American Elephants

Photoshopping the Awkward Truth by The Elephant's Child

(click to enlarge)                                                   (by daveman at

Hard at work.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation —”I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and
will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

A splendid editorial in the Winter issue of The Claremont Review of Books begins:

At a press conference shortly after the 2008 election, President-elect Obama was asked if he was appointing to his administration too many Washington insiders and retreads from the Clinton Administration, including Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.  Not at all, he replied.  The important thing was that the change the American people had voted for would be infused into his administration form the top down.  Le changement c’est moi! I am the Change, he said in effect. “Understand where the vision for change comes from, first and foremost.  It comes from me.”

Editor Charles R. Kesler went on:

Last year’s theme was”win the future,” a wingless phrase belabored at least nine times in the [state of the union] speech.  This year’s was unstated but obvious: win the election. Last year’s argued that to win the future, Americans have to reinvent themselves, accept that most manufacturing jobs are gone for good, and accede to “the demands of a new age,” which means re-educating the workforce for careers in high-tech fields like “biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology. …In this year’s message, his top priority was to resuscitate American manufacturing: and “built to last,” a phrase from Chevrolet ads, became his new mantra.

Obama sent his budget up to Congress, late for the legal date, and voluminous. It was promptly declared DOA amid expressions of horror at the contents. Federal budgets are by definition political documents, but really! There’s a remarkable amount of sleight of hand — savings that won’t happen, savings counted once again that have already  happened, and monumental tax increases. The “fair share” theme again. Any individuals or business owners making more than $200,000 or$250,000 for couples are the 3% of taxpayers Obama says are not paying their fair share, although that 3% pays more in income tax than the rest of the other 97% of the population.

This year, Obama predicts that spending will increase by $193 billion to $3.8 trillion or 24.3% of GDP. Built to last indeed. The budget eliminates the Opportunity Scholarships for kids in Washington DC’s dysfunctional schools— which literally save poor kids — and increase the subsidy for $41,000 Chevrolet Volts, the ObamaCar that nobody wants, from $7,000 to $10,000.  The Volts are a presidential embarrassment, and he’s got to get rid of them somehow.

Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, described Obama’s budget as “a nervous breakdown on paper.” It was also described as a “Monument to Irresponsibility.” It will not pass the House, and Democrats in the Senate will not bring it to the floor. As people wade through the pages, it will be food for a continuing flow of comment. It is a campaign document. And all that “Preserve, Protect and Defend” nonsense — nevermind.

Happy Valentine’s Day! by American Elephant
February 14, 2012, 8:28 am
Filed under: Pop Culture | Tags: , ,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Being of the male of the species, I’ve never much understood the importance some place on the holiday. Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a concoction of the greeting-card industry to promote the sales of schmaltzy valentines. And as a holiday, it’s kind of a rip-off — if even the most perfectly executed Valentine’s Day gesture doesn’t excuse one from being romantic the rest of the year, then, really, what’s the point?

That said, I should point out that Elephants are known to be very partial to chocolate truffles.

Michael Ramirez’s Perfect Metaphor: by The Elephant's Child

The marvelous Michael Ramirez strikes again. Economist Greg Mankiw commented as well:

Consider these two policies:

A. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance that covers birth control.

B. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance.  The health insurance company is required to cover birth control.

I can understand someone endorsing both A and B, and I can understand someone rejecting both A and B.  But I cannot understand someone rejecting A and embracing B, because they are effectively the same policy.  Ultimately, all insurance costs are passed on to the purchaser, so I cannot see how policy B is different in any way from policy A, other than using slightly different words to describe it.

Yet it seems that the White House yesterday switched from A to B, and that change is being viewed by some as a significant accommodation to those who objected to policy A.  The whole thing leaves me scratching my head.

Perhaps the president’s greatest talent is his use of euphemisms, or to put it another way, putting earrings on an elephant. Just keep changing the words until you find something that sounds sufficiently pleasant.

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