American Elephants

Our American Hero Attacks Greed and Arrogance! by The Elephant's Child

Perhaps the best example we have to keep the feet of our representatives in Congress to the fire, is the outspoken and courageous Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. Not everyone is willing to be a lone leader demanding necessary change at the peril of his popularity, but Governor Christie is, and his example will inspire others.  Many others, we hope.

“Restore Science to its Rightful Place,” He Said, But He Lied. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has often said that he would “restore science to its rightful place,” and that he would rely on science, not ideology in his policies.  Now the Inspector General for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has said that:

The White House edit of the original DOI draft executive summary led to the implication that the moratorium had been peer-reviewed by the experts.

The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior Inspector General says in a new report.

The six-month ban on offshore drilling in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has become a major political issue over the summer.  When Obama slapped a ban on offshore oil drilling, apparently there was no one in the White House, the Energy Department or the EPA who thought “Hey wait a minute, this is going to kill thousands of jobs and harm all sorts of working-class guys and their families.”  Not a minor political error.

So the way you make it seem that you’re guided by science, rather than ideology, is just to fake it?  To accomplish their pre-existing ideological political policy, White House energy adviser (“Czar”) Carol Browner rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest than an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling.  The seven-member panel of outside experts were to review a draft of various safety recommendations. Representative Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said:

The inspector general’s finding that the blanket-drilling moratorium was driven by a politics and not by science is bitter news for families who, because of it, lost their jobs, savings, and way of life,” Cassidy said Tuesday. “Candidate Obama promised that he would guided by science, not ideology. If that were true, at least 12,000 jobs and 1.8 billion dollars of economic activity would have been saved on the Gulf Coast.

Energy adviser Carol Browner could not have received Senate confirmation.  She previously served as EPA Administrator in the Clinton administration.  In the closing days of the administration, she was required by the courts to preserve all her EPA computer records pursuant to a Freedom of Information lawsuit.  She promptly had all her computer files erased, and complained that she didn’t know about the court order.  The judge found her in contempt of court, and levied a $300,000 fine, which the taxpayers had to pay.  Even Senate Democrats are not going to go for that.

The seven experts expressed concern about the changes made by the White House, saying that it differed in important ways from the draft they had improved.

We believe the report does not justify the moratorium as written, and that the moratorium as changed will not contribute measurably to increased safety and will have immediate and long-term economic effects,” the scientists wrote earlier this year to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter. “The secretary should be free to recommend whatever he thinks is correct, but he should not be free to use our names to justify his political decisions.

Michelle Malkin has been following this case closely, and the behind-the-scenes political games are not pretty. The courts in Louisiana have not been pleased with Interior’s moratorium, and have canceled Interior’s efforts several times.

Carol Browner is a lawyer.  She came to the Clinton administration from an environmental administrative position in Florida.  Her claims to environmental and science expertise are based on the fact that she grew up in Miami near the southern Everglades, and was interested in the nature to be found there.

Large numbers of real people in the Gulf region have had their livelihood disrupted and their jobs destroyed by the ideological pursuits of Browner and Salazar.  Congress intends to investigate.

One must assume that our nation’s law schools don’t put much emphasis on ethics.  The lawyers in the administration show far more interest in getting around the law than either obeying it or enforcing  it.  Come to think of it, that’s the job of the executive branch of government — enforcing and upholding the laws.

Honor a Veteran by Reading About His Experience. by The Elephant's Child

One way to honor our veterans is to learn about what they have been through.  Here is a booklist of some personal narratives written at the time, or from notes taken at the time, rather than memoirs written many years later. I have starred some that I particularly recommend. I have read all the starred books, and many of the others,, but not all.


British and Commonwealth
Graves, Robert: Goodbye to All That (London, 1929)
Sassoon, Siegfried: Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (London, 1930)
Vaughan, Edwin Campion: Some Desperate Glory (London, 1981)
Bagnold, Enid: A Diary Without Dates (London, 1918)


Dunkirk and the Fall of France
Bartlet, Sir Basil: My First War: An Army Officer’s Journal for May 1940 (London, 1940)
Habe, Hans: A Thousand Shall Fall (London, 1970)

Southeast Asia
Chapman, F. Spencer: The Jungle is Neutral (London, 1949)
Fraser, George MacDonald: Quartered safe Out Here; A Recollection of the War in Burma ((London, 1993)
Masters, John: The Road Past Mandalay (New York: 1961)*

North Africa
Douglas, Keith: Alamein to ZemZem (London, 1946)
Crimp, R.L.: Diary of a Desert Rat (London, 1971)

Bowlby, Alex: Recollections of Rifleman Bowlby (London, 1969)
Mowat, Farley: And No Birds Sang (Boston/Toronto, 1979)

Northwest Europe
Burgett, Donald R.: Currahee! (Boston, 1967)
Cawton, C.R.: Other Clay (Niwot, Colo 1990)
Spencer, Henry G. : Nineteen Days in June 1944 (Kansas City, 1984)
Standifer, Leon C.: Not in Vain (Baton Rouge, La, 1992)
Fussell, Paul: Wartime (New York, 1989)* Doing Battle (Boston 1996)*

Pacific Islands
Manchester, William: Goodbye Darkness (New York 1979)*
Sledge, E.B.:With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa (Novato, Calif. 1981)**

Special Operations
Moss, W. Stanley: Ill Met by Moonlight (London: 1950)*
Lindsay, Franklin: Beacons In the Night (Stanford, 1993)*

War in the Air
Crook: D.M.: Spitfire Pilot (London, 1942)
Bendiner, Elmer: The Fall of Fortresses (New York, 1980)
Boyington, Gregory (Pappy) Baa baa Black Sheep (New York, 1958)
Newby, Leroy W. : Target Ploesti (Novato, Calif, 1983)

The Naval War
Fahey, James J.: Pacific War Diary ((Boston, 1963)
Kernan, Alvin: Crossing the Line (Annapolis; 1994)**

Prisoners of War
Daws, Gavan: Prisoners of the Japanese (New York 1994)*
Keith, Agnes Newton: Three Came Home (New York 1946)*
Lomax, Eric: The Railway Man (London 1995)*
Newby, Eric: Love and War in the Apennines (London, 1971)*
Searle, Ronald: To the Kwai – and Back (London 1986)*

Women’s War
Curtis, Lettice;  The Forgotten Pilots: A Story of the Air Transport Auxiliary*
Roosenburg, Henriette: The Walls Came Tumbling Down (New York, 1957)**
Vassiltchikov, Marie: The Berlin Diaries 1940-1945 (London, 1985)**


Russ, Martin: Breakout:The Chosin Reservoir Campaign (New York, 1999)*
[This is a novel by an author who was there]


Moyar, Mark: Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (New York, 2006)* [A Highly Regarded Definitive History]
West, Bing: The Village (New York, 1972)


Kelly, Michael: Martyrs’ Day: Chronicle of a Small War (New York, 1883)*


Bellavia, David:  House to House: A Soldier’s Memoir (New York, 2007)**
Burden, Matthew Currier: The Blog of War (New York, 2006)
West, Bing: The March Up (New York, 2004)

To Our Veterans: Thank You For Your Service! by The Elephant's Child

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