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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Daily Drift


1949 Pontiac Woody
1949 Pontiac Woody

Some of our readers today have been in:
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Today in History

1601 The Treaty of Lyons ends a short war between France and Savoy.
1746 Charles Edward Stuart, the young pretender, defeats the government forces at the battle of Falkirk in Scotland.
1773 Captain James Cook becomes the first person to cross the Antarctic Circle.
1819 Simon Bolivar the "liberator" proclaims Columbia a republic.
1893 Queen Liliuokalani, the Hawaiian monarch, is overthrown by a group of American sugar planters led by Sanford Ballard Dole.
1852 At the Sand River Convention, the British recognize the independence of the Transvaal Board.
1912 Robert Scott reaches the South Pole only a month after Roald Amundsen.
1939 The Reich issues an order forbidding Jews to practice as dentists, veterinarians and chemists.
1945 The Red army occupies Warsaw.
1963 Soviet leader Khrushchev visits the Berlin Wall.
1985 A jury in New Jersey rules that terminally ill patients have the right to starve themselves.

Non Sequitur


Meet Zack Kopplin, the 19-year-old who started winning battles against teaching creationism in Louisiana public schools when he was 14

IO9 profiles Zack Kopplin, a 19-year-old, five-year veteran of the fight against teaching creationism in Louisiana's science classes. Kopplin was a student when the a law came into effect allowing teachers to bring creationist material to class, and he took up the cause, winning a battle that prevented the exclusion of evolution from Louisiana science classes altogether. Kopplin has been vilified by state legislators and creationists, but refuses to give up the fight. If I can raise a kid with this much sense, savvy, passion and ethical commitment, I'll consider my life to have been worthwhile:
He also has his eyes set on vouchers. After an Alternet story came out about a school in the Louisiana voucher program teaching that the Loch Ness Monster was real and disproved evolution, Kopplin looked deeper into the program and found that this wasn't just one school, but at least 19 other schools, too.
School vouchers, he argues, unconstitutionally fund the teaching of creationism because many of the schools in these programs are private fundamentalist religious schools who are teaching creationism.
"These schools have every right to teach whatever they want — no matter how much I disagree with it — as long as they are fully private," he says. "But when they take public money through vouchers, these schools need to be accountable to the public in the same way that public schools are and they must abide by the same rules." Kopplin is hoping for more transparency in these programs so the public can see what is being taught with taxpayers' money.

Refusing to do What We Want You to Do is a Violation of the Constitution

Or so the repugicans think
 Rand Paul Obama King 
Repugican Senator Rand Paul’s son was arrested at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on January 5 for assaulting a female flight attendant while on a flight from Kentucky to North Carolina, and now has been charged. Meanwhile, Daddy is, rather than addressing the repugican men’s major malfunction with women, was calling President Obama a king and tyrant.
Paul says if the President enacts any executive orders  relating to gun control, he is guilty of acting like a king, and he doesn’t want a king, Paul assured the blinkered masses from Jerusalem via the very un-christian Broadcasting Network:
I’m against having a king. I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress – that’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.
That’s a shame, because we just had a king in the shrub, and all the repugican anti-monarchists seem to have slept through those eight years. None of them so much as noticed. I won’t hesitate to suggest that that was because the shrub was a repugican, not that I don’t think even Bush would get a free pass today, thanks to the extremist state of repugican purity laws.
But Paul barely refers to Congress’ extreme wussiness and wimptitude during the shrub years: “I’ve been opposed to executive orders, even with repugican pretenders,” he said. “But one that wants to infringe on the Second Amendment, we will fight tooth and nail.”
Oh, so not the First Amendment, or the Nineteenth or any in between unless they be numbered Two and I think it’s safe to say, Ten.
“And I promise you,” he continued. “There’ll be no rock left unturned as far as trying to stop him from usurping the Constitution, running roughshod over Congress. And you will see one heck of a debate if he decides to try to do this.”
In other words, we’re gonna impeach the hell out of this icky black guy and take back the White Man’s White House.
What Paul ignores as he sits in front of an Israeli flag is that there are many things Obama can do that do not impinge the rights of Congress – nineteen of them in fact – according to Joe Biden.
And it’s not like Obama is ignoring Congress. Rather, the opposite is true. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was very clear about the limits on the President’s powers when he said that “there are limits on what can be done within existing law” and that some things could not be done without Congress “because the power to do that is reserved by Congress and to Congress.” This is exactly what Obama himself previously said: “Members of Congress, I think, are going to have to have a debate and examine their own conscience.” Congress must act, he said.
Obama, unlike the repugican House, understands exactly how the Constitution works.
Where is the tyranny to be found then, if not in Congress itself?
And then there is all the crazy Glenn Beck talk (okay, I realize that’s redundant) about “Obama’s Civil War.” It is important to observe here that it is not Democrats talking about Civil War. It’s repugicans.  It’s not Democrats building fortified settlements in the American Redoubt, but repugicans. It is not Democrats talking about secession, it is repugicans. If there is another Civil War, it will be all on the repugicans, who are crazy enough to think they win even when they lose national elections.
In good measure, Beck himself bares blame for this state of affairs. He has willfully and repeatedly incited the ignoramuses who listen to him that anything liberal is evil and must be expunged. He has been aided in this by clowns like Ann Coulter and Faux News.
What has happened is that the repugicans have gotten it into their heads that if the president deviates even a little from what Congress wants him to do, he is a dictator, willfully trampling our rights. As a result, hardly a day goes by without calls for Obama’s impeachment over even the smallest of perceived signs of independence.
Of course, the Constitution does not establish a country where the President is only a figurehead for Congress’ will. We call them three branches of government for a reason, a carefully constructed balance of powers.
The repugicans need to re-examine the table of organization. Bad enough that they think they won the election in both 2008 and in 2012, but to think Congress tells the president what decisions to make as the head of the executive branch is troubling.
The Founding Fathers, to whom the repugicans repeatedly and fallaciously appeal, recognized that an elected legislature was as big a threat to our right as a king. In many ways, the Founding Fathers anticipated the spirit of the tea party if not the tea party itself, and that spirit is not patriotism but tyranny of the majority.
That tyranny can be enacted not only through action but inaction and in this, as in so many other things, the repugican cabal is refusing to act to do what circumstances – and the responsibilities of their office – require. President Obama, as has so often happened over the past four years, is the only adult in the room; the only person willing to stand up and do what needs to be done to uphold his oath to the Constitution.
The repugican mantra, “You have to do what we say, or else,” is not in the Constitution.
Sorry, repugicans. Failing to listen to you, to refuse to do what you demand, is not a violation of the Constitution. Not only is it in obedience to the United States Constitution, but it is simply good sense.

Taxpayers Want Birthers to Pay the Costs of Defending Against Their Lawsuits

In a new White House petition, the people demand, “Mandate the AG to seek sanctions, costs, and attorneys’ fees to recover taxpayer funds used to defend birther lawsuits.” The American taxpayers want to be reimbursed for the costs of defending against the birthers frivolous lawsuits.
The petition reads:
“Mandate the AG to seek sanctions, costs, and attorneys’ fees to recover taxpayer funds used to defend birther lawsuits.
Hundreds of repetitious and frivolous lawsuits have been filed challenging President Obama’s status as a natural born citizen. These lawsuits have clogged up the courts and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in court costs and attorneys’ fees.
We, the taxpayers, respectfully petition for an Executive Order or directive to the Attorney General to seek to recover taxpayer funds expended in defending frivolous Birther lawsuits by requesting sanctions, costs, and attorneys’ fees in each and every pending or future case.”
The petition was started yesterday, on the 14th, and so far, they have 222 signatures. They need 24,778 more.
The birthers have filed too many state and federal lawsuits to list, from keeping Obama off the ballot to suggesting that Obama can’t order the troops to war.
Ironically, the birthers have another conspiracy theory going that Obama has spent so much money defending against their lawsuits because they are true. They base this claim on the money Obama paid to his 2008 campaign lawyer, so you can see how far out of the realm of reality these folks operate.
The head of the Alabama Democratic Party got so sick of the birther nonsense that he threatened that he might start to demanding legal fees after he wrapped up one case only to be sued again within two hours for the exact same birther claim:
“Within less than two hours AFTER the Jefferson County Circuit Court dismissed the ‘birther’ lawsuit filed against me, I have been sued AGAIN by another person in Jefferson County claiming the same thing,” Kennedy wrote on his Facebook wall. “Talk about clogging up the court system….”
Kennedy wrote that he would ask for legal fees when he opposes the next round of birther suits, and in a later post called on repugicans “to put a stop to this since they are all over Democrats about filing frivolous lawsuits!”
One might think that the birthers, since they are a subset of alleged conservatives, would want to repay these costs since they are allegedly against any debt, also against frivolous lawsuits and also against free loaders sucking up government welfare (the patience of the courts notwithstanding, apparently).
This one is a win. Plus, if it does get enough signatures, imagine how hilarious the White House’s response will be, based on their Death Star rebuttal.
Update: Petitions now require 100,000 signatures to qualify for a response, as too many petitions were qualifying at 25,000.

Millions of mental health records missing from national gun sales database

The WSJ reports that "millions of mental-health records remain missing from the national database that gun dealers use to run background checks on potential buyers," according to new analysis of the federal data by a coalition of U.S. mayors. In the US, people who have been declared mentally unfit are not allowed to purchase guns. 

Number of working poor families rises by 200,000 in one year

Not that many people in power are paying attention, but the problem of “the working poor” is serious, and growing. Instead of continuing to focus on expensive military toys and free money for Wall Street, this deserves a lot more attention.
What’s interesting to note is that the problem is greater in the South and Southwest, which are typically repugican voting areas.  (Not that that’s a surprise to most of us who have been paying attention.)  It seems all that repugican concern over gay marriage, abortion, and Mexicans (though really, any Latino freaks them out) hasn’t done a lot to address the actual problems facing Red State families.
The big question remains: Will Red Staters ever figure out that the Republican party doesn’t represent their best interests?
Family problems

The number of U.S. families struggling with poverty despite parents being employed continued to grow in 2011 as more people returned to work but mostly at lower-paying service jobs, an analysis released on Tuesday shows.
More working parents have taken jobs as cashiers, maids, waiters and other low-wage jobs in fast growing sectors that offer fewer hours and benefits, according to The Working Poor Project, a privately funded effort aimed at improving economic security for low-income families.
The result is 200,000 more such working families – the so-called “working poor” – emerged in 2011 than in 2010, according to the report, based on analysis of the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data.

Arrest of Rand Paul’s Son Continues Family Legacy of Woman Hating

The Associated Press is reporting today that 19-year-old William Paul, the son of Republican senator Rand Paul from Kentucky and grandson of ever-present presidential candidate Ron Paul, was charged with misdemeanor assault. William Paul was taking a flight that deplaned in Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. While details of the arrest remain vague as the story develops, what is known is that young Mr. Paul is suspected of assaulting a female flight attendant “by aggressive physical force.”
We are aware of the historically poor choices made by young adults from time to time and it is critical not to rush to a determined judgment until all facts are brought to light. As I read the AP’s brief piece, I found myself weary and resigned. While William Paul has never run for public office, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, does it?
Remember in October 2010 when MoveOn.org volunteer Lauren Valle had her head stomped at a Rand Paul Rally? Who can forget the repugnant images of the small woman falling under the burly feet of Paul’s testosterone-enraged security detail.  A close Paul aide labeled the incident “incredibly unfortunate” at the time., Can we feign surprise at the disrespectful and dangerous treatment of female protesters from a team that believes it has a right to comprehensively control the female body? Rand Paul is opposed to abortion without exception, even in cases of rape or incest. He supports a Human Life Amendment and a Life at Conception Act, which confer more privileges and protection on a cluster of cells than a living, independently breathing female adult. Need it be said that he also favors the overturn of Roe v. Wade, allowing states to decide the issue of abortion unburdened from federal involvement?
And here is Rand Paul’s enlightened stance on the tolerance of sexual harassment in the office: “There are people now who hesitate to tell a joke to a woman in the workplace, any kind of joke, because it could be interpreted incorrectly.”
In 2012, Rand Paul had this to say about the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill designed to equate the pay of workers irrespective of gender: “Three hundred million people get to vote everyday on what you should be paid or what the price of goods are…In the Soviet Union, the Politburo decided the price of bread, and they either had no bread or too much bread. So setting prices or wages by the government is always a bad idea.”
Given his father’s illustrious track record as a patriarchal patronizer of female equality, William Paul’s brush with the law is hardly shocking. The entitled son of the political elite is further accused of “underage drinking, disorderly conduct and being intoxicated and disruptive.”
Rand Paul must be very proud. His son has done a magnificent job of ingesting and reflecting his father’s ideology. If Paul is concerned about the effect of William’s imbroglio on his popularity and re-election chances, clearly, he has no one to blame but himself.

Woman faces manslaughter charge accused of smothering boyfriend with her chest

A 50-year-old Everett, Washington woman is accused of smothering her boyfriend by lying on his face. Witnesses said the woman had her chest on the victim’s face, a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office document said. Deputies said they were called to the Airport Inn trailer park at 12:45am on Saturday for a report of a disturbance where medics were performing CPR on a 51-year-old man. Medics took the man to Swedish Hospital in Edmonds, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said that in addition to the victim, a man and three women were at the scene, all who were heavily intoxicated. One of the women, Donna Lange, lived in the mobile home with the victim. Witnesses said during the evening at the couple’s mobile home, there were two incidents in which they heard the couple arguing, and in one incident, they saw Lange throwing down her boyfriend in the back of the mobile home and the victim was heard telling Lange to get off him.

Deputies said witnesses told them Lange was later found on top of the victim, with her chest on his face. A deputy later photographed what appeared to be hair in the victim’s hand that was the same colour as Lange’s hair. Lange appeared to have a recent injury to her face and the victim had appeared to have recent injuries to his hands and face. Deputies were told by one witness that the victim may have had a heart condition, but when a deputy interviewed another witness, she said, “She (Donna Lange) smothered him to death.”

Deputies said they interviewed Lange, who they said appeared to be intoxicated, at the hospital, where she denied knowing anything about how the victim died. Police documents also noted the size difference between Lange and the victim. Documents indicated the victim was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed about 175 pounds, and Lange is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 192 pounds. Police recommended that Lange be charged with second-degree manslaughter.

Daily Funny

Snow White, Pinocchio, and Superman are out for a stroll in town one day. As they walk, they come across a sign: Beauty contest for the most beautiful woman in the world. “I am entering,” said Snow White. After half an hour she comes out and they ask her, “Well, how’d ya do?” “First Place,” answers Snow White.

They continue walking and they see a sign: Contest for the strongest man in the world. “I’m entering,” says Superman. After half an hour he returns and they ask him, “How did you make out?” “First Place,” answers Superman, “Did you ever doubt?”

They continue walking when they see a sign: Contest! Who is the greatest liar in the world? Pinocchio enters. After half an hour he returns with tears in his eyes. “What happened?” they asked. “Who the hell is MITT ROMNEY?” replies Pinocchio.


Cheesecake Factory has 3,120 calorie dish

The Center for Science in the Public Interest's annual list of "food porn"--items that have more calories in them than one might expect--identifies Cheesecake Factory's Bistro Shrimp Pasta as a particularly bad offender.
"It's like eating three orders of Olive Garden's Lasagna Classico plus an order of tiramisu for dinner," CSPI said. Some in the food and beverage industries have dubbed the Washington-based group the "food police". More than one-third of Americans are obese.
One of my first memorable experiences in the U.S. was visiting a Cheesecake Factory, ordering a salad, and receiving 8lb of shredded lettuce suspended in a curiously solid hillock of oil and ranch dressing.

Tea Or Coffee?

Or Tea Made From Coffee?
Can I get you a tea? Or would you prefer coffee? How about tea made from coffee? Researchers claim they have discovered the ultimate brew - a tea made from coffee leaves which is healthier than both of the drinks. The coffee leaf tea boasts high levels of compounds which lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease, experts said.

It also carries far less caffeine than traditional tea or coffee and contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The coffee leaves were analyzed by researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, South-West London, together with researchers in Montpellier, France.

Mushroom Hunting in Finland

vSome of the most coveted mushroom species don't grow well in captivity, which is why people roam the forests to find them. Or maybe it's because roaming the forest is a beautiful experience in itself. It certainly seems so when you see the photographs taken by Osma Harvilahti in the woods near Helsinki, Finland. Please note that the legality of mushroom hunting varies by country. More 

Random Celebrity Photo


Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth

Is Scientology Self-Destructing?

"Scientology leader David Miscavige has been trumpeting his church's 'milestone year,' but the mysterious religion is alienating scores of its most faithful followers with what they call a real estate scam. With anger mounting and defectors fleeing, this may be more than a fleeting crisis; it may be a symptom of an institution in decline."—Alex Klein at Buzzfeed: "Is Scientology Self-Destructing?"

Yellow Snow

vA ski resort in Arizona fought for years for the right to make snow out of wastewater, and began doing so on Christmas Eve. Since then, complaints have come in about the yellow snow at the Arizona Snowbowl. The slope's manager blames rusty pipes; others blame the fact that the water used to make the snow is from Flagstaff's sewage treatment plant.
Mike Fulton, water quality division director of the state Department of Environmental Quality, said the agency was “looking hard” into several complaints it had received claiming that the presence of the manufactured snow on the slopes violated state laws on the use of reclaimed water, which prohibit ingesting it. Critics argue, among other things, that wastewater snow is being tracked into eating areas and that children are playing in it and touching their faces with it.

The water used for making snow at the ski area is not drinking water. Studies have found that it contains hormones, pharmaceuticals, antibiotics and other chemicals. There is much debate about whether these chemicals are harmful in small amounts.

Regardless, the discolored snow has meant Snowbowl has to contend with a heightened ick factor. Kaelan Monroe, 11, said he went skiing on New Year’s Day and that the conditions were “kind of disgusting.”
State officials have sent an expert out, but the snow has not yet been tested. More

Random Photo

Alleged chess cheat can't be beat

Is it possible for someone's chess ability to leap, suddenly, from mundane mastership to world-beating? Many are convinced that Bulgarian player Ivanov Borislav is cheating—but they cannot figure out how. They can, however, figure out which computer program makes the same moves. 

Just like Jesse James


Outlaw Jesse James (partly) turned to crime as a means of exacting revenge on all things Yankee”— Time-Life Books’ The Wild West.
At seventeen, James left his native Missouri to fight as a Confederate guerilla in the American Civil War as part of Quantrill’s Raiders, participating in raids in Kansas. He once killed eight men in a single day. After the war, he returned to his home state and led one of history’s most notorious outlaw gangs. He was wounded while surrendering at the end of the war, and later claimed to have been forced into outlawry because his family had been persecuted in the war.
Outlaw Jesse James (partly) turned to crime as a means of exacting revenge on all things Yankee”— Time-Life Books’ The Wild West.
At seventeen, James left his native Missouri to fight as a Confederate guerilla in the American Civil War as part of Quantrill’s Raiders, participating in raids in Kansas. He once killed eight men in a single day. After the war, he returned to his home state and led one of history’s most notorious outlaw gangs. He was wounded while surrendering at the end of the war, and later claimed to have been forced into outlawry because his family had been persecuted in the war.

Eight Unique Waterfalls From Around The World

A waterfall is a place where water flows over a vertical drop in the course of a stream or river. Waterfalls also occur where meltwater drops over the edge of a tabular iceberg or ice shelf.

But, all of the waterfalls don't look exactly like this. There are waterfalls that are so unusual and unique, to provoke disbelief and amazement of visitors. These wonders of nature are very rare and still largely unknown to most people.

Behind Minnehaha's Frozen Falls

Minnehaha Creek in Minnesota would be just another creek, if it was not for the beautiful fifty foot waterfall that just happened to form there when the last glacial period ended about 10,000 years ago. In the winter the falls can freeze up completely, creating a magical motionless image of once liquid water frustrated by the elements. Yet there is more to it than meets the eye...


This land sculpture’s name is “Sultan” and is located in Penallta Parc, UK. It was carved from a former coal tip and is the UK’s largest figurative earth sculpture.

Volunteers search NC coast to rescue sea turtles

Slogging through muck and venturing out on kayaks, volunteers along North Carolina's seashore are rescuing sea turtles that become stunned when the water turns cold and get stuck in coastal sounds, unable to save themselves.
The sea turtles — typically green, Kemp's Ridley and the occasional loggerhead — tend to be juveniles who get so busy gorging themselves on the near-shore goodies that they don't get around to moving out to the warmer Gulf stream before a cold spell hits.
"This is really one of the absolute hot spots on the planet for cold stunning in almost any year," said Liz Browning Fox of Buxton on Hatteras Island, who rescues cold-stunned turtles that beach themselves or get stuck along the edge of the Pamlico Sound. "We have a huge sound system in North Carolina, and it's like a feasting table for several species ... Juvenile sea turtles feast on this delightful table. Like teenagers, they stay at the table as long as you'll let them."
Because they're cold-blooded, turtles' body temperatures match their environment. When the water temperature drops below 50 degrees, they become too lethargic to move into warmer water. Since the first cold-stunned turtle of the winter was found, Dec. 23, 2012, along Cape Lookout, rescuers have taken in 72 live turtles and found six others dead, said Matthew Godfrey, the state sea turtle biologist in Beaufort. The vast majority of the rescued turtles survived, he said.
Some years, as many as 150 cold-stunned turtles have been found in North Carolina, he said.
Most of the turtles this year are being found along Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, said Karen Clark, program coordinator at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education and an adviser to the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles on the Outer Banks.
On Hatteras Island, one volunteer goes out each morning and checks the water temperature. When it's below 50 degrees, a core group of about 10 volunteers is alerted to search for cold-stunned turtles.
Fox dons knee boots while others wear hip waders that allow them to go into deeper water. Fox's brother, Lou Browning, brings turtles in on his kayak, sometimes cradling them on his lap. The volunteers carry these heavy turtles long distances to get them to a car. A 25-pound turtle weighs a lot after a half-mile walk through muck, Fox said.
"When it comes to turtles, we bend over backward to do whatever we can whenever we can," Lou Browning said.
Turtles "are just simply amazing creatures," he said. "They've been around so many millions of years. They're the toughest animals on earth. They survive things that no other creature can."
People who find turtles should call NEST, which has a hotline that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And never assume a sea turtle is dead, Fox says. Passers-by ignored one upside-down turtle, assuming it was dead, but rescuers saved it.
Hundreds of cold-stunned turtles have been found off the New England coast — so many that rehabilitation facilities elsewhere are helping them recover.
Usually, when sea turtles are stunned and brought in for treatment, they haven't eaten for days or weeks. One loggerhead brought to the South Carolina Aquarium this week from New England had not eaten in a month.
Some turtles rescued in North Carolina also are getting help there.
"One thing that happens when sea turtles are cold stunned, their bodies just shut down. You can't feed them immediately, you have to wait for them to get going again," said Kelly Thorvalson, the turtle rescue program manager for the aquarium where three loggerheads stunned earlier this month off North Carolina are being treated.
They are usually treated with shots of antibiotics and vitamins until they can eat small amounts of food. The antibiotics also help prevent other ailments such as pneumonia from setting in.
In the case of the North Carolina loggerheads brought to South Carolina, the recovery will take months. Depending on how quickly they recover, the turtles will likely be released off South Carolina in late spring.
Fox is keeping a wary eye on the weather forecast, fearful that another drop in temperatures will bring more cold-stunned turtles ashore. The forecast calls for highs in the 30s in about a week.
"We are very concerned," she said. "We hope all the turtles got the idea from the first temperature drop and headed out to Gulf stream. But there are some turtles swimming in the sound. We will all be looking."

OK, 2 zoos, 1 big breeding ground for antelope, birds

Two of the nation's top zoos are creating a home where endangered antelope can roam and help repopulate their species on 1,000 acres near the Mississippi River on New Orleans' west bank.
More than two dozen species of hoofed animals and birds, about half of them endangered, vulnerable or near threatened, are being considered for the breeding center planned by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and New Orleans' Audubon Nature Institute.
"If two great zoos like San Diego and Audubon are going to team up" to breed endangered species, "the birds are certainly going to benefit. And the animals," said Kenneth Rosenberg, a senior researcher in the conservation science department at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, which is not part of the new Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife.
The more common animals matter, too, said Steve Shurter, director of White Oak Conservation Center in Jacksonville, Fla. "Breeding centers are very, very important resources to zoos. It's not that easy to source animals for collections," he said. "And zoos have a very, very important role to play introducing people to wild animals and the importance of conserving them."
Okapi are among the animals being considered. They are the only living relatives of giraffes, with a white, giraffe-like head but a much shorter neck and zebra-like stripes on their legs and haunches. They are listed as near threatened. White Oak and the San Diego Zoo have partnered for a quarter-century on the Okapi Conservation Project, using the animals to help conserve the Congolese rain forest where they live, Shurter said.

This undated photo provided by the Zoological Society of San Diego shows a Speke's gazelle. They are among the animals being considered for a new facility planned by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and New Orleans' Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans. Of 28 species under consideration, about half are endangered, vulnerable or near threatened. (AP Photo/Zoological Society of San Diego)Antelope under consideration include the bongo, which are large, reddish-brown forest animals with white stripes and long horns. Also being considered are scimitar-horned oryx, which are extinct in the wild, and endangered Speke's gazelles — among the smallest of their kind, up to 2 feet high at the shoulder and 40 pounds.
They all need lots of space for herds — something most zoos don't have, said Steve Feldman, spokesman for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
In general, zoos and other conservation groups try to breed pairs likely to have the best genetic match, he said. "But that two-by-two approach doesn't always work. Sometimes it's better to put more animals together and sort of let them pick," he said.
Birds will include the endangered whooping and Mississippi sandhill cranes already at Audubon, with vulnerable wattled cranes and Dalmatian pelicans among species under consideration.
Ron Forman, president of the Audubon Nature Institute, said the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife will use most of the 1,400 acres at the Audubon Species Survival Center, where scientists began breeding endangered cranes, hoofed animals and cats in 1996.
 At least in the early stages, the birds will get a total of 10 acres while each kind of hoofed stock gets 15- to 50-acre enclosures, said Robert J. "Bob" Wiese, chief life sciences officer at San Diego Global. "The idea is, since we have all this space, let the antelope be antelope. Have the herds acting like herds."
This undated photo provided by the Zoological Society of San Diego shows a bongo. The large, reddish-brown forest antelopes with white stripes and long horns are among the animals being considered for a new facility planned by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and New Orleans' Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans. Of 28 species under consideration, about half are endangered, vulnerable or near threatened. (AP Photo/Zoological Society of San Diego)Colonial bird species such as milky storks and lesser flamingos would live in flocks, while others may be paired in a series of neighboring breeding pens, he said.
Wiese and Forman said the project evolved from the zoo association's work to get sustainable populations of various species. It will help decide which birds and animals most need the space, Wiese said.
Forman said Audubon has put more than $30 million into the project and expects to spend another $10 million and more on new pens and paddocks, with the two zoos sharing operating costs. Construction should start by the end of the year and continue into 2018, with animals moving into the first enclosures next year, he said.

Rhino attacks woman posing for photo

When do you not listen to the African wildlife expert?

When he tells you to stand closer to the rhino.

Python hunt opens with 11 snakes killed

Florida wildlife officials say 11 Burmese pythons were killed during the first three days of a public hunt for the invasive species in the Everglades.

Animal Pictures