a letter to Sebelius, Issa wrote, “The Department [HHS] subsequently instructed those companies not to comply with the Committee’s request. The Department’s hostility toward questions from Congress and the media about the implementation of Obamcare is well known. The Department’s most recent effort to stonewall, however, has morphed from mere obstinacy into criminal obstruction of a congressional investigation.”
Issa is outraged because CCSI’s contract with HHS requires that they get the approval of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services before cooperating with Congress.
This is why Issa is threatening Sebelius with criminal obstruction, “In fact, it strains credulity to such an extent that it creates the appearance that the Department is using the threat of litigation to deter private companies from cooperating with Congress. The Department’s attempt to threaten CCSI for the purpose of deterring the company from providing documents to Congress places the officials responsible for drafting and sending the letter on the wrong side of federal statues that prohibit obstruction of a congressional investigation. Obstructing a Congressional investigation is a crime.”
The claim that documents are being withheld is the main go to move for the worst investigator in history, Magnum DI. Ironically, it was the exposure of transcripts that Issa was withholding that killed the Obama angle in the IRS “scandal.” Beneath these empty claims is Issa’s biased belief the truth is out there, all he has to do is find the documents that Obama must be hiding. Issa said the same thing during Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and the IRS scandals. He was wrong every single time.
It looks like Kathleen Sebelius has become the new Eric Holder for Darrell Issa, but just like his other “investigations,” the real target is President Obama. Issa’s main objective is to find the smoking gun that he can use as the basis for impeaching the president.
The ACA is succeeding. Millions of people already have health coverage, yet Darrell Issa is still trying to earn political points by drumming up a new Obama scandal. The website “scandal” will fail, just like all the others that have failed, because the only crime being committed is the waste of taxpayer resources that are being spent on bogus investigations by the real criminal Darrell Issa (r-CA).

Virginia repugican Tries to Incite Assassination Attempt On President Obama

At the Virginia repugican retreat, cabal chairman Pat Mullins tried to incite an assassination attempt against the President of the United States.…
obama frown
Most states in America have a tourism board that uses appealing slogans to attract visitors that represent their pleasing climate, a physical characteristic, or the mindset of its population that vacationers find too tempting to pass up. Virginia’s tourism board appeals to romantic inclinations in all human beings and claim the state is for lovers. However, over the past couple of years it is becoming abundantly clear that the state is rampant with haters; especially in the repugican cabal. Whether it is the outgoing governor’s hatred of disclosure laws, or the soon-to-be former attorney general’s hatred of gays and women, Virginia’s repugican leaders belie the state’s slogan and it starts with the leadership of the repugican cabal of Virginia. It is no secret that Virginia repugicans hate Americans for twice electing an African American man as President, but their hatred for the democratic process pales in comparison to their hatred for the President.
Last year, a Virginia county repugican cabal issued a warning that if President Obama won re-election in November there would be an armed rebellion that revealed their hatred of voters and the electoral process. The letter from the repugican county cabal chairman calling for armed rebellion is replete with a christian bible verse on its logo that reads, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36), and it said repugicans need candidates who were “intelligent and courageous and cut from the same cloth as (revolutionary hero) Patrick Henry and our attorney general and soon to be governor Ken Cuccinelli.” Fortunately for Virginians, the “soon to be governor Ken Cuccinelli” lost his bid to be governor, and when about 450 members of the repugican cabal of Virginia met to lick their collective wounds at a former Confederate War hospital, the cabal chairman took the warning of “armed rebellion” a step farther.
The annual Virginia repugican retreat, “Advance,” was supposed to be a time for introspection to assess why Democrats swept three statewide elections and won the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general’s offices, but instead the state cabal chairman accused the media for the losses. He also took aim at governor-elect Terry McCauliffe and President Obama and said, “Obama’s so close to death that Terry McAuliffe is about to buy a life insurance on him, I’m looking forward to taking the gloves off!”  The head repugican in Virginia, Chairman Pat Mullins, is yet another in a long string of extremist wingnuts to incite an assassination attempt against the President of the United States. However, Mullins is not just another rabid teabagger inciting or threatening violence against the President; he is, like the letter calling for armed rebellion against the government, a high-ranking representative of the repugican cabal.
Prior to “predicting” President Obama’s imminent death, Mullins made excuses for the first big repugican electoral defeat in 24 years blaming the media for focusing on Cuccinelli’s anti-women, anti-gay, anti-sexual freedom positions than the Affordable Care Act. He claimed there was too much attention on Cuccinelli’s “war on women” and said “our message couldn’t break through and we paid a price. This is false narrative by false prophets… repugicans do not win when we are mini-Democrats or Democrat Lite.” Clearly, Mullins assessment of Cuccinelli’s war on women as “mini-Democrats or Democrat lite” is a signal that he is not in the same political universe as the rest of the nation, and portends a lurch farther to the extreme right many conservatives assert is the key to a sweeping victory in the next election. Two Virginia state democratic senators, Mamie Locke and Donald McEachin, called for repugican cabal of Virginia chairman Mullins to step down; not because he said repugicans had become mini-Democrats, but over his comments predicting President Obama is close to death by assassination.
In a conference call, state Senator McEachin saidSadly, this isn’t the first time Virginia repugicans have used offensive, violent rhetoric against President Obama. Saying that President Obama is close to death is unacceptable in our political discourse, and the chairman really should be ashamed of himself. He’s decried this type of rhetoric before… and yet somehow it keeps appearing in his speeches, in his public comments.” McEachin continued that, “To my mind, this is yet another example of just how unwilling to change and how unbridled in their opposition to President Obama the repugicans are. Instead of making insulting, incendiary comments about the President, intended to fire up the same tea party base that drove Virginia repugicans to statewide losses in 2013, Chairman Mullins would be better suited to look in the mirror and examine how out of touch Virginia repugicans have become with people across the Commonwealth.” Senator Locke agreed with McEachin and said instead of learning from their mistakes and taking a more moderate approach to governance and politicking, repugicans are bound and determined that “going forward will be to continue kowtowing to the tea party.”
Locke’s assessment certainly has a grain of truth to it, but she makes the same errant conclusion as Democrats and pundits across the nation. The repugicans are not kowtowing to the teabaggers; they are the teabaggers. As McEachin noted, it “isn’t the first time Virginia repugicans have used violent rhetoric against President Obama” and it will not be the last. The calls for revolution, rebellion, and violent rhetoric against the government with an African American man as President began during teabagger protests against healthcare insurance reform when they carried signs warning that “we came unarmed this time,” and continued with repugicans threatening “2nd amendment remedies” and calling for supporters to be “armed and dangerous” as a strategy against legally elected members of Congress who fail to support teabagger anti-American agendas.
What is telling is that no Virginia repugicans, including governor McDonnell, attorney general Cuccinelli, or congressional repugicans such as Eric Cantor (who attended and spoke at Advance) have condemned the violent rhetoric from Virginia’s state repugican cabal or any other anti-American teabagger extremist for that matter. However, they are very vocal in decrying the President as un-American, a socialist, and dangerous for America, and coupled with their silence makes them as guilty as extremists calling for armed rebellion, revolution, and assassination. That the chairman of the Virginia repugican cabal said the President is “close to death” should lead the FBI, Secret Service, and Justice Department to pay Mullins a visit and ask exactly why, what, and how he knows about an assassination plot.
The threats against this President have become so frequent that statements such as Mullins must be taken seriously and investigated with extreme prejudice. His remarks are more than repugican losers bemoaning an electoral defeat and inform a desperate political party sending a literal call to arms against the President of the United States. Coupled with his claim repugicans have to lurch farther to the extreme lunatic fringes of wingnuttery because they are unhappy with healthcare insurance reform, it is a just a matter of time before violent rhetoric is embraced by national repugicans. Frankly, national or state repugicans’ unwillingness to condemn the preponderance of hate speech and violent rhetoric against this President is tantamount to their unconditional endorsement.

Mitt Romney’s Face Looks Different to repugicans and Democrats


Random Photos

Abandoned Gulliver's Kingdom Theme Park In Japan

Nestled in the shadow of the magnificent Mount Fuji, Gulliver's Kingdom was believed to have closed down because of its unfortunate location. Gulliver's Kingdom theme park houses a 147 ft long Lemuel Gulliver statue sprawled across the grounds. The park was open only from 1997 to 2001 before the lack of visitors forced it to close down.
For some twisted reason, Gulliver's Kingdom park was build in the Aokigahara region, the same area where the Aokigahara Forest - Japan's most popular suicide destination - is located. Also, the nearby Kamikuishiki village is notorious as the headquarters of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult at the same time housing a nerve gas production facility.

The good news about Chinese smog

That air pollution you can see from space? It has "surprising benefits" according to Chinese state media, including reducing the ability of other countries to spy on cities shrouded in smog.

Can We Turn Unwanted Carbon Dioxide Into Electricity?


Nutrients in food vital to location of early human settlements

Research led by the University of Southampton has found that early humans were driven by a need for nutrient-rich food to select 'special places' in northern Europe as their main habitat. Evidence of their activity at these sites comes in the form of hundreds of stone tools, including handaxes.
Nutrients in food vital to location of early human settlements
Early humans were driven by a need for nutrient-rich food to select 'special places' in
northern Europe as their main habitat [Credit: Shutterstock/1971yes]
A study, published in PLoS ONE, led by physical geographer at Southampton Professor Tony Brown, in collaboration with archaeologist Dr Laura Basell at Queen's University Belfast, has found that sites popular with our early human ancestors, were abundant in foods containing nutrients vital for a balanced diet. The most important sites, dating between 500,000 to 100,000 years ago were based at the lower end of river valleys, providing ideal bases for early hominins – early humans who lived before Homo sapiens (us).

Professor Brown says: "Our research suggests that floodplain zones closer to the mouth of a river provided the ideal place for hominin activity, rather than forested slopes, plateaus or estuaries. The landscape in these locations tended to be richer in the nutrients critical for maintaining population health and maximizing reproductive success."

The project was funded by English Heritage and the University of Southampton's Faculty of Social and Human Sciences. It involved academics from Geography and Environment and Medicine at Southampton, together with Archaeology at Queen's.

The researchers began by identifying Palaeolithic sites in southern England and northern France where high concentrations of handaxes had been excavated –for example at Dunbridge in Hampshire, Swanscombe near Dartford and the Somme Valley in France. They found there were fewer than 25 sites where 500 handaxes or more were discovered. The high concentration of these artefacts suggests significant activity at the sites and that they were regularly used by early hominins.
Nutrients in food vital to location of early human settlements
The distribution of Lower to Middle Palaeolithic (pre-MIS 5) sites in Britain and Northern France with over 500 bifaces (including roughouts) and other key sites referred to in the text [Credit: PLoSONE: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081476.g001]
Professor Brown and his colleagues then compiled a database of plants and animals known to exist in the Pleistocene epoch (a period between 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago) to establish a potential list of nutrient resources in the landscape and an estimation of the possible diet. This showed that an abundance of nutritious foods were available and suggests this was likely to have been the dominant factor driving early humans to focus on these sites in the lower reaches of river valleys, close to the upper tidal limit of rivers.

Over 50 nutrients are needed to sustain human life. In particular, it would have been essential for early humans to find sources of protein, fats, carbohydrates, folic acid and vitamin C. The researchers suggest vitamins and protein may have come from sources such as raw liver, eggs, fish and plants, including watercress (which grows year round). Fats in particular, may have come from bone marrow, beaver tails and highly nutritious eels.

The nutritional diversity of these sites allowed hominins to colonize the Atlantic fringe of north west Europe during warm periods of the Pleistocene. These sites permitted the repeated occupation of this marginal area from warmer climate zones further south

Professor Brown comments: "We can speculate that these types of locations were seen as 'healthy' or 'good' places to live which hominins revisited on a regular basis. If this is the case, the sites may have provided 'nodal points' or base camps along nutrient-rich route-ways through the Palaeolithic landscape, allowing early humans to explore northwards to more challenging environments."

Ziggy

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Ten Milestones In The Natural Evolution Of Economics

From the mists of evolution and ancient prehistory, the struggles and creativity of human beings trying to make good for themselves in this often hostile world, there came certain revolutionary developments that led in a steady progression to the primary foundations of civilization and 'modern' society. Thus ultimately to the 'State Of The World' as we find it today.

Eleven Spectacular Cliff Paths

Cliff paths are paths that are built along the faces of cliffs and are also often surrounded by local vegetation that grows from the rocks. Walking through these trails, visitors can appreciate broad vistas of natural landscape.

This is the reason why many people around the world come to these places to enjoy spectacular views. Enjoy a walk through the most spectacular cliff paths from around the world.

Alpine glacier, unchanged for thousands of years, now melting

Less than 20 miles from the site where melting ice exposed the 5,000-year-old body of Otzi the Iceman, scientists have discovered new and compelling evidence that the Italian Alps are warming at an unprecedented rate.
Alpine glacier, unchanged for thousands of years, now melting
This 2,600-year-old larch leaf was found buried in ice atop
Mt. Ortles in Italy [Credit: Ohio State University]
Part of that evidence comes in the form of a single dried-out leaf from a larch tree that grew thousands of years ago.

A six-nation team of glaciologists led by The Ohio State University drilled a set of ice cores from atop Mt. Ortles in northern Italy, and described their early findings on Monday, Dec. 9 at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

The Alto dell'Ortles glacier, which did not show signs of melting for thousands of years, now appears to be shifting away from a constantly below-freezing state to one where its upper layers are at the melting point throughout the year, said project leader Paolo Gabrielli, research scientist at Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State.

"Our first results indicate that the current atmospheric warming at high elevation in the Alps is outside the normal cold range held for millennia," he said. "This is consistent with the rapid, ongoing shrinking of glaciers at high elevation in this area."

As they drilled into the glacier in 2011, Gabrielli and his team discovered that the first 100 feet (about 30 meters) of the glacier was composed of "firn" -- grainy, compacted snow that had partly melted. Below that, they found nothing but solid and colder ice all the way down to the frozen bedrock.

That suggests that snow was accumulating on the mountaintop and was compacted into ice for thousands of years without ever melting -- until about 30 years ago, which is when each year's new deposit of snow began melting.

The researchers know that the glacier had previously remained unchanged for a very long time -- in part because of the preserved larch leaf, which they found wedged into the ice well beyond the firn layer, around 240 feet beneath the surface and encased in solid ice. They identified the leaf as belonging to Larix decidua, or the European larch.

Carbon dating determined it to be around 2,600 years old. That means that Otzi had already been dead for more than two millennia when this particular larch tree grew, though it was not far from his resting place.

"The leaf supports the idea that prehistoric ice is still present at the highest elevations of the region," Gabrielli said.

The researchers are just beginning to chemically analyze the ice cores they retrieved. Trace metals and dust sealed in the ice will give more detailed clues to the climatic conditions when the ice was formed.

Gabrielli added that the cores are unique in the European Alps, because the winter and summer layers of ice accumulation are easily identifiable, offering the promise of a high-resolution climate record.

Of particular interest to the researchers is why temperatures in the Alps are increasing at twice the global rate. As the highest glacier in the eastern Alps (2.4 miles, or 3.9 km, above sea level), Alto dell'Ortles is located in the heart of Europe -- one of the most industrialized and populated areas of the world. The team will investigate whether soot emitted by human activities in central and southern Europe plays a role -- perhaps by darkening the surface of the glacier, absorbing the sun's heat and melting ice.

"Ortles offers us the unique possibility to closely verify if and how regional environmental changes can interact with climatic changes of global significance," Gabrielli said.

His Ohio State colleagues on the project included Lonnie Thompson and Mary Davis. International collaborators hailed from: University of Venice, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano, Waterstones Geomonitoring, University of Padua, University of Pavia and University of Trieste, all of Italy; the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow; the University of Innsbruck, Austria; and the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Earth News

Santa's reindeer must navigate through approximately 1,900 cyclones per year in the Arctic.
As the saying goes, each snowflake is different. And chances are that saying is right! Anthony and Laci join up to tell you how snowflakes form, and why each one is so unique.
The West Antarctic ice sheet appears to be shedding far more ice than a few years ago.
The banning of ozone-depleting chemicals hasn't yet caused detectable improvements in the Antarctic ozone hole.
Recent research discovered that the chemical, perfluorotributylamine (PFBTA), insulates the planet 7,100 times more effectively than carbon dioxide.
The trail of twisted metal and torn roofs left behind by massive twisters is growing longer and wider, a sign that tornadoes may be growing stronger.

Chemical Surprise Found in Crab Nebula


Astronomers have discovered a rare chemical pairing in the remains of an exploded star, called the Crab nebula. A gas thought to be a loner has made a “friend,” linking up with a chemical partner […]

Daily Comic Relief

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How archaeology helps wild reindeer

Archaeological finds left by prehistoric hunters offer today's biologists invaluable tools for understanding how reindeer once roamed Norway's landscape - unimpeded by roads, power lines or other infrastructure.

How archaeology helps wild reindeer

The world as we know it now looks quite different from the way it used to look, as more and more pristine habitat is replaced or fragmented by urban areas and infrastructure such as roads, power lines, pipelines and dams.

Scientists worldwide have worked to understand the effect of this rapidly expanding infrastructure on wild species, with the ultimate goal of minimizing potential negative effects.

These studies have focused on migratory species such as reindeer and caribou, because the development of infrastructure along traditional migratory routes can hinder or block migrations, with significant consequences for the species.

But how much have traditional migratory routes already been altered by the development of cities, roads and railways that have been in place for decades or centuries?

Answering this question requires finding a way to look back into the past, to understand how reindeer moved through Norway's landscape, unimpeded by modern infrastructure.

Stone hides and fences

Researchers in Norway have now found an indirect way to solve this problem. Roughly 8000 stone hides that ancient hunters used to conceal themselves and large-scale systems of fences offer clues to animal concentrations and movements before the construction of modern-day roads and railways.

Some of these structures were built between roughly 600 and 2000 years ago, and have been in use until 350-400 years ago.

The fences, for example, were often strategically positioned to exploit local topographical features and were used to lead reindeer into traps or lakes, where they were slaughtered for human consumption.

By comparing the location of these prehistoric large pitfall systems with high-resolution data on current-day reindeer movements across the species' range, researchers have been able to identify important ancient migration/movement corridors that have been abandoned or "lost".

Tourist cabins and roads

Researchers have also been able to quantify how different man-made disturbances affect reindeer by studying what has been built in areas surrounding these “lost migration corridors".

Tourist cabins had the strongest, most direct long-term effects. Researchers have found that reindeer always abandoned traditional migration routes along which at least one tourist cabin had been built in modern times.

Roads also had a strong negative effect.

The construction of 1 km of road within 1 km of ancient migration routes made it 46% less likely that the area would be used by reindeer today. Power lines and private recreational cabins also had negative effects on the probability that reindeer would use ancient movement corridors, although these effects were indirect, mediated by the effect of roads.

International responsibility

Norway is home the last populations of wild mountain reindeer, and thus has international responsibility for their conservation.

Archaeological finds show that ancient reindeer used to roam across their entire range, only constrained by the presence of topographic barriers.

Nowadays Norway's reindeer population is divided into 23 virtually isolated sub-populations.

These sub-populations are the result of reindeer abandoning traditional migration and movement corridors, most likely because of man-made disturbances and the development of infrastructure.

By studying modern movement data and comparing it with archaeological finds, scientists are able to provide results that can be used to help develop future sustainable land management plans and to guide habitat restoration projects in sensitive areas.

Simulated Gophers Explain Mysterious Mima Mounds

The first European explorers thought they were American Indian burial mounds, but found only dirt and pebbles inside when they sliced one of the mounds in half.
Mima mounds are 6-foot-tall, 30-foot-wide domes of dirt that cover the open prairie on Washington's Puget lowlands. They are so large and uniform, it's hard not to feel they must be man-made. But nobody actually knows who or what made them. They are a scientific mystery.

Chimpanzees are rational, not conformists


Chimpanzees are known for their curious nature. They show a rich palette of learning behavior, both individually and socially. But they are also rather hesitant to abandon their personal preferences, even when that familiar behavior […]

Something Extra

  Two-meter long lizard visited social club searching for a good looking girl and a feed
A two-meter long monitor lace lizard decided to drop into Hornsby RSL club in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday lunchtime. The reptile emerged from the bush shortly before midday before wandered into its foyer.
Ben Harvey from Reptile Rescue and Removal Services Inc captured and released the creature in bushland a short time later. "It was big and it's not something you take lightly," Mr Harvey said.
Mr Harvey jumped on the lace monitor before securing its mouth with duct tape and tying its hands and feet to its body. "It's a matter of safely securing it from behind the head and making sure its claws don't make contact with your skin," he said.

"It's claws are razor sharp and used for climbing trees and it's teeth are like a tiger shark's." He said the two-meter male was likely on the hunt, but not just for food. "It's laying time for females so they follow the scent. He was likely on the lookout for a good looking girl and a feed."

A new species of horse, 4.4 million years old

Two teams of researchers, including a scientist from Case Western Reserve University, have announced the discovery of a new species of fossil horse from 4.4 million-year-old fossil-rich deposits in Ethiopia.

A new species of horse, 4.4 million years old
Horse evolution [Credit: H. Zell]
About the size of a small zebra, Eurygnathohippus woldegabrieli—named for geologist Giday WoldeGabriel, who earned his PhD at Case Western Reserve in 1987—had three-toed hooves and grazed the grasslands and shrubby woods in the Afar Region, the scientists say. They report their findings in the November issue of Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The horse fills a gap in the evolutionary history of horses but is also important for documenting how old a fossil locality is and in reconstructing habitats of human forebears of the time, said Scott Simpson, professor of anatomy at Case Western Reserve's School of Medicine, and coauthor of the research. "This horse is one piece of a very complex puzzle that has many, many pieces."

The researchers found the first E. woldegabrieli teeth and bones in 2001, in the Gona area of the Afar Region. This fossil horse was among the diverse array of animals that lived in the same areas as the ancient human ancestor Ardipithecus ramidus, commonly called Ardi.

"The fossil search team spreads out to survey for fossils in the now arid badlands of the Ethiopian desert.," Simpson said. "Among the many fossils we found are the two ends of the foreleg bone—the canon—brilliant white and well preserved in the red-tinted earth."

A year later, they returned and found part of the connecting shaft, which was split lengthwise but provided the crucial full length of the bone. The long slender bone indicates this ancient species was an adept runner, similar to modern zebras, and analyses of their teeth indicated they relied heavily on eating grasses in the grassy woodland environment.

The horse had longer legs than ancestral horses that lived and fed in forests about 6 million to 10 million years ago, Simpson said. The change helped the more recent horses cover long distances as they grazed and flee lions, sabre-tooth cats and hunting hyenas that would run down their prey.

The other fossils they found included teeth, which are taller than their ancestors' and with crowns worn flatter—more signs the horses had adapted to a grazing life. Analyses of the isotopic composition of the enamel confirmed that E. woldegabrieli subsisted on grass.

"Grasses are like sandpaper," Simpson said. "They wear the teeth down and leave a characteristic signature of pits and scratches on the teeth so we can reliably reconstruct their ancient diets."

Horse expert Raymond L. Bernor, from the Laboratory of Evolutionary Biology at the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington D.C., led the fossil analysis. The bones, which remain at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, showed this was a significantly different animal than the horses more than 5 million years old, and those 3.5 million years old and younger. Members of the youngest group are taller and have longer noses, further adaptations to the open grasslands, the researchers say.

Members of the two paleontological projects decided to name the species in honor of WoldeGabriel, a geologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. They want to recognize the high professional regard he's earned from peers and his many contributions in unraveling the geological complexities of the deposits in the Ethiopian Rift system where fossils of some of our oldest human ancestors have been found

WoldeGabriel, who was not involved in the analysis of the fossil horse, is the project geologist for the Middle Awash project in Ethiopia.

"Giday oversees the sedimentology, geochronology and volcanology and how the Middle Awash Valley in the Afar rift is changing shape," Simpson said. He praised WoldeGabriel as a top scientist who helps fellow researchers navigate the rugged region and government offices.

"And he leads by example, in terms of working hard," Simpson continued. "He's not afraid of a very long walk in the heat, carrying a 5-pound hammer to collect samples."

Simpson is the project paleontologist for the Gona Project led by Sileshi Semaw. Henry Gilbert, of the Department of Anthoropolgy at California State University, East Bay; Gina M. Semprebon, a Bay Path College biology professor; and Semaw, now a research associate at Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Spain; are co-authors of the study.

The team continues to analyze fossil remains they collected at this and nearby sites.

Tooth structure and wear provide clues to ecology and evolution of ancient marine creatures

A trio of published studies have highlighted the importance of examining dental structure and wear in ancient creatures to better understand their ecology and evolution.

Tooth structure and wear provide clues to ecology and evolution of ancient marine creatures
Torvoneustes, the "savage swimmer" ancient crocodile had enlarged jaws closing muscles
attached to both the roof of the mouth and the roof of the skull
[Credit: Dmitry Bogdanov]
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine Assistant Professor Brian Beatty, Ph.D., contributed to all three of the studies with his expertise in analyzing patterns of tooth wear and structure.

"Tooth wear is a permanent record -- it shows the interaction of the animal and the world," says Beatty, a paleontologist who teaches anatomy to more than 300 medical and health professions students. "By examining the adult structure of teeth, we can learn how different vertebrate groups have been able to modify aspects of their tooth development so they can achieve structures that serve functional purposes."

Beatty says the findings in the three papers he contributed to may change perceptions of how some marine creatures lived in ancient times.

In the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Beatty and colleagues from Brazil, Edinburgh, Scotland, snd the Museum of Jurassic Marine Life in Dorset, England, described a new species of ancient crocodile that had uniquely large sets of two different types of jaw muscles, enabling it catch and kill prey quickly with both speed and power. The study's first author is Mark Young from the University of Edinburgh's School of Geosciences.

Beatty also found that the skull of the dolphin-like species known as Torvoneustes ("savage swimmer"), was noticeably different than other creatures it is usually compared to. Most crocodiles have large bumps and pits in their skulls; Torvoneustes had a smooth skull that was lighter and reduced turbulence, which likely made it an agile swimmer, with movements more akin to a dolphin.

"These features we described could be another side of how extremely specialized these marine crocodiles were getting," says Beatty.

In a paper published in the Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, Beatty and colleagues, including first author F.M. Holwerda, studied the teeth of a small lizard-like species known as mosasaur. The researchers found that the …-million-year-old creature had a different feeding pattern than that associated with most lizards. Rather than grabbing prey and swallowing it, this species was more likely a bottom feeder, feasting on hard-shelled crabs, clams, and sea urchins along sandy areas beneath the sea.

The third paper, published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, details the unique anatomy of the teeth of Teleosaurids, another group of crocodile-like marine creature that lived about 165 million years ago. Beatty and his colleagues, including first author Young, described new findings about "denticles" or tooth-like projections similar to serrated surfaces in their teeth and visible only through scanning electron microscopic analysis. Closer examinations of the teeth, he said, mean that the creature perhaps had a larger role in its ecosystem beyond "being a croc simply snapping at things," Beatty said.

"The findings of the three papers confirm that the interactions of marine vertebrates in the past with each other and with their environment were just as complex as they are now," says Beatty. "Superficial resemblances do not define an animal's lifestyle -- the beauty of evolution is this diversity and you see how natural selection drives evolution. There are situations where animals are deriving new organs, tissues, and molecules and they're doing that to deal with problems posed by natural selection. "

Beatty is one of six paleontologists in the College of Osteopathic Medicine's Department of Anatomy. He and Associate Professor Matthew Mihlbachler launched the online Dental Microwear Image Library containing thousands of magnified images of tooth surfaces that other scientists can use to establish hypotheses about ecological conditions in prehistoric times.

Animal News

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