American Elephants


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.



We Have No Strategy and No Prospect of Getting One. by The Elephant's Child

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I find it truly interesting that Liberals are so much less concerned than Republicans are about the threat of terrorism, of militant Islam, of the actual threat to the United States, and why this should be so.

Liberals care about power — theirs. They don’t like mass democracy (in spite of their party name), middle class capitalism, the individual businessman’s pursuit of profit as well as the individual citizen’s self-interested pursuit of success. They care about being in charge, about the administrative state. Liberal social programs don’t work, they are not as good at administration as they like to think, and their experts aren’t all that expert — but the next program will surely work. Liberals have no foundational principles, but react to events on a case by case basis as they occur.

They essentially bypassed the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by lumping them under their hatred for George W. Bush, and didn’t learn much of anything about the countries, the wars, the people or the threats, and their only interest was in getting past it. It has left them dreadfully ill-prepared to understand foreign policy and national power and its needful uses. Nor, lost in a mush of political correctness and tolerance, are they even able to call mass murder and genocide — terrorism. They are simply unprepared to grasp the potential threat that faces us, nor able to plan how to treat with it. We are easy prey.



Oh, ha, ha, ha. Obama Just Made His Failure to Have a Strategy Worse. by The Elephant's Child

Snort! President Obama’s statement about ‘not having a strategy to deal with the Islamic State’ has gone round the world several times since his misguided press conference, gathering up  unfavorable international commentary on the way, and he doesn’t appear to have a strategy for dealing with a Russian invasion either.

So, Friday, the President declared September “National Preparedness Month.” Irony? Hypocrisy? Nobody around to point out the, um, awkwardness?

Actually, he has in mind dealing with a more important crisis — climate change!

Emergencies — from hurricanes and wildfires to cyber and terrorist attacks — can strike anywhere at any time. Americans should be familiar with local threats and hazards and take steps to reduce their devastating impacts. Families should assemble a disaster supplies kit well in advance and have a plan to reconnect after a tragedy.

The president also announced an “American PrepareAthon” drill on September 30 for Americans to show that they are ready for climate’s worst disasters. How about September 11?

When and where emergencies occur are beyond our control — but how we prepare and how we respond are up to us. Let us resolve to be ready for any crisis and work to inspire a new generation of Americans, vested with the knowledge and experience to protect themselves, their families, and their communities in the face of any challenge.

Oh, look. Obama didn’t declare this, somebody in the White House wrote it on his behalf, and that somebody had no clue how inappropriate it was in the wake of Obama’s blunder at his press conference. But Obama is responsible for everything that comes out of his administration. The buck stops at his desk, no matter how hard he tries to deflect it. Doesn’t speak well for the caliber of the White House staff, either.



The U.S Forest Service Has Issued Detailed Instructions on How to Roast Marshmallows. by The Elephant's Child

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Saturday was apparently National Roasted Marshmallow Day, who knew? Obviously must be a promotion by marshmallow makers. Nevertheless, the occasion brought forth a 700-word publication from the U.S. Forest Service on how to safely roast marshmallows.

Well, let’s take it as a given that the U.S. Forest Service is not real enthusiastic about campfires, and wants you to know how to put your campfire out properly. No problem. We don’t like forest fires either. So they want you to obey the rules for fire restrictions which are put in place for your safety.

I grew up in an era and place of weenie roasts, frequent and great fun.

If campfires are allowed, use an existing fire ring or pit. Be sure you are at least 15 feet from tent walls, trees or other flammable objects.

Most importantly, ensure you work closely with children and talk to them about fire danger, proper behavior and rules – then expect nothing less. No one knows how many children are burned in campfire incidents; however, you don’t need statistics to know precaution is a key to great camping experiences. Some experts advocate a 10-foot rule between young children and a campfire.

15074205215_a8b1d953c3 This is the Forest Service’s idea of wonderful childhood memories. Sigh. The bureaucrat who wrote this crap was clearly never a child. Then we get into all of Michelle’s ideas of what constitutes a reducing diet for fat kids. “Think fruit.”   Oh please. fruit is just pure sugar. The object of roasting marshmallows is not eating lots of marshmallows. I’m not sure it’s possible to eat lots of marshmallows. But they deem plain old marshmallows or s’mores as unsuitable for today’s children.

Another way to limit the amount of marshmallows used is to substitute them with marshmallow crème, a spreadable version of marshmallows that helps you more easily regulate portion. For healthier treats, use large strawberries, apple slices, banana chucks, pineapple or other fruit. Put a piece of fruit on a roasting stick, dip quickly in the crème and roast over indirect heat until a delicious golden brown. You’re still having campfire fun, but the focus is on a healthier evening snack.

A little common sense would be useful here. In High School or College, we did lots of weenie roasts, but “lots” translates to 2 or 3 a year, at most. You need good weather, reasonably warm, and a free weekend.  Summer camping trips with the kids, you don’t do marshmallow roasts every night. Even at summer camp for kids, every night is not s’mores night. Two or three occasions are not going to ruin a child’s nutritional health and well-being. A little perspective please.

I am becoming extremely offended by this administration’s intrusive efforts to manage every element of my life. I do not require and I don’t know of anyone who does require instructions on roasting marshmallows. We can do fine without the bureaucratic input from a bunch of unionized public servants whose jobs depend on lots of useless busywork. Vote them out, and abolish the Department of Agriculture. They don’t do anything useful anyway.



How Much Do You Read? What’s the Best Book You’ve Ever Read? by The Elephant's Child

What do you do when someone asks you to read an article because it’s “an important one?” Do you obediently read it, assuming that if your friend recommends it, it is worth your time? Do you accept the article, suggesting that you will read it later when you have more time? Do you just refuse to read it because you’re sure it is not of interest?

I fit in the first category. I’m a speedy reader, and it doesn’t take me long to get through even a long piece. But I have known a lot of what I think of as ‘lazy readers’ whose first reaction is that they don’t have time. Or they only want to read what they choose to read. It’s as if reading is a task to be engaged in only when required. Was learning to read a struggle in school? There are people who read competently, but without enjoyment or need for information, but who will spend hours on Twitter. Do you prefer to get your information instead by video, or podcast? Is reading a chore?

I have a friend who is a special education expert, with particular emphasis on reading, and reading disabilities. She went into her state’s prisons at one time, to test prisoners, and found that the numbers who had some form of reading disability was far, far higher than in the general population.

There are lots of people out there who just don’t read much, and people who do not read books at all.  They are just busy with other things.

If you prowl around the internet and read blogs, you are clearly a reader. But what about those other folks who are not? How do people go all the way through university, and, as adults, never read?

Seattle is usually described as the part of the country where most people read a lot. We have busy libraries, lots of colleges and universities, and lots of writers. Must be something to do with the weather, which encourages a brisk fire in the fireplace. a good book and a cup of coffee.

ADDENDUM: I guess I shouldn’t ask others about their favorite books, if I don’t reveal my own. Patrick O’Brian’s series of books about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin and the Royal Navy in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There are 20 books in the series and I have read them probably ten times, and always found them fascinating to re-read. Most novels don’t welcome even a second reading. Master and Commander is the first, and only a page in and you are hooked. Master and Commander was a great movie too, although based on bits from several of the books.




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