American Elephants


A New Year. No Resolutions, Only Hope. by The Elephant's Child

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A new year. I’ve always resisted the idea that the change of the numerical designation of a year on the calendar is a big deal. I don’t do resolutions. Not sure if I ever did, but I have too frequently promised myself that tomorrow I will …, and next week I will …, and you probably know how that goes. I have discarded a lot of stuff that should have been discarded long ago, but that was another broken resolution.

I do have an extensive picture file on my computer, and I deleted Hillary, which took some doing. I had a lot of pictures of Hillary, only some of them flattering. I deleted the rest of the Clintons as well. I took great pleasure in deleting Harry Reid, and Barbara Boxer, and at least the first term of President Obama—the ones with the halos. Don’t try to tell me those were accidental. I could have believed it with 3 or 4, but dozens?

Democrat operatives try not to miss any chance of swaying public opinion. It’s been said that the 2012 election was decided by Hurricane Sandy and the picture of Obama hugging Donna Vanzant, who had just seen her marina destroyed. And I was struck by the White House photo of President Obama being pensive in the Green Room with the good light from the window. That meant he had to leave the Oval Office, go to the Green Room, lean on the back of a red chair with green wallpaper in the background, to look pensive. Uh Huh. It would be nice if opinions were meant to be influenced by deeds rather than visual propaganda.

President Obama has said that he wants to make the transition as easy and helpful as he can, that he plans to stick around in Washington and fight every move of the new president, and is embarked on a program to flood the administration with as many executive orders and regulations as he can, since Mr. Trump has threatened to eliminate as many of the executive orders and cancel as many of the regulations as he can.

Obama’s going to make the job as difficult as he can, and he is ramping up his supporters to try to save ObamaCare. The administration’s contempt for the Constitution could not be more obvious. He clearly learned nothing, nothing at all, from George W. Bush’s graceful and helpful exit. And continued to blame everything on GWB for the next four years. Character counts.



Why is Freedom So Frightening to Some People? by The Elephant's Child

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Freedom is messy. The unexpected is always happening. You never know what someone will do, or what they might say. Republicans celebrate freedom of speech, gritting their teeth at offensive speech, but recognizing that their freedom to be offended also protects our ability to speak out about political abuse of any kind. progressives want to repeal the first amendment so that people are not free to disagree with them. That’s why they came up with the idea of “hate speech.”

“Hate speech” was supposed to segregate out  speech that disagreed with or offended them so much that it exceeded the boundaries of that which was protected by the free speech clause of the Constitution. Also if you killed someone or beat someone up while saying something vile, then they would put you away for longer.

You have perhaps noticed that calling people “deplorables” does not apparently qualify as hate speech, nor do the tweets and Facebook rants in response the election of Donald Trump, even those about assassinating him, though the Secret Service frowns on that.

This year has also seen a significant rise in the occasions when innocent children in college refuse to hear an invited speaker who might disagree with their ideas. Neither students nor their adult supervisors seem to realize that an educational institution is where you are supposed to have your ideas challenged. Not just disagreed with, but challenged. If you graduate from a college and have never had your ideas challenged, you have wasted your time and your money, and the professors who did that to you have failed in their most essential role. There are no “safe spaces” out in the real world, and businesses do not supply puppies and cookies to soothe you when you have been offended. And businesses will offend you. That’s one thing you can count on in this messy world.



Just a Little More Schadenfreude, by The Elephant's Child

(h/t: Tom Lifson @American Thinker)

 



This One Cracked Me Up! Iowa Hawk Strikes Again. by The Elephant's Child

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OMG! There’s Snow In the Forecast by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light blogging, I just had eye surgery, and I get to be erratic. I can see fine out of one eye, and the other one will improve gradually.

We have snow in the forecast, starting later tonight and theoretically over when it starts raining around 10 a.m. Forecasts are meant to be helpful, but seldom, unfortunately, accurate. Seattle was a city famously built on seven hills, if I remember correctly, but then they eliminated some hills and built bridges and tunnels, and suburbs grew and they all had their own hills.

People who come from other parts of the country laugh at Seattleite panic when it snows, but unfortunately those who panic are just sensible and stay home when it snows. I grew up in Idaho at a little over 4000′ elevation, and we almost always had snow by Thanksgiving, which lasted until Easter. We were equipped for Winter, snow tires, a snowplow that fitted on the front of the Jeep pickup that followed the beloved Model A truck that also had its own snowplow. Sometimes when the snow was heavy, my dad would get up in the middle of the night to plow. Have been snowed in with a slide down the road a ways, but we had plenty of snow shovels, and the Jeep had a winch. Winter work, but not a real problem.

At work, I was astonished when the office emptied at 3:00 when it started to snow, and those who lived some distance away just planned to spend the night. I went home, and picked what I believed to be the mildest hill (I live on a hill, and no direction is good). I headed up the hill and was sure I would make it, when a school bus appeared, sliding, at the top of the hill. I backed down and got to a curb at the bottom. The bus started slowly down (too much brake) and it started skidding and headed straight for me. The bus was almost empty, but in the back was one very small boy, looking terrified out the window. The bus came within about three feet and swerved to the opposite side of the street and hit a car parked there. I walked home.

This is several years old, but typical.

ADDENDUM: My apologies to the weather forecasters—they were right on target. Snow arrived on schedule, in very modest amounts, and the rain arrived on schedule to wash away the road hazards. (at least at my house) Other areas may not have been so lucky, and other areas have steeper hills.



Sometimes a Picture Speaks More Loudly than Words by The Elephant's Child

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The Standing Rock Sioux, a tribe of about 10,000, are leading the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, which they claim could pollute the Missouri River, the tribe’s main source of drinking water, and harm cultural lands and tribal burial grounds.

The tribe is working with the environmental group Earthjustice and has filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers, claiming the government didn’t properly consult them before approving the section of pipeline that runs near the reservation.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, says it has followed state and federal rules, met with Native American tribes, and proposed different versions of the pipeline route. The pipeline is 92 percent complete, only the small portion near the reservation is being contested. The pipeline does not enter the Standing Rock reservation.

Aseem Prakash, director of the Center for Environmental Politics at the University of Washington contends that the conflict reflects deeper-seated grievances of Native Americans. Years of injustices and their preferences not adequately taken into account. The pipeline goes through private land, not the reservation, but the tribe contends the land was acquired improperly and actually belongs to them by the terms of a 1851 treaty with the US government.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered a mandatory evacuation of protesters. A group of military veterans have said they will join the tribes’ protest. CNN says ‘hundreds’ of veterans, but that’s CNN. There’s apparently a lot of fossil-fuel hatred in the mix as well. You can tell how deeply serious it all is by the fact that Jane Fonda and someone named Shailene Woodley turned up to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the protesters.

President Obama, who had approved the pipeline, reneged and halted it. The Army Corps of Engineers who had approved the pipeline reneged, and said they would have to reroute it, and that’s where it is at the moment. The map above, though humorous, clearly indicates the absurdity of the whole thing. Donald Trump is probably not up to either being fearful of fossil fuels, nor particularly sensitive to Native American angst about an 1851 Treaty that they’ve decided was unfair.

If the oil cannot be transported safely by a pipeline, it will be transported unsafely by train or truck.



The Continuing Saga of the Election Recount by The Elephant's Child

Jill Stein’s campaign to raise money to challenge the vote in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan is apparently going nowhere rapidly. Pennsylvania informed her that the deadline was last Monday—a week ago, not today. Wisconsin said they weren’t going to do a recount. And Michigan just finished laboriously counting the ballots from the election for the first time, and Trump won healthily.

Haven’t seen any response from Dr. Stein, but she would seem to retain her 1% in the final tally, if it’s any comfort. Sorry about that.

ADDENDUM:  When she filed her challenge to Wisconsin election results, Jill Stein assumed that the recount would be done by hand. State officials decided that counties would not be forced to do a hand recount of ballots. Officials decided a machine recount would do, unanimously. Now Stein is suing to force a hand recount. “We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system” she said in a statement. Since Wisconsin voting machines are not connected to the internet, hacking is unlikely.  Officials said no recount will happen until she pays the $3.5 million fee ahead of time.The Democrat Elections Commission chairman cited a 2011 hand recount that changed only 300 votes out of 1.5 million as the basis for declaring a machine recount adequate. Real drama out in the hustings. (what are ‘hustings’ anyway?) Merriam Webster: “Hustings are where babies are kissed, flesh is pressed and media events are staged.

ADDENDUM II: After the first day of Jill Stein’s vaunted recount in Michigan, joined by Hillary, Hillary has gained 1 vote. She needs only 22,000 more for the election to be tied. Stein filed a petition with Michigan’s state Board of Canvassers on Wednesday, asking for a manual recount of every vote cast in Michigan in the presidential election. She also is leading efforts to force recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, claiming her goal is to “ensure the integrity and accuracy of the vote.”But not so fast! Michigan’s Republican attorney general filed a lawsuit on Friday to halt the vote recount attempt pursued in the state by Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein.

Michigan voters rejected Stein’s candidacy by massive margins but her refusal to accept that state verified result poses an expensive and risky threat to hard-working taxpayers and abuses the intent of Michigan law,” Bil Schuette said in a statement/

“We have asked the court to end the recount which Stein is pursuing in violation of Michigan laws that protect the integrity of our elections. It is inexcusable for Stein to put Michigan voters at risk of paying millions and potentially losing their voice in the Electoral College in the process”.

ADDENDUM III: It’s Over! A federal Judge in Michigan ruled that Jill Stein could not possibly win under any circumstances, and thus she had no standing to be able to challenge the election.




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