American Elephants

Catherine Engelbrecht’s Testimony: A Heroine For America. by The Elephant's Child

Catherine Engelbrecht has had enough. She started out to be a citizen activist, she had seen vote fraud up front and ugly, so she founded True the Vote, a nonprofit organization for election integrity, and King Street Patriots, a citizen-led liberty group.

She and her husband had a small manufacturing business for twenty years, and had never had any contact with government agencies until she founded these two groups. Suddenly she was the object of agency interest—In 2011, her business and personal tax returns were audited  by the IRS, each audit going back for a number of years.

In 2012 her business was subjected to inspection by OSHA when neither she nor her husband were present, and though the agency wrote that it found nothing serious or significant, they issued fines greater than $20,000.

In 2012 and again in 2013, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms conducted comprehensive audits at her place of business.

Beginning in 2010, the FBI contacted her nonprofit organization on six separate occasions — wanting to cull through membership manifests in conjunction with domestic terrorism cases. They eventually dropped all matters and have now redacted nearly all her files.

Eventually, all those attempts to intimidate have an effect. For Catherine Engelbrecht, it made her more determined.  Her testimony included these rousing words:

But know this, my experiences at the hands of this government in these last five years have made me more determined than ever to stand before you and America and say I will not retreat. I will not surrender. I refuse to be intimidated. I will not ask for permission to exercise my Constitutional rights.

Sometimes a Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words. by The Elephant's Child



A Different Take On School Lunches! by The Elephant's Child

In 2008, David LaFerriere decided to surprise his kids at school, drawing on the sandwich bags he packed in their lunches. The kids loved it, so he kept drawing. Every day they are greeted with a new creation their dad has made for them.Now, five years after the first drawing, he has created over one thousand lunchtime surprises, cataloging them all on Flickr.


A little magic and an act of love that lets the kids know you’re thinking of them.

Dave is a graphic designer, and his work has been featured on Sharpie’s website, but you don’t have to draw well to create magic for your kids. They will probably never remember the Christmas or birthday presents, but they will always remember the magic. Here’s the rest of the story.

Here’s another example of fatherly magic. The coolest tooth-pull ever! When this kid is old and grey, he will still remember the time his dad tied his tooth to a rocket, and laugh.


The Magic of Winter. Blowing Bubbles. by The Elephant's Child

When the temperature dropped to 16 degrees in Washington, and everyone hid indoors around the fireplace, the stove, or just wrapped up in blankets,  Angela Kelly and her 7 year-old son mixed  up some homemade soap and blew bubbles to see what would happen:



Angela took photos as the frost created intricate designs in the larger bubbles, while the smaller ones froze and shattered as they it the ground. Before the sun came up the bubbles behaved as if they were made of glass. After the sun came up, the tops of the bubbles would defrost. Here is the rest of the story:

What a great idea. Perhaps people all over America will be blowing bubbles in the cold.

The Truth About Parenthood by The Elephant's Child

Here’s a delightful ad that’s actually honest about parenthood. Yep! That’s what it’s like, and who would trade it? Ever stepped on a Lego tile in your bare feet?

David Hobson: A Little Rousing Joy by The Elephant's Child

David Hobson – Carols by Candlelight – The Holy City
Monday, 24th December 2012
Sidney Myer Music Bowl — Melbourne, Australia

Go ahead, enlarge this one to full screen.

And once again the scene was changed,
New earth there seemed to be.
I saw the Holy City
Beside the tideless sea.
The light of God was on its streets,
The gates were open wide,
And all who would might enter,
And no one was denied.
No need of moon or stars by night,
Or sun to shine by day;
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away.

(h/t: American Digest via Maggie’s Farm)

Merry Christmas from the United States Air Force! by The Elephant's Child

The United States Air Force Band performed a surprise flash mob at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on December 3.  Lovely!

Lessons in the Art of Plain Old Persistence, by The Elephant's Child


A retired mathematician found a rotting cabin, dating from 1830, in sad shape, but he determined to restore it — proving once more that persistence pays. This is the original 1830 cabin, or what was left of it. Much was rotting, but he labeled and transferred as much of it as possible to the family’s land. See the amazing story below the fold.
Continue reading

I Really Do, and I’ll Bet You Do Too! by The Elephant's Child


The Socialist Dream — Refuted. by The Elephant's Child

The socialist dream of organizing an economy around the purpose of advancing social welfare, as it is governmentally determined and meted out, seems destined to remain an abstraction irrelevant to the world’s political and economic needs. One strange result of the collapse of socialism, and the absence of any other credible way to avoid relying on markets is that the welfare state is heavily dependent on the health of capitalism. The government cannot disburse wealth that never gets created, and creating the wealth required for modern, prosperous societies without the knowledge conveyed by prices set in markets appears to be impossible.

The liberal response to the question of paying for the welfare state has been a protracted exercise in intellectual dishonesty, borne of a conviction that the question doesn’t need to be answered if it can be made to go away. Liberals have generally been happy to tell people what they want to hear. It’s possible to have a big welfare state without worrying all that much about the costs. The programs will pay for themselves. Or an affluent society can pay for them out of the petty cash drawer. Or, the taxes required for a much bigger welfare state are ones that will be borne largely by the very rich and big corporations. None of these propositions can withstand even gentle interrogation, however, making it difficult to know whether the liberals who put them forward are remarkably cynical or remarkably feckless. In either case, whatever political advantages are secured by telling people what they want to hear about paying for the welfare state becomes ever more incoherent.

This splendid excerpt comes from Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, by William Voegeli.  A great Christmas gift for a Conservative friend. Might be too much for a Liberal. It’s also available in paperback, or kindle.

The Oddities of Thanksgiving Day by The Elephant's Child

Light blogging. Yesterday was a cooking day. Well-brined turkey, sage stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes with a dollop of brandy and cream (NO marshmallows), a pureé of broccoli and green beans, Idaho potatoes, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. The president had 11 different kinds of pie, and a side of traditional macaroni and cheese. Do other people do this? I had never heard of macaroni and cheese as a Thanksgiving day specialty. It’s always interesting to hear about other people’s Thanksgiving traditions.

We are of Yankee heritage and do not do cornbread stuffing. My father handed down his Southern grandmother’s cornbread recipe which I cherish — but not in the bird. I used to do oyster stuffing in one end and sage in the other, but got too many complaints from non-oyster people. The vegetable of choice here seems to be brussles sprouts, as my grocery always starts off with a big display which is quickly decimated. I have never been able to make friends with the sprout, though I love cabbage. (Fresh cabbage in ½” dice, sauteed quickly in butter, dollop of sour cream and lots of black pepper).

The loony left was out with their usual ignorant “Genocide Day” huffings that America had committed genocide on the American Indians, and concurrently that in that picture of George W. Bush’s surprise Thanksgiving Day visit with the troops in Afghanistan — that was a plastic turkey.

Wow! Government Change is Possible. Who Knew? by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday was a day of appointments and errands— the kind of day that happens to everyone —, but there was one shining moment, and you will be surprised.

I had to get my driver’s license renewed. The DMV had moved to a new office space in a different part of town, actually more convenient for me, so I decided to bite the bullet and get it over with. Plenty of parking space. As I entered the building I was greeted by a sea of chairs, probably 80-100, with one person occupying one chair. Signage directed me to the “greeter.” He inquired my specific business, gave me a number and directed me to a seat. In possibly one minute I was directed to Window 11, where a cheerful gentleman efficiently and swiftly completed the transaction and directed me to the seating for the photograph. A cheerful woman took my picture quickly and efficiently and I was out of there in less than five minutes.!

This is the Department of Motor Vehicles!

My conclusion was that someone high up in the department actually paid attention to the common use of the DMV as an illustration of government sloth, rudeness and inefficiency, and thought it was time to fix it.  Breathtaking! I may even have to write a letter of commendation.


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