American Elephants


It’s a Man-Caused Disaster at Homeland Security! by The Elephant's Child

Secretary Janet Napolitano, doyenne of the Homeland Security Department has announced at an all-day White House Conference on “environmental justice” that her department is creating a new task force to battle the effects of climate change on domestic security operations. Uh huh.

Speaking at the first White House Forum on Environmental Justice (environmental justice?), Ms. Napolitano discussed the initial findings of the department’s recently created “Climate Change and Adaption Task Force.” The department would address specific questions such as:

  • How will FEMA work with state and local partners to plan for increased flooding or wildfire or  hurricane activity that is more serous than we’ve seen before?
  • What assistance can the Coast Guard bring to bear to assist remote villages in, for example, Alaska which have already been negatively affected by changes up in the Arctic?
  • How can we focus on how climate change is going to affect our rural citizenry including those who live along our boarders (sic) both northern and southern?

Well, if Homeland Security is concerned about the ‘boarders” they might consider the southern border of Arizona, where Mexican drug cartels have taken over.  Sheriff Paul Babeau is begging for military help.  He has asked for meetings with Secretary Napolitano who is a former governor of — Arizona, who is not interested.

There are bits about the rise of the sea level, of course.  Wasn’t Obama going to stop them from rising?

The all day White House Forum on Environmental Justice included talks by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

Not to be outdone,” California has approved the most sweeping U.S. plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, acting on its own against climate change” as the state spirals further into debt.  Governor Schwarzenegger sees this as part of his legacy, though he acknowledged “that some people are skeptical about scientists’ view that temperature (sic) are rising.”

Well, yes.  A  large number of scientists are skeptical that temperatures are rising.

Initially, California will technically not restrict emissions but instead freely allocate “allowances” to businesses covering their carbon output.  The state will gradually reduce allowances, forcing firms to go green.  California aims to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent bringing them even with 1990 levels by 2020.

Their very own cap-and-trade-program, and companies can earn credit by supporting environmental projects like preservation of woods in Mexico’s Chiapas state.  That is if there are any companies left in California.



Let’s End the Lame Duck Sessions. by The Elephant's Child

When the Twentieth Amendment was ratified on January 23, 1933, no one thought of ‘Lame Duck” sessions. Travel was not as fast and easy in those days, and the idea of Congressmen who had just been voted out of office rushing back to the Capitol to get their last wishes legislated before their forced retirement probably never occurred to anyone.  We need to eliminate the session.

Congressional Democrat leaders planned all along to basically do nothing during the months leading up to the November election — and then, in a lame-duck session, unveil a bloated, business-as-usual spending bill and use the press of the Christmas break to force members into passing it before they adjourned. This approach would allow them to keep doing what they always do —perpetuate every federal agency and spending program ever created — without having to reveal their spending intentions prior to facing the voters at the ballot box.If the Democrats had prevailed in November and held their position in the House and Senate, you can bet that the omnibus spending bill would have sailed through to a presidential signature, and their grand and cynical plan would have paid off.

But they didn’t win the election.  They lost in a rout.  And not only that, they lost because voters specifically rejected the out-of-control spending and hyper-activism of the last two years.

Those are the words of James C. Capretta , a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who was an associate director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004.

The solution is a short-term continuing resolution that will leave decisions on 2011 funding levels to the 112th Congress.  But the Lame Duck Congress is still in session, with all the Congressmen who have lost their legitimacy.  They weren’t paying attention to their constituents before the election, and they’re still not.  They have no shame.

Their $860 billion stimulus plan was a total flop.  It accomplished nothing.  They might as well have just flushed the money. Liberals never give up.  If it didn’t work, it must have been because the stimulus wasn’t big enough.  Paul Krugman keeps telling them so.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi keeps on about how unemployment insurance is the best way to create jobs. Since the longest unemployed are calling themselves the “ninety-niners,” those who have been unemployed for ninety-nine weeks, you’d think a lot of jobs would have been created, if that’s what worked.

There is some confusion here.  We call it “unemployment” as if it is a payment for being unemployed. It is correctly unemployment insurance, a policy that is supposed to be in effect for 26 weeks.  If someone’s unemployment insurance runs out, there are other programs in the safety net to help.  When we extend unemployment payments it is simply welfare.

There is a significant body of evidence that shows that people who are unemployed don’t start to really look for work or consider a less attractive job until their unemployment runs out. In Britain and other European countries, for some being ‘on the dole’ is a way of life.  Is it being heartless to refuse to extend unemployment beyond the amount covered by unemployment insurance.

If you are unemployed, it is natural to expect to find a similar job.  If you were qualified for your previous job and performed it satisfactorily, it is hard to take a lesser job possibly at lesser pay.  There is the conundrum. In general, we help people the most when we help them to stand on their own two feet.  It’s the old ‘give a man a fish or teach him to fish” allegory writ large.




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