American Elephants

I want! by American Elephant
March 23, 2009, 5:31 pm
Filed under: Fun n Games | Tags: , ,

Quite possibly the coolest thing ever made! I want! I want!

The Miniatur Wunderland model railroad in Hamburg, Germany is the largest in the world, covering 16,146 square feet of space with more than 10,000 train cars running around its 6.8 miles of HO scale track. Now, the makers of this huge layout have created a video that gives you a jaw-dropping look at the vast scope of this intricate work of art. Its construction started in 2000, and is still underway, with a tiny airport due for completion by the end of this year. This is just the beginning — there are plans to double to layout by 2014. [read more, photo gallery here]

…and with an estimated value of around $20 million, I can see no reason why I shouldn’t have it!

President Obama’s adoring media begin to have questions… by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama’s “Presidential World Tour” provoked a fair amount of humor and sarcasm on many right-leaning blogs, including this one. The repainted plane, with the U.S. flag on the tail removed to be replaced by the Obama symbol, the seat labeled “the President”, the entourage including three major television anchors, the announcement of his foreign policy towards Iraq and Afghanistan before going there on a “learning” trip were a few of the occasions for questioning presumptuous behavior.

But it was the arrogant request to speak at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin that really raised questions. (Like who does he think he is?). Wolfram Weimer, editor in chief of the German political monthly Cicero said:

It would not occur to any one in France to let Oskar Lafontaine, the co-Chair of the German Left Party, hold a campaign speech at the Arc de Triomphe. No one in England would think of helping one of the Kaczynski brothers stump for Polish votes in front of Buckingham Palace….Why not? Because there is such a thing as a feeling of reverence toward national symbols. And this feeling forbids one from allowing such places to be misused for the politicking of foreign nations. It shows a lack of respect to want to degrade the historical monuments of friendly countries into electoral campaign scenery.

Weimer added that “By virtue of his request he makes brazenly clear that he is not really interested in Germany as such. What interests him is, above all, the décor for a good photo opportunity.”

His Berlin speech, where he presented himself as a “citizen of the world”, without irony, made him sound like a candidate of transnational progressivism — where global rules and norms are more important than sovereign nations — and little things like the American Constitution. The Press, however, ate it up. “He looks so Presidential”, they gushed.

Amir Taheri wrote about Obama’s tour that:

“He looked like a man in a hurry,” a source close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said last week. “He was not interested in what we had to say.”…Iraqis were most surprised by Obama’s apparent readiness to throw away all the gains made in Iraq simply to prove that he’d been right in opposing the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. “He gave us the impression that the last thing he wanted was for Iraq to look anything like a success for the United States,” a senior Iraqi official told me. “As far as he is concerned, this is Bush’s war and must end in lack of success, if not actual defeat.”

There were, however, some cracks in the media’s adoration. Katie Couric gave him the toughest questioning of the tour. Reporters had to gently remind his campaign staff that “He isn’t President yet”. The slight bounce in the polls after his appearances in Berlin, Paris and London has pretty much disappeared. He has encouraged portrayal of himself as a messianic figure, welcomed portraits of himself with halos. Though the mock “presidential seal” has disappeared, the media enthusiasm has not. Chris Matthews still has that ‘tingle’.

Dana Milbank from the Washington Post showed today that the press is not always a faithful and dependable doormat:

Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday. He ordered up a teleconference with the (current president’s) Treasury secretary, granted an audience to the Pakistani prime minister and had his staff arrange for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to give him a briefing. Then he went up to Capitol Hill to be adored by House Democrats in a presidential-style pep rally.

Along the way he traveled in a bubble more insulating than the actual president’s. Traffic was shut down for him as he zoomed about town in a long, presidential-style motorcade, while the public and most of the press were kept in the dark about his activities, which included a fundraiser at the Mayflower where donors paid $10,000 or more to have photos taken with him.

[At the] adoration session with lawmakers in the Cannon Caucus Room…he told the House members, “This is the moment…that the world is waiting for,”adding’ “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.”

As he marches toward Inauguration Day (Election Day is but a milestone on that path), Obama’s biggest challenger may not be Republican John McCain but rather his own hubris.


An Ego That Knows No Borders by The Elephant's Child

Obama came to Berlin. He came in his campaign plane with the Obama logo on the tail and the Obama slogan painted on the side, with his entourage, and his television anchors, and his crew of worshipful reporters. This visit, unlike his stops in the Middle East, was not paid for by the taxpayers, but by his campaign.

Speaking to an enthralled audience of “tens of thousands of elated Europeans” who just happened to turn up to hear him, he said “Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen — a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.” Not as a candidate? Then why the plane, the logo, the posters, the fliers, etc., etc., And “citizen of the world”? What the heck is that? Nobody is a “citizen of the world”. A citizen, by definition, belongs to a state. And it’s wise to remember which one.

He throws in a line about his race, as if it were something new and different, ignoring the fact that the faces of American foreign policy for 8 years have been African-American ones.

After some fuzzy history (Obama has trouble with history), he apologizes for his country: “I know my country has not perfected itself”, “reject torture and stand for the rule of law” Apologizes to Germans? The history I recall had us going to Europe twice to rescue Europe from the Germans.

Many platitudes, promises to solve all the world’s problems with German help, bring a new dawn to the Middle East, defeat terrorism, end racism, defeat AIDS, end antisemitism, religious bigotry, class envy, and nationalism.

He also promised to save the planet from global warming. “As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya”. Oops! But he went on in that vein: “This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.”

Sigh. The ice caps in the Arctic are not melting, the coastlines are not shrinking perceptibly, the Midwest has been suffering more from floods than drought. The oceans are not rising unless you consider centimeters significant, and storms come and go completely unaffected by global warming. Even Obama in his Messiah role cannot cause the storms to cease, the ocean to cease its rise, and drought to end. If he becomes President, he won’t have the slightest control of the factories in Beijing. Anyway, it quit warming about ten years ago, and has been cooling in the last five years. Obama will probably take credit for stopping the warming if he finds out.

This is theater. Obama is playing a presidential role to convince the electorate that he can be “presidential”. From speeches with a fake presidential seal on the podium, to an embarrassing request to speak at the Brandenburg Gate, to the entourage, he is playing president. It’s one way to address a thin resume.

It is apparently successful with a gullible and adoring press, but I’m not sure it is playing so well at home. Obama apparently believes that people will not question the meaning of his words, which is slight; wonder why he is campaigning for the presidency in Europe when he hasn’t even been nominated yet; or wonder why his big European campaign event is in Germany.

Oh wait, we do know why his big event was in Berlin. It’s because Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy made important speeches in Berlin. What they said there has been long remembered. I looked for the significant words, the memorable words in this speech, but I couldn’t find them. The only thing notable about this speech was the messianic language (some borrowed from FDR and Lincoln) and the pretentious and arrogant demands. Obama’s really not in any position to be telling the Germans what they must do.

When the curtain comes down on this campaign tour, will the Europeans love us again? This is our moment, this is our time. Didn’t amount to much.

What Judgment? Obama Scraps Visit to Wounded Troops in Favor of Campaign Stunt by American Elephant

Priorities, priorities, priorities….

Barack Obama goes to Germany and has no time to visit wounded American service men and women, but all the time in the world for a campaign stunt in front of thousands of appreciative, ignorant, German socialist youths, go to the gym, and even to sight-see!

His campaign then has the audacity to claim it would be inappropriate to visit the wounded troops on a campaign funded journey. Um? WTF? You’re only willing to visit the young Americans who have given their blood in Americas defense of our country if the taxpayers are paying for it? Not on your own dime?

Or perhaps you think Americans are stupid enough to believe that you couldn’t go visit the troops and tell the media they aren’t welcome to come? A little hard to swallow considering President Bush does just that all the time, and especially considering you already prohibit the press from asking you any number of questions, and demand that they not have microphones when they ask you questions.

The fact is, Senator Obama, you have appalling judgment! And you lie to cover up for it.

More on his equally appalling speech later.

%d bloggers like this: