American Elephants


Common Sense Trumps Environmental Overreach by The Elephant's Child

The good news just keeps flowing out of the Trump administration. Today it is the case of a tiny Aleutian village—King Cove, Alaska.  It is a remote fishing village with around 1,000 inhabitants. The town has a clinic, but no doctor and no hospital. Their tiny airport is often locked in by gale-force winds and fog. When there’s a trauma case, childbirth, complications of all sorts, they must get to the all-weather airport in Cold Bay, 22 miles away for transportation for the 600 miles to Anchorage, hospitals and doctors.

King Cove residents have requested of the Interior Department a 22 mile long, one-lane gravel road to Cold Bay which would allow for all weather access to lifesaving medical care. Here’s the rest of the story I wrote back in 2014:

Etta Kuzakin, a 36-year-old King Cove resident who serves as Agdaagux tribal president, needed an emergency Caesarean section in March after going into early labor with her now 9-month-old daughter. Giving birth in King Cove could have killed her and her baby. Medevac flights into King Cove were grounded by ugly weather. Ms. Kuzakin waited in labor for ten hours until a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flew her out in the afternoon.

“If there had been a road, it would be two hours out,” she said. “I sat there in labor not knowing if I was going to die or my kid was going to die. Pretty traumatic.” Fishing is also hard work, and injuries are common. According to local Aleutian elders, 19 people have died since 1980 because bad weather during emergency evacuations prevented them from getting out.

Sally Jewell, former U.S. Interior Secretary, met with Aleutian citizens in the gymnasium in King Cove, to hear their request for a simple one-lane gravel lifeline to a dependable airport. Ms. Jewell, former head of REI, told her King Cove audience thatI’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals. She rejected the road, saying that it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.”

“Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will swap federal land with the Aleut of King Cove AK, on January 22, answering decades of pleas from local officials for a road.”

King Cove residents have pursued building an 11-mile, single-lane, non-commercial road between King Cove and the Cold Bay Airport for the past 35 years. In that time, at least 18 people have died from causes attributable to not having a road between the community and airport, according to documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. …

Since 2013, 68 medevacs have evacuated King Cove residents to the airport for life threatening injuries or other immediate medical needs. Because the community is isolated, each medevac costs U.S. taxpayers as much as $210,000 a trip, TheDCNF has learned.

Environmentalists have argued for the purity and preservation of the Wilderness Act, but exceptions are possible, and Ms. Jewell was out in left field. She was a former head of REI, and, I assume, a city person unfamiliar with driving in the country where herds of sheep can often block the road, but even those can be moved off with a little shooing. This was not exactly a freeway that the Aleuts were asking for. Birds, even large ones, are moveable species, and unlikely to build nests on a road. Traffic was likely to be rare.

Democrats are apt to put great weight on their “compassionate” character. They care. Except when they don’t. But they believe that they do, and castigate Republicans constantly for their uncaring nature. Uh huh. You will notice that their fidelity to Green causes trumps compassion every time, except when you are talking about cleaning up your own mess after a demonstration.

Good for Secretary Zinke, good for President Trump, and I’m delighted that the Aleuts will get their simple one-lane gravel road.

You might enjoy William Voegeli’s 2014 book The Pity Party. The subtitle is “A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion.” The Amazon comment “a scathing and reasoned critique of the politics of liberal compassion—and why liberals’ lack of interest in the results of their policies renders them unfit to govern.” It’s spot on.

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Sissel Kyrkjebo: Jeg synger julekvad (In Dulci Jubilo) by The Elephant's Child



“In The Bleak Midwinter” by Norwegian Soprano Sissel Krykjebo by The Elephant's Child
December 24, 2017, 1:15 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Heartwarming, Music | Tags: , ,

The lovely and world famous Norwegian soprano with the remarkably clear voice sings Christmas carols.



A Little Rousing Joy by The Elephant's Child

David Hobson “Carols by Candlelight”
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne Australia
Monday, 24th December 2012

(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.

I post this every year—because I like it!

It’s an outdoor performance, because it’s summer there



In the Bleak Midwinter, for the Winter Solstice by The Elephant's Child
December 21, 2017, 9:36 pm
Filed under: England, Freedom, Heartwarming, Music, Politics | Tags: , ,

For the winter solstice, the first day of Winter, and for my father’s birthday.  I miss him.



The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know how familiar Americans are with the story of their own Navajo Code Talkers who served in the Untied States Marine Corps in the Pacific theater in World War II, but it is a proud and fascinating story. Early in the war in the Pacific, it became clear that the Japanese had broken our military codes. We had used Native American speakers in World War I with some great success, but the Germans were not about to leave themselves vulnerable. They infiltrated reservations across the United States to learn the languages. The Navajo reservation in the Four Corners area of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico is remote, beautiful, but not easily penetrated.  Here is their story.

These are two different treatments of the Code-Talker history. The first is longer, but all in one story. The second comes in three parts. When you have time you might want to watch both.

In July of 2001, President George W. Bush decorated 29 Navajo Code Talkers, They were represented by the four remaining code-talkers. Belated, but welcome recognition. It’s an important story.

We make a lot of mistakes in this country, a lot of trial and error, but eventually we usually manage to get it right. If you have some young people in your family, do share. They need to know a little history too.



The Wonders of Free Market Capitalism by The Elephant's Child

The Manhattan Contrarian (Francis Menton)  wrote a while back:

In the progressive project to remake humanity and civilization, nothing counts but good intentions, and the details will all be worked out by experts, using the infinite credit card. And thus we get $1 trillion or so of annual “anti-poverty” spending that never makes a dent in poverty. As hard as that one is to top, nothing can top the delusional thinking on the subject of renewable energy, particularly the idea that it will be easy and costless to transition over a few years to a world where fossil fuels have been banished, and yet we want and need.

Today, from FEE (the Foundation for Economic Education) we have the encouraging headline “The World’s Poorest People are getting Richer Faster Than Anyone Else.” “The speed of poverty alleviation in the last 25 years has been historically unprecedented. Not only is the proportion of people in poverty at a record low, but in spite of adding 2 billion to the planet’s population, the overall number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen too.

As Johan Norberg writes in his book Progress, “If you had to choose a society to live in but did not know what your social or economic position would be, you would probably choose the society with the lowest proportion (not the lowest numbers) of poor, because this is the best judgement of the life of an average citizen.” Well, in 1820, 94 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 per day adjusted for purchasing power). In 1990 this figure was 34.8 percent, and in 2015, just 9.6 percent.

In the last quarter century, more than 1.25 billion people escaped extreme poverty – that equates to over 138,000 people (i.e., 38,000 more than the Parisian crowd that greeted Father Wresinski in 1987) being lifted out of poverty every day. If it takes you five minutes to read this article, another 480 people will have escaped the shackles of extreme of poverty by the time you finish. Progress is awesome. In 1820, only 60 million people didn’t live in extreme poverty. In 2015, 6.6 billion did not.

Do read the whole thing, I thought a little very good news might be welcome in the face of the outrage and anguish that are the daily fare of the media. No, it is not the result of the progressive project to remake humanity. It’s the result of plain old free market capitalism. Works every time.

 




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