American Elephants


No Tricks, Lots of Treats! by The Elephant's Child

B0Vm-vhIYAAg0_n.jpg large

Happy Halloween 2014

Witches can only come out at midnight and they must be gone by the time the first morning star appears.

Witches are very curious, and they stop to count everything. You can protect yourself from witches by placing a broom or a bowl of salt outside your door. The witch will stop to count the straws in the broom or the grains of salt in the bowl. Before she can finish counting them, the morning star will appear, and then she will have to leave. You can also sleep with a sieve over your face. The witch will try to count all the holes in the sieve, but she will be unable to.

Witches do not like the color blue because it is the color of the heavens. If you wear a blue bead or a blue bracelet, a witch cannot get you. If you paint your windowsill blue, a witch cannot come into your room.

If you carry a penny in your pocket or wear a new dime in each shoe, witches can’t harm you.

Witches have fun on Halloween.

(From The Hodgepodge Book)



Is This Real? Just A Parody? Or Simply What Might Have Been? by The Elephant's Child

I saved this from July, I think from American Digest, because I found it so very special. Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball:

Before I get started today, I want to personally express how grateful I am for the awe inspiring leadership of my president. Syria is a bloodbath. Iraq is in the hands of terrorists. Israel is on he verge of war with the Palestinians and Russian troops are in Ukraine. On top of that we’ve got the Benghazi, IRS, NSA and VA scandals, and our southern border is rife with diseased children, gang members and Middle Eastern terrorists donning sombreros. All these problems that were created by the Bush administration would have crippled the most stoic of leaders. Yet, last night I say a news video of President Obama laughing and enjoying himself in Denver as he ate pizza, drank beer and played billiards. Our president is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, but you’d never know it by looking at him. Today he’s headed to the golf course before attending three different fundraisers. Tomorrow he’s shooting a game of hoops with Le Bron James and Barbara Streisand before hosting  a $45,000 a seat fundraiser at Steven Spielberg’s East Hampton estate. Calm, cool and self-assured, folks. Those are the characteristics of a leader.

I strongly suspect this was one of Vanderleun’s parodies — the biggest clue is Barbara Streisand playing hoops — but gosh, it could be real, couldn’t it?



Obama Slams GOP for Catering to Billionaires, Then Heads To Billionaire Rich Richman’s House For Campaign Money by The Elephant's Child

President Obama was out again on Tuesday, “talking for dollars.” That’s Andrew Malcolm’s phrase, but it is so accurate I had to borrow it. In an email Obama chided the Republican Party for catering to “the interests of billionaires,” and then attended a series of Democrat Party fundraisers in one of the wealthiest enclaves around at billionaire Rich Richman’s home at $34,000 a head.  (How can you fail to laugh at that one?) So what do you say to people who have paid $34,000 to hear you speak and bask in your glory?

“We have achieved so much but we still have so much to do.” Obama whined. “So far, we can’t get Republicans to cooperate.” The president told his audience that despite Republican obstructionism in Congress, his administration has had a number of successes, as well. “The reason you don’t hear about them is they elicit hope. They’re good news. The cynical media doesn’t like to promote good news. Cynicism is a choice. Hope is a better choice. I’ve never been more hopeful.”

At another talking for dollars event at the White Street Restaurant in New York, the president told wealthy Democrats that “There’s a sense possibly the world is spinning so fast and nobody is able to control it.”

And yet if you look at what happened at the General Assembly on the terrorist group ISIS and the need to mobilize an international community to push back against their radical violence, it was the United States that mobilized that coalition both in the Middle East and around the world.

When you look at Ebola, a humanitarian crisis in West Africa, but also a public health crisis that has the possibility of affecting people around the world, it was the United States that is committed to building the infrastructure that allows health workers to get in and start saving lives and making sure that children aren’t dying on the streets.

When it came to blunting Russian aggression, it was the United States that mobilized NATO countries and the world community to stand up for the principle that people are independent and have the ability to make their own decisions about their own lives and to seek freedom and prosperity on their own terms.

I don’t know. If I’d just paid $34,000 to hear a speech, I’d ask for my money back. This brought the number of fundraisers up to 56 for the year so far.



A Lonely Advocate Fighting For the Common Good. by The Elephant's Child

0

This is Philip K. Howard, who has been a practicing attorney in Manhattan for many years, and who has been thinking deeply about the law and writing about it for twenty years. His first book, The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America, was a direct hit on the body of law and regulation that dictates impossible rules that make no sense. But he doesn’t stop there, he offers solutions.

He followed that up with The Lost Art of Drawing the Line: How Fairness Went Too Far. Politically correct law has become the enemy of freedom and of the common good. Legal anxiety trumps right and wrong. What if most of us grew up with seesaws in playgrounds and want our kids to have that experience as well.
Sorry, the legal consequences of an accident are too great. The result is playgrounds that are so excruciatingly boring that the kids aren’t interested. Demanding that we be “fair” to everyone is an impossible goal. As your mother probably used to tell you — life isn’t fair.

Life Without Lawyers: Restoring Responsibility in America: was about restoring the can-do spirit that made America great. We are losing the freedom to make sense of daily choices — teachers can’t maintain order in the classroom, managers are trained to avoid candor, schools ban tag, and companies plaster inane warnings on everything: “Remove Baby Before Folding Stroller.” Why is our economy not recovering more rapidly? Where are the entrepreneurs? Facing a body of law that destroys initiative. What is at issue is the vitality of American culture.

His newest book is The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government, just out. He says that underneath the double-dealing, the polarization, the self-serving is a broken government system that produces rising debt, failing schools, overly expensive health care and economic hardship. Rules, inflexible rules, have replaced leadership, and everyone looks to the rules to know what to do or not do. Philip Howard argues for a return to the framers’ vision of public law — setting goals and boundaries instead of dictating daily choices. This is not a situation to be easily defeated. Congress turns newly passed laws over to federal agencies to draw the lines and devise the regulations that will enhance and grow the bureaucracy and guarantee their jobs. Our hero Trey Gowdy speaks of the House’s job of making law — yet does not mention the job of reforming, eliminating, or repealing bad laws — a task seldom mentioned and even less often accomplished.

Each of these books is only about 200 pages, and invaluable. This is not dry lawyer talk, but real, living examples of how Law has taken over our lives, sapped our creativity, destroyed our freedom. No one is free to make choices, including government officials. An important reason why it is so difficult and expensive to start a business, and why innovation has slowed to a crawl.

Highly recommended. Great reads. And essential to understanding just what has gone wrong in our government and how we can fight back. Nobody said it was easy.



Hindsight. Bwa-ha-ha-ha Ha! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama on Tuesday explained his decision to launch airstrikes in Syria, arguing that he has a responsibility to protect America from terrorist influences in that part of the world.

But there was a time when the president and his allies repeatedly mocked former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election for the Republican candidate’s numerous warnings on Syria, the Middle East, and general unrest aboard.

In fact, Vice President Joe Biden regularly mocked Romney’s talk of war in the Middle East, and his jeering remarks, in retrospect, seem worthier of regret than chuckles.

Romney “said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home,” Biden said on September 2, 2012. “He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home. He implies by the speech that he’s ready to go to war in Syria and Iran.”

Biden also regularly took shots at Romney’s warnings over Russia.

The Republicans candidate “wants to move from cooperation to confrontation with Putin’s Russia. And these guys say the president’s out of touch?” the vice president asked.

Those campaign taunts didn’t hold up so well, did they?



Reason TV Went to the Big Climate March! by The Elephant's Child

Reason TV went to the Climate March, and chatted with some of the marchers. Watch the whole thing. Only 3.17 minutes! They really don’t like the corporations that make all their stuff. More corporate haters than advocates of green policies, which they seem a little fuzzy about. Kind of embarrassing. They didn’t pay attention in high school science class.



Root Causes: Here’s Why Ferguson Rioted: by The Elephant's Child

There is always an answer for every problem. In the case of Ferguson, Missouri, everyone has been searching for the cause of this summer’s violence. We just weren’t looking in the right place. The violence was clearly caused by climate change.

350.org Strategic Partnership Coordinator Deirdre Smith wrote:

To me, the connection between militarized state violence, racism, and climate change was common-sense and intuitive. Oppression and extreme weather combine to ‘incite’ militarized violence.

Smith explained that poor minority communities have fewer resources to deal with the impacts of climate change, but that “people of color also disproportionately live in climate-vulnerable areas,” which makes climate change a race issue.

The 350.org Strategic Partnership is behind the big climate march this weekend at the UN Climate meeting that everybody important is skipping. And of course, their real interest is the doctrine of “environmental justice,” a notion used by the EPA whenever it seems to be helpful in their legal arguments.

The EPA defines “environmental justice” as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies,” according to the EPA website.

That makes it a civil rights issue, which brings in a whole different body of laws and regulations. It suggests that power plants or “excessive” car exhaust can be considered civil rights violations — if they occur in poor or minority neighborhoods. The object is not to improve anyone’s life, but control, which is accomplished with a maze of regulation and red tape, and gigantic fines for those who offend the EPA.

Climate, which is a statistic representing worldwide temperatures, affects everyone equally, and since in the last one hundred years it has only warmed by about one degree, we can all adapt fairly well, even the folks in Ferguson. Weather can affect some people more than others because of where they live—in Tornado alley, near the beach where Hurricane Sandy hit. We just had a small earthquake yesterday, but earthquakes are not climate or weather. This one was only a .4 and we didn’t feel it at all.

The National Weather Service says the St.Louis area was not noticeably warmer this summer than it has ever been. At 80.3 degrees F. this August’s average temperature was only the seventh-warmest of the last 20 years, substantially cooler than the high of the last two decades of 83.9 in August of 1995. It got up in the 90s here in the Seattle area as it usually does once or twice a year.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,770 other followers

%d bloggers like this: