American Elephants

Here’s the Suck-up View of the Stimulus: by The Elephant's Child

TIME magazine, August 26 issue, contains an essay by one Michael Grunwald called “How the Stimulus Is Changing America.”  Let me be clear.  I don’t read either Time or Newsweek even in the Doctor’s office when there is nothing else on offer but elderly issues of Motor Sports, Parenting and Road and Track.  I can remember Time when it was a thick magazine, and interesting.  But I was referred to this article by Dr. Sanity, and I read it.

I gather one of the reasons that Time has become such a thin magazine, in more senses than one, is that they no longer do fact-checking.

But in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, Obama’s effusive Recovery Act point man, “Now the fun stuff starts!” The “fun stuff,” about one-sixth of the total cost, is an all-out effort to exploit the crisis to make green energy, green building and green transportation real; launch green manufacturing industries; computerize a pen-and-paper health system; promote data-driven school reforms; and ramp up the research of the future. “This is a chance to do something big, man!” Biden said during a 90-minute interview with TIME.

For starters, the Recovery Act is the most ambitious energy legislation in history, converting the Energy Department into the world’s largest venture-capital fund. It’s pouring $90 billion into clean energy, including unprecedented investments in a smart grid; energy efficiency; electric cars; renewable power from the sun, wind and earth; cleaner coal; advanced biofuels; and factories to manufacture green stuff in the U.S. The act will also triple the number of smart electric meters in our homes, quadruple the number of hybrids in the federal auto fleet and finance far-out energy research through a new government incubator modeled after the Pentagon agency that fathered the Internet.

Liberals get an idea that appeals emotionally, and then fund it to make it work. Conservatives consult evidence, studies and experience before deciding on an idea.  I hasten to add that nobody’s perfect — I’m generalizing here.  Some conservatives vote for foolish things. But the world’s largest venture-capital fund is basically full of it.

For the price of a Volt, GM’s electric car, that will go for 40 miles (does this include rush-hour-traffic?) on a charge and takes at least 7 hours to charge, you can get a Mercedes.  The electric battery factories subsidized by the venture-capital fund will produce far more batteries than can be used by the Volt or any other electric car proposed.  There is a worldwide glut of electric batteries, and most of the factories will go out of business, but the government is enthusiastically funding them.

There is no evidence that smart meters will save energy or money.  Sun, wind and biofuels will not represent a significant part of our energy supply for the foreseeable future. Both wind and solar must have 24/7 backup from regular (probably coal burning) power plants.   There is no green energy.  Computerizing the health care sector does not save costs.

Most of this is devised to reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the mistaken belief that CO2 is the cause of global warming which will end life as we know it on earth.  But increases in CO2 in the atmosphere follow increases in temperature by as much as 300 years, and cannot be causative.  Global warming is a natural phenomenon.  The seas are not rising.

CO2 is one of the building blocks of life.  No CO2, no life.  These people are living in a fantasy world, where the promises of promoters are taken as gospel,  promises of breakthroughs are accepted without evidence,  grants of federal money go to those who can write an effective grant proposal or those who are friends of the grant makers, rather than to proven technology.

The essay is a gullible paean to the brilliance of Obama and the success of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  They couldn’t even get the cost right.  (It wasn’t $787 billion but $816 billion.)  This paragraph is more revealing than was intended:

Biden recalls brainstorming with Obama about an all-in push for a smarter electrical grid that would reduce blackouts, promote renewables and give families more control over their energy diet: “We said, ‘God, wouldn’t it be wonderful? Why don’t we invest $100 billion? Let’s just go build it!’ “

Do read the whole thing with a skeptical eye.  This is what they are trying to sell, and their lack of respect for hard-earned taxpayer dollars is fully in evidence.  That’s what happens when you put people in office who have no private sector real world experience and no familiarity with math or science.

Andrew Klavan Takes On The Ground Zero Mosque Controversy. by The Elephant's Child

It is attack Republicans season, but one would think they would come up with something with a little more sense to it than the current cries of Racist! Bigot! Islamophobe!  Yes, there are many moderate Muslims.  Yes, the attack on the Twin Towers was perpetrated in the name of Islam. Yes, that was 10 years ago. Yes, Major Nidal Hassan killed 13 and wounded 32 in an attack in the name of Islam at Fort Hood. Yes, Canada just broke up a homegrown terrorist cell with ties to other terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Dubai.  The Christmas Day bomber, Umar Abdulmutallab and Major Hassan were both radicalized by al Qaeda cleric  Anwar al Awlaki, called an example of moderate Muslim imams when he was in Virginia.  The list is very long.  America remains a very tolerant country.  We can be tolerant and welcoming and yet remain alert.

(h/t: Pajamas TV)

Proof, If You Needed It; or I Told You So! by The Elephant's Child

To follow up on the parody from The Onion:

A few days ago,  I wrote a post about the differences between liberals and conservatives.   Among other things I said:

Conservatives believe that programs that don’t work should be ended to stop the spending.
Liberals believe that programs that  don’t work can be fixed by more spending.

From the New York Times:

The declining prospects of the country’s poor and black students can’t be blamed on belt-tightening by Congress. In fact, the budgets for the two main federal programs designed to improve the performance of low-income children, Title I and Head Start, have risen steadily for the last 40 years, through Republican administrations and Democratic ones. According to a new report by Educational Testing Service, the combined Title I and Head Start budgets grew in inflation-adjusted dollars from $1.7 billion in 1970 to $13.8 billion in 2000. This year’s budget was $21.7 billion.

Head Start, which provides preschool programs to poor families, is a prime example of the Senate committee’s true attitude toward evidence-based decision-making. In January, the Health and Human Services Department released a study of Head Start’s overall impact. The conclusions were disturbing. By the end of first grade, the study found, Head Start graduates were doing no better than students who didn’t attend Head Start. “No significant impacts were found for math skills, pre-writing, children’s promotion, or teacher report of children’s school accomplishments or abilities in any year,” the report concluded.

And how did the Senate panel react to this dismal evidence? They set aside $8.2 billion for Head Start in 2011, almost a billion dollars more than in 2010.

Studies, for years, have been showing that Head Start doesn’t work, and they keep funding it and funding it, and increasing the funding.  Nothing will change until we demand change.  Makes a pretty expensive baby-sitting program.

I’m not sure that “We Demand evidence-based decision- making” will make a successful campaign slogan.  No wonder they fell for “Hope and Change.”

The Onion Strikes Again: Are Tests Biased Against Students Who Don’t Give a Sh*T? by The Elephant's Child
August 29, 2010, 8:35 am
Filed under: Education, Entertainment, Humor, Politics, Statism | Tags: , ,

When the folks at The Onion do a parody, there is often a germ of truth that makes the whole thing so hysterical.  This almost seems as if they could have sat in on this very earnest discussion or possibly even the education department study.  They have the nuances of the conversation just right, and so convincing.  This is quite delicious.  Don’t miss it.  (Language alert!  It’s The Onion)

The Undiguised Contempt of the Cognitive Elite for the Unwashed Masses — Us. by The Elephant's Child

A recent survey showed that 18% of Americans believed that President Obama is a Muslim.  The professional left erupted in disbelief.  How can people be so stupid?  How could anyone possibly believe that?  Well, possibly because they had studied up on the Moslem faith, and discovered that the son of a Muslim is a Muslim.  And once a Muslim, always a Muslim.  You don’t get to retire.

Or possibly because of Obama’s Cairo speech which was so warmly directed at those of the Moslem faith in the Middle East; or possibly because he bowed so deeply to the King of Saudi Arabia, in spite of the longstanding tradition that American Presidents don’t bow to anyone.  There was the refusal to put extreme sanctions on Iran.  The refusal to come out emphatically on the side of freedom when Iraqi dissidents were protesting fraudulent elections was a great disappointment to Americans.

There was the outrage at Israel for another stage in the building of apartments for Israelis in an Israeli sector of Jerusalem.  And the outrage when a flotilla of activists attempted to break the legal blockade of Gaza to prevent arms that would be used against Israel from reaching Hamas terrorists in Gaza.  Or there was the Iftar dinner at the White House, when the President chose to speak out in favor of an Islamic mosque and ‘cultural center’ in one of the buildings damaged in the 9/11 attack on the twin towers.

Since the president has consistently been completely neutral in his relations with the Islamic countries of the Middle East,  how could anyone be so stupid as to think that Barack Hussein Obama could possibly be a Muslim.  Must be because of his middle name.

If you think it is offensive for a Muslim group to exploit the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers by Muslims, you are an anti-Muslim bigot and a racist as well.  This is such a bizarre claim in the light of past ten years, and so completely bereft of common sense that it boggles the mind.  Yet the professional left has been braying ” bigot!” at the top of their lungs.

Charles Krauthammer noted a pattern:

Promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

— Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.

— Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

— Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

— Disgust and alarm with the federal government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

Krauthammer says: “Note what connects these issues.  In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. …What’s a liberal to do?  Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument.”

James Taranto notes that Robert Reich says Americans don’t want a mosque at Manhattan’s Ground Zero and wonders — Where is all this coming from? And answers his own rhetorical question:

It’s called fear. When people are deeply anxious about holding on to their homes, their jobs, and their savings, they look for someone to blame. And all too often they find it in “the other”–in people who look or act differently, who come from foreign lands, who have what seem to be strange religions, who cross our borders illegally. . . .

Economic fear is the handmaiden of intolerance. It’s used by demagogues who redirect the fear and anger toward people and groups who aren’t really to blame but are easy scapegoats.

Taranto adds: “The Ground Zero mosque is an affront to the sensibilities of ordinary Americans. “The center’s association with 9/11 is intentional and its location is no geographic coincidence,” as the Associated Press has reported. That Americans would find this offensive is a matter of simple common sense. The liberal elites cannot comprehend common sense, and, incredibly, they think that’s a virtue. After all, common sense is so common.”

Candidate for the United States Senate Marco Rubio. by The Elephant's Child

The weekly Republican address this Saturday was given by Marco Rubio, Republican candidate for the Senate from Florida.  He is a very impressive young man.  This son of Cuban refugees has a deep appreciation of America and the opportunity our country offers — a refreshing change from those who feel they must apologize for our country to the world.

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