American Elephants


Should We Bail Out the Automobile Companies? by The Elephant's Child

Detroit cannot make cars at a price the market will bear.

The only question is whether we want to kick the problem down the road, or confront it now.  As long as they cannot make cars at a price that people will pay, they will not have a functional business.  Do we think they should go bankrupt now? Do we think they should go bankrupt later? How often do we intend to bail them out?



Short on manners, long on politics. by The Elephant's Child

President Alvaro Uribe of Columbia came to Washington this week to plead for a free trade pact.  He didn’t come asking for very much — only that Congress keep its word on an agreement that will drop tariffs on American goods sold in Columbia.  Columbia is perhaps the most valuable ally that America has ever had in Latin America. 

President Uribe is looking for  a chance to help his country develop as a democracy and prosper in a difficult region. The main result of the free trade agreement would be an increase in investments in his country, and an opportunity for America to sell more to Columbia.  The more Columbia is allowed to develop and increase legal investment, the more it will help them to defeat terrorist groups and illegal drugs. 

Last July, Columbia put its’ own men in harm’s way in a daring rescue of three Americans held hostage by FARC Marxist terrorists.  For that, somebody should get a medal, let alone a trade agreement. 

Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who killed the free trade deal last April, refused to meet Uribe, and did not even acknowledge a White House invitation to an event in his honor.  Later, her staff complained that Uribe did not call her. 

Pelosi has offered a variety of excuses, but the motive seems to be paying attention to the demands of Big Labor at election time. Harry Reid, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson, supposed Latin experts, seemed unaware of the message that their treatment of Uribe sent to the region.

But Governor Sarah Palin, who is supposed to be a foreign policy lightweight, asked to meet with Uribe on Tuesday in New York.  Way to go, Sarah.  At least someone knows how to behave when an important leader comes to our country. And she puts our country’s interests ahead of politics, as well.



The bare facts about the bear business… by The Elephant's Child

Polar Bear

Are you confused by the whole global warming thing? Do your eyes glaze over and do you quickly turn the page at the very mention? You are not alone.

The Interior Department ruled today that the polar bear will be protected as a threatened species”. The polar bear population across the Arctic has doubled from an estimated 12,000 to 25,000 since 1960. But some scientists believe that sea ice, necessary to the bears, may diminish in future years because of global warming. This is an enormous threat to the American economy.

But there has been no global warming for the past 10 years, and there has been actual cooling for the last 5 years. What’s up with that?

“Threatened” is a term with specific meaning. It means their numbers are declining and the species is likely to become “endangered”. But if the numbers of bears are increasing, then why… Because the predictions of computer climate models said that in future years the sea ice may diminish. But…

But the predictive ability of the climate models is increasingly in question. Meteorologists will tell you that they can predict the weather with some degree of accuracy about 5 to 7 days out. Many scientists say that the climate models have no predictive ability whatsoever.

Well then, how effective is the Endangered Species Act? It’s very hard to tell. In some cases, an order to stop shooting the animal in question meant that the species increased. Many have been de-listed because it turned out that they weren’t threatened or endangered in the first place. Counting species accurately is exceedingly tricky. Do they only live here, or could they live just as well there? Is this a lone population or are there 20 more just over the next ridge? Faulty data is frequent.

The Endangered Species Act is, for many environmentalists, not a law to protect plant and animal species, but a back door means of preventing economic development of some chosen area. It is for others a mythical attachment to the idea of “a balance of nature”, which does not exist, for in nature there is only constant change.

The drive to list the polar bear as endangered is more about drilling for oil in the Arctic than it is about the bears. And the propaganda has been intense. We watched “The Golden Compass” recently, a movie made about a children’s book, a fantasy that includes ice-bears — essentially talking polar bears. To watch the movie, we had to endure a commercial from the WWF featuring a little girl pleading for other children to enlist their parents in the campaign to save the polar bear. Unbelievably crass.

So, it is back to the courts, for both sides have said they will sue.

This is a dreadfully dishonest way to deal with national conundrums. No matter how much the naive urban people dream of a world energized by the power of the sun and the wind and hydroelectric power, it’s not going to happen. At least not in the foreseeable future. And if you don’t like the price of gas, write to the Congressional Democrats — they have a lot to answer for.

In the meantime, no wonder your eyes glaze over…




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