American Elephants

The Squirrels Have Just Returned. Saw the first one today. They don’t look as fat as this one! by The Elephant's Child
January 15, 2022, 9:05 pm
Filed under: Politics

My squirrels are back from wherever they go to hibernate for the winter. They disappear long before there is any snowfall, but rather I guess, when food supplies get short. I have no idea whether they hibernate, move south, or what. I’ll have to look that up. But today they are back. There were no visible squirrels yesterday. I’ll put out some squirrel food!

It is January 15th, and they are back. Groundhog Day, more celebrated, though I ‘m not even sure I know what a groundhog is, isn’t until next month, and why they get their own special day, I have no idea. Obviously my knowledge of local wildlife is somewhat lacking. At home in Idaho, I was far more familiar with local wildlife, and we had a lot more of it. We had a crabapple tree that the bears loved, You could frequently hear a cougar scream off in the mountains. Deer were always plentiful and attracted to the front lawn. Had some trouble with a lynx that was after my dog, but I shot it one night, Must have gotten it, for it never came back.

Covid and Progress and Questions. by The Elephant's Child
January 14, 2022, 12:15 am
Filed under: Politics

James Freeman wrote today in the Wall Street Journal that Rochelle Walensky, director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate Health Education Committee, that most of the deaths from Covid were because of a comorbidity. That is, those who died from Covid had some other health problem that exacerbated their susceptibility to Covid. Not sure if that is encouraging or not, but there you go.

The flu epidemic that killed so many people back around 1918, is now pretty well controlled by an annual flu shot that most people get without the hysteria about a mandated “jab” that we have heard so much about. All sorts of hysterical fears or resistance to a vaccination, though we don’t hear any fears of an annual flu shot. The flu, at best, is hugely unpleasant, assuming you don’t get really sick but most people are familiar with the flu and would like to avoid it. So why is there so much resistance on the part of some to a vaccination. I even wondered if the fact that they kept calling it “a jab” played a part in the resistance. In 1918 there was no vaccine.

In 1889-1890 1 million people worldwide died from the flu. In 1918-1910, there was “the Spanish Flu” and 17 to 100 million people worldwide died. In 1957, it was “the Asian flu” and 1 to 4 million people died, and in 1968-69 it was “The Hong Kong Flu“and again 1-4 million people died. I assume that the “Spanish, Asian, and Hong Kong” refer to where the disease first popped up. Covid clearly came from Wuhan Laboratories in Wuhan, China, as far as we know. Lots of early blame on bats, but I haven’t really seen anything clearly specific. Nor, for that matter, just why the Chinese were experimenting with this particular disease.

Lots of conspiracy theories out there, but no answers as yet. Our American pharmaceutical industry has been doing a marvelous job in response, and we should be grateful. And they are trying to help the rest of the world.

Nice Day in Seattle! by The Elephant's Child
January 13, 2022, 2:22 pm
Filed under: Politics

Sunshine, blue skies, scattered clouds, I’ve complained about the weather so much that I thought I probably should give praise where it’s due. The weather gods seem to be smiling today. Bright blue skies. We do occasionally get very nice weather.

Another Completely Normal Rainy Day by The Elephant's Child
January 9, 2022, 12:58 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

We’re back to normal rain in the Seattle area. (Don’t move to Seattle if you don’t like rainy days.) Any trace of snow or ice is long gone, and everybody will forget that it snowed, until the next time. The little town of Leavenworth, across the mountains, has asked for National Guard help because they have too much snow, and Chehalis, also across the mountains, has floods. Is there anyplace in the country that is free of minor to large natural disasters? I am horrified to see the damage from tornadoes in some parts of the country, because I have never experienced anything of the sort.

Floods, yes. We had about 3 miles of river flowing through our Idaho property, A somewhat shiftless neighbor upriver did a lot of pruning and cutting back brush along the river by his property one year, and left the prunings lie where they were cut, which was along the river. Normal higher water from snow melt in the spring washed all the prunings downriver where they piled up against a railroad bridge and essentially made a dam. The amount of water held back by the dam eventually burst the railroad bridge and descended on our property as a flood. Took out five buildings of ours. One was our power plant. We managed for a long time without electric power, but Idaho Power was on the way not too long after, though we did cope for a very long time with gas lanterns and kerosene lamps and our wood stoves. It was a major relief when Idaho Power finally arrived, and one could once again just flip a switch on.

Lived in a San Francisco apartment for one major earthquake. I was washing dishes with some nearby cabinet doors open and things were cascading out of their shelves. Some breakage, but not all that much, but it was scary. I definitely do not like earthquakes. No warning at all. Just suddenly everything starts shaking. Sometimes violently.

Floods, for the most part are the result of too much rain and high rivers, so you know what might happen. Most forest fires are caused by lightning strikes, but modern technology allows the Forest Service to get on them promptly. The local news may not keep up to date on forest fires, but you can check in with the U.S. Forest Service if you are planning a hike or camping trip. We have some active volcanoes here, but usually plenty of warning for an eruption.

Here’s Marc Morano of Climate Depot With Some Crazed Climate Fearmongering! by The Elephant's Child
January 7, 2022, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Politics

Do try to visit Climate Depot regularly. One of the places where you will regularly get a dose of common sense. The climate of the Earth is controlled by the action of our sun, not by the exhaust pipes of our automobiles. CO2 is plant food. Nurseries pump extra CO2 into their greenhouses to make their plants grow taller and stronger.Sigh!

Don’t Buy Into the “January 6 Capitol Invasion Nonsense” by The Elephant's Child
January 6, 2022, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Politics

On January 6, last year, some protesters in the plaza outside the Capitol Building were invited in by the Capitol Police. I have no idea why the Police invited them in, but that was the case. From film of the event and news reports at the time, the protesters walked peacefully through the Capitol building, simply looking at the building and obeying the velvet ropes that told them where they could go.

As time and events have moved on, the story of what happened on January 6 has changed dramatically. Democrats are stuck with an increasingly unpopular president (and vice president0. Popular stickers claiming “I did that” are appearing on gas pumps around the country, as people are shocked at the increasing cost of filling up their gas tanks). For some, it just means that they drive less, but for many who have to drive to get to work or to get groceries, it is a major attack on the family budget. It’s called “inflation” but it is actually quite preventable.

Remember this simple fact. Copy it down and paste it on the mirror. “The federal government has no money of its own. Every cent comes out of your wallet, purse, or bank account. Those in charge want to celebrate their spending, by insisting that they are doing something wonderful for you, but it is not often worth the extra cost. If they manage to do something that actually improves your life and is actually worth the extra cost, it is an unusual event and should be celebrated., but you might want to write it all down and see if the “worth” part actually holds up.

Congresspeople like to give “gifts” to their constituents to prove that electing them was a good idea. That’s simple human nature. But deciding whether what they decided to do is actually good for us, or good for the country is up to us to take seriously. We’ve got a long list of Congresspeople who have been there for years and accomplished not much of anything. Do we send them back once again? or turn them in on a new model? It might be nice if they were required to take a test proving that they understand what causes inflation, what causes recessions, that sort of thing. I have long suspected that a good many of them have no idea.

The January 6 “violent invasion” of the Capitol Building and attack on our government, was nothing of the sort and is simply a Democrat ploy to deal with an unpopular president determined to run for another term, and his useless vice president as well. The “violent invasion” bit is just a Democrat attempt to divert attention from Joe Biden’s actual accomplishments in office, and make him a viable candidate again.

Interestingly, I have seen several articles today that suggest that perhaps Congresspeople should not be allowed to trade stocks. The suggestion is of course that actions of Congress may have some times, a dramatic effect on the stock market. Joe Biden was well known for helping family and friends to prosper from his government service, as does Nancy Pelosi’s husband. Human nature and perhaps inevitable, but congresspeople should be making an extra effort to insure that their government service is aboveboard and free of corruption. We try hard to elect candidates with high morals and evidence of honesty and truthfulness, but we are all human.

Can’t the Object of Politics be Good Government? by The Elephant's Child
January 4, 2022, 7:41 pm
Filed under: Politics

Oh my. Democrats control the presidency, but they have an enormously unpopular president in office whose goals and actions are way out of line with the goals of the American people, at least as I read things. He made a colossal mess of Afghanistan, invited Central America to come and crash the border, I guess because he thought they would become Democrat voters once they got in. We have an orderly immigration process as part of our laws, and after he invited Central America to come and be illegal aliens, he invited Afghans to come as well. I didn’t know that we were so short of people in this country, did you?

I am not opposed to immigrants, I just want them to come the legal way and apply to become citizens the legal way. Then they will be welcomed. That’s why we have immigration laws, and a hardworking border patrol.

Last January President Trump invited protesters to come to the capitol and march down Pennsylvania Avenue to protest the irregularities in the election. There did seem to be an unusual amount of fraudulent vote. The man who voted and whose vote was counted who was born in 1824, I found somewhat troubling. (He was apparently real, just long dead)

Protesters did come to Washington, gathered in a plaza outside the capitol building, and when they were invited in by the Capitol Police, went in. They were respectful, and orderly, obeyed the velvet ropes, much as Democrats like to pretend they were violent, there is film of the whole thing, and there was no violence nor even disrespectful acts. It was a Capitol Policeman that shot Ashli Babbit. and even the guy with the furs and horns exhibited not the slightest bit of violence other than the furs and horns.

Democrats have described the protests in the most onerous terms, as “one of the darkest days of our democracy” The protesters as “Domestic terrorists” said they were “carrying racist and anti-Semitic symbols” into the Capitol, “committing acts of vandalism and desecration” Susan Wild (D-PA) said that her new legislation would help to ensure the sobering consequences of violent anti democratic rhetoric may never be lost to history. (talk about a little self-importance! Embarrassing!) But keep in mind that Democrats have in office a president who is one of the most unpopular presidents in American history, and as inflation climbs and Covid increases he gets more unpopular every day, and they are going to have to run him again. So expect a lot of attempt to make January 6 into something evil, wrong, illegal, It will require a major effort on their part.

I am really uncomfortable with these kinds of political games. I want our politics to be straightforward, honest and and an attempt to advance our precious democracy. Fat chance, I guess.

Seattle Snow, Continued… by The Elephant's Child
January 3, 2022, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Politics

The snow is gone. There was never very much of it, just enough to make the hills risky to drive. but it has been raining lightly much of the day, and the snow is visibly gone. Whether the ice is off the hills is another question. The “main drag”, down at the bottom of the hill , seems busy again, and sirens are back, with normal traffic. As someone brought up in rural Idaho mountains, where dealing with major snowfall of several feet was just normal winter, I remain fascinated with cities inability to cope with minor amounts of snow. I really don’t know how a significant snowfall is handled in the country’s northern cities. If the Seattle area is an example —not very well, but I expect that is not true. It’s all too “iffy” here because it happens seldom,

Had some hail today, which made everything white again, briefly, but quickly melted off. I am assuming that everything is pretty much back to normal, but haven’t been out, nor asked for a delivery, so we’ll see.

I assume that northern cities where snow is normal in winter handle it easily and efficiently, but I haven’t seen any mention of it, which I take as verification. It’s places like this where snow is NOT usual that everybody panics. My son the skier was over to pick up our prescriptions, as he’s prepared to head for the slopes at a moment’s notice. Checked in with the garbage company to see if we’d have our regular pickup day, and tentatively yes, but we’ll see. If there is any more snow, all bets are off.

If you live in an area unaccustomed to snow, and got a bunch, do comment!

Here is a Little Climate Accuracy for a Change by The Elephant's Child

Nikole Hanna-Jones Was Incorrect. by The Elephant's Child
December 30, 2021, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

New York Times reporter Nikole Hanna-Jones wrote “The 1619 Project”. She was named to TIME’s list of the “100 most influential people in 2021.”She said recently that she didn’t see why parents should have any say in what their kids are taught in school. She assumes, apparently, that teachers are educated and parents are not. Which may be true for some, yet many parents may be far more educated that their children’s teachers.

Unfortunately, what she got wrong in the first place was what she calls a “Republican propaganda campaign” to discredit the 1619 Project. Her “Project” was based on a false assumption.

In 1619 a group of immigrants were “sold” to residents of the area around what became Baltimore. They were sold as “indentured servants” not as “slaves.” A great many new immigrants in those days came to America as “indentured servants” That meant that they agreed to work for the person to whom they were “sold” until the cost of their transportation across the Atlantic was paid off. It was a way for people who wanted to come to America and could not afford the cost of the weeks at sea to pay for their passage. Some were teachers, others had other skills. Once the cost of their transportation, which their new “owners” had paid to the ship masters was paid off they were free to go about their lives.

Had nothing whatsoever to do with “slavery.” Nikole Hanna-Jones made an erroneous assumption. It just fitted in with the current guilt process for the fact that there were once slaves in America. When slavery was outlawed, “indentured servitude” was also outlawed. But there is a distinction, and it should be noted.

Seattle In the Snow, Continued: by The Elephant's Child
December 30, 2021, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Politics

I live on the side of a hill in a Seattle suburb. Down at the bottom of the hill is what is often called “the main drag” or the street that runs through the center of the town. Ours is often filled with the sound of sirens, police or ambulances heading one way or the other. Today it is all silence. Not much traffic at all, as everyone stays home. The garbage company called to say they wouldn’t be picking up tomorrow, and hang on to your garbage till next week. The forecast is for more rain and snow, gradually shifting to just plain old rain towards the end of next week. How well cities deal with snow probably depends on how practiced they are at it, and here, not so much, as it is only occasional winters.

That all got me thinking about Americans moving. There are folks that have lived in the same town for generations, and those who move a lot. A large number of the latter seem to be Californians. I lived in different parts of California, Northern and Southern, for years and loathed the state. Northern is better, but not enough. Oregon is falling apart, and Portland is a disaster area.

Why do people move? Some things are obvious, a better career or job, escaping areas with major problems like tornadoes or hurricanes, but there are plenty of people who resolutely stay, adding tornado shelters or just accept that there will be earthquakes or tornadoes.

But there are people who just pick up and move to an area they think will be better, hope to find work, a home and a neighborhood without much knowledge of the city they are moving to. Corporate transfers are, of course, common, and you go where they send you, or quit. I’m going to have to study up on moving a bit. I’ve done quite a bit of it and didn’t like it at all.

Seattle in the Snow! by The Elephant's Child
December 28, 2021, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Seattle, famous as “the city of seven hills” if I remember correctly, is crippled at the moment with approximately two inches of snow. Yes, I know! I grew up in the mountains of Idaho at approximately 4000* elevation, and three or four feet was nothing unusual. We always had our own snow plow.. We had to plow regularly, but that was just normal winter stuff. We also had a fabulous sledding hill, long enough for a good ride, short enough to haul a sled up to do it all again. The idea that a city could be traumatized by two inches of snow is always astonishing to me.

Only snowed in once that I can remember in Idaho, because of a slide at a cliff a couple of miles down the road. We had about three miles of free flowing river running through our property, and there was the underlying soft hum of the river all the time. When it started snowing, the sound of the river was muffled, and you knew that it was snowing without even looking outside.

So I am still unaccustomed to the extent to which a simple couple of inches of snow cripples the region here. I’m on the side of a hill, with steep roads in every direction. Hills all over the region, so we are pretty well shut down. (with two inches!!!) It will all be gone in a few days, and I have a well-stocked pantry. undoubtedly from childhood training. Forecast is simply for cloudy skies with maybe more snow over the coming week, or maybe not, which probably means the weathermen are stuck at home or just can’t get into the office.

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