American Elephants

Andrew Klavan Explains the Madison Mob: by The Elephant's Child

Congratulations, Gov.Walker. A Job Well Done! by The Elephant's Child

Governor Scott Walker has stood fast against an angry mob — a mob that is all seething emotion incited by the usual demagogues — chanting their hate for Gov. Walker and making bizarre claims about what was actually transpiring.  While the mob shrieked about their “rights,” and the future of the state, without any realization that Governor Walker was saving their jobs. It takes courage to stand up for what is right.

Union power was out in full force, defending their right to the power and influence of union dues.  The usual rabble-rousers arrived to rouse rabble — inciting and egging on protesters to violence with outrageous language.  Michael Moore, multimillionaire hypocrite, was there to proclaim his solidarity with union workers who he refused to allow in his movie crews.  He obviously was hoping to rouse the mob to revolution. (Were the cameras waiting behind the scenes?) Jesse Jackson turned up to incite once again.  He has never missed a chance to address a protest, and will go wherever the cameras are.

Wisconsin schools, which are failing to teach basic reading and math, will have a chance to keep outstanding teachers, instead of losing them to antiquated seniority rules. Governor Walker wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

In 2010, Megan Sampson was named an Outstanding First Year Teacher in Wisconsin. A week later, she got a layoff notice from the Milwaukee Public Schools. Why would one of the best new teachers in the state be one of the first let go? Because her collective-bargaining contract requires staffing decisions to be made based on seniority.

Ms. Sampson got a layoff notice because the union leadership would not accept reasonable changes to their contract. Instead, they hid behind a collective-bargaining agreement that costs the taxpayers $101,091 per year for each teacher, protects a 0% contribution for health-insurance premiums, and forces schools to hire and fire based on seniority and union rules.

The most important element is quality education is the excellence of the teacher in front of the classroom.  A good teacher makes all the difference. I was fortunate enough to spend two years in a one-room school with 8 grades and perhaps 20 children and an excellent teacher.  It wasn’t one of President Obama’s “crumbling schools” but it didn’t have indoor plumbing either.

Union members retain the right to bargain collectively over wages.  They are asked to contribute 5.8% to their pensions and 12.6% contribution to their health insurance — a situation that would be deeply desired by most people in the private sector.  And the massive layoffs of teachers and other public employees that were the alternative aren’t going to happen.  Unions don’t care much about their members losing their jobs, it’s losing their dues that matters. The taxpayers have won a great victory.

Devastation and Disaster in Japan by The Elephant's Child

I stayed up way too late last night, following live the unfolding horror of the great earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Your heart just goes out to the people of Japan.  This earthquake was “the Big One,” 8.9 on the Richter scale, and last night it was reported that there had been 13 aftershocks greater than 6. and they continue.

Japan has long had major earthquakes, eleven big ones over 6. just since 2000, so they are as well prepared as a nation can be.  But no one can be prepared for a 30 foot tsunami. It will be a long time before there is an accurate death toll. To watch the flood of black debris, houses,cars, ships roar over a town and fleeing residents is simply a horror.

It is humbling to realize again how puny our lives are, and how powerful nature can be. There were tsunami alerts all along the Pacific coast. Damage was reportedly light other than in Japan.

Crescent City California  is particularly susceptible to tsunamis.  They suffered great damage in the big Alaskan quake in 1964, so they have good warning systems in place, but even so, some people went down to the beach to see the tsunami, and three were swept out to sea.  Two made it back to shore, but the search continues for one man.

OOPS! I had the magnitude of the Sendai earthquake reversed here (now fixed) at 9.8 which is incorrect. The correct magnitude according to the U.S. Geological Survey is 8.9. on the Richter scale. You will also see the figure “as revised” to 9.1.  This is because the Japanese measure earthquakes differently than we do.  They add calculations based on the damage that the quake does. USGS has not revised their calculation.  I don’t really understand the magnitude measurements, except that 8.9 is a whole lot bigger than 8.8.  All of the foreshocks and aftershocks at 6. and 7. are major earthquakes in themselves, and scary.

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