American Elephants

The Extent to Which This Administration Wants to Control Your Life is Frightening. by The Elephant's Child
June 18, 2010, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

The Telegraph, in the U.K. reports that the Obama administration is spending $1.2 billion on “cycling and walking initiatives,”  more than doubling spending as it seeks to coax Americans out of their cars.

My immediate reaction is “Are they out of their minds?” Biking and walking are healthy, but $1.2 billion?  The new focus represents a turnaround from the Bush administration.  Mary Peters, transportation secretary under  Bush, dismissed biking paths and trails as projects that “really are not transportation,” saying they had no place in federal transportation policy.

In March, Mr Obama’s transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, announced a policy “sea change” that gives biking and walking projects the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money.

The new policy is an extension of the Obama administration’s livability initiative, which regards the creation of alternatives to driving – buses, streetcars and trains, as well as biking and walking – as central to solving the nation’s transportation woes.

“Biking and walking are on the rise according to the report which is based on annual survey data.  The number of reporting walking trips has more than doubled since the first survey, from 18 billion in 1990 to 42.5 billion in 2009.  Bicycling trips saw a similar increase, from 1.7 billion to 4 billion during the same period.”

How can they possibly measure this in any effective way? This strikes me as an enormous amount of codswallop. And $1.2 billion?  And the funds are not for bike trails or walking trails.  Bike racks?  Signs at bus stops suggesting walking instead? Are these people completely nuts or just incompetent? Is it just something in the water? There is no aspect of your life that they do not want to get under their control.

Rolling Thunder, May 31, 2010, A Marine’s Vigil. by The Elephant's Child
June 18, 2010, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Military | Tags: , ,

On Memorial Day, May 31, 2010, Rolling Thunder — a national motorcycle rally — came to Washington D.C. to pay tribute to fallen comrades and to those who have not returned.   Here, a solitary Marine holds vigil at full attention for the three hours of the tribute.  An emotional experience.

You Don’t Demonstrate Your Competence by Refusing All Help. by The Elephant's Child

Here’s more on international assistance on the oil spreading from the underwater BP spill. The 1920 Jones Act required that vessels operating in American waters be built, owned, and manned by Americans. Maritime labor unions love this protectionist measure. Obama doesn’t usually do things that the unions dislike.

The Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, killed eleven oil-rig workers and began gushing as much as 60,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Three days later, the Dutch offered to come to the rescue on ships laden with oil-skimming booms. They also had a plan for erecting sand barricades. Anyone who knows a little history knows that if there is a country experienced with building dikes and controlling water, it’s the Netherlands.

The Dutch embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said “Thanks, but no thanks,” the Dutch consul general told the Huston Chronicle. On May 5, the State Department finally admitted that Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.N. had offered skimmer boats and other assets and experts to prevent the oil from destroying the defenseless wildlife victims. They too, got the “Thanks, but no thanks” message.

Keith Hennessey, who coordinated the Jones Act waivers for President Bush in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has offered to share his experience. There were difficulties, shipping industry lobbied hard at all levels, and it took firm backing from the president to make it happen.  In both cases it was waived in only a few days, for limited periods.

Even now, it would seem to be a help if a fleet of international skimmers were working to remove the oil.  Gulf Coast officials at all levels are increasingly taking matters into their own hands and are doing what they can.

ADDENDUM: June 22 — An op-ed from the Wall Street Journal, by Paul H. Rubin, a professor of economics from Emory University expands on “A Tale of Two Disasters.” He explains the differences in legal responsibility and actions in Deepwater Horizon and Katrina, and the differences in media treatment.

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