American Elephants


There’s a Time for Politics, and There’s a Time to Just Shut up. by The Elephant's Child

America is shocked and horrified at the massacre in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. People reacted with sorrow and shame that such a thing should happen at a peaceful prayer meeting.

It’s hard to find the right words to express sorrow and offer comfort for there is no comfort. Republican candidates on the campaign trail quickly cancelled their scheduled events, Senator Lindsey Graham flew back to South Carolina.

President Barack Obama quickly politicized the event. “We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said, adding “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” Um, tell that to Charlie Hebdo. Or perhaps the 2011 massacre at a summer camp for the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labour Party. Anders Brevik massacred 69 young people. Just before that he had packed  a van with an explosive mixture of fertilizer and fuel oil. The explosion killed eight people. Germany has had more attacks on schools than we have. But don’t miss a chance to make a political point.

Hillary also called for gun control, while heading for a bunch of fundraisers. Obama, having made his point, headed out to California  for a $16,700 per person fundraiser in Pacific Palisades. Later he has another one in Beverly Hills. On Friday he has an interview with Marc Maron, then flies up to San Francisco for the U.S. Conference of Mayors followed by another couple of fundraisers. Obama frequently tells us how important empathy is to him.



It’s Cute, It Folds Up to Park in Your Garage, And It’s Amphibious! by The Elephant's Child
June 18, 2015, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, News, Science/Technology, Sports | Tags: , ,

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They have had years of delays, as is common when seeking approval for something from the federal government, but Icon Aircraft is finally getting approval for its A5 Light Sport amphibian aircraft. Futurists have been promising something like this as long as I can remember, usually a flying car. This one is a two-person airplane, which doesn’t just land on water as well as land, but it folds up for easy towing and garage parking.

The FAA issued an airworthiness certificate for this unusual plane, giving it’s official go-ahead for commercial production. Icon can now start delivering to the more than 1,250 customers who have already placed their orders.

The IconA5 is classified as a Light Sport Aircraft, a two-person plane meant to be easier to learn on than more traditional aircraft. It’s a new classification of 7F0A4457_IL-482x321Sport Pilots that can fly in lower altitude, uncongested airspace, during good weather. The appeal is that getting a license will take much less time and money than what is needed for a traditional private pilot license.

It has an Angle of Attack indicator, a feature usually on military aircraft that basically shows when a wing will stall. It also has spin-resistant design, and is one of the first planes to meet the FAA’s spin-resistance standards. An airplane specifically designed to mitigate those risks will attract attention. Full production will begin in September. The price tag is just under $200,000. Kind of cute.



The Battle of Waterloo, June 18, 1815 by The Elephant's Child

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Napoléon Bonaparte, born August 15, 1769 on the island of Corsica, rose from an artillery officer in the French Army,  to prominence during the French Revolution and its associated wars. He dominated French affairs for two decades while leading France against 220px-Jacques-Louis_David_-_The_Emperor_Napoleon_in_His_Study_at_the_Tuileries_-_Google_Art_Projecta series of coalitions in the Revolutionary Wars and what came to be called the Napoleonic Wars.

He became Emperor of France in 1804. He was one of the greatest military commanders in history and his campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide.

Today, the British are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, by a coalition led by the British Duke of Wellington, pictured at top to Napoleon’s right in the red coat.

Andrew Roberts has a new biography just out. I’ve heard him interviewed on the radio, and it sounds very interesting. British children learn two major dates — 1066, the Battle of Hastings, and 1815, the Battle of Waterloo — or at least they used to. Of course there is a movie, called appropriately — “Waterloo.”




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