American Elephants


The Eternal Battle Between Left and Right. by The Elephant's Child

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Trying to succinctly describe the differences between the American Left and the American Right is a long-running and fascinating  game for both parties. Liberals, as I often note, have told us specifically that they do not have principles—meaning they are not stuck with some old-fashioned, worn-out principles as a guide to how to behave. That is not intended as a compliment. They react, they say, to events, responding on a case by case basis. Much more noble.

Republicans do have principles which they believe are time-tested and proven to be effective and useful in human life. Things like equality of opportunity, free markets and free people, and small government. Those principles serve as a guide to actions, and research into how things work are a better guide to satisfactory policies.

Liberals react to things emotionally. For example, a UPI piece from Pew Research on the “Global Attitudes Project”poll says:

A new poll offers details on the way citizens of the world think about climate change, and U.S. participants are looking particularly ignorant to the risks of global warming. Only one in four Americans said climate change was a “major threat,” making the U.S. the least concerned nation. (emphasis added)

If we disagree with the “consensus” we must be ignorant. But nobody checks to see if there actually is a “consensus” among scientists. Emotional response.  No, there actually is no consensus.  And “consensus” isn’t science.

Here’s another from Investors, today: “For the Left, ‘Children’ Are the Battering Ram to Force Amnesty.”

Immigration: The White House and open-borders lobby have stepped up pressure for amnesty by painting the migrant tsunami as a flood of toddlers. But a Pew study, citing Border Patrol data, shows that more than half the entrants are teenage males.  (emphasis added)

Here’s another example from Investors, by Robert Samuelson: Although a man of the Left, he suggests “To Keep corporations Here, Why Not Cut Their Taxes?”

Corporate America’s latest public-relations disaster comes under the banner “tax inversion,” where a U.S. company shifts its legal headquarters to a country with a lower tax rate.

He goes on to show how Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and President Obama have charged the corporations as lacking in “economic patriotism.” Emotional response. Make a law against them. Keep them from doing so. Far better would be to reduce the corporate tax to something close to the normal corporate tax among industrialized nations. We do have the highest corporate tax in the world. Their first and only response is to prevent corporations from what is a valid business decision.

ObamaCare was a program built on emotion. Liberals thought that we should offer everyone free health care like European states did. Everyone would be so grateful to Liberals for that gift that they would forever vote Liberals into power. They looked at Britain’s way of controlling expense by limiting the costs of old folks in their final years, and loved it. No old geezer should be able to have a hugely expensive operation when they might have only months to live anyway. But they never looked into the way the program really worked in Britain, or Canada, or France or Germany. Their bright ideas don’t work. What were expected to be money savers aren’t. Tom Sowell stated the whole problem simply and clearly:

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.

They imposed ideas they thought would save money, or be especially popular, or would give them more control, but they didn’t check how those ideas work in the real world, they just rushed it through on pure emotion and are astounded at the complaints from doctors, patients, insurance companies, hospitals and suppliers. And it’s all falling apart.

Wind and solar energy are emotional responses to perceived evils of fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy are presumed to be free because they are “natural.” But a turbine only turns at the right speed to produce energy when the wind is at the right speed. But the wind is intermittent, and requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power source, which makes the energy produced expensive, and slight. And it kills way too many birds. Eagles may become endangered  if the kill rate continues. If subsidies are removed, wind is not worthwhile.

Solar is about the same problem. You only get energy with 24/7 backup, because clouds cause problems. Solar energy is too diffuse, unavailable at night, and in some locations simply fries birds in flight. If subsidies are removed, it’s not worthwhile. These things were known before the big investments in wind and solar, but emotional attachment to “free energy” trumped common sense.

Over and over you will find Liberals responding to or devising policy based on their feelings about the subject. They don’t do their homework, and they don’t think through the unintended consequences. They don’t seem to understand incentives.

Republicans don’t always get their policies right, and unintended consequences come back and bite them. Human beings are complicated and not only don’t agree on everything, but often don’t agree on much. There are lots of differing opinions in the big tent we hope to have, and creating successful policies to help Americans and their allies and enemies to do things that turn out well is not easy, and results are not always a success. But if we work with an open mind and an inclusive attitude, and an appreciation for human folly, we might not do too badly if we do our homework.



Coming to America For Obama’s Free Pass! by The Elephant's Child

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The narrative about the chaos on the border continues to unravel. That tale about poor unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central American countries? Phony. They are coming because they believe that U.S. immigration laws are granting free passes or “permisos” to unaccompanied children and adult females traveling with children. That has been the word circulating in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. And once the ‘children’ are here they will be taken care of.

The Central American countries are dependent on remittances from American immigrants, and are not interested in stopping the surge of illegals.

When the Obama administration decided in 2012 to practice “prosecutorial discretion” in cases where individuals were brought into the U.S. illegally as minors. The violence in those countries is not new, and it has actually dipped. Some are sent by the human smugglers who have seen a weakness in the system, and used statements coming from the administration in order to increase the number of people coming over.

There is a lot of profit for coyotes in human smuggling, someone is paying the $7,000 fee, and as no one is checking the identity and status of the phone numbers which may be the only direction to the ‘relatives’ of the unaccompanied children—who are put on a bus to get to the address given. They may not actually go to ‘relatives.’ There is indication that Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) recruiters are being sent to recruit among the teen age young men.

Males between 15-17 years of age comprise 47 percent of all unaccompanied minors who are other than Mexican. Thirty percent are minors age 10-14. There has been an increase in the OTM minors who are pregnant or have physical or mental disabilities.

The same family members or sponsors are appearing several times to claim different children from the custody of U.S. authorities. The legal status of the family members or sponsors is not checked, nor is the address they offer as residence, or the accuracy of the relationship to the children.  U.S. authorities do not know whether or how U.S. gang members are involved in the smuggling of minors.

53,375 OTM unaccompanied minors are predicted for FY 2014, and 95,500 for FY 2015. Officials say it may take years to process these minors through deportation hearings and actual deportation. Not all who are being sent to housing facilities are being medically screened. The number actually being returned to their home countries is infinitesimal, less than 50 so far.

The intent on the part of the Democrats is open borders and amnesty. But very simply, the flow of illegals from Central and South America will not end until it is made clear that we do not have open borders, and that the way to come to America is to obey the rules, come as a legal immigrant, and be welcomed.

ADDENDUM: The number of illegal aliens who have successfully filed asylum claims has almost tripled from 2012 to 2012. And that is ten times the number from 2008 when President Obama was elected, clear evidence that his immigration officials are approving most of the asylum requests from the growing surge of illegals coming from Central America. I call them illegal aliens because that is the accurate terminology according to any dictionary. If you came to America with a tale of escaping violence, there’s not any more than usual, and they are well coached in the words that might get them amnesty.

Congress did call for a little more discretion after it was learned that the Tsarnaev brothers of Boston Marathon fame  successfully applied for amnesty in 2002. But “credible fear” of persecution by criminal gangs in their home countries in Central America works.  In 2008 there were 118,457 claims of credible fear, it grew slowly to 123,180 in 2011, and then leaped to 183,681 in 2012. Then it goes to the Border Patrol or ICE for provisional approval.  According to the Los Angeles Times only 1,669 claimants were rejected in 2013.  That’s down from 8,143 in 2008.



Jihad in Britain, and In The Other Nations of the West by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know if you know Janet Daley. She was born in America, graduated from U.C. Berkeley, and has been living and reporting in Britain for many years. Her column in today’s Telegraph is notable for her outlook on the Islamization of Britain. Elsewhere there is a column noting that France is not a safe place for Jews. We have been warned that without some serious and real change, Europe will be entirely Muslim within fifty years.

In the midst of the deeply unfunny news coverage of the two young British jihadi volunteers who were arrested on terror charges when they arrived back from Syria, there was one moment of comic absurdity. It seems that before setting off on their mission, Mohammed Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar found it necessary to place orders with Amazon for those invaluable scholarly treatises, Islam for Dummies, The Koran for Dummies and Arabic for Dummies. Hilarity aside, there is something important to be noted here.

First, these 22-year-olds were obviously not the products of some extreme mosque which had drilled them in Islamist fundamentalism. In fact, they were so untutored in the religion to which they were nominally affiliated that they had to equip themselves with a crash course in its basic principles. Nor had they come from families which were inclined to endorse their terrorist fantasies. Indeed, their own parents were so horrified when they learned of the men’s activities that they turned them in to the police. So we need to ask, as a matter of urgency, where it came from, this bizarre determination to be inducted into a campaign of seditious murder that (we can assume from their decision to plead guilty to the terror charges) they fully intended to bring home with them. What causes young men to risk their own lives, and those of who knows how many others, for a cause about which they know so little that they have to mug it up before they catch the plane?

Do read the whole thing. There’s a lot of food for thought there that includes our own present border crisis.  Assimilation matters. She adds:

Contrary to all the educational shibboleths of our time, young men are motivated by aggression and power: their dreams are of glorious triumph over rivals. If they are denied these things – even in the ritualised forms that used to be provided by an education system that understood how dangerous male adolescence was – then they will seek them wherever they can be found. Gang violence, with its criminal initiation rites, or Muslim fanaticism can fill a void, offering not just a licence for brutality but for banding together into hostile tribes. There was a time – before characteristically male behaviour was devalued in favour of the female virtues of empathy and conciliation – when these proclivities were dealt with quite effectively by combative team sports and military cadet corps. Institutionalised aggression was supervised by adult authority until the young men grew up and became responsible for their own impulses.



Another Kind of Child Abuse! by The Elephant's Child

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There are many things wrong with our public schools, a good percentage can be traced to the fact that our school administrators—the principals — are idiots. The damage done to little kids in the name of “zero tolerance” policies mounts up.

A 5 year-old kindergartner in Surprise, Arizona was told to pull down his pants on the playground by another kindergartner. This is not a remarkable happening. The other kid told Eric Lopez that if he didn’t pull them down he would pull Lopez’ pants down for him.

Eric Lopez pulled his pants down, as instructed, and was hauled off to the principal’s office and forced to sign a “sexual misconduct” form. Eric, a bright little kid, knows his letters so he signed. So now he has a label and a file that will follow him for the next 12 years. Eric did not know, and nobody told him— was that he had a right to have his mom present.

His mother didn’t find out until after the forced confession. She has since filed significant paperwork to appeal the label attached to her son of “sexualized minor.” Oh please! These are some people that are supposed to have some familiarity with kindergartners. They’re only 5 years old! They don’t have any  idea what a “sexualized minor is.”

The Dysart Unified School District insists that it was simply following standard procedures in the case of “indecent exposure.”

Read that line again. This is “indecent bureaucratic behavior.” This is follow the rules, even when  you know that the rule is absurd, and makes no sense, and you are damaging a five-year-old child and his family.

How did we get to the point where bureaucrats are so fearful of unpleasant consequences for not following the rules exactly as stated, even when some tiny mote of reality must exist in the bureaucratic brain that this is really, truly, monumentally stupid?

In a world where a kid gets expelled from school for biting a pop-tart into a shape resembling a gun — or the State of Idaho, if you turn it barrel-up—it’s clear that we have slipped a cog.  Actually the pop-tart looked a lot more like the state than it did like a  gun. Similar educational bureaucratese pops up frequently. We have all seen way too many examples.

Lenore Skenazy has a blog about “Free Range Kids,” and has written a book by the same name.  I was a free range kid, as were my children. The nonsense is fairly new, and quite ‘progressive.’



We Can Be Swayed By Careful Use of Language: Watch Out! by The Elephant's Child

The EPA is making advance reservations for hotel accommodations for an “Environmental Justice conference this fall, says an article in the Free Beacon.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Office of Enforcement and Compliance, Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) intends to award a fixed-price Purchase Order … to the Renaissance Arlington Local Capital View Hotel,” the solicitation said. “The purpose of this acquisition is to cover the cost of 195 sleeping room nights from Sept. 9 [to] Oct 2, 2014, at government rate for the 50th public meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a federal advisory committee of the EPA.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a federal advisory committee on National Environmental Justice? Why? There is no such thing as “environmental justice”. “Justice” refers to the law of the land which is enshrined in the Constitution, and the laws that are passed by Congress, the laws passed by the states, counties and municipalities. There isn’t some other bunch of “justice” that can be proclaimed by the green radicals at the EPA, or anybody else.

The NEJAC was established in 1993 to “obtain independent, consensus advice and recommendations from a broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in environmental justice.”

The council meets twice a year, bringing together members from community organizations, businesses, academic institutions, and state and local governments for “discussions about integrating environmental justice into EPA priorities and initiatives.”

The EPA defines “Environmental Justice” as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.”

Oh, please. Did you ever hear such a bunch of  utterly meaningless liberal bureaucratic gobbledygook? If there is any budget for such nonsense, it should be slashed to zero immediately. Here are some of the reported “presentations” from past meetings:

  1. Blocks to Sustainability and Environmental Justice, Health Disparities, Climate Change and Grant Writing.
  2. Effective Use of Large Scale Use of Large Scale Campus and Community Projects to Engage Environmental Justice While Promoting the Green Economy.
  3. Developing Sustainable Partnerships to Create Sustainable Communities.

“Sustainability” is another popular word among the elite.  Another word with no meaning, which usually turns up in bureaucratic meetings. Expensive conferences and meetings have to be shown as accomplishing something, and it has to sound important. Or at least important enough to justify the conference and the booze. So words like sustainable and consensus, and environmental justice are hauled out as justification, so the stakeholders can have a fun conference in a pleasant setting.

The Environmental Justice Advisory Council updated the 1996 “Model Plan for Public Participation,” a 25 page advisory for the EPA Administrator.

There are many terms that describe the concept of “public participation” – community participation, community involvement, community engagement, stakeholder involvement, stakeholder
engagement, among others. All of these terms are commonly used and acceptable. Regardless of the language used, what is critical to understand is the emphasis that any and all persons and groups
who are potentially interested, concerned, or affected by an action should be included (or given equal opportunity to participate) in the decision-making process.

Public participation, community involvement – what ever the term — is crucial in ensuring that decisions affecting human health and the environment embrace environmental justice. Communities
affected by environmental justice issues often already face many challenges and barriers associated with meaningful involvement and adequate representation in the development, implementation, and
enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Many affected communities are considered to be vulnerable or sensitive populations, due to factors such as cumulative exposure to toxins and pollutants, and have historically been left out of decision-making processes.

When did we stop speaking English and start speaking and writing in Newspeak? It is a language perpetrated in Human Resources departments and in the State Department. It’s the art of saying nothing in elevated terms. Because it sounds important everyone is afraid to challenge the emptiness therein. It consumes endless time that could be better spent writing a grocery list. Unfortunately it does not exist only in meetings. Our government is run by the ever-changing definition of words. We are fooled by the clever use of words, our lives are affected by the changing definitions of words, or words carefully chosen to alter our perceptions. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, anyone? Or how about the “Environmental Protection Agency?” Nancy Pelosi is in Texas, welcoming “new Americans.”



Obama and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week by The Elephant's Child

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It was an unusually interesting week. The Supreme Court handed down major abuse-of-power defeats; tens of thousands of Central American children (mostly 14 and over) are arriving at the border and overwhelming the Border Patrol’s ability to find any place to put them; the new Commissioner of the IRS testified to a disbelieving committee that Lois Lerner’s hard drive has gone to the dump, the U.S. was defeated by Germany in the World Cup; and the terrorists that Mr. Obama said were defeated have emerged to massacre, execute and behead their way across Iraq; and Mr. Obama is expected to do something. Whew!  A very bad week indeed. So naturally, Mr. Obama is out on the stump, making speeches.— his fallback position.

To top it all off, John Boehner announced that the House of Representatives would challenge him in the courts. The president gets petulant when he feels his presumed authority is being challenged by another branch. The Constitution is pretty clear. The Laws are made by the Congress, the President gets to sign them or not—he doesn’t get to make laws himself, nor rework nor fix the laws that are passed by Congress.

The president claims that all criticism from the Republicans is built on “phony scandals.” This is not a new claim. Benghazi—a phony scandal. Several speeches about how we had to trade Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban terrorists because we never leave our people behind; but we couldn’t supply security for an Ambassador and forced the Military, who wanted to go to the rescue of a couple of brave Seals, to stand down while they fought on for seven hours.

He claims the economy has created 9.4 million jobs in the last 51 months. Uh huh. We have 17 million fewer working age people with a job than we had in 2000. Fifty-eight million working age citizens are not working. Companies are fleeing overseas because of our uncompetitive corporate taxes. We have about 30% of our normal productivity growth, and we have about 30% fewer startups, but the economy is swell.

The problem is “obstruction” by the GOP. “They don’t do anything except block me and call me names,” he whined.  Republicans, he said, “think we should let big banks, and credit card companies, and polluters, and insurers do only whatever is best for their bottom line without any responsibility to anybody else.”

He not only dismissed any criticism, he completely denied abusing executive authority.

I’m not going to let gridlock and inaction and willful indifference and greed threaten the hard work of families like yours,” Mr. Obama continued. “And so we can’t afford to wait for Congress right now. And that’s why I’m going ahead and moving ahead without them wherever I can.”

Mr. Obama said “Now I’m not saying these are all bad people, they’re not. …but they can’t be too friendly towards me because they’d be run out of town by the tea party.”

It’s all very simple. Everything Obama does is right. All of his ideas are right. His worldview is correct. And the actions he has taken to improve the lives of Americans are all absolutely correct. He does not make mistakes, and be is never, never to blame for anything.  Whatever it is, is the Republican’s fault. After all, everybody says he is the smartest man in the world, don’t they?



All Growth in Employment Since 2000 Went To Immigrants. by The Elephant's Child

A new study by the Center for Immigration Studies reveals that:

Government  data show that since the year 2000, all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16-65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal). This is remarkable given that native-born Americans accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the total working age population. Although there has been some recovery from the Great Recession, there were still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level.

All of the net increase in employment went to immigrants in the last 14 years partly because, even before the Great Recession, immigrants were gaining a disproportionate share of jobs relative to their share of population growth. In addition, natives’ losses were somewhat greater during the recession and immigrants have recovered more quickly from it. With 58 million working-age natives not working, the Schumer-Rubio bill (S.744) and similar House measures that would substantially increase the number of foreign workers allowed in the country seem out of touch with the realities of the U.S. labor market.

CIS draws three conclusions from this analysis:

  1. The long term decline in employment for native Americans across all age and education levels is a clear indication that there is no general labor shortage which is the major justification for large increases in immigration (skilled and unskilled) promoted by the Schumer-Rubio bill and other proposals.
  2. The decline in employment among the native-born over the last 14 years of high immigration is consistent with research that shows immigration reduced employment for natives.
  3. Trends since 2000 challenge the argument that immigration on balance increases job opportunities for natives. More than 17 million immigrants arrived in the U.S. in the last 14 years, yet native employment has decreased significantly.

The unemployment rate that is most meaningful is the group the BLS calls U-6. It includes those counted in U-3 unemployment plus those who indicate that they are available for jobs and have looked for work in the past 12 months, plus those who want full-time work but have had to settle for part-time work. 58 million Americans are not working. There are currently 17 million fewer working age people without a job than there were in 2000.

The article goes on at some depth and length to explain their research and its meaning. It’s a valuable study. Do read the whole thing.

High tech industries want more H-1B visas for workers from other countries. They claim that graduates in high-tech fields here are not qualified. Google has announced that they are hiring people without degrees. There are not enough STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) graduates for the needs of employers. Investigation show there are far more STEM graduates than available jobs. Tech companies say that they need highly-trained people for assuring internet security. The U.S.Chamber of Commerce wants far more immigrant visas. People say the Chamber only wants to drive down salaries. Some say American businesses will not hire those who have lost their jobs in the recession, they assume they have been fired for reason.

Companies and their human resources departments do not know how to hire people who will be an asset to their company in short order, be dependable and not give them any trouble. They have no idea. They devise all sorts of tests and questions meant to weed out the undesirable, but anyone who has worked in a business knows that they really have no clue at all. They hire someone with what seem to be excellent qualifications, and they turn out to be a jerk, someone who is a bully, or a petty thief, a compulsive liar, or not really very bright, or can’t really do the work, or have a flaming affair with a married co-worker. Salaries in the U.S. may be significantly higher than in a worker’s country of origin. Immigrant workers may accept a lower salary and be especially amenable for fear of losing their H-1B status.

The Democrats want more poor and unskilled immigrants who will become Democrat voters and may become dependent on Democrat largesse, and thus reliable votes.

Republicans are accused of hating immigrants, which is absurd. Immigrants have always been a net benefit to America. Republicans believe in assimilation, and want immigrants to become American citizens, not citizens of another country temporarily living in this country. In spite of the Great Recession, America remains the land of opportunity, and far more people want to come here than we are able to accommodate. Illegals shouldn’t be admitted ahead of those who have applied through proper channels, and obeyed the law. Our borders should be secure and well manned, and existing immigration laws should be obeyed.

The Obama administration wants open borders purely for partisan politics. The pressure on Congress to pass a more generous immigration bill is intense. The primary argument is that without it the country faces “labor shortages.” The National Restaurant Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce all want more immigrants. That’s a lot of lobbying power. If you don’t agree with them, you should let your congressmen know what  you believe.



There Is No Shortage of STEM Workers. It is a Myth. by The Elephant's Child

An article in Computerworld details how an IT worker had to train his H-1B replacement. U.S. workers protested their job losses to foreign workers by displaying American flags in their cubicles.

This is the story of an IT worker who was replaced by a worker on an H-1B visa, one of a number of visa holders, mostly from India, who took jobs at this U.S. company. Computerworld is not going to use the worker’s name or identify the companies involved to protect the former employee from retaliation. For purposes of this story, the worker has been given initials — A.B. (They’re not the person’s real initials.)

At A.B.’s company, about 220 IT jobs have been lost to offshore outsourcing over the last year. A.B. is telling the story because, initially, there was little knowledge among fellow employees about H-1B visa holders and how they are used. They didn’t know that offshore outsourcing firms are the largest users of H-1B visas, or exactly how this visa facilitates IT job losses in the U.S.

“I think once we learned about it, we became angrier toward the U.S. government than we were with the people that were over here from India,” A.B. said, “because the government is allowing this.”

Read the whole thing here.

Business is pushing for increased numbers of H-1B workers, as is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dissenters to that program protest that they are only trying to drive wage costs down. The pro-increased immigration crowd suggests that American universities are not turning out enough STEM graduates, and they need more H-1B visas to fill their needs.

Governments everywhere are pouring billions into efforts to boost the ranks of STEM workers. President Obama has called for government and industry to train 10,000 new U.S. engineers every year as well as 100,000 additional STEM teachers by 2020. Tech companies like Facebook, IBM and Microsoft are lobbying to boost the number of H-1B visas —temporary immigration permits for skilled workers —from 65,000 per year to as many as 180,000.

Alongside dire projections like these, you will find reports that there are more STEM workers than jobs. Wages for U.S. workers in computer and math fields have largely stagnated since 2000. STEM workers at every stage of career development, including PhDs still struggle to find jobs as many companies, including Boeing, IBM and Symantec continue to lay off thousands of STEM workers. Every year, U.S. universities grant more STEM degrees than there are available jobs. Two out of 10 STEM graduates were working in non-STEM fields. Ten years after receiving a STEM degree, 58 percent of STEM graduates had left the field according to a 2011 study from Georgetown University. A recent article from Business Insider carries the headline “Google has Started Hiring More People Who Didn’t Go to College.”

The indication is that there is a STEM knowledge shortage, a solid grounding in science, engineering and math, but you don’t necessarily need a STEM degree. What’s needed are people who are literate, can write and speak well, and have a grounding in math and science.  Having an oversupply of workers is to the benefit of companies who would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits. A larger pool from which they can pick the best and brightest helps keep  wages in check.

The federal government has no expertise in education nor in job-training nor in accurately predicting future needs. This long article clarifies all the gaseous claims.

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I Took Monday Off! by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the absence of blogging yesterday. A graduation in the family. Lovely to see all those happy young faces, to hear what they’ve accomplished and where they are going next. A future math teacher, a hopeful singer (good voice), three future ballerinas, a cellist, and one headed for a school of Midwifery, among others. We wish them all the very best.

Nice ceremony, smaller school, lots of ‘follow your passion’ and way too much ‘social justice.’



California Teacher Tenure Laws Struck Down by The Elephant's Child

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A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled on Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprive students of their constitutional right to an education — a decision that overturns several California laws that govern the way teachers are hired and fired.

The suit was filed by a group called “Students Matter” which was founded by a technology magnate with an interest in education reform. The article points out that  the ruling is apt to encourage copycat lawsuits in every state and city of the union.

Superior Court Justice Rolf M. Treu wrote in the ruling that:

Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.

The Los Angeles Times reported that:

The plaintiffs argued that California’s current laws made it impossible to get rid of low-performing and incompetent teachers, who were disproportionately assigned to schools filled with poor students. The result, they insisted, amounted to a violation of students’ constitutional rights to an education.

This is a major blow to the teachers unions. The worst teachers are assigned to the poorest communities. Union regulations make it difficult to impossible to get rid of an incompetent teacher. According to California law, new teachers are eligible for lifetime tenure after just 18 months in the classroom. Once they have tenure, firing them for cause is a long difficult process and the longer they’re on the job, the harder it is.

Nine public-school students sued the state for sticking them with bad teachers.
They presented economic evidence that bad teachers can cost students tens of thousands of dollars in future income by setting back their education. The court held that the students come first.

This is a Superior Court decision, and if appealed will go the State Supreme Court, not the U.S. Supreme Court. Not likely that the unions would take this lying down.

The central problem is that Liberals support the teachers’ unions because they give financial support to Democrats, and well-to-do Liberals don’t send their kids to failing schools, they send them to private schools as the Obamas do. You will note that President Obama continues to oppose vouchers for poor minority kids. Political support trumps good education for kids every time. Actually, political support almost always comes first.



The Truth Will Out. Obama Admits He Misspent His High School Years. by The Elephant's Child

“Earlier this year, Obama belittled art history, depicting it as a penniless career—which critics pointed out, is not even remotely true. Obama was then shamed into sending a handwritten apology to an outraged art history professor.” So reported the Free Beacon. But they missed the most important point.

Obama admitted that he was a humanities major, but said that came from his misspent high school years. “I actually loved math and science until I got into high school” he reminisced,”and then I misspent those years.”

Aha! He goofed off in Biology class, and never learned that when he breathed that balmy Hawaiian air, he exhaled — carbon dioxide — a natural fertilizer for plants, not “carbon pollution.”

Those “misspent” high school years are why he has fallen for the whole global warming nonsense and allows his EPA zealots to shut down the nation’s coal-fired power plants that produce around 40% of our electricity, and why he thinks that wind and solar (which require ordinary power plants for back-up 24/7), can replace regular power plants — if global warming skeptics would just cooperate and do what he tells them to. It pays to pay attention in high school.



The President Spoke To The Graduating Cadets at West Point. by The Elephant's Child

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What coalitions? President Barack Obama’s speech to the graduates at West Point was a defense of his foreign policy against detractors. America must lead the world by example, through coalitions and  collective action.  NATO and the UN will dominate American foreign policy, Obama said; ‘This is American leadership, American strength.” Wrong speech, wrong audience.  The speech was less a foreign policy speech for graduates of the military academy than a defensive response to critics.

He bravely attacked an army of straw men and subdued them to tepid applause from the cadets. “I’m not weak,” he said firmly. He also repeated the tired refrain that he was not elected to start wars but to end them. Wars are fought to achieve some goal. As a result of his feckless foreign policy, his belief that foreign policy should be subordinate to partisan politics, the war which was won in Iraq has become a sad loss due to an inability to get a status of forces agreement, and Afghanistan looks to follow in that path.

Obama spoke confidently of diplomacy as a resolution to all problems, but diplomacy only works when reaching an agreement is more desirable than the alternative—which means a perception of American power standing firmly behind the offer to talk. Iran’s mullahs  are confident that there is nothing to prevent their continuing effort to build a bomb.

“Power in world politics is perceived power , and perceived power is a vector that results from perceived military capability and perceived political will”l………………………………………………(Michael Lind)

The president has been cutting back on our perceived military capability and our perceived power because  there is no political will. The credibility of American power has diminished because of distinct choices which he has made.

I was looking up that quotation in my homemade quotation book, and I ran across the following:

The President and his advisers have been desperately eager to maintain good relations with Russia and China and willing to overlook almost any transgression to do so. Confronted by compelling evidence that North Korea is still building nuclear weapons, that China is exporting missile components to Pakistan that Russia is doing the same to Iran, Clinton officials have repeatedly lapsed into denial and distortion. The Clinton inner circle is in the grip of misguided faith in arms control. Preserving the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty has become an end in itself despite the need to build a national missile defense system. ………..(Bill Gertz)

Here is the President’s speech at the United States Military Academy Commencement Ceremony on May 28, 2014,  in its entirety.




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