American Elephants


New York City 1911 by The Elephant's Child

1911. An immaculately preserved film of New York City. (The speed has been corrected and sound added for ambiance.) The film was taken by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern on a trip to America.

What happened in 1911? Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Charles F. Kettering (US) developed the first practical electrical self-starter for automobiles. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre (found in 1913 in Italy).  Irving Berlin published “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Winston S. Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty.

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Time for Our Annual Salute to Paul Revere by The Elephant's Child


[A little Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for the eighteenth of April]

Listen, my children, and  you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend,”If the British march
By land or sea from the town tonight,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light—
One if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

Then he said, “Good night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, a British man-of-war:
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed to the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the somber rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade—
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay—
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now gazed at the landscape far and near.
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth
And turned and tightened his saddle girth:
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and somber and still.

And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides:
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.

And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest.  In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm—
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will awaken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the  midnight message of Paul Revere.

(The illustration is from a lovely edition of the poem illustrated by Ted Rand for children or any Longfellow lovers. Copies still available from Amazon at very reasonable  prices)

I post this every year, but I almost forgot entirely. Too late for most, but print it out if you have kids and teach them a little history, which they probably won’t get in school. Kids like the rhythm- of galloping hooves that Longfellow used in this historic poem.



Do You have the Feeling That There Is Something Wrong Out There? by The Elephant's Child

Do any of you have the sort of unsettled feeling that things are not quite as they are being portrayed? News made of too little information, asking the wrong people, not exactly President Trump’s “fake news”— but just an instinctive feeling that something is wrong out there. Here’s a post from Real Clear Investigations:

Broward County, Fla., school officials portray as a great success their Obama administration-inspired program offering counseling to students who break the law, instead of having them arrested or expelled. They insist that it played no role in February’s school massacre by Nikolas Cruz. They also claim that in fact juvenile recidivism rates are down and school safety is up, thanks to the program.

The evidence tells a far different story.

Broward County juvenile justice division records, federal studies of Broward school district safety and the district’s own internal reporting show that years of “intensive” counseling didn’t just fail to reform repeat offender Cruz, who allegedly went on to shoot and kill 17 people at his high school. Records show such policies have failed to curtail other campus violence and its effects now on the rise in district schools — including fighting, weapons use, bullying and related suicides.

Meanwhile, murders, armed robberies and other violent felonies committed by children outside of schools have hit record levels, and some see a connection with what’s happening on school grounds. Since the relaxing of discipline, Broward youths have not only brazenly punched out their teachers, but terrorized Broward neighborhoods with drive-by shootings, gang rapes, home invasions and carjackings.

Do read the whole thing. Things are not as they seem. We have entered an era when everything is being analyzed for its proportionality. There seemed to be a significant number of young students of color being sent to prison for commission of crimes. If the number of young people of color in prison for committing crimes was out of proportion to the general percentages of young people of color in society, clearly school teachers were cracking down on troublesome students because they were racially prejudiced. The “school to prison pipeline.” The Obama administration cracked down. Schools sending too many young people to prison would have to answer for their racism, and they would receive a visit from the feds.

This is apparently what happened with Nikolas Cruz, of Hispanic descent. His threats were recognized by the school officials, but because he was Hispanic and the federal government had said to ignore it, the school did not take the actions that they might have taken had there been no federal interference. The school had issued instructions that Cruz was not to be allowed to enter campus if he was wearing a backpack. And in their response to the killings, the school demanded that all students carry transparent backpacks so the contents could be seen. That does make it fairly clear, doesn’t it?

Tom Steyer continues to travel around the country urging college students to vote Democrat and to work for impeaching President Trump, thus aligning himself with Maxine Waters who is also demanding that President Trump be impeached. Neither one seems to have any particular high crime or misdemeanor for which they want him impeached—they just hate him. I suspect that Steyer is having fits over the useless environmental regulations being discarded, and perhaps the useless Paris Climate Accords.

Steyer is very green, and apparently a true believer that the Earth is dying without our immediate action to…? There are a remarkable number of people who appear at the front of any climate march in polar bear suits, though the polar bears are doing just fine according to the Canadian zoologist, Susan Crockford, who has become the world expert on all things polar bear and who issues a report each year on their progress. Their numbers are increasing comfortably, they are well fed and healthy.

When you hear or read something that seems, if not immediately wrong, at least questionable, do you plan to study up a little to see if it is indeed true, or do you just take the word of whatever article you read? Look at all the Lefties who insist that we would be far better off if we just kept all the petroleum products in the ground, where they belong. Wind and solar, their favored energy sources, deliver about 4% of our energy needs. How are their favored electric cars supposed to charge their batteries? How do our cars and trucks run? How does the food get delivered to our grocery stores? Starving to death is not a nice way to go.

Why do they keep circulating what Hollywood celebrities have to say, as if they know anything, or have any authority to speak out beyond the fact that we might recognize their names or faces?



Catching Up With Climate Science: by The Elephant's Child

A 2008 paper by James Hansen, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies showed the true gravity of the situation. In it, Hansen set out to determine what level of atmospheric CO2 society should aim for if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life of Earth is adapted. His climate models showed that exceeding 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere would likely have catastrophic effects. We’ve already blown past that limit. Right now, environmental monitoring shows concentrations around 400 ppm.

There were no consequences. Real world evidence clearly demonstrate Hansen’s hypothesis is wrong.

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration may have a boring name, but it has a very important job: It measures U.S. temperatures. Unfortunately, it seems to be a captive of the global warming religion. Its data are fraudulent.

What do we mean by fraudulent? How about this: NOAA has made repeated “adjustments” to its data, for the presumed scientific reason of making the data sets more accurate.

Nothing wrong with that. Except, all their changes point to one thing — lowering previously measured temperatures to show cooler weather in the past, and raising more recent temperatures to show warming in the present.

This creates a data illusion of ever-rising temperatures to match the increase in CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere since the mid-1800s, which global warming advocates say is a cause-and-effect relationship. The more CO2, the more warming.  (Investor’s Business Daily 3/29/18)

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From wattsupwiththat, April 1, 2018

Mark Fife writes that an analysis of  GHCN climate stations shows there is no statistically significant warming – or cooling.

In Conclusion, based upon the available long-term temperature data the case for global warming is very weak. There is evidence to suggest a hemispheric pattern exists. The evidence further suggests this is a cyclical pattern which is evident in localized temperature peaks in the 1930’s and the 1990’s. However, changes in local site conditions due to human development appear to be the most important factor affecting overall temperature changes. Extreme warming trends are almost certainly due to human induced local changes.  The entire article is here.

From the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). 4/06/18

A new paper says that there are unseen worlds of wonder under our noses. There is a new understanding of ultra-long timescales that we are too short-lived to perceive.

Prof. Essex explains, “Unlike the stable virtual ‘climates’ seen in computer simulations, corresponding real-world conditions aren’t stable at all. There are perpetual, natural, internal changes in play that take longer than human lifetimes to play out.”

No human will ever fully perceive this change. No one lives long enough.  But some astute people, in their later years, might just be able to make a little of it out.

Prof. Essex adds, “There is an ultraslow, mysterious, unseen world out there, under our very noses, that we cannot perceive. It’s beyond our measurement capabilities, and beyond the capabilities of our best computers using our very best physical theories. It belongs to a class of problems that we cannot overwhelm with data, or crush with our biggest computers.”



Tom Sowell on Immigration by The Elephant's Child

ThomasSowell

“What should American immigration policy be? It doesn’t matter what any of us think that policy should be if the borders are not secure, because whoever wants to come across that border will come across anyway in defiance of whatever the policy might be.

If legal benefits are conferred on illegal immigrants before the border is secured, we may as well give up any pretense that we have an immigration policy, because benefits conferred are never going to be taken back, no matter how porous the border remains.”



Dr. Jordan Peterson Went to Australia by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Jordan Peterson went to Australia in Mid March to give a series of lectures. Here he meets with  John Anderson, who was a Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the rural-based National Party of Australia from July 1999 to July 2005. John Anderson has a marvelous voice. The conversation is passionate, deep, and powerful, and about deep things, essential things, like the meaning and purpose of memory, what is going wrong in the present and what we should do about it, how the Left is going wrong, and what is the wrong. And how do you do right?

Powerful stuff. It’s a long video, and you will want to have the freedom to listen to the whole thing, and then perhaps, listen again. Why is history so important, and why are our children not learning history, and how will they survive in our world if they do not. When is the last time you had a conversation like this? I thought so.



There Are Always Consequences. That’s How Life Works. by The Elephant's Child

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In his speech, Dennis Prager mentions the bad ideas of the Left, and rates the Self-Esteem Movement as possibly their worst idea ever. Back in 1945 Dr. Spock published his “Baby and Child Care” for the generation of the mothers of the Baby Boom when the fathers of the baby boom came home from World War II. “He began his book with the reassuring words:”Trust Yourself”, but as Kay Hymowitz wrote,”Not that he believed it.” For some it was a bible, others simply found it to be a comfortable reference. So when Nathaniel Brandon published a path-breaking paper in 1969 called “The Psychology of Self-Esteem” that argued that feelings of self-worth were a key to success in life, new parents were ready for advice, since they had been raised on Dr. Spock.

The American school system was ready for the”key to success in life” and  his big idea soon became the hot new thing in education. The California Legislature, always ready to be the leader, even established a “Self-Esteem Task Force” for the state’s schools. Competition was frowned upon. Soccer coaches quit counting goals and gave out trophies to everyone. Criticism was replaced with praise, even when undeserved. In Britain, which usually follows our fads, Author Melanie Phillips wrote in her book All Must Have Prizes in 2003;

 Alas, the latest pronouncement from those in charge of our exam system is truly beyond satire.

Their new idea for boosting examination success is to abolish the very idea of failure, along with the difference between the right and the wrong answer to a question.

Overpraising does not work. Kids know when they deserve praise, and false praise makes them become cynical about the undeserved praise they receive. They perform better with skilled and serious criticism rather than empty praise.

Seventy-six-million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964— the biggest generation ever, anywhere, and they became known as the Baby Boom. Tract houses, bomb shelters, hula hoops, an economic boom, assassinations, Rock and Roll, Vietnam, and protests. Society had a hard time dealing with the numbers of the Boomers—they were simply unprepared. The Sputnik Generation, the Pepsi Generation, Love Generation, Protest Generation, Woodstock Generation. The sheer numbers demanded, and got, attention. Great Expectations by Landon Jones  (1980) was a marvelous study about how society and the numbers interacted. They’re not through with us, as their retirement is playing hob with Social Security, Medicare and elder care as the first Boomers turn 73.

Boomers moved all over, and so did their children. New parents didn’t always have a parent  close by for advice. College and graduate schools admissions became harder. Unemployment went up, divorce went up.

In 1996, Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. AMBER stands for Americas Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hageman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington,TX and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities soon followed suit, and the idea was adopted, but that too had consequences.

Before there was AMBER, there were news reports of abducted children. Doesn’t take much of that before parents start monitoring their children’s activities more closely. We now have “helicopter parents” — moms who “hover”over over their children to protect them from the dangers of the world. Parents who allowed their children to walk to a nearby park were turned in to child protective services. “Play dates” have become fashionable, and children are walked to and from school.

Psychology Today has even published a report (2017) on “The Effects of ‘Helicopter Parenting'”, which is continuing into the college years as some parents call the school regularly to find out how their kids are doing and trying to make sure they will get into graduate school. All these trends, fashions, movements  have an effect and have consequences.

You can’t watch Dennis Prager’s speech and his comments on the Left’s Self-Esteem movement without thinking of the celebrated  “survivors” of the Parkland school shooting. CNN and Media Matters have used the very young David Hogg for their own purposes, which are banning guns and destroying conservative talk radio, as well as preparation for the midterm elections. This is the worst kind of child exploitation. They have taken the young man’s ill informed cause for gun control, and are using him as a puppet to attack Laura Ingraham by attacking her advertisers. When corporate heads follow the misguided lead of a 17 year-old kid, there will be some probably severe consequences for that as well.




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