American Elephants

Voyage of the Dawn Treader by American Elephant
August 10, 2010, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Movies | Tags: , ,

Ever notice that the best movies Hollywood makes are often the ones that Hollywood doesn’t like? The Narnia movies have done a very good job of remaining true to C.S. Lewis’ classic works, and have been thoroughly enjoyable because of it. Looking forward to this third installment.

Only 39% Believe That President Obama’s Policies Have “Saved Us From the Brink” by The Elephant's Child

Pat Caddell was a long-time Democrat pollster and political consultant.  He worked for Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Gary Hart, Joe Biden and Jerry Brown.  His analysis on polls and campaign issues has often put him at odds with the current leadership of the Democrat Party; and as he has become more conservative and criticizes Democrats, they like him less.

Democrats don’t like disagreement in the ranks.  But Caddell is quite free with his criticism of Republicans as well.  The odd thing is that Republicans don’t mind.  He is a frequent guest on Fox News, and as he knows his way around politics intimately — he’s very interesting.

The President’s Commission Suggests That Obama Reconsider! by The Elephant's Child

Will the President listen?  His National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling has called on the Obama Administration to take another look at lifting the ban on drilling for certain rigs.  Business Week reported:

The commission wrote to Michael Bromwich, director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, on Aug. 6, seeking information on the moratorium, according to a letter released today. President Barack Obama suspended drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet though Nov. 30.

Bromwich began a series of public hearings last week with industry people, academic experts and environmentalists.  The National Commission held its first hearing in New Orleans on July 12.  The Commission said their  panel does not have the resources or the ability to evaluate rig safety  or the ability of the industry to respond to future spills.

The Commission, chaired by Florida Senator Bob Graham and former EPA chief William Reilly, said prior to their first hearing that it would not be their charge to ” investigate the rationale, effectiveness or impact of the moratorium.” That was then and this is now.  They must have gotten an earful in the hearings.

It will be extremely interesting to see whether or not the President takes the Commission he appointed seriously.

ADDENDUM: I didn’t know this.  The President sent the Surgeon General to the Gulf to educate the public about possible mental-health problems that might arise from the spill. Now the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Kathleen Sebelius has produced a new guide Tips for Talking To Children & Youth About the Oil Spill Disaster.  I really don’t search the web for things to make fun of the Administration.  They just appear.  How can I ignore them?

Shut Up! You Can’t Sing The National Anthem Here! by The Elephant's Child

The gulf arising between the political class and the country class is becoming not just noticeable but worrisome.  If you do not recognize those terms, do read Angelo M. Codevilla’s essay “America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution” from The American Spectator‘s July/August issue.  Angelo Codevilla is professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University. This paragraph seemed pertinent:

The country class actually believes that America’s ways are superior to the rest of the world’s, and regards most of mankind as less free, less prosperous, and less virtuous. Thus while it delights in croissants and thinks Toyota’s factory methods are worth imitating, it dislikes the idea of adhering to “world standards.” This class also takes part in the U.S. armed forces body and soul: nearly all the enlisted, non-commissioned officers and officers under flag rank belong to this class in every measurable way. Few vote for the Democratic Party. You do not doubt that you are amidst the country class rather than with the ruling class when the American flag passes by or “God Bless America” is sung after seven innings of baseball, and most people show reverence.

Peggy Noonan wrote last Friday on the same subject — the anger of ordinary Americans at the political class.  I have written on that, and on the anger of the political class with ordinary Americans — simply because we disagree.  The evidence is everywhere.  Do read the essay, or download it to read later.  People will be referencing it for a long time.

(h/t: The Foundry) [I also shamelessly borrowed their great headline!]

They Call It “Spinning” but There Are Harsher Terms. by The Elephant's Child

—  The government is telling us that the oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster has dispersed, gone away, can’t find it, nothing to see here.  The damage is much less than expected, beaches not really damaged, not much oil in the marshes.

Scientists, on the other hand are saying — not so fast.  Ian MacDonald, a professor of biological oceanography at Florida State University who has been tracking the flow says “we shouldn’t lift our guard, and we shouldn’t pretend it is over.” He added “There are 10 Exxon Valdez spills still in the water — that has not disappeared but is still in the water being biodegraded.”  The Guardian UK headline reads “Gulf oil spill: White House accused of spinning report.”

Researchers are watching a seafood industry staple and indicator of the ecosystem’s health: the blue crab.  They are finding specks of oil in crab larvae found across the Gulf coast.  This may indicate real damage to the food chain.

— About those claims that TARP money has been paid back with interest.  Not so fast.  The part of TARP that deals with the big banks has largely been repaid: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, BONY have paid back their loans. Citigroup has paid back less than half, and the government took equity for the rest.  We still have billions of dollars’ worth of warrants on equity in 280 companies, almost all of them banks and insurance firms.  The claims that GM made about paying back their loans has already been declared to be hooey, since it was “repaid” out of taxpayer supplied funds.

— Fannie Mae and State Housing Agencies are Offering Little-Money-Down Mortgages. Buy a new house with $1000 down, the ads say. Affordable monthly payments and no private mortgage insurance required.  The pilot program is called “Affordable Advantage” and has been adopted by three states, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Idaho.  Buyers don’t need to meet the minimum FHA down payment of 3.5%.  But not so fast.  If the housing market turns down even a tiny bit more, homeowners are underwater on their loans.  Nobody learns from history— even recent history. Oh, that’s right, the financial crisis was all Bush’s fault, and Wall Street.  Housing is no problem at all.

— Medicare is sustainable for years to come.  “We’ve made Medicare more solvent by going after waste, fraud and abuse,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.  But not so fast. The ObamaCare bill does not do anything at all about waste, fraud and abuse.  It is quite possible to address.  The major credit card companies do quite a thorough job of it, and very successfully at that.  The Democrats didn’t even try.  Maybe it’s there somewhere in that vast array of offices, bureaus, administrations and so forth.  But then the rules for those haven’t been developed yet, and will not be until administrators for each are named and they hire the thousands of new people they will need, so they can start making rules and regulations.

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