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Opening Arguments

Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy

We haven't had a Jimmy Carter update in a long, long, time, so let's dive right in. Jimmy is beside himself with grief over the passing of that great humanitarian Hugo Chavez:

President Chávez will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment.  During his 14-year tenure, Chávez joined other leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean to create new forms of integration.  Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time allowing them to participate more effectively in their country's economic and political life.

And then there's this. I guess we shouldn't have given Jimmy such a hard time over that incident with the killer rabbit. Turns out the bunnies may have wiped out a whole race:

The dinosaurs, per the popular theory, were done in by an object fitting to their size and splendor: an asteroid.

But what about those other earthly old-timers, the Neanderthals? How did they meet their collective fate? According to a new proposal, they were done in by objects considerably less celestial than an asteroid, and also considerably more adorable: bunnies.

Per the hypothesis, proposed by John Fa of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and published in the Journal of Human Evolution, small game -- vewy tiny wabbits chief among them -- might have made the difference, for Neanderthals, between feast and famine. Fa and his colleagues base that idea on their studies of animal skeletons found in three different excavation sites in Spain and Southern France. They noticed that, up until around 30,000 years ago, the remains of large animals -- deer and the like -- were plentiful in caves. After that, though, the remains of smaller, bunny-like animals became much more prevalent. 

And that shift coincides with the seeming disappearance of the Neanderthals. The bulky-browed primates, the scientists speculate, were unable to adapt their hunting skills to small game. And that was not a small thing, because big game are just that: big. Hunting larger animals -- chasing them, felling them, hauling them home -- expends considerable resources of time and energy. Small game, on the other hand, is less demanding of hunters. It might take more cunning to catch a rabbit, but it generally takes less physical energy. And this discrepancy might have made an important evolutionary difference, the thinking goes, particularly as large animals reduced in numbers. "We suggest," the authors write, "that hunters that could shift focus to rabbits and other smaller residual fauna, once larger-bodied species decreased in numbers, would have been able to persist." Neanderthals, on the other hand, "may have been less capable of prey-shifting."

I've been trying to decide. Does Jimmy Carter make Barack Obama look good by comparison, or is it the other way around? This helps:

Jimmy Carter knows who to blame for the world’s troubles: the United States.

Speaking Sunday in San Francisco, the former president told the Commonwealth Club, “Our country is now looked upon as the foremost war-like nation on earth, and there is almost a complete dearth now of commitment of America to negotiate differences with others.”

[. . .]

Carter also faulted Obama for being too tough on American enemies that are pursuing nuclear capabilities. Carter thinks the U.S would have more influence if it promised to drop sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

Ah, so that's the problem. We're just too tough on our enemies!

And I know what you're thinking about those bunny wabbits. They missed at least one Neanderthal, huh?