American Elephants


We Had a Brief Cloudburst, and the Sun is Peeking Through Clouds by The Elephant's Child

 

We had a brief cloudburst a little while ago, and now the sun is back out. I started wondering about the word “cloudburst,” wondering if it was an ordinary term or a localism. It is indeed an ordinary term, and I found this brief time-lapse video of a cloudburst over a lake in Austria, taken by a well prepared photographer who captured the moment. “Cloudburst” is also a choral work by Eric Whittaker, a movie – apparently about two elderly lesbians, and large numbers of outdoor equipment pieces ranging from jackets and wearing apparel to tents and backpacks. Who knew? If you have a little time to spare, wondering can lead you down all sorts of interesting side roads.

I have experienced many cloudbursts, but the timelapse video is a marvel. Experiencing a cloudburst will never be the same.



Donald Trump is Finished! by The Elephant's Child

You may have already seen this video, but I find that it deserves multiple viewings. It’s funny! I have always assumed that Democrats all say the same thing at the same time because they receive “talking points” of carefully selected words generated by their propaganda workshop, but perhaps it is some kind of unconscious mind-meld, or they listen intently to what their compatriots say, so they will know what to say themselves.

What do you think? I don’t think I have ever used the words “beginning of the end” or “the walls are closing in”. I don’t think they are in my normal vocabulary or what I would say in such a situation. How about you?



Have You Heard About “The Equality Act”? by The Elephant's Child

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“While Europeans are accustomed to being ruled by presumed betters whom they distrust, the American people’s realization of being ruled in the same way shocked this country into well-nigh revolutionary attitudes. But only the realization was new. The Ruling Class had sunk deep roots in America decades before 2008.

America’s disease is all the more deadly for being bipartisan. Republican and Democratic office-holders and their retinues share  similar presumption to dominate, and show fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class, almost a caste.”…

That excerpt comes from Angelo M. Codevilla’s 2010 book The Ruling Class.

In that line of thought, I was interested to learn that last week, Democrats introduced the Equality Act, a measure that would ensure gender ideology – i.e., transgender bathrooms, forced preferred pronoun use, and biological men playing women’s sports, etc. – is cemented into federal law.

H.R. 5, which was introduced with 239 co-sponsors, states its purpose is to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.”

Prohibiting discrimination and promoting equality sound virtuous, but many serious opponents — including a coalition of conservatives, feminists, lesbians, and Christians — are warning Americans the Equality Act is dangerous legislation that will do anything but create equality. In fact, the measure would likely force American women throughout the country to relinquish their rights to privacy, safety, and the ability to compete in sports “equally.”

Monica Burke of the Heritage Foundation summed up the likely effects of the Equality Act with the observation at the Daily Signal that “it actually would promote inequality by elevating the ideologies of special-interest groups to the level of protected groups in civil rights law.”

Concurrently, it seems that British Police are investigating a Catholic mother after she used the “wrong pronoun” for a transgender person.  According to the Telegraph, Catholic journalist Caroline Farrow “allegedly used the wrong pronoun when referring to “transgender rights activist Susie Green’s “transgender daughter.” Green filed a complaint with the police. Farrow will face a recorded interview with police to determine whether she committed a “hate crime.” She is also being investigated for a possible hate crime under the malicious communication act, an offense that carries a maximum two-year prison sentence.”

So is this the ultimate denouement of the Democrat’s long, long effort to make the Republicans the “racist” party?  It was Southern Democrats who imported slaves from Africa. It was Southern Democrats who seceded from the union to protect their ‘peculiar institution,’ fought a long and bloody war to preserve slavery. Democrats have been twisting themselves into pretzels to find proof, that anyone would believe, that Donald Trump is a racist.

A ban on travel from a few Middle Eastern Countries that have supported terrorism, they tried to make into a general racist ban on people with slightly darker skin. They’ve tried to make the crisis of illegal immigration at our Southern border into something racist. Everything is now supposed to be about “Diversity” which supposedly means that every group of people must include the correct proportions of skin colors compared to their numbers in society. All group photographs must be correctly diversified. That is not working sufficiently to ease their fears that some blacks might move to the Republican Party. Harvard, for example, is now being sued by Asian students with outstanding SAT scores who are not accepted because it would mean that Harvard had too many Asian students and not the correct “diversity.”

Did you wonder why “white supremacy” has suddenly popped up as a bad thing? It possibly has something to do with Democrat’s fear that they may be losing some of their black voters. There are well known black Republicans. There is a “walk away” movement. Democrats consider themselves the real Ruling Class, and they must be in control. That’s why “white supremacy”, that’s why Trump must be a racist, that’s why opposing open borders must be racist, and why the Democrats introduced the Equality Act last week. If you don’t want to reach the point where you or I might be hauled off to be interrogated by the police for “misgendering” someone as having committed a hate crime, you might want to contact your congresspeople, or urge the President to get out his veto pen.



The Planet Has Been Warming and Cooling for Millions and Millions of Years by The Elephant's Child

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RECENT EARTH CLIMATE HISTORY

600 TO 200 B.C.:Unnamed cold period that preceded the Roman Warming.
200 B.C.to about A.D.600:Roman Warming.
600 to 900:Dark Ages cold period.
900 to 1300:Medieval Warming or Little Climate Optimum.
1300 to 1850:Little Ice Age (two-stage)

MODERN CLIMATE HISTORY

1850 to 1940:Warming, especially between 1920 and 1940.
1940 to 1975:Cooling Trend.
1976 to 1978:Sudden Warming Spurt
1979 to present:large disparity between surface thermometers, which show a fairly strong warming, and the independent temperature readings of satellites and weather balloons, which show little warming trend.

I don’t know in what form Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Governor Inslee received the information that Climate Change was suddenly, after millions and millions of years, becoming an existential threat to life on earth, and with all sorts of scientists studying the problem, that they were personally called upon to notify humanity that we have to do something right now or we are all doomed.

Neither of these two politicians have scientific degrees, nor do they back up their incipient terror with incontrovertible evidence from any scientist of repute. So with no confirmation of any kind, it’s left up to us ordinary citizens, with long experience with politicians trying to make themselves seem important, to call b.s. on the whole thing.

The climate has been warming and cooling long before history recorded any temperatures, but scientists have devised ways of getting at least an inkling of what has gone on in the big ages of the past. I am merely a lay person with no scientific expertise, so I look things up in books at home or from the library. If I don’t understand what I am reading, I study up a little more. I learned  long time ago that it was kind of embarrassing to shoot off one’s mouth and not know what you are talking about.

The above timeline is from a 2007 book called Unstoppable Global Warming



The Worst Food Regulation Ever by The Elephant's Child

A government shutdown not only allows the rest of us a chance to think about the usefulness of government and all that it does, but quite a few people have been talking about the unnecessary size of government, the things the government does that they don’t really need to be doing, and there was an article in the Wall Street Journal today titled “This May be the Worst Regulation Ever” with an even more interesting subhead: “A USDA rule about labels on ‘bioengineered’ food cost hundreds of millions and has no benefits.

Well, Frabjous Day, Henry I. Miller has hit on one of my pet peeves. He is talking specifically about the “Non GMO” required label, but the “Certified Organic” is almost as bad. I blame it all on suburban housewives, who are supposed to be “highly educated”, but in my experience are highly susceptible to phony claims.

The “Organic” movement started because they got it in their heads that their food was being fertilized by the petroleum industry. Well, yes, petroleum products are rich in nitrogen which is a fertilizer for plants, and oil companies made fertilizers. Panic time! Poisoning children. The Organic movement wanted “natural” fertilizer, not fossil fuels. “Natural fertilizer” comes from cow poop and chicken poop. Food grown without a lot of noxious chemicals in a “natural way” grew, and the Dept. of Agriculture agreed to certify foods produced by organic farmers as “Organic” so folks could be sure to reach for the right can. Unfortunately  cow poop and chicken poop have a risk of e-coli, which is poisonous, And when you get to advertisements on the radio for “Organic Cotton sheets for your bed” it gets remarkably silly. If the cotton fields from which the cotton was picked were fertilized with manure, what earthly difference does that make to the fabric eventually woven for your bed?

The GMO scare was similar. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. They tweaked the genes of the plants that grew what eventually became food to add a more desirable element. In some cases it helps to resist a virus, or resist a certain kind of bug, or need less water or fertilizer when growing. The statute acknowledged that bioengineered food is neither more nor less safe than other food, but the new rule — the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) will not help consumers to understand that. So you have labels on most of the canned food on your supermarket’s shelves that identify Organic foods and Non GMO foods, that give you useless information and cost you a whole bunch. Organic food costs about 30% more than its non-organic counterpart, and is a complete waste of money.

I refuse to buy anything with an “Organic” label, but stores now have a large organic fruit and vegetable section. I blame it, as I said on suburban women, and on Gwyneth Paltrow, who has always been very big on food scares.

The original article is here, but may be behind a subscription barrier. Henry I. Miller is a great debunker of things that need debunking. Watch for him.



Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence by The Elephant's Child

From the new issue of Imprimus from Hillsdale College:

Alex Berenson is the author of Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence

The following is adapted from a speech delivered January 15, 2019 at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington D.C.

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Seventy miles northwest of New York City is a hospital that looks like a prison, its drab brick buildings wrapped in layers of fencing and barbed wire. This grim facility is called the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute. It’s one of three places the state of New York sends the criminally mentally ill—defendants judged not guilty by reason of insanity.

Until recently, my wife Jackie­—Dr. Jacqueline Berenson—was a senior psychiatrist there. Many of Mid-Hudson’s 300 patients are killers and arsonists. At least one is a cannibal. Most have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia that provoked them to violence against family members or strangers.

A couple of years ago, Jackie was telling me about a patient. In passing, she said something like, Of course he’d been smoking pot his whole life.

Of course? I said.

Yes, they all smoke.

So marijuana causes schizophrenia?

I was surprised, to say the least. I tended to be a libertarian on drugs. Years before, I’d covered the pharmaceutical industry for The New York Times. I was aware of the claims about marijuana as medicine, and I’d watched the slow spread of legalized cannabis without much interest.

Jackie would have been within her rights to say, I know what I’m talking about, unlike you. Instead she offered something neutral like, I think that’s what the big studies say. You should read them.

So I did. The big studies, the little ones, and all the rest. I read everything I could find. I talked to every psychiatrist and brain scientist who would talk to me. And I soon realized that in all my years as a journalist I had never seen a story where the gap between insider and outsider knowledge was so great, or the stakes so high.

I began to wonder why—with the stocks of cannabis companies soaring and politicians promoting legalization as a low-risk way to raise tax revenue and reduce crime—I had never heard the truth about marijuana, mental illness, and violence.

******

You might want to read this one. The whole issue is here, and you can subscribe to Imprimis at the end. I have enjoyed my subscription. Only comes once a month, and it’s completely free.



Not Exactly A Day Like All Days, Thank Goodness! by The Elephant's Child

If you want to see pictures, they are here:

What a thoroughly weird day. We had a Women’s March yesterday in the nation’s capitol and some other places, but only the DC one matters. That’s where you get the speeches and the press obligingly takes pictures of the most outrageous and vulgar signs. This one was even more excruciatingly embarrassing than the last one. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke in response to the major speech by the President of the United States. The newest and youngest of the 435 members of the House of Representatives felt called upon for a response.

Republicans made her a celebrity, so now we apparently have to live with it. Republicans were shocked by the inanity and wrongheadedness of what she said, and listened closely for the next stupidity. The media promptly started paying attention, and that is how celebrity gets made these days. I think it was Chris Buskirk who said that what she clearly was not stupid, it’s just that what she believed was completely wrong. Scott Adams warned that because Republicans found her threatening, she was dangerous and we must not underestimate her. She really just confirms what is the direction of the Democrat Party — neither knowledge of nor understanding of free-market capitalism, and an embrace of socialism instead.

I think the Left started off back in the day when Democrats were trying to start unions, with a viscous hatred for the “Captains of Industry,” Corporate bosses or CEOs.  College professors loathed them, for they made way more money than they and their fellows did, and they didn’t even have PhDs! That’s just my theory. Thus they have no interest in capitalism, free-market or any other kind, and they do not understand it because they loathe it. Listen closely and it pops up all the time. I often quote Christiana Figueres, General Secretary of the UN’s IPCC– supposedly the last word on world climate, who admitted that the goal of the environmental movement was not to save the world from climate doom, but “to rid the world of Capitalism.”

The United States is the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world, and we can’t seem to sell anybody else on free-market capitalism. Of course Obama could never manage anything over 2% growth, but that was not the norm. Donald Trump has restored growth, restored prosperity, restored jobs, and naturally everyone loathes him, and cannot say things vulgar enough about how much they hate him. Go figure.

A lot of people dumped their support for the Women’s March because of the Anti-Semitism of the leaders, and their connections. They support the BDS movement, and of course Linda Sarsour,a leader of the march is a Palestinian-American, and the march isn’t much about women anyway, and women are doing just fine.

The other big event of the day was that a group of boys from a Covington, Kentucky, Catholic Boys School were here for the March for Life on Saturday, in which their school traditionally participates. They were waiting at the Lincoln Memorial for their bus, and a bunch of Black Supremacy Activists started yelling at them, then a elderly Native American activist worked his way through the crowd and started playing his drum right under the nose of one of the boys.

The young man smiled at the activist, maintained his poise, asked their counselor for permission to do the school yell. His parents should be proud of him. Twitter got into the event, and disgraced themselves and their pretensions of fairness, and the whole thing became an “event,” falsely portrayed, and the kids were being called awful names, getting death threats, and even their principal and their church assumed that they had done something wrong — they had not. It will all blow over, the kids will be proven to be without fault, and to have behaved extremely well under great provocation.

The current leftist meme is that the poised young man who smiled in response to someone drumming right in his face – was “smirking.” And clearly “smirking” is a “face-crime.” There are no depths to which the Left will not descend.

Just another ordinary day. I’m not sure just how many more ordinary days like that one we can handle.




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