American Elephants


Did you turn your lights off? Why? by The Elephant's Child

Last night at the appointed hour (8:00 pm local time, “Global Hour” — see “The NUPs Strike Again!” below) I turned on all the lights and looked out the window. I was appalled. The neighbors just below had their porch lights on, but across the valley it was a sea of darkness. Surely I couldn’t be living in such a sea of greenies. Then I realized that I wasn’t. It was snowing, and I couldn’t see across the valley.

The NUPs (naive urban people) had thought to make some important environmental point by turning off the world’s lights for one hour. I am unsure of what the point was. World Jump Day‘s purpose was a little clearer –if everyone in the world jumped at the same time, it would alter the orbit of the earth slightly and improve something or other. I’m not much on candlelight vigils or marches with big puppets either. I suspect that the time involved could be better spent reading up on the problem that is of such concern.

The problem is that if the concern is “global warming” or “global cooling” or even the revised formulation “climate change”, the implication is that there is some right temperature from which variation is a worrisome thing. Which is clearly nonsense. I’m personally in favor of something ranging from 70° to 78°, but I have skiers in the family.

It is worth noting that true believers, such as Al Gore, will not tolerate disagreement. In a preview clip from his coming appearance on 60Minutes this week, he refers to climate skeptics as “few” and “flat-earth people”. And this is typical. Just mention NASA’s Aqua satellite and note the blank stares or rude language that ensues. Bjorn Lomborg, author of the splendid The Skeptical Environmentalist, has been the recipient of attacks almost as violent as those visited upon the publication of the Danish cartoons. Lomborg, a professor of statistics, merely took official government statistics and explained clearly what they indicated.

It is very worth following up on the previous link, and reading the whole thing. This paragraph is especially worth remembering:

Well-meaning intellectual movements, from communism to post-structuralism, have a poor history of absorbing inconvenient fact or challenges to fundamental precepts. We should not ignore or suppress good indicators on the environment, though they have become extremely rare now. It is tempting to the layman to embrace with enthusiasm the latest bleak scenario because it fits the darkness of our soul, the prevailing cultural pessimism. The imagination, as Wallace Stevens once said, is always at the end of an era. But we should be asking, or expecting others to ask, for the provenance of the data, the assumptions fed into the computer model, the response of the peer review community, and so on. Pessimism is intellectually delicious, even thrilling, but the matter before us is too serious for mere self-pleasuring.



A Movie Hollywood Won’t Make, and Liberals Won’t Watch by American Elephant

And one people should see. Especially liberals — if only they’d pull their heads out of the sand long enough.

This is the highly anticipated “Fitna”, a short-film (15 minutes) from Dutch politician Geert Wilders. As you may recall, the Netherlands has been besieged by violence from Islamic fundamentalists angry over cartoon depictions of Mohammad and criticism of Islam. This is his answer. He describes it as “a call to shake off the creeping tyranny of Islamization.”

YouTube cuts the film into two parts. Keep in mind, “Fitna” addresses Islamic fundamentalism and as such shows graphic violence. Powerful. Do watch.



Understanding affirmative action… by The Elephant's Child

The idea of “affirmative action” is widely misunderstood.  Philosophy Professor John R. Searle of the University of California at Berkeley explained it very well in an article in Reason Magazine in February of 2000.

[A]ffirmative action had a disastrous effect.  We created two universities during affirmative action.  We had a super-elite university of people who were admitted on the most competitive criteria in the history of the university, but then we had this other university of people who could not have been admitted on those criteria, and who had to have special courses and special departments set up for them.

Now affirmative action meant two completely different things.  When it first started out the definition was that we were going to take affirmative actions to see that people who would never have tried to get into the university before would be encouraged and trained so that they could get admission.  I was all for that — that we were going to get people into the competition.  What happened though, and this was the catastrophic effect, is that race and ethnicity became criteria, not for encouraging people to enter the competition, but for judging the competition.



Brave New World by The Elephant's Child

Is this the world of the future? Gordon Brown announced last summer, plans for 10 eco-towns in response to the housing shortage in Britain. Half of the households in eco-towns will have to live without a car, and those that have one will be limited to a speed-limit of 15mph.

These new towns will have about 20,000 residents each, and such amenities as skateboard parks will be included to help achieve community cohesion. Rainwater will be captured and wastewater recycled so there is no overall increase in water demand.

The Secretary of State for Communities and the Minister for Housing and Planning have other plans. Happy socialist plans to assure that everyone gets along. The possibility of limiting Britain’s open door immigration policies to ease the housing crisis seems never to have occurred to anyone.

Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan, has a must-read article from the Daily Mail about what is happening to England, and what seems to be her inexorable future.

Glowing descriptions of the eco-communities of the future sound uncomfortably familiar to the glowing descriptions of gracious apartment buildings in “modern housing projects” that were described to us many years ago. The notion that government can do a better job of planning our future than we can, is fairly frightening.

There’ll always be an England
And England shall be free
If England means as much to you
As England means to me.

 



Cool Site of the Day by Emerald City Elephant
March 27, 2008, 1:38 am
Filed under: Blogging, Pop Culture, Science/Technology | Tags: , , , , ,

They’re not your father’s Lego’s. (Be sure to scroll down and watch the video at the bottom)



The NUPs Strike Again! by The Elephant's Child

8PM Saturday night, March 29 is designated as “Earth Hour”. The Greenies want us to turn off our lights for one hour, to demonstrate something or other. If you are interested, just google “Earth Hour 2008″. If you think it is a crock, consider yourself an Illumination Activist. Turn on all household lights, any heaters, air conditioners, automobile headlights, the stove’s self-cleaning cycle, the TV. all kitchen appliances, the stereo. Or have a Carbon Party.

David Warren not long ago wrote a column in which he spoke of “Naive Urban People”. I refer to them as NUPs. They love wild animals, particularly babies, and Nature — which they observe from their car windows. The average visit to the Grand Canyon — one of the wonders of the world — lasts 20 minutes. NUPs are deeply concerned about “global warming” and can’t be bothered to read up and find out what it is all about. They are careful to recycle, but don’t ask what it costs their municipal government. They are urban people, deeply uninformed about the natural world and how it works.

Perhaps you remember World Jump Day. A typical NUP production. You can Google that one too.



Liberal lies and Democrat hypocrisy… by The Elephant's Child

The education establishment continually provides entertainment. Today the National Heroes Tour of some of the most honored veterans of the Iraq War was scheduled to appear at Forest Lake High School in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Pete Hegseth, founder of Vets for Freedom, the sponsor of the tour, is an alumnus of that high school.

Apparently in “The Democratic Underground” forums there was an announcement of a press conference by unidentified groups to oppose the appearance. They expressed outrage that Vets for Freedom were going to meet with students to “indoctrinate them on the joys of war” according to reporter Katherine Kersten. They called on members to oppose the appearance and listed contact numbers for the principal, the school board president and the district office. So, of course, the school promptly canceled.

On short notice, the vets moved their program to an American Legion hall, and the venue was packed to overflowing, including some students who skipped school to attend. It seems that some people seem to think that veterans speaking about their experiences is a “political event”, even if others just want to hear from vets about their experiences.

The University of North Dakota is sponsoring a lecture by 1960s Weather Underground bomber Bill Ayers, now a “distinguished professor of education” at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Ayers says in his book that he participated in the bombing of the New York City’s police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol Building in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972, committed in the name of ending the Vietnam War. He was not convicted because prosecutors and the FBI mismanaged the case. He said in an interview with the New York Times that “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough”. This, however, is apparently not a “political event”.

Columbia University invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak, and the President of Columbia University spoke harshly to the Iranian. Columbia University professors planned to go to Iran to apologize to Ahmadinejad, who runs a terrorist regime, for the harsh words of the university president. This also was not a “political event”.

Iran favors the disappearance of Israel, the murder of homosexuals, and the stoning to death of those convicted of adultery, among other things. I suspect that the National Heroes Tour would not be welcomed at Columbia, nor would a speaker from the Boy Scouts of America. “Political Events”. Go figure.




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