American Elephants

Merry Christmas from the United States Air Force! by The Elephant's Child

The United States Air Force Band performed a surprise flash mob at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on December 3.  Lovely!

“Inequality?” How About Having No Job At All? by The Elephant's Child

Obama is desperately searching for distractions, any distractions, please, from the rollout of ObamaCare. There’s the maybe/sorta agreement in Geneva which is enough of a disaster in foreign policy and national security to get Republican juices flowing, and now he’s going after “inequality”—liberals are always suckers for the claim that if we really try, we can make everybody truly equal. That’s also a sop to the low information voters who assume it means a raise.

Equality is apparently achieved by increasing the minimum wage. This should already be a major sore spot, because it is ObamaCare that has forced millions of businesses who employ beginning workers at the minimum wage to cut their hours back under 30 hours a week so they are truly “part time,” so they don’t have to pay a large fine per employee for not offering health insurance.

Liberals undoubtedly assumed that employers would purchase health insurance for their people, or pay the hefty fine, and it didn’t occur to them that they would actually avoid both expenses. Liberals in Congress are, in general, fairly unfamiliar with the operation of a business. They think profit is just evil, and most of the leading Democrats have never done anything else but politics — “public service” is the preferred euphemism.

In August, Obama wanted to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, but inflation in the last few months has driven it up to $10. Here in the greater Seattle area, Sea-Tac, the community surrounding the airport, has voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour — for teaching beginning workers how to perform a job?

Jonah Goldberg wondered “Was Obama sent from the future by Skynet to prepare humanity for its ultimate dominion by robots?” This falls under the heading:

……………………………….“You Can Be Replaced”

The restaurant chain Applebees is installing iPad-like tablets at every table so customers can order their meals and pay their checks without ever consulting a waiter or waitress.  Chili’s already made the  move earlier this year. When businesses found that new workers could not cope with making change and adding up the cost of menu items, they didn’t fire the kids, they rearranged their cash registers to do the math.

In 2011, Anita Lowrey wrote about a startup firm called E La Carte, which makes a table tablet called Presto. Each console goes for $100 per month. If a restaurant serves meals eight hours a day, seven days a week, the Presto costs about 42 cents per hour per table. Cheaper than the most beginning worker, and no one needs to train it, replace it if it quits or offer sick days. You perhaps saw the video of Jeff Bezos’ idea of delivering products right to your door with robot drones.

I wrote back in August about the Alpha Machine robot from Momentum Machines which replaces all the fast-food workers in a hamburger shop. It serves up 360 gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.

With a conveyor belt-type system the burgers are freshly ground, shaped and grilled to the customers’ liking. When the burger has finished cooking, Alpha Machine slices the tomatoes and pickles and places them on the burger, which it then wraps up for serving. Momentum Machines claims that Alpha Machine will save a restaurant enough money to pay for itself in a year, enabling the restaurant to spend about twice as much on ingredients as they normally would. Customers can just put in their order, pay and wait at a dispensing window.

The next generation will add a custom meat grinding feature that could mix different meats — 1/3 pork, 2/3 bison for example — and char the burger while retaining juiciness. The company is planning the first restaurant chain with a cook staff of entirely robots.


Liberals cannot seem to get it through their heads that if a business does not make a profit — it will not exist. It’s that simple. The longer businesses are regulated and directed and controlled and taxed out of the ability to make a profit, the more the unemployment ranks will grow.

We have 4.1 million long-term unemployed. After 4 years of overregulation, over taxation, and interference in business by scores of bureaucrats who have no idea what it takes to operate a business, business is fighting back, finding ways to reduce their costs. There are always consequences. The free market is full of valuable information that the  most credentialed bureaucrats refuse to hear. They are doing immense damage in their arrogance.

Goodbye, Atlantic Array. A Stark Warning —Is Anybody Listening? by The Elephant's Child


The German energy giant RWE just pulled the plug on one of the world’s largest wind parks, the £4 billion Atlantic Array in the Bristol Channel. RWE did so for the stark reason that “the economics do not stack up”. It’s a mantra that well reflects the entire chaotic, incoherent and frankly competing elements at the heart of Europe’s energy policies. 

Big renewable energy projects will always require state intervention and public cash in pursuit of the illusory aims of decarbonization. Private investment and business venture capital, are of sounder mind, and not inclined to take on the monumental risks involved, without the safety net of government guarantees and continuing public subsidies. Often better known as crony capitalism.

A democratic electorate views its key priorities with a combination of skepticism and common sense, particularly when their first priorities, like an improving economy have gone a glimmering. RWE had complained that the government was treating environmental subsidies as a “political football” which is an accurate representation of the ideological differences at the heart of the coalition.

The British Liberal Democrat energy secretariat is philosophically committed to paying for renewable energy, apparently whatever the cost to the end energy user. George Osborne’s Conservative Treasury, on the other hand, is quite aware of the political cost of the consumer’s energy bills. Britain has been dealing with “energy poverty,” for a number of years. But the whole thing goes back to Germany’s panicked knee-jerk reaction to abandon nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima. That led to the early closure of perfectly operational power stations, many owned by RWE. That short-sighted reaction now threatens Germany with a serious power shortage. RWE knew that the Atlantic Array needed more, not less government subsidies, and there is no prospect of that happening. They have embarked on a fast track divestment of their assets, divested itself of part of its UK gas and electricity sector and are outsourcing 1,400 jobs from Europe to India.

This is a stark warning to the rest of the world that renewable energy projects come with a need for constant government subsidy. These projects do not pay for themselves. Australia is drafting legislation to abolish the country’s carbon pricing mechanism to assuage the consumer anger over soaring energy prices. Green Dreams are all very well, but business is business, and the public has had enough of governmental green dreams. Somebody really needs to tell President Obama.

About Perfect Responses: by The Elephant's Child

On the Sunday shows, host Chris Wallace interviewed Obama health care adviser Ezekiel Emanuel. He asked about the oft noted Obama lie about “If you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance.” and “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.” Emanuel responded that the promise was true enough — providing you’re willing to pay a lot more.

Lucianne Goldberg was, like many of us, disgusted, and today she delivered the killer response on Twitchy.


Lucianne Goldberg

Note to the Emanuels: If you like your brother you can keep your brother just get him off TV. He’s a disaster.

How Global Warming Deniers View the Problem of Global Warming by The Elephant's Child


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