American Elephants


So, this happened: Beatboxing goat. by American Elephant
January 31, 2013, 11:44 am
Filed under: Humor, News of the Weird, YouTube


Obama Is Running Out of Excuses! by The Elephant's Child

It has been widely reported today that economic growth for the fourth quarter didn’t exactly come in —  up, as promised — but the economy shrank. The average forecast among 50 economists surveyed earlier this month was for 1.6% GDP growth, which is not anything to celebrate, but the economy “unexpectedly” declined 0.1%, the first decline since early 2009.

The economy shrank last quarter. The deficit topped $1 trillion last year. U.S. debt shot up $5 trillion over the past four years, and joblessness is at 7.8%. Not only that, but our debt is now 103.8% of our Gross Domestic Product.

The Obama administration’s automatic response — “it’s the Republicans fault.” Oh please. That’s getting tiresome.

So there you go. Nice going, Mr. President. But why were you running around late last  year telling everyone how great the economy was doing? Liberals were quick to blame “spending cuts.” Jared Bernstein, a former Obama economic advisor complained the “austerity at [a] time when we need a fiscal push” is the problem. Oh right, another stimulus is just what we need, the others have worked so well. Brilliant!

I don’t know just what cushy jobs all the departing Obama economic advisers have found, but I’m sure they are big money ones. Remind me never to invest in any company they are advising.

Did nobody notice that the moment election results were announced, the Dow Jones Industrials promptly dropped by 300 points? Did nobody notice the massive layoffs  by American business in advance of the end of the year? a) it doesn’t matter. b) that’s a lot more people without jobs or c) it’s the Republicans fault?

There are things happening all over the country and all over the world that one might notice. Millions of people are picking up their lives and their businesses and moving out of California to any place with lower taxes and less regulation. Ditto, Illinois. Ditto, New York.

Texas, which has cut back on spending significantly, is a magnet for those departing other states, and Gov. Rick Perry is talking about refunding taxes to the citizens. Republican governors in other states are slashing spending, enacting right-to-work laws, and reforming entitlements, and making at least part of the U.S. economy healthier.

France’s new Socialist president put in a 75% tax rate on the rich, which was promptly overturned by the courts, and he has promised to reinstate. Gerard Depardieu has departed via Belgium for somewhere in a Russian dependency. Former French President Nicolas Sarcozy may move to London. And many wealthy French already have.

Democratic Party communications director Brad Woodhouse tweeted that this was “the best-looking contraction in U.S. GDP you’ll ever see.” Uh huh. Slow to non-existent growth has become the new normal. Joblessness has been over 7% practically forever.

The AP suggests: “…defying expectations for slow growth and possibly providing incentive for more Federal Reserve stimulus.” That has worked so well so far. This is not a learning administration. They only know one song.

In a recent interview NAACP CEO and president, Ben Jealous told the MSNBC host that Black Americans are doing far worse than when President Obama first took office.  White people are doing a bit better, Black people are doing far worse. The Labor Department reports that black unemployment was at 12.7 % when President Obama took office. As the employment rate for the nation dropped below 8%, black unemployment increased to 12.9% and then to 14% in December.

The flow of regulation has increased exponentially since Obama began his second term. Big business has found themselves targets of media attacks and government regulations. The combination of big media and big government would make any executive or entrepreneur think long and hard about starting a business or trying to grow.

The United States has 497 billion tons of recoverable coal in the United States — enough to provide electricity for 500 years at current consumption rates — coal has the potential to be an important resource for cheap energy far into the future. President Obama famously promised to bankrupt the coal industry, apparently because of a misunderstanding that the CO2 from coal-fired plants contributes to “global warming.”

Hasn’t been any warming in this century, and may not be any for another 30 -35 years. CO2 has increased in the atmosphere, but there has been no warming. None. Coal-fired generation in the U.S. has decreased from a 48% share of the generation market in 2008 to a 35% share in the first six months of 2012.

It is just not promising, not promising at all.



Jose Maria Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain by The Elephant's Child

José Maria Aznar, was the former Prime Minister of Spain from 1996–2004, and quite a good one. His two terms were subject to all the battles of the rest of Europe. The Euro was introduced, Spain joined the single currency, the Aznar government maintained the previous government’s commitment to join and took political risks to meet the requirements for membership. He introduced a strict budget which the opposition claimed would  hurt the disadvantaged, help the rich, and announced a decision to freeze the wages of civil servants which brought protest marches by thousands of civil servants. The Euro was introduced in 1999, and Spanish voters reelected him in 2000 with an outright majority.

Spain became one of the fastest growing economies in the EU in 2001, university reforms, student protests, strikes, demonstrations. Global economic downturn in 2002. At the end of his term, three days before the general election 10 bombs killed 191 people in the March 11, 2004  Madrid train bombings. He founded, in 2010 a Friends of Israel Initiative, to counter the attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel.

Kind of a quickie introduction to one of the world’s most interesting men, who tells us what at least one European believes.



Everything You Wanted To Know About Climate Change But Were Afraid To Ask. by The Elephant's Child

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha: From the Daily Caller today —On Wednesday morning’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the Center for American Progress’ very own Christie Heffner, former CEO of Playboy Enterprises announced that Chicago’s sky-high murder rate could be blamed — at least in part — on climate change.

Yes, last year we hit a record number of murders from guns [in Chicago], And this year we are already outpacing last year’s numbers. Now there are contributing factors that are not under anybody’s control and may seem odd, but it is factually true. One of them is actually the weather. There is a dramatic increase in gun violence when it is warmer. And we are having this climate change effect that is driving that.

The average high temperature in July, the hottest month in both Chicago and the much-safer New York City is the same for both at 84°. Scarborough thanked her on behalf of conservative bloggers across America.

Meanwhile back in the real world, there is a splendid article at WattsUpWithThat from Australian Climate Scientist Professor Robert (Bob) Carter. He is a senior research geologist who has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers on palaeo-environmental and palaeo-climatic topics, and the author of several books, the most recent  Climate: The Counter Consensus, available at Amazon as well

He introduces Katharine Hayhoe, PhD, who wrote the December AITSE piece “Climate Change: Anthropogenic or Not?” is an atmospheric scientist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She is senior author of the book “A Climate for Change; Global Warming facts for Faith-Based Decisions.”

Quite clearly, Dr. Hayhoe and I are both credible professional scientists. Given our training and research specializations, we are therefore competent to assess the evidence regarding the dangerous global warming that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) alleges is being caused by industrial carbon dioxide emissions.

Yet at the end of her article Dr. Hayhoe recommends for further reading the websites RealClimate.org and SkepticalScience.com, whereas here at the outset of writing my own article I recommend the websites wattsupwiththat.com and www.thegwpf.org (Global Warming Policy Foundation). To knowledgeable readers, this immediately signals that Dr. Hayhoe and I have diametrically opposing views on the global warming issue.

The general public finds it very hard to understand how such strong disagreement can exist between two equally qualified persons on a scientific topic, a disagreement that is manifest also on the wider scene by the existence of equivalent groups of scientists who either support or oppose the views of the IPCC about dangerous anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (DAGW).

Dr, Carter goes on to lay out the common ground between the two, explain how the science works, and then asks:

What evidence can we use to test the DAGW hypothesis? He presents five simple tests. I urge you to read the whole thing. It’s a very clear exposition of the current state of the argument in the climate scientist community.  We’ll leave Ms. Heffner out of it, because there have always been a huge number of silly arguments from people of little understanding, but lots of faith. The list of things supposedly caused by global warming is very, very long, and remarkably senseless.

Dr. Carter here offers a really clear, non-partisan review of the argument for those who don’t know a lot about climate change, without getting into the politics at all. And there is an astounding amount of politics concerned with climate change all over the world.



The Left Demands No Restraints: What the Right Does is a Crime. by The Elephant's Child
January 29, 2013, 7:43 pm
Filed under: Politics

In Alabama, if you get rid of scrap tires in an “unauthorized” manner, it is considered a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In Mississippi, a person can spend six months in jail for “wounding, drowning, shooting, capturing, taking or otherwise killing any deer from a boat.”

In Louisiana alone, there are more than 280 offenses relating to hunting, fishing and wildlife that could get a person locked up for a long time. If a shrimper picks up another person’s broken crab tap and throws it away on land, the sentence could be two months in prison.

In Texas, there re 11 felonies relating to harvesting oysters that can land a person in prison for a decade. In the Carolinas, government officials  have cracked down on both commercial and sport fishermen, and in some cases has cut off their ability to make a living.

Captain Terrell Gould is head of a family-run business in North Carolina that takes customers on deep-sea fishing trips. The government tells him when, where and what he can catch. “There isn’t a day I go out where a rule, law or regulation is not broken” Captain Gould said.

According to a new report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, thousands of people are being prosecuted for environmental crime every day that they had no idea were even on the books. They have been threatened, fined and thrown in jail. The trend is especially prominent along the Gulf Coast.

In a large and growing bureaucracy, the job of bureaucrats is to regulate, to issue rules. A vigorous number of rules can seem to be confirmation of the satisfactory nature of an agency. They measure up. They are doing their job.

Vernon County, Wisconsin is among a growing number of jurisdictions that are implementing so-called cyber-bullying laws. Bullying is one of the most recent issues on the trends to be stamped out list. The ordinance makes it a crime to “send information to another person by electronic means with the intent to annoy, offend, demean, ridicule, degrade, belittle, disparage, or humiliate any person.” There is an exception of the information serves a “legitimate purpose.” So what are you posting on your Facebook page?

This one clearly violates the First Amendment. Offensive speech is protected as long as it is not incitement to immediate unlawful conduct, obscene, child pornography, a threat, or fighting words.

Liberals have long been advocates of “Relativism,” the idea that nothing really matters, anything goes, an absence of rigid opinions and moral values.—everyone should be tolerant and open. Except on the other hand — nobody should be allowed to annoy, or offend.

There is a natural human tendency to want to make other people who are doing something you don’t like — stop doing it.  Think of the universal childish whine “Mom, make him stop doing that.” But eventually you grow up and begin to realize that there are things you do that annoy other people. I was once one of the earliest adopters of the mechanical pencil where you advance the lead by clicking on the eraser end of the pencil. Which got me screamed at in the middle of a major meeting. “Stop clicking that pencil!”  Well!

The late Irving Kristol once said:

In every society, the overwhelming majority of people live lives of considerable frustration and if society is to endure, it needs to rely on a goodly measure of stoical resignation.

Sensible advice, yet your committed leftist wants it both ways. They want no restraints on their own morals and behavior; but they want to regulate the morals and behavior of everyone else.

Like so many brilliant liberal ideas, it doesn’t work. We make laws against crimes against society, and try to make the punishment fit the crime. The recent tendency to  criminalize things that you find annoying simply breeds disrespect for law, antagonism towards government, and innocent people fall victims of laws that they didn’t know existed.

How about this one: A homeless  man in Florida was  arrested for charging his cell phone at a public charging station. The charge —”theft of city utilities.” cell-phone chargers cost about seven cents a month. On the other hand there are free public charging stations for electric cars all around the area. Great Neck, New York has criminalized hanging clothes out to dry in a front yard, an offense punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 15 days in jail. Or look at the case of the  Gibson Guitar Company.

Congress has been creating, on average, about 55 new crimes a year, bringing the number of federal crimes on the books to more than 5,000. with more than 300,000 “regulatory crimes.”  And regulatory crimes are increasingly being enforced with criminal penalties. And that’s before you get to state and municipal codes.

Harvey Silverglate, author of Three Felonies a Day; How the Feds Target the Innocent, estimates that the average American now unknowingly commits three felonies a day thanks to the overabundance of vague laws and regulations.



Ten Great Photos of Calvin Coolidge by The Elephant's Child

Calvin-Coolidge-cow-e1359473649623

The Daily Caller has “10 Awesome photos of Calvin Coolidge” today, and they are indeed awesome. (from the Bain Collection/Library of Congress) Don’t miss it.



HHS Rules Here, FDA Regs There, First Thing You Know You’re Talking Billions. by The Elephant's Child

It is really easy. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) passed three new rules over the course of just four days in January, adding $9.1 billion of regulatory burden during the first month of the new year, a new report claims.

According to a study by the American Action Forum released on Friday, the 797 pages of new regulations will account for $9.1 billion in new costs, and mount up to 10.6 million hours of additional paperwork burden.

One of the major costs came from expansion of Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and the state–based health insurance exchange programs — all mandated under the Affordable Care Act. The total price tag is $2.6 billion, the paperwork burden 518,432 hours. HHS has allowed 17 working days to submit comments on the 500 page overhaul of Medicaid and SCHIP.

The other two rules come from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Their new rules for standard for harvesting and holding produce for humans to consume, is expected to cost $3.2 billion over a 7 year period, adding another 8.8 billion hours of paperwork.

The other FDA ruling is to standardize and modernize manufacturing practices and analysis for “hazardous food” which will cost between $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion. The paperwork burden is not a joke. These two FDA rulings would require 5,005 employees dedicated strictly to red tape compliance.




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