American Elephants


Thanksgiving Leftovers: A Few Questions. by The Elephant's Child
November 29, 2014, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Entertainment, Freedom, Humor | Tags: , ,

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The White House menu for Thanksgiving dinner was published. The usual roast turkey, ham, cornbread stuffing (to each his own), and macaroni and cheese?  Is this a common side dish? Macaroni and cheese to me was always a budget dinner, but nothing special.

Cornbread stuffing seems to be a Southern specialty. Had it once, didn’t like it.

They also had six kinds of pie. Six!

Different strokes for different folks.

The New York Times published a list of the “Thanksgiving Recipes Googled in Every State.” The recipes are included, and it is fascinating to see the regional differences. Many look and sound delicious, and many sound just weird. Frog Eye Salad seems to be a favorite among Mormons. You have Dirt Pudding, Hot Brown, Ooey Gooey Bars, Pernil, and Cherry Yum Yum. Great fun and some of them really sound good.

 



A Rogue Agency Issues The Most Expensive Regulation of All Time by The Elephant's Child

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Here we go again. The Obama administration has just released on the evening before Thanksgiving, when the attention of the nation is on all the last minute stuff to do before the big Thanksgiving dinner, the “most expensive regulation of all time.” This is a sweeping regulation which is aimed at ozone production from power plants and factories across the country, particularly in the Midwest.

The proposal — praised by environmental and health organizations but blasted by Republicans and business groups, who say it will cost jobs and create a drag on the economy — would lower the threshold for ozone from 75 parts per billion to 65 to 70 parts per billion.

The EPA, unsurprisingly, is considering an even more onerous standard of 60 parts per billion, and radical enviro groups like the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council are pushing for the lower figure.

The EPA claims that ozone leads to smog, health risks, death from  asthma, and the noble EPA has been trying nobly to protect the American people. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy attacked anyone who had the nerve to challenge them:

“Critics play a dangerous game when they denounce the science and law EPA has used to defend clean air for more than 40 years. The American people know better.

Time after time, when science pointed to health risks, special interests cried the sky was falling. And time after time, EPA obeyed the law, followed the science, protected public health, and fortified a strong American economy. The sky never fell. Today’s action follows that proven path.

When the EPA starts hauling out asthma, you can tell they are on flimsy scientific grounds. Doctors do not know the cause of asthma.  If I remember correctly, the EPA couldn’t produce “the science” that supports their arguments and claimed they had lost it.

The EPA, in this case, is quite specific. They claim that reducing the 8-hour ozone standard from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 ppb would reduce the number of asthma exacerbations by 38,000 and related hospitalizations by 11,000 annually. Unfortunately, Junk Science.com has taken on their claims. The agency’s hushed-up human experiments debunk their ozone health claims. Junk Science also took up their claims in this particular case by comparing O³ measurements with hospital admissions for asthma in Los Angeles which is often said to have the worst air quality in the U.S. Not linked!

The EPA has not done well in the courts in water issues where they are trying to turn authority over “navigable waters” into control over the tiny spring or snow-melt ditch where those waters originate. The cases involve private property rights. Clean air is a different matter. Borders of property or region don’t really matter. It’s pretty hard to vote against clean air.

The National Association of Manufacturers called the rules “the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public.” In a July study, the organization calculated the rule would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040 and cut about 2.9 million jobs per year on average through 2040.

It’s obvious the regulations would create a serious burden. 59 percent of the U.S. population lives in areas that do not meet the 65 ppb threshold. Even if the standard was only 70 ppb,  half the country would be out of compliance.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the spring about the nation’s first-ever standards requiring power plants to reduce mercury emissions and other toxic air pollutants, in a case with implications for the ozone regulations and the president’s broader environmental agenda.

The high court will decide if the EPA should have considered how much the rules would cost utilities. The EPA says the public health benefit outweighs any industry costs. The agency also says the rule could prevent up to 11.000 premature deaths each year. Undoubtedly children dying from asthma. They may not be able to prove it, but their opponents can’t prove them wrong.

 



Deep Down The Public Wants Big Government by The Elephant's Child

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Senator Charles Schumer spoke to the National Press Club a couple of days ago, and told the media that despite devastating midterm losses, the public deep down knows that big government is best for them. Do you hear echoes of Jonathan Gruber’s insistence that the public is terminally stupid? Schumer said:

When government failed to deliver on a string of noneconomic issues, the rollout of the Obamacare exchanges, the mishandling of the surge in border crossers, ineptitude at the V.A., initial handling of the Ebola threat, people lost faith in government’s ability to work, then blamed the incumbent governing party, Democrats, creating a Republican wave.

He doesn’t want the numbers from this election to fool you — “Americans believe in big government through and through.”Uh huh.

You have to understand that Mr. Schumer went directly from Harvard Law to the New York State Assembly, becoming at age 23 the youngest member of the New York legislature since Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Schumer has never done anything else but politics, and he’s good at it. He has never lost an election. Bob Dole once quipped “The most dangerous place in Washington is between Senator Schumer and a television camera.”

Schumer added “Ultimately, the  public knows in its gut that a strong and active government is the only way to reverse the middle class decline and help revive the American dream.” Ah ha, he has noticed that the Democrat  party is losing the middle class.

The problem is only superficially the expanse of big government. The problem is that the Left firmly believes that if a government program doesn’t work — the remedy is to add another program to fix it. And so the body of law and regulation grows inexorably larger and more and more unwieldy. Laws are made and sent off to myriad government agencies who will write all the regulations that will expand and enforce the law.

Democrats have arrived at the position that more law is good and will control an unruly and poorly informed citizenry. The more people become dependent on government for their welfare, their housing, their food and education, the more apt they will be to vote for those who give them those benefits. And the more Democrats are able to control the population, the more the wise and caring people in government will be able to shape them into a better, more compliant population.  The Left has always had some vague Utopian ideas about a new and improved man. Besides the whole project allows them to feel good about doing nice things.

Republicans do believe in smaller, more responsive government. They believe that the best government is that which is closest to the people, and most responsive to their needs. You may not be able to fight city hall, but you will have better luck with that than in fighting the federal government.

That does not mean, however, that Republicans are much better at ending useless programs, getting rid of bad policy. The bureaucracy has grown too large and unwieldy. We are paying enormous salaries to bureaucrats that do no work at all. There are policies that do not work, have no prospect of ever working, but remain on the books.

Bureaucracy is the enemy of creativity, of accomplishment and innovation. The free market is the remedy which turns creativity loose and fosters innovation and a growing healthy economy.



Why Do You Assume That Things Have to Make Sense? by The Elephant's Child

The Left seems to believe that President Obama’s climate deal with China is a great accomplishment. It commits the United States to continue the downward slope of our  CO² emissions for the next 16 years. Quite a commitment. China, on the other hand, can continue building coal-fired power plants at the rate of one a day for the next 16 years, then China will put a cap on carbon dioxide emissions. Such a deal! Even calling this a deal should be terminally embarrassing. Obama is  once again proclaiming himself the source of all law.

One nation after another is discovering that renewable energy is essentially a fraud and cannot exist without constant backup from conventional power sources. Obama ‘s unenforceable agreement with China allows Beijing free rein in building up their energy infrastructure, yet he has put severe restrictions on funding projects in Africa that are linked to fossil fuel energy, insisting that such poor countries use expensive and unaffordable renewable energy. He’s happy to allow China and India to develop, but at the same time kill the African dream of development and progress.

“A new paper published yesterday in the Journal of Atmospheric and  Solar-Terrestrial Physics finds a “strong and stable correlation” between the millennial variations in sunspots and the temperature in Antarctica over the past 11.000 years. In stark contrast, the authors find no strong or stable correlation between temperature and CO² over that same period.” In other words, there is strong evidence that the Sun has controlled climate over the past 11.000 years, not CO².

Forty years ago, the experts said that the cold, snowy winters in the East were caused by global cooling and excess Arctic ice. Today, the experts say that cold snowy winters are caused by global warming and a deficiency of Arctic ice. So there you go. Whoever said that things have to make sense?



Is The Agony of Ferguson Over? by The Elephant's Child

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Are the Ferguson riots over, and the copycat riots across the country? Will rioters break for Thanksgiving? Its a sad story of the media behaving badly, writing their stories before the evidence was in — riots get lots of TV ratings.

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ABC news’ mantra was about Ferguson where “a white policeman shot an unarmed black teenager.”Media people tell themselves that they are just reporting the facts, but it is not a story until there are facts, and claims are not facts. Robert Tracinsky set out some rules for the media for the next Ferguson.

The New York Times published the address of Police Officer Wilson’s home and the name of his wife. That is unforgivable, in an inflamed situation where mobs are crying for his death.

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder could have quelled the latest rioting in Ferguson. Instead they invited violence. Obama called anger   “an understandable reaction” and warned police not to work “against the community.” He added “A deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color. Some of this is the result of racial discrimination in this country.”

For the U.S. Attorney General to announce, essentially, that the decision of the very thorough grand jury investigation that declined to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson isn’t good enough, and his department will be pursuing a further investigation, is not helpful, but then he is still investigating the Zimmerman case in search of “justice” for Treyvon Martin. That is not justice, but something else.

David Harsanyi’s piece at the Federalist seemed to me balanced, fair and straightforward. “Feelings aren’t facts. And “justice” doesn’t exist to mollify your anger.” The grand jury has put all the evidence online for your convenience and enlightenment.

More than anything this case highlights the extent to which Democrats depend on keeping their black base convinced that there is no justice in America for them because of racial prejudice.

Some have said that most of the rioters are not Ferguson residents, but outsiders. They’re all just so upset and angry that they have to break into stores to get some big screen TVs, and burn down a lot of buildings. But then there have been riots in many cities across the country. Time for everyone to go on home.



Obama Goes to Australia, Offends Everybody. by The Elephant's Child

There didn’t seem to be much news from President Obama’s trip to Australia for the G20 meeting. The media made a lot of his climate accord with China at his previous stop in Beijing. The commentary recognized that Obama set a path for America to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, and China would go ahead building coal-fired plants at a tremendous rate until 2030 when they might start paying attention to their emissions. The general assumption is that China will pay no attention the agreement anyway, but Mr. Obama seems to believe it to be a great accomplishment.

President Obama ruffled feathers by demanding to make a speech to young people at Queensland University, where he offended everybody with what they called “an ill-informed, insulting speech from Barack Obama about climate change, the Great Barrier Reef and coal.”

The U.S. Embassy carefully had advised the president not to couch his climate change comments in a way that would be seen as disobliging to the Abbott government. “Historians of the US-Australia relationship are unable to nominate a case of a visiting president making such a hostile speech to the host government.” Heads of State just don’t go to other countries and insert themselves into political debates in that country.

Queensland is a coal mining state. Mr. Obama said that climate change “here in Australia” means “longer droughts, more wildfires”  and “the incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened.” Well, no it doesn’t, but it has been a contentious point in Australian politics. Climate change does not cause wildfires, nor does it harm the Great Barrier Reef.

Prime Minister Abbott has been critical of Obama’s Green Climate Fund, and points out that the “four-fifths” of the developed world that had used fossil fuels to develop could not deny “the other fifth” access to coal to generate electricity for the hundred million people who were without it.

Queensland officials are so angry at Mr. Obama’s remarks about the Great Barrier Reef and his attack on coal production in a resources state that they are considering a formal complaint. Informal messages were sent to the U.S. delegation that the president’s speech was not in keeping with that of a guest and ally.

Hopes for a positive G20 summit meeting crumbled abruptly when Obama called Vladimir Putin a jackass. At a joint press appearance President Obama blurted “Everyone here thinks you’re  a dick.” Mr. Obama then unleashed a ten-minute tirade at the Russian President.

Look, I’m not just talking about Snowden and Syria,” Mr. Obama said. “What about Pussy Riot? What about your anti-gay laws? Total jackass moves, my friend.”

As Mr. Putin narrowed his eyes in frosty silence, Mr. Obama seemed to warm to his topic.

“If you think I’m the only one who feels this way, you’re kidding yourself,” Mr. Obama said, jabbing his finger in the direction of the Russian President’s face. “Ask Angela Merkel. Ask David Cameron. Ask the Turkish guy. Every last one of them thinks you’re a dick.”

Mr. Putin released  a terse official statement reading, “I should be afraid of this skinny man? I wrestle bears.”

After one day of meetings, the G20 nations voted unanimously on a resolution that said perhaps everyone should just go on home.

The American press, for the most part simply reported that Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper told Putin that he wasn’t sure about shaking Putin’s hand, and Putin “should get out of Ukraine.” For Obama’s tirade I had to go to the Daily Mail and Zero Hedge.  Interesting omission.

ADDENDUM: I ‘m told that the conversation between Obama and Putin comes from a parody in the New Yorker last year, and has inadvertently been picked up by many bloggers as accurate. Apparently it is not. I apologize. It seemed to fit right in with his speech that so offended the Aussies. That was quite real, and reported in the Australian newspapers, as well as in the text supplied by the White House. Mr. Obama has seemed particularly angry since the election, and short tempered, but that’s just the view from partial glimpses.

 



Are We Finally Coming to The End of Green Politics? by The Elephant's Child

mirrors-towerTwo engineers at Google were charged with thinking creatively about how to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. After four years, the engineers had concluded that it simply could not be done, and the project was shut down.

As we reflected on the project, we came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach. …

Incremental improvements to existing technologies aren’t enough; we need something truly disruptive to reverse climate change. What, then, is the energy technology that can meet the challenging cost targets? How will we remove CO2 from the air? We don’t have the answers. Those technologies haven’t been invented yet.

These engineers assume that the global warming theory is true, that  the rise of CO² in the atmosphere is inexorable, and that the warming will have dire consequences for mankind.  But renewable energy cannot make a significant difference.

Lewis Page writes in response in The Register about nuclear power. It is not, at the moment, cheap enough to provide a strong financial rationale, but that is because the costs have been forced far higher than it would be by the imposition of cripplingly higher health and safety standards. In the three nuclear “disasters” so far — Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima — the scientifically verified death toll from all causes is zero, 56, and zero. Other power industries come in far higher. Page writes:

There can’t be any doubt that if nuclear power had been allowed to be as dangerous per unit of energy generated as, say, the gas industry – let alone the terribly dangerous coal business – it truly would be too cheap to meter and Messrs Koningstein and Fork’s problem would have been solved for them decades ago.

The two linked articles are brief and should be read in their entirety. Neither assumes that carbon dioxide is possibly not the cause of warming, nor that as CO² continues to climb, and promote growth of the world’s plants, there has been no warming for over 18 years. CO² has been much higher in the past, and current levels in the atmosphere are not what is considered optimum for plant life. The planet has been much warmer in the past, as in the Medieval period that brought forth the Renaissance, and much colder as well, in the ice age and the little ice age — which some scientists believe we may be entering once again.

If Google listened to its own engineers, they wouldn’t be trying to get the taxpayers to bail them out for their federal loan for the enormous solar thermal plant at Ivanpah, which somehow didn’t get as much sun as they expected.

Anyone following the recent G20 will be aware that skeptical politicians such as Australia’s Tony Abbott and Canada’s Steve Harper have been under public pressure to change their public position. What is not so readily apparent is that there is a rather large voter backlash against their extreme green policies, and the failure of their massive investment in ‘renewable power.” Germany is building coal-fired power plants. Obama and his green policies were soundly rejected in the midterms, but as a true believer, he soldiers on, and blames everybody else.




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