American Elephants


At What Point Do You Lose Faith In The Federal Government? by The Elephant's Child

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How about this one? On June 26, innumerable antiques, musical instruments and Mah Jong and chess sets have been effectively banned by your federal government from sale or trade within the U.S. The idea is to protect elephants in Africa from poaching for their ivory.

Combined with tough new international import-export restrictions, the value of these objects, once in the hundreds of millions of dollars, will evaporate.

Well, so much for my little ivory Buddha, though I doubt he was worth much in the first place, but what about my walrus ivory necklace from Alaska?

There are fantastically beautiful and expensive pieces carved of ivory. Too bad. Now worthless. Your federal government decided. This one is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.To sell or trade your object, you have to prove that it at least 100 years old and possess official paperwork proving that it was imported to America before 1990, or legally thereafter, and provide evidence that the object has been neither repaired nor modified since December 1973. The IRS is unlikely to let you write it off as an investment loss, whether you paid a few hundred or $20,000 at Christie’s.

What Fish and Wildlife will do is step in to prosecute the owners and confiscate the ivory goods.

ADDENDUM: The bureaucrats at Fish and Wildlife may mean well, but their efforts to ban the sale and trade of ivory will not save one elephant. It will only raise the price of ivory on the world market and encourage poaching. One third of African elephants live in Botswana. 150,000 of them live in an area about the size of the New York metropolitan area. Too many for a comparatively small area. Botswana President Ian Kharma has banned wildlife hunting as of January and has received awards for his conservation efforts, but the overpopulation of elephants is controlled only by disease, hunting or starvation due to the destruction of the environment. That jacks up the price even more. Elephants have no natural predator.



The New World of Bacon! by The Elephant's Child

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I assumed that I was done with the food posts, but the current mania for all things bacon interfered. I made the mistake of searching for an image of bacon on Google images. Ooops! We have bacon dresses, bacon bras, a bacon man’s suit, a bacon basket for scrambled eggs, bacon candy, bacon ice cream, bacon gumballs, a child’s bacon costume, bacon cupcakes, chocolate covered bacon, a bacon attaché case, bacon soda, bacon toothpaste, Kevin Bacon, bacon deodorant, and a few other things that would spoil your taste for bacon for some time.

Another search produced a cooking site: endless simmer which features” 100 ways to use a strip of bacon” (with pictures) and recipes to go with each picture, some of which look really good.  The Food Network does “50 Things to Make with Bacon” again with recipes.and delish.com has “Bizarre Bacon: 12 Weird Bacon Products You Won’t Believe.

At that point I’d had enough. I knew that there was a major food fad going on with bacon, but I had no idea how extensive it was.There are websites just about bacon. There are uses too embarrassing to mention. We never quit bacon during all the talk about saturated fat, but it was more Sunday morning with sourdough pancakes. Long ago I used to stuff a hot dog with a long skinny piece of cheddar cheese and then wrap the whole thing in a slice of bacon, but that was a really long time ago. It was really good too.

ADDENDUM: I should mention that the price of bacon is climbing sharply from bacon enthusiasm and a virus that affects baby pigs with a fatal diarrhea. As they say in the investment business, buy on dips.



Food Fads and Misinformation by The Elephant's Child

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In my trip to Safeway yesterday, I grabbed a small container of key lime flavored Greek yogurt. The brand was “Open Nature,” one of Safeway’s proprietary brands, I assume to reach those who are attracted by the word “natural.” I am not. It was just handy, and key lime sounded good. The line after the brand logo was “Real Food From Natural Ingredients” — well, yes, that’s what I expect from food. Nobody’s going to be attracted by a label that says “Phony Food From Unnatural Ingredients”—though I’d bet that most people wouldn’t notice anyway.

Michelle Obama, in pursuit of thinner kids, is betting millions on getting people to read food labels with larger print. Safeway has probably done more market research than Ms. Obama. regarding the extent to which people read food labels. The Open Nature carton continues to note that the 2% nonfat milk is Grade A. The product contains ‘No Artificial Flavors or Colors, No Artificial Ingredients, and Milk From Cows Not Treated with rBST*. The asterisk points to the footnote—no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows.

This was a big flap several years ago. Farmers were treating their cows with the forenamed hormone, which helped them to produce more milk. Dairy scientists explained that it was physically and scientifically impossible for the hormone to pass through a cow’s body to enter the milk in any way. Not good enough. Mild panic ensued. Dairy farmers quit using the hormone, cows went back to producing the normal amount of milk and certified that their milk came from cows that were not treated with rBST.

The media, always ready to reproduce anything with the word “study” gives them the chance, I guess to be first with something. Perhaps that is the excuse for failing to vet the “study” or even to be suspicious recognizing that the word “study” does not prove anything. It might all be a mess of pottage.

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The World Needs Genetically Modified Food! by The Elephant's Child

May 30, 2013, 7:07 pm | Edit this

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This is re-posted from about this time last year. I don’t know if they are holding protest meetings against Monsanto, but otherwise the beat goes on. They are still trying to force grocery stores to identify any GMO containing foods with labels, by law.

For most people last weekend was the observance of Memorial Day, a time to remember the fallen. For the easily aroused, it was a time to march in a global protest against Monsanto and genetically modified seeds. Well, the global warming thingy is in freefall as a protest message, since most people are noticing that it is significantly cooling (where is summer anyway?), with late snow to emphasize the fact. Are the protesters always just the same people? The pictures look like it. Is there a certain type who just loves to march and wave signs?

Organizers said  “March Against Monsanto” demonstrations were being held in some 300 cities in more than 44 countries that weekend.  It was described as a social media-generated call to action against genetically modified foods and the multinational corporations that produce them. Goodness, you alter a gene to include vitamin A in rice, creating “golden rice,”which will save millions from blindness, and the perennially suspicious go bonkers.

Genetically modified seeds help farmers to grow more on less land, and to conserve resources such as water and energy. Some supporters just want any foods grown from GMO seeds to be so labeled, others want to prohibit the process. Proposition 37, a ballot measure that would have made California the first state to require labels on fresh produce and processed foods whose DNA had been modified by scientists, was defeated at the polls.

Unsurprisingly, much of the misinformation on GMO crops comes from promoters of Organic Food. “Organic” is merely a marketing campaign. Multiple studies have shown no benefits of any kind from organic food, other than the higher prices it brings to marketers, and Whole Foods.

Demographers expect world population to keep growing until about 2050, and then start declining. The industrialized nations , for the most part, have declining birth rates, and as prosperity increases, that seems to be the natural tendency. Until 2050, we need to produce more food to feed the world. If the world continues to cool, we might desperately need GMO foods that are more adapted to cold. Varieties of  grains adapted to particular soils or climates can dramatically increase production. Reducing the cost of weed control, or reducing susceptibility to a virus, can be a very big deal. Reducing pesticide use makes food healthier. Adding beta carotene to golden rice could prevent millions of cases of blindness. Do people not recognize that countries like Egypt cannot feed their own population?

Growers and marketers are sensitive to the protests of activist groups. They have seen foolish scares do tremendous damage to their businesses. Remember the cranberry scare, Alar, and activists attempting to destroy crops?  Always new food fads or fears that seem to grow in some mysterious underground.  Is it just word of mouth? I don’t know. They are still protesting fluoride in our water, but brushing their teeth with it.



Paul Erlich, Still Alarmed About Population, Predicts the Need to “Eat the Bodies of Your Dead.” by The Elephant's Child

Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist, became famous 46 years ago for his book The Population Bomb, which has been widely debunked. He was back this week on HuffPost Live doubling down on his climate change and overpopulation fear mongering.

He has admitted that his outrageously wrong predictions of human “oblivion” didn’t come to pass (we’re still here), but has never given up on the idea that the dangers of overpopulation are growing, blaming Republicans and the media for failing to take action.

He told HuffPost host Josh Zepps that humans must soon begin contemplating “eat[ing] the bodies of your dead” after resources are depleted. He remains an alarmist at 82. He claims that the scarcity of resources will be so bad that humans will need to drastically change our eating habits and our agriculture.

The Population Bomb predicted that “in the 1970s the world will undergo famines — hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death” and our children”will inherit a totally different world, a world in which the standards, politics, and economics of the 1960′s are dead.”

He attacked pro-life Americans, accusing them of trying to kill women by making abortion illegal, and called for “backup abortions” for any woman whose birth control failed, in an attempt to control “breeding.” He has consistently favored population control, abortion, and I assume, China’s one child policy.

He seems to have missed the Green Revolution entirely. But predicting cannibalism as a necessary evil is going a little too far.

It must be hard when you have one big celebrated idea, and it is widely debunked, and events prove that you were way wrong. Ehrlich is not alone in that. The climate and environmentalism are full of such cases.



The Latest News from the Greenies: by The Elephant's Child

From Mother Jones, Friday, March 21: “One Reason It May Be Harder to Find Flight 370: We Messed Up the Currents: How climate change factors into the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

Scientists say man-made climate change has fundamentally altered the currents of the vast, deep oceans where investigators are currently scouring for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, setting a complex stage for the ongoing search for MH370. If the Boeing 777 did plunge into the ocean somewhere in the vicinity of where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, the location where its debris finally ends up, if found at all, may be vastly different from where investigators could have anticipated 30 years ago.

From The Hollywood Reporter: 3/20/2014: “Darren Aronofsky wrestles one of scripture’s most primal stories to the ground and extracts something vital and audacious, while also pushing some aggressive environmentalism, in Noah…. Already banned in some Middle Eastern countries, Noah will rile some for the complete omission of the name “God” from the dialogue, others for its numerous dramatic fabrications and still more for its heavy-handed ecological doomsday messages, which unmistakably mark it as a product of its time.”

From the Washington Examiner, March 21, 2014:”Burials go green; bodies interred in just a cloth bag or wicker basket”

Cemeteries are the latest business go to green.

The new trend is for families of the dead to skip the traditional embalming, elaborate casket and concrete box and simply wrap the dead in a cloth shroud and put the body into the earth.

A Washington, D.C., cemetery is being recognized for helping lead the green drive. And not just any cemetery. The Historic Congressional Cemetery reported on Friday that it has been certified as a “Hybrid Service Provider from the Green Burial Council.” They said Congressional is the only cemetery within a 100-mile radius of Washington to get the certificate.

“Green burial options are increasingly popular with pre-planning baby boomers and other socially and environmentally conscious individuals,” said cemetery president Paul K. Williams, “and with the designation, we are proud to be the only cemetery in the Washington D.C. metropolitan region to qualify to date.”



Who Was It Who Said Celebrities are Those Who are Famous Only for Being Famous? by The Elephant's Child

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I am not watching the Oscars. I am only grateful that it marks the end of the seemingly endless exercise of the glitterati congratulating themselves for the remarkable wonderfulness of their contributions to the world’s culture. Oscars and Emmys and endless awards, borrowed dresses and borrowed jewelery and borrowed makeup. I don’t care who wins what. I don’t care who wears what. I am not interested. There are more important things going on in the world. And it may be astonishing, but there are way more important people, more important ideas and more important events.



Excuses, Excuses, Excuses! by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light posting recently. I just finished a course of radiation treatment following surgery in December, and it has temporarily wiped me out. Fatigue.  All is well, however, and I’ll just be tired for a couple of weeks.

Misspellings and odd juxtapositions of letters are to be excused. Be patient. We had about an inch and a half of snow on Saturday, which melted on Sunday and we’re back to our normal rain and clouds. Good. Did not need icy streets just now. Told to take extra vitamin D to cope with our gloomy climate. Figures.



The Headline of the Day! by The Elephant's Child

From Jammie Wearing Fools: ” Woman Who Can’t Afford Her Own Birth Control Scrapes Up Money to File for Congressional Run.”

Surely you remember Sandra Fluke (rhymes with Cluck) who appeared before the nation in a pretend Congressional hearing, set up to  look as if it was official after the committee in question (I can’t remember which committee) refused to have her as a witness since they didn’t think she had any testimony worth hearing.

Her testimony was a protracted whine about the vast expense of contraceptives which she thought taxpayers should pay for so she didn’t have to. It emerged that a month’s supply was available for around $9.00, which made her demand that taxpayers spring for it seem remarkably silly. But silly me. There it is in ObamaCare, and everybody is paying for it. If you wonder why you can no longer see your doctor, or afford health care — it’s because the Democrats stuck in all sorts of little goodies to reach favored voting groups, in this case radical feminists.

With the retirement of Henry Waxman, Ms. Fluke has filed with the California state Democratic Party to seek its endorsement in the race for the Waxman seat. She has not yet officially announced her campaign, nor filed with the Federal Election Commission. But California is known for some of the dumbest women in Congress, so why not? The idea that someone should work their way up in politics seems to have gone by the wayside. Experience is no longer necessary.

Jammie adds: “Just what Congress needs, another attention whore.”

 



And the Award for Dumbest Quote of The Year Goes To: by The Elephant's Child

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times

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What could he possibly have been thinking? Or was this simply the absence of all thought?

(h/t: American Digest)



“It’s Going to Be a Glorious Thing.” Can She Possibly Believe That? by The Elephant's Child

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) says December has been a “great month” for ObamaCare sign-ups, and she says things will only get better as more people enroll. “It’s worth the trouble. It’s going to be a glorious thing,” Pelosi told a conference call on Monday.

“It’s about life, a healthier life, liberty, the freedom to pursue our happiness. It honors the vows of our founders. A person can follow his or her passion and not be chained by a policy, so they could start a business, be self-employed, change jobs. It’s a very, very exciting thing. And it’s about wellness and prevention. It’s about the health of America, not just the health care for Americans. So we’re very proud of it, and our enthusiasm for it…strengthens our determination to make sure it works.”

Pretty amazing, huh. Do  you think she actually believes that?



When a Story Plot Becomes All Too Real by The Elephant's Child

It’s a favorite plot, so overused that it has become trite: something happens to the pilot and a passenger, a stewardess, someone who is not a pilot has to be coached into bringing the plane in for a landing. Heard it all too many times, right? Tiresome.

Except it just happened, in England. Officials at Humberside Airport in northwest England put emergency plans into place and called in flight instructors when the pilot of a small Cessna 172 collapsed in the cockpit and his passenger, 77 year-old John Wildey took the controls and began his first landing with help from flight instructors.  Soon after he landed, his friend, the pilot, died.

It has always been a possible scenario, as so many scary situations are — and sometimes they turn real.  Here’s the full story;

 




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