American Elephants


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by The Elephant's Child

seal

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns and why?
21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?
21 seconds for the same reason as answer number one.

3. Why are his gloves wet?
His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not?
He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb.  After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5.  How often are the guards changed?
Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, and 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?
A person who applies for guard duty at the tomb must be between 5′ 10″ and 6′ 2″ tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30″.

Other requirements of the Guard: they must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform (by fighting) or the tomb in any way.  After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb.  There are only 400 presently worn.

The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet.  There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.  There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.  Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

During the first six months of duty a guard may not talk to anyone, nor watch TV. Off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.  A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred.  Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis (the boxer) and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, (the most decorated soldier of WWII) of Hollywood fame.  Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD,
AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington D.C., our U.S. Senate and House took 2 days off in anticipation of the storm.  On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend their assignment.   They respectfully declined the offer, “No way, Sir!”  Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person.

The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

One tomb is empty: the Vietnam Tomb. It was later discovered who was in the tomb.  The family had the remains removed and buried with military honors. Congress decided to leave the tomb empty. Fox News carried the full live service at the tombs. The other channels passed it by. All who have served understand the bond. Freedom is never free.

R. Harper



Important Pieces You Probably Will Have Missed by The Elephant's Child

—”Europe Fights Back With Candles and Teddy Bearsby Guilio Meotti

•Europe still has not realized that the terror which struck its metropolis was a war, and not the mistake of a few disturbed people who misunderstood the Islamic religion.
•It appears that for Europe, Islamic terrorism is not real, but only a momentary disruption of its routine. We fight against global warming, malaria and hunger in Africa. But are we not ready to fight for our civilization? Have we already given up?

Thousands Drop Off Food Stamp Rolls in Georgia After State Implements Work Requirementsby Katherine Rodriguez

•More than half of the 11,779 people enrolled for food stamps in 21 counties, an estimated 7,251 people, have dropped out of the food stamp program—a drop of 62 percent, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

•Georgia first rolled out its work requirements for the food stamp program in three counties in January 2016. Since then, the state has expanded work requirements in an additional 21 counties, giving people in those 21 counties until April 1, 2017 to find a job or lose food stamp benefits.

•Those who receive benefits must work at least 20 hours a week, be enrolled in state-approved job training, or volunteer for a state-approved non-profit or charity.

“Regime Change By Any Other Name?” by Victor Davis Hanson

•Election machines in three states were not hacked to give Donald Trump the election. There was never a serious post-election movement of electors to defy their constitutional duties and vote for Hillary Clinton. Nor, once Trump was elected, did transgendered people begin killing themselves in alarming numbers. Nor were there mass resignations at the State Department upon his inauguration.

•Nor did Donald Trump seek an order to “ban all Muslims” from entering the U.S. Instead, he temporarily sought a suspension in visas for everyone, regardless of religion, from seven Middle Eastern states that the Obama administration had earlier identified as incapable of properly vetting travelers to the U.S.



The Tragic View of Life by The Elephant's Child

Searching the internet for the news yesterday, I came across Katy Perry’s vapid remarks about Manchester “the greatest thing we can do is just unite and love on each other. No barriers, no borders, we all just need to coexist.” Then there were Mark Zuckerberg’s equally vacuous remarks about  a “new social contract with a universal basic income,”in his speech at Harvard’s graduation.

He then said, though, that the struggle of our time will be between “the forces of freedom, openness and global community against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism.”

“Forces for the flow of knowledge, trade and immigration against those who would slow them down,” he continued. “This is not a battle of nations, it’s a battle of ideas.”

Zuckerberg then choked up as he told the graduates that one of his top students at the Boys and Girls Club where he volunteers his time was a DREAMer who “raised his hand and said he wasn’t sure he could go [to college] because he’s undocumented. He didn’t know if they’d let him in.” Zuckerberg said he took him out for his birthday and when he asked him what he wanted, “he started talking about students he saw struggling and said, ‘you know, I’d really just like a book on social justice.’”

There are lots of books about social justice, unfortunately there is no such thing. There is one kind of justice in the world, which is based in the laws and courts and constitutions of the world. Social justice means a kind of justice that the speaker believes is fair. Good luck with that. My idea of what is fair for everyone is far different than the next guy’s and the next. You can try to convince the world that if they can just “imagine” a glorious future, but then John Lennon tried that one.

Human nature is not fixable. You can’t make everybody be “nice.” The Castros tried the guaranteed income bit in Cuba, gave everybody $20 a month. And desperate Cubans got on anything that would float and tried to make it to America. Recognizing Cuba for the socialist prison it is, America gave admission to any Cubans who could make it to our shores. Obama cancelled that because Cuban refugees were unlikely to become Democrat voters.

Victor Davis Hanson writes frequently about the tragic view of life. By that he means that you can’t have world peace when even your own family can’t get along. We have built great organizations to make and keep the peace, and simply created another mess. The United Nations does have nations speaking to each other through their representatives, but the record of UN Peacekeepers is disastrous. People we love will die, new businesses will fail, people will get fired, government programs will fail. Things far beyond our control will happen and take vast numbers of lives, tsunami, volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, plagues. And now we have Islamic terrorism.

Our advances come in small surprises, often unrecognized—the Magna Charta, the American Constitution. Pasteur’s discovery of germs changed the life expectancy of the world. The first “miracle drug” was aspirin. Our really big, highly celebrated discoveries or inventions often don’t perform as hoped. We have invested so much in education, hoping to prepare each new generation to do better and live better and advance the world a little bit more, and one wonders if the snowflakes and social justice warriors the universities are turning out are even employable. They are not all protesting, nor refusing to hear voices of disagreement, and surely there are some students who are learning and thinking who will come up with the small insight that will improve the world another small bit.



Nabucco – The Hebrew Slaves Chorus by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2017, 6:52 am
Filed under: Politics

Guiseppi Verdi’s opera Nabucco with the popular Slaves Chorus. I had never heard it before, and it is beautiful. I was captivated by the staging. Each vignette could be a painting.  Enlarge to full screen. Enjoy.



Major Changes Coming to One of the Largest School Districts in the Country. by The Elephant's Child

Two school choice proponents won election to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board this past week. That means that supporters of charter schools and school choice now have majority control over the seven-person panel that directs one of the largest school districts in the country. So this is a very big and positive step forward. Particularly for those who believe that parents should have a say in the choice of school for their child.

Not everyone agrees. School districts and the state authorities, and the teachers’ unions firmly believe that they should be the governing authorities. But like all large bureaucracies, they are inclined to forget who really should control what their children learn and where. Possibly the people who care about the specific children and ones who pay the cost. Bureaucrats  are usually good at platitudes, but in the real world the platitudes are mostly empty. They are more interested in diversity, segregation, race, ethnicity—all the usual leftist themes—than in what and how well children are learning. And the constant demand will be for more money and smaller class size.

Some of the best schooling I ever had was in 2nd and third grade in a one-room country schoolhouse with one very good teacher for 8 grades. Better schools are not a result of more money and smaller class size, as the teacher’s unions insist. Charter schools are public schools. They just can be organized on different principles.



Manchester, Muslims, Migrants and the Middle East. by The Elephant's Child

Many of us have wondered why Europeans seem to have welcomed so many migrants from the Middle East. At first, they welcomed the migrants with flowers and food and housing, and even song. Whether this was simply a case of accepting at face value the term “refugees” or “migrants,” and believing that they must help the unfortunate, or just being terminally uninformed, I have no idea. In the wake of the Manchester attack, the thoughts of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble give a glimpse of the thought processes. The growing number of Muslims in Germany, he said, represent a learning opportunity rather than a threat.

“It is fanaticism, not only in Islam, that leads to terrible crimes,” he said, speaking on German public radio station Deutschlandfunk Wednesday evening, when asked about the Islamist attack in which 22 mostly young people, including an eight-year-old girl, lost their lives. …

“The world’s great religions all preach the message that one must look upon others as their sisters and brothers, and that one must live with the other because man cannot live alone,” Schäuble told presenter Christiane Florin.

“‘Islam is part of Germany’ is a sober, factual statement,” the minister remarked, commenting on sentiments voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion – which are not shared by the majority of Germans.

“Anyone who denies this denies reality and is therefore not suited to being a politician, because politics begins with the confrontation of reality,” he added.

The number of refugees in Germany who are capable of committing terrorist acts has quadrupled since 2011, the German Federal Criminal Police Office has said.

Security concerns have heightened in Germany after close to a million refugees arrived in 2015 from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Fears worsened when more than 1,200 women were reportedly assaulted in various German cities on New Year’s Eve in 2015.

Officials say there are 657 refugees capable of committing terror attacks and 388 potential accomplices in such attacks.

The Manchester attack has awakened British officialdom to the threat to their people, and armed military people are guarding the trains in Britain. Hungary has put up a wall, and is accepting no migrants. Other nations are having all sorts of trouble with the migrants who have arrived in their countries. France has ‘no go’ neighborhoods  where even the police will not venture, and numbers of attacks.

The new French President, Emmanuel Macron, wants Islam to have more room in France. Like many European leaders Macron seems to be convinced that the remedy for the demographic deficit and the aging of ethnic European populations is more immigration. Besides, they seem to be more worried about climate change. Macron claimed to be a ‘centrist’, but the outgoing Socialist President François Hollande has spoken of him as a “continuity”, not an alternative. His entire program is socialist. Lots of additional public expenditures, and climate change is defined as the “key issue for the future of the world.”

Our own Secretary of Homeland Security, General John Kelly, remarked today that “if we knew what he knows about terror threats in this country, we’d never leave the house.”

He was interviewed on Fox and Friends on Friday and said that the terror threat is “worse than we realize.” He pointed out four major terror attacks in the last week, by “more or less the same groups,” in Manchester, England, in Egypt where 28 Coptic Christians were slaughtered, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, and in Indonesia.

“It’s everywhere. It’s constant. It’s nonstop. The good news for us in America is we have amazing people protecting us every day. But it can happen here almost any time,” Kelly said.

Here’s Andy McCarthy:

Here is the blunt, inescapable fact: The United States is in a defensive war against what is imprecisely called “radical Islam.” The war proceeds on two tracks: the kinetic militancy of jihadists, and the cultural challenge of anti-Western, anti-constitutional Islamic law and mores. The ideology that catalyzes both tracks is sharia supremacism — the implementation and spreading of sharia, classical Islam’s societal structure and legal code, is the rationale for all jihadist terror and of all the Islamist cultural aggression that slipstreams behind it.

The dividing line is sharia supremacism. On one side of it we find patriotic, pro-American Muslims who are spiritually devout but reject the imposition of sharia on civil and political life; on the other, the Islamists — the sharia supremacists. The challenge posed by the latter is not merely that some percentage of them are jihadists; it is that as a population — or as enclaves that take hold in the West — they are assimilation-resistant, and their ideological havens will breed the jihadists of the future while stifling the Constitution in the here and now.

That is what we have to vet for. That is what the majority of the American people want: Muslims who embrace our way of life invited in, Muslims who threaten our way of life kept out. You can’t get there without subjecting Muslim aliens to more-extensive inspection.

What can we do? Try to be informed, and I guess, be ready with the candles and flowers.

 



Cultural Appropriation and Other Leftist Stupidity by The Elephant's Child

Sometimes news about America appears first in the British papers, in this case, the Daily Mail. Not big or even important news, but slightly embarrassing.  Two young women, friends from Portland, opened Kooks Burritos in Portland, Oregon. A taco truck. After a visit to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico last December, they learned the basics of tortilla making by talking to cooks and peeking into the windows of kitchens.

For the first few months, the weekend pop-up shop housed in an taco truck was a smash hit. It gained so much popularity, a local weekly newspaper decided to profile the entrepreneurial duo.

But that’s when the trouble started for Wilgus and Connelly, after quotes they gave to the Willamette Week led to them being accused of “stealing their success.”

Well, two white women and Burritos, a taco truck! You can guess what happened. The terminally ignorant cried out:

Cultural Appropriation!!!

Of course. This would more properly be referred to as “social contagion.” Idiots hear someone else claim “cultural appropriation” and want to be noticed for the first accusation directed at someone new. You apparently can’t be”woke” if you’re not indignant.

Interviewed by Willamette Week, they mentioned “peeking in windows” to learn how burritos were made, so they were also accused of stealing, and preying on Mexican women. Do read the article to see just how far this goofiness has gone. The shop closed. But the stupidity of the commenters and the emptiness of liberal language is thoroughly demonstrated.

The world is about “cultural appropriation.” We learn from each other. When the Pilgrims arrived in America, they survived that first 1620 winter with  corn ‘appropriated’ from the Wampanog—a food unknown to Europeans. You might find it of interest to look up “the Columbian Exchange” which lists all the foods appropriated by Europeans from America and European foods brought to the new world. It’s an extensive list. We’ve appropriated language, food, customs, fashion, weapons, wildlife, as has every other culture around the world, with the possible exception of some only lately discovered tribes on the upper Amazon, and they’re just getting started.

What is more troubling is the extent of social contagion. Ignorant people attacking strangers about whom they know nothing with accusations based only on having heard them used elsewhere, and they want to be indignant because being indignant is all the fashion. So it’s a state of perceived intellectual superiority to get all indignant about a couple of American girls making burritos. Social contagion also explains much of what passes for news these days, and the Trump Derangement Syndrome as well. Attempting to destroy history  by removing monuments, renaming buildings, ‘purifying the world.’ Or you could call it all a result of ‘community organizing.’




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