American Elephants


Honda Creates Robot Controlled by Brainwaves by American Elephant
March 31, 2009, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Humor, News, Science/Technology, Television | Tags: ,

Opening a car door or turning up the heating at home could become just a wish away with Honda’s new technology that connects thoughts inside your brain with a robot.

And all it requires is wearing an enormous dorky Death Star helmet with dozens of brain-sucking sensors protruding from your melon while lugging around a computer the size of a small dumpster.

How convenient!

Certainly far more convenient than these clumsy, obsolete devices already attached to my brain…called hands!

Honda said the technology wasn’t quite ready for a live demonstration because of possible distractions in the person’s thinking.

Gee, what could possibly go wrong?



Here are amazing pictures from the flooding Red River. by The Elephant's Child
March 29, 2009, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Environment, News | Tags: ,

Not only all the misery of flood water, but icy cold as well.  Good neighbors at work.



Senator Judd Gregg delivers a devastating critique of Obama’s budget. by The Elephant's Child

Judd Gregg, R-NH, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, delivered the GOP Weekly Radio Address, and warns that President Obama’s budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much. Good address, important warning, devastating facts.

Here is the transcript:

Hello, I’m Judd Gregg, Senator from New Hampshire. We all know these are difficult times. People are worried about keeping their jobs, paying their bills, the value of their homes and the cost of sending their kids to college. It’s hard.

“Thus I appreciate, as do all Americans, the efforts being made by our President and his seriousness about addressing these issues.

“But what concerns many of us are his proposals in the budget he recently sent to the Congress that dramatically grow the size and cost of government and move it to the left.

“It is our opinion that this plan spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much.

“You may have heard this before that the budget of the President spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much.

“What do we mean? Well, let me give you a few examples.

“In the next five years, President Obama’s budget will double the national debt; in the next ten years it will triple the national debt.

“To say this another way, if you take all the debt of our country run up by all of our presidents from George Washington through George W. Bush, the total debt over all those 200-plus years since we started as a nation, it is President Obama’s plan to double that debt in just the first five years that he is in office.

“He is also planning to spend more on the government as a percentage of our economy than at any time since World War II.

“His budget assumes the deficit will average $1 trillion dollars every year for the next 10 years and will add well over $9 trillion dollars in new debts to our children’s backs.

“He also is proposing the largest tax increase in history, much of it aimed at taxing small business people who have been, over the years, the best job creators in our economy. And further, he is proposing a massive new national sales tax on your electric bill. So that every time you turn on a light switch in your house, you will be hit with a new tax — and it averages over $3,000 per household.

“These are staggering numbers and represent an extraordinary move of our government to the left.

“The President to his credit is not trying to hide this; in fact he is very forthright in stating that he believes that by greatly expanding the spending, the taxing and the borrowing of our government, this will lead us to prosperity.

“Here of course is where we differ. We believe you create prosperity by having an affordable government that pursues its responsibilities without excessive costs, taxes or debt. That it is the individual American who creates prosperity and good jobs, not the government.

“We believe that you create energy independence not by sticking Americans with a brand new national sales tax on everyone’s electric bill, but by expanding the production of American energy, such as environmentally sound off-shore drilling, nuclear power, wind, solar while also conserving more.

“We also believe you improve everyone’s health care not by nationalizing the health care system and putting the government between you and your doctor, but by assuring that every American has access to quality health insurance and choices in health care.

“We believe that you run a sound and affordable government not by running up the national debt to historic levels and unsustainable levels while over-taxing working Americans and spending as if there is no tomorrow, but rather by working on limiting the growth of government in a manner that is affordable not only today but for the next generation through limiting spending and addressing core issues like the cost of entitlements.

“Our nation has an exceptional history of one generation passing on to the next generation a more prosperous and stronger country, but that tradition is being put at risk. The dramatic move to the left and the massive increase in the size and cost of the government, proposed by the budget of President Obama, will lead to an immense national debt that not only threatens the value of the dollar and puts at risk our ability to borrow money to run the government. But it will also place our children at a huge disadvantage as they inherit this debt which will make their chances of success less than those given to us by our parents. It is not right for one generation to do that to another generation.

“Rather, we believe that if you properly steward the responsibilities of the government, if you do not spend too much, if you do not tax too much, if you do not borrow too much, we can leave our children a better nation where they will have even greater opportunity for prosperity, peace and freedom.

“Thank you for taking the time to listen, and have a great weekend.”

Transcript via Free Republic.



The new fuel-efficiency standards will cost the auto industry $1.5 billion. by The Elephant's Child
March 28, 2009, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Progressivism | Tags: , , ,

The Transportation Department has released its requirements for the first increase in passenger car fuel efficiency in 25 years — the first step in what will be extensive reform for the nations truck and car fleets.  The standards for model year 2011 passenger cars will have to average 30.2 mpg, and light trucks 24.1 mpg for cars that will hit the showrooms in September of 2010.  Look for more increases to come.

The new fuel efficiency standards are estimated to cost the auto industry $1.5 billion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that price increases as a result will average $64 for passenger cars and $126 for light trucks. Passenger car buyers will be repaid in fuel savings in an average of 4.4 years, or in 7.7 years for pickups, SUVs or minivans.

Do you get the feeling that the right hand knows not what the left hand is doing? This is, I believe, the same auto industry that is receiving bailouts and needs more?

Representative John Dingell, D-Dearborn, said that Obama and his aides “recognize the auto industry is in a period of transition.” I guess you could call it a “transition.”

Representative Ed Markey,D-MA, chairman of the House Select Committee on Global Warming and Energy Independence, praised the regulation.

With gas prices once again on the rise, I am pleased to see the Obama administration taking this historic first step towards reducing our dependence on foreign oil and helping revitalize the domestic auto industry. I look forward to working with the president to ensure that future standards are based on realistic assumptions and sound science.

I do not pretend to understand this.  I guess it all makes sense if you believe that global warming is a vast danger to the earth, that extracting petroleum from American earth is something akin to rape, and that charging the auto industry another billion and a half will fill their empty coffers.  But then I have no idea how to build a car.



The UN admits that the global warming crisis is about redistribution of wealth, not climate change. by The Elephant's Child
March 28, 2009, 2:45 am
Filed under: Europe, Global Warming, News, Politics, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Climate realists for years have been warning that the entire global warming myth was politics, not science.  And above all, it was a scheme to redistribute wealth under the guise of saving the planet.

In a document obtained by FOX News, the United Nations has confirmed suspicions, and made it official.  FOX News executive editor George Russell reported Friday:

A United Nations document on “climate change” that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes — all under the supervision of the world body.

Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discretely worded United Nations “information note” on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009.[...]

The 16-page note, obtained by FOX News, will be distributed to participants at a mammoth negotiating session that starts on March 29 in Bonn, Germany, the first of three sessions intended to hammer out the actual commitments involved in the new deal.

In typical UN bureaucratic language, the negotiators are known as “the AD Hoc Working Group On Further Commitments For Annex I Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol”.  The Consequences, if adopted, would be world-changing. The UN is well known for overreaching power grabs, and for utter corruption as well.  Remember “Oil for Food?” That UN scheme was supposed to allow Iraq to sell enough oil to buy food on the world market for their people.  It ended up in the pockets of UN Bureaucrats and Saddam Hussein — millions and millions.

What would this agreement mean if adopted?  Loss of sovereignty, loss of control over trade , manufacturing, energy production and business in general.  Destruction of our economy.  Little things like that.

The problem is that the case for global warming is falling apart, not only because the planet has been cooling for the last decade, but because the UN’s IPCC claims are proving false, one by one.  The climate is always changing.  It has been far warmer in the past — times like the Medieval Warm Period — the best climate ever known, and far colder during periods like the Little Ice Age, and the Dark Ages. This year saw snow in Saudi Arabia for the first time known.

Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant, but a colorless, odorless gas that is essential to life. In the atmosphere it is only a trace gas, and the amount produced by human activity is too small to measure. It is, however, a natural fertilizer that makes plants grow. The amount now in the atmosphere is at the low end of what is required by plant life for optimum growth, and as the earth is currently cooling, more CO2 would help.

The EPA is busily trying to regulate CO2 as a pollutant dangerous to man (certainly the amount of hot CO2 exhaled in the chambers of the Capitol building is increasingly dangerous) but the rest of us exhale it every time we breathe.  There is a lot of power grab behind that designation. The EPA has a disgraceful record including the designation of DDT as too dangerous to be used and thereby killed millions of children from preventable malaria by not being allowed to spray their huts with DDT.

Europe is retreating from all the green mandates.  Cap and Trade has been devastating.  Green jobs have not been forthcoming.  Goals of carbon reduction have not been met. Wind has not been reliable in spite of vast subsidies, and colder weather has begun to emphasize the need for more energy to keep warm, while Russia rations supplies of natural gas.

Do read the FOX document linked above.  Be persistent in getting past the bureaucratese, there are details on page 6.  FOX News Blog’s article is here, and Rick Moran’s article from American Thinker is here.  Take the time to read.

If times were normal, we could depend on Congress to reject this whole thing promptly.  But these are strange times, and there are strange and dangerous ideas abroad.



The private sector: Useful for dumping on, attacking, punishing, and paying the bills. by The Elephant's Child
March 26, 2009, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Socialism | Tags: , ,

I have to quote Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal a bit here, because his column reflects (with a lot more insight) on what I’ve been writing about in the last couple of days:

With its vote in the House of Representatives to punish corporate bonus payments, the national Democratic Party has disconnected itself entirely from the private sector.

The public bear-baiting of AIG’s Ed Liddy, and then passage of the bonus bill, gave the nation a good look at the modern Democratic Party freed of constraints.

The current version of the party has largely broken free of any understanding whatsoever of the private sector — how it works or what it needs to function.

True socialists at least think about markets so they can criticize them.  The Democratic Party”s leadership doesn’t stir to even that level of engagement.  In the House, Senate and some corners of the Obama White House, the party is acting as if the marketplace was the world of an alien tribe, which it has to control through intimidation or demands for protective tribute (read:campaign contributions).

This is not true of the entire 90% of self-identified Democrats who voted for Barack Obama.  But Democrats who work in real jobs rather than work for the mothership in Washington must recognize that the party’s obsessions are becoming ever less hospitable to a functioning economy, or Mr. Geithner’s labors to that goal. (…)

Put it this way: Imagine any of this generation’s Democratic establishment taking a job at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati as a middle-manager responsible for a division of employees and its annual profit and loss.  It is wholly inconceivable.  Or helping an owner of an auto-parts company manage through a real crisis.  They wouldn’t have  a clue.

That anti-bonus bill was not unique.  It is routine.

The attack on the retention bonuses of AIG executives was, of course, designed to distract attention from what was going on in Congress.  The sinners at AIG who caused the financial problems are long gone, and the recipients of retention bonuses, enticed to stick around and help out winding things down, encouraged by the “retention bonuses” not to leave.

So we had the Hate Week from 1984 fully applied and the executives received innumerable vicious death threats, and orders from Congress to return the money at once.  Andrew Cuomo threatened to release all of their names and addresses if the money was not returned instantly. Most have obediently returned the money, but one brave soul donated his bonus in its entirety to charity and quit, publicly, in a letter in the New York Times.

Interestingly the bonuses, though returned, are still taxable.

Daniel Henninger continues:

If the private sector is now largely an abstraction to Democrats in Congress, they will continue to make mistakes, explicit like the bonus bill or just thoughtless errors that constantly disrupt operations for private companies.

This will have a dampening effect on the U.S. growth rate and its ability to create jobs, especially for new, younger entrants.

Do read the whole thing.  It is important to understand these trends, and so hard to spot them.



Can we borrow Mr. Hannan, please? by The Elephant's Child

A little over 24 hours ago, Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament for South East England, stood up in the European Parliament to challenge Prime Minister Gordon Brown. As Mr. Hannan notes on his blog, politics has changed forever. This short video has gone viral on the internet, with Conservatives cheering.

Conservatives here are waiting for someone to take on President Obama in similar fashion. This reckless disregard of fiscal sanity must stop. Feel free to cheer!

British politicians, because of the way their parliament works, learn to speak very well. British schools however are abandoning history, even their own history, so this will probably change.

They don’t even teach about Churchill anymore.




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