American Elephants


Ravi the Juggler by The Elephant's Child

Have you ever tried to solve the Rubik’s cube? How about solving it while juggling?  Thought not. Never fear. Just Google Rubik’s cube and all sorts of helpful guides will appear, or videos if you prefer. Ravi, however is pretty amazing.



Newest Victim of Global Warming —Breakfast? by The Elephant's Child

eat-breakfast

The world as we know it will come to an end by 2080. Global warming may end the wheat crop, endangering not only pasta, but our breakfast toast, pancakes and waffles, not to mention coffee cake and croissants. Now comes word that coffee beans, that is wild Arabica beans  are in danger of extinction. The invaluable Anthony Watts, proprietor of wattsupwiththat.com, responds:

The basis of the claim for “end of pasta” by Hertsgaard is this statement:

Frank Manthey, a professor at North Dakota State University who advises the North Dakota Wheat Commission. Already, a mere 1 degree Fahrenheit of global temperature rise over the past 50 years has caused a 5.5 percent decline in wheat production.

Well, I plotted the data, both for USA temperature (using the alarmist’s favorite temperature data, Jim Hansen’s GISS data) and USA wheat production from USDA, and I call bullshit on the claim:

David Middleton demolishes the silly claim about coffee beans. My coffee is of greater importance than my croissants or brioche, or even toast, so that’s a relief.

Researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia looked at how climate change might make some land unsuitable for Arabica plants, which are highly vulnerable to temperature change and other dangers including pests and disease.

They came up with a best-case scenario that predicts a 38 per cent reduction in land capable of yielding Arabica by 2080. The worst-case scenario puts the loss at between 90 per cent and 100 per cent.

If global climate warming change disruption is likely to wipe out such a prevalent coffee bean in a few decades, the previous few hundred years of warming should have “left a mark” on global coffee production… Right?

I downloaded the latest HadCRUT4 temperature and Mauna Loa CO2 data from Wood for Trees and global coffee bean production from FAOSTAT and it appears that coffee bean trees like warmer temperatures…

They also show how the alarmists reached the nonsense they published. Is there a particular psychological type that is unhappy unless living in fear? Or they just remarkably gullible? Next to go, Bacon and eggs?



Psalm 23, Newly Revised According to Modern Principles by The Elephant's Child

Mark Helprin is a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute and his most recent novel is “In Sunlight and Shadow.” He offered some proverbial wisdom for the Age of Obama. A slight revision of the 23rd Psalm, for the Wall Street Journal.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of debt, I fear no bankruptcy, for Obama is my shepherd. He prepareth a table of food stamps before me, and maketh me lie down beside waters He hath cleansed and seas He hath made recede, even though the bad Republicans wisheth the earth to be burnt unto a cinder, and will not buy the electric car that is good, for it hath zero emissions, and receiveth its power from a power plant, which hath not zero emissions, but the ways of the President are mysterious.

He hath told the stubborn Israelites, evil builders of apartments, that they know not their own interests and He does, and know not what they do, when they fear the nuclear weapon of the Persians. The ways of the President are mysterious. He alloweth the Persians to get the nuclear weapon (unless He hath something up His sleeve), for He knoweth that when they behold Him they will stay their hand, and not burn the Israelites unto a cinder, as they pronounce.

Yea, though Bernanke maketh funny money that will not compute, Obama prepareth a statistical table in front of the bad Republicans that showeth it will, if only they have faith. Fear not the Hellenes and the path they have trod. Though for sure we shall follow them, the President will be our sword, and our shield. His Hillary Rodham and his staff, they comfort us.

Fear not the Chinois, whose power waxes as ours wanes, for someday thy children’s children shall journey over the sea that Obama hath made recede, west of the land of Geffen and Famous Amos, to build railroads for Beijing. Then the Third World will have inherited the earth, and the strong will have been laid low, which is good, and which is also the Democratic platform.

Verily, we should be like the meek of the earth, and follow the commands of the President, the Amalekites, the EPA, and the IRS, which taketh our money, which is good, for we know not what to do with it. And Obama does, for you did not buildeth that. Once, we were slaves in the land of Reagan (and if you attributeth the “Reagan” deficits to increased military spending and lowered tax rates, tryeth accounting for the changes in military expenditure and tax revenues in the Reagan years, for, lo, when combined they yieldeth a surplus). Then, we were sinners, in spending our own money for what we thought was our own good. But now we are free, for the President spendeth it for us, and He maketh miracles, for, lo, He roasteth invisible chickens, and, lo, He spendeth money that existeth not, that Bernanke printeth. And, lo, it buys us stuff, for now.

Yea, though I accumulate debt higher than the mountains of Gilboa, and the deadbeats skip like rams, I shall not want, for Bernanke maketh funny money, and the President smiles upon the land, but not upon the bad Republicans. For they wisheth to live within their means, which surely must be evil. And what would you expect from people who are suspicious of Social Security? And wisheth to burn the earth unto a cinder.

But arithmetic notwithstanding, I will dwell in the house of Obama all the days of my life. (Why not four terms, and what about Michelle? For the Constitution liveth.) And, the earth having been purified, surely it will be good when—and where do I apply for—government assistance will be the only thing left.



Seems Like Common Sense to Me by The Elephant's Child

Democrats will not consider reform of entitlements. They have achieved what success they have found by being the party of handouts. Everywhere, it is entitlements of one sort or another that are destroying economies. California cities are going bankrupt right and left, largely because of entitlements — overly generous pensions promised, and overly generous pay packages that they can no longer afford. The state of Michigan is about to dump Detroit’s city government and install a manager with the power to try to rescue the city.

At the federal level, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all destined to go broke sooner, rather than later, but Democrats will not consider reform. All three programs are rife with fraud and waste. Vastly increased life-expectancy has played hob with the original assumptions behind these programs, and on the other end is a birth-dearth which leaves more older people to be supported by ever smaller numbers of working people. Throw the retiring baby boom into the mix, and all three programs are in deep, deep trouble.

Democrats have long-expected to be reelected by claiming that Republicans want to take away your Social Security, deprive you of care in your old age (“Throw granny off the cliff”), and to take away all the benefits that Democrats have promised. If they cannot depend on scare tactics, what do they have to offer?

With increased life-expectancy, people should be able to accept a gradual increase in the retirement age. Working one more year before retirement shouldn’t be that big a problem. Many people don’t want to quit working anyway. Those who are not required to retire at 65 often choose to work for many more years.

One must assume that Democrats are just naturally bad at math, or math avoiders, or unfamiliar with cost-benefit analysis, or their thought processes naturally turn only to emotional content. What is the matter with these people? Do they just assume that these programs are destined to always survive? Or like Scarlett O’Hara— they’ll think about that tomorrow?

In the years since the end of World War II, from 1945–2008, the number of jobs grew in 86% of the months, or 640 out of 744. The Reagan recovery produced job growth in 81 out of 82 months — twenty million new jobs in the first seven years alone, increasing the federal work force by 20%. That grew into eight million new jobs after 2003 — with capital gains and dividend tax rate cuts. History.

Some states and cities are learning that they can no longer afford the generous promises they have made. The federal government is approaching that tipping-point.

President Obama believes that consumer “demand” drives economic growth and prosperity. If he just puts money into people’s pockets, consumers will quickly spend the money and the economy will recover. That was the flawed notion behind the cut in payroll taxes. Didn’t work. Observing hard times and uncertainty about jobs, people saved the extra money in their paychecks, and cut back on spending as well.

The benefits provided by government largess are never enough for a comfortable life. Food stamps (without cheating) don’t provide gourmet meals. Social Security alone is not enough to retire on. Welfare doesn’t move you up in the world. The more government largess is distributed, the fewer people there are to support that largess. It is inevitably a downward spiral for everyone. When the government provides a bad example of crony-capitalism or dishonesty, soon more people follow the example set.

Government doesn’t have any money of its own. It only acquires funds by taxing the people. The more government grows, the more revenue it needs; the more revenue they get by taxing the people, the more the economy declines and the fewer working people there are to pay taxes. Why is that so damned hard to understand?

 




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