The President Is A King

After years of bristling under the rule of a monarchy, Americans were loath to create another. Antifederalist Philadelphiensis warned that the U.S. Constitution was creating an executive with even more power than a king.

In Antifederalist 74 he wrote: “[T]hat the President is a King to all intents and purposes, and at the same time one of the most dangerous kind too — an elective King, the commander in chief of a standing army, etc. And to those add, that he has a negative power over the proceedings of both branches of the legislature. And to complete his uncontrolled sway, he is neither restrained nor assisted by a privy council, which is a novelty in government. I challenge the politicians of the whole continent to find in any period of history a monarch more absolute.”

Now we have perpetual war, a growing Homeland Security apparatus that has compiled enough ammunition to shoot every American five times over and a President who ignores Congress and rules by executive order. It seems Philadelphiensis had it right.

 

GOP Lawmakers Want More Answers On Libya Attack

On Wednesday, a group of eight House GOP committee chairmen demanded that the Administration of Barack Obama issue a new briefing about the events that unfolded in Benghazi, Libya, that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens dead.

According to The Hill, the lawmakers scolded the Administration for its inconsistent account of the events leading up to and during the attack. In a letter to Obama, the lawmakers said that they were “disturbed” by statements indicating the attack stemmed from an anti-Islamic video.  

“Decades after al Qaeda attacked our embassies in East Africa, which catalyzed a series of events that led to the attacks on 9/11, it appears they executed a highly coordinated and well-planned attack against us again,” the letter said. “Clearly, the threat from al Qaeda and affiliated groups has metastasized; yet we do not appear to be learning from the past.”

Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) sent a separate letter to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Wednesday asking “how the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations could characterize an attack on a U.S. consulate so inaccurately five days after a terrorist attack that killed four Americans.”

This was in response to Rice’s assertion that the attacks were “spontaneous.”

Study: Urban Coyotes Practice Monogamy

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) — Coyotes living in cities don’t stray from their mates and couples stay together for life, which may help them thrive in urban areas, U.S. researchers say.

Scientists at Ohio State University said genetic samples of 236 coyotes in the Chicago area over a six-year period found no evidence of polygamy nor of one mate ever leaving another while the other was still alive.

“I was surprised we didn’t find any cheating going on,” OSU wildlife ecologist Stan Gehrt said. “Even with all the opportunities for the coyotes to philander, they really don’t.”

Loyalty between mates may be a key to their success in urban areas, he said.

Living in food-rich cities encourages female coyotes’ natural ability to produce large litters of young, so it’s important for females to have faithful partners to help raise them all, Gehrt said.

“If the female were to try to raise those large litters by herself, she wouldn’t be able to do it,” Gehrt said in an OSU release. “But the male spends just as much time helping to raise those pups as the female does.”

Unlike males of polygamous species, a male coyote “knows that every one of those pups is his offspring” and has a clear genetic stake in helping them survive, Gehrt said.

U.S. Weather Satellite Fails, Shut Down

WASHINGTON (UPI) — An important weather satellite monitoring the U.S. East Coast has shut down, necessitating activation of a spare satellite to take its place, officials said.

After several days of glitches and problems, the GOES-13 failed Monday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said.

Launched in 2006, its mission was to track weather systems across the eastern United States while another satellite performed similar functions for the western U.S. region.

GEOS-13’s monitoring responsibilities have been transferred to a replacement, GOES-14, which was launched in 2009 into a storage orbit as an in-space spare if needed, SPACE.com reported.

“NOAA maintains backup GOES satellites in case unforeseen events occur, providing full redundancy for monitoring severe weather over the United States and its territories,” NOAA officials said.

The replacement GOES-14 will be the primary monitoring satellite for East Coast weather until the GOES-13 satellite’s malfunction can be diagnosed and repaired, they said.

Following News, Political Knowledge Linked

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Following the news is one way Americans learn about politics but it is not sufficient, by itself, enough to create political knowledge, U.S. researchers say.

A study at the University of Missouri School of Journalism found teens, especially, must think about and discuss with their peers what they read or watch on the news, to learn and understand political issues.

Adolescents who spend more time thinking and talking about the news with their peers and relatives tend to know more about political developments in the country than those who simply follow the news, a university release said Tuesday.

News consumption does not directly lead to political knowledge, the researcher found. Instead, news consumption leads to thinking about the news, which then leads to engagement in discussions about the news, which finally ends with political learning.

“This is important because an individual’s political identity begins long before one is eligible to vote,” doctoral student Edson Tandoc said. “Our political identity is not shaped overnight and so it is important to start molding our future voters while they are still young.

“Our study shows that if parents and educators want to increase political knowledge and action among younger generations, it is important to involve them in discussions about what they are reading in the news,” he said. “Just giving them a story to read is not enough. Teenagers need to be able to think through and talk about political issues in order to retain knowledge about them.”

U.S. River Turtles In Population Decline

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UPI) — A river turtle species, once one of the most wide-ranging in the United States, still suffers from past harvesting and declining water quality, researchers say.

University of Florida researchers studying river turtles in Missouri found populations of the northern map turtle have not recovered from harvesting, mostly for food, that caused a 50 percent population loss between 1969 and 1980, the university reported Tuesday.

River turtles are vital to ecosystem functions by cycling nutrients and maintaining food web dynamics, the researchers said.

“The importance of river turtles is really underplayed,” said lead author Amber Pitt, a Clemson University postdoctoral research fellow who conducted research for the study as a UF graduate student.

“River turtles are long-lived, rely on the same water resources that we do and can serve as indicators of water quality,” Pitt said. “People should be concerned if turtles are impacted by poor water quality because we are likely being affected, too.”

The northern map turtle, Graptemys geographica, inhabits river systems from southern Arkansas to Quebec in Canada.

“Oftentimes with conservation, you have the charismatic mega fauna that people care about, such as sea turtles — everybody cares about sea turtles, including me,” Pitt said.

“But river turtles are facing just as many threats as sea turtles. People are also harvesting river turtles and there are very few laws in place to stop this harvest — it’s a global epidemic that is causing turtle populations to be wiped out.”

NASA Creating 3-D Moon Images

GREENBELT, Md. (UPI) — NASA says its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is acquiring stereo images of the moon in high resolution to provide 3-D views of the surface.

A team of researchers from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University is developing a processing system to automatically generate anaglyphs — images that can be viewed in 3-D using red/blue-green glasses — from most of these stereo pairs, the space agency reported Tuesday.

The anaglyphs will give better understanding of the topography of the lunar surface by making lunar features such as craters, volcanic flows, lava tubes and tectonic features jump out in 3-D, NASA said.

The stereo images are created by the orbiter’s Narrow Angle Camera targeting a location on the ground and taking an image from one angle on one orbit, and from a different angle on a subsequent orbit.

Detailed images of the moon’s surface in 3-D will be available to the general public through Arizona State University’s website at http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/ and a NASA website at www.nasa.gov/lro as they become available, NASA said.

Report: Infants Need Meat, Fish, Poultry

OTTAWA (UPI) — Infants as young as 6 months old would benefit from eating meat, poultry and fish, a group of Canadian health organizations announced Tuesday.

Under the auspices of the federal Health Canada agency, the Canadian Pediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada and Breastfeeding Committee of Canada recommended parents break from North American tradition in order to bolster infants’ intake of iron.

“Infants should be offered iron containing foods two or more times each day,” the summary said. “They should be served meat, fish, poultry or meat alternatives daily.”

The recommendations said such meat substitutes as tofu are also healthy for babies, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

“While meat and fish are traditional first foods for some aboriginal groups, the common practice in North America has been to introduce infant cereal, vegetables and fruit as first complementary foods,” the groups said.

Additionally, the report said mothers should breast-feed their children for at least six months and supplement infants’ diets with 400 international units of vitamin D each day.

Parents Have Big Impact In Reducing Weight

SAN DIEGO (UPI) — Parents can make a big difference by helping to instill healthy behaviors in their children, a U.S. health and wellness company says.

Dr. Mary Jane Osmick, vice president and medical director of health services for American Specialty Health — which provides fitness and exercise programs for health plans, insurance carriers and employer groups — said obesity now affects 17 percent of all U.S. children and adolescents — triple the rate from just one generation ago.

“Parents can make a big difference by helping to instill healthy behaviors in their children,” Osmick said in a statement. “For example, I recently witnessed the ‘power of parental influence’ on children’s eating habits. While standing in line at a salad bar, I overheard a father planning the meal with his three children. ‘OK,’ he said, ‘Remember how we talked about getting lots of colors on our plates — green, yellow and red? Now, how are you going to make that happen?’ First, he chose a place where healthier eating was possible, and then, he guided his children to make healthy food choices.”

Many of the risk factors that affect childhood obesity can be addressed when parents are thoughtful and take action, Osmick said.

“Parents can influence their children in factors such as healthy food choices, minimizing fast-food, increasing exercise and reducing sedentary activities, such as watching TV or playing video games.”

Lack Of Vitamin D Increases Heart Risk

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (UPI) — People with low levels of vitamin D were associated with a higher risk of heart attack and early death, researchers at the University of Copenhagen said.

Dr. Peter Brondum-Jacobsen of Copenhagen University Hospital and the University of Copenhagen said the study involved more than 10,000 Danes. The study compared people with the 5 percent lowest levels of vitamin D with the 50 percent of the highest levels of vitamin D.

The Copenhagen City Heart Study measured vitamin D levels in blood samples from 1981 to 1983. Researchers tracked those on the registries up to the present.

The study found the low levels of vitamin D compared to optimal levels were linked to a 40 percent higher risk of ischemic heart disease, 64 percent higher risk of heart attack, 57 percent higher risk of early death and no less than 81 percent higher risk of death from heart disease.

“With this type of population study, we are unable to say anything definitive about a possible causal relationship. But we can ascertain that there is a strong statistical correlation between a low level of vitamin D and high risk of heart disease and early death,” Brondum-Jacobsen said in a statement.

The findings were published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.