American Elephants


COVID-19: What We Know and What We Don’t Know by The Elephant's Child

Thursday March 26th: King County, Washington State, which includes Seattle, and an assortment of suburban communities. The population is 2.23 million. It is of particular interest because we got the first round of coronavirus or COVID-19. 31,712 people were tested, 92% negative, 2,530 or 7% were positive.

Washington state is the 13th largest state with a population of 7,797,095 (last Census). The total number of cases is 2,580 with 122 deaths.  Here is the Public Health Report for Seattle and King County for March 26, Thursday.   Lots of interesting data there, and a map that shows how it is spread. The blue in the middle of the orange map is Lake Washington, the surrounding light blue is Puget Sound. While we started it out in the country with the Kirkland nursing home, and way too many deaths, New York, bigger and denser is rapidly catching up.

The United States currently has the most cases of any country in the world. New York is rapidly surpassing Seattle in active cases, which is understandable as the city is so dense. There is so much that we just don’t know yet. Can you get the disease more than once, or do you develop an immunity? Are young people immune? Apparently not, but that information comes from only a very few cases. We will learn all these things in time, but we want it now.

What is even more interesting and positive is the way Americans are stepping up to contribute. Dyson, a company that makes vacuum cleaners and that sort of stuff, has designed new ventilators and will produce 15,000. Apple is turning out 10 million masks.  Bodman Industries does 3D computer printing. Their 60 printers will be printing 3,000 masks a day, and they are working with their suppliers to get others involved.

China announced this month of nearly a week of no new infections in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic originated, but nobody knows whether it can be believed or not. Chinese scientists have been transparent about what they have discovered so far, shared information on the genetics and sequences of the virus and details of autopsies, clinical care and outcomes and even shared fatality rates among different age groups. On the other hand, Chinese propaganda insists that the virus originated with the American military, which is absurd, but is filled with the Communist Party’s long history of propaganda and the necessity to bury the cover-up in a happy story of triumph over the virus. Communist governments do not like news that reflects badly on the Communist government. They included a photo of empty beds in a Wuhan hospital. A Taiwan network reported that one hospital as under pressure from the central government not to admit patients so it could report no new cases. So there you go.



Updating Statistics: We’re Doing Pretty Well. by The Elephant's Child

Imagine my astonishment to learn that I am writing from the center of the novel corona-virus in the United States. Washington state has so far had 11 deaths from the virus, and there are 79 confirmed cases. Health care workers who are caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk, as are travelers who are returning from international locations where community spread is occurring.  Total cases in the U. S. are 164. 19 states report cases. Of the cases reported, 36 are travel related.

Some schools have closed and are doing lessons online, with loaner computers for those who don’t have them. Some businesses are encouraging workers to work from home if they can. There are some runs on hand sanitizer, toilet paper and more people are having their groceries delivered so they don’t have to go to the store.

Consider that we have brought our people who were in Wuhan, China home, as well as other people who were in China, and travelers who were in bad international locations, and we’re doing pretty well. If you were abroad and COVID-19 happened, you’d probably want to come home too.

Ben Carson said that President Trump has handled the COVID-19 outbreak very, very well. Do recall that before he was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Carson was a renowned neurosurgeon, and knows whereof he speaks. So a difficult  time and unfortunate deaths, but we’re doing remarkably well in the face of a worldwide contagion.

ADDENDUM: From a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Holman Jenkins:

In a startling statement, the WHO’s Michael Ryan claimed in a Monday briefing: “Here we have a disease for which we have no vaccine, no treatment, we don’t fully understand transmission, we don’t fully understand case mortality, but what we have been genuinely heartened by is that unlike influenza, where countries have fought back, where they’ve put in place strong measures, we’ve remarkably seen that the virus is suppressed.”



President Trump Goes to India by The Elephant's Child

Of course, the obligatory visit to the Taj Mahal, a stunningly beautiful building built of white marble. It is a mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra.

It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who reigned from 1628 to 1658, to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Muntaz Mahal, and also contains the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. It is the centerpiece of 42 acres that contains a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall. Muntaz Mahal died while giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. Her death left the emperor heartbroken, and his hair was said to have turned grey overnight. The construction began in 1632.

Here are the pictures from the President’s visit It’s fun to scroll through them. There’s a picture that’s my favorite of a man mounted on a camel, man and camel decorated lavishly with flowers. The camel seems to be smiling in a funny grin, and the gentleman riding him is carrying a Tuba, which he obviously plays at some point.

When you reach the end, do not click on the <2 or 3> which is just a repeat of what you already saw, unless, of course you want to see it all again.



More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About St.Valentine’s Day by The Elephant's Child
February 15, 2020, 12:29 am
Filed under: Heartwarming, History, Humor, Politics | Tags: , ,

What an odd holiday Valentine’s Day is! Stopped by Safeway on the way home, and the store was festooned with Valentine’s Day balloons, and of course, all sorts of flowers, and lots of candy, preferably in red heart boxes for those busy gentlemen on their way home who didn’t dare arrive empty handed.

Online at home, I was startled by this picture  at Powerline blog. Took me right back to grade school. Nasty little candies festooned with idiot sayings. All the kids got a big very cheap packet of valentines, that you punched out of  cardboard sheets, to put in the class Valentine box, usually something like a hatbox, decorated by the teacher with a slot in the top. Some kids gave a valentine to everybody, some just to their close friends, and it was a test of popularity to see who got the most cards. I’d forgotten, it was so long ago.

But who was St. Valentine and why do we celebrate him with heart-shaped boxes of candy? He was apparently some sort of priest or even a bishop in the 3rd Century in Rome, born around AD 226. He died on February 14, 269. He ministered to persecuted Christians, was martyred and his body buried at a Christian cemetery on the Via Flamina close to the Ponte Milvio to the north of Rome. Relics of him were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome, which remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages. February 14 has been observed  as the Feast of Saint Valentine since 496 AD.  From Wikipedia:

The Catholic Encyclopedia and other hagiographical sources speak of three Saints Valentine that appear in connection with February 14. One was a Roman priest, another the bishop of Interamna (modern Terni, Italy) both buried along the Via Flaminia outside Rome, at different distances from the city. The third was said to be a saint who suffered on the same day with a number of companions in the Roman province of Africa, of whom nothing else is known.

Though the extant accounts of the martyrdoms of the first two listed saints are of a late date and contain legendary elements, a common nucleus of fact may underlie the two accounts and they may refer to a single person. According to the official biography of the Diocese of Terni, Bishop Valentine was born and lived in Interamna and while on a temporary stay in Rome he was imprisoned, tortured, and martyred there on February 14, 269. His body was hastily buried at a nearby cemetery and a few nights later his disciples retrieved his body and returned him home.

There seem to be around seven different St. Valentines. The Roman Emperor Claudius took a liking to Valentinus until Valentinus tried to convince him to embrace Christianity, when Claudius refused, and condemned Valentinius to either renounce his faith or he would be beaten with clubs and beheaded. Valentinius refused and was executed in that manner, on February 14 in 269.

Valentinius artifacts (including his bones) have traveled as far as Ireland, where believers and lovers and tourists come, particularly on Valentines’ Day. His body, in 269, was hastily buried at a nearby cemetery and a few nights later his disciples retrieved his body and returned him home.

Saint Valentinius, one account runs, wrote a letter to Asterius’s daughter signed “from your valentine,”which is where the cards come from. Lots of legends have been added to the story.  One says that Valentine secretly performed Christian weddings for couples, allowing the husbands involved to escape conscription.  Supposedly, in order to remind these men of their vows and God ‘s love, Valentinius cut hearts from parchment giving them to these soldiers and persecuted Christians, possibly the origin of the use of hearts on St. Valentine’s Day.

Somewhere under all that is a true story, embroidered and vaguely historical that results in heart-shaped boxes of candy, sugary sweet Valentine cards, and husbands rushing to the grocery store on their way home from work to appear with an armload of flowers and a red heart box of candy, for the love of their life.



The State of the Union Speech by The Elephant's Child

Donald J. Trump tonight gave the State of the Union Speech to Congress and to the nation. The Union is doing very nicely indeed, a Working Man’s Boom. Employment is at an all-time high, particularly for those who need it most. He said “Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again!  America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise, and America’s future is blazing bright.”

“Incredibly, the average unemployment rate under my Administration is lower than any administration in the history of our country. …

The unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans have reached the lowest levels in history. African-American youth unemployment has reached an all-time low.

African-American poverty has declined to the lowest rate ever recorded.

The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years — and last year, women filled 72 percent of all new jobs added.

The veterans’ unemployment rate dropped to a record low.

The unemployment rate for disabled Americans has reached an all-time low.

Workers without a high school diploma have achieved the lowest unemployment rate recorded in United States history.”

There were moving moments: a very young man who wants to be in the Space Force when he grows up, was there with his just turned 100-year-old Great Grandfather, who was a Tuskegee Airman during the Second World War, and gave a snappy salute to the audience.

An Army Veteran who was struggling with drug addiction and had lost his family, his house and his job, thanks to Senator Tim Scott’s Opportunity Zones, is now a top tradesman, drug-free, and reunited with his family, was there.

A young woman with two small children, who has been working to help other military families while her own husband is deployed, was surprised in a moving moment with her husband, back from Afghanistan.

President Trump said: “The American Nation was carved out of the vast frontier by the toughest, strongest, fiercest, and most determined men and women ever to walk the face of the Earth. Our ancestors braved the unknown; tamed the wilderness; settled the Wild West; lifted millions from poverty, disease, and hunger; vanquished tyranny and fascism; ushered the world to new heights of science and medicine; laid down the railroads, dug out canals, raised up the skyscrapers — and, ladies and gentlemen, our ancestors built the most exceptional Republic ever to exist in all of human history. And we are making it greater than ever before!

This is our glorious and magnificent inheritance.

We are Americans. We are the pioneers. We are the pathfinders. We settled the new world, we built the modern world, and we changed history forever by embracing the eternal truth that everyone is made equal by the hand of Almighty God.”

If you didn’t watch the speech, Breitbart has published the text in full here. You might want to read the whole thing. It’s very worth your time.

Nancy Pelosi at the end of the speech, made the dramatic gesture (planned?) of tearing up the speech as the President left the podium. Bad idea. It came across as petty, mean-spirited, uncalled for, and was a very bad idea.



A Brief Look Back at a Bit of History by The Elephant's Child

People and their governments are not always in a happy or successful relationship. The people recognize in varying amounts that we need to have a government to keep us from killing each other, at least partly. We need a government to keep the rest of the people in line, and make some rules that we can all manage to live with. But the people increase, and the government grows and finds that it likes being in charge and making rules and that being part of a government can be somewhat rewarding, and rewarding for your relatives as well. So it’s all a bit of a conundrum.

We end up in an unsettled situation like we are just now, with one political party demanding impeachment, removal from office, and the other pointing out that we actually like what he is doing, which the other side finds unbelievable. I thought you might appreciate a look back at how we got here. You will find it clarifies the whole thing effectively, and leaves you in a better mood for the upcoming festivities, but don’t take it out on the relatives.



And on the Unfolding Drama of Impeachment Delusions by The Elephant's Child


Speaking of “Extraordinary Popular Delusions”, an article from The Federalist by Adam Mill says that “Democrats are Embarrassed by Schiff’s Impeachment Tactics, And They Should Be.” Obama has spoken out to warn Democrats of moving too far to the Left. Another Federalist article says “Democrats Concede Their Impeachment Argument is Failing.”

CNN reports that in a private meeting this week, top Democrats conceded that the polls on impeachment were unlikely to shift, and that their basic message is failing to break through for huge swaths of Americans. This is very close to admitting that their ultimate goal, of removing president Trump from office will not be achieved.

The reason this would mean game over for the removal effort is that only a significant uptick for impeachment in polling, especially among Republicans who have been rock solid in support of Trump, could lead to GOP votes to convict in the senate. This may sound cynical, but why should Republican senators defy the wishes of the vast majority of their voters based on the Democrats’ vague and shifting arguments?

Even more telling than the concession that polls won’t be moving is the admission their messaging is failing. This can only really mean one of two things. Either Adam Schiff and his inquiry have failed to prove Trump engaged in impeachable and removal offenses or the 44 percent of Americans who oppose impeachment are too stupid, or brainwashed to accept the case for impeaching Trump.

We all know that Democrats are not as interested in Economics as the rest of us. Obama famously claimed that the American economy would never again reach as high as 3% growth — we were stuck at two for the foreseeable future. Oops!

From the Trump campaign rapid response team just today:

Impeachment “is about patriotism. It’s not about politics”, a very sad and somber Nancy Pelosi insisted again yesterday. “It’s not about anything political. It’s about patriotism.”

Actually, it’s about polling.

The Washington Post reports today that “Democrats have stopped using the term ‘quid pro quo,’ instead describing ‘bribery’ as a more direct summation of Trump’s alleged conduct.” Why?

The shift came after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee conducted focus groups in key House battlegrounds in recent weeks, testing messages related to impeachment. Among the questions put to participants was whether ‘quid pro quo,’ ‘extortion’ or ‘bribery’ was a more compelling description of Trump’s conduct. According to two people familiar with the results, which circulated among Democrats this week, the focus groups found ‘bribery’ to be most damning.”

That’s from Thomas Lifson at American Thinker. As usual, the Democrats are leaving nothing to chance. They are testing with focus groups to determine which words describing President Trump’s conduct will be the most damning in the eyes of the public. So, there you go. That’s how things work in the corridors of the Nation’s Capitol. Do keep that one in mind.
Has anyone noticed that the economy is surging, well over 3%. Household income is way up. The economy is doing extraordinarily well. Everybody is hiring, and it’s hard to see how it could get any better. Sorry, Adam Schiff. Perhaps we could paint your portrait on a wall somewhere.



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