American Elephants

Because I Loved The Picture, and The Triumphant Grin. by The Elephant's Child


This post began with a picture. Queen Elizabeth’s horse won the Gold Cup at the Royal Ascot meeting. The Gold Cup is the most prestigious event for “stayers”— horses which specialize in racing over long distances. It is traditionally held on day three of the meeting.

The Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, and the Ascot estate belongs to the crown. Queen Elizabeth attends every year, as do members of the Royal Family. They arrive each day in a horse-drawn carriage, with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day with the raising of the Queen’s Royal Standard.

It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often gets more attention than the actual racing. Ladies’ hats are a feature of the day. Dress code is strictly enforced, day dresses with a hat for the ladies and for the men black or grey morning dress with top hat is required. People who have no idea about the horse race part of the day have undoubtedly seen pictures of the weird and wonderful or just plain strange hats.

There are five days of races, and the Gold Cup on the third day was on June 20th. The Queen has reigned for 61 years and has attended Ascot every year since 1945. Her horses have won races 22 times, but this is the first Gold Cup, the most prestigious of all. Estimate’s win is the first time ever that a reigning monarch has won the Gold Cup. The Queen usually awards the cup to the winner. This year Prince Andrew awarded the cup to his mother.  The race is two miles and four furlongs. It is the world’s most famous horse race.

So this is a belated post, but I just loved the triumphant grin.

So God Made a Dog by The Elephant's Child
July 11, 2013, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Humor | Tags: , ,

A Tiny Glimmer in the Light-Bulb Wars! by The Elephant's Child

In the miasma that inhabits Washington DC in the hot days of summer, there is an occasional brilliant statement that should draw our attention. In this case it came from Representative Michael Burgess M.D. (R-TX).   First, a bit of history. Back in 2007, George W. Bush, in one of his less stellar moments signed an energy bill pushed by Democrats. The bill sought, among other things to ban the traditional, reliable, incredibly cheap and useful incandescent light bulb.

Congressman Burgess explained why he wanted to prevent a federal ban on traditional light bulbs. If, he said, the new energy-efficient light bulbs actually save money, and if they are better for the environment, we should trust our constituents to make the choice on their own to switch to these bulbs.  Michael Burgess said “Let the market decide.”

Can you imagine! Washington D.C., in the halls of Congress. Trust the people. Common sense. Basic economic principles.

The issue was undoubtedly promoted by lobbyists from General Electric, Phillips and Sylvania, who made incandescent bulbs. The bulbs were cheap, but they didn’t make a lot of money, and on the other hand they could turn lightbulbs into a real profit center if they were made in China. The Democrats’ idea was to phase in the bulbs by imposing efficiency standards on light bulbs that incandescents could not meet.

The rules were supposed to be phased in, starting with 100-watt bulbs in 2012, followed by 75-watt bulbs this year and 60-watt in 2014.  The standards would have forced consumers to buy more expensive compact fluorescents, halogens, or LEDs when their supply of hoarded incandescents burned out. A second and more stringent efficiency standard is set to kick in by 2020 that even today’s compact fluorescents cannot meet. Saving the planet, you know.

Republicans suspended the rule after taking over Congress in 2011 and have kept at it by denying the Department of Energy the funds necessary to implement the standard. Suspending the rule has upset the big companies who were counting on the rules to create a market for their high-priced alternatives.

Suspending the law is not enough.  It should be overturned.

Most people hate the new bulbs, but assume that it’s one of those things that you have to learn to live with, like bad shower heads. Congress shouldn’t be allowed to get away with such stupidity. The health of the planet has nothing to do with incandescent light bulbs, and Congress is deeply remiss in such attempts regulate our individual lives. It is not their business.

Representative Michael Burgess M.D. is a Republican who represents the 26th District in Texas. His phone number in Washington  is (202) 225-7772.

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