American Elephants


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



What Do You Mean “Free” ? by The Elephant's Child

Americans put a lot of emphasis, when thinking about what being an American means, on being free. But what precisely they mean by “free” is not really all that clear. Socialism promises equality .If we just adopt Socialism we will all be “equal” which, of course is nonsense.  Whatever qualities you may possess, they are probably not the same as those the guy standing next to you possesses. So what is it we have in mind when we celebrate being “free”?

I think perhaps the important point is the freedom to rise. We can strive to become whatever it is that we want to be or become, and work towards that goal, with whatever effort and skill we can muster. There are no guarantees that we will make it, but we are free to keep trying, or to change goals, or even to give up.  If you consider what life was like for ordinary Englishmen in 1620, they had a lot of incentive to try for something better, and were willing to risk a lot to try for it. Rising out of their station in life may have been possible for the elites or the educated, but inventions, new ideas, growing, prospering, not so much.

If I asked you to sit down with a pencil and paper and list the Americans who have risen from obscurity to unbelievable wealth, you would be able to come up with quite a few names. It’s commonplace. That’s why I was so taken with the story of the young black man in Columbus Ohio, who had walked three miles every day to the public library that offered homework help. Some sneered at the “3 miles every day” but that extra effort got him acceptance from 22 different colleges and universities for admission. That story didn’t seem to get much attention, but given a few years he will either be heading a large corporation or performing surgery in a major hospital. Whatever he wants. That is the real meaning of being free. If you are a parent of school children, you might want to point that out.



Democrats Are Trying to Blame Trump for COVID-19 by The Elephant's Child

See the source image

Democrats keep trying to rid us of President Donald Trump, they tried impeachment, several times. They loathe Trump, but they just can’t figure out how to get rid of him and his systematic repeal of Obama’s progressive project. The problem is that the Democrats just want to be in control. Just what it is that they expect to accomplish when they manage to get control isn’t really clear, and there’s the rub.

The current best idea seems to be blaming him for the Corona Virus. If they can just manage to establish that he didn’t respond quickly enough, professionally enough, carefully enough or something like that, then they can blame him for all of the Covid-19 deaths. That would take care of him!

The first COVID-19 deaths in the United States happened a few miles north of my house when a visitor to a nursing home who had just returned from Wuhan, China infected the residents. President Trump quickly banned any and all flights from China. He referred to it as the China virus or the Wuhan virus. (Outcry. Racial prejudice, etc.) Got automobile companies making ventilators, everybody making masks, hospital ships in New York harbor and in California, Cruise ships anchored, military setting up emergency hospitals in tents in public parks and in parking garages. Experts called in to advise.

Of course they don’t mention that, they talk about results. Here are the five COVID-19 Charts Democrats are anxious to hide. Click on the link. Copy and save the link. Share it with family and friends!

This is from http://www.issues&insights.com, a fairly new website founded by the writers from Investors Business Daily, and is excellent. It has become one of my favorites. They even feature Michael Ramirez’s wonderful political cartoons.



Consequences Are How We Learn by The Elephant's Child

Rioters who do property damage need to be arrested, prosecuted, and to have a police record that follows them around and makes it hard to find employment. Consequences work both ways. If you do bad things and there are no real consequences, you’re quite apt to go out and do it again, because it’s fun to do real damage and get away with it. It is simply human nature, and the founders, when they were struggling for independence from England, thought long and hard about human nature and how it works.

If you struggle and work hard and are well rewarded for your efforts, the consequences are that you want to do it again, and maybe those who saw your success will struggle as well.

Yes, I know, some people firmly believe that we put people in prison simply because of the color of their skin, which is nonsense.

Democrats loathe the Electoral College and intend to abolish it at the first opportunity. Yet the founders carefully established it to protect the smaller, less populous states, so that every state would have an equal voice in the union. Democrats just want to be in charge permanently, and don’t really care who they have to step on to get there.

Human nature is kind of a mess. People are selfish, generous, mean, cruel, thoughtful — a mix of all the possible qualities out there. We always remain hopeful that the better nature will win out, but hope remains eternal.

Through all the “Black Lives Matter” protests and demands for reparations and payback, there were some plaintive voices out there that didn’t get enough attention. Jason Riley, who is black, and writes for the Wall Street Journal, has a book out with the rather intriguing title “Please Stop Helping Us.”

Oddly, a few months back a young black high school senior was written up in the national news for walking 3 miles every day to a public library that offered homework help. His efforts earned him letters of acceptance from over 20 colleges and universities, including the one he most hoped to attend. No further notice, no celebration.

Shortly after that, a young black woman who was valedictorian of her class with perfect attendance got a brief article in the media, because she was awarded something like $450,000 in scholarship money. Nobody bothered to report that’s the way the world works. You work hard and put your soul in it, and you are often rewarded by accomplishing your goals.

Neither of the stories got any particular attention as far as I know, but there’s a real lesson there.



Innovation and Inspiration: Matt Ridley and “How Innovation Works” by The Elephant's Child

I wrote that screed below because I was annoyed, and went to the Hoover Institution website to see what they had had to say. Where I promptly ran into an interview with British Journalist Matt Ridley on Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Matt Ridley has a new book out: How Innovation Works and the wide-ranging interview starts there and gets more and more fascinating. It is long, so you need to allow plenty of time, but do make the time if you can. There is so much there! I’m going to have to order the book.  Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works.  Don’t miss it, and set aside time to enjoy the video.



A Mother’s Work Is Never Done! by American Elephant
May 10, 2020, 5:41 pm
Filed under: Heartwarming | Tags: , , ,

funny-pictures-mothers-day-classic-gif-sisyphus-mama1

A mother’s work is never done, and mothers never get all the thanks they truly, richly deserve. This image bears a striking resemblance to the job my mother had to do, and she did it magnificently, courageously, and lovingly.

Thank you to the greatest Mom in the world — mine! Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!



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.




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