American Elephants

Change Comes to the Capitol, Money-Saving and Less Green. by The Elephant's Child

If ardent environmentalists actually believed that which they preach about climate change,  they would behave far differently than they do. Al Gore wouldn’t buy a waterfront condo, and Nancy Pelosi would fly commercial.  After about a month in control of the House of Representatives, the GOP has managed to get rid of Nancy Pelosi’s “compostable cornstarch-based knives, forks and spoons that were a bipartisanly hated feature of the House cafeteria operation.

The tableware, the color of mucus and as bendable as a pocket watch in a Salvador Dali painting (and thus unable to pierce any foodstuff firmer than the innards of Brie cheese), was the most visible manifestation of recently deposed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Green the Capitol initiative. That was her carbon-cutting effort to use the food-service and other House operations to fight global warming and a host of other perceived environmental, health and social ills. During the lunchtime rush, you could observe dozens of staffers struggling to stab lettuce leaves and poultry pieces with fork tines that appeared to be double-jointed as well as dull.

Dan Lundgren has ordered the House chief administrative officer to trash the composting program which converts the food service’s cornstarch tableware, plates , trays, cups and drinking straws into garden mulch.  It not only cost the House an estimated $475,000 a year, but actually increased energy consumption in the form of pulping costs and increased hauling distance to the composting facility.

Pelosi’s “Green the Capitol” was launched in 2007 soon after she became speaker.  Food in the cafeteria was replaced with “cuisine,” and signage reminded you that the beef in the hamburgers was “humanely raised,” and “antibiotic-free.”  Eggs were “cage-free.” Milk was “rBGH free.”  Silly stuff, but in tune with Pelosi’s native San Francisco which bans happy meals and fines householders who dump an orange peel in the trash instead of city-provided compost bins.  “Four years of am effort by a know-it-all liberal elite to impose sweeping and extreme social and fiscal measures on a centrist-to-right public have come to an end.”
(H/T: Instapundit)  This funny story is also available at HotAir.

A Truly Remarkable Enterprise! by The Elephant's Child
February 14, 2011, 6:14 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Politics | Tags:

Many voices on the internet have been suggesting lately that the idea that every one should go  to college is false.  Some have suggested that college is simply not worth it any more, that the debt that students would be saddled with is too much, and more than they can ever repay without ruining their lives. Richard Mitchell, whom I just cannot keep from quoting, had a thing or two to say about public education:

American public education is a remarkable enterprise; it succeeds best where it fails.  Imagine an industry that consistently fails to do what it sets out to do, a factory where this year’s product is invariably sleazier than last year’s but, nevertheless, better than next year’s.  Imagine a corporation whose executives are always spending vast sums of money on studies designed to discover just what it is they are supposed to do and then vaster sums for further studies on just how to do it.  Imagine a plant devoted to the manufacture of factory seconds to be sold at a loss.  Imagine a producer of vacuum cleaners that rarely work hiring whole platoons of engineers who will in time, report that it is,  in fact, true that the vacuum cleaners rarely work, and who will, for a larger fee, be glad to find out why, if that’s possible.  If you discover some such outfit, don’t invest in it.  Unfortunately we are all required to invest in public education.

You might like to print that quotation out and take it to the next school board meeting. Or you might consider that the book in which the quotation appears was printed in 1979, and nothing much has improved.  Nothing at all. Or you might consider printing out Richard Mitchell’s books which are available for free, and can be printed out with only a small investment in paper and ink, or can be obtained from for a very modest price indeed.  You would be glad you did.

The federal government has no business in education.  They have been increasingly involved in education for most of my lifetime, and they have consistently made it worse each year, as they increased federal spending.  It’s time to call a halt.  Spending is not the answer to the problems of education.

Can Washington’s Out-of-Control Spending be Stopped? by The Elephant's Child
February 14, 2011, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Liberalism, Politics | Tags: , ,

Here is our friend Economist Daniel Mitchell for the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.  In the long battle coming up, many will insist that spending restraint by the Federal Government is not possible.  There is precedent.  We have done it before in the Reagan and Clinton administrations.  We can do it again.  Here are lessons from the Reagan administration.

Obama’s New Spending Spree: by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration released the budget this morning, for fiscal year 2012. Kevin Hassett, senior fellow, and Director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute summed it up nicely:

You can probably count on one hand the number of Americans who think the level of near-term spending in the last CBO outlook was too low, and this budget reveals that all of them apparently work in the White House.

Kevin Hassett says that the budget increase signals that the President has decided to try to push the Republicans towards a high-drama showdown on spending.  He clearly thinks he can win such a showdown.  The latest Gallup survey indicates the disapproval rate on the budget at 68% and the disapproval rate of the president’s management of the economy at 60%. That is high.

The president’s message — All is well.  Let’s spend more on solar panels and high-speed rail.  Over the next decade, this budget would add another $8.7  trillion to the national debt and take the national debt as a share of the economy to 77%.  The White House is assuming a decade of steady growth with no recessions.  This year’s total spending is $3.73 trillion — 25 percent of GDP.

Lots of battles ahead.  The president has not changed his ideas at all since January 2009.  He has learned nothing.  He has not heard or understood anything said by the American people.  He has heard nothing that scientists, engineers and the experience of other countries cite with solar panels, wind power or  high-speed rail.  European countries are shutting down their experiments as fast as they can.  Despite the experience of every European country, Obama still thinks there will be scads of green jobs, a fact belied by our own experience.

The president’s own deficit commission recommended reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years — to avoid financial catastrophe.  Nevermind. Richard Epstein who knows him from the University of Chicago and others have said the Obama’s ideas are “set in concrete,” he just doesn’t change them.

Obama is using fake numbers to suggest that he is being fiscally responsible, and trying to set a trap for Republicans so that when they make cuts in the budget  he can portray them as mean-spirited and irresponsible.  The Center for American Progress (George Soros outfit) has probably already written the script.

On Valentine’s Day, How to Save a Heart and a Life by The Elephant's Child
February 14, 2011, 11:30 am
Filed under: Health Care, Politics | Tags: , ,

(h/t: Maggie’s Farm)

Happy Valeninne’s Day! by American Elephant
February 14, 2011, 4:27 am
Filed under: Pop Culture | Tags: ,

Happy Valentines Day!

Being of the male of the species, I’ve never much understood the importance some place on the holiday. Let’s face it, Valentines Day is nothing more than a concoction of the greeting-card industry to promote the sales of schmaltzy valentines. And as a holiday, its kind or a rip-off — if even the most perfectly executed Valentine’s Day gesture doesn’t excuse one from being romantic the rest of the year, then, really, what’s the point?

That said, I should point out that Elephants are known to be very partial to chocolate truffles.

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