American Elephants

Obama unveils new Democrat narrative: by American Elephant
October 21, 2010, 6:25 pm
Filed under: Election 2010, News, Politics | Tags: ,

Version what? 7.2? Obama once again tries to redefine the historic spanking voters are about to give Democrats to his advantage.

In an exclusive interview with National Journal, Obama took a conciliatory tone towards the same Republicans he’s been lambasting on the campaign trail. When asked about how he would respond if Congress extended the Bush tax cuts — something the president opposes for higher-income earners — he offered a broader answer.

“I think it’s premature to talk about vetoes because maybe I’m a congenital optimist, but I feel as if, post-election, regardless of how it plays out, the most important message that will be sent by the American people is, we want people in Washington to act like grown-ups, cooperate, and start trying to solve problems instead of scoring political points,” Obama said.

The president sounded a cautionary note for his fellow Democrats: “And it is going to be important for Democrats to have a proper and appropriate sense of humility about what we can accomplish in the absence of Republican cooperation. I think it’s going to be important for Republicans to recognize that the American people aren’t simply looking for them to stand on the sidelines, they’re going to have to roll up their sleeves and get to work.”


“Opposing/repealing my radical, deeply unpopular, unconstitutional agenda is angry and immature, what Americans really want is Republicans to grow up and compromise with me.”

Looser translation? He has no intention of changing course.

(h/t HotAir)

Elections Have Consequences! Electing Democrats has Catastrophic Consequences! by American Elephant
October 21, 2010, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Economy, History, News, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Best election video yet!

Four years ago, Democrats took control of both houses of Congress, promising massive new taxes, massive new regulation, and massive new spending.

Three years ago, Democrats’ “new direction” sank the United States and the World into the deepest recession since the great depression.

Two years ago, Democrats’ fascist banking policies caused the housing and financial crises.

Last year Democrats seized control over the healthcare industry, the auto industry, the financial industry, the college loan industry and threaten to seize control over virtually every other industry by pushing massive regulation on energy use.

This year, we are in the third year of a recession, unemployment is increasing, healthcare costs are skyrocketing even faster, and Democrats are promising more of the same.

“We Cannot Continue Down This Catastrophic Path!”

It’s not enough to vote. We have to contribute, volunteer, get out our friends and neighbors to the polls, and volunteer to poll watch, because Democrats are going to cheat like never before.

Make it viral!

(video by Ben Howe, via Ace)

Professor Philip Zimbardo Explains The Secret Powers of Time. by The Elephant's Child

Professor Philip Zimbardo conveys how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world.

What Do You Know About Picking Blueberries? by The Elephant's Child

American ingenuity comes up with solutions.  I find new kinds of machinery fascinating. I don’t know anything about the business of commercial blueberries. I have picked only a very few blueberries, but I have picked lots of huckleberries which are smaller (and better). It takes a long time to fill a pail.  My mother remembered coming down with her sister from a huckleberry patch on the mountainside with pails full of berries, and an old prospector looked at their pails full of huckleberries and his jaw dropped, and he said  in awe “One by one, by God!”

Regulations come down from governments, federal and state.  You shall have such and such kind of housing for pickers, this is the minimum wage, you must withhold this amount for Social Security and provide the pickers with health care, and they are only allowed to work these hours, and on and on.  Most growers prefer to treat their workers well, and most regulations are made by bureaucrats who have no idea of what a blueberry field is like, but they mean well.

And often, at some point, the regulations coming from the well-meaning bureaucrats make it impossible for the grower to make a profit.  He has expenses, wages, insurance, equipment.  Profit is the only reason why someone stays in business.  If there is no profit, he finds something else to do with the land.  Leftists often think that there is something wrong with profit, but that is only ignorance speaking.

So, at some point, advanced machinery becomes a cost-effective solution.  Think of all the unintended consequences in this story.  Kindly bureaucrats want poor field workers to be well-treated,  The grower wants his crop harvested at a cost that allows him to make a profit so that he can afford to have a crop the following year. When a machine becomes more viable than pickers, many pickers are unemployed, but more skilled workers are employed in the factory that builds the machines, The kindly bureaucrats have no pickers to care for and see that their working conditions constantly improve, so they too become  redundant.

Because such machinery is expensive, only large operations can afford it, so it puts pressure on smaller farms where picking must take place in the old, highly regulated way.  Think of the flow of unintended consequences, and how many lives are affected. Do the smaller growers sell out, form a co-op with other small growers?  Do they start marketing their berries as organic, or hand-picked? Or do they establish a jam and jelly operation right there?  Or does he grow something else entirely?  Whatever it is will be regulated as well.

As I said, I don’t know anything about the blueberry business, but speculating about it makes you think about lessons that apply to other circumstances that we don’t know very much about either.  Interesting machinery isn’t it?

Fads, Fashions, Folly and Foolishness. by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday we received a publication from the City, telling what the City Manager is doing, what the City Council has accomplished, and such things as honoring volunteers and fines for unlicensed pets — that sort of thing.

The initial  paragraph said that “The City Council in June contemplated a jolt of mass-produced electric cars expected late this year and what the city can do now to encourage and prepare for the trend.  Staff offered an overview of efforts to encourage the fledgling electric car industry; and recommendations on land-use code changes to allow charging stations in non-residential areas.

One way for the city to encourage electric vehicles is for the city to purchase them for its own vehicle fleet.  The city already owns 48 hybrid vehicles and one plug-in electric utility truck.  Using federal grants, the city expects to purchase 82 more hybrids and plug-ins this year and in 2011.

Land-use code changes: A 2009 state law requires cities such as ours that border regional freeways and meet a population threshold to amend their development regulations “to encourage the transition to electric vehicle use and to expedite the establishment of a convenient, cost-effective, electric vehicle infrastructure.”

This is government-speak, of course, but there are hints of the regulations and pressure that are descending on the city to support the electric car folly.  Alex Molinaroli, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions division which makes batteries for cars said the company isn’t expecting all-electric cars to take off.  Their research found that the pool of U.S. customers who travel many miles a year, but on short trips — is very small, about 3% of drivers.  Johnson controls is betting that its batteries will find homes in hybrid models which use a gas engine as well as batteries.

In the 1990s Honda tried to market an electric car in California, the EV Plus, which went about 80 miles on a charge.  After selling just 300 of them, Honda pulled the plug.   Mr. Bienenfeld headed the effort.  He is not convinced that the coming crop will do better.  “There are life-defining moments when you find out you can’t go pick up your kid who is sick because you don’t have enough charge in your car, and the next day people come back to the dealership and hand over their keys.”

Most of the car companies are rushing to produce EVs. California is requiring that the top six auto makers by sales in California offer a zero-emission model in 2012 or face potentially huge finesAnd the federal government is demanding huge increases in CAFE standards.

So the whole thing is about a bunch of bureaucrats who know nothing about cars, the engineering involved or the time lag involved, demanding that car companies instantly produce the cars that are favored by the administration.  Government grants and subsidies may or may not continue to be available.  The globe will continue to warm and cool, unaffected by however many electric cars are on the road.  The electricity to charge up these electric vehicles will come from carbon-belching coal-fired power plants.

There is no rationale for subsidies for electric cars and electric batteries because they can’t survive on their own merits.  If these cars really had something to offer, they wouldn’t need all these grants and subsidies, but they don’t.

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