American Elephants

AAAARGH!!! by The Elephant's Child

Forgive me, but I want to rant a bit! I HATE PASSWORDS! I did business with this outfit two or three years ago, wrote down the password in my little password notebook, but it seems that is not actually my password, because (???) it doesn’t work. Well, then, they have my special verification clues, which apparently is the name of my best man or matron of honor at my wedding a couple hundred years ago. But that doesn’t work, and which one did they want — male or female, They don’t accept either one. So we start all over with sending codes and emails and new passwords. Supposedly I gave then the name of my “favorite author” as a verification back in the distant past. Favorite author? I was an English major, I do not now or ever have favorite authors. It depends on what I just read and whether I liked it or not, and I read all the time. And all this was for a very unimportant $10.00 purchase.

Does anyone else have this difficulty with passwords and verification? Or is it a universal complaint? Didn’t some federal person just become a laughingstock recently because his password was “password”? Oh do, please, tell me your horror stories so I won’t feel so alone in my rage.

Fixing the Date by The Elephant's Child

A bit of advice for the New Year. Take a sheet of scratch paper, and write 2018 at least 25 times, more if you feel it’s worthwhile. It may keep you from entering 2017 every time you have to write a date. On checks, it’s a pain in the neck. Will it work? Dunno, but it’s worth a try. I usually spend a month getting it wrong.

Enter, I Guess, Under News of the Day. by The Elephant's Child

Let’s see. If I understand the current hysteria over guns and bullets, assault weapons, scary looking attachments like scopes and magazines of assorted sizes and how many bullets a magazine may contain, the liberal argument is that only the police need guns. And in the meantime, a former police officer has issued a manifesto to kill police officers in the Los Angeles area.

Christopher Jordan Dorner, an ex-LAPD police officer is the main suspect in three separate murders. A vehicle that matched the description of Dorner’s truck was driving down the road, but was delivering newspapers. Two older women were delivering papers when police officers opened fire. One woman was shot in the back, the other in the hand. Both are expected to survive.

Another person was shot while driving a pickup truck after Torrance police arrived at the scene. Reports of his injuries weren’t clear, but he is considered in good condition—except for being shot by police officers.

Perhaps they should rethink that idea that only the police need guns.

At the bottom of the piece under “RECOMMENDED STORIES’

—Convicted Ohio man apologizes to family of slain daughter-in-law strangled, put in septic tank.

—Pennsylvania mistrial declared when man’s prosthetic eye pops out on witness stand.



Not My Fault, Says Obama, It’s the Stalemate in Washington. by The Elephant's Child

In this week’s weekly address, President Obama told the American people that the “stalemate in Washington is holding our economy back during this make-or-break moment for the middle class.”Uh huh. Translation:”The Republicans won’t pass my jobs bill.’ He’s sent his bill over to Congress twice now, and it has been unanimously rejected twice. “Unanimously” means that none of the Democrats would vote for it either.

The president doesn’t seem to know how jobs are created, and even the part of his jobs bill that has passed, the temporary continuation of the cut in the payroll tax, goes to those who are working, and have jobs.  They will get a little more in their  pay envelopes, but  it will do nothing whatsoever to create jobs. It does, however, cut back on what those receiving the money eventually get from Social Security.

I assume that this goes back to the Democrats fixed idea that if you just put more money into the economy, there will be a multiplier effect as the money (taxpayer money)  circulates through the economy and passes from hand to hand.  If there is such an effect, it is very small, but it is a matter of faith to the left.

History shows that the money that individuals and businesses invest and spend, if left alone to do so, generates far more wealth and new jobs than any government-directed spending.  The most successful cities and states dedicate their resources in creating the kind of conditions that attract private investment rather than pouring public money into centrally planned visions of economic development.
(Brian Anderson City Journal, Autumn 2001)

Obama repeated his idea that Congress should pass a bill to help states put thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers back on the job. And he wants a bill to put union construction workers back to work building his fabled infrastructure — those crumbling roads and bridges and runways.

Public school employment has climbed by nearly 100% since 1970, while the enrollment of pupils has only climbed by about 10%. We seem to be overloaded with school administrators, yet the left persists.  And class sizes have dropped by 40 percent since 1960, but class size remains a constant issue.

If the states, struggling to balance their budgets, have laid off teachers, firefighters or police, that is a choice that they made. It is not up to the federal government to use taxpayer money to rehire employees that the states have decided they can’t afford to pay.

After Solyndra and all the other bankrupt “green energy” companies, he want more tax credits for clean energy manufacturers? I’m afraid the president is indeed a slow learner. Ryan Lizza, writing in the New Yorker says that President Obama plans to make climate change his top priority for his second term.

“Obama has an ambitious second-term agenda. The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change,” supposedly to “improve the world.”

Obama’s belief in big government goes deep. He seems to hold the private sector in contempt. According to David Maraniss’s new biography Barack Obama: The Story, Obama did work in the private sector for a year, writing newsletters for American companies doing business abroad. He hated it. He quit after fulfilling his initial one year commitment. He had no prospects, but wanted to do public sector work.

Obama’s work in the public sector took place in Chicago, where those in the public sector help each other. You do nice things for your friends and they do nice things for you, and the taxpayers have the benefit of paying for it all.

There is a stalemate between the two parties. Some claim that both parties have moved to extremes. Certainly the Democratic party has been in the hands of the hard left, but Democrats’ idea that the Tea Party is something extreme is laughable. Surely some nice grey-haired ladies carrying signs and Gadsden flags aren’t that scary, are they? Although Obama did call out a Swat team to deal with them in Ohio. The Tea Party Patriots wanted more respect for the Constitution and adherence to it, obviously a radical position.

The Constitution is “extreme” to the hard left. They are offended that it has not been changed enough to be more compatible with their current thinking. Their prominent legal scholars would prefer a “living” constitution — one that is more in line with their ideas. Some think we should pay more attention to European law. You will notice headline news  concerns “Citizens United” — a Supreme Court decision protecting free speech, and another upcoming Supreme Court case again involving the First Amendment, and the protection of Freedom of Religion. This not a dusty old discussion, but important today.

Most Americans believe the Constitution has served us well. It has only been amended twenty-seven times in 225 years. The president took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. That oath neither changes nor is modified simply because this is an election year.

My Secret Vice by The Elephant's Child

I am compulsive.  I am not comfortable unless I have a notebook or tablet at hand.  I make lists. Oh, ordinary enough ones: grocery lists, Christmas lists, birthday lists, to-do lists, lists of all the birds I’ve seen at my bird-feeder, that sort of thing.  Then there are lists of plants seen at the nursery, plants seen in the botanical garden, plants I covet, economists, historians, books I want to read, books I want to take out from the library on a trial run to see if I might want to buy. Names for snow, names for storms.  Names of scientists I find interesting and their specialty.

I make lots of book lists; histories on specific periods, histories I’ve read, environmental books, best children’s books,  a list of the best books I’ve ever read, lists of authors I’ve liked, movies, recipes.  I have lists of family names—Grizzella and Tryntje are favorites.  I have an annotated booklist in three parts that I share with friends (who think I’m nuts).  I have a 68 page list of quotations insights that I’ve collected from my reading to which I refer frequently — which bores my family immeasurably.

Then there are the unintelligible lists—the list of ideas jotted down in a hurry, often undecipherable in hasty handwriting,  and I wonder what I could possibly have  had in mind.  I have stacks of notebooks, and have to go back through them to see if they can be discarded and find that I am fascinated with a list I have made long ago and wonder why I troubled to write that down.

My compulsion seems to be a matter of putting it in writing. A line from Richard Mitchell comes to mind —”the business of writing is to stay put on the page so you can look at it later and see where you have been stupid.” Not a direct quotation, but that’s the idea.

Writing it down fixes an idea in your mind. If I have made out a grocery list, I can usually remember everything even if I leave the list on the kitchen table.  A list may organize my mind, but I am, in general, no more organized that anyone else —probably less.

Am I alone in my personal weirdness? Anybody else out there? Just curious.

Amazing sheepdogs, crazy Welshmen, and a large flock of sheep. by The Elephant's Child
March 20, 2009, 12:50 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Fun n Games, Humor, News of the Weird, Uncategorized

And here you have some imaginative Welshmen and their sheep and their wonderful border collies. What a delight! Don’t miss this one.

If you don’t have what you think you need, make do with what you have. by The Elephant's Child
January 28, 2009, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

What is a band to do when they need a rhythm section and they don’t have one?  This is pretty goofy, but it works!

Can you name all of our Presidents? by The Elephant's Child
January 2, 2009, 2:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here’s a fun way to remind you of who they are:

Update, by AE: Caleb Russell could at five years old. (This was in 2006, so he’s 7 or 8 by now):

The Beauty of the Universe. by The Elephant's Child
December 11, 2008, 12:53 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here is an amazing group of photographs from the Hubble telescope. They are absolutely breathtaking, and so …strange.   Do take a moment to enjoy.

(h/t: Neoneocon)

Let’s have a conversation about freedom. by The Elephant's Child

Thomas Sowell wrote a rousing column today, as he usually does.

Most people on the Left are not opposed to freedom.  They are just in favor of all sorts of things that are incompatible with freedom.

Freedom ultimately means the right of other people to do things that you do not approve of.  Nazis were free to be Nazis under Hitler.  It is only when you are able to do things that other people don’t approve that you are free.

One of the most innocent-sounding examples of the Left’s many impositions of its vision on others is the widespread requirement  by schools and by college-admissions committees that students do “community service.”

There are high schools across the country from which you cannot graduate, and colleges where your application for admission will not be accepted, unless you have engaged in activities arbitrarily defined as “community service.”

The arrogance of commandeering young people’s time, instead of leaving them and their parents free to decide for themselves how to use that time, is exceeded only by the arrogance of imposing your own notions as to what is or is not a service to the community.

Working in a homeless shelter is widely regarded as “community service” — as if aiding and abetting vagrancy is necessarily a service, rather than a disservice, to the community.

Obama has mentioned that college kids working in the college library or hashing in a dining room are not considered community service, while dishing up food in a cafeteria for vagrants is.  Explain that one.

According to campaign promises and statements, by 2012, four years from now, over one half of the population will pay no taxes, and be supported by the other half who work.  This is not freedom.

Dr. Sowell goes on:

Supposedly students are to get a sense of compassion or noblesse oblige from serving others.  But this all depends on who defines compassion.  In practice, it means forcing students to undergo a propaganda experience to make them receptive to the Left’s vision of the world.

I am sure those who favor “community service” requirements would understand the principle behind the objections to this if high-school military exercises were required.

Indeed, many of those who promote compulsory “community service” activities are bitterly opposed to even voluntary military training in high schools or colleges, though many other people regard military training as more of a contribution to society than feeding people who refuse to work.

In other words, people on the left want the right to impose their idea of what is good for society on others — a right that they vehemently deny to those whose idea of what is good for society differs from their own.

I think we are in need of an ongoing conversation about what is meant by “freedom”, how we preserve it, and how we lose it.  And how we go about regaining our freedom if it is lost.

Memo to President-elect Barack Obama: by The Elephant's Child

This is delicious.  The federal government, over the past 16 years, has invested billions of dollars in building a fleet of 112,000 alternative-fuel vehicles to serve as a model for the country’s benighted citizens.

It seemed like a good idea, but bureaucratic brilliance has a way of going haywire.  The expensive effort to put more workers into vehicles powered by ethanol and other alternate fuels ran into the minor problem that there were not fuel stations in place to support them. Oops!

“I call it the ‘Field of Dreams” plan.  If you buy them they will come,” said U.S. Postal Service vehicle operations manager Wayne Corey.  “It hasn’t happened.”

Under a mandate from Congress, federal agencies have gradually enlarged their fleets of alternative-fuel vehicles, most of them “flex-fuel,” capable of running on either gasoline or ethanol-base E85 fuel. Many of the vehicles were sent to locations that were hundreds of miles from a flex-fuel station.  Because of this awkward detail, more than 92 percent of the fuel used in the government’s alternative fuel fleet is simply ordinary gasoline.  A 2005 law requires agencies to seek waivers when a vehicle is more than five miles or 15 minutes from an ethanol pump. More paperwork as well.

The newest versions of flex-fuel vehicles often come only with larger engines than the ones that they replaced in the fleet.  So the program has often increased gasoline consumption and emission rates.

Not to mention the little side issues like the climbing cost of food because we are putting food crops in our gas tanks. Or, of course, the hunger strikes in developing countries.  We can look forward to the rules that Congress develops to save the automobile industry.

Fair and Balanced, or something like that! by The Elephant's Child
November 22, 2008, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Environment, Global Warming, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Here at American Elephants, we are passionately partisan, but we always want to be aware of the arguments of the other side.  We are determinedly fair and occasionally impartial, or at least we try.  Monica said “the Earth has a fever”, and the Elephant himself responded: “Needs more cowbell.”

(h/t: Tom Nelson)

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