American Elephants


It’s Over. The New York Times Closes Its Environment Desk. by The Elephant's Child

The president declares that it’s not about spending. But over at the New York Times, when the revenues are down, they immediately tackle — the spending.  Of course the lack of actual global warming means the New York Times environmental desk is being closed. No more environment editor, no more deputy environment editor, no seven reporters and two editors. They are being assigned to other departments.

Over at Ricochet, Britain’s James Delingpole, who is always right, piles on. “New York Times Closes its Environment Desk, Please, Nobody Laugh” That desk has been the launching pad for “some of the most compelling and moving news stories of the last four years.” Among them:

Every time you take an unnecessary shower a baby polar bear dies.

No, it’s getting hotter. Really, it’s getting hotter. Dr James Hansen says so and he works at NASA.

Just because global warming stopped in 1997 doesn’t mean it’s not going to start again, no sirree – and when it does it will be worse, much, much worse.

Al Gore: why selling my environmental channel Current TV to oil-funded Jew-haters for $100 million was the morally right thing to do.

We shall miss you, New York Times environment desk. You saved us from ManBearPig!

So why did Al Gore accept $100 million for a cable channel that clearly wasn’t worth that?  It’s revenue came entirely from the fees that cable companies paid to have it on the air, a number which was going down as they cancelled it. There’s more to it than hypocrisy. This is a channel that had very low value, and had a very low audience.  So they were buying some other product. They now have the former Vice President of the United States on their board, and is a consultant for them.  But this is a state for which oil revenue is important.

Even Pravda has given up on global warming. Officially.



Proved Once Again: Head Start Does Not Work. by The Elephant's Child

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If there is one thing that warms a liberal heart more than a good entitlement program, it’s an entitlement program “for the children.” Tugging at the heartstrings is a sure vote-getter and always popular with politicians.

For the second time in the last two years, a Congressionally mandated study of the Health and Human Services program Head Start has shown that it does not work.

In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) completed data collection for its third-grade follow-up study of Head Start, a federal preschool program designed to improve the kindergarten readiness of low-income children. Four years later, just before Christmas, the agency finally published the results of the congressionally mandated evaluation. The report’s publication date reads October 2012, meaning the final product sat at HHS for two months before being released. (After the election)

Since 1965, taxpayers have spent more than $180 billion on Head Start. Yet, over the decades, this Great Society relic has failed to improve academic outcomes for the children it was designed to help. The third-grade follow-up evaluation is the latest in a growing body of evidence that should urge policymakers to seriously consider Head Start’s future.

For the four-year-old group, compared to similarly situated children not allowed access to Head Start, access to the program failed to raise the cognitive abilities of participants on 41 measures. Specifically, the language skills, literacy, math skills, and school performance of the participating children failed to improve.

Alarmingly, access to Head Start for the three-year-old group actually had a harmful effect on the teacher-assessed math ability of these children once they entered kindergarten. Teachers reported that non-participating children were more prepared in math skills than those children who participated in Head Start.

Liberals have long cherished the idea that “social justice” means that the idea from the Declaration of Independence that “all man are created equal” means that everybody should be equal. Equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity.

They are unable to grasp that you can’t make everybody equal. Some of us are brilliant, some are not. Some of us are beautiful, most of us are not, and so on.  So they’ve more or less settled for making everybody “middle class.” This is variously called “redistribution of wealth,” or” fair and balanced”, and gets us involved in all sorts of noxious ideas like “diversity” and “equality between the sexes,” Title IX, forced busing, Women’s Studies, Black Studies and so on, and on. And this is where Reynolds Law comes in:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

Democrats will fight to the death to preserve Head Start. It’s for the children. We would do far better to have training classes for new mothers given by Asian “tiger mothers” whose determination produces brain surgeons who are also concert violinists.

There was a day when parents assumed that the teacher was always right, and their kid was expected to obey. Now it is more the opposite, but you have 6-year-olds being suspended from school for pointing a forefinger at someone and saying “Pow!”— as “threatening to kill another student. Zero tolerance.

There is a lot wrong with our schools. We would do well to discard that which does not work, and try for something that does. Homeschooling is producing better students than our public schools. The answer is not always something “new.” We used to do a better job before there were Departments of Education in colleges and universities, Normal Schools turned out elementary school teachers in two years, and high school teachers went to college and majored in a subject.

How about imitating the schools that are really successful? Just an idea.



Republican Surpluses In the States Bring Families, Businesses and Prosperity by The Elephant's Child

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution  says simply “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” That again points out that there are specific powers delegated to the United States, and they are supposed to keep their hands off the others.

We all know the government has its fingers in all sorts of pies where they do not belong, and not content with making bad laws and fumbling the things that they are supposed to do, for some reason they keep trying to take over more duties to perform poorly. File under “power grab.”

The states still have quite a bit of room to do their own thing, and they  have proved to be the laboratory for change and experiment for the nation. Now two states, neighbors, are demonstrating two very different kinds of leadership. Governor Scott Walker (R) Wisconsin, announced today that the budget he will sign this summer will include “significant” cuts to Wisconsin income tax rates.

Next door,  in Illinois, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) is making a name for himself by employing Nation of Islam wandering police forces. He announced that he will introduce a gun control ordinance.  There were 19 people shot in Chicago between Thursday evening and Friday morning. Gang warfare.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government posted a $239 billion deficit in the first quarter of 2013, setting the Obama administration up for a record fifth-year of trillion dollar deficits.

In the Republican-controlled states, it is a different story. Texas has a governor , Rick Perry(R), who is committed to developing its natural resources. Texas legislators are facing an $8.8 billion surplus over the next two years. Bill Haslam (R) of Tennessee, and Rick Scott  (R) Florida have also turned recession deficits into budget surpluses. Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder (R), Iowa’s Governor Terry Brandstadt (R), and Indiana’s out-going Governor Mitch Daniels (R) can all now boast of surpluses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. They did it through spending cuts, not tax hikes. Their budgets are in the black and their economies are growing. And people are moving there from states like California that have a massive outflow of citizens and businesses. Bobby Jindall (R) of Louisiana floated the idea of getting rid of the state’s income tax.

The Democrat controlled States like Illinois,  which massively raised taxes on the rich, and still has a $5.9 billion pile of bills. California, also raised taxes on the rich, and expected a small surplus, but tax collections are coming in at 10.8% below expectations. So the state is projected to be $1.9 billion in the red by the end of the year.  New York is in bad shape, and Governor (D) Cuomo just announced that he wants more gun control. Maryland is also trying to fix things by raising taxes.

“Unexpectedly”the states that have high taxes and high deficits also have a deficit of children under age 10. California’s birth rate has dropped below replacement level as has the rate in Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The productive class is leaving these states, leaving the very wealthy and the people on government assistance.

Works for nations too. Europe’s birth rates are far below replacement. People don’t have a lot of babies when they don’t have a lot of hope. There are lessons to be learned if you pay attention.




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