American Elephants

Headline of the Day. by The Elephant's Child

Today’s Headline: Aol

Tim Bartlett Chased by Wolf on Motorcycle in Canadar-WOLF-RUNNING-large570

If you had visions of someone named Tim running, screaming,  down the highway hotly pursued by a wolf riding a motorcycle., Nevermind.  I just thought it was funny.

They Say That 10% Of The People Will Say Anything! by The Elephant's Child

Public Policy Polling is a respected polling organization. They found in January that Americans have a higher opinion of colonoscopies than they do of Congress. That may be specious, and anything noxious would get the same result.  We do, however, have to remember that we elected them, and they are only human— which means they have real faults just like the rest of us. Just means we have to look at their qualifications a little more closely next time, rather than just their party affiliation.

PPP has just released a Conspiracy Theory poll. They” took the opportunity to poll 20 widespread and/or infamous conspiracy theories. Many are well known to the public, others just to the darker corners of the internet.” I picked ten to list here.

  • 37% of voters believe global warming is a hoax, 51% do not. Republicans say global warming is  a hoax by a 58–25% margin, Democrats disagree 11–77%, and Independents are more split at 41–51%.  61% of Romney voters believe global warming is a hoax.
  • 6% of voter believe Osama bin Laden is still alive.
  • 29% of voters believe aliens exist
  • 9% of voters think the government adds fluoride to our water supply for sinister reasons (not just dental health).
  • 20% of voters believe there is a link between childhood vaccines and autism, 51% do not.
  • Voters are split 44%–45% on whether Bush intentionally misled about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 72% of Democrats think Bush lied about WMD, Independents agree 48–45%.  Just 13% of Republicans think so.
  • 14% of voters believe in Bigfoot.
  • 15% of voters think the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry “invent” new diseases to make money.
  • 5% of voters believe that Paul McCartney actually died in 1966
  • 11% of voters believe the US Government allowed 9/11 to happen, 78% do not agree.

PPP surveyed 1,247 registered American voters from March 27th to 30th. The margin of error for the overall sample is +/- 2.8%. More results can be found here.

I grew up in the woods, and I do not believe in Bigfoot. I believe that “global warming” is a proven  fraud. I also grew up with the perfect amount of natural fluoride in the water, no dentist needed. And the headline came from a statement on the radio by a professor who has just written a book on unsolved mysteries (or conspiracies).

The Making of Nike Football National Team Jerseys by The Elephant's Child

Football here refers to Soccer, not American football. But this is what happens to all your recycling. Well, not all, just the plastic bottles. Kinda cool though.

[(h/t: NikeBetterWorld)

The Alternate Universe of Barack Obama by The Elephant's Child


Daniel Henninger, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, has frequent flashes of genius tinged with marvelous humor. His column today is an example. The sense is growing in Washington, he says,  and this includes Democrats, of living in an alternative universe.

The sequester looms, and the president flies around the country at $180,000 an hour, giving speeches, rather than talking to Congress. He hasn’t really had any contact with the legislative branch, but after the sequester happens, then he will meet with them.

If Washington is looking like an alternative universe, that’s because the president is creating an alternative universe—the Obamaian Universe (pronounced Oh-buh-mayan, as in the recent famous calendar).

This is a pre-Copernican world. Copernicus’ heliocentric system  overthrew what was known then as geo-centrism— the belief that the universe revolves around the earth. Beautiful maps exist depicting geocentrism, and this lovely construction. At the center of the Obamaian universe exists an ever-growing government, and the rest of the country is there to feed ever more revenue to the central government. The function of the central government is to spend, forever, to encourage the flow of revenue, which will merrily multiply.

In the Obamaian universe, the life force is a fairly weird contraption known as the Keynesian Multiplier. As explained by its adherents, for every $1 of public spending, the whole economy will rise by $1.50 or even $2.

As life forces go, the Keynesian Multiplier would be really remarkable. Alas, Copernican economists such as Robert Barro have been asking repeatedly the past four years for the evidence that all this spending in Mr. Obama’s public universe has been expanding the economy at this rate. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office just said that in 2013, which will be the fifth year of Obama budgets that spend about $3.5 trillion annually, the economy is only going to grow 1.4%.

For that, Mr. Obama has an answer: more spending, which would be made possible by ratcheting up the volume of revenue flowing into the spending machine via whatever cats-and-dogs tax increase he can get through Congress.

Maybe the Keynesian Multiplier, like green ooze, just doesn’t work.

It doesn’t matter, Mr. Henninger says. The president’ pre-Copernican political economy is based in religious belief. He doesn’t want to cut spending. He wants more of it. Forever.

If it’s not behind the subscription barrier, read the whole thing.

So, this happened: Beatboxing goat. by American Elephant
January 31, 2013, 11:44 am
Filed under: Humor, News of the Weird, YouTube

A Terrifying Creature Stalks the Night! by The Elephant's Child

Zoologger is a weekly column at New Scientist that highlights extraordinary animals from around the world.

Onychomys torridus lives in the arid badlands of the Sonoran Desert in the south-western United States and northern Mexico.

In the dark expanses of the Sonoran desert in the US, a terrifying creature stalks the night, searching for fresh meat. Anything will do: crickets, rodents, tarantulas – the nastier the better.

Even the poisonous scorpion cannot escape the savage monster’s little pink paws. It fights bravely, stinging its attacker on the nose. To no avail. The mouse ignores the painful venom and cruelly breaks the scorpion’s tail by pummeling it into the ground, then bites its head and feasts on its flesh. Throwing its head back, the murderous animal howls at the moon.

dn23072-1_300(Image: Michael and Patricia Fogden/Minden/NGS)

This is the southern grasshopper mouse, the only carnivorous mouse in North America. It’s unique biology and resistance to scorpion venom may one day help researchers to treat human pain disorders.

This odd little fellow is a natural-born killer. They take over burrows of other animals and remover any occupants by force. In particularly bad times, they may turn cannibalistic, killing and eating their own species. But they do have unusual resistance to pain. Read the whole article to see how this characteristic may one day help humans.

(purloined from Vanderleun)

Has the Government Gone Completely Nuts? by The Elephant's Child

The Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, created in 1947 by President Harry Truman to replace the Wartime OSS, now protects us all — by operating a special center dedicated to global warming. What?

It was launched under President Obama in 2009, and known as the Center on Climate Change and National Security, and it operates under a cloak of secrecy that rejects all public-records requests. It is considered an exclusive unit that is led by “senior specialists.”

As the agency suffers through a huge scandal this month, it has come out with a startling report exposing the national security dangers of global warming. Climate change is accelerating at such a fast pace that it will put severe strains on U.S. military and Intelligence agencies in coming years, the CIA -sanctioned study found. The changes will trigger increasingly disruptive developments around the world as well.

Scientific evidence indicates that the global climate is moving outside the bounds of past experience and can be expected to put new stresses on societies around the world, prompting examination of a variety of plausible scenarios through which climate change might pose or alter security risks for the United States,” according to a summary from the report. It goes on to offer an improved understanding of the links between climate and security as well as the ability to anticipate potential security risks arising from “climate phenomena.

Keeping with the CIA’s primary mission of gathering foreign intelligence, the report focuses on climate-related “social and political stresses outside the United States.” It outlines security risks that might “exceed the capacity of affected populations to cope and respond.” How exactly will this occur? Seemingly unrelated events exacerbated by climate change will cause an unpredictable crisis in water and energy supplies, food markets and public health systems…

Well, climate is changing, just as it always does. We haven’t had any warming at all for over fifteen years, and the planet has been cooling slightly. But these guys seem to be getting their advice from the Society of Environmental Journalists who don’t talk to scientists either, they learn from each other. If the EPA keeps insisting that we put our food crops in our gas tanks, we may have some shortages of food supplies. But there is no sign yet of another Little Ice Age.  But that doesn’t seem to be what the Center has in mind:

Its charter is not the science of climate change, but the national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources. The Center will provide support to American policymakers as they negotiate, implement, and verify international agreements on environmental issues. That is something the CIA has done for years. “Decision makers need information and analysis on the effects climate change can have on security. The CIA is well positioned to deliver that intelligence,” said Director Leon Panetta.

Why on earth is the CIA involved? President Obama may be the last of the ‘true believers’ in alarmist climate change along with Al Gore and Bill McKibben. But it’s not just the CIA. According to a new report on financial waste in the Department of Defense, the Pentagon initiated more renewable energy projects in 2010 — the year measured— than any other federal agency, including the Energy Department and the EPA. Senator Tom Coburn released a report highlighting Defense programs that are wasteful, duplicative, or superfluous:

The federal government launched 679 renewable energy initiatives in 2010 including those at the Department of Energy. The Department of Defense accounted for 116 initiatives,more than any other department or agency. By contrast, DOE started less than 100.

There is currently no comprehensive inventory of which federal agencies are implementing renewable energy-related initiatives and the types of initiatives they are implementing. In light of efforts to balance the federal budget and target spending on activities that will most effectively meet national needs, the lack of available information on agencies’ renewable energy initiatives has further raised congressional concerns about the ability to identify whether efforts are fragmented, duplicative, or operating at cross-purposes.

The military’s “green push,” notes Heritage, needlessly bleeds scarce resources away from core missions to advance a political agenda.

The Pentagon and the environmental movement seem to have found common cause by linking America’s national security to the basic tenets of the President’s green agenda. The DOD bureaucracy benefits by securing resources to engage in climate change and alternative energy research, and the green movement benefits by keeping its agenda alive. Unfortunately, there are real costs for national security, energy technology, the taxpayer, and the American consumer.

So al Qaeda is back, stronger than ever, the Middle East is aflame, the president is attempting to burnish his nonexistent foreign policy credentials by visiting Myanmar, and demonstrating how peaceful he is by cutting the military back to bare bones in a dangerous world. He will save the world by running what military we have left on ethanol?

ADDENDUM:According to The Hill’s E² Wire, 11/19/12, The CIA Center on Climate Change and National Security has closed. The agency’s work on climate change has been transferred to a new office.

“The CIA for several years has studied the national security implications of climate change. As part of a broader realignment of analytic resources, this work continues to be performed by a dedicated team in a new office that looks at economic and energy matters affecting America’s national security. The mission and the resources devoted to it remain essentially unchanged,” Ebitz said in a statement to The Hill.

The CIA is one of multiple federal agencies to explore the nexus between climate change and security — sometimes drawing GOP criticism in the process.

The article does not identify “the new office.” The most interesting description of the previous office says “it operates under a cloak of secrecy that rejects all public record requests.”

Some Days Are Like This, Or It Never Rains But it Pours. by The Elephant's Child

Chaos in the house. My refrigerator died an unplanned-for death, and getting a new one is a lengthy process, involving a lot of discarded food and acquisition of many blocks of ice. Concurrently, I had to call a plumber with a clogged drain beyond ordinary home remedies. Drain reamed out, but the refrigerator drama continues.


Short of Campaign Funds? Desperation Sets In? by The Elephant's Child

The Obama campaign has been complaining that Romney may raise more money than Obama this time around.  Obama completed his 150th “campaign event” last week, which is more fund-raisers than those of all recent presidents put together.  Aside from that, many campaign trips are anchored by a trip to a manufacturer of solar panels or other manufacturer so that he can call the trip “official business” and the taxpayers get the bill.

They have a wide array of designer created Obama merchandise for sale, to raise money. And there are the regular auctions of “dinner with the Obamas,” and all the fancy $40,000 a plate events at the homes of the glitterati, and I guess he’s still coming up short.

But this one takes the cake. Getting married? Big wedding? Birthday? Tell your friends to skip the presents and send the money to the Obama Event Registry. Support the President on your Big Day. Can it get more tacky than this? 
(click to enlarge)

More Regulation: No Credit Cards for Moms! by The Elephant's Child

Oh dear,  those wise elites in government really don’t think the ordinary folk who pay their salaries are very bright.  They are so anxious to protect us from ourselves.  Lawmakers apparently believe that Visa, Mastercard and Discover and  might not have the incentive to properly manage their own credit risk. If not aided by new regulations from Congress, people might run up more debt than they could repay — like the elected officials who have run up the national tab by$1.2 trillion just this year.

The Federal Reserve Board has issued the specific regulations called for in the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD).  I love the way the acronym comes first, then they figure out the name. The name is a little odd for a regulation that prohibits private companies from acting independently.

Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke declared the new rules to be a milestone in the effort to ensure that consumers who rely on credit cards are treated fairly.

It’s that old bugaboo “consequences.” The law is widely interpreted as prohibiting millions of stay-at-home-moms, and stay-at-home-dads from obtaining credit cards of their own. The “ability to pay” regulation requires credit card applicants to have an independent source of income to open an account or else find a co-signer.

(a) General rule. (1)(i) Consideration of ability to pay. A card issuer must not open a credit card account for a consumer…unless the card issuer considers the ability of the consumer to make the required minimum periodic payments under the terms of the account based on the consumer’s income or assets and current obligations.

(ii) Reasonable policies and procedures. Card issuers must establish and maintain reasonable written policies and procedures to consider a consumer’s income or assets and current obligations…It would be unreasonable for a card issuer to…issue a credit card to a consumer who does not have any income.

Homemakers actually do most of the household purchases, and over 45,000 of them have signed a petition  of protest that has gone to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It’s really special being regarded as incompetent.

An Embarrassed Massachusetts Legislature Backs Down. by The Elephant's Child

Common sense triumphs. Massachusetts state lawmakers overturned the ban on school bake sales. The controversial ban’s guidelines also prohibited pizza, white bread and 2 percent milk. Legislators heard plenty from outraged parents.

The theory is an “epidemic” of childhood obesity is threatening the lives of the country’s youngest generation —and that government bureaucrats must decide what foods children should eat and when. Hardly a day goes by without a new article about some bureaucrats somewhere telling people how to live their lives, or parents how to raise their children.

Just Ordinary Happenings in an Ordinary Day. by The Elephant's Child

— Aurora, Colorado. A six-year-old boy was suspended from school for sexual harassment. First-grader D’Avonte Meadows apparently said the line “I’m sexy and I know it” to a female while he was standing in the lunch line. He didn’t even sing it —”I only said the song,” he told the reporter.

His mother was not pleased. She said she sees things like “fondling, looking up her skirt” as sexual harassment, not quoting an MTV line. “They’re going to look at him like he’s a pervert. And it’s like, that’s not fair to him.” Sable Elementary issued a statement saying it couldn’t discuss the case; but they pointed out a school board policy that defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual advance. There is no age limit.

— Newark, N.J. TSA failed to properly screen a baby for weapons when it was handed from one parent to another during a metal detector walk through. Both parents were screened before leaving for their gate.  A TSA official said that police were told that the slip up was  a “low-risk factor” given the circumstances of the incident. A short the e later, the TSA personnel realized that the baby had no been checked and began searching for the family.

Port Authority police unilaterally made the decision to evacuate the terminal, sweep the terminal for explosives and re-screen all of the passengers. This, of course, inconvenienced hundreds of passengers and  delayed many flights, said the official who was not authorized to discuss the issue by name because of its delicacy.

Is the country being run by a committee? This seems like the work of a committee, they always mess everything up. Terrorist babies indeed.


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