American Elephants

No Title IX. Let’s Just Get the Federal Government Out of Education. by The Elephant's Child


You hear all the time that we don’t have enough graduates in math and science. But I read just today that there are no jobs in science. We have plenty of graduates in science, but they are not very good at science, and we need stars.  Whatever. Barack Obama is going to fix that. Quotas limiting the number of male students in science may be imposed by the Department of Education in 2013 in fields like Math, Science and Engineering.

Title IX guidelines reduced the percentage of male athletes in intercollegiate athletics. The rules allow colleges to temporarily increase the number of female athletes rather than cut male athletes, but the only viable permanent way to comply with the rule is to restrict men’s participation compared to women’s participation.

Writing in Newsweek in June, President Obama celebrated the fact that 25 percent fewer men than women graduate from college, calling it a “great accomplishment ” for America. He lamented that a smaller gender disparity — 17 percent fewer women attending college than men — had existed before Title IX was implemented.

When my mother entered the University of Washington many years ago, she wanted to become a mining engineer. The head of the Geology Department said that he had never had a woman in his department and wasn’t going to start. True family story. So I am conscious of plain old fairness. But the idea that male and female must be statistically equal is absurd.

Obama, as the father of daughters, wants them to have opportunities. But will what’s good for women’s basketball will be good for nuclear physics? I don’t think so. The “women’s movement” has a lot to answer for. In their greed to take executive offices and perks away from men, they’ve done a lot of damage to the male of the species.

Anyone who has raised little boys, knows that they like to build things, investigate how things work, and put wheels on practically anything so it will go fast. They intuitively understand the workings of the internal combustion engine, and love to tinker with cars. My next door neighbor was usually out in his garage, in his 80s, puttering around with his Model A. If you have small boys, or boys of any age, I advise The Dangerous Book for Boys. Boys are different than girls. Allowing and encouraging participation is one thing.  Insisting on equal participation is nuts.

New insistence on equal, Title IX participation, in math, engineering, physics and computer science is playing silly social justice games with fields where American scientific excellence is vital to the economy and to national defense. Let kids follow their own  interests. Liberals with good intentions, but minds full of social justice, forcing equality and quotas have done immeasurable damage to our kids and the institution of education. We need to get the federal government out of the education business entirely. They are no good at it.

Elderly People Are Too Expensive? Try the “Care Pathway.” by The Elephant's Child

Do you remember when Sarah Palin was  thought to be an idiot for claiming that Obama Care was considering ” Death Panels?”

Obama’s advisors on health care, Peter Orzag, Ezekiel Emmanuel, Donald Berwick and Tom Daschle were outspoken admirers of the British National Health Service. The chief concern of Obama’s advisors was the huge expense run up by the elderly in their final years.They talked about denying expensive operations or treatments when the patients had little ‘worthwhile’ time left. Something to be determined by the bureaucracy.

In Britain, the Liverpool Care Pathway, developed at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in the 1990s, withholds fluids and drugs in a patient’s final days— a treatment that is used with 29 percent of hospital patients at the end of their lives. The practice is backed by the Department of Health.

Doctors warned that not all doctors are acquiring the correct consent from patients and are failing to ask about what they wanted while they were still able to decide. Doctors here are now required to ask if you have signed a Living Will or Advanced Care Directive. Doctors also say there has been an increase in patients carrying a card stating that they do not want this “pathway” treatment in the last years of their lives.

A retired geriatrician and former vice-chairman of the Medical Ethics Alliance, told the Daily Mail that “If you are cynical about it, as I am, you can see it as a cost-cutting measure, if you don’t want your beds filled with old people.”

There have been frequent articles in the British papers about NHS care of the elderly, with beds unchanged, drinking water not available, and of relatives having to ring in clean sheets from home.

In the free market, doctors and hospitals are focused on patient care, and on improving their skills and treatments. In a socialized system, where the system must support not only the doctors and clinics, but a vast bureaucracy to administer and control everything, the focus becomes getting paid and reducing costs.

For a certified idiot, Sarah Palin has an uncanny ability to be correct.

Thunder and Lightening and Cloudbursts. by The Elephant's Child

We had a thunderstorm this morning. (Yes, I know, big deal and all that) When we first moved to the Seattle area, we had a “thunderstorm”. There was one loud clap of thunder — and that was it. And over the years, that was the pattern. Once in a while there might have been two or three thunderclaps in a “storm.” I found this completely bizarre.

I grew up in the foothills of the Rockies, and you could hear a storm approaching for hours. Distant thunder. I loved lying on the grass and  watching the sky, seeing the flash of distant lightening. The storm would gradually come closer and closer, and the thunderheads would grow darker, and then a few huge drops of rain, and then a cloudburst, and you’d have to run for it. That was summer in the foothills of the Rockies.

We once had a lightning strike about 100 yards from the house. I never heard anything so loud in my life. Bark was stripped off the pine in a spiral, top to bottom, and it killed the tree of course. Thunderstorms in that country meant lightning strikes and forest fires. A haze on the hills meant a distant fire, the smell of smoke meant it was close. We had a smoke jumper base not far away.

So, to say I was unimpressed with Seattle thunderstorms is putting it mildly. I did once read that someone was struck by lightening on a local golf course. And we have plenty of mountains nearby.

This morning’s storm went on for well over half-an-hour, probably longer, as if the rain gods were making up for lost time. Very strange. Must be global warming.

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