American Elephants

Super Bowl Sunday! by The Elephant's Child


Had an appointment at the hospital yesterday, and it was fun to see all the receptionists in Seahawk tee shirts. There were some women, who clearly were not former cheerleaders, who seemed to be wearing extraordinarily large lime-green pompoms on their heads, and wearing a strange variety of homemade costumes. The grocery store was wall-to-wall appetizers, and beer of course.

Go Hawks!

43-8 !


The Secret Knowledge: The Origins of “Social Justice” by The Elephant's Child

From the archives: October 28, 2012

The Left is deeply concerned about income inequality, you know that, they tell us so often enough. They have observed that some people live in poverty while others, particularly corporate CEOs, who get ridiculously enormous salaries that they certainly don’t deserve, are very rich. The Left considers this observed inequality as unnatural. In his book The Secret Knowledge, playwright David Mamet tackles the origins of the problem:

To correct this observed inequality, which the Left sees as unnatural, it invented the term “social justice.” But a system of Justice already exists, formulated by Legislature, in supposed expression of the will of the people, and administered by the Judiciary. This is called the Judicial System.  What then is this additional, amorphous “social justice”? It can only mean, as Hayek wrote, “State Justice.” Here, though the Left will not follow the reasoning out to its end, the State (operating upon what basis it alone knows, and responsible to no law enacted by the people) confiscates wealth accumulated under existing laws and redistributes it to those it deems worthy.

History proves that the worthiest in these Marxist schemes are or quickly become, those in charge of distribution, which is to say “the State,” it’s constitutional powers usurped by those we know as “dictators.”

To the Left it is the State which should distribute place, wealth, and status.  This is called “correcting structural error,” or redressing the legacy of Slavery,” or Affirmative Action, or constraining unfair Executive Compensation; but it is and can only be that spoils System which is decided at the ward level as “cronyism.” And lauded at the national level as “social justice.” It is nothing other than the distribution of goods and services by the government for ends not specified in the Constitution; and in response to pressure from or in attempts to curry favor with groups seeking preferment or goods not obtainable either under the law, or through those practices of mutual benefit called the Free Market. What obscenities are created in the name of “social justice?” What could possibly be less just than policies destructive of initiative and based upon genetics?

David Mamet was once a Democrat, and thought better of it. Actually he thought long and deeply about it, read a lot, and turned his considerable writing skills to explaining just why he changed his mind. It is a perfectly delightful book, and as a lifelong Conservative, I learned a lot.

David Mamet is an American playwright, screenwriter, author,and director renowned for Glengarry Glen Ross (Pulitzer, Tony nomination). As a screenwriter, he received Oscar nominations for The Verdict and Wag the Dog. His books include: The Old Religion, Five Cities of Refuge, The Wicked Son, and a long list of books and movies, television shows and even radio dramas.

 The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture,  is Mamet’s book detailing his conversion from modern liberalism to “a reformed liberal.” It was released in June of 2011, and I recommend it heartily.

O Holy Night! by American Elephant
December 24, 2013, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Music, Religion | Tags: , , ,

I hope to stop in more throughout the day, but in case you don’t, I know my fellow elephants join me in wishing you and yours the very Merriest of Christmases! And Joy to the World!

Merry Christmas Three-fer by American Elephant

I suppose I should have known from the start that since much of my favorite Christmas carols were hard to find audio recordings of, that finding them on YouTube would be even more unlikely. That obvious conclusion, nonetheless, escaped me.

BUT! While I haven’t necessarily been able to find the songs I most wanted to share, I have found some fun stuff that I hadn’t seen or heard before myself. The first of which is a performance of The Twelve Days of Christmas, which is usually one the most tedious and/or obnoxious carols around, but NOT when done by the King’s Singers with Julie Andrews. Dame Andrews doesn’t actually sing in this one, while it’s her special, she’s just there for comedic effect. Although everyone should own at least one of her various Christmas albums.

The second is the sultry stylings of legendary jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson in That’s What I Want for Christmas. Often imitated, never equaled.

And last but not least, Chanticleer, perhaps the best men’s chorus in the world, performing in the Medievil Sculpture Hall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in front of the Neapolitan Baroque Créche and Christmas Tree. The tree is beautiful beyond compare, the acoustics in the room are breathtaking. Many PBS stations will replay the performance each year — watch the whole performance if you can.

My Favorite Things by American Elephant
December 24, 2013, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Music, Pop Culture, Religion | Tags: , ,

Nobody beats the original by Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music, but one of my favorite things is Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ Christmas Album. We grew up with it, and last year I found this rare footage on YouTube. The whole album is a classic; one that everyone should have.

Sussex Carol by American Elephant
December 24, 2013, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Music, Religion | Tags: , ,

I love traditional English carols, particularly the less familiar ones. They always remind me of my English grandma. Sussex Carol was, “first published in the 17th century by Luke Wadding, a 17th-century Irish bishop, in a work called Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs. It is not clear whether Wadding wrote the song or was recording an earlier composition.” It is performed here by the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, one of the best in the world.

Old Toy Trains by American Elephant
December 24, 2013, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Music, Religion | Tags: , , ,

My tastes in Christmas music are all over the map. First choral, then jazz, now country — and who knows what next. I like an eclectic mix. Now, I’m generally not very big on much country music — nothing wrong with it, it just isn’t usually my thing — but that means when I DO like a country song, you know it’s gotta be a good one. And so this is.

Old Toy Trains was, I believe, first introduced by Roger Miller back sometime in the late 1960′s and has since become a standard covered by many — but my favorite by far is this deep, cozy version by Toby Keith from the compilation CD, A Country Christmas. All the nostalgia of childhood Christmas wrapped up in one comfortable old song.

I liked it so much the first year I heard it, that I dragged out the old HO and set it up around the Christmas tree. *I* thought it was charming and watched it circle underneath the twinkling lights for hours; no one else seemed to even notice.

Then again, mine was no where near as cool as this guy’s. Now, THAT’s cool!

David Hobson: A Little Rousing Joy by The Elephant's Child

David Hobson – Carols by Candlelight – The Holy City
Monday, 24th December 2012
Sidney Myer Music Bowl — Melbourne, Australia

Go ahead, enlarge this one to full screen.

And once again the scene was changed,
New earth there seemed to be.
I saw the Holy City
Beside the tideless sea.
The light of God was on its streets,
The gates were open wide,
And all who would might enter,
And no one was denied.
No need of moon or stars by night,
Or sun to shine by day;
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away.

(h/t: American Digest via Maggie’s Farm)

David Gerlernter Takes On Officious Airheads And Wins, Big-Time! by The Elephant's Child
October 10, 2013, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Education, Humor, Religion | Tags: , ,

David Gerlernter is professor of computer science at Yale. His books include America Lite; How Imperial Academia dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats) ; Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion; and Judaism, A Way of Being.

Today Professor Gelernter writes in response to news that Halloween has been called off at the Inglewood Elementary School because it has “religious overtones.”

Of course Halloween is “religious,” you officious airheads of Inglewood Elementary School! And so is Valentine’s Day, and Thanksgiving far more so! And so is Christmas! And who on earth ever told you that this was an atheist nation? Who ever told you that “religious” things were forbidden in American schools? Such an idea is breathtakingly ignorant, staggeringly destructive.

This nation, created by devout Christians, derived its creed of liberty, equality and democracy straight from the Hebrew Bible. The flag of this biblical republic stands for “one nation, under God.” Do you Inglewood Airheads know more about what’s good for this nation than Abraham Lincoln did? “Under God” is his phrase; he was profoundly religious, and lived his whole life close to God and the Bible.

This nation learned tolerance from the Bible!–“The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God!” (Leviticus 19:34). America the biblical republic invited agnostics and atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, pagans, to live here. Welcomed them all. This is the most tolerant nation on earth. But the day it no longer tolerates its own proper self, the day it allows public school know-nothings to suppress religion, is the beginning of the end of American toleration.

Americans, please: do not permit it. Do not let this stand!

I really love a good take-down.

(h/t: Powerline)

Raising the “Social Cost” of Carbon? Hidden In a Minor Rule. by The Elephant's Child

Now that we have established, once again, that the climate models cannot predict anything, and that increases in CO2 don’t cause warming temperatures, but warming temperatures cause increases in CO2 — Obama has quietly raised the ‘carbon price’ to combat climate change.

This was buried in a little-noticed rule on microwave ovens. [Now what are they doing to our microwaves?] It is a change in the U.S. government’s accounting for carbon emissions that can have wide-ranging implications for everything from power plants to the Keystone XL pipeline.

The increase in the so-called ‘social cost’ of carbon to $38 a metric ton in 2015, from $23.80 adjusts the calculation the government uses to weigh costs and benefits of proposed regulations. This is meant to approximate the losses from global warming such as flood damage and diminished crops. “Cult science!”

And “cult science” leads to “cult math.” Anything from new mileage standards to clean energy loans will seem more valuable in its cost-benefit analysis.  Environmentalists, or cult scientists, can use the cost-benefit analysis to fight projects that they oppose, like the Keystone XL pipeline , or any coal mining on public lands. That these projects would create thousands of highly paid jobs, and plentiful cheap energy can now be attacked on the basis of cost-benefit analysis based on false figures. The cult science folks won’t give up easily.

As we learn that climate damage is worse and worse, there is no direction they could go but up,” Laurie Johnson, chief economist for climate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview. Johnson says the administration should go further; she estimates the carbon cost could be as much as $266 a ton.

This sort of thing is supposed to be opened to public comment, but the Obama administration often does things behind closed doors. That’s why they are so embroiled in scandals. Expect it to get worse. Obama will attempt to get what he wants through executive order and regulation.  The EPA will have all sorts of rules coming up to deprive us of cheap efficient power and force us into dependence on expensive, inefficient wind and solar.

Obama is determined that one of his great accomplishments will be saving us from the rise of the oceans and beginning the healing of the planet. The attempt to force us to rely on “clean energy” from wind and solar will collapse, because the technologies won’t work — wind is too intermittent and solar is too diffuse, and we an only make them useful at all by supporting them with ordinary energy.

When Cutting-Edge Technology Meets The Texts of The Ancient World. by The Elephant's Child
September 10, 2012, 2:41 pm
Filed under: History, Religion, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

A team of scientists with cutting edge technology has traveled from Washington to an isolated, fortress-like monastery in the middle of the Sinai Desert that is the home of the oldest continuously operating library on the planet.

They are there to turn their high definition cameras on the monastery’s rare and priceless ancient manuscripts. The ancient animal-skin parchments have been scraped so the earlier texts can be erased and new texts can be written on the old skin. Such erased texts are known as palimpsests. I had seen the word before, but never known the meaning.

In 1999 a policy director from the National Reconnaissance Office which designs spy satellites and imaging systems read about a project at the Walters Art Museum. An anonymous bidder had paid $2 million at auction for a prayer book handwritten in Europe in 1229. The value came from what the prayers had overwritten: 10th century copies of key works by the Greek mathematician Archimedes. They knew there was a hidden text, but they couldn’t read much of it. It has been a ten year project of photographing pages with special lights and filters, and computerized enhancement to discover the lost words.

The monastery has existed in a valley at the base of Mount Horeb since at least the 4th century. In the 6th century, the Emperor Justinian I called for the construction of a monastery at the site of what is to believed to be the biblical Mount Sinai, where the burning bush from which God spoke to Moses rested. The monks preserve their ancient traditions, they have just added some iPads and PowerBooks.

The monastery holds at least 130 palimpsests, all from medieval times. The main enemies to document preservation are mold and insects, but humidity in the desert is so low neither is an issue. There are months or even years between rainstorms, and no rats to chew pages. The library’s isolation has added to the preservation of the documents.

This is a fascinating story of  bringing together the newest technology and the oldest written words. You can find the whole article here in The Washington Post.

Obama Pissed Off The Wrong People by The Elephant's Child

There are about 40-thousand Catholic priests in the US and about 220,000 parishes serving about 70+ million Catholics, over 20% of the US population. — If not religious, skip to about 1:25 minutes.

Fr. Andrew was invited to lead the opening prayer at the 2012 Colorado Republican State Assembly and Convention in the Magness Arena at the University of Denver. The moral challenges facing our country are not caused by political affiliation, but rather by attacks on religious freedom. He invites all people of conscience to uphold religious freedom.

This post is borrowed shamelessly from Bruce Kessler at Maggie’s Farm.

This one is from the Catholic Church.


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