American Elephants

Celebrating Freedom, July 4th, 2009. by The Elephant's Child
July 3, 2009, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History


Check Into the Hospital, But Take Your Cleaning Supplies With You. by The Elephant's Child

Britain’s Daily Mail has a story about a hospital patient who was so shocked at the dirty ward around her, that she climbed out of bed, dragging her ‘drip trolley’ behind her, gathered up the antibacterial fluid dispenser and some hand towels from the bathroom and started cleaning.

She said it took her about an hour because she could hardly move her neck from the abscess on her neck that put her in the hospital.

A Colchester Hospital University NHS spokesman said: “In the annual health check ratings for 2007-2008 we scored maximum marks for safety and cleanliness and we have also been praised for our very low levels of infections such as C. difficile and MRSA.

Oddly enough, last night we were watching some reruns of the British comedy series “Yes, Minister,” which if you have never seen it, is based on the worst effects of bureaucracy.  It’s beginning to seem not as funny as it once did.  The idea that “it can’t happen here” no longer seems so remote.

Just another little story in the long, long list of stories about the wonders of socialized medicine.

Another Surprising Feature Of the Waxman-Malarkey Bill. by The Elephant's Child
July 3, 2009, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy | Tags: ,

One of the main features among many in the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill is the requirement that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions be 17 percent below those of 2005 by 2020 and that 15 percent of electric power generation come from “clean energy sources” such as wind, solar, biomass or geothermal by 2020.

Population increase is estimated to grow by 40 million more than that in 2005, a 13.5 percent increase.  So we need a 28 percent decrease in fossil energy use  which will mean a major decrease in such comforts as hot water, heating and air conditioning.  Not to figure how much energy is required for the vast fleets of electric cars that the administration is counting on.

Many states are unsuitable for the use of solar or wind as energy sources.  These states will have to buy power from more wind-friendly states at much higher rates.  Solar power is far more expensive, so wind power will probably be the greatest source of renewable power.  If there is no growth for for the intervening 15 years to 2020 we would need something like 600 billion KWh.  The typical wind-power plant produces about 3.3 million KWh per year.

Thus, in the eleven years to 2020, the United States would need about 180 thousand 1.5 megawatt wind turbines.  This means 45 new wind turbines per day!

And that does not count the new coal-fired plants needed for all the times when the wind does not blow.

I wonder how much 180,000 wind turbines cost?

(Thanks to Professor James Rust for this information from CCNet News)

Promises, Promises. The Best-Laid Plans Often Do Go Astray. by The Elephant's Child
July 3, 2009, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Progressivism | Tags:


(click to enlarge)
The Obama team put out a report in January 2008 that purported to show what would happen with and without a fiscal stimulus.  The graph above is from that report with the actual current results added in red.

The unemployment figures were down by 467,000 more in June.  The national unemployment rate was 9.5 percent, but much higher in some states.  Michigan in May had 14.1 percent unemployment, Oregon 12.4 percent. Rhode Island and South Carolina 12. percent.   And California, Nevada and North Carolina all topped 11 percent.  June figures for the states won’t be released until the middle of the month.

The stimulus plan has not worked, but the Obama administration was advised by many that stimulus plans don’t work.  Of course much of the so-called stimulus has not yet been dispensed, for the majority was designed to be implemented just in time for the 2010 mid-term elections.

Most of the spending has gone to transfer payments:  jobless benefits and Medicaid that are needed for the unemployed, but do nothing to create jobs. And much of the money is directed to the President’s backers.  Even money meant for those famous “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects is directed to union workers.

Job creation and sustained expansion comes from entrepreneurs and  risk-taking, but as businessmen look to Washington, they see uncertainty and higher costs as well as the risk of government interference.  The administration tries to claim that the economy would be worse without the stimulus, which is as impossible to disprove as the claim that they have “saved” all sorts of jobs.  The Waxman-Markey bill promises higher costs, new tariffs and threats of trade protectionism, and Democrats in congress are already talking about raising taxes which will really sink the economy.

As the Wall Street Journal says,” the best thing Mr. Obama could do to create jobs would be to declare he’s dropping all of this and starting over.”

Not To Worry, Whatever It Is, Obama is Deeply Concerned. by The Elephant's Child
July 3, 2009, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Humor, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear

James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” column on the Opinion page of the Wall Street Journal is a constant source of delight.  He castigates unintelligible headlines, nonsense phrases, mixed metaphors and general journalistic misbehavior.  He finds humor in odd places and singles out serial offenders for scorn.

I loved this round-up of President Obama’s deep concern:

  • “Obama Breaks Silence on Gaza, Voices “Deep Concern” over Civilian Deaths” —headline, Ha’aretz, Jan. 7
  • “Obama Voices Concern About Freed Guantanamo inmates” — headline, Reuters, Feb. 3
  • “Obama Voices Concern About Pakistan” — headline, New York Tmes, April 30
  • “Obama Expresses Concern for Tissainayagam” — Headline,, May 2
  • “Obama: Long-Term Joblessness a Concern” —, May 20
  • “Obama Says North Korea Nuclear Test a ‘Grave Concern’ ” — Headline, Reuters, May 25
  • “Obama to ‘Voice Concerns’ in Egypt Speech” — headline, Hill, May 29
  • “Obama Concerned at Sentence of Journalists in N Korea” — headline, Agence France-Presse, June 8
  • “Obama Names Video Games as Health Concern in Speech to A.M.A.” — headline,, June 15
  • “Obama Has ‘Deep Concerns’ About Iran’s Election” — headline, Newsweek Web site, June 16
  • “Obama Concern About Oil Speculation Unchanged-W House” — headline Reuters, June 18
  • “Obama Expresses Deep Concern Over Honduras Coup” — headline, Deutsche Presse Agentur, June 28
  • “Obama Tells the AP He is Deeply Concerned About Rising Unemployment” — headline, Associated Press, July 2

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