American Elephants

We Believe In Freedom of Speech! by The Elephant's Child
May 1, 2022, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Politics

We believe, firmly in our freedom of speech, but when it comes to someone else’s nutty ideas…and as Shakespeare once said “There’s the rub!” And that is clearly what the whole thing is about. The Biden administration is currently busily installing a Ministry of Disinformation to tackle just that sort of problem, that is, nasty people saying things they don’t like. OK, it’s a “Disinformation Governance Board”, not formally a “Ministry”. Nevertheless, it would seem to be something clearly quite unconstitutional, but that will have to work its way through a lot of questions, and undoubtedly a lot of courts.

It seems fairly unbelievable, but freedom of speech is actually being attacked by the President of the United States. Of course, he does not recognize that to be what he is doing, but he should. Perhaps we need some federal guidebooks, bound in shiny something or other, gold?, so they will look essential and important on the presidential desk, so important that it would be inconceivable if they were not read.

Note: This is why I urge you to have an inexpensive copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America in your desk drawer. You can, of course quickly look it up on your computer, but that and a dictionary are the most basic books you must have. Aside from the books of your religion. of course..

Disinformation Governance Board”, indeed!

“Disinformation” is just the current cute way of saying “LIES” referring to what somebody said that you don’t like, but in general you get to just deny that it is a lie, though it’s more advantageous if you have the press with you. Consider how much of our current thought and argument is controlled or fostered by “the media”. That’s why most articles have a “comments” section and why there are websites like “Twitter.”Have you ever commented on an article? Do someone else’s comments infuriate you? Do you read the comments on an occasional article? Always? Never? Ever stop to think how remarkable it is to have an immediate place to add your thoughts? This is all a developing and changing situation. Keep that in mind as you scroll around the internet. Do most people recognize that this is a freedom that could be denied at any moment and must be fiercely defended?

What is Freedom of Speech? What does it mean to a citizenry and to a country? To what extent do other countries offer freedom of speech? What can be said?, what should be said? What should be prevented from being said? If anything?

Information and “Disinformation” by The Elephant's Child
April 29, 2022, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Politics

The word of the day, or perhaps the week, month, year…is “Disinformation! “. We don’t say anything so crude as “you’re lying!” — we have “Disinformation Governance Boards”. J.J. Sefton sums it up nicely at Ace of Spades.

The Hill reports that Joe Biden is considering student debt relief starting at $10,000 per borrower

Yahoo says 400.000 now qualify for student loan debt cancellation. Another headline says House Democrats propose forgiving up to $50,000 per student. Note the language here. “Forgiving”. Four years of room and board and classroom instruction, use of facilities, instruction from professors who earned doctorates in their subjects so they could one day teach. Just dump it all on the taxpayers? For parents it is just paying for four years, for taxpayers, who may have just paid for their own kids, it’s forever!

We need a little attention to language here. The government will pay for it means simply that the Congress will raise your taxes so that you can pay for it, whatever it is. “The Government” has no money of it’s own, it all comes out of your pocket. When Congress is handing out benefits, they come out of your bank account.

I’m beginning to think that we need guidebooks to sit on every government officials desk, to explain Inflation, what causes it and why, National Debt and why it matters, that sort of thing. We all have differing opinions about these things, but there are basic understandings and rules and lessons, and we’d be way better off if they were well understood. Senate Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pressed for forgiving $50,000 per borrower!

Forgiving? The debt is owed to the colleges, for four years of room and board, tuition, classroom instruction, highly educated professors, classrooms, libraries, dormitories and so on and on. It is not just about “cancelling” a debt. And you are suggesting that those who have saved for years to put their kids through, now have to pony up and pay higher taxes for years to pay for everybody else’s kids? Of course you are. .

The basic idea should be to help parents and students and colleges receive good education for students, help for parents who are trying to do the their best for their kids, help for kids who don’t have the help of parents, rewards for fine instruction from professors. We do want an educated populace.

And we do want people to read more and be more informed. There’s always the hope that a better informed public won’t let the federal government get away with spending that we cannot afford. As I keep saying, the federal government has no money of it’s own. It all comes out of your pocketbook.

I’m not trying to be a crank here, I just have a strong belief that we should talk straight so nobody is confused about what is actually happening in our world.

ADDENDUM: We seem to have some trouble with the basic idea of “free speech”. You can say what you damn well please, and if you cross the lines with slander or lies, you may have to answer for the damage you do if any, but you get to say what you damn well please. No “Disinformation Governance Boards”. Unconstitutional.

There Are Some Days… by The Elephant's Child
April 29, 2022, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Politics

Some days you get up in the morning, turn on the computer, and wish you hadn’t. Some of it, of course, is simply headline writers striving for attention, but… I don’t know if someone is counting the number of clicks, the number of readers, or even if anybody is counting. Someone seems to e counting, or there would not be the constant search for boob photos, which is fairly obvious, and seems projected to attract more readers. Women readers are not particularly attracted by boob photos, so only male readers get counted?

Ayanna Pressley is calling on Democrats to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt and provide $2,000 monthly payments to both Americans and illegal migrants. Does this woman, who is a representative for the State of Massachusetts have no understanding whatsoever of money, banking, taxes, responsibility? Apparently not. She is a member of AOC’s “Squad”. It is beginning to seem that we need a basic test of a modest grasp of the function of government and the responsibilities of members of Congress, before candidates are allowed to sign up to run for office. Maybe have read and understood the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Dunno.

I just learned that President Joe Biden has a “Disinformation Chief” whatever that is. I’d love to see that formal job description. The Department of Homeland Security announced on Wednesday the creation of the new Disinformation Governance Board, led by Nina Jankowicz. She announced that her critics prove the danger of women voicing their opinions online.“Unfortunately for women in politics, journalism, academia or basically any time we express an opinion while female, that is not the exception, it’s the norm,” she said.

Headline at Breitbart: GDP Goes Negative’ Economy Shrinks-1.4% as 2022 Begins.”
The U.S. economy contracted in the first three months of 2022 as the economy was battered by a surge in Covid-19 cases from the Omicron variant, ongoing supply chain problems, surging fuel prices, and a flood of imports. Imports are now bad things?

Elizabeth Warren got a headline for saying that “We Need Big Tech ‘Rules’ To ‘Break’ Elon Musk’s Stranglehold”

I expect a little better from the journalism profession.

A Small but Necessary Expenditure! by The Elephant's Child
April 28, 2022, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Politics

There are a number of pocket-sized versions of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights available at Amazon for well under $10. Make sure that each of your children who are old enough, have their own copy, and of course that you have your own copy for your desk drawer. How may times during a year do you read a bit of the news and wonder— Hey, can they do that?

What prompted this was the news that President Joe Biden is contemplating wiping out student debt. I assume by his assumption that nice young kids just graduated shouldn’t be burdened with having to pay for their own education. Well, in theory, perhaps, when each new parent gives birth, perhaps they should get a pamphlet that tells them how to start saving for that child’s college education, which of course they do not.

Colleges have costs. They have to pay their professors, the staff that supports the work of the college, all that stuff. But that is not the taxpayer’s responsibility. Most states have their own universities and junior colleges, and the taxpayers cough up for part of the cost, but there are limits! Perhaps education would be more complete for all if everybody regarded starting a fund for the kid’s education at birth as a normal necessity, but for many families, the kid’s education amounts to what is paid for by the state. A well-educated society is clearly in the nation’s best interest. Is it then society’s task to pay the cost of every kid’s college education? And do we then separate our colleges down into, what: complete and not-quite,? or ordinary and free or expensive and quality?

There are a lot of this kind of questions that arise, and it’s very helpful to have a desk drawer Constitution in your desk drawer. So no, I do not believe that it the taxpayers’ job to pay for all American kids’ college educations. But at election time, if every American family had a pocket Constitution in their desk drawer, it might actually improve the country.

Here is the Ubiquitous American Coyote by The Elephant's Child
April 25, 2022, 12:38 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Here is the ubiquitous coyote. Common all over the west Related to wolves, but not as big. They range up to Alaska, and far down into Mexico. Their historical range prior to 1700 was limited to the prairies of North America, but has expanded to include most of the United States. Surprisingly they can be found in many cities. They may howl, but I’ve never heard one, but they yip a lot. In urban areas they keep the rodent and rabbit populations down, and also Canada geese. They generally avoid trash. They are exposed to a usual range of diseases, but none seem to pose a serious human health risk. Heard lots of them, growing up, but never saw one at all.

I live on the side of a hill in a Seattle suburb. In the valley below is a golf course with a stream, and we can occasionally hear coyotes at night ranging round on the golf course. About four blocks down the street, we have a big patch of woods with trails, and there are coyotes around, though I’ve never seen one.

At home in Idaho, one could hear coyotes in the evening and at night. Still, never saw one, not even out riding on trails in the adjacent National Forest. They eat berries and some plants as well. I don’t know what they do in areas like ours where the snow gets deep (4′ -5′) in the winter. Possibly move on down to lower country. The deer move down to the Snake River drainage., so probably the coyotes do as well. Mating takes place early in the year, and litters range from four to seven pups. The largest that was found was 11 pups. Most common cause of death is getting hit by a car. In the wild coyotes may die before they reach three or four. In captivity they can live 13 to 15 years. They can live in packs, or as solitary animals.

I suspect that we have far more local coyotes than we realize.

It’s Always About Power. Who Gets it, Who Doesn’t by The Elephant's Child
April 22, 2022, 12:02 am
Filed under: Politics

Joe Biden has said he plans to run again, so i guess he is pleased with his accomplishments. but I don’t know quite what they are. I think in terms of the three “i’s”: Immigration, Inflation, Incompetence. So we are not talking about the same things at all. Clearly, President Biden has welcomed illegal immigration, inviting Central America in, opening the borders, I welcome legal immigrants who come here the legal way. It’s not difficult. One applies at the nearest consulate or embassy, and waits their turn to be admitted. Takes a little more time, but avoids a lot of unpleasant illegal trouble.

Unsurprisingly, I have some objections to unaccompanied children, People with criminal records in their own countries,, massive importations of fentanyl from the Mexican Drug Cartels, unaccompanied children destined for the sex trade. I have not noticed that we have big problems with jobs that can’t be filled, The homeless encampments in our major cities don’t seem to indicate lots of empty jobs that can’t find workers. Texas gets the brunt of illegal immigration because one side of the state borders Mexico, and the Rio Grande river. The photographs of mounted border patrol agents corralling illegals trying to sneak across the border drew great outcry from those unfamiliar with horses, as they assumed the reins were being used to whip the poor illegals, but that has been fully cleared up. Perfectly innocent and proper.

What I don’t get is why. Why invite an invasion of illegals? Why open the borders? It is a President’s duty to protect the country from just such a massive invasion, yet President Biden is bringing home “refugees” from Afghanistan, from other troubled countries, Have we sent a special invitation to Ukrainians? Are they all expected to be Democrat voters? I think it’s bodies. If you have more people in a district, you get more representation in Congress, and thus more power. It’s always all about power.

This is an American Bobcat, Another of our Native Wild Cats by The Elephant's Child
April 20, 2022, 8:37 pm
Filed under: Environment

Here is an American Bobcat. Far smaller than a cougar, (American mountain lion) which is a large animal. An adult male bobcat may be about 49″ long, but is the smallest of the genus Lynx. Their face looks wide because of tufts below the ears, and they have a short stubby tail (hence the name) and weigh up to 40 lbs. Favorite food seems to be rabbits, but those ranging around our place had their eyes on our cats as well as the dog.

.We had lynx too. Lifespan is about ten years. Notice the tufts at the tip of the ears. This photo looks kind of stripey, compared to other photos I have seen. Never seen one in person, though one ranging around our place was very interested in my dog. The cats retreated to the attic of the woodshed at night. The dog had a good escape hatch, so was safe. We had lynx too, and they were a little larger animal. The names Bobcat and Lynx to me, refer to different animals, but I am probably wrong. A little search will bring up lots more pictures. They range through most of our mountain country.

When I was small, we always had St. Bernards. Don’t know if their larger size scared off the wildcats, but I don’t remember being aware of big cats when I was little.

Wildlife! by The Elephant's Child
April 19, 2022, 6:39 pm
Filed under: Politics

Growing up in the mountains of Idaho, at about 4,000′ altitude, we were fairly familiar with the native wildlife. Had a lot of trouble with a lynx that wanted my dog or my cats and kittens for dinner. My dog had an escape route where he was safe, and the cats holed up in the attic of the woodshed. Finally shot the lynx one night, and never had further trouble, so it was just the one persistent one.

I had a lot of interest in my post about cougars. City people are not familiar with American wildlife. But then the wildlife in different parts of the country is very different. I cannot imagine living where alligators are common! Cougars are not common on the East Coast, but the big cats do travel great distances and there have been sightings. You can check with your state wildlife department to find out what is common in your area if you don’t know.

I Heard a cougar scream fairly often, growing up. It is a chilling sound, like a woman screaming in total agony. Never saw one. The other common wild cats are the bobcat, a much smaller animal and the lynx. Lots of photos online if you are interested. We had Lots of coyotes, never seen. but often heard. Bears, never seen, turned up when a crabapple tree on the back 40 ripened. Never saw any bears either, just their scat. They really liked the crabapples. The rest of the year they vanished into the National Forest which abutted our property. Skunks, occasionally, but they were fortunately shy. Porcupines were a more serious problem. The dogs always attacked them, to their grief, and we’d have long sessions extracting porcupine needles. The dogs never, never learned. I grew up with St. Bernards. but a smaller dog in later years, half shepherd, half spaniel which we called a “spanard”and named “Franco” after Franco American Spaghetti. O.K. that’s dumb. want to compare dog names?

I’m currently dogless, and have just one cat.

Scrapple by The Elephant's Child
April 18, 2022, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Politics

I will be making scrapple a little later today. I think of it as a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, handed down from my Pennsylvania ancestors. It was probably passed on, however, by anyone who butchered pork for the table, to use up the last bits of the pork that didn’t go into chops or roasts. Scrapple is basically just a chilled corn meal loaf with bits of pork scattered through. then slices are fried in a little butter, for better and essential breakfast food. Very simple and you can find recipes online easily. Not fancy, not difficult, and delicious. Make it regularly.

3/4 to 1 lb. lean pork, (cheapest cut or cut for stir fry). Cut into small chunks, add water to cover.+ 1 tsp. salt. Simmer till meat is done and will shred. Set aside to cool

Heat till boiling, 5 C water or broth, 1 tsp. salt. Mix separately 2 cups cold water and 2 1/2 cups corn meal. When smooth, add slowly to boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat about five minutes, again stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Shred cooked pork so all is shreds, (no pieces of size). Stir into cornmeal mush until evenly distributed throughout.

Line a loaf pan with wax paper folded into 2-3 layers. Pack cornmeal mush into loaf pan and refrigerate.

For Breakfast: Slice scrapple into 1/3″ slices, fry in a little butter until slightly browned on each side. Add eggs and toast as desired. Enjoy!

The 18th of April ! by The Elephant's Child
April 18, 2022, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Politics

It’s the 18th of April, and time to celebrate Paul Revere and his famous ride, made much more famous by Longfellow’s poem. If you have kids, you should be sure that they are familiar with the poem and the history it represents. Lots of books available for kids with the famous poem. Check it out at Amazon. I particularly like Ted Rand as an illustrator.

The British Are Coming” and indeed they were. And that was the beginning of a war that made America a country of its own, rather than a British colony. I have never been to Boston, so I’m not really familiar with the landscape at all, but I do have ancestors who were around at that time, some even in Boston, who fought at Bunker Hill.

In Boston, the 18th of April is “Patriot’s Day“. The “Old North Church” is apparently still standing, and revered. That’s it in the background of the photo. I have been to Washington D.C. very briefly, but never New York, Boston, or even Pittsburgh, where my father grew up, I’m a confirmed westerner. Grew up in Idaho, lived in Oregon, California, Washington, and Arizona, and there are many parts of the country I’ve never been to at all. I wonder how many of our citizens have actually been to every state? There are lots of regional things we celebrate, and I’d bet, a lot of regionalisms we have all wrong.

Happy Easter! by American Elephant
April 17, 2022, 6:16 am
Filed under: History, News | Tags: ,

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Seven Hundred and Fifty-six Thousand Illegal Border Crossers Released By Joe Biden Into the United States of America Since Taking Office! by The Elephant's Child
April 16, 2022, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Politics


Why? I have no idea.

I have not heard nor read of any complaints that America is underpopulated. Does he expect them all to become Democrat voters in gratitude? Seems to me that one could expect those who apply properly, wait their turn, and are anxious to become citizens would be more advantageous to the country than illegal border crossers who are breaking the law right from the start. Seven hundred and fifty six thousand illegals. We do not have a shortage of people to fill the low paying jobs, nor the higher paying either. I don’t know what he hopes to gain by increasing the population from the bottom with less education, fewer skills. Is one supposed to assume that they are somehow deserving of more sympathy because they choose to sneak in illegally?

If I want to welcome people who want to come to America as my ancestors did, for a better life in a new country I believe in, they would NOT be illegal border crossers. That act suggests that they aren’t much concerned with following the law, which doesn’t suggest that they will become good citizens nor good additions to the country. Presidents are elected to do their best to improve the country, not bring it down.

But then I don’t understand why Biden has been so intent on getting the price of gas up. I guess he must actually believe that “global warming” is a real problem, caused by an excess of CO2 in the atmosphere, which it is not! CO2 is not a poisons gas, but a natural plant food. Nurseries pump extra CO2 into their greenhouses to make their plants grow stronger and taller. Australia has written articles for the international press, extolling their bountiful crops this year, which can be blamed on a slight increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. A blessing from our sun, which controls the atmosphere of earth. And the sun seems to be just fine, shining benignly down on us all.

The reports from our scientists pass through many hands before they actually reach us, unless we are carefully going to the source, which we mostly are not. Surprising, in a way, that we ever get anything correctly understood. It’s a complicated world.

ADDENDUM: I suspect that many of us thinking about the border, have not carefully looked at a map. Our border with Mexico consists almost entirely of the State of Texas. There’s Arizona too, but that border is mostly inhospitable desert, but Texas abuts Mexico all down one side. California has a small border with Mexico, but it is short, and unwelcoming, except in good sized cities. so Texas gets the brunt of it all, which is undoubtedly why Texas Governor Abbott sent a few busloads of illegals up to Washington DC for the Federal Government to deal with. They didn’t seem to be getting the picture.

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