American Elephants


Dirty Politics, or Playing the Blame Game by The Elephant's Child
September 30, 2020, 2:32 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Politics is really heating up, and it’s going to be a dirty year. The Left seems to believe that they can blame Donald Trump for the Corona Virus and all the deaths that have resulted from that very scary disease. I must remind you once again that Trump acted promptly at the first sign of the virus a couple of miles north of my house when someone returning from Wuhan, China to visit their relatives in a senior care home, infected not only their relatives, but most of the staff of the care facility.

President Trump promptly banned all flights from China to a huge outcry from the Left about racial prejudice, xenophobia, bigotry, ethnocentrism, racial hatred against Asians, intolerance etc.etc. etc. We didn’t know what the virus was, what it did to those infected, nor what the prognosis was.

Governors begged for equipment and hospital beds. Trump persuaded automobile companies to switch some of their production to making ventilators. Everybody, it seems, started making masks, decorated in all sorts of unlikely ways. Everybody started making hand sanitizer. Runs on grocery stores for every kind of cleaning products from soap to bleach, Clorox, toilet paper, paper towels. There were nearly riots over toilet paper. Trump sent Hospital ships to Los Angeles and New York.  Doctors didn’t know how to treat it at first, but relied on their basic knowledge of viruses and epidemics, and we slowly have learned. Countries all over the world had to learn what this was and how to deal with it. Italy had a bad time because of their numbers of elderly people.The hospital tents set up so urgently were never used.

We had the Swedish child who sailed to the United States to address the United Nations because she got school kids to skip school to protest. San Francisco painted a building in her honor, although she didn’t seem to know anything relevant at all. It was from bats, it was produced in a Wuhan lab, it came from miners who got it from bats, we still don’t know much about what it is and how to deal with it efficiently. Some suspect it is a deliberate Chinese attack. I don’t think you can effectively blame Donald Trump. He acted quickly on the best available advice. We have learned a lot about how to deal with a pandemic, but there no quick and easy answers. Trying to blame the President for all the coronavirus deaths is just another round of Democrat dirty politics.

Now they are trying to suggest that any vaccine cooked up by Trump may be dangerous, and should not be trusted. Really? Sometimes you just go too far.



Democrats Sink Lower on the Decency Scale by The Elephant's Child
September 26, 2020, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Nancy Pelosi, I am disturbed to find, is suggesting “Why bother holding a Presidential Debate? Trump Isn’t Committed To Our Constitution” For those confused by this absurdity, what she is really saying is that “they have to keep Joe Biden out of any opportunity to speak publicly unless they can control what he says ” because his mental decline might be noticeable. I guess they think if they can get him elected, they can cover for him. This is so weird.

With many criticizing 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of hiding in his basement for the majority of his campaign, presidential debates seemingly would be a good way for the former vice president to refute claims of a decline in mental cognizance and that he is pushing a socialist agenda.

During a Friday interview on CBS’s “This Morning,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) doubled down on saying Biden should not debate President Donald Trump. Pelosi argued that Trump “has no fidelity to fact or truth” and “isn’t committed to our Constitution,” thus she asked “why bother” holding a debate with him.

Pelosi replied. “Not that I don’t think he’ll be excellent. I just think that the president has no fidelity to fact or truth, and actually, in his comments the last few days, no fidelity to the Constitution of the United States. He and his henchmen are a danger with their comments, are a danger to our democracy. So, I didn’t want to give him — you know, why bother — you know, he doesn’t tell the truth, he isn’t committed to our Constitution.”

And no surprise. Democrats started smearing Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Friday night — primarily for her Catholic faith and her seven children, especially the adopted ones. That seems a bit dumb. There are a few other Catholics in the country besides Judge Barrett, and a few folks with adopted children. She is highly qualified and the youngest nominee since Clarence Thomas. She clerked for Justice Scalia. Every time you think the Democrats cannot sink lower in their quest for control, you are wrong. They can and will always go lower. I thought we had, as a nation, respected all religions. But there we are. Disgusting.

 



Environmental Mismanagement Is Only Where It Starts by The Elephant's Child

We have had some nice rain over the last two days, and the skies have cleared, the air has cleared, and we’re pretty much back to normal. California is not. The government is not sure at all just who they should listen to, and the result has been a catastrophe.

Environmentalists want everyone to believe that we can forego nasty petroleum fuels, and rely on clean, beautiful wind and solar energy which is free, well, except for the huge cost of wind turbines, their upkeep, the rare minerals required to construct them and the underlying simple fact that the wind does not blow all the time, nor does the sun shine on solar arrays all the time. There are cloudy days and rainy days when neither wind nor sun are noticeable. Wind and sun may be visible, but they are not necessarily available when needed.  We are so accustomed to having energy at the flick of a switch that we don’t really give it any thought at all.

At the dawn of the nuclear age, we thought we could power anything with nuclear energy, but then there was the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, still an abandoned city, I believe. And then the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011 in  Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, which was started by the Tòhoku earthquake and tsunami. A couple of disasters like that and interest in nuclear plants begins to fade. In the United States we have some great river systems and dams that produce lots of reliable energy, but the environmentalists squawk about the fish runs and damage the dams do. Probably everything that has an upside also has a downside. Some want to remove all dams, just because.

We are uncertain about costs and benefits, usefulness and dangers, needs, in other words we don’t know very much about the problems at all, and are apt to fall for anything that sounds good, particularly if it is fairly remote. When it’s your house that burned down, you pay a little closer attention.

Dr. Roy Spencer PhD,  who runs the satellites that measure the earths’ temperature for NASA, has several basis articles at his website on, for example, “Global Warming 101”, “Global Warming Background”, “Global Warming Natural or Manmade?” which you will find useful. There are others in the sidebar, and each of those will direct you to other scientific sites.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is getting a well-deserved batch of criticism for his handling of the wildfires. The Native Americans learned to minimize the damage by controlled small fires and cutting away dead trees and brush, but we moderns have had more trouble getting our minds around the problem. Did you know it costs something over $43,000 to dismantle a single wind turbine?



In a Contentious Time, a Search for Truth and Honesty by The Elephant's Child

Democrats are undoubtedly studying late into the night, to find a way to disrupt President Trump’s naming of a candidate for the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. They are considering a new impeachment trial or two, whether this brings back the Russian horde is not known. One supposes that Russians rate higher on the really terrifying terrorists than those from other countries. After all the Russians are known for suddenly poisoning people right on the street.

They supposedly are considering just walking out, boycotting as it were, to delay the inevitable. Speaker Pelosi apparently has a couple of impeachments up her sleeves, she clearly feels that most everything Trump has done is grounds for impeachment, and considers it an excellent way to get the nomination of anyone over and done with. Almost anything will do because what they want is delay, so that it becomes too late to advance a candidate before the election.

They speak in generalities, and of course what the Supreme Court is all about is insisting that matters of law follow the Constitution. And of course at that point what is it that they really meant when they wrote the Constitution?  I assume that by this time you are as sick of all the nonsense as I am and want them to just get on with the business of the government. The Constitution is quite clear. When there is a vacancy, the President may nominate a successor, who is to be approved by the Senate. Simple and clear.

The difficult part is that Amy Comey Barrett, who seems to be the leading candidate, is a practicing Catholic. The great fear is that she might rule on Roe v. Wade, the abortion bill, passed and in effect, but could be brought before the Court again. This is an immeasurably contentious bill. Many women feel that nobody else has any right to tell them what they may or may not do with their bodies. Others see abortion as the murder of a real baby. When things are in such dramatic opposition, there is no comfortable middle ground. And of course religion has strong opinions.

In this day and age, when preventive measures are readily available, if one does not want to bear a child, it seems incumbent on them to use preventative measures. Responsibility is required. No one should have to bear a child conceived by rape, but just how you sort that out is difficult. There are a lot of couples who are unable to bear children and desperate to adopt.

There are many areas that are equally contentious matters. Look at the current furor about the police. At one end of the scale is Chicago, which seems to have some violent neighborhoods and a significant weekly death toll. Some seem to think that the police are so violent and corrupt that they must be eliminated, and others who know of too much drugs and street crime in their cities want more police protection.

Your best source for sorting things out is Heather MacDonald, a serious scholar who goes to the source and digs out the real statistics, as opposed to what is more sensational and reported on the news. You can find her at the Manhattan Institute, or City Journal, or her many valuable books : The War on Cops, The Burden of Bad Ideas, Are Cops Racist?, and The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan Than Today’s.  All invaluable.  Or just type her name into your search-bar.



Well Yes, You Could Call the Whole Thing a Train Wreck! by The Elephant's Child

Clearly the Democrat Party has gone stark raving bonkers. They firmly believe that they are supposed to be in control of the federal government and clearly Donald Trump is an aberration. Not supposed to be that way. They were destined to have the first woman President of the United States, and they still haven’t recovered and are still desperately trying to find a way to get rid of the evil Donald Trump. They keep dragging up the Russians, but the facts simply don’t support their efforts. I’m beginning to think that they were so fixated on electing the First Woman President, that they have simply gone a bit off the rails. Those “Firsts” on the record are very important to Democrats.

Their hatred for President Trump has surpassed all norms. Bob Woodward, longtime journalist, features himself as an investigative journalist, with many left-leaning books to his credit about any scandal he can hype. He, of course, doesn’t like Donald Trump. So this time, he blames President Trump for the Corona-19 virus and every death it caused. If you are going throw accusations around, might as well pick a biggie.

I live currently in a Seattle suburb. The first American exposure and death from Covid-19, came to the next suburb just north of my house. Apparently someone carrying the disease returned to relatives in a nursing home directly from Wuhan, China. Everyone contacted by that person contracted the disease and most died. President Trump slapped a freeze on flights from China immediately. Vast outcry from the Left. Bigot, Racist, etc, etc, etc. Trump gathered up the most informed advisers he could find, Dr.Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in January of 2020, and Dr. Rebecca Birx, and listened closely to their advice. State Governors demanded help, they needed ventilators, Trump pushed American auto makers to shift some production to making ventilators, Governors demanded more hospital beds, Trump sent two US Navy hospital ships, and military hospitals were set up in parks and stadiums where there was room. Masks were needed and produced. The record goes on with the President trying to meet every new need, and shut down that which was not safe. Impossible to control everything that was going on. New York Governor Cuomo directed ailing elders to be treated in senior care homes, and caused vast numbers of deaths of the elderly. Cruise ships that had someone infected on board became death traps. Lots of deadly mistakes were made as we learned about the disease. Mr. Woodward, a small former journalistic star, has betrayed his profession and whatever honored journalistic career he once had, with a partisan attack that is just a partisan lie. Shame on him.

Now we have the battle of the Supreme Court. Democrats are outraged that with Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death, President Trump will, as the Constitution requires, name a new justice for the Senate to approve. Democrats are threatening to impeach Trump once again, for any reason they can think up, anything to keep him from naming a new candidate to replace the late Justice Ginsberg. He has no right to do this when there’s an election coming up in two months, and Biden might win, and then he would appoint a left-leaning candidate.

The Constitution is just fine, until it doesn’t support what you want to do. Naming a potentially conservative justice to the Supreme Court just means the Democrats will have to pack the court and expand the number of justices so they can be in control. They are Democrats and entitled not to be troubled by some hillbilly backwoods bunch of Conservatives, who just don’t understand the way it was meant to be.



Not Caused By Climate Change, But By a Lack of Forest Management by The Elephant's Child

A wildfire burns in the Angeles National Forest during the Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles, California, September 17.  REUTERS/Ringo Chiu

We had a little rain last night. Not exactly the needed downpour, but still significant rain, and the hill across the way is now more visible. Today there is supposed to be light rain, and it’s not till next Thursday that the online forecast suggests real rain. We’ll see. The online forecast seems to be an iffy business. On the way to an appointment yesterday, downtown Bellevue was wreathed in light gray smoke. Just enough so to be noticeable. It is raining now.

“Climate Change” is quite emphatically not the cause of wildfires in the Pacific Coast States — California, Oregon and Washington, no matter how plaintively the governors of those respective states claim that it is beyond their control. The fires are man-made and have resulted in unnecessary deaths. The cause is mismanagement of western forestlands by the elected officials who are charged with managing them efficiently for the benefit of the public who has given them those offices.

There are “environmentalists” who dream of natural green forests and don’t like the idea of human interference. I usually assume that they all live in downtown apartments, and have little contact with actual nature. I grew up on 400 acres of actual nature with a river flowing through it, bordering on National Forest and Bureau of Land Management  land. There are unfriendly animals, bear, coyotes, lynx and cougar, rattlesnakes, skunks, and porcupines. Never ran into a cougar, but I’ve heard them scream. ”

“Environmentalists” have warped ideas of the out-of-doors which they encounter only on long weekends and vacations. Their ideas of pristine nature don’t mix with solar cells and windmills. Sounds good, but they just do not produce enough energy to maintain a modern society. Nuclear energy works well, but since Chernobyl in 1986  and the Fukushima disaster in 2011, people are scared of nuclear energy, though neither accident was inevitable. We learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others, not always, but often.

We are not interfering with nature if we clear out the deadwood and trim trees and dead brush across forestlands and wilderness. We do it in our own yards so it doesn’t become an eyesore. California Governor Gavin Newsom and Washington Governor Jay Inslee are major climate fanatics, assuming that “climate change” is to blame for anything unpleasant. There’s been widespread objection to “clear cutting” and logging in general. Joe Biden is already suggesting that he would adopt the “Green New Deal” which is more useless windmills and his back and forth about banning “fracking” which he was all for until he found out that there are a lot of “fracking” jobs in Pennsylvania.

West Coast wildfire will not end with a fight on climate change. Clear cutting and controlled burning to thin overgrown forest and removing deadwood works nicely. Native Americans have been managing their forests for years with just such efforts. Joe Biden has accused President Trump of being a “climate arsonist” for not “heeding the science” in claiming that climate change is the cause of the wildfires. The headline at Politico is “Biden labels Trump a climate arsonist, accusing him of net heeding science.” Uh huh.



There is Now a Vacancy On the Supreme Court by The Elephant's Child

The Professional Democrats are panicking. They are deeply afraid that President Trump might offer a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Ginsberg, Justice Ginsberg supposedly issued a request before she died that she not be replaced until after the election, but that’s not something she gets to choose. The Professional Democratic Celebrities are out in full voice demanding that her wishes be honored. Which is nonsense. The President of the United States has the duty to replace the Justice.

Perhaps I should explain my language choices here. I speak of Professional  Democrats, by which I mean those who have no other profession than being an elected Democrat or an appointed Democrat. What their other experience or job in life occurred before they became an office-holder has no bearing on anything, they are now a guaranteed Democrat vote. Others may have had some other career  as a farmer, an academic, a lawyer and that experience validates their advancement to professional status, and their knowledge of their particular field contributes to their government status.

We also have Professional Celebrities. A celebrity is someone whose name is known, and because their name is known, an article in the press may get your attention. The designation of “celebrity” mostly just gathers up those who have good press agents, though these days the media itself acts as press agent. Having a “celebrity” comment on your idea gives it a slight boost in potential readership. Jane Fonda comes to mind. She is capitalizing heavily on her celebrity status these days. I know she is the daughter of Henry Fonda who was a celebrated actor. She has apparently been in some movies herself, but I have never seen one. nor would have any wish to. I remember that in the time of protests against the Vietnam War she went to Hanoi and sat on a cannon to celebrate her protest, and I scratched her off any potential list of anything at that time. She is now a professional Democrat.

Just who President Trump will nominate is unknown. I hope there will not be any kind of echo of the disgraceful behavior of the Professional Democrats in the confirmation hearings for Justice Kavanaugh. Their politics should not matter as much as their understanding of the Constitution, and the reasons for the solutions to the cases that come before the Court. Clarence Thomas has been a great Justice, some others I might mention, not so much.

I believe I have read that President Trump has a good list of excellent potential candidates.It’s their minds and knowledge that matter, not today’s politics. Unfortunately hot-button issues are apt to get in the way, like abortion and trans-gender politics, that we know about and others yet to come.



Blame It All On Global Warming, That Lets You Off the Hook! by The Elephant's Child

Washington State is still smoky, some local fires, mostly I believe, smoke drifted north from California. Visibility is not normal, ( Rain forecast for Friday) but we’re told in Eastern Washington, across the mountains, visibility is about the length of a football field, at least considerably worse than here.

Our incompetent Democrat governor, Jay Inslee, follows in the steps of California’s incompetent governor Gavin Newsom, to proclaim the wildfires are because of global warming, and we just have to give up our cars, or at least switch to electric cars, and be kinder to Mother Earth so she doesn’t punish us for our fossil fuels. Which is all nonsense.

Sorry. Carbon Dioxide is not the control switch for the climate of the earth. The Sun is.

We had Ice Ages and Heat Waves long before we had  gasoline powered cars, or even discovered fossil fuels.  Native Americans did controlled burning, thinned out brush, and even cut down trees to keep their lands safe from fire.  California is on fire because the governor has not funded the necessary cleanup, as is Washington State.

Lots more expensive when you have to pay lots of firefighters coming for high pay to fight the fires in our forests in our forests, but you can’t be blamed if it is the result of a global pandemic.  Our respective governors, having never bothered to study up even slightly, accept as gospel the party line. Trump bad, Paris Climate Accord essential to save the Earth. Trouble is the scientists started making “models”to help them decide what to do, but they were too arrogant to grasp that they didn’t know enough to make viable models, because there is so much we don’t yet understand about the Sun and the Earth and the galaxy and the interactions between them.

The debate is over around climate change. Just come to the state of California, observe it with your own eyes a grinning Newsom told reporters while touring the fire-ravaged North Complex near Oroville. It’s not an intellectual debate, it’s not even debatable. The debate is over around climate change. Just come to the state of California, observe it with your own eyes,a grinning Newsom told reporters while touring the fire-ravaged North Complex near Oroville. It’s not an intellectual debate, it’s not even debatable.

Breitbart reported this morning:

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Thursday that the August Complex Fire has burned 471,185 acres in the Elk Creek and Stonyford area, surpassing the 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire, which burned 459,123 acres.

Six of the largest fires in California’s history have taken place in 2020. Cal Fire said 29 major wildfires are active and more than 3.1 million acres have burned in the state since the beginning of the season.

The National Interagency Fire Center said 102 large fires have burned a combined 4.4 million acres in 12 states in the western United States, resulting in some two dozen deaths in California, Oregon, and Washington.

In California, five people were killed in the LNU Lightning Complex, 10 were killed in the North Complex, and one each was killed in the CZU August Lightning Complex, August Lightning Complex, Tatham Fire, and Hills Fires.

So there you go, 19 people killed so far, but just blame it all on global warming. I grew up on 400 acres bordered by National Forest at about 4,000′. Many of our closest friends were Forest Service people, and others were loggers or ran lumber mills.

Bernie Sanders is using the current wildfires to push for a Green New Deal, of course blaming Trump who he says “rejects science and calls climate change a hoax.” Christiana Figueres, who was the General Secretary of the IPCC said at a news conference that the idea of Climate Change was the best weapon they had for destroying Capitalism.

You can natter on all you want about Global Warming, but if you had thinned the forests, rid them of dry brush, we would not have the forest fires of three states poisoning our air and blanketing us with smoke.



And On the Other Side of the World…Crisis Erupts! by The Elephant's Child

While we are complaining about smoky air, there are a few towns that have completely burned up. Destroyed by fire. Some lives lost, I’m not clear if it is among the firefighters or just people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On the other side of the world, the world is watching to see if China’s Three Gorges Dam survives the flooding of the Yangtze River. Fascinating article.

That led to the Epoch Times and a long interview with Maura Moynihan, daughter of the former Senator and former Ambassador to China. She is an activist about Tibet, the plateau that controls all of Asia, and China and the CCP. If links in the article don’t get you there, just go to Epoch Times which will. My complaints about my view and the air quality pale in comparison. I may not sleep well tonight.  I learned a lot about geography, and the Chinese Communist Party, and the relations among the countries of Asia.

Moynihan suggests that the Chinese don’t know much about flood control, nor about building big environmentally sensitive dams, nor about constructing a dam to stand for years and withstand big floods. All the major rivers of Asia flow from the Tibetan Plateau, so it is a very very big deal indeed.



The West Coast Is On Fire by The Elephant's Child
September 11, 2020, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Very, very smoky today. I live on the side of a hill that slopes down to a golf course, then rises up on the other side. Can’t even see the other side today. Somewhere around 10 blocks away, I guess. The birds are hunkered down in the bushes somewhere. Haven’t seen any today.

I’ve looked at forest maps, USFS maps and some have all the fires so close together that you can’t figure out just where they are. We were told that a great smoke cloud was moving north last night, but it’s not at all clear what the origins are. There’s a range of mountains, or several ranges that move from Canada on down to Mexico. Reportedly, we have imported fire fighters from all over the world to help fight the fires. Everybody is babbling about climate change, which is nonsense. The Climate has been changing for millions of years. It isn’t suddenly haywire because of “fracking” which has been a boon, supplying us all with plentiful natural gas. which is a good thing.

Visit Dr. Roy Spencer’s  website. He runs the satellites that measure the temperature of the world for NASA,  with Dr. John Christy at Huntsville, Alabama. He has a dandy introduction to  “Global Warming 101” and “Global Warming: Natural or Manmade“. There are other valuable websites in the sidebar. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, they say, but there is so much hype floating around! Joe Biden cannot seem to decide whether he is banning fracking (deathly in Pennsylvania) or not. Kamala Harris is all for banning it. Earlier Biden was for the whole “Green New Deal”. It’s hard to get a firm grip on the big picture which is the extent to which our economy depends on power, and the simple fact that windmills and solar arrays which do produce bits of power romantically, cannot possibly power a modern society. The environmental bunch are beginning to recognize that perhaps there is something to nuclear power, but not ready to adopt it just yet. Chernobyl, you know.

I grew up in the mountains of Idaho at around 4000 feet, on 400 acres that butted up against National Forest. The Picture on the August 30 post about “What Do You Mean Free” is of a lake in the Seven Devils Mountains that form the border between Idaho and Oregon and the eastern rim of Hell’s Canyon, of the Snake River, which flows north to join the Columbia River at Lewiston. The picture is, I think, of the she Devil, but there really are seven of them. Beautiful country.

The problem is forest management. Forests need thinning, and “environmentalists” don’t like logging. They have romantic ideals of pristine forests undisturbed by nasty humans, free of campers and tents and campfires so they can feel noble about their caring. And ordinary people feel a need to get out in the woods, where the loudest noise is the water flowing against the rocks in the river. That’s Granite Creek above.

We just need a little extra wind to blow all this stuff out to sea.

ADDENDUM: Another day, and the sky is not quite, as the song goes – a bright canary yellow, more like mayonnaise. No trace of the more familiar blue, and we don’t need wind, but a good rain storm. Looks like we’ll have to wait till the end of the week for that, if the forecast holds true. Smoky air, not a good day for being outside. I should probably add that this has nothing whatsoever to do with “climate change” that popular much ado about nothing. Just normal forest fire.



Now They’re Going After George Washington! by The Elephant's Child

Activists are demanding of the Mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, that she change anything in her city that is related to George Washington, (Father of our Country) be removed, torn down, re-named etc. because George Washington, our acclaimed first president, once owned slaves. Whether this demand includes changing the name of the city is unknown, but it does include the Washington monument. The demands to tear it down were a little confused when the size and location were pointed out, but there you go. The fact that destroying it would not change history in any way, apparently was not part of the discussion. This is so dumb. According to the records, he  actually opposed slavery. He sold off part of the Mt. Vernon estate to other farmers, because he didn’t want to be a plantation owner.

It’s becoming fairly clear that those out demanding major changes are usually completely unfamiliar with the people they are denigrating, and with their history. We have gone into the false teeth thing, with several posts attempting to discover what George Washington really looked like, as the most familiar image is the one on the one dollar bill. That engraving was based on the portrait by Gilbert Stuart which emphasized the distortions caused by his false and poorly fitting teeth. Washington did not take to Gilbert Stuart and Stuart was offended. The life mask by Jean Antoine Houdon suggests that Washington was fairly good looking. He was tall, about 6’2″, and most verbal descriptions from the time suggest a “roman” or more prominent nose. He spent most of his life in the saddle, so would have been tanned and weathered.

With all the George Washington statues under attack, perhaps it’s a good time to recommend another book. Richard Brookheiser has written biographies of many of our founding fathers, and his highly praised biography of Washington is only 168 pages. There’s some useful supplementary material as well. He has also written biographies of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Lincoln, John Marshall, and Governuer Morris. and the Adams family. John Adams, not the TV Adams Family



Books to Enrich Your Life: Not Always the Newest Ones by The Elephant's Child

less-cov

I don’t know if you are familiar with the works of Richard Mitchell, the Underground Grammarian. He was a professor at Glassboro State College and wrote broadsides on the problems of our public schools under the title The Underground Grammarian. His four books are: Less Than Words Can Say, The Graves of Academe, The Leaning Tower of Babel, and the Gift of Fire. I recommend them all highly. Here’s a brief sample:

We are people who imagine that we are weighing important issues when we exchange generalizations and well=known opinions. We decide how to vote or what to buy according to whim or fancied self-interest, either of which is easily engendered in us by the manipulation of language, which we have neither the will nor the ability to analyze. We believe that we can reach conclusions without having the faintest idea of the difference between inferences and statements of fact, often without any suspicions that there are such things and that they are different. We are easily persuaded and repersuaded by what seems authoritative, without any notion of those attitudes and abilities that characterize authority. We do not notice elementary fallacies in logic; it doesn’t even occur to us to look for them; few of us are even aware that such things exist. We make no regular distinctions between those kinds of things that can be known and objectively verified and those that can only be believed or not. Nor are we likely to examine, when we believe or not, the induced predispositions that may make us do the one or the other. We are easy prey.

He also remarks that:

In fact, the destiny of this land, of any land, is exactly and inevitably determined by the nature and abilities of the children now in school. The future simply has no other resources. And, an even more dismaying fact, because it tells of us, not them, this land as it is today is the exact and inevitable result of the nature and abilities of the schoolchildren that we were. And the things that you think important, everything from the politics to the rapes and murders and fires, are what they are and have for us the meanings that they have precisely because of what we were.

Your Public Library should have them, and Amazon does, or your local bookstore may. Mitchell died in 2010.




%d bloggers like this: