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BIRDS

Categorized by genus/species, placed chronologically by common name

    American Coot

    American Crow

    American Flamingo*

    American Goldfinch

    American Kestrel

    American Oystercatcher*

    American Robin

    American Tree Sparrow

    American White Pelican

    Bald Eagle

    Baltimore Oriole

    Barn Swallow

    Barnacle Goose*

    Belted Kingfisher

    Black-and-White Warbler

    Black-Capped Chickadee

    Black-Headed Gull*

    Black Vulture*

    Blue Jay

    Blue Tit*

    Blue-Winged Teal

    Bobolink

    Bobwhite

    Broad-Winged Hawk

    Brown Creeper

    Brown-Headed Cowbird

    Brown Thrasher

    Bufflehead

    Canada Goose

    Canvasback

    Cape May Warbler*

    Carolina Chickadee*

    Carolina Wren

    Cedar Waxwing

    Chipping Sparrow

    Common Gallinule

    Common Goldeneye

    Common Grackle

    Common Gull*

    Common Merganser

    Common Moorhen*

    Common Pochard*

    Common Redpoll

    Cooper's Hawk

    Dark-Eyed Junco

    Dicksissel

    Double-Crested Cormorant

    Downy Woodpecker

    Eastern Bluebird

    Eastern Goldfinch - See American Goldfinch

    Eastern Kingbird

    Eastern Meadowlark

    Eastern Phoebe

    Eastern Towhee

    Eastern Wood Pewee

    Eurasian Blackbird*

    Eurasian Collared Dove

    Eurasian Coot*

    Eurasian Jackdaw*

    Eurasian Magpie*

    Eurasian Tree Sparrow*

    European Serin*

    European Starling

    Fox Sparrow

    Golden-Crowned Kinglet

    Golden-Fronted Woodpecker*

    Gray Catbird

    Graylag Goose

    Great Black-backed Gull*

    Great Blue Heron

    Great Cormorant*

    Great Egret

    Great Grey Shrike

    Great Spotted Woodpecker*

    Great Tit*

    Greater Flamingo*

    Greater White-Fronted Goose*

    Hairy Woodpecker

    Harlequin Duck

    Hermit Thrush

    Herring Gull

    Hooded Crow*

    Horned Lark

    House Finch

    House Sparrow

    House Wren

    Indigo Bunting

    Killdeer

    Laughing Gull*

    Lesser Black-backed Gull*

    Lesser Scaup

    Lincoln's Sparrow

    Magnolia Warbler

    Mallard (Domestic)

    Mallard (Wild)

    Mourning Dove

    Mute Swan*

    Neotropic Cormorant*

    Northern Cardinal

    Northern Flicker

    Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

    Northern Shoveler

    Northern Shrike - See Great Grey Shrike

    Orange-Crowned Warbler

    Painted Bunting*

    Palm Warbler

    Red-Bellied Woodpecker

    Red-Breasted Nuthatch

    Red-Headed Woodpecker

    Red-Legged Thrush*

    Red-Tailed Hawk

    Red-Winged Blackbird

    Ring-Billed Gull

    Ring-Necked Duck

    Rock Pigeon

    Rook*

    Ross's Goose*

    Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

    Ruddy Turnstone*

    Sandwich Tern*

    Scarlet Tanager

    Smooth-Billed Ani*

    Solitary Sandpiper

    Song Sparrow

    Spotted Sandpiper

    Swamp Sparrow

    Syrian Woodpecker*

    Tricolored Heron*

    Tufted Duck*

    Tufted Titmouse

    Tundra Swan*

    Turkey Vulture

    White-Breasted Nuthatch

    White-Cheeked Pintail*

    White-Crowned Pigeon*

    White-Crowned Sparrow

    White-Eyed Vireo

    White-Throated Sparrow

    White-Winged Dove

    Wild Turkey

    Wilson's Warbler

    Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

    Yellow-Legged Gull

    Yellow-Rumped Warbler


MAMMALS

    American Beaver

    Common Raccoon

    Eastern Chipmunk

    Eastern Cottontail

    Eastern Fox Squirrel

    Eastern Gray Squirrel

    Groundhog - See Woodchuck

    Ground Squirrel - See Eastern Chipmunk

    Red Fox

    Striped Skunk

    Virginia Opossum

    White-Tailed Deer

    Woodchuck


Nature Blog Network
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The theory behind Social Security: a federal insurance program that provides benefits to retired persons. In reality:

Americans were led to believe that Social Security was like a retirement account and that money placed in it was, in fact, their property. Shortly after the Social Security Act’s passage, it was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court, in Helvering v. Davis (1937). The court held that Social Security was not an insurance program, saying, “The proceeds of both employee and employer taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like any other internal revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way.”

Thus, workers have a percentage of their taxes confiscated ostensibly to be saved for their own retirement. You pay in while you work; you receive benefits once you retire. In reality, you simply pay in while you work and directly fund the current crop of retired individuals. From the worker to the retired. And when you retire, the current crop of workers will simply pay for you. And as the retired population continues to grow, and because Social Security is not a small sum to be considered just a “supplement” to your retirement, it is heading towards insolvency (i.e. it will be paying out more in benefits than it brings in).

So what’s the problem? Practically speaking, both Social Security and Medicare begin making payments to old folks at age 65. Why age 65? In the 1930′s, when Social Security was adopted through New Deal legislation, life expectancy at birth was only 58 years old due to high infant mortality rates. 65 years old, however, was the life expectancy for the average person who attained adulthood. And since you don’t begin paying into Social Security until you reach “adulthood,” that was the number chosen to begin receiving benefits. That’s right: at the time Social Security was conceived, the program was designed so that of the people who paid into Social Security (adults), roughly half of them would die before ever reaching the age of collection. That is, 50% of the population would pay in during their time in the workforce and never see a penny paid back out to them. This alone insures the crop of workers will always far outnumber the crop of retired persons. And, considering that one worker can only actually pay a small percentage of his own earnings to support a retired individual (since the worker has to support himself and his immediate family, as well), having a workforce that far outnumbers the retired is necessary. What’s more, of the other half of working individuals who actually reached 65, the majority of them did not live extended periods of time collecting government money. Life expectancy in the 1930′s for someone who reached 65 was 78. Thus, while 50% of the population paid in and never even received any benefits, the 50% who did receive benefits did so as a steadily declining percentage as they were rapdily becoming deceased.

Today, the at-birth life expectancy is a little more than 77 years, and the life expectancy for someone who reaches 65 is 83. Thus, large numbers of people that the program was not designed to accommodate collect Social Security and Medicare – and what’s worse, they do so for longer periods of time. The age for collection is still 65. More people are living to be 65, and that higher percentage of people who make it to 65 are living much longer, too. Since nothing has been changed, the program is slowly heading for the red. Check out this article for more info.

And why are we redistributing so much money from worker to retired individual anyway?

It turns out that half the federal budget is spent on programs primarily serving senior citizens, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But let’s look at a few comparisons between younger Americans and older Americans. More than 80 percent of those older than 65 are homeowners, and 66 percent of them have no mortgage. Homeownership is at 40 percent for those younger than 35, and only 12 percent own their home free and clear of a mortgage. The average net worth of people older than 65 is about $230,000, whereas that of those younger than 35 is $10,000. There’s nothing complicated about this; older people have been around longer. But what standard of fairness justifies taxing the earnings of workers who are less wealthy in order to pass them on to retirees who are far wealthier?

Thus, not only is raising the retirement age and slashing benefits practically necessary, it is also fair. Why doesn’t it happen?

There’s no justification, but there’s an explanation. Those older than 65 vote in greater numbers and have the ear of congressmen.

Posted by: Moe in: Law at 3:19 pm

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INSECTS, ARACHNIDS, MYRIAPODS & GASTROPODS

Categorized by family, placed chronologically by common name

    Ants (Formicidae)

    Assassin Bugs (Reduviidae)

    Bee Flies (Bombyliidae)

    Blow Flies (Calliphoridae)

    Brown Lacewings (Hemerobiidae)

    Brushfooted Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

    Bumble Bees, etc. (Apidae)

    Carrion Beetles (Silphidae)

    Cellar Spiders (Pholcidae)

    Centipedes, House (Scutigeridae)

    Cicadas (Cicadidae)

    Common Sawflies (Tenthredinidae)

    Crane Flies (Tipulidae)

    Emeralds (Corduliidae)

    Ermine Moths (Yponomeutidae)

    Fireflies (Lampyridae)

    Flower Flies - See Syrphid Flies

    Funnel-Web Spiders (Agelenidae)

    Ground Beetles (Carabidae)

    Honey Bees - See Bumble Bees, etc.

    Hornets - See Yellowjackets, etc.

    Hover Flies - See Syrphid Flies

    Ichneumon Wasps (Ichneumonidae)

    Jumping Spiders (Salticidae)

    Katydids (Tettigoniidae)

    Ladybird Beetles (Coccinellidae)

    Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae)

    Leaffooted Bugs (Coreidae)

    Leafhoppers (Cicadellidae)

    Lightning Bugs - See Fireflies

    Longhorned Beetles (Cerambycidae)

    Mantid Flies (Mantispidae)

    Mantids (Mantidae)

    Minettia Flies (Minettia)

    Narrow-Winged Damselflies (Coenagrionidae)

    New York Weevils (Ithyceridae)

    Orb-Weavers (Araneidae)

    Paper Wasps - See Yellowjackets, etc.

    Picture-Winged Flies (Ulidiidae)

    Plant Bugs (Miridae)

    Robber Flies (Asilidae)

    Scarab Beetles (Scarabaeidae)

    Scentless Plant Bugs (Rhopalidae)

    Short-horned Grasshoppers (Acrididae)

    Signal Flies (Platystomatidae)

    Soft-Winged Flower Beetles (Melyridae)

    Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae)

    Soldier Flies (Stratiomyidae)

    Sphinx Moths (Sphingidae)

    Spittlebugs (Cercopidae)

    Stink Bugs (Pentatomidae)

    Swallowtails (Papilionidae)

    Sweat Bees (Halictidae)

    Syrphid Flies (Syrphidae)

    Tiger Moths (Arctiidae)

    Tiphiid Wasps (Tiphiidae)

    Yellowjackets, etc. (Vespidae)

    PLANTS

      Brown-Eyed Susan

      Buttonbush

      Clematis

      Crown Vetch

      Dandelion

      Day Lily

      Field Marigold

      Larkspur

      Mountain Blue

      Palm Tree*

      Purple Coneflower

      Rose

      Sedum

      Spider Lily - See Spiderwort

      Spiderwort

      Stinkhorn

      Sweet Alyssum

      Tulip

      Whorled Tickseed

      Wild Pansy

      Yarrow


    REPTILES and AMPHIBIANS

      American Toad

      Common Garter Snake

      Eastern Box Turtle*

      Green Frog

      Long-Tailed Salamander*

      Northern Fence Lizard*

      Painted Turtle


    FISH

      Giant Sea Star*

      Nassau Grouper*

      Puffer Fish*

      Scrawled Filefish*

      Sergeant Major*

      Spanish Hogfish*

      Spotted Grouper*

      Stoplight Parrotfish*

      Yellowhead Wrasse*

      Yellowtail Snapper*


    CRUSTACEANS

      Crayfish


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      Signs, Billboards, etc.

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      Sun and Moon

      Weather


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