American alligator mothers often help their babies move around by letting them ride on their heads or sometimes even giving them a lift in their mouths.
Wolf spiders actually carry their egg sacs around with them and when the baby spiders hatch, they climb onto their mother's abdomen for the first few days before heading off to live on their own. One Australian discovered this the hard way. [VIDEO]
Everyone's favorite baby transporter, the kangaroo, has its famous stomach pouch, but I bet you didn't know that baby kangaroos blindly crawl along their mother's body from her uterus to the pouch right after birth. [VIDEO]
If that's not enough of an animal fix for you, here's a photo album from National Geographic of mothers and babies from across the animal kingdom.
First up from the God Machine this week is an unusual new lawsuit filed this week by a Nebraska woman claiming to be an "ambassador" for "God and His Son, Jesus Christ." As NBC News' M. Alex Johnson reported, the apparent defendant in the case is literally every gay person on the planet, accused in the suit of breaking "religious and moral laws."
In the suit ... Sylvia Ann Driskell, 66, of Auburn, Nebraska, asks in a seven-page, neatly handwritten petition (PDF) that U.S. District Judge John M. Gerrard decide once and for all whether homosexuality is or isn't a sin.
The suit doesn't cite any case law under which a judge could make such a determination. In fact, it cites no court cases at all, quoting Webster's Dictionary and numerous Bible verses, instead, to bolster Driskell's central contention, which is: "That homosexuality is a sin and that they the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality. Why else would they have been hiding in the closet."
The lawsuit, such as it is, gained national prominence after being noticed by writer Dan Savage who said, "Man, I hope I get deposed!"
According to the local court, the litigation was entered into the docket as -- I'm not kidding -- Driskell v. Homosexuals.
Opponents of gay rights probably shouldn't get their hopes up on this one. Call it a hunch.
Katrina Plonczynski, French bulldog beastmaster, and human laser beam of cable news attention, applies her skills and training to the task of overcoming one of humankind's greatest challenges, the Friday Night News Dump, to win a green thneed and a cup. watch
Rachel Maddow updates the latest developments in the campaigns and aspirations for the U.S. presidency in 2016 and reports on the remarkable outcome of the UK election, noting how much less time is spent campaigning ahead of the election in the U.K. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on the commemoration of the Allied victory in Europe during World War II, and tells the story of an often-forgotten tactic by Japan in which balloons carrying bombs were floated across the Pacific Ocean to set fires in the U.S. watch
* Baltimore: "Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Friday the Department of Justice will investigate the Baltimore Police Department due to a 'serious erosion of public trust' following the controversial death of Freddie Gray."
* National security: "The American military has stepped up security measures at installations around the country in response to growing concerns about 'homegrown violent extremists,' a U.S. defense official said. The commander of the U.S. Northern Command sent an advisory Thursday night directing all commanders in the United States to tighten up protection, the official said."
* Yemen: "Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that it would halt hostilities in Yemen beginning Tuesday for a five-day trial period that the foreign minister said could be renewed 'if it works out.'"
* Elections, consequences: "Prime Minister David Cameron, having achieved a smashing and unexpected outright victory in Britain's general election, heads into his second term facing severe -- even existential -- challenges to his nation's identity and place in the world: how to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union and Scotland in the United Kingdom."
* Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase: "Two of the nation's biggest banks will finally put to rest the zombies of consumer debt -- bills that are still alive on credit reports although legally eliminated in bankruptcy -- potentially providing relief to more than a million Americans."
* Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.): "A multimillionaire, first-term Florida congressman flipped shares in a solar company the same day he acquired them in an initial public offering, despite a federal law that generally prohibits members of Congress from participating in IPOs."
In early 2013, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) surprised nearly everyone by announcing he'd changed his mind about Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act. The Republican governor had long condemned the idea, but he apparently had a change of heart.
"I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care," he said at the time. Scott added that Medicaid expansion is "a compassionate, common sense step forward." The governor even referenced the death of his mother when explaining his rationale.
"A few months ago, my mother passed away, and I lost one of the only constants in my life," Scott said. "Losing someone so close to you puts everything in new perspective ... especially the big decisions.... As I wrestled with this decision, I thought about my Mom's struggles raising five kids with very little money."
That was February 2013. In April 2015, Scott reversed course again, announcing his renewed opposition to the policy he'd endorsed. And today, the local CBS affiliate in Miami reports that that the governor offered an unexpected explanation for his posture two years ago.
Scott conceded this week that was all a ruse. He now says his support for Medicaid expansion was a calculated move designed to win support from the Obama administration for the state's proposal to hand over control of Medicaid to private insurance companies. At the time, he denied that his support was tied to a deal with the federal government.
Now that he's succeeded in privatizing Medicaid, Scott is again railing against Medicaid expansion and is suing the federal government for allegedly forcing it on him.
In late March, the New York Timesreported that a variety of leaders from the religious right movement believed their party "will ultimately nominate an establishment presidential candidate like Jeb Bush" -- which they don't want to see happen. Rather, leading Christian right activists said they intended to find a standard bearer of their own.
Among other things, the news was a reminder that when it comes to pandering to social conservatives, the former Florida governor has some work to do. Bush will take a big step in that direction tomorrow.
[Bush] will be the commencement speaker on Saturday at Liberty University, the institution in Lynchburg, Va., founded by the evangelical leader Jerry Falwell.
Mr. Bush has struggled with grass-roots evangelicals. In his speech, he is unlikely to wander deep into politics, but instead will focus on religion, according to people planning his speech. The structure will still allow him to discuss his opposition to same-sex marriage, for instance, and his belief in respecting religious rights.
As we talked about a few weeks ago, this stop in Virginia has become increasingly common for national GOP candidates. In 2006. for example, it was John McCain delivering the commencement address at Liberty, in advance of his second presidential campaign, standing alongside the radical TV preacher he'd condemned eight years earlier as an "agent of intolerance."
In 2012, it was Mitt Romney who was eager to speak to Liberty students. In 2013, Rand Paul spoke at Liberty, presenting others’ words as his own. This year, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) kicked off his presidential campaign at the evangelical school.
When members of Congress are ranked by wealth, one lawmaker usually stands out, even among the rich. Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican, has a net worth of at least $350 million -- which gives him a comfortable lead over his next closest rivals in the race for the top spot.
This isn't criticism, of course, and there's nothing wrong with someone having great financial success. But given Issa's riches, he should probably avoid the kind of rhetoric he used with CNN yesterday.
Asked by CNNMoney whether he feels personally responsible to address income inequality in the United States, the Republican Congressman from California said "absolutely." But he noted that America is the richest country on earth and implied that those in poverty here are better off than the poor in other nations.
"If you go to India or you go to any number of other Third World countries, you have two problems: You have greater inequality of income and wealth. You also have less opportunity for people to rise from the have not to the have," said Issa.
The California Republican added that the United States has made "our poor somewhat the envy of the world."
Now, even if Issa weren't hyper-wealthy, it's generally not a good idea for politicians to vote to slash public investments, cut taxes on the wealthy, and then lecture the poor on how their station in life could be worse. Issa is supposed to be a congressman, not a Dickensian villain.
But the fact that the California Republican enjoys Romney-esque wealth -- and he's making the comments as economic inequality in the United States reaches unprecedented levels -- just adds insult to injury.
Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:
* In UK elections, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and his party had a very good night. The pre-election polls didn't hold up well.
* Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's (R) on-again, off-again interest in the 2016 presidential race is apparently over: as Rachel noted on the show last night, he effectively withdrew from consideration late yesterday afternoon.
* Mitt Romney has reportedly organized a donor forum in Utah next month for several leading Republican presidential candidates. Jeb Bush, however, will apparently skip the event.
* On a related note, oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens is the latest GOP megadonor to throw his support behind Jeb Bush. Pickens said yesterday he's contributed $100,000 to the former Florida governor's super PAC.
* The latest revenue projections in Wisconsin are short of what Gov. Scott Walker (R) hoped to see -- and short of what he needs to balance his state budget -- which won't do his presidential campaign any favors.
* If you've been waiting eagerly for Lindsey Graham's campaign kickoff, your wait is nearly over -- the Republican senator will reportedly launch on June 1 in his home state of South Carolina.
Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.
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