American Elephants


God Bless Rush Limbaugh! by American Elephant
December 30, 2009, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Conservatism, News, Politics | Tags:

Rush Limbaugh has been rushed to the hospital while on vacation in Hawaii, after complaining of chest pains.

HONOLULU (AP) – A Honolulu television station is reporting that conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been taken to a hospital with chest pains.

KITV reported Wednesday that paramedics responded to a call at 2:41 p.m. from the Kahala Hotel and Resort where Limbaugh is vacationing.

The station, citing unnamed sources, said paramedics treated Limbaugh and took him to The Queen’s Medical Center in serious condition.

Queen’s spokeswoman N. Makana Shook says the hospital is unable to comment on the report.

Television station KHON quoted unidentified sources saying Limbaugh was taken from the hotel in an ambulance.

Limbaugh was seen golfing at Waialae Country Club earlier this week. The country club is next to the Kahala Hotel and Resort.

That appears to be all that is known at this time. Our fervent prayers go out for his speedy and full recovery!

Update: We are relieved to hear that Rush is resting comfortably at the hospital according to his website. Further updates will be available at www.rushlimbaugh.com, and on tomorrow’s show.



Honesty and Character Remain the Best Policy. by The Elephant's Child
December 30, 2009, 2:21 am
Filed under: Health Care, Law, Statism | Tags: , , ,

So the Democrats have to bribe their own Senators and Congressmen to get them to vote for ObamaCare. Every poll indicates that the bill is deeply unpopular with the public.  Rasmussen polled Nebraska voters on a match between Senator Ben Nelson, who provided the decisive vote after receiving a permanent exception for Nebraska from increases in Medicaid costs, against Republican Governor Dave Heineman.

For an incumbent Senator to trail by 30 points in a hypothetical race is more than unusual.  Only 17 percent of Nebraska voters approve of the deal Sen. Nelson made on Medicaid in exchange for his vote.

Overall 63 percent of Nebraskans oppose the health-care legislation including 53 percent who are Strongly Opposed.  56 percent believe that passage of the legislation will hurt the quality of care, and 62 percent say it will raise costs.

Senator Nelson is trying desperately to figure out how to spin his vote.  Nancy Pelosi says she’s quite willing to lose many seats in order to pass ObamaCare. That fact in itself indicates that “health care” is not really about anyone’s health.  2012 is three years away, and who knows what might happen in the meantime.  But voters don’t like corruption, and they have surprisingly long memories.



Few Things are Ever So Bad That They Can’t Be Made Worse by The Interference of Big Government. by The Elephant's Child

The President has promised the “most transparent government ever,” both in the words of his mouth and the words on the White House website.  His actions and the actions of his administration belie the words.  Christmas eve — when most Americans’ minds are on other things — the Treasury Department announced that it was removing the $400 billion cap from what the administration believes is necessary to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solvent. (Pay no attention, just have another glass of eggnog).

Fannie and Freddie are what is called government sponsored enterprises (GSEs).  They buy up mortgages from lenders, enabling the lenders to make more loans. “GSE” is a fuzzy definition, for supposedly, since they are only “government-sponsored”, they are private entities, but everybody assumes that they operate with the “full faith and credit” of the US government.  So what the Treasury has done is issue a blank check on taxpayer dollars.  (Fannie and Freddie should have been privatized long ago, and left to survive in the free market).

If you ask a knowledgeable Republican what the financial crisis was all about, they will explain that it began with the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, which was designed to get more people into their own homes.  Congress continually demanded that banks make more loans available and lower their standards of prudent lending so that more poor and minority people could own their own homes. ACORN got into the “affordable housing” game, picketing and threatening bankers, and Congress increased the pressure.  Once again, the triumph of wishful thinking over evidence.

During the first 15 years of the act, total commitments totaled around $9 billion.  The federal regulators who forced the CRA on banks didn’t bother to track the performance of the trillions of dollars of loans made to satisfy it. Starting in 1992, volume exploded.

Over the next 16 years, commitments totaled $6 trillion.  CRA defenders claim that the loans were not sub-prime, but it is more accurate to say that they were not classified as sub-prime.  Fannie and Freddie were first bailed out in 2008 to the tune of $200 billion.  This year Treasury handed over another $200 billion.  And now a generous Treasury has handed over a blank check.

On the other hand, ask a Democrat — particularly Congressman Barney Frank or Senator Chris Dodd — what caused the financial crisis, and they will tell you firmly that it was greedy bankers on Wall Street, and “deregulation.”  It is clear that Wall Street Banks got in trouble, but the problem did not originate with them.  Rating agencies classified the securitized packages of mortgages issued by Fannie and Freddie as fine investments, and after all, they were offered by government sponsored enterprises which had the backing of the full faith and credit of the US Treasury.  Wall Street Bankers should have prudently dug a little deeper into the whole story, but the securities came with higher interest rates than were generally available, and a fine Moody’s rating.

Just this year Fannie and Freddie will post nearly $100 billion in losses — with more to come.  Because of government subsidized credit, Fannie and Freddie hold nearly $6 trillion in mortgage loans.  The blank check is unconscionable.  Frank and Dodd are still there, making things worse by enabling the GSEs to continue lending — the same process that got us in this meltdown in the first place.  And they’re talking about expanding the Community Reinvestment Act.  Unbelievable.

In the same Christmas news dump,  Fannie and Freddie announced $42 million in bonuses for 12 top executives — for their excellent work in destroying the economy.  You might remember that when the President rants about “fat-cat bankers on Wall Street.”



The Terrorists have Declared War on Us, They Have Told Us So, Over and Over. by The Elephant's Child
December 28, 2009, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Law, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,

There have been 28 foiled attacks on the United States since 2001.  There have been 12 terrorist incidents just this year, the most in any one year,  and the attack by Nidal Malik Hassan was not stopped, or not stopped in time.  He killed a dozen of his fellow soldiers and wounded twenty more.  There was ample evidence that Major Hassan was some one to be concerned about, but the evidence was ignored.

Umar Abdul Mutallab has told his FBI captors that there are far more trained al Qaeda members in Yemen, ready to attack us again.  Perhaps we should pay attention.

Some young men were recruited here to attack abroad.  The “system” has failed over and over.  The government has shown that it is not very serious.  It only reluctantly and recently has managed to say the words “war on terror.”

Umar’s Abdul Mutallab’s name was on a list, but the fact that his own father had made the effort to go to an American Embassy to warn that he should be considered dangerous to the US, was ticked off as insignificant since there was no “confirmation.”

There are, the spokesmen say,  so many names on the watch lists.  As a reader commented in the Corner at NRO, he can swipe his credit card at any retailer and it can be authorized in seconds, distinguishing that card from millions of others, but we cannot identify those who are supposedly on the ‘no-fly’ list?

Jennifer Rubin called attention to the language employed by the president to describe an act of terrorism against the United States.

On Christmas Day, Northwest Airlines Flight 253 was en route from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit. As the plane made its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a passenger allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on his body, setting off a fire.

Thanks to the quick and heroic actions of passengers and crew, the suspect was immediately subdued, the fire was put out, and the plane landed safely. The suspect is now in custody and has been charged with attempting to destroy an aircraft.

Allegedly. Suspect. Charged with attempting to destroy an aircraft. One would use the same language to describe a suspect who stole a car, not someone who — but for a little bad luck and a courageous passenger from Amsterdam — would not have “attempted” to destroy an airplane, but blown himself and nearly 300 passengers and crew to bits of flesh and bone that could only have been sorted out by DNA evidence, as one of the passengers put it.

The young Nigerian was trained and outfitted in Yemen by at least two former detainees from Guantanamo who were released and have returned to Yemen’s al Qaeda training camps.  President Obama is planning to release another 60 Gitmo detainees to return to Yemen.  Is it a good idea to send dangerous detainees to a country hosting al Qaeda?  A country with a weak and ineffective government? Perhaps Mr. Obama will rethink that one.

Jennifer Rubin quoted a Georgetown University terrorism expert:  “This incident was a compound failure of both intelligence and physical security, leaving prevention to the last line of defense — the passengers themselves.” And an observation from Ken Dunlap, security director of the International Air Transport Association was the smartest comment: “We’ve spent eight years looking for little scissors and toenail clippers… Perhaps the emphasis should be looking for bad people.”

Political correctness demands that looking for bad people cannot be done. It might offend.  It might be perceived as “racial profiling,” and that would be far worse than blowing several hundred people to bits.

We may be engaged in an “overseas contingency operation” and afflicted with “man-caused disasters,” but the Islamist jihadists have declared war on us. They have told us so over and over.  Somehow the administration needs to come to terms with that fact, for fact it is.  Bringing  jihadists to a prison in Illinois is not just a boon to the Illinois economy.  Trying one of the world’s worst terrorists in a show trial in New York with all the consequences that could entail is foolish beyond measure.  There are worse things than admitting that you have been mistaken.



877 New Snowfall Records Set or Tied in the USA in the Last Week! by The Elephant's Child
December 28, 2009, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Global Warming, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

Anthony Watts reports at Watts Up With That that in the week ending December 13 there were also 815 new snowfall records set.  If you live in record territory, I hope you have good shovels and plenty of food and warmth.   Anthony’s map shows the location of record snowfall and includes a graph to show just what the old record was.  This is offered in the illusion that if you are suffering, you want to know just how much.

I hasten to add that I understand.  Been there, done that.  Where I was raised, 5 feet of snow was not that unusual.  Everything depends on being prepared, but if you are not — it’s no fun.



Furious Protests Continue In All Major Cities in Iran. by The Elephant's Child
December 28, 2009, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Freedom, History, Islam | Tags: , , ,

Michael Ledeen explains what is happening in Iran right now.  Krauthammer is right.  This is one of the hinges of history.

From Deutsche Wellle:

In a strong statement to the press on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the actions of Iran’s state security services “unacceptable.”

She called on them to “avoid any further escalation of the violence and to pursue political dialogue to peacefully settle internally disputed matters,” and also to respect their commitment to the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right to peaceful protest.

At least eight people were killed in street clashes in Tehran when police and Basij militia members confronted protest marchers who were attempting to gather at a number of central squares. Sunday’s protests took place on Ashura, a Shiite Islamic holy day devoted to honoring martyrs, often through street marches.

Violent response

According to opposition sources, security forces used tear gas and live ammunition to try to get the marchers to disperse.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle criticized Iran’s tactics as “brutal,” and said that the international community “would be watching, not looking away.”

A spokesman for the French foreign ministry, Bernard Valero, said his country again expressed “deep concern,” and “condemns the arbitrary arrests and violence carried out against ordinary protesters.”

He added that intensification of repression “would lead nowhere.”

The Italian foreign ministry, meanwhile, warned the Islamic republic that “safeguarding human lives is a fundamental value which must be defended everywhere and in every circumstance.”

National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer made a statement on violence in Iran:

We strongly condemn the violent and unjust suppression of civilians in Iran seeking to exercise their universal rights. Hope and history are on the side of those who peacefully seek their universal rights, and so is the United States. Governing through fear and violence is never just, and, as President Obama said in Oslo, it is telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.

An article by Nile Gardner, Washington-based foreign affairs analyst for the U.K. Telegraph, was headlined “Iranian protesters are dying for freedom — where is Barack Obama?

Here is a video from Iran. It’s hard to watch, but it has a happy ending. The death toll has risen to 15 18.


(h/t: Ace of Spades)



Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) Captured, To His Profound Regret, by You Tube. by The Elephant's Child

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) was the author of the original Senate Health Care Bill, as amended by Harry Reid and crew.  It would seem that he’s not entirely happy about his brilliant creation.  Perhaps he knows he has created a monster and wants someone else to blame for it.  Or perhaps he’s just…

Politicians have had a hard time grasping the concept that You Tube has changed politics forever.  Speeches and videos preserve utterances that politicians hoped would have vanished down the memory hole.  How embarrassing to be caught in full  rhetorical flow— um — not quite at one’s best standard of behavior.




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