American Elephants

Uncle Jay Explains 2008 by The Elephant's Child
December 30, 2008, 4:59 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Election 2008, History, Humor, News, Politics, Pop Culture

A Reality Check on Health Care Costs. by The Elephant's Child

Democrats are preparing to address health care again next year, so promises are forthcoming at a furious rate.  When there is a brief note of the reality of the vast expense of “universal” coverage, taxpayers should pay attention.  We need to know just what they are doing, not just “for us” but to us.

Peter Orszag, the former head of the Congressional Budget Office,  has left the CBO to become Barack Obama’s budget director.  The CBO is the office responsible for estimating how much legislation will cost the government.

They recently released two reports on health-care financing that should hit Congress like the proverbial ton of bricks.  The short version is that liberal health care reforms will be extremely costly, while measures intended to save money won’t begin to live up to even conservative estimates.

When the reform proposals are added up, even Democrats concede that their new health programs will cost $150 or $200 billion a year. Perhaps in a year when ‘billions’ and ‘trillions’ are everyday terms, Congressional Democrats have lost their sense of  just whose money they are spending so casually. We need to remind them.

These are only estimates.  The real costs will be higher.  Efforts to cut costs, such as information technology, will result in only modest savings.  Current efforts at introducing information technology in hospitals have resulted in massive cases of identity theft, with no way at present to solve such a problem.

The Wall Street Journal issues a cautionary note. Do read the whole thing.   You cannot afford to be ill-informed on this issue.  Your life may depend on it.

Snowbound, and released once again. by The Elephant's Child

THE sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.

With compliments to John Greenleaf Whittier, we have been snowbound.  Snowed in since the Friday before Christmas.  People with four-wheel drive managed to get around gingerly, but the rest of us were just stuck. We had 8 to 10 inches of snow,  and here in the hilly Seattle area it quickly turns to ice.  In Seattle, the mayor decided that salt was beyond the pale for it might run into the salt waters of Puget Sound, and many streets were to be left undisturbed, to form a nice snowpack.  Sigh.

On the Eastside, city road crews plowed, but short neighborhood streets are left till last, and through streets get first attention, which is fair.  We have a well-stocked pantry, so were not reduced to eating strange things; a good-sized woodpile (the result of last winter’s storms) and  a snow shovel.

The snowplow came by the day after Christmas and, with some vigorous shoveling we escaped to crowded malls and grocery store to get ready for a postponed Christmas celebration.  Merry Christmas to all, and a happy New Year.

Not everyone has Christmas off by American Elephant
December 25, 2008, 2:43 am
Filed under: Freedom, Military | Tags: ,

Not everyone can be home for Christmas. Why not take a moment to send a Christmas email to our troops! The peace we do enjoy on Earth is due in no small part to their hard work and sacrifice.

Christmas in the so-called Space Age by American Elephant
December 24, 2008, 3:45 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Cool Site of the Day, News of the Weird, Pop Culture | Tags: ,

Thanks to reader Joseph for reminding me! You and kids can track Santa on his trip around the world with satelite maps and embedded YouTube videos, thanks to NORAD (and your tax dollars) here.  He and his reindeer have finished their rounds of Asia and Australia (he’s apparently even vistited the International Space Station), and are currently working their way through Africa and Eastern Europe. He is currently in Perin, Slovakia as of this writing.

And who knew, but Santa has his own blog, as do his reindeer. (How they type is beyond me.)

All this, as well as Christmas crafts, printable cards, games, stories, and recipes can be found at

Merry Christmas! by American Elephant
December 24, 2008, 2:05 pm
Filed under: History, Movies, Music, News | Tags: , ,

Joy to the World!

(video: The Nativity Story; Music: Josh Groban)

Every year at Arlington National Cemetery. by The Elephant's Child

Wreaths Across America is a voluntary effort started in 1992 by Morrill Worcester of the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine.  Arlington is the largest focus of the commemorative ceremony, but nationwide some 100,000 wreathes are laid at over 300 cemeteries in all 50 states.  Its goal is to put a wreath on as many service members’ graves as possible.

James Robbins tells the story of the 17th annual wreath-laying in a lovely article at National Review Online. If you can spare a few minutes during the Christmas rush, do read the whole thing.

A little coal for your stocking. by The Elephant's Child

Well, we now have indications about the new administration’s policy on “global warming”.  Obama has nominated Harvard physicist John Holder to be his director of the White House Office of Science and Technology. Holder is a true believer.  A year ago in a speech at Harvard, he said:

Global warming is a misnomer, it implies something gradual, something uniform, something quite possibly benign, and what we’re experiencing is none of those.  There is already widespread harm…occurring from climate change.  This is not just a problem for our children and grandchildren.

He seems not to have noticed that the earth is cooling, and has been for the last decade, that solar activity has declined.  In that same speech, he presented a list of the top ten options.  Number one was “limiting population”.  Number two was reducing per-capita GDP.  His goal is equal per-capita carbon emission rights across the world — so the U.S. could emit just twenty times as much as Ecuador, although we produce 144 times the goods and services. He’s opposed to nuclear power too.  So much for our economy.

For the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) he has nominated Jane Lubchenco, another true believer. She is concerned that even when the world shifts away from fossil fuels, the oceans will continue to soak up carbon dioxide and become more acidic.

She wants to reduce overfishing, cut back on nutrient runoff and create marine reserves to protect marine life.  It doesn’t seem to occur to her that there has been much higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere in the past, and marine life has survived just fine.

What fish seem to like are  the artificial reefs created by offshore oil platforms.  Fishing tours head right for the platforms for that is where the fish are to be found.  The nutrient runoff probably comes from increased planting of crops intended for biofuels like ethanol.

This is very bad news.  Time for advice and considerable dissent.

A Brilliant Analogy! by The Elephant's Child

This was a letter to the editor at American Thinker by Richard Strimple:

I don’t know if any one else has noticed, but I have detected a new crisis that I have named “the daylight change crisis”.  I first noticed it sometime around the end of June this year.  I started paying attention and created computer models and sure enough I was right!  We are losing daylight at an astonishing rate.  Each day we are losing approximately 2 minutes of daylight and my computer models predict total darkness by next July.

I have been able to detect this phenomenon around the entire Northern Hemisphere.  And here is the scary part: the daylight appears to be leaking to the Southern Hemisphere.

I thought I should bring it to the attention of great scientists like Al Gore so he can help solve this new crisis.

This is an absolutely brilliant analogy.  The global warming “crisis” may never recover.  Hopefully!

A Few Words from Fred Thompson by The Elephant's Child

The always entertaining and informed Fred Thompson on the economy.

Now they have just gone too far! by The Elephant's Child

Hard times.  People are scared.  The news speaks daily about job losses, bailouts, a bad business climate, banks failing and bankruptcy. ” When it bleeds it leads” is the motto of the media, but it does not help the national mood.

Congress is sensitive to appearances.  When the CEOs of the big three automobile companies came to Washington to beg for money in their corporate jets, there was ample congressional outrage.  In every attempt to draft bills for providing funds for failing businesses Democrat congressmen have been determined to see that executives do not prosper from government funds.  No big salaries, no bonuses, and no executive jets.

Democrats in Congress, who started this mess by refusing to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and demanding that banks loan to ever less qualified clients to put more people in homes that they could not afford, have again proved theie absolute arrogance.

What a great moment for taxpayers to give senators and congressmen a $2.5 million increase in their already bloated salaries. It’s hard to get by on only $217,400 if you’re the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Most members of Congress  have to get along on only $169,300.  A $4,700 raise is certainly justified when Congress has performed so nobly on our behalf.  Hmn?

Congressional Democrats have dragged in executives of oil companies, automobile makers and banks and grilled them viciously on TV about their salaries, bonuses, stock options and severance packages.  They pushed the big carmakers into making symbolic gestures like working for $1 a year.  But when it comes to symbolic gestures of their own — tin ears, no empathy, no common sense.

Investors Business Daily has the whole story.  And as they say:  raise some hell!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! by American Elephant
December 18, 2008, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Environment, Global Warming | Tags: , , ,

About eight inches of fluffy, white global-warming here on the ground in Seattle. More snow than we’ve had since I was a child, earlier in the year than normal, and already a longer sub-freezing spell than we almost ever get. Naturally, liberals are claiming its more evidence of “climate change”. Do they honestly expect the weather to remain constant?

But it sure is beautiful. White Christmases are very rare around here, our norm is cold, gray, drizzly Christmasses. Hopefully it will stick around long enough. *fingers crossed*.

Although, it does make getting around difficult. Seattlites are horrible drivers to begin with, mind you. They not only cannot drive in the snow, but they cant drive in any other weather either — rain, wind — even sunshine seems to addle their brains. Serve up anything other than dreary overcast skies, and Seattle drivers lose complete control of their faculties, not to mention what little driving ability they possessed. But when it snows! Oy! People will abandon their cars, in the middle of the road no less, in two inches of snow. We now have eight. There are accidents everywhere, cars abandoned willy-nilly. It truly is pathetic.

And so, even those of us who can drive in snow try to avoid the roads for fear of what someone else may do. Fortunately, much remains to be done to get ready for Christmas.

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