American Elephants

Yes, They Did Release 2,228 Illegal Aliens, And Blamed It On the Sequester. by The Elephant's Child

Who me? Not my fault! After weeks of denials, the Obama administration acknowledged last Thursday that it had, in fact released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants from immigration jails due to “budget concerns” during three weeks in February.

The “sequester,” about which there have been endless scare-tactics from the administration about all the horrible things that were going to happen, furloughs, layoffs, children without immunizations, long lines at the airport and so on and on, is concerned with cutting back on the increases to the budget, not in cutting back already appropriated funds, so it’s all smoke and mirrors, anyway

The administration insisted then that only a “few hundred” illegals were released for budgetary reasons, and insisted that a March 1 report by the AP that Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had released 2,000 illegals in February and planned to release more than 3,000 others due to “budget constraints.” Intense criticism led to a temporary shutdown of the plan.

John Morton, director of ICE told a congressional panel on Thursday that the agency had actually released 2,228 illegals from immigration jails over the course of three weeks. beginning Feb. 9, for what he described as “solely budgetary reasons.” They included 10 people considered the highest level of offender.

Morton said that the decision to release the immigrants was not discussed with political appointees in the White House and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. He said the pending automatic cuts “known as sequestration was driving the background.”

Subcommittee chairman Rep. John Carter (R-TX) said:

At the time this release started, the president of the United States was going around the country telling people what the pain was going to be from sequester. That’s a fact. That was the atmosphere. It was Chicken Little, the sky is falling, almost.”

They have recaptured  4 of the highest level of offenders. Those who were released still eventually face deportation and are required to appear for upcoming court hearings, but no longer are confined in immigration jails, where they cost, according to “advocacy experts” $164 a day. They prefer supervised release with conditions, check-ins, and GPS devices at 30¢ to $14 per day. Is this any way to run a government?

Israel: Tiny Nation, Remarkable Ideas. by The Elephant's Child

On President Obama’s upcoming trip to Israel, there are some amazing Israeli innovations that will be demonstrated for the president. Start with allowing  paraplegics to walk again, as shown in the video, with a Rewalk exoskeleton.

A  Tchiakovsky Flashwaltz at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital by  the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance has led to regular concerts at the hospital. Hadassah treats over one million patients annually, without regard to race, religion or national origin.

How about a robot snake? This one is designed to enter spaces in collapsed structures after accidents, earthquakes or bomb attacks with minimal disturbance to the surrounding wreckage. It is very flexible because of its great number of segments. Each joint is motorized and has a computer, sensors, wireless communications and batteries. The head has a camera. It can go into spaces that rescuers can’t and provide information about inaccessible areas and the status of people who might be trapped, or the location of hazardous materials. Sounds better than our robot squirrels.

Israelis have developed the next generation operating room. Don’t miss this one. This is not included in the president’s itinerary.  Pretty impressive. Star Trek is becoming real.

Roentgen Furniture: The Berlin Secretary Cabinet by The Elephant's Child

The Berlin Secretary Cabinet is just one of the extraordinary pieces that was part of a recent show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It ran from October until the end of January.

The workshop of Abraham Roentgen (1711-1793) and his son David (1743-1807) blazed across eighteenth century continental Europe. Their innovative designs were combined with ingenious mechanical devices that revolutionized  traditional French and English furniture types. Their customers were the royalty and aristocracy. Beautifully inlaid, stunning marquetry, with hidden drawers and surprising unfoldings, concealed writing surfaces, easels, candle stands and clocks.

The video of the secretary cabinet, above,  is amazing, and best viewed in full screen to grasp all the intricacies of their work. Other pieces can be seen at this link from the Museum. There are videos of many of the pieces. Don’t miss the automaton of Marie Antoinette playing the dulcimer.

Back in the real world, I have trouble finding what I want in my ordinary desk. No marquetry, no hidden drawers, no musical clock. Just a desktop computer, a keyboard, a lamp, and two cat baskets. Fortunately, in the 18th century they weren’t asking ‘where did I put my car keys,’ and ‘what did I do with the stamps?’ I wonder what they did do with all those drawers?


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