Report: Plan To Force God Into Public Schools Released

New Education Reform Report written for the Trump administration would put the Christian God in public schools.

An alarming report, written by a Christian conservative group with ties to Education Secretary Betsy Devos, plans for the promotion of Christianity in public schools and putting an end to the Department of Education.

The Washington Post reports:

A policy manifesto from an influential conservative group with ties to the Trump administration, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, urges the dismantling of the Education Department and bringing God into American classrooms.

The “Education Reform Report” released by the Center for National Policy, a front for radical conservative Christians with “ties to several top White House officials — including Education Secretary Betsy Devos,” states:

We submit this report to the Donald Trump/Betsy DeVos administration with the hope that our organization may be of assistance with the restoration of education in America, in accordance with historic Judeo-Christian principles.

According to the report, education reform under the Trump administration should be based on the following assumptions:

  1. All knowledge and facts have a source, a Creator; they are not self-existent.
  2. Religious neutrality is a myth perpetrated by secularists who destroy their own claim the moment they attempt to enforce it.
  3. Parents and guardians bear final responsibility for their children’s education, with the inherent right to teach, or to choose teachers and schools, whether institutional or not.
  4. No civil government possesses the right to overrule the educational choices of parents and guardians.

The committee responsible for the report adds the following pledge:

The CNP Education Committee pledges itself to work toward achievable goals based on uncompromised principles, so that their very success will provoke a popular return to the Judeo-Christian principles of America’s Founders who, along with America’s pioneers, believed that God belonged in the classroom.

The report calls for the dismantling of the Department of Education, claiming it is “unconstitutional, illegal and contrary to America’s education practice for 300 years from early 17th century to Colonial times.”

The Education Department is to be replaced with “Presidency’s Advisory Council on Public Education Reform.” The Council would:

  1. Restore Ten Commandments posters to all K-12 public schools.
  2. Clearly post America’s Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
  3. Encourage K-12 schools to recognize traditional holidays (e.g., Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas) as celebrations of our Judeo-Christian heritage.
  4. Implement select bible classes, such as Chuck Stetson’s Bible Literacy Project.
  5. Encourage instruction on U.S. and world history from the Judeo-Christian perspective for middle school and high school history and civics classes.
  6. Develop and recommend in-service training on philosophy of education for K-12 faculty based on historical Judeo-Christian philosophy of education.
  7. Strongly push states to remove secular-based sex education materials from school facilities, and emphasize parental instruction.

The Washington Post sums it up:

The five-page document produced by the Council for National Policy calls for a “restoration of education in America” that would minimize the federal role, promote religious schools and home schooling and enshrine “historic Judeo-Christian principles” as a basis for instruction.

Bottom line: This is what theocracy looks like.


Hillbillies and Rednecks



By Todd J. Wilkinson

Many words commonly used in America today have their origins in our Celtic roots. While the following terms discussed are associated today with the American South and southern culture, their origins are distinctly Scottish and Ulster-Scottish (Scots-Irish), and date to the mass immigration of Scottish Lowland and Ulster Presbyterians to America during the 1700’s. Whilst there are other competing explanations of the derivation of some of them, we prefer the ones here!

The origin of this American nickname for mountain folk in the Ozarks and in Appalachia comes from Ulster. Ulster-Scottish (The often incorrectly labeled “Scots-Irish”) settlers in the hill-country of Appalachia brought their traditional music with them to the new world, and many of their songs and ballads dealt with William, Prince of Orange, who defeated the Catholic King James II of the Stuart family at the Battle of the Boyne, Ireland in 1690.

Supporters of King William were known as Orangemen and Billy Boys and their North American counterparts were soon referred to as hill-billies. It is interesting to note that a traditional song of the Glasgow Rangers football club today begins with the line, ‘Hurrah! Hurrah! We are the Billy Boys!’ and shares its tune with the famous American Civil War song, Marching Through Georgia.

Stories abound of American National Guard units from Southern states being met upon disembarking in Britain during the First and Second World Wars with that tune, much to their displeasure! One of these stories comes from Colonel Ward Schrantz, a noted historian and native of Carthage, Missouri ative, and veteran of the Mexican – and veteran of the mexican Border Campaign, as well as the First and Second World Wars – documented a story where the US Army’s 30th Division, made up of National Guard units from Georgia, North and South Carolina and Tennessee arrived in the United Kingdom…’a waiting British band broke into welcoming American music, and the soldiery, even the 118th Field Artillery and the 105 Medical Battalion from Georgia, broke into laughter.The excellence of intent and the ignorance of the origins of the American music being equally obvious. The welcoming tune was Marching Through Georgia.’

The origins of this term are Scottish and refer to supporters of the National Covenant and The Solemn League and Covenant, or Covenanters, largely Lowland Presbyterians, many of whom would flee Scotland for Ulster (Northern Ireland) during persecutions by the British Crown. The Covenanters of 1638 and 1641 signed the documents that stated that Scotland desired the Presbyterian form of church government and would not accept the Church of England as its official state church.

Many Covenanters signed in their own blood and wore red pieces of cloth around their necks as distinctive insignia; hence the term Red neck, which became slang for a Scottish dissenter. One Scottish immigrant, interviewed by the author, remembered a Presbyterian minister, one Dr. Coulter, in Glasgow in the 1940’s wearing a red clerical collar – is this symbolic of the rednecks? Since many Ulster-Scottish settlers in America (especially in the South) were Presbyterian, the term was applied to them, and then, later, their Southern descendants. One of the earliest examples of its use comes from 1830, when an author noted that red-neck was a name bestowed upon the Presbyterians. It makes one wonder if the originators of the ever-present redneck jokes are aware of the term’s origins?

Another term for Presbyterians in Ireland was a Blackmouth. Members of the Church of Ireland (Anglicans) used this as a slur, referring to the fact that one could tell a Presbyterian by the black stains around his mouth from eating blackberries while at secret, illegal Presbyterian Church Services in the countryside.

Another Ulster-Scot term, a cracker was a person who talked and boasted, and craic is a term still used in Scotland and Ireland to describe talking, chat or conversation in a social sense (‘Let’s go down the pub and have a craic’ or ‘What’s the craic?’). The term, first used to describe a southerner of Ulster-Scottish background, later became a nickname for any white southerner, especially those who were uneducated.
And while not an exclusively Southern term, but rather referring in general to all Americans, the origins of this word are related to the other three.

Often used in Latin America to refer to people from the United States, gringo also has a Scottish connection. The term originates from the Mexican War (1846-1848), when American Soldiers of Scots descent would sing Robert Burns’ Green Grow the Rashes, O!, or the very popular song Green Grows the Laurel (or lilacs) while serving in Mexico, thus inspiring the locals to refer to the Yankees as green-grows or gringos. The song Green Grows the Laurel refers to several periods in Scottish and Ulster-Scottish history. Jacobites might change the green laurel for the bonnets so blue of the exiled Stewart monarchs of Scotland during the Jacobite Rebellions of the late 1600’s – early 1700’s. Scottish Lowlanders and Ulster Presbyterians would change the green laurel of James II in 1690 for the Orange and Blue of William of Orange, and later on, many of these Ulstermen would immigrate to America, and thus change the green laurel for the red, white and blue.

An opposing theory to the origin of Gringo claims that the term actually comes from the Spanish word “griego”, which means “Greek”, as in the expression, It’s all Greek to me. The term reportedly referred to foreigners living in Spain, whose accent made their attempts to speak Spanish difficult to understand by Spanish natives. The term may specifically refer to the Irish, many of whom fled to Spain in the late 1600’s to escape religious persecution.

Adamson, Ian. The Ulster People: Ancient, Medieval and Modern. Bangor, Northern Ireland: Petani Press, 1991.
Bruce, Duncan. The Mark of the Scots: Their Astonishing Contributions to History, Science, Democracy, Literature and the Arts. Secaucus, New Jersey: Birch Lane Press, 1997.
Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
McWhiney, Grady. Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1988.
Personal Interview, Mr. Bill Carr, Ayrshire native and member, Celtic Society of the Ozarks, January 2001.
Colonel Ward Schrantz papers, Jasper County Archives and Record Center, Carthage, Missouri.
Stevenson, James A.C. SCOOR-OOT: A Dictionary of SCOTS Words and Phrases in Current Use. London: The Athlone Press, 1989.
Urban Legends Reference Pages: http://www.snopes.com/language/stories/gringo.htm
Walsh, Frank, and the 12th Louisiana String Band. Songs of the Celtic South album, 1991.




Years ago when I was conducting my doctoral research on the evolutionary history of men among a remote indigenous community of hunter-gatherers living in the forests of South America, I came across a man donning a well-worn baseball cap likely donated by missionaries. The cap read, “There are three stages to a man’s life: Stud, Dud, Thud.” Indeed. It is somewhat sobering to see one’s life’s research summarized on a piece of headwear that can probably be found for a few dollars at a roadside truck stop. But such is the elegance of interesting science.

It’s no secret that mortality due to accidents and risky behavior is much higher in young men, particularly those in their late teenage years and early 20s. This, by the way, is not news to insurance companies. It’s also true that men die earlier than women, regardless of their environment or lifestyle, and are often more susceptible to some cancers and heart disease at an earlier age. In fact, men are at a higher risk than women when it comes to most of the top 15 contributing sources of mortality in the United States—which account for nearly 80 percent of all deaths.

In the words of a Yale evolutionary biologist, “Macho makes you sick.”

Evolutionary factors are clearly at play. The question is why. What is natural selection’s deal with men? It’s a compelling academic question, for sure. But now that I’m in my 50s, I have to admit the issue of aging gets more relevant with every new gray hair.

As it turns out, shorter lifespans and higher male mortality risk are quite common in many species. Natural selection doesn’t necessarily favor traits commonly associated with health, vigor, and longevity. Instead, it promotes characteristics that provide greater lifetime reproductive success, or in the parlance of evolutionary biology, fitness. If the benefits of increased fitness are greater than the cost of a shorter lifespan or poor health, biology will prioritize those traits. In essence, sex trumps birthday candles.

This tradeoff between longevity and reproduction takes an obvious form in women: Pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation are all physically taxing and energetically costly. Research has shown that bearing more children is associated with higher oxidative stress, which can in turn lead to accelerated aging in post-menopausal women.1 A 2006 historical study of rural Polish women, for example, found a correlation between having more children and a significantly shorter post-menopausal lifespan.2 Although more research needs to be done, it would seem that reproductive effort can literally take years off your life.

FATAL ATTRACTIONMale quolls (above) experience a dramatic one-time rise in testosterone that triggers intense bouts of mating—and very high mortality.
Wildlife Explorer / Wikimedia Commons

But what about men? While they obviously don’t bear the costs of pregnancy, they do still allocate a great deal of energy—also to their own detriment later in life—to improve their chances of reproduction. This “reproductive effort” takes place through engagement in riskier behavior and the accumulation of greater body mass, particularly sexually dimorphic skeletal muscle mass, the extra male-specific muscle in the shoulders, back, and arms. The metabolic costs of maintaining this muscle in men over a lifetime are comparable to the energy expenditure women experience during pregnancy and breast-feeding, but they and their associated health challenges are somewhat manageable. After all, it would be a good idea to evolve physiological mechanisms to manage the tradeoffs that result from the often conflicting needs of body functions. Hormones are one of the most vital agents in managing these tradeoffs. In men, testosterone regulates investment in muscle and reproductive behavior. But like everything else, it, too, has its price.

Testosterone is often described as the male sex hormone. Women also produce testosterone, but in much smaller amounts. Aside from its sexual effects such as stimulating beard growth and deeper voices, testosterone is an important anabolic hormone that has a significant impact on the energetic costs in men. That is, it promotes anabolism, or muscle-building, and increases metabolism, the rate at which that muscle burns calories. Testosterone also promotes the burning of fat tissue. And yes, it can also boost libido and mood. So testosterone does a lot of things that sound healthy—but it can be a double-edged sword.

Burning fat may make you look better in the mirror, for instance, but in the wild, less fat makes you more vulnerable to food shortfalls and infection. This is apparent in many organisms, whose acute rises in testosterone signal an increase in reproductive effort, only to cause challenges to other physiological demands related to well-being. Take the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), a medium-sized Australian marsupial. Male quolls experience a dramatic one-time rise in testosterone that triggers intense bouts of mating—and very high mortality due to male/male aggression and fat depletion. Females live up to three years, whereas males are lucky to make it a year. As ecologist Jaime Heiniger so eloquently states, “It could likely be that they [males] shag themselves to death.”3

The cap read, “There are three stages to a man’s life: Stud, Dud, Thud.”

The effects of testosterone on longevity and aging in humans are more nuanced and challenging to assess, but given men’s shorter lifespans, an analogous situation could very well be at play. Since it would be unethical to experimentally manipulate testosterone in men to determine effects on lifespan, researchers have to look for more subtle clues, often in historical data. In late 19th-century China and the Ottoman Empire, for example, men of certain religious sects underwent not only castration but complete genital removal, including the penis and scrotum.4 And eunuchs were common in the courts of royalty in preindustrial Korea, as well as in boys choirs in 17th- and 18th-century Europe.5Although there are other ethnographic instances of castration, these three cases are unique in that longevity was recorded. The Chinese and boys choir records revealed no difference in longevity compared to men who had not been castrated; the Korean study, however, recorded longer lives for eunuchs. Such is science. Even if these studies had been unanimous in their findings, they provide insufficient evidence for reaching a firm conclusion. Other factors, such as nutritional or socioeconomic status, could affect longevity, independent of the effects of testosterone.

To get a better picture, then, scientists have had to examine the effects of testosterone supplementation in “intact” males as well. Ornithologists have shown that experimentally increasing testosterone levels often improves a male bird’s ability to establish multiple nests, ward off competitors, and father more offspring compared to unsupplemented males.6 Moreover, males that have naturally high testosterone levels exhibit the same advantages. If testosterone is so beneficial for reproductive fitness, then why don’t all males maintain such high testosterone levels? Again: There are costs. While testosterone-supplemented male birds had greater reproductive fitness, they also exhibited compromised survivorship. Supplemented males put on less fat and had a harder time making it through the breeding season.

Moving beyond birds, testosterone supplementation in otherwise healthy men has become increasingly popular and could provide insights into the tradeoffs between reproductive effort and longevity. Although it is still too soon to determine whether men on testosterone have shorter life spans, evidence is emerging. According to one 2014 study, older men taking testosterone were more likely to experience an acute, non-fatal myocardial infarction 90 days after the first prescription, as compared with prior to the treatment.7 Higher testosterone might be beneficial for muscle growth, but other organs in older men may not be able to tolerate the metabolic burden. Clearly, more research is necessary.

As an ecologist eloquently states, male quolls, a small marsupial, “shag themselves to death.”

Testosterone doesn’t just cause metabolic changes: It’s also responsible for significant immunological effects during a man’s lifetime. In the words of Yale evolutionary biologist Stephen Stearns, “Macho makes you sick.” Indeed, men often have a harder time than women fighting off infections. There are several potential underlying causes for these differences. Perhaps males are simply exposed to more opportunities for infection than women are. Or it may be that men are at a chemical disadvantage when it comes to fighting off infection—a hypothesis for which there is mounting evidence. Testosterone suppresses immune function, while estradiol, the primary sex steroid in women, bolsters immune function. (The latter does, however, also increase women’s risk of autoimmune disease—again, a compromise nature is willing to make in return for estradiol’s beneficial role in reproduction.) In wild bird, reptile, and mammal populations, testosterone has been found to compromise immune function, and increase the severity of infection and consequentially mortality. Whether this is true for humans remains to be seen, but it seems to fit data collected from men living in regions with high infection risk. In 2005, researchers conducting a study in Honduras found that testosterone levels were lower in men with malarial infections compared to uninfected individuals. When infected men were treated, testosterone rebounded to levels exhibited by uninfected controls.8

And infection isn’t the only kind of disease men have to worry about. Testosterone and other sex hormones are also associated with greater cancer risk, particularly when it comes to prostate cancer. Populations with higher testosterone levels, for example, tend to also exhibit higher incidence of prostate cancer.9 Once again, sex trumps candles.

So why do males tolerate the negative effects of testosterone? The Darwinian explanation is that the potential reproductive payoffs are huge in mammalian males compared to females. Mating opportunities are an important constraint for male fitness. Hypothetically, a male mating with 100 different females in a year could potentially father 100 offspring or more. The same is not true for females. The prevalence of polygyny in mammals, other primates, and many human societies is evidence of the influence of this difference in fitness constraints between males and females. Women can also increase their fitness by obtaining more mating opportunities, but not through bearing more offspring. In essence, mammalian males are willing to deploy costly hormones such as testosterone, invest in expensive tissue, and engage in risky behavior because the potential fitness payoffs are so high.

This makes sense if you’re hominid living in the Pleistocene a couple million years ago. But is this relevant for men today? Perhaps. While humans are tremendously influenced by culture, the conditions of natural selection—trait variation, trait heritability, and differential reproductive success—are difficult to escape.

This does not mean, however, that men cannot evolve other reproductive strategies. Despite their propensity to engage in risky behavior and exhibit expensive, life-shortening physical traits, men have evolved an alternative form of reproductive effort in the form of paternal investment—something very rare in primates (and mammals in general). For paternal investment to evolve, males have to make sure they are around to take care of their offspring. Risky behavior and expensive tissue have to take a backseat to investment that reflects better health and perhaps prolongs lifespan. Indeed, men can exhibit declines in testosterone and put on a bit of weight when they become fathers and engage in paternal care.10, 11 Perhaps, then, fatherhood is good for health.

I doubt that natural selection is done with men, or humans, in general. We may still endure shorter lifespans and worse health due to our evolutionary history, but the essence of evolution is change over time. At our core, humans are incredibly malleable. The physiology that supports this malleability is probably why our species has evolved the traits that define us: big, expensive brains; long lives; extended childhood; offspring that require lots of care. It might also help explain why there are over 7 billion of us. That is a lot of reproductive fitness. Men have evolved novel reproductive strategies such as paternal care that likely contributed to their evolutionary success. But that doesn’t change the fact that they still require testosterone to reproduce. It is unlikely they will ever do away with the associated costs to lifespan and health—but that being said, it’s certainly better than being a northern quoll. Although it is a hell of a way to go.



1. Ziomkiewicz, A., et al. Evidence for the cost of reproduction in humans: High lifetime reproductive effort is associated with greater oxidative stress in post-menopausal women. PLoS One 11, p. e0145753 (2016).

2. Jasienska, G., Nenko, I., & Jasienski, M. Daughters increase longevity of fathers, but daughters and sons equally reduce longevity of mothers. American Journal of Human Biology 18, 422-425 (2006).

3. Dunlevie, J. & Daly, N. Sex life of northern quolls: Reproduction rituals on Groote Eylandt exposed. www.abc.net (2014).

4. Wilson, J.D. & Roehrborn, C. Long-term consequences of castration in men: Lessons from the Skoptzy and the eunuchs of the Chinese and Ottoman courts. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 84, 4324-4331 (1999).

5. Min, K.J., Lee, C.K., & Park, H.N. The lifespan of Korean eunuchs. Current Biology22, R792-793 (2012).

6. Reed, W.L., et al. Physiological effects on demography: A long-term experimental study of testosterone’s effects on fitness. The American Naturalist167, 665-681 (2006).

7. Finkle, W.D., et al. Increased risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction following testosterone therapy prescription in men. PLoS One 9, e85805 (2014).

8. Muehlenbein, M.P., Alger, J., Cogswell, F., James, M., & Krogstad, D. The reproductive endocrine response to Plasmodium vivax infection in Hondurans. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 73, 178-187 (2005).

9. Calistro Alvarado, L. Population differences in the testosterone levels of young men are associated with prostate cancer disparities in older men. American Journal of Human Biology 22, 449-455 (2010).

10. Garfield, C.F., et al. Longitudinal Study of Body Mass Index in Young Males and the Transition to Fatherhood. American Journal of Men’s Health 10, NP158-NP167 (2015).

11. Gettler, L.T., McDade, T.W., Feranil, A.B., & Kuzawa, C.W. Longitudinal evidence that fatherhood decreases testosterone in human males. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108, 16194-16199 (2011).

Lead image: Mondadori Portfolio / Getty Images



by Mike Littwin
April 03, 2017
Littwin: Bennet won’t support Gorsuch filibuster, but says it’s complicated
First the news. Michael Bennet tells me he’s not going to vote to filibuster Neil Gorsuch.
“I don’t think it’s wise for our party to filibuster this nominee or for Republicans to invoke the nuclear option,” Bennet says.
That makes him the fourth Democratic senator to break from the ranks and the only one from a state that voted against Donald Trump. Republicans still need four more Democrats to defect to block a filibuster, and, at this point, it seems unlikely they’ll get them.
This vote was always going to be a lose-lose proposition for Bennet. He would either have to enrage the Democratic base with a decision that looks like heresy — which is what he’s done — or vote against a fellow Coloradan who is strongly supported by the downtown legal and business establishment, which, not coincidentally, generally supports Bennet. Gov. John Hickenlooper laid out the case when he said he wouldn’t blame Democrats for trying to delay or block Gorsuch after the Merrick Garland fiasco, but that he was “honored” a Coloradan as talented as Gorsuch was nominated.
But the decision is more complicated than local politics. And it’s more complicated than Gorsuch’s obvious qualifications. Bennet’s vote for cloture is not simply a vote for Gorsuch. Bennet says, in fact, that if Republicans go nuclear, “all bets are off,” presumably meaning that if it comes to an up-or-down vote, he’s going to vote down. And no wonder.
When I ask Bennet to describe his view on Gorsuch as a potential justice, he responds “very conservative,” and not in a good way. He means it in the way Gorsuch decided the Hobby Lobby case and dissented in the “frozen trucker” case — taking a strongly pro-business slant in which for-profit businesses can have religious beliefs and praying-for-their-life workers can be fired for choosing not to freeze to death.
Bennet’s vote is to try to save the Supreme Court filibuster, which may be the Democrats’ only hope of blocking future Trump nominees who Bennet guarantees will be “far more extreme.” It’s a long-shot hope. Mitch McConnell has promised to use the nuclear option — ending the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees as Harry Reid did for all other lifetime judicial nominees in 2013 — if Democrats filibuster Gorsuch. But if Republicans are prepared to go nuclear over Gorsuch, they can go nuclear at any time. There may be nothing to save.
Bennet, whose case would be stronger if he unequivocally said he would oppose Gorsuch in an up-and-down vote, says opposing the filibuster is worth the risk. Otherwise, Democrats are putting all their chips on a bet they know they can’t win.
“If the nuclear option is invoked,” Bennet is saying by phone from his Washington office, “that means Gorsuch will be confirmed on the court with a 50-plus-1 vote. He’s going to be confirmed either way. But then the next justice will be confirmed with a 50-plus-1 vote. And the next justice.
“Trump might get two more nominees in his first term as president. Having a 51-vote threshold guarantees that you’re going to have far more extreme nominees.”
That’s the danger. Very conservative Gorsuch would replace very conservative Antonin Scalia. But the three oldest justices on the bench are swing vote Anthony Kennedy, who’s 80, liberal Stephen Breyer, who’s 78, and very liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg who, though she figures to live forever, is 83. All three, it should be noted, are votes in favor of keeping Roe v. Wade. If Trump replaces even one of them, that would probably swing the balance of the court against Roe. If he replaces all of them — and this is where someone raises the point about elections mattering — conservatives could have a 7-2 majority.
So, this is the crux of Bennet’s argument. Yes, Merrick Garland should have been nominated, and, yes, the liberal wing should have a 5-4 majority and, yes, McConnell did basically steal the seat, and, yes, Democrats should not just back away from that insult, and, yes, Gorsuch is a very conservative jurist who could be on the court for 30 years or more, and, yes, the Democrats risk giving Trump a victory at a time when he is floundering at every turn and, yes, the danger of thinking too long-term in politics is that you never really have any idea what will happen tomorrow.
But this is what could happen next. Trump’s approval ratings, already at historically low ratings at this point in a presidential term, could continue to slide. He’s around 40 percent now and could easily fall another 10 points. Is there a point at which Republicans abandon him? The 2018 and 2020 elections are the places to look. And if the filibuster remains in place, will Republicans, with a truly unpopular president and with the prospect of supporting a truly extreme nominee and with the future of Roe in the balance, vote to overturn it then?
Overturning Roe has been the holy grail for Republicans ever since it was decided, but it would almost certainly be a political disaster for them. And if three Republicans abandon Trump at the next nomination — which Ted Cruz is already predicting will look like Armageddon — the Supreme Court filibuster, should it still be alive, could be saved.
This is the argument Bennet has been trying to sell. “I’ve been spending weeks in conversation with Democrats and Republicans trying to put the genie back in the bottle, to get people to understand what the stakes are,” Bennet says. “I’m not very optimistic that any of this is going to bear fruit. But it’s gut-check time now. Are Democrats really going to filibuster the nominee? Are Republicans really going to use the nuclear option?”
Bennet makes a rational case. But we live in an irrational time. Do you fight Trumpism strategically or do you fight it at every turn? Senate Democrats, with their 48 votes, are at a loss and have done nothing to prepare the base for what happens when Democrats inevitably lose the Gorsuch vote. At this point, it’s all about resistance. And though Bennet makes a good case, at this time, with this president, it’s hard to see how the Gorsuch fight could be about anything else.

Photo courtesy of Senate Democrats via Flickr:Creative Commons

Vast Underwater Ocean Trapped Beneath Earth’s Crust


Jun 13, 2014 11:33 AM EDT

Scientists have discovered evidence of a vast water reservoir trapped hundreds of miles beneath the surface, capable of filling Earth’s oceans three times over.

Located 400 miles (660 km) beneath Earth’s crust, this body of water is locked up in a blue mineral called ringwoodite that lies in the transition zone of hot rock between Earth’s surface and core. Interestingly, this water is not in a form familiar to us – it’s neither liquid, ice nor vapor. Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University suggests it means that water on Earth may get pushed to the surface from below, contradicting previous beliefs that water was delivered via icy comets.

“Geological processes on the Earth’s surface, such as earthquakes or erupting volcanoes, are an expression of what is going on inside the Earth, out of our sight,” Jacobsen, co-author of the paper published in the journal Science, said in a press release.

“I think we are finally seeing evidence for a whole-Earth water cycle, which may help explain the vast amount of liquid water on the surface of our habitable planet. Scientists have been looking for this missing deep water for decades.”

Ringwoodite here is key. Its crystal-like structure makes it act like a sponge and draw in hydrogen and trap water.

Jacobsen and his colleagues based their findings on a study of the transition zone, an underground region extending across most of the interior of the United States.

Along with Jacobsen’s lab experiments on rocks simulating the high pressures found deep underground, the study compiled data from the USArray, a network of seismometers across the United States used to measure earthquake vibrations.

It produced evidence that melting occurring 400 miles beneath the surface, plus the movement of rock in the transition zone, leads to a process where water can become fused and trapped within the rock.

Scientists were astounded because most melting in the mantle was previously thought to occur at a much shallower distance – about 50 miles (80km) below the Earth’s surface.

And according to The Guardian, Jacobsen said that this trapped, hidden water may explain why Earth’s oceans have stayed the same size for billions of years.

“If [the stored water] wasn’t there, it would be on the surface of the Earth, and mountaintops would be the only land poking out,” he said.

The findings were published June 13 in the journal Science.

Katherine Stinson: Her Story



Before there was Amelia Earhardt there was Katherine Stinson. A decade after the Wright Brothers lifted off the ground, Katherine Stinson achieved the unthinkable in a male-dominated field: she learned how to fly! This is the inspirational story of a brave, talented, young woman who fought for what she believed in — that she could fly and be the best. She traveled around the world, set records, cheated death, was adored in the United States, Japan, and China and shows us that with great spirit and believing in oneself, anyone can accomplish their dreams.

Katherine Stinson: Her Story | New Mexico PBS


Katherine Stinson, aka “The Flying Schoolgirl”

Stunt-flyer Katherine Stinson, along with her brothers Jack and Eddie and sister Marjorie, ran a flying school in San Antonio, Texas, and was the fourth woman in the U.S. to earn a pilot’s license. The first woman to fly the mail, she set increasingly longer endurance and distance records, and gave flying exhibitions in Japan and China. Stinson, like Ruth Law, volunteered to fly combat missions for the Army and was rejected. She ended up flying for the Liberty Loan Drives. Marjorie Stinson was also a pilot and trained Canadian pilots for the British Royal Flying Corps at the family flying school, where her students were nicknamed “The Texas Escadrille.” In 1918 Katherine Stinson traveled to Europe and worked for the American Red Cross as a flyer and an ambulance driver. After she contracted influenza, Stinson eventually developed tuberculosis and had to retire from flying in 1920.


A brief biography of Katherine, Edward, and Marjorie Stinson, American aviation pioneers.