American Elephants


I Have a Squirrel Problem! by The Elephant's Child

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Squirrels are, unfortunately, smart. My problem, although not quite the one pictured, is also one of bird-feeders.  I progressed down the normal path with a standard bird feeder, then added a cage with openings supposedly only open to songbirds, and a plexiglass dome to keep the little beasties out from the top. That worked for a while, but they figured out how to tip it over and spill most of the birdseed on the ground.

I found a new one that operates on springs, and a squirrel’s weight would pull lids down over the openings to the seeds. And Wild Birds has a new caged version that I have my eye on when they get a new shipment in. The current problem is not birdseed, but the suet war.

The suet feeder has a stout metal grill on each side, and the suet cake slides between. The exterior has channels into which the grills slide (and are fixed), and the bottom extends with a tail-prop panel for woodpeckers. We have lots of Red-Shafted Flickers, an occasional Downy Woodpecker and every so often a big Pileated Woodpecker will drop by. They are the big Woody-Woodpecker kind, 15″ long, and woodpeckers need tail-props.

The suet feeders are made of recycled plastic (a mistake) that holds the grill that holds the suet cake. The squirrels gradually discovered that if they chewed away the plastic at the corners of the grill enough, the grill would fall out, and the seed cake would fall on the ground where they could make a piggy banquet of it. (You will notice my tone of irritation). I am not without defenses. The spray hose on my sink is a powerful one and if I can get the window over the sink open fast enough, the squirrels get a shower that they do not like at all. HaH! My son calls me the “Crazy Lady.” He doesn’t know that I have been shopping for a high volume water water machine gun. I wired the grills back together in a patch job, but they defeated that as well. So — back to Wild Birds. Overcome by the attractiveness of a nice green one, I foolishly opted for buying the same kind I’d had previously which had actually lasted for a long time before they figured out how to defeat it.

Silly me! It took them TWO DAYS to defeat the new one. I said they’re smart. They had learned how it was done, and retain the knowledge.  It was no accident!

At one time, my office at work faced a huge big-leaf maple tree, with a long horizontal branch some 12-15 feet off the ground from which the gardeners had suspended a bird feeder on a strong cord on a pulley, so the feeder could be lowered  for refilling.  The squirrels would run along the branch, shinny down the cord and hang upside down with their noses in the openings of the feeder. One squirrel, however, sat aside, stationary, just looking at the feeder for the longest time. I got interested, just watching him. Eventually he stirred, went over to the feeder and chewed carefully through the cord. The feeder fell to the ground and spilled all its seed for a squirrel banquet. That’s when I learned that squirrels are smart.

The answer seems to be a wood version, which we then up-armor with thin sheets of copper or tin. If you know of a better solution, all suggestions are welcome. I will not be defeated by a tree rat! The Suet Wars continue unabated.



The Public’s 8 Top Policy Priorities Don’t Make Obama’s List! by The Elephant's Child

When Barack Obama began his second term, the public’s policy priorities were straightforward and unsurprising.  The economy topped the list according to Pew’s Public’s Policy Priorities for 2013, from a survey conducted January 9-13, 2013.

  1. Strengthening the economy — 86%
  2. Improving the job situation — 79%
  3. Reducing the budget deficit —72%
  4.  Defending against terrorism —71%
  5. Making Social Security financially sound — 70%
  6. Improving Education — 70%
  7. Making Medicare financially sound — 65%
  8. Reducing health costs —63%

Down at the bottom of Americans’  concerns were things like global warming — 28%, improving infrastructure — 30%, strengthening gun laws — 37%,  and illegal immigration gets a little more interest  —39%.

President Obama is reportedly planning a major speech this week on reigniting his plan to slow the rise of the oceans and  help the planet to heal. Actually, he’s more interested in regulating carbon, and shutting down coal-fired power plants.

He has promised his ‘Greens’ action on the Keystone XL controversy. He is opening offshore areas for wind energy (a remarkably expensive and inefficient venture), one must assume that the spate of elementary schools suspending or criminalizing little children for bringing GI-Joe guns (plastic 1″) or finger-gesture guns is part of his effort to strengthen gun laws.  He has set up a “war-room” in the Dirksen office building on immigration under aide Cecila Muñoz, a former lobbyist for La Raza.

These are his personal priorities and those of his moneyed backers. The environmental lobby is enormous and wealthy and determined, and shares Obama’s ideological goals.

Do you see a bit of a disconnect here? Why on earth would the president make those things which the public does not care about — his priorities?

President Obama doesn’t think the budget deficit is important, that’s clear. He will make Medicare financially sound and reduce health costs through ObamaCare and the Independent Pay Advisory Board— that unelected, unaccountable, bunch of bureaucrats who will decide what benefits are not cost effective for old folks who don’t have a lot of life-years left. Sarah Palin accurately called them the Death Panel. Terrorism is taken care of — remember that he killed bin Laden, and he has drones and NSA surveillance.  He is fixing education with free pre-school for all little kids, and the Core Curriculum for older kids. Indoctrination for all children.

That leaves the economy and jobs. Failing to approve the Keystone XL pipeline will cost thousands of potential jobs, but preventing that carbon from flowing may seem more important to him. ObamaCare has already cost thousands of jobs. A new carbon rule will cost jobs, and the jobs promised by offshore wind will probably not appear. But creating jobs is not a priority for Obama, making more people dependent on government is.

People who are dependent on government largesse will vote reliably for their benefactors. Of course it doesn’t work over time: socialists have been proving that for a very long time in a great many economies. But they just didn’t do it right. This time it’s sure to work.

 




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