“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

All The Best


I want to thank everyone who participated in the Elephant Bar over the past twelve years. We had millions of visitors from all around the World and you were part of it. Over the past dozen years, two or three times a night, I would open my laptop and some of you were always there. I will miss that.

My plans are to continue my work with technology and architecture. You know my interests and thoughts.

At times, things would get a little rough in the EB. To those of you that I may have offended over the years, I apologize. From all of you, I learned and grew.

An elephant never forgets.
Be well.

Deuce, 21 June 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2012

As bad as things are in Syria, it is not our problem to intervene


26 April 2012 Last updated at 02:53 ET Syria:

Massive explosion in Hama 'kills 70’ 

Up to 70 people have been killed in an attack on a house in Hama, according to Syrian activists. 

They said several houses in the Mashaa at-Tayyar district in southern Hama were destroyed by a big explosion.

State media said 16 people died in the blast in a house used as a bomb factory by "armed terrorist groups”.

Meanwhile, a video has emerged which purportedly shows a man being buried alive by security forces, allegedly for sending material to TV stations.

The unnamed man, who is said to be a media activist, is seen pleading for his life as earth is shovelled over his head. He then goes silent.

The security forces are heard cursing him for receiving money for sending material to Arabic satellite TV stations. The video was leaked by sympathisers.

Scud attack? 

Following the blast in Hama, activists posted video on the internet showing a scene of devastation, with bodies being pulled from the rubble.

They said the blast was caused by government shelling or even a Scud missile attack.

State television showed pictures of injured children in hospital.

The reports cannot be independently verified owing to government restrictions on foreign media.

Continuing violence has been reported across Syria since a ceasefire was introduced earlier this month - including in towns where UN observers are present.

France now says the Security Council should consider the use of force in Syria if a UN-backed peace plan proposed by international envoy Kofi Annan fails to stop the violence.

The plan calls on Damascus to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from cities. The UN has sent a small advance team of observers to Syria. Last weekend the Security Council approved the deployment of another 300. The UN says about 9,000 people have died since pro-democracy protests began in March 2011. In February, the Syrian government put the death toll at 3,838 - 2,493 civilians and 1,345 security forces personnel.

Annan's six-point peace plan 

  1. Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people 
  2. UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians 
  3. All parties to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause 
  4. Authorities to intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons 
  5. Authorities to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists 
  6. Authorities to respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully



    The international community is harder on Israel over the deaths of Palestinians than it has been over Syrian President Bashar Assad's 13-month siege against opposition activists in Syria, an opposition activist charged on Wednesday.

    "When killing happens in Palestine, even though the United States is an ally of Israel, the whole international community presses Israel more than they have pressed the Assad regime," said Mousab al-Hamadi, an opposition resident from Hama province, where activists say 31 people were killed on Monday by government troops. Monitors from the United Nations visited the conflict-torn city a day before.

    "After one month we will have maybe 1,000 or 2,000 people killed - it is ridiculous. How can the international community watch without moving quickly," he said, responding to an announcement that it will take another month to deploy 100 unarmed military observers to oversee a shaky April 12 truce agreement.

    Most activists reacted with a mixture of anger and apathy.

    Syrian opposition activists accused the UN of "playing with Syrian lives" by dragging out the deployment of ceasefire monitors in the country.

    "It takes them a month to arrive? Are they coming on horses?" said a resident from the city of Homs, which has endured sustained shelling by the army. He asked to be referred to only by the nickname 'Sami' for fear of arrest.

    "This has just given the regime more time to kill us," said Walid Fares, an activist living in nearby Homs city, over Skype. "We are being killed right now, we are not being killed in a month's time."

    There are currently 15 monitors in Syria, visiting areas torn by a 13-month uprising against Assad, whose government has responded to protests with gunfire and shelled central districts of opposition strongholds, saying it is fighting an "armed terrorist" revolt.

    Jpost.com staff contributed to this report

  2. The enlightenment comes to Egypt. (By the way what's happened to Mubarak?)

    Women Urge Opposition To Child Marriage and Sex After Death Laws

    I've heard of life after death, and read a lot about it, but that's in the other world. Here they are talking about sex after death in this world, and, I must admit, that's the first I've heard of that peculiar islamic tradition.

    Good grief!

    Go to JihadWatch for a roundup of the days islamic atrocities around the world!


    1. Author Profile Page Sheikh Hassan bin Sobah replied to comment from Lorenzo Pilaf | April 25, 2012 3:26 PM | Reply

      There once was a Muslim named Dave
      who found a dead whore in a cave
      Now you must admit
      she did smell like sh_t
      but think of the money he saved


  3. Obammie's got an election to worry about. Syria is on its own.

  4. The number of U.S. natural-gas rigs is “misleading” because some are actually drilling for oil and liquids, Pioneer (PXD) Natural Resources Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Scott Sheffield said.

    There are probably only a couple of hundred drilling rigs exploring in pure or “dry” gas fields, Sheffield said in an interview at a Hart Energy conference in Fort Worth, Texas today. In Texas, some rigs are classified as drilling for gas because state rules allow operators to hold more acreage with a gas well, Sheffield said.

    Pioneer has 12 rigs in Texas’ Eagle Ford and it’s reporting two oil rigs and 10 rigs drilling for gas, even though the company is primarily drilling for oil, he said. Texas Railroad Commission rules allow operators to hold 640 acres with a gas well and only 40 or 80 acres with an oil well, he said.

    There were 631 rigs drilling for gas in the U.S. as of April 20, according to Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) That was the first time in three weeks the number of gas rigs has increased. The rig count has dropped 33 percent since Oct. 14 as the price of gas has declined.

    Rig Count Deceptive

  5. We are, normally, putting a little over 100 Billion cuft of nat gas in Storage this time of year, but due to the extremely mild Winter we only need to put about half that much in this yr.

    However, that 25 Bcuft we put in last week won't get it. We'll get another report in a couple of hours, and it should be instructive. The thing is, with the "exodus" of rigs from the pure gas plays, and the rapid decline of the fracced wells, it's hard to see things getting "better" as the summer wears on.

  6. The informative chart is the one at the bottom of the page.

    EIA - Nat Gas Storage

  7. Romney had better get as far away from Paul Ryan as humanly possible, as quickly as possible.

    Gut Social Security, and Medicare, and cut taxes on the Rich is not going to work this time around.

  8. As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington.

    The event -- which provides a telling revelation for how quickly the post-election climate soured -- serves as the prologue of Robert Draper's much-discussed and heavily-reported new book, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives."

    According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith. Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz.


    Whether or not that's shocking depends on the degree to which one's view of politics has been jaded. What's certainly noteworthy is the timing. When Mitch McConnell said in October 2010 that his party's primary goal in the next Congress was to make Obama a one-term president, it was treated as remarkably candid and deeply cynical. Had he said it publicly in January 2009, it would likely have caused an uproar.


    American politics has always been about the fight. If anyone had a worse set of enemies, that would be the Clintons. What is new - I could be wrong - is the depth of the personal hatred, which seems to have started with Carter. It *appears* that the Tea Party Republicans compromised the economic recovery, if one allows any credence to Keynesian stimulus, and big if, depending on audience.

    Then again, some of the whacked-out psychotic tweetie pies that populate the conservative online sites inspire a deeper source of bile than I thought I possessed.

  9. I wonder how many of those "tea partiers" were small business owners that were being propped up by customers that were, in turn, being propped up by various Government "safety net," and "entitlement" programs.

    My experience is that the number would be quite high.

  10. Gut Social Security, and Medicare, and cut taxes on the Rich is not going to work this time around.

    The world is not in a good place right now - wouldn't debate that. But it strikes me that the apocalyptic gloom coming from conservatives is an implicit recognition of just that - the time is not 'right' for even a small sliver of the traditional conservative vision, let alone the more modern agenda of 'starving the beast.'

    Even worse, if Washington cleans itself off through reform from cascading scandals (the GSA crew won't be doing Vegas again any time soon - eventually but not soon), then government could become respectable again - nice enough to have over for dinner.

    Which could mean Hillary in 2016.

    I see Jeb Bush is short-listed for Romney's VP. So much stupid. So few Republicans.

  11. Max (short for Maxine)Apr 26, 2012 03:44 AM
    "According to the Bank of International Settlements, U.S. banks have loaned only $60.5 billion to banks in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy - the countries most at risk of default. But they've lent $275.8 billion to French and German banks.

    And undoubtedly bet trillions on the same debt.


    There is not enough capital on hand to cover the possible losses associated with the default of a single counterparty - JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), BNP Paribas SA (PINK: BNPQY) or the National Bank of Greece (NYSE ADR: NBG) for example - let alone multiple failures.

    Derivatives: The [$700] Trillion Time Bomb that's Set to Explode (Link)

    You do the math. Ordinary debt is smugly tame by comparison."

    I think we are talking past each other. My original objection to you was your statement that (parapharsing from memory) 'the debt can not be paid off' to which I replied that it didn't need be countries (the US in particular) simply need to roll over existing debt and carry the interest. You replied about the 700 Trillion of debt due to derivatives which, I've argued, is a different kettle of fish from debt and that the headline number of 700 trillion was misleading.

    Yes, derivatives can leave various entities with outsized risk (AIG being one entity creamed by it). One of the interesting things about the Europe crisis is the Greek haircut for bond holders. They've tried mightly to make the 'haircut' a 'voluntary bond exchange' so that it won't trigger the outstanding CDS's. The hedge funds have been working hard to get a spade called a spade - a default, so they can cash in. So far the hedge funds have been stymied.

    The US, in particular, really needs to take a good hard look at regulation. What is a bank? Should deposit taking institutions, insurance companies, be limited in what they can do with the money (i.e. how much need be held in reserve and what form those reserves should take). Should and investment bank be treated the same by the Fed as a deposit taking institution? ect. ect. ect.

    I wish hell need not freeze over before you debunked my accounting which you claimed was wrong. I'm curious am prepared to eat crow.

    1. 'the debt can not be paid off'

      My original phrasing was poor as I believe I already acknowledged by citing several writer/economists including Tyler Durden:

      Another way of looking at the data is that one of the key contributors to global growth and prosperity in the past 10 years was an increase in total derivatives from just under $100 trillion to $708 trillion in exactly one decade. And soon we have to pay the mean reversion price.

      My objection was to the King Tut-Tut response that citing the "notional" value of the risk was misleading (ref the accounting issue). It is not misleading. Over the last decade, the risk was ratcheted to bubble-proportions. The economic "growth" of the last decade was an econometric mirage. The EU fallout threatened to collapse the credit bubble created by an uncontrolled derivatives market. If not the EU, then something else. Britain is formally back in recession. The writer/economists that I follow are concerned that the exposure is already beyond containment. My original phrasing was sloppy but the global financial instability created by the high risk derivatives market is serious - and immediate, within five years but likely sooner.

      Better read about 2008 is "All the Devils are Here" by Bethany McLean (Smartest Guys in the Room) and Joe Nocera. The Lewis book is very narrowly focused. Get as much from his lengthy Vanity Fair article and Matt Taibbi's essays.

    2. I'll give "All the Devils are Here" a read. Yes, Lewis's book was narrowly focused. Another popular book, now a movie, "Too Big to Fail" and I just saw "Margin Call" the other night. One of my favourites was Nial Ferguson's "The Cash Nexus" which is a pretty long history of money and the bond markets.

      Derivatives are a problem, I agree, but I think a greater threat is the bond markets and the political grid-lock in the US preventing any reasonable addressing of the deficit and current account situations. When folk stop buying your bonds you are in deep doo doo. I think once the 'bond vigilantes' are finished in the Europe it'll be the US's turn next and that will be particularly ugly.

    3. Seeking Alpha is not impressed with the bond vigilantes link here. The bond vigilantes get more press from outlets like CNBC, which makes me wonder.

      But I agree that Washington political gridlock is a huge problem. Judd Gregg wrote what is being described as a "scathing" op-ed piece saying Congress (and the President) should just go home now. This Congress has been described as the "laziest" in terms of legislation presented and passed and couple of other criteria I don't remember. Not a bright spot in American political history.

    4. I tend to use the term 'bond vigilantes' tongue in cheek. There is a group that 'play the game', traders, that prey on bonds and try to work the market - much like the bogeyman that your link referred to.

      However, there is a real market for bonds and if that market dries up then things get really nasty for the issuer of said bonds. There is that whole psychological element, now a popular factor in market talk, plus 'real' economics. When the worm turns...

      Even issuers of currency's can find a lack of buyers for their bonds. The central bank can step in and do the buying but for how long? The US dollar, being the exchange currency, has even more lattitude for central bank intervention but that power is not infinite in my opinion and if that worm should turn and investors lose their confidence in the 'good faith of the American government' then a dumping of bonds could occur. I mean, who in their right mind would tie up millions of dollars for about a 3 percent return for 30 years? Care to buy a US 30 year bond if the market were no longer liquid for those beasts?

    5. Clinton political adviser James Carville said at the time that “I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody."

  12. PG&E is building MASSIVE thermal solar fields in the Mohave. Not up and running yet but will be soon

  13. Replies
    1. If you want more fun on this line take a look at how many advertising agencies there are in the world.

      Basically there are 3 really big ones and 2 smaller ones.

  14. The continuing fall in "PV" prices are giving the "Solar Thermal" guys a serious case of heartburn. The lower the photovoltaic (and, Wind) goes, the harder the case for Solar Thermal becomes.

  15. ALEC has already attempted to write legislation preventing targets for renewable energy on the federal level. As nothing substantive has happened nationally, it seems ALEC is now preparing to take its corporate-influenced legislation to the 29 states that actually have targets in place.

    Along with promoting legislation to kill climate policies and renewable energy targets, ALEC also provided the framework for legislation currently moving through the U.S. House of Representatives that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating toxic coal ash.

    According to the Center for Media and Democracy, Peabody Energy — the largest private coal company in the world — is a major underwriter for ALEC and sits on the organization’s Private Enterprise Board.

    Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1a5h9)

    Exxon, Koch Bros, and Peabody - Watching our "Six," as it were

  16. 47 Billion cuft.

    hmmm . . . .

    Call it "inconclusive."

  17. well bite me.

    Make the effort to compose a thoughtful and out-of-character slightly witty post ON-TOPIC!! and poof!!!

    well gosh darn it all to heck.

    and blow me.

  18. Replies
    1. (disappearing post syndrome?)

      maybe I've passed it on

  19. As bad as things are in Palestine it is not our problem to intervene and yet we do, providing murderers a billion dollars a year.

    We support Hamas and the PA with money, food, roads, schools and jobs.

    If America would have stopped supporting a people and their national movement that is totally at odds with America and her interests the issue would have disappeared decades ago.

  20. It's No Joke

    I had never heard of this aspect of islam befor

    And I shouldn't have posted that stupid little ditty in the third post from the beginning of this thread above.

    The author at the end makes a point as to our foreign policy.

    Do we really want nuclear weapons in these hands?

  21. Farmers Harvest Obama

    Obumble backs off telling family farmers how to run the farm.

    That didn't take long.

    Now, go, do thou likewise.

  22. I almost hate to be the one to bring it up, but what's with Biden and this big stick thing?

  23. What's the difference between a pessimist and an optimist?

    A pessimist thinks things can't be worse.

    An optimist knows they can.

    1. or....wisdom and folly


  24. Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all.

    This is another of those subjects about which I know nothing, but the writer doesn't like the sounds of this.

    Rushed legislation is usually bad legislation.


  25. I bet a lot of kids help out on their neighbors farms also.

    Cindy Munford on April 26, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    And probably for free. It used to be called “neighborly” Now it’s child slavery. Can I get reparations?

    katy the mean old lady on April 26, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Quote of the Day for me, heh