American Elephants

The Food Police (San Francisco Chapter) Strike Again: by The Elephant's Child

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, always good for a laugh, has voted 8-3 to approve an ordinance that would limit toy giveaways in fast food children’s meals that have excessive calories, sodium or fat.  It also requires servings of fruits or vegetables with each meal.  (Sorry, kids — more carrot sticks!)

Supervisor Eric Mar, who proposed the law, said:

From San Francisco to New York, the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country is making people sick, making our kids sick, particularly kids from low-income neighborhoods.

We don’t actually know if there is an epidemic of childhood obesity, or if it is just another fad.  Apparently the diagnosis depends on body mass index (BMI) measurements which were not designed to determine health or proper weight.

Eric Mar also said:

We’re  part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice.

I cannot believe that anyone could open their mouth and make such a preposterous statement.  It is said that Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to veto the measure, but it may survive the veto.  And how far would a resident of San Francisco have to travel  to find a McDonald’s unaffected by silly bans?

Chasing the Fashionable Fantasies. by The Elephant's Child

The United States Congress refused to go for cap-and-trade, or sign on to the Kyoto Protocol,  the whole notion of so-called global warming pretty much died with the revelations of ClimateGate.  When you remove the urban heat island effect there may not be any warming at all.  There  hasn’t been any warming for the last decade anyway.

So why do we have so many states in the global warming business?  California voters refused to suspend the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act until the state’s employment level recovered.  Could Californians possibly believe that what California does about carbon dioxide could have the slightest effect on CO2 in the atmosphere?  On world temperatures?  What do they think they are doing? They got rolled by the venture capitalist rent-seekers.

Massachusetts, along with many other states, has fallen for the “renewable energy” fable. The state currently mandates that 5 percent of electricity must come from renewable sources. That increases by 1 percent each year until it reaches 25 percent of all power consumed by 2030.  Renewable power producers receive a premium on their power in the form of state-authorized credits.

Cape Wind, the very controversial wind power project, gets most of the attention.   But Massachusetts gets power from Canadian hydropower,  which doesn’t get labeled as renewable energy (foreign electricity?) and Governor Deval Patrick doesn’t want it labeled renewable.  Natural gas, plentiful and the primary source of power generation is Massachusetts, is by far the cheapest.

Columnist Steven Syre of the Boston Globe says:

The point of the state’s renewable energy policy should be about meeting ambitious long-term goals for clean energy. But that doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Reliability and cost will matter in the future, especially in a state that already pays some of the country’s highest power prices.

“Clean energy” assumes that carbon dioxide is a pollutant — it is not — and that there is something desirable about a decrease in carbon dioxide — there isn’t.  CO2 is not a cause of global warming.  It is a natural fertilizer for plants, and we can use more of it, not less.

So how many states have programs requiring utilities to get more of their power from far more expensive “renewable sources” that produce no net power, but lots of goodies for the rent-seekers.  That is, if there are not big governmental subsidies — there is no wind power.  Consumers will pay a higher price for the power they use, and higher taxes to subsidize the production.  And it accomplishes nothing.  Nothing at all.

What we have are a lot of governors and mayors trying to be important by tackling the fashionable questions, like global warming, or clean energy, or too much salt.  And who is the most exciting governor in the country?  Chris Christie.  Why is he exciting?  Because he is trying to solve the fiscal problems of his state, and doing the hard battles with unions and legislatures.  Now there’s an idea, do you think it will catch on?

Big Government, Big Bureaucracy, Big Pay, Big Debt. by The Elephant's Child

Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who will head the panel overseeing federal pay, has been startled when looking at what has happened to federal compensation. Federal workers are earning double what their counterparts in the private sector receive. And Obama wants to give a 1.4% across-the-board pay-raise to 2.1 million federal workers.

The number of federal workers who earn more than $150,000 has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office. The federal workforce  has increased by 141,000 since Obama took office, and the White House has said they expect to add 125,000 more federal workers this fiscal year.  This does not include census workers or military — it’s all just federal bureaucrats. Top paid staff have increased in every department and agency.

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley insists that the proposed raise “is a modest amount and should be implemented” to help make salaries more comparable with those in the private sector.  Union employees always believe themselves to be underpaid, but it sounds like it would take a 50% pay cut to put them in line with their private sector counterparts.

What is worrisome is President Obama’s attitude towards money.  There seems to be no end to the projects on which he wants to lavish federal money.  He does not seem to grasp that the federal government has no money of it own, but only money it taxes from the people and their children and grandchildren.

Throughout the long campaign, spending was a major complaint, yet that notion seems not to have registered at all.  Obama  is still talking about high-speed rail, vast infrastructure projects, more subsidies for wind, solar and national grid.

With an economy in recession and over 17% unemployment in some areas the Obamas have startled the nation with their spending excesses.  Whether the 35 or so Czars, or the Wagyu beef, or the excessive entourage for foreign trips — the (to use liberal pundit’s new word)  ‘optics’ are unfortunate.  It just looks bad.  Really bad.


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