American Elephants

The Centrifuge Brain Project by The Elephant's Child

The Centrifuge Brain Project is a short (fictional !) film by German digital artist Till Nowak about making super imaginative amusement park rides that are divorced from ordinary physics and reality. As Chief Engineer Dr. Nick Laslowicz says “These machines provide total freedom…”

You could consider this a metaphor for the president’s budget released today, only two months late. Divorced from reality. But adventurous.


A Prague Street Artist Plays the Glass Harp by The Elephant's Child

Meticulously filled and tuned wine glasses beautifully played. Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”


What Does Obama Hope to Accomplish With Gun Control? by The Elephant's Child

What is it that the President hopes to accomplish with gun control? It seems extremely odd that he has made gun control the big issue of his second term. He can’t possibly accomplish anything significant beyond tweaking the background check system, but the problem, if any, of that is a lack of enforcement rather than lacks in the system. There is a significant sector of the left that favors any gun legislation since they regard guns with horror, think hunters are bad people, and believe there shouldn’t be any guns at all. If you doubt the existence of this group, remember that PETA has been out demonstrating against fishing, for they believe it is cruel to the fish.

I presume that Mr. Obama’s aim is to portray Republicans who oppose more useless gun legislation, as people who don’t care about kids. The president has a habit of telling the American people that his political opponents are monsters. Though exploiting grief and tragedy for political purposes is in bad taste, that has never bothered the president who is a skilled demagogue.  Here’s what he said at the University of Hartford:

I want to thank…all the Newtown families who have come here today….And we are so grateful for their courage and willingness to share their stories again and again, understanding that nothing is going to be more important in making sure the Congress moves forward this week than hearing from them. I want to thank all the educators from Sandy Hook Elementary who have come here as well— the survivors who still mourn and grieve, but are still going to work every day to love and raise those precious children in their care as fiercely as ever. …

We can’t forget.  Your families still grieve in ways most of us can’t comprehend.  But so many of you have used that grief to make a difference — not just to honor your own children, but to protect the lives of all of our children.  So many of you have mobilized, and organized, and petitioned your elected officials “with love and logic,” as Nicole put it — as citizens determined to right something gone wrong. …

We have to tell Congress it’s time to restore the ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10 round limit for magazines, to make it harder for a gunman to fire 154 bullets into his victims in less than five minutes. Let’s put that to a vote.

“This is not about politics.” the president said. ” Members of Congress have a simple choice to make. “What’s more important to you — our children, or an A grade from the gun lobby?” This is sheer demagoguery. There is nothing in any of the president’s proposals that would have prevented one death at Newtown.

A March 2013 survey of 15,000 law enforcement personnel on the Democrat’s proposed gun control bill found that the overall attitude of law enforcement is strongly anti-gun legislation and pro-gun rights, with the belief that an armed citizenry is effective in stopping crime.

Limits on the number of bullets in a magazine is particularly useless. It takes less than a second to change a magazine. It took twenty minutes for the police to arrive at Sandy Hook Elementary. Better mental health care would help, but what rules can you make? It’s always a subjective judgment, and we have a number of examples where professional psychologists and psychiatrists were presented with obvious evidence which they ignored. An order going out to mental health professionals and police departments to “Pay Attention” would help if the recipients acted upon the order.

The divide is not between people who care about school children and those who don’t care, though that’s how Mr. Obama wants to portray it. The divide is between those who want to do something and are willing to support any legislation because then they will be seen as “doing something,” however useless, and those who see no value in supporting something useless.

Simple Pleasure by The Elephant's Child

Small, simple pleasures that give us a bump of cheer, yet we don’t often pay enough  attention to notice and be grateful. So slow down a tiny bit, and appreciate all the nice things. Have a moment of gratitude for the break from the annoyances of the day.

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