Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 8:04 am
Got a mouthful of metal and stack of orthodontic bills? You can thank your farmer ancestors for them.
That's according to an anthropologist who says the switch from chewing wild game to eating corn, rice and wheat could have shortened the human jaw so that teeth don't fit in it as well.
When agriculture took off in some parts of the world, it had a lot to offer people: Farmed foods are a more reliable source of calories, and are easier to chew and digest. But they also may have helped transform the jaw bone before the teeth could catch up.
Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 5:30 pm
For the not-so-super debt reduction supercommittee, failure is clearly an option.
As the blame-gaming bipartisan congressional committee stumbled toward collapse Monday, washing out on even the most basic show of common purpose, the "what happens next" scenarios began to take shape.
A power struggle between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) and the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left, in portrait) is growing. There are signs that Khamenei may want to eliminate the presidency and replace it with the less powerful position of prime minister.
The next presidential election in Iran is scheduled for 2013, but doubts are emerging about whether it will actually take place.
A conservative member of Iran's Parliament recently claimed that a secret committee convened by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been working on a plan to do away with the office of the presidency.
Meanwhile, the conflict between the supreme leader and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to sharpen.
With Thanksgiving hard upon us, now is a good time to think about our past. History writers can tell the best stories from centuries of human achievement and folly, yet too often they produce recitations of one damned thing after another. A few, though, combine a respect for accuracy with a deep understanding of the longings, fears and triumphs of the people of our past. Such books make magic.
Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 2:03 pm
President Obama has kept his distance from the supercommittee. Unlike the budget battles earlier this year, there were no bargaining sessions at the White House. No presidential motorcades to Capitol Hill.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, has a very clear record on the Affordable Care Act. He has repeatedly called for its defeat and was one of the co-sponsors of the January repeal measure that easily passed the House but died in the Senate.
When he walked down a line of seated Occupy protesters Friday at the University of California Davis and shot pepper spray directly at them, campus police Lt. John Pike likely never thought that video of the incident would go viral on the Web, that there would be outrage not only at the school but around the nation, or that "casually pepper spraying cop" would quickly become one of the year's top memes.
The United States government takeover of American International Group saved the company from going under during the financial crisis of 2008. As The Wall Street Journal reported at the time, the government drove a hard bargain — tens of billions would get it an almost 80 percent stake of the company — but the government argued if AIG went down, so would the rest of the economy and AIG argued if the company wasn't pumped with money, it would collapse. The U.S.
Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 1:06 pm
With the members of the congressional deficit-cutting supercommittee essentially announcing that they couldn't get to "yes," the nation is only seeing the latest turn of the screw in the partisan paralysis gripping policymakers in Washington. We all know it is far from the last.
Coming as it does now less than a year before the 2012 general election, the panel's failure to achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction means each major political will now be focused on trying to persuade voters that the other party is more responsible for the impasse.
Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 1:26 pm
This is the month when the stately, voluptuous turkey takes a place of pride on most dinner tables. But when it comes to dessert, it's worth considering the relevance of another bird — the humble magpie.
That's because, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "pie" — defined as a baked dish topped with and sometimes also surrounded by pastry — may well derive from the Latin word pica, meaning magpie.
A report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which concluded Iran was working on nuclear weapons, continues to reverberate internationally. Yesterday, in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak was asked bluntly if Israel would attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 10:59 am
The Justice Department lawyers who prosecuted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) will not face criminal contempt charges for failing to share evidence that could have helped his defense team, a federal judge said Monday.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan and the special prosecutor he appointed, Washington lawyer Henry Schuelke, had tough words for the Justice Department, though.
Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 12:38 pm
From Cairo's Tahrir Square, where three days of clashes between authorities and thousands of protesters have left more than 20 people dead and more than 1,700 injured, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson says the Egyptians who have taken to the streets again:
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh has been brought in to be a "special investigative counsel" for Penn State's internal look into how its officials handled reports that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky might have been sexually abusing young boys.
American David Coleman Headley was one of the leading planners of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which killed 166 people over three days at two five-star hotels, a train station and a small Jewish community center.
Headley, the son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, had been chosen for the mission because he looked like a non-Muslim Westerner. He used those looks — and his U.S. passport — to plan logistics for several of the places attacked in Mumbai.
Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 6:26 am
The death toll from three days of clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square has risen to at least 24, a morgue official tells The Associated Press. (Note at 8:25 a.m. ET: Earlier, the official told the AP that the toll was 35; now, he says 11 of the deaths were unrelated to the violence.)