American Elephants

Here You Go Sportsfans: South Africa v. New Zealand by The Elephant's Child
April 7, 2013, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Politics

Cricket, 3rd ODI Last over. (I have no clue what that means) I don’t understand this game at all. If you don’t either, here are instructions:


Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on a roughly circular field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. Each team takes it in turn to bat, in which they attempt to accumulate as many runs as possible, while the other team fields, attempting to prevent the batting team scoring runs. Teams may bat once or twice each depending upon the format of the game. Each turn is known as an innings. The game progresses as one member of the fielding team known as the bowler delivers the ball to the batsman down the length of the pitch. The batsman then attempts to strike the ball with his bat in order so that the ball either reaches the boundary or enables him to run to the other end of the pitch and thus accumulate runs. The batsman may continue batting until he is dismissed. Once ten batsmen from the batting side have been dismissed, the team is said to be all out and the two teams change roles.

Cricket was first played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of the 18th century, it had developed into the national sport of England. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the mid-19th century the first international matches were being held. The ICC, the game’s governing body, has 10 full members.[2] The game is most popular in Australasia, England, the Indian subcontinent, the West Indies and Southern Africa.

For the history of the game, and the rules and game-play, go here.


The First Intimations of Obama’s Budget Plan Emerge: by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s budget plan which will be released next week will, according to advance notice, limit how much wealthy individuals — like Mitt Romney — can keep in IRAs and other retirement accounts. “The proposal would save around $9 billion over a decade, a senior administration official said, while also bringing more fairness to the tax code.”

Notice the phrasing. The proposal would save around $9 billion.  If the federal government manages to get more of your hard-earned money —  it’s “saving.” The senior administration official said that wealthy taxpayers can currently “accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.” So the government will decide what a reasonable level of retirement saving is, and the rest is saved so the president can spend it?

Obama has also proposed to cut seniors’ Social Security benefits by using a less generous formula to calculate any increases in benefits. Naturally Democrats are outraged. He also wants to cut back on payments to healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies, which is brilliant since seniors are having a hard time finding doctors now. It would be perfectly reasonable to raise the retirement age slowly to match the increase in life expectancy, but Obama’s approach is to minimize the cost of the old folks.

If you look at official estimates of how much savings people have as they get close to retirement age, it is alarming. Yet the government’s conversation about Social Security benefits concentrates on those folks who have plenty of savings put away and still receive Social Security benefits. This is the governmental conundrum — It’s not fair if people get Social Security benefits they don’t need, yet if you only give benefits to those who need it, you have made Social Security a welfare program, but of course the left approves of  welfare programs.

I keep going back to economist Alan Reynold’s remark “Barack Obama does not understand economics, and apparently he refuses to listen to anyone who does.”

Next week we will hear President Obama’s whole budgetary request. And the response. I think the president is intent on becoming a world class president. He wants to be remembered for great and lasting things — but so many of them aren’t working: the electric cars, the end of dependence on foreign oil (we have already surpassed Saudi Arabia, but that has been in spite of Obama, not because of his efforts), ending or diminishing the threat of CO2, high-speed rail, ending the threat of guns in private hands, the infrastructure bank, a country powered by clean wind and solar energy, a more peaceful and secure world without war.  Those have all gone well. But the new project of mapping the brain, that will be a star in the crown, won’t it?

The president just needs more money to invest. His budget will request more so that he can do noble things. Just wait and see.

Obama’s “Sacrifice” Wasn’t Big Enough! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is a fierce competitor, and he’s not nearly ready to give up on the Sequester as ammunition to use against the Republicans. There is nothing about the sequester that requires anyone to be furloughed, laid off, or fired. There’s nothing that requires the White House tours to be shut down (the guides are all volunteers).

Word has gone out to all departments to make some noticeable cuts, the ones that would most inconvenience the public. (The old Washington Monument play). Now the president has announced that he will share in the pain:

President Obama plans to give up 5 percent of his salary this year to draw attention to the financial sacrifice of more than 1 million federal employees who will be furloughed.”

Washington Post April 3 headline: “Obama to take pay cut to draw attention to plight of federal workers facing furloughs.”

Dana Milbank, longtime WaPo opinion writer was not impressed. His headline read “Obama’s feeble salary “sacrifice.” Mr. Milbank quoted Dr. Evil from “Austin Powers” International Man of Mystery,” pointed out Obama’s embarrassing hoop shoot with the kids at the Easter Egg Roll (2 for 22), and laid into the president’s insensitivity and small sacrifice for a man who is worth millions. Let’s just say Mr. Milbank was contemptuous.

Nor was fellow WaPo columnist Richard Cohen impressed. The headline on his column read “Obama’s insulting salary stunt.” Ouch!  “His unthinking and unthinkable attempt to make common cause with me brought to mind Anatole France’s observation that ‘The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.’ Now it brings to mind Barack Obama. Mr. Cohen goes on to enumerate the president’s income $400,000 a year, living quarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, several limos, a very nice (Rose) garden and(Oval) office and some very nice bedrooms, one named for a former occupant, the late President Lincoln.”

Both columnists were indignant about the small amount of Obama’s announced ‘sacrifice.’ He was rich and got a huge salary. Neither had looked further into the sequester, nor understood how the sequester worked nor whether it was necessary for “the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government who are affected by the sequester” to actually sacrifice.

Another day in the life of our Nation’s capitol, altering and illuminating the affairs of men. Or something like that.

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