American Elephants


Our Self-Infatuated President Speaks About Himself by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama

It has frequently been noticed that President Obama’s speeches most often focus on himself. No matter what the location, no matter what the topic, the words will mostly be about him.

Earlier today, Obama delivered  a short speech in New Delhi, wrapping up his visit. John Hinderaker over at Powerline noted that “the speech was only 33 minutes long, yet…Barack managed to work in references to himself no fewer than 118 times. The folks at Grabien write:”

Today in New Delhi, the president of the United States delivered an address to the people of India. Topics ranged from Obama’s pride in being the first U.S. president to visit India twice, to the historic nature of his attendance at India’s Republic Day Parade, to his grandfather’s occupation as a chef, to his graying hair, to his daughters … to his struggles against political critics back home. If this is starting to sound like the president spoke quite a bit about himself, that’s because he did. Somehow in the span of just 33 minutes, Obama referenced himself 118 times. (For those keeping score at home, that’s 3.5 Obama references per minute.)

We have often noticed that he seems to live in a fantasy world that excludes any opponents or any disagreement. It’s true!



It’s a Farce, But They Want to Express Their Concern About Economic Inequality by The Elephant's Child

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The World Hypocrisy Forum of the ultra rich will enter its final day in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday. Volunteers created an array of 193  three foot high snowmen complete with carrot noses and coal eyes, each draped in a scarf representing one of the 193 countries recognized by the United Nations.

When the world’s wealthiest citizens, heads of state, businessmen, and movie stars fly into a Swiss ski resort on their 1,700 private jets to see and be seen for the purpose of creating a better world by expressing concern about the problems of climate change, poverty and economic inequality while taking helicopter rides, a few ski runs and relaxing in the spas, and noshing on $43 hot dogs at the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère — you simply have to laugh. Can they possibly not recognize — but of course they can’t.

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan CEO. said “Family first, country second , and JP Morgan—it ‘s the best I can do for the world. You don’t want a weak JP Morgan-or else”according to Twitter.

Billionaire Jeff Green who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, said the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.

“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

The pretentious, pompous, World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland. Everybody took selfies with the cute snowmen.



Surprising Life Found Underneath Antarctica! by The Elephant's Child

A team of ice-drillers and scientists in Antarctica have bored a hole through 740 meter thick ice of  a back corner of the Ross Ice Shelf — a slab of glacial ice the size of France that hangs off the coastline of Antarctica and floats on the ocean. The remote water they tapped sits beneath the back corner of the shelf, where the shelf meets what would be the shore of Antarctica if there weren’t any ice. The spot where they drilled sits 850 kilometers from the outer edge of the ice shelf — the nearest place where the ocean lies in sunlight that allows tiny plankton to grow and create a food chain. The animals inhabit a wedge of seawater only 10 meters deep sealed between the ice above and a barren, rocky seafloor below. Scientific American reports on the startling discovery.

They lowered a small custom-build robot down the hole they had bored through the ice sheet. They were stunned to find fish and other aquatic animals living in perpetual darkness and cold underneath 740 meters of glacial ice. They had expected to find nothing but possible scant microbial life.

Ross Powell, a 63-year-old glacial geologist from Northern Illinois University co-led the expedition with two other scientists. “I’ve worked in this area for my whole career” he said — studying the underbellies where glaciers flow into oceans. “You get the picture of these areas having very little food, being desolate, not supporting much life.” Yet the ecosystem has managed somehow to survive incredibly far from sunlight, the source of energy that drives most life on earth.

Fish_1_lowrezThis is the first low-resolution image of a translucent fish that they discovered where it seemed no life should exist. The image reveals two black eyes and various organs visible as colored blobs.
Credit: Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling Project   



Inflation: Hiding and Disguising It So You Won’t Notice by The Elephant's Child

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Inflation is reckoned to be around 1.3% or nothing significant. Women who do the bulk of grocery shopping would probably disagree. But inflation is disguised in the grocery store in many different ways, some noticeable, and some that are downright sneaky. Packaging that seems to be the same size, same price, if you look closely will contain only 12 oz. instead of the previous 16 oz.  See sugar, granulated, and flour, all-purpose. Some cereal boxes were as tall as usual and as wide across, but thinner.

Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate was up-front and brazen about the whole thing. Bars were uniformly 8 oz. Suddenly, the new box was headlined “NEW! 4 oz Easy Break Bar. Same great chocolate”with a little illustration showing how easy it was to break the bar apart. Only problem was that you were getting half as much for the same price.They have now removed the “New” line, whether because of objections or only because they thought you’d had enough time to get used to it, I don’t know. I have more respect for companies that don’t try to fool you.

Facial tissues are 1 ply thinner, as are most paper napkins. But did you notice this one? Toilet tissue, probably depending on the brand, has gotten about an inch narrower. You only notice it by paying attention to how the roll fits into the fixture. Sneaky!

Inflation is measured on a specific basket of commodities. I don’t know what items count. Certainly the drop in the price of gas is deflationary. I don’t know when the drop in transportation costs will be reflected in the price of groceries. But the droop will be reflected throughout the economy.

An interesting side note: Larry Kudlow reported this weekend that the drop in the price of gasoline, graphed, was matched exactly by the graphed rise in business at fast food restaurants.



Today’s $68 Billion Train to Nowhere to Be Finished in 80 Years? Splendid Idea. by The Elephant's Child

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On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown, Democrat, took an oath of government frugality in his fourth inaugural address. The next day he led the groundbreaking ceremony for  California’s $68 billion bullet train in Fresno.

Seven years ago, in 2008, voters approved $9 billion in state bonds to build a 500-mile train connecting San Francisco and Anaheim (current estimates suggest more than $100 billion). The feds have donated a mere $3.3 billion, which by law must be spent by October 2017. California’s high-speed rail authority can’t access the bond proceeds until it gets the right of way from the state courts, which are presiding over numerous legal challenges that may not be settled for several years.

The  authority has so far obtained less than a fifth of the parcels needed to complete the first 29-mile stretch in the Central Valley.

This does not matter to Mr. Brown and the rail authority who are frantically trying to burn through the federal funds to meet the White House’s spending deadline. The LA Times says that  “over the next 1,000 days, the state will have to  spend $3 to $4 million every single day to accomplish their goal.”

Bullet train supporters believe that state judges will be reluctant to block access to bond funds once construction starts. The more schools,  homes and businesses torn down, the better. The goal is to make the bullet train an accomplished fact, in order to convince the judiciary that it is. California’s record of starting and then abandoning freeways, and infrastructure projects meant the Legislature added provisions to ensure the train did not become a “stranded investment.”

Planners picked the flattest, straightest and most desolate stretch for the first segment. It gets more complicated crossing the 7,680′ high Tehachapi range, and tearing up densely populated areas in the Bay Area and Los Angeles Basin.

I have over 40 articles about California High-Speed Rail Authority. They uniformly think it’s nuts. Some estimates are 80 years till completion. Thinking back 80 years, to the changes in technology, population, culture, one must conclude that today’s plans are unlikely to fit 2094 transportation needs at all. And the federal $3.3 billion is all they have to work with at present since a state judge last year barred it from tapping the voter-approved $9 billion in bonds until it satisfies a quantity of requirements in the ballot initiative.

The Governor said that those who don’t support the bullet train are pusillanimous — “lacking in spirit” he said, but the actual definition is not so bland.



Keep Exhaling! Breathe in and Out! It’s Saving Us From An Ice Age. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s science czar, John Holdren, says that human activity (global warming) is saving us from the ice age that we had been warned might be coming.  We are warming the Earth, you see, by driving our SUVs and exhaling carbon dioxide, and those coal-fired power plants, and cow flatulence, and that is protecting us from another ice age.

Mr. Holdren, who holds the title of assistant to the president for science and technology,”in a recent online question-and-answer session in which he fielded queries from the public, let slip the seeming contradiction that without the influence of man and his industrial activities, the Earth would probably be slipping into a cyclical ice age all on its own, just like the last one.”

While the climate of the Earth has changed over millennia as a result of natural factors — principally changes in the tilt and orientation of the Earth’s axis and rotation, and in the shape of its orbit around the sun — those changes occur far too gradually to have noticeable effects over a period of mere decades.

In their current phases, moreover, they would be gradually cooling the Earth — taking us to another ice age — if they weren’t being more than offset by human-caused warming.

Oh well, a while back Mr. Holdren was worried about overpopulation, because there were too many people and advocated sterilizing them through their drinking water. He and Paul Erlich took part in a famous wager with  Julian Simon.They bet that the price of five key metals would be higher in 1990 because of their scarcity in an increasingly polluted and overpopulated world. They lost. All of the metals were more plentiful and the price had decreased.

There has been no warming of Earth’s climate for 18 years and 3 months. The contribution of man to climate is quite minor. The Earth keeps warming and cooling in a natural and cyclical process.



Zoned Out, Total Collapse! by The Elephant's Child

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Sorry about the absence of blogging. Sleep problem, or more accurately coffee problem. Wide awake for 32 hours, then slept for 12. Coffee doesn’t usually bother me, but an overdose combined with”The Speech” was just too much. Not even melatonin helped. Apparently I am not as immune to caffeine as I thought I was.  Must be global warming.




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