American Elephants


The Internet is Changing, in Ways Unknown. by The Elephant's Child

The internet is changing. Of course it is always changing, but the way in which it is changing is something new. The initial idea was that it would be an opportunity for what were formerly magazines available in bookstores or by subscription to have a second outlet, and far more would be available for free. It was assumed that the ability to reach so many people online would create advertising that could reach so many people that it would pay for everything.

Different people use the internet differently. I’m a reader, and am usually looking for information rather than entertainment. Others want to share their lives with their friends and the internet replaces a lot of phone calls and letters with the ability to include pictures and have lots of sharing. Some use it entirely for work, and get their entertainment from television or online movies. I’m looking for world and national news, politics, general information. I do not want to hear from Hollywood “celebrities” at all. If they make a good movie, I might go to a theater, but their abilities lean toward acting, not useful thought. “Celebrities” have name recognition and are “click-bait” for websites. So would-be celebrities no longer have to pay press agents, they only need to say something outrageous, and their utterances make “news.” I don’t want an internet that is all about people insulting each other.

Google has taken over control of advertising, and where ads can be placed on the page and where they can appear. Along with many others, I’m annoyed by ads that block or limit the piece I am trying to read. There are others who don’t like ads, so an industry has sprung up to make ads less frequent or even to make them disappear (for a fee). So, surprisingly there are ads for services that remove all ads, which has resulted in websites demanding that you block your ad removal service or they won’t let you read the piece you are reading. Google lets you block ads but wants to know why you are blocking them, I presume to try to discover your reasoning and figure out how to get around it.

Ads are not producing the revenue needed to pay for the staff of writers that the various websites have employed. You have undoubtedly noticed that the websites are asking you to subscribe to get the important pieces, which they will label to show that you can only read them if you have subscribed. The question now is if you will subscribe so you can read everything, and if the number of people who will subscribe is enough to pay the salaries and benefits of all the writers the website wants to employ, and helps to maintain the cost of having a website. Everybody’s expectations were perhaps a little higher then was justified.

How many websites do you visit each day, how many of those want you to subscribe? I visit about 20 websites each day. I could whittle that down a bit, but if you multiply the monthly cost of all for 12 months, and add it all together, it’s a fairly significant sum. Not going to happen. How will the internet develop to cope with all this? I spent a lot of years working in advertising, and some significant shifts from Google would improve things.

Tried tonight to watch a bit of the vice-presidential candidates’ debate. Different moderator, different tactics, but impossible to limit candidates to the assigned time. Kamala Harris has come equipped with many attack modes, most of them simply political attacks that are completely untrue. Many might believe your attack that President Trump did not respond correctly to the Covid -19 virus, but it’s just false.

The virus was unknown when it hit the nursing home in the next suburb to the north of my house, but as soon as it became known that a visitor who was returning from Wuhan, China had infected many of the residents, President Trump slammed a halt to all traffic from China. In January, which provoked screaming outrage from Democrats who accused him of racism and xenophobia. He promptly began a deliberate and thorough response to the needs of each state. We had to learn about the virus before we could do the right thing.

To try to blame President Trump for all the corona-virus deaths to date (and in the future) is absurd. Kamala Harris is attempting to use in the debate tonight all the party-line accusations the Democrats have come up with so far, most of them unfair or untrue. Many actions taken with care turned out to be unneeded (like the tent hospitals the military set up) that were not used at all. Ms. Harris is not projecting vast competency.

Joe Biden has spent 36 years in Congress as a likeable senator, without significant accomplishment, and 8 years as Barack Obama’s vice president. He is 77 years old, and appears to be afflicted by “senior moments” or some oncoming dementia which many find troubling for a future president. Many worry that Kamala Harris could become president for she doesn’t seem qualified. Biden’s family seems to have been significantly enriched by vice-presidential influence. In a political season, the charges will be many, and not all of them are true, as I’m sure you have noticed, and internet fact-checks aren’t significantly accurate.

Donald Trump has been attacked with the most vicious slanders that the Democrats can find. I can’t remember a campaign ever that has been so angry and so unfair. Trump is not one to suffer silently, and Twitter has been his major outlet. He slams right back. Many find his “tweets” “unpresidential”, which depends on your ideas of the proper words of a president. I’ve lived through a significant number of Presidents, but this campaign really is different. We are faced with a pandemic from Wuhan, China that has killed thousands across the world. We have had to learn about it slowly, step by step. Most of the rest of the world has suffered too. Stop and think about the toilet paper crisis.

The U.S. has had 7,640,890 confirmed cases. 214,947 deaths, and 4,958,850 Americans have recovered. Joe Biden tried to claim there were 200 million deaths, so you see how easy it is to get tangled up in the numbers. Two hundred thousand is still too many. Globally there have been 36,063,675 confirmed cases and 1,054.153 deaths while around 25 million have recovered.

Democrats are urging people to avoid the vaccines that may be available before the end of the year, because” Trump is involved”. That’s going too far. People are apt to fear vaccines, but when you understand the testing involved, our official guidelines are pretty trustworthy. There are protocols in the United States for vaccines to make sure that none are released before they have been thoroughly tested and are remarkably safe.

When you know your history, of pandemics and new medicines and new treatments, the United States ranks remarkably highly for such a big country. We have a really fine medical sector, and they do a pretty good job. Lots of diseases still out there, but they are working hard to conquer them. News today about planets that seem to be habitable, and perhaps even more habitable than this one. And now we have a Space Force, and what is next, and where will we go?



Dirty Politics, or Playing the Blame Game by The Elephant's Child
September 30, 2020, 2:32 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Politics is really heating up, and it’s going to be a dirty year. The Left seems to believe that they can blame Donald Trump for the Corona Virus and all the deaths that have resulted from that very scary disease. I must remind you once again that Trump acted promptly at the first sign of the virus a couple of miles north of my house when someone returning from Wuhan, China to visit their relatives in a senior care home, infected not only their relatives, but most of the staff of the care facility.

President Trump promptly banned all flights from China to a huge outcry from the Left about racial prejudice, xenophobia, bigotry, ethnocentrism, racial hatred against Asians, intolerance etc.etc. etc. We didn’t know what the virus was, what it did to those infected, nor what the prognosis was.

Governors begged for equipment and hospital beds. Trump persuaded automobile companies to switch some of their production to making ventilators. Everybody, it seems, started making masks, decorated in all sorts of unlikely ways. Everybody started making hand sanitizer. Runs on grocery stores for every kind of cleaning products from soap to bleach, Clorox, toilet paper, paper towels. There were nearly riots over toilet paper. Trump sent Hospital ships to Los Angeles and New York.  Doctors didn’t know how to treat it at first, but relied on their basic knowledge of viruses and epidemics, and we slowly have learned. Countries all over the world had to learn what this was and how to deal with it. Italy had a bad time because of their numbers of elderly people.The hospital tents set up so urgently were never used.

We had the Swedish child who sailed to the United States to address the United Nations because she got school kids to skip school to protest. San Francisco painted a building in her honor, although she didn’t seem to know anything relevant at all. It was from bats, it was produced in a Wuhan lab, it came from miners who got it from bats, we still don’t know much about what it is and how to deal with it efficiently. Some suspect it is a deliberate Chinese attack. I don’t think you can effectively blame Donald Trump. He acted quickly on the best available advice. We have learned a lot about how to deal with a pandemic, but there no quick and easy answers. Trying to blame the President for all the coronavirus deaths is just another round of Democrat dirty politics.

Now they are trying to suggest that any vaccine cooked up by Trump may be dangerous, and should not be trusted. Really? Sometimes you just go too far.



The Covid Virus is Testing Our Elected Officials by The Elephant's Child

Human beings are kind of a mess, but so far we seem to be the brightest of living creatures available. Unfortunately, that still leaves a great deal to be desired. Behold:

Students at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Roosevelt University, Loyola University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia College, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have formed a coalition called Solidarity Street that aims to abolish policing on campus.

The group (says) “Cops aren’t workers and the city needed to stop negotiating with them years ago. August 1st we’re demanding y’all cut ties and divest from this white supremacist cult sooner rather than later,” one Instagram caption reads.

In another post, the group argued that cops only exist to defend wealthy Americans. “Cops are not workers. A worker is someone that sells their labor to make ends meet. Cops do not do this,” the post reads. “They defend the interests and property of the wealthy. Cops do not need a pay raise. They need to be defunded. They are the armed wing of the American capitalist state.”

In a statement, Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown said that they will continue their efforts to reduce violence in the area.

If you can read this without laughing, or conversely, shedding a few tears, these are the students that are the future of our beloved country. It seems that a surprising number of our citizens are going to have to learn about police and policing the hard way. When they are getting beaten to a pulp by someone who wants their smart phone and their money, or when someone is breaking into their house, and they are frantically trying to call 911 with no response, and no one comes to their rescue.

California, it is reported today, is releasing almost 18,000 prison inmates including a convicted murderer, because of the Covid virus.  Almost 8,000 inmates have been sickened by the virus, and eight have died. So let them out to spread it around?

There is way too much talk about “White Supremacy” today. There are significantly more white people in America than those of other races. The population of the U.S in 2000 was 393,745,538 at the time of the 2000 census. 196,817,552 or 63.7% were white.  37,685,848 or 12.2% were black. 14.465.164 or 3.6% were Asian. 50,477,694 or 12.5% were Hispanic, and 2,247,058 or 1.9% were American Indian or Alaska Native. Efforts to make sure that everybody is included have been continuous, with varying degrees of success. There are undoubtedly many people in charge of something or other who are white, and organizations that do not include a representative of a particular race.

I have read statements by many members of Congress, presidents of one organization or another, some of them fairly stupid, and many embarrassing. Should we test for IQ, historical knowledge, legal understanding, and basic common sense before allowing anyone to run for an important position? We’re stuck with ordinary human beings, fallible as they are, and we need to be generous or demand changes as the case may be.

Here in Seattle, it is apparently getting too expensive to “peacefully protest”. Protesters have, if I understand the radio correctly, filed a lawsuit to require the county to outfit them in protective gear to protect then from the depredations of the police in their protective gear so they can “peacefully protest” as is their constitutional right. (told you that was where this was going).

I have written previously about the Seattle City Council’s effort to defund the police and turn over the policing function to a “civilian-led department of community safety & violence prevention”.

Carmen Best is the first Black Woman Police Chief in the United States, and she has done a fabulous job, it is widely agreed. She dared to speak out about the City Council’s error in the civilian-led nonsense, and the City Council just decided to defund her. They reduced her salary by about $100,000. Don’t know how this will all play out, but Chief Best deserves far better.The Seattle City Council is an embarrassment.

People are out of work, cooped up at home, chafing at being confined, masks, shutdowns, and doing without the things they need. Elected officials are required to step up and do what needs to be done. A surprising number have demonstrated that they are not only not capable of doing so, but some of the most notable are making a mess of it all too.

ADDENDUM: I apparently messed up with my numbers here. The U.S. population in 2000 was 281,421,906. In 2010, it had increased to 309,349,689. I went to the U.S. Census Bureau for the numbers. And they reminded us that if you have not yet answered the census, do it now. You can do it online, only a few simple questions.  Thanks to reader Counter for catching my error.



What Can You Do? by The Elephant's Child

Make the effort to thank those who are manning the community on your behalf, the police officers, grocery clerks, all the folks out there who are working while you are observing the quarantine.

They are scared of the virus as well, but doing their jobs in the meantime. They deserve our gratitude and more.



A COVID-19 Update for March 28, 2020 by The Elephant's Child

COVID-19 update from King County and Seattle WA Public Health:
Updated 3/28/2020 3:13 PM

Summary of counts since yesterday:

2,077 positive test results (13.2% of all results) an increase of 249

Deaths due to COVID-19: 136 (6.5% of positive results) an increase of 11

Greater  Seattle King County reported its first case of COVID-19 on January 21st

COVID-19, as we have quickly learned, is a tricky disease. Some people display prominent symptoms. Others, barely any at all. As a result, it’s hard to estimate the total number of cases or track how it’s moving through the community.

But King County is fortunate in at least one key respect: we have leading researchers based right here, already working on better ways to track the spread of respiratory diseases.

Originating as a small pilot program in 2018, the Seattle Flu Study had not anticipated the need to track COVID-19. The disease was completely unknown until this past December, when it was recognized in China. But once the first case in the U.S. was confirmed in Snohomish County, researchers realized they could adapt their existing study to help learn about this new virus.Seattle

Seattle had researchers already at work on a Flu Study. They have now partnered with Public Health and King County to launch the greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN for short) to allow Public Health  to see how the virus is spreading through the community, By conducting focused, representative testing from a sample of people across the area they will gain information that allows them to better respond to the epidemic.

You can play an important role in SCAN. We’re asking people—whether they show symptoms or not—to visit scanpublichealth.org and sign up. You’ll answer a few questions, starting with your zip code. We’ll send swab kits to those we can, focusing on the people needed to get the most representative picture possible of what’s happening in our region.

The article from which I extracted this information is much longer, and can be accessed at the previous link.

From the Washington Post:

At Evergreen Health Medical Center, two miles from the shuttered Lifecare nursing home where 35 patient deaths were linked to the virus, officials say their rate of new covid-19 cases has remained steady for two weeks, leveling off at a trickle. On some days, doctors here see just one new case and haven’t seen more than four in a single day since mid-March. Few need admission to the intensive care unit, which is now half full, two weeks after overflow necessitated transfers to nearby hospitals.
“We don’t know if this last two weeks has been a calm before the storm or if the social distancing and all those things that are being practiced are working,” said Evergreen Health CEO Jeff Tomlin, whose hospital has handled 40 of Washington state’s more than 130 virus-related deaths.

From Red State.com
Long before New York City became the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., a 35-year-old man who had recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan, China, walked into an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County, WA on January 19. He presented with a four-day cough history. The next day, this man would become the first person in America to test positive for COVID-19.



A Disgraceful Display of Democrat Partisanship vs. Saving Lives. by The Elephant's Child

Well, the Democrats demonstrated, once again, just who they are. The Bill to fund the needs of  slowing and controlling the Coronavirus epic, is not nearly as important as the Democrats winning their political games. Like little kids having a temper tantrum. they want control back and they want it now.

They want unprecedented benefits for Unions, a way of voting that would favor Democrats like voting by mail, and how about this one, they want to force more diversity on Corporate Boards of Directors as if that is any business of politicians of any stripe.

They want to stick all sorts of Green New Deal ideas into a bill to provide the necessary funds to fight the expansion of coronavirus. Pity that none of them could study up the little bit necessary to learn that windmills don’t work. They do not and cannot produce the energy needed by a modern society.

There’s the return of “Obama Phones”, same day voter registration (no time to learn whether they are even citizens), pay off $10,000 in student debt per student, allocate $35 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, automatic extension of non immigrant visas, mandate that airlines reduce their carbon emissions by 50 percent (if they had bothered to do any studying up, they would learn that top scientists say that we don’t have enough carbon in the atmosphere).

This is astonishing. This is money desperately needed to save lives and try to keep the virus controlled even as more people are infected each day. Here in Seattle, on Friday we had 793 confirmed cases, 75 deaths, on Monday it was 1,170 confirmed cases with 87 deaths. A disgraceful exhibit of partisan politics in the face of desperate Americans dying because of their neglect.



And About the American Media: by The Elephant's Child

President Donald Trump calls on a reporter during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House.

from Michael Goodwin at the New York Post:

The coronavirus epidemic is shaking humanity and turning the world upside down. Quick, somebody alert the media.

The Washington press corps is covering one of the largest, continuing stories in recent history the same way it has covered the Trump administration since Day One.

The formula is simple: Whatever the president does is not just wrong, it’s borderline evil. Details at 11.

In the real world, events are unfolding at a pace and scale impossible to comprehend. But at too many news outlets, the aim is not to inform. It’s to render the harshest possible judgment on the man journalists love to hate.

Hollywood celebrities used to have to hire press agents to get their names and faces in the news (for after all, that is how they become and remain “celebrities.)” Now they just have to say something nasty about the president publicly, or to a reporter.  Interesting to see how many “journalists” have become simply press agents for the Hollywood people that nobody wants to hear from anyway.

Americans are stepping up and doing what they can to help, whether it’s giving blood, sewing masks, turning their skills to producing what is needed, or just helping out their neighbors. Pity about the press.

ADDENDUM: Matt Margolis has an excellent column at PJMedia entitled “The Top 10 Lies About President Trump’s Response to the Coronavirus” Extremely useful in the current media climate.



The Elephant’s Guidelines for Today! by The Elephant's Child

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Looking at the news, listening to the radio. We are sequestered at home, avoiding going out in King County, Washington, ground zero for COVID-19. Confirmed cases have increased to 793 — 131 new cases today. That suggests that more testing  of those who have flu symptoms is catching more people in the early stages. This is a good thing. If you have no symptoms, you probably won’t get tested yet. You have been told over and over what precautions you should take. Do it.

There are people broadcasting who are anxiously demanding that “We need answers.” Well, there aren’t any. At this late date, pharmacists are still warning people to get their flu shots. Do you know how many people died from the flu this year? I don’t either, but it is apparently a significant number. We haven’t ever experienced anything like the current virus. It is related to previous corona viruses, which is why this is called COVID-19. There were, I assume, a previous 18. There are shortages of masks, gloves, ventilators, and whatever supplies the hospital staffs require. Companies are gearing up to produce larger quantities.  Some auto companies are reported to be gearing up to produce ventilators. Americans and American industry try to respond to the nation’s needs.

There is apparently plenty of toilet paper, and the stores are getting stocked up again, but there are complications. Truckers are finding closed rest stops, closed restaurants. Someone here had their car broken into to steal the toilet paper left in the back seat. Toilet paper companies are hard at work producing more.

President Trump has been aware that bad regulations can cause bigger problems, and is trying to lift those regulations that are not helpful in the current environment. Governors are not experts in contagious viruses and what is needed. A lot of businesses are being put out of business—dine in restaurants are hard hit. Those suddenly unemployed will find other industries hiring. Amazon is hiring large numbers, and there is a clear need for more delivery services for those sequestered at home, but needing food and medicine.

So if you are confined to your home, what do you do? Read those unread books on the shelf, learn a new language online. Do all those little jobs around the house that you have been putting off.  Do some research online and learn a new skill. It’s amazing what you can learn online if you try. Start writing that family history, or start researching it. Where did you come from and when, and what do you know about your family?

CNN staffers have admitted that their obsessive Anti-Trump coverage will not stop until Trump dies. Do read that link! Revealing! Just what we thought.

Hot Air reports that Red and Blue America aren’t experiencing the same pandemic. Democrats are expressing more concerns.  States with Republican governors have been slower or less likely to impose restrictions on their residents. So far, the greater clusters of the disease, and the most aggressive responses to it have been centered in a few large, Democrat-leaning metropolitan areas, including Seattle, New York, San Francisco and Boston.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper stated flatly that if China was more transparent, we could have contained the corona virus in China. It is common to communist countries that they are always frightened of overthrow, or allowing their subjects to doubt. Had they notified the world that they had a problem when they discovered they had a problem, they could have gotten help and the virus might have been contained in China. Instead, Italy, Iran, Spain and other countries are fighting off the disease. Iran  A lot of death could have been avoided.

Seattle is showing some signs of slowing down, but it is too early to be sure. Other Good News: The tax deadline has been extended to July 15.



The President’s Wednesday Press Conference by The Elephant's Child

Today, Wednesday 18th, Presidential Press Conference. Long, but very informative. Worth your time. Here’s what they are doing, why, and how, and what they expect to result from their actions. Democrat talking point that calling it the “Chinese virus” is somehow “racist” appears. Embarrassing.  Everybody in the entire world knows it originated in Wuhan, China. It is customary to call viruses by the name of the locale where it first appeared to specify exactly which virus it is. You may have heard of the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. That’s not racist either.



Here’s What the World Health Organization Has to Say: by The Elephant's Child

I am trying to keep up with worldwide reports, especially after learning of the dreadful case of Italy who lost so many elderly people, so I checked in with the World Health Organization (WHO), and thought that probably many of you had not, and were depending on the American media, who have become (as Hillary called anyone who dared to support President Trump) — the”Deplorables.” And you can’t trust the media any more. They are trying to blame the entire coronavirus on Donald Trump. Nevermind that he seems to be doing exactly the right things, effectively, and a pretty good job of protecting American citizens.

So here is the website for the WHO and what they are reporting for each country. Again, this is what has been reported to them. Africa is experiencing it only very lightly, as is the Russian Federation. Is that really few cases or lax reporting? Only 304 cases in Canada, and not too much is South America. They have a list for each country, besides a dandy map that gives a visual idea. We are told that the death toll from the flu is high, but I haven’t seen reports of how many Americans died from the flu, nor how it affected other countries. The flu was devastating following World War I, and killed thousands. Have heard constantly from pharmacies to be sure to get your flu shots, so apparently many people don’t or they wouldn’t nag.

China has 81,077 cases, Italy 24,747 cases.  I don’t know. Do you hunger for more statistics so you feel more prepared, calmer? Or are you sick of the whole subject? I always line up with “studying up” — the more you know, the less the chance that you can be a victim.



The Day Before St. Patrick’s Update by The Elephant's Child

The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “CoronaVirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

“On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). On January 31, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19. This declaration freed up funding and regulations to aid in efforts until Congress had a chance to act. President Trump also halted all travel from China, other affected areas, and put Americans returning from China into quarantine. On March 11, WHO publicly  characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. On March 13, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak. a National Emergency

That’s the official language and dates from the CDC. Washington State and New York State each have 501 to 1,000 cases. King County has reported  today, March 16, that they have 420 confirmed cases and one more death. Snohomish County,  reports 176 confirmed cases and 4 deaths, Pierce County 29 confirmed cases and Island County had 6. Which indicates that a lot more testing has been done. Scientists here in King County have produced a vaccine, which has just begun human testing.

I am currently re-reading John McPhee’s Table of Contents. In an essay about scientists at Princeton, he quotes Freeman Dyson as saying: “The first rule of technology is that no one can tell in advance whether a piece of technology is any good. It will hang on things that are unforeseeable. In groping around, one wants to try out things that are quick and cheap and find out what doesn’t work.” which applies to our current situation rather nicely.

ADDENDUM: Late day, checking in with King County virus updates: Confirmed cases have reached 488. This demonstrates that testing is increasing, and identifying those who have been infected. This is a good thing. As testing increases, you should expect numbers to rise–not because infections are increasing necessarily, but because existing infections are being identified. Sadly, 43 deaths in total, most from the nursing home in Kirkland.




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