American Elephants


The Debates, The Elections, The Media,The Swamp. by The Elephant's Child

We seem to be still  thinking about the debates. The media wants to rank them, decide who moved up and who moved down. Not so much interested in what they actually talked about. The one thing they seemed to be reasonably united on was “Medicare for All” but nobody had studied up to see what it would mean. They were looking for what would get them positive vibes.

“Medicare for All” seems to appeal to a lot of people who have no idea what it means. It would mean that you lose your current health care, including any health care you get through your employment. And your taxes would go way, way up, as the health care you could have would go way, way down.

Most people who are actually on Medicare, who can afford it, purchase Medicare supplement plans to cover what Medicare does not. Many physicians will not see Medicare patients, simply because Medicare does not pay enough. Health care is very expensive. Some people need a lot of it. Some people just like a lot of it.

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) pays for health care for all in very high taxes, yet if you read the British papers, there are always complaints, scandals, ambulances lined up outside hospitals waiting for there to be a vacancy, old folks dying from lack of attention. The wealthy can choose other services. The Brits fear losing it. Canadians keep coming down here to get care that the Canadian system does not offer. Read the Canadian papers online, you’ll see.

We get wrapped up in politics,deciding who we like and who we don’t, and sometimes we pay attention, and mostly not enough.

The enemy is the bureaucracy. The swamp. They are interested in what the people want – to the extent that will get them elected and reelected. They like being important and making big salaries and important decisions. Some try to study up and understand the deep background of issues, but most don’t. They are particularly interested in what their big donors want, and what the media has to say, and if the media is interested in them.

Do you write to your Congressman? Your Senator? Is he a member of your party, or are you represented by someone you didn’t vote for? The only way they will know how you feel is if you write. They may not read your message, but it will be tallied, and if your congressperson gets a lot of letters on a given subject, they will know how their voters feel. So it matters, the more the better. To e-mail your representatives go to House.gov or Senate.gov  and follow the directions. I am represented entirely, at every level, by the opposing party, so I sometimes write representatives from other states explaining that I’m not a constituent, but…  I get on a lot of interesting mailing lists that way.



Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Meaning of “Click-bait” by The Elephant's Child

Perhaps we should increase the age when one is eligible to run for Congress. AOC was apparently an excellent student. She graduated cum laude with a double major in international affairs and (snort) economics. But she was the youngest woman to be elected to Congress. She announced Friday that an explosion at a Philadelphia oil refinery was due to climate change, arguing that the incident underscores the urgency of her Green New Deal.  (A vat of butane ignited and eventually exploded at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex, followed by a series of smaller explosions through the pipes moving fuel around the complex. It injured five workers and took 120 firefighters to bring under control.)

You have noticed, I ‘m sure that AOC has become what is called “click bait”– that is, articles about her will be clicked on and partly read, which means that the advertisers’ ads will be seen, which pays the newsmen’s salaries for their stories. (Heck of a way to run an economy). Democrats pay attention because she is one of theirs who gets attention, those suffering from “climate panic” because of her “green new deal”, and Republicans, because everything she says is so remarkably stupid. She also had some remark about Trump not allowing toothpaste to the children in the concentration camps at the southern border. She has never been to the southern border, and has turned down innumerable offers to be enlightened a little about concentration camps.

ADDENDUM: I saw an article which showed AOC at the border, so I was mistaken about her never having been. I cannot find it again, but as I recall, she was staring at a chain link fence, which she apparently confused with a concentration camp. I apologize for misleading anyone.



Climate is a Very Big Business. Keep That in Mind. by The Elephant's Child

NOAA has finally verified the fact, (proven years go by Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That.com), that poor siting of official climate monitoring stations has meant a record of more warming  than actually exists. Follow the link above to see a visual explanation of what is meant by “poor siting.” Several years ago Anthony sent readers of his blog out to take photographs of the  sites of weather monitoring stations. Some were surrounded by heat reflecting concrete walls, some next to trash burners and some where the exhaust from an air-conditioning unit blew directly. There had been talk of an Urban Heat-Island Effect, but NOAA was not prepared to acknowledge that it was important enough to affect their reporting.

Now the UN and the Media have dredged up the old species extinction fears. Climate change is going to mean mass extinctions of our wildlife and we have to do something right now! Been there, done that, but they dredged up the discredited Paul Erlich for interviews. We are discovering new species all the time. There are regular panics about a species disappearing, only to find that they simply moved. There may not be any on this side of the hill, but what about the other side? There are even scientists trying to bring back extinct species like wooly mammoths. I’m not sure that’s even a good idea.

The monkeys at the top of the post are tesulas from the Democratic Republic of Congo, newly discovered in 2012. If you enter ‘new species’ in the search bar over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar, you will find others.

“Climate” is a very big business, wind and solar manufacturing is big business. Our Washington state governor Jay Inslee is running for the presidency on the issue of climate, and he just got the legislature to pass a bill that will eliminate all fossil fuels from state energy sources by 2045 so we can rely completely on “clean energy.” 2045 probably seemed distant enough that those who voted for that dumb bill wouldn’t be blamed, and left lots of time to change if it didn’t work out. Fortunately there is no particular interest in his climate campaign, even with the Green New Deal theme out there.

The United Nations is a very big business, and they need to be seen as doing good works, so addressing climate extinctions may well have goals beyond simply “saving species”.

The climate has been changing for millions of years. There is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than in any time in the past, but the planet has been cooling for years, so obviously the notion that carbon dioxide is contributing to dangerous warming may be incorrect. When climate change became a big deal, numbers of scientists in university disciplines found that they could propose an interesting project, and get federal grants to improve their labs and get assistants if they could write a good grant proposal. Many found that they could imitate the climate with computer programs designed to predict what the stock market might do under differing circumstances. They put in what they knew about the climate and some educated guesses, and some plain old guesses which supposedly lets them prognosticate about future warming and catastrophic decline of species. Actual measurements in the real world seem to work better than guesswork in a high-tech computer.

I make no claim of scientific expertise, I was an English major, but I do a lot of reading, which I recommend to the numbers of new Democrat candidates for the presidency. Helps to keep you from Green New Deals and catastrophic species decline and extinction, among quite a few other things.



The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by The Elephant's Child

On the actual 18th of April, the country was consumed with all things Mueller report, and I forgot to post this. Good for kids, who like the galloping rhythm of the poem, a lesson in history, and encourge them to memorize part or all of it. Memorizing is a skill that would serve them well through school and probably their future occupations as well.

Paul Revere’s Ride posted annually by The Elephant’s Child


[A little Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for the eighteenth of April]
Today is the 244th anniversary of the “Shot heard Round the World”

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)



Words of Wisdom for Today: by The Elephant's Child

Andy McCarthy has been invaluable as a source for this whole special prosecutor episode, as he has served as a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, and can explain what’s happening.

Kevin Williamson also has a sharp eye and mind for searching out the reality of a situation:

My own belief is that this was never about removing Trump from office, though of course hamstringing him or humiliating him would have been very satisfying to Democrats. This seems to me to be more about Democrats continuing to tell themselves a comforting fairy tale about why they lost in 2016, and where they really stand politically. Getting cheated out of an election hurts a lot less, psychologically, than getting beat fair and square by Donald Trump — and it does not demand a lot in the way of reconfiguring priorities or rethinking stances. Which is to say, the Democrats’ current commitment to grasping at straws in this matter is, politically speaking, the best news the Trump campaign has had in weeks, the report itself notwithstanding.

American Thinker posted a quote from Victor Davis Hanson that beautifully captures the essence of the Notre Dame tragedy in France:

After 800 years, we were the steward of this iconic representation of western civilization, Catholicism, Christendom. And of all the years, 2019, at the height of our sophistication and technology, I’m not blaming the French or anybody, but we were found wanting and we didn’t protect this icon. And we don’t build them anymore.
There’s great churches and cathedrals that go up all over the world, but, Laura, they are in Poland. They are in Cairo. They are in the Ivory Coast, they’re in Brazil, they’re in India. It’s almost as if the places that are less affluent without the technology of western Europe and the United States are like we used to be. They still believe in transcendence. They still believe in something other than this world.

And so it’s going to be very hard in our society to ever build a cathedral again, much less to repair them, because we don’t believe in what they represented. And it’s ironic, because we don’t like the past. We are at war with the past. We tear down monuments. We don’t build cathedrals. We erase names. We say to Father Serra or Christopher Columbus, you don’t live up to our standards of race, class, and gender, moral superiority. Shame on you.



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.



But Everybody Knows That Trump is .. by The Elephant's Child

Donkeys 1

Democrats have been quite certain that their stand on illegal immigration will be popular among Hispanics. Certainly the racism implicit in Trump’s border wall will be meaningful to the people who have come to America from Mexico and  Central America. Everybody knows Trump is a racist.

A new poll by McLaughlin & Associates finds that the president’s approval rating among Hispanics is 50 percent. McLaughlin is a somewht conservative-oriented company, so Powerline checked with other surveys.  A January Marist/NPR/PBS survey put Trump’s approval rating at 50%,  February Morning Consult/Political poll put it at 45 percent, slightly higher than Trump’s overall approval rating, But what….?

But then, back when Obama was setting up the DACA program, it turned out that when Hispanics were asked what they should do with these unaccompanied children, they said to send them right back home! Steve Cortes, who helped lead the Trump Hispanic Advisory Council in 2016, cites three factors: (1) the economy (2) immigration, and (3) social issues. Cortes explains:

Leftist politicians and their media allies wrongly assume that Hispanics espouse softness on immigration illegality. In reality, a 2018 YouGov/Economist poll detailed that only 20% of Hispanics support the practice of “catch and release” of families crossing our border illegally.

Indeed, Hispanic Americans often suffer the worst, most immediate consequences of porous borders. Too often, Hispanic workers must compete against unfair, illegal labor.

In addition, dangerous illegal aliens largely terrorize Hispanic citizens. The tragic tales of MS-13 savagery, for example, normally involve Hispanic victims like Carlos Rivas-Majano, one of 27 people killed by the gang on Long Island, N.Y., in just the past three years. While elites like wannabe-Hispanic Robert Francis O’Rourke pontificate about open borders and tearing down existing border walls, the actual on-the-ground consequences flow to people with names like Hernandez, Cabrera, and Cortes.

Hispanic Americans have suffered too many totally preventable losses, such as slain Arizona police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza and young Los Angeles mother Sandra Duran, both murdered by illegal aliens living in America despite multiple prior arrests in the United States.

Paul Mirengoff added: “The assumption that Republicans must be soft on immigration to do well among Hispanics voters may prove to be another bit of conventional wisdom that Donald Trump destroys.”

“It’s an article of faith among white leftists that President Trump is a racist. He stands accused of being anti-Black and anti-Hispanic.” Where do we get our ideas of just what the “conventional wisdom” is? It’s what the media reports, It’s what the TV is saying, and the internet, Twitter and Facebook and the Hollywood celebrities a-n–d …oh.  I see!   Rather a lot of conventional wisdom has been going by the wayside lately, has it not?




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