American Elephants

This is funny! by The Elephant's Child

Maybe it’s better if they just stay away. by The Elephant's Child

The Wall Street Journal reports today on the 110th Congress’s finest hour. They have passed fewer laws than any Congress in the last two decades, a mere 294 laws. On the other hand they took time to consider 1,932 resolutions favoring such notable causes as National Watermelon Month.

This is good. We want them to do a lot less. Particularly in an election year, politicians want to DO SOMETHING, and that something is usually ill-advised and done in haste. There is a tremendous incentive to tack nice little earmarks for their districts onto any available bill. Legislators are busybodies by nature and must be restrained.

The things that they managed to get passed were ill-advised, and will probably weigh on taxpayers in the future. The college loan fiasco, and the mortgage bailout are strikingly bad examples.

There is something in the air that suggests to legislators that it is their duty or pleasure to regulate the most minute parts of our lives. Who would have ever dreamed that Congress would take it upon themselves to decide what kind of shower heads we may have, or that we must abandon the kinds of light bulbs we use in favor of a more expensive imported kind that, if dropped, requires us to call in the Haz-mat team. And toilets, for heaven’s sake! Where in the Constitution does it suggest that they regulate our toilets? Our Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves.

Much of this lunacy can be laid at the base of the environmental altar. Much is done in the name of “saving the planet”, when the planet is just fine, thank you, warming and cooling as it has always done. All in the name of carbon dioxide, a harmless, colorless gas that has no influence on global warming but does all sorts of good things like making plants grow. It stopped warming about 10 years ago, but Congress is still anxious to legislate its demise.

If we get very, very lucky, perhaps members of Congress will extend their vacation, and so do nothing, nothing at all.

New McCain Ad Eviscerates Obamanomics by American Elephant

Highly effective new radio ad from the McCain camp. Hope they have a version for TV!

Liberal Media Unhinged by American Elephant
August 21, 2008, 5:15 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Liberalism, Media Bias, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Local sheriff’s deputies botch a drug raid, Newsweek blames….BUSH! I kid you not:

While rare, these cases say something about our culture. A country is not just defined by big sweeping events like wars and treaties and elections. It’s defined by what goes on in neighborhoods, towns, homes. In the past eight years, we have seen our privacy invaded in the name of “homeland security.” We have all been living in a climate of “shoot (or accuse) first, ask questions later.” And that attitude is contagious….

The next president will not only have to deal with the economy, with global warming, with wars in other countries … he will have to deal with fear and rage at home. A country does not only lose itself by what happens on other shores; it loses itself in living rooms, kitchens, backyards. America will lose itself when we look around us and nothing feels like home anymore. [read more here if you can bear it]

Patti Davis (yes, that Patti Davis) writing for Newsweek.

Has Newsweek forgotten what happens to Americans when Democrats run the White House?

and we’re supposed to be afraid of Republicans because of a local matter they had absolutely nothing to do with?

No thanks Newsweek, I’m sticking with the GOP where it’s safe!

The Mayor of Simpleton by American Elephant
August 21, 2008, 4:18 am
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Science/Technology | Tags: , , , ,

Michael Bloomberg is at it again.

The mayor of New York City, like far too many other politicians, is determined to save his constituents from themselves. First he banned smoking, then he banned transfats, now he wants to save the Big Apple from the evils of petroleum by mounting windmills and solar panels atop New York’s bridges, landmarks and skyscrapers. Imagine the Chrysler Building and the Brooklyn Bridge with giant pinwheels on top.


Now, I have nothing against wind power. Really. The wind contains energy; by all means let’s harness it. But the benefits it can provide are seriously limited, while the costs are extravagant. But Bloomberg and the Democrats are giving us yet another fine lesson in the dangers of the “do something disease.”

You’d think we would have finally learned our lesson with the biofuel disaster. In their rush to “do something” about global warming, our politicians, by giving farmers money to grow crops for gas tanks rather than dinner tables, caused skyrocketing food prices and contributed mightily to a world-wide food crisis. “Doing something” because it sounds good, can be an enormous waste of time and taxpayer money — or far worse — when it isn’t thought through.

Wind turbines take a fairly healthy amount of wind to move, they are enormous, and, some (like Ted kennedy and John Kerry) argue, unsightly. Solar panels require sunshine, and lots of it. Both need to be spread out over large areas to provide any significant energy benefit at all. But most importantly they also both require back up.

The problem with sun and wind is that they are not constant. Energy needs, by and large, are. And there are no batteries on the electrical grid. If the wind stops blowing, or the sun goes behind a cloud, that’s it! Blackout! So more reliable energy plants (ie: coal, oil, and natural gas) must be running at all times anyway to ensure a steady supply. And it is because they require constant back up, that wind and solar will never be able to account for more than a small portion of our energy needs.

Keep all that in mind, before indulging Bloomberg and the Democrats in their latest billion-dollar “do-something” boondoggles.

Update: Back to the Future? The times reminds us that New York had wind mills 400 years ago when it was New Amsterdam. And one has been on the city seal ever since. Do you think they found something more efficient?

Up-update: Architects and Engineers scoff at Mayor’s proposal.

Up-up-update: Apparently this is one green proposal that was a bridge too far for even the liberal media.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is backing off his suggestion to put windmills on city bridges and rooftops after newspapers mocked the idea with photo illustrations of turbines on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. 

“There are aesthetic considerations,” Bloomberg said. “Number two, I have absolutely no idea whether that makes any sense from a scientific, from a practical point of view.” [emphasis mine]

You don’t say!

Keep this in mind when Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats start making their energy proposals next month.

The crisis in Georgia through the eyes of Michael Totten… by The Elephant's Child
August 21, 2008, 1:41 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Michael Totten, independent journalist extraordinaire, reports from Tbilisi in Georgia, and describes the situation there. He describes a refugee crisis all over the country and especially in the capital. Schools have been transformed into refugee housing. Michael visited one of the schools and spoke to four women — Lia, Nana, Diana, and Maya — who had fled with their children from small villages near Gori.

“We left the cattle,” Lia said. “We left the house. We left everything and came on foot because to stay there was impossible”. Diana’s account: “They are burning the houses. From most of the houses they are taking everything. They are stealing everything, even such things as toothbrushes and toilets. They are taking the toilets. Imagine. They are taking broken refrigerators.” And Nana: “We are so heartbroken. I don’t know what to say or even think. Our whole lives we were working to save something , and one day we lost everything. Now I have to start everything from the very beginning.”

As always in his reporting, Michael gives a sense of immediacy to today’s events. Read the whole thing.

A friendly word for Exxon-Mobil… by The Elephant's Child

Exxon-Mobil has received huge attention since it was announced that they posted a record profit of $11.68 billion in the second quarter. Media spokesmen have huffed and puffed, announced the P-R-O-F-I-T-S in sneering language as if oil company CEOs had personally lifted our wallets, emptied our bank accounts, and put us all in the poorhouse. Democrats were gleefully beside themselves in finding someone else to blame, and demanded a new windfall profits tax. That would fix them.

No one saw fit to mention that in the same quarter, Exxon Mobil paid almost 3 times that much in taxesmore than $32 billion. (A tax bill greater than the GDP of many countries). That doesn’t count the taxes you pay on every gallon that goes into your gas tank: 12% to the federal government and differing amounts to the states. Mine is one of the highest.

When we start talking in billions, most of us are not comfortable with the figures. (How many zeros is that?). Many more people than ever before are becoming millionaires, but the billionaires live in a rarefied atmosphere that most of us don’t understand very well. It’s easy to assume that there must be something wrong with a profit of $11 billion.

Politicians, especially in an election year, prey on voter’s ignorance of matters economic. When gas prices are over $4.00 a gallon and grocery prices are climbing, people are being hit in the pocketbook. $11 billion in profit seems unimaginable, obscene.

The government is taking a far larger amount, demanding more and refusing to open known oil fields that could be producing in about 3 years. The Democrats want “windfall profits”, they want to outlaw “price gouging”, they want to “stop the speculators”, they want to distract you from the idea of drilling for oil.

In the last 10 years the top 20 U.S. and Canadian oil companies invested 50% more than they earned in efforts to produce more oil. Production in existing oil fields in the U.S. is slowing and they are having to go far afield to drill.

American corporations are among the most heavily regulated entities on earth. A corporation is a legal fiction that allows a group of people to band together to do business in the hope of making a profit. Corporations can survive a year or so of losses, but in general, if they don’t make a profit, they go out of business.

It is fashionable to think of corporations as “evil”, but the reasons for that illusion aren’t attractive. Our intelligentsia, proud of their advanced degrees, are incensed at the salaries and bonuses of corporate CEOs whom they regard as a lesser species. They do not understand business or economics, and in general, want to stamp it out.

Gas prices are dropping, but Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid soldier on. Speaker Pelosi has suggested that maybe they could allow a little offshore drilling — but only on the East coast! Have a little sympathy for the oil companies. They are trying very hard to produce the petroleum you need, and they are investing (without orders from Pelosi and Reid) heavily in alternative energy. Their business is to produce the energy you need at a price you can afford. That’s how they stay in business. (No, unfortunately I’m not a stockholder).

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