American Elephants


Nikolas Cruz, School Discipline, and Misunderstood Statistics. by The Elephant's Child

Even though our legislators, we assume, are trying hard to make good law, they often fail miserably. Laws don’t just establish what one must do or not do, but laws create incentives. All too often the good intent of the legislation creates some very bad incentives that are poorly understood. What is your impression of the frequency and numbers of dead in school shootings? Increased or not? From a lot of the talk, one would think that we have a rash of school shootings, and more victims than ever, but that is not the case. Frequency and numbers are declining.

An article from the Broward County, Florida’s  Sun-Sentinel reported that Nikolas Cruz “kicked doors, cursed at teachers, fought with and threatened classmates and brought a backpack with bullets to school, in 2014 administrators transferred him to an alternate school for students with “emotional and behavioral disabilities” but in 2 years he was returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was banished for disciplinary violations but “never expelled from school.” Legally he couldn’t be.

Under federal law, the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Nikolas Cruz had a right to a “free and appropriate” education at a public school. As special education lawyer Stephanie Langer told the Sun-Sentinel, “You can’t just kick kids out of the public schools because you are afraid of them, or because they are hard to educate.” In Parkland, Florida, that notion overrode the right of other students to an education free from fear, and as it turned out, deprived them of their right to life as well. 

But it was apparently not, or not just, the 1973 law, but extensive meddling by the Obama administration in what they considered the “school to prison pipeline.”

This is a stunning example of the tendency of statistics to confuse and  mislead. The statistics pointed out that 61% of the incarcerated population were Black or Latino, while only 30% were white. Obviously this must be racism at work. A 2007 study by the Advancement Project and Power U Center for Social Change said of every 100 students who were suspended, 15 were black, 7.9 were American Indian, 6.8 were Latino and 4.8 were white. The article includes examples from around the country, and from different sources.

In October, 2015, Heather MacDonald testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing on proposed legislation to “reform” criminal sentencing by releasing large numbers of felons from federal prisons. The Obama administration was just getting going on their drive to end the disproportionate numbers of Blacks in prison.

The most dangerous misconception about our criminal justice system is that it is pervaded by racial bias. For decades, criminologists have tried to find evidence for that bias, and they have always come up short. In fact, racial differences in criminal offending account for all of the racial disproportionality of blacks in prison.  (my emphasis)

A year later, Heather MacDonald published an important article in City Journal: “Violence in the Halls, Disorder in the Malls” in which she explains that the pathology of the inner city, children without fathers in the home, single mothers with little time, gang culture, are the cause of violence in the schools and violence in malls, and the Obama administration’s destructive efforts to undermine school discipline were to blame. Nikolas Cruz, as a Latino, qualified to be treated with care, to avoid trouble with Education Department authorities.

Once again, we have the usual rush to judgment, and slowly, slowly, the facts begin to come out. Obama went to great lengths to seem the great leader of the Black Community, and increased the calls of racism, where there really wasn’t all that much of it. I guess that’s what he learned in community organizing school. Even if his efforts were well meant, the incentives were poorly understood and have had unfortunate consequences.



Please, Try to Learn Some Facts Before You Speak. by The Elephant's Child

People who know nothing about guns, have never held one in their hands nor fired one, should try to get slightly informed before they start lecturing the rest of the country about banning guns. Nobody needs guns, they will say. Tell that to Oprah, or George and Amal Clooney, the Katzenbergs, or Steven Spielberg who are collectively donating $2 million to the children’s crusade, the “March for Our Lives” — a disgusting politicization of Parkland students’ anguish. And ask if these wealthy folk have bodyguards, and do their bodyguards carry guns?

I grew up in the mountains of Idaho, on 400 acres adjoining National Forest. We had varmints. Coyotes, lynx, bobcats, porcupines, skunks, bears, cougar. Local ranchers had guns. When one of their herd broke a leg or was harmed by other wildlife, they had to be put down. There were no local vets. Coming home from a ride one day, I was blocked from the ford in the river by a coiled rattlesnake, and my horse was having fits. Having to dispatch a rattlesnake with large rocks was fairly scary.  I suppose I was firing a .22 by the time I was six. We usually took a gun along on our early spring picnic to fire at tin cans down on a beach on the Big Salmon River where blooms were out and lambs were newborn. At home we still had a couple of feet of snow. I was fairly deadly with woodrats, but most of the rest of the wildlife was safe from me.

The Left is anxious to ban guns and attack the NRA. I suspect that Lefties are sure that people who grow up in the mountains of Idaho live in compounds of crackpots who all have guns and explosives and may rise up to take their country back.  The statistics on guns are quite clear, banning guns does not solve anything. The scary accessories on a so called “assault weapon” are just to make an ordinary rifle sexier. They don’t do anything useful. Far more people are killed with handguns, blunt objects, knives, and fists. I would bet that Oprah and the others have no idea what the NRA does, or who they are. Virtue signalling.

The Parkland school shooting was a failure of the FBI, the local police, the Sheriff’s office and the school itself. CNN has compounded the reaction with their dishonest use of traumatized children in a scripted Townhall for their own purposes. At Ricochet, a woman from Kentucky writes about an earlier school shooting this year, and the contrasts.  And someone else suggested that people don’t do their homework — that is they don’t do even a small amount of research to see if they know what they are talking about, because they are afraid of having to read something long. A preference for very thin books. Really? Disturbing. Think about the other things they are trying to ban.

The picture at the top was about 5 or 6 miles down the road from our place, where the turnoff for the road up the mountain was. That’s the scary mountains of Idaho, but only one of the lesser peaks.



Politicize Everything. Act Without Understanding. by The Elephant's Child

You have  noticed, I am sure, that Democrats are out there in full cry, demanding that any businesses who have had possible dealings with the NRA be forced by the outcry to end any association with the National Rifle Association. Politicizing business is a very bad idea, as I noticed in an earlier post about “The Elephant in the Room.”  If a business decides to get political, half the country will take their business elsewhere.

Viewer interest in the Winter Olympics is down considerably as well, probably due to the young man who went to a foreign country to demonstrate his objection to Vice President Pence’s objection to changing the definition of marriage back when he was a governor, in an insulting display of his disrespect for the Vice President of his country. What is now being called “virtue-signaling” does not fool anyone, nor does it disguise bad manners and as members of our country’s national team, excuse such an embarrassing display.

The Left is very big on organization. That’s the reason for “community organizers.” Whenever opportunity arises, the Left will be there with a group of activists with pre-printed signs. No sloppy homemade signs, they want their organization and activism to be completely visible. The organized don’t really need to know much about the action, just that it’s time to be active with other activists in an action—exciting, and generates a feeling of power. Another example of the Left’s ultimate goal—power and control.

An article at the beginning of the NRA protests featured a photo of protesters with pre-printed signs from CREDO. Never heard of that bunch so I had to look them up. You can go to their website. Click on  “victories” in the header to see what they have been up to. The first signs simply said “Stop the NRA”. The second round said “Another”, then left a blank panel to be filled in with “Student, Mother, Grandmother, or Aunt. ” I would be surprised if any of the women holding signs had any idea of who the NRA is, what they do, or the extent of their membership. Their list of  “victories” is a startling exposé of where much of the fake “news” comes from. And CREDO is just one of their many activist groups.

It is particularly interesting because for the most part, conservatives, or people on the right are not much interested in organizing or being organized. Fiercely independent, conservatives are inclined to study up, be familiar with the Constitution, our history, and current issues. But marching around holding signs isn’t one of their favorite activities.

Interesting post today at American Thinker, attempting to understand the Left and their actions. Worth your time, and food for thought. The contrast with what the Lefties have to say could not be greater. When folks on the right do get together, they are apt to pick up after themselves. Demonstrations by the Left invariably leave a huge mess behind for someone else to clean up. Look up any big demonstration, Occupy Wall Street, the Women’s March (either one), the Standing Rock protests which left behind a $43 million mess to clean up with 240 rollout dumpsters. That’s fairly symbolic—they usually leave a mess behind in more ways than one.



Adventures with Cats, as Promised. by The Elephant's Child
February 24, 2018, 7:49 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Health Care, Heartwarming, History, Humor | Tags: , ,

I have two cats. They are indoor cats. Our neighborhood is a wooded Seattle suburb, with streams and parks and a botanical garden, which means that we have coyotes, racoons, owls and other wildlife dangerous to cats, not to mention cars. We have a deck, sunny most of the year, where they can safely go outside. One is a black and white Tuxedo cat named Scarlett, after Scarlett O’Hara who was adored by men who were captivated by her charm, but a bitch underneath, and she rules the roost. The other is a grey and silver cat with a white chest and paws in an indescribable color mixture, larger than Scarlett. but completely cowed. Pretty though. Both female. The latter is Sabrina, because she came with that name. Sabrina had to go to the vet on Thursday for her annual check-up, rabies shot and a rash all over her head and in her ears. Battery of usual tests. Drops for ears. $$$

Friday. Missing cat. Where is Sabrina? Combed the house, granted, it’s a fairly large house with too much stuff, but cannot find the cat. Searched the house again. The elephant did another thorough search. I did a thorough search. The elephant began to wonder if Sabrina got out when he took out the garbage on Thursday night. I searched the house again, looking for unusual hidey-holes. No cat. Colder than the proverbial whatever outside, will the missing cat freeze? The Elephant searched around the house, searched the shed, under the car, under the deck. Consulted the neighbors and searched around their houses. No cat.

We once had a cat who shot outside when I opened the front door and disappeared. Never saw him again, presumably a victim of wildlife. We belong to a neighborhood online message board. Put in an urgent cry “Lost Cat”. Many neighbors responded, nobody had seen a cat, but kind wishes for her safe return. Have a full-length mirror in one corner of the spare bedroom. Hours pass, gets dark. Frantic. Lo and behold — there she is, curled up, hiding in the corner behind the mirror. Responded to kind neighbors, thanks for good wishes, Cat found.

Found cat falls over, cannot walk straight, eyes all squiggly. Aaagh! Late and very cold. Vet long since gone home. Call the emergency vet and take the cat right in. Problem is with ears, may have a punctured ear-drum or just  overenthusiastic ear cleaning. Prescribes Dramamine for the inner ear problem which  causes the falls and drunken sailor stagger. Elephant returns with Sabrina, heads to 24-hr pharmacy for Dramamine. $$$  Have to chop people pills down to size for cat. Cat’s eyes all darting uncontrollably back and forth, she can’t walk right, falls over. Goes to sleep in kitty litter, thankfully, clean. Kind neighbors thank us for thanks. One offers that they lost their cat for 2 days and eventually found her hiding in the garage — because CAT.  That pretty much sums it up.

Both cats get medicine in pill-shooter, followed with syringe of water. Each must avoid the other’s food. Scarlett is fine, gaining weight and cannot get enough to eat. Sabrina asleep in a basket in a large box. Eyes better, ear medicine 2x a day, Dramamine 2x day. So far, so good. But must eat, and won’t.

This will be deeply uninteresting to those who have no pets, or only a dog. I have always had pets, multiple. When I was born, my parents got a new puppy, half St.Bernard, half Great Pyrenees. We were inseparable. He was followed by more St.Bernards, bunnies at Easter, a spaniel/shepherd mix, multiple cats, a relay racehorse, who departed quickly when she ran away with me when she tried to outrun a logging truck, and was replaced by a more amenable steed, two Shelties, a Siamese cat, and a beloved Lab. Adventures with animals. If you have no pets, you don’t know what you’re missing.



Adventures With Cats by The Elephant's Child

A Day unlike most days, filled with unusual adventures. I will try to report tomorrow, but it’s very late and I need sleep.



The Indispensable Man: A Search for the Real George Washington by The Elephant's Child

The George Washington that most of us see most often is the engraving after the Gilbert Stuart portrait on the one dollar bill. Reproductions of the Gilbert Stuart portrait and a portrait of Abraham Lincoln used to hang on the front wall of every elementary classroom when I was growing up, with an American flag standing in the corner.

We all know, I think, that George Washington had dreadful false teeth. A terrible pity, both for the President — because they must have been instruments of torture in his mouth — and because they distract our attention from far more important things about the man. Certainly Washington must have had access to the very best dentists of the day. By 1789, he had only one of his own teeth left. The teeth were horrible-looking contraptions made of substances like hippopotamus ivory, hinged at the back and operated with springs. He complained that they distorted his lips, and they must have distorted his appearance as well.

Gilbert Stuart was the most celebrated of portraitists. He trained in London, and was thought to be a potential successor to the famed Sir Joshua Reynolds. However Stuart was extravagant and fled in debt from London. He turned up in Philadelphia during 1795 , hoping to pay off his creditors by creating a multitude of portraits of the world’s greatest man. Washington sat to him for three separate portraits, and Stuart made hundreds of copies.

According to James Thomas Flexner’s Washington: The Indispensable Man, Washington and Stuart did not get on. The portraitist usually kept his sitters amused and their faces alive by a flood of showy and outrageous talk. Washington always felt uneasy at having to remain still and being stared at and was put out rather than being amused.

Stuart, who felt that “artists were fundamentally superior to all other men including Presidents, resented Washington’s formality. He could not forget what had resulted when, in trying to unstiffen the hero, he had gone to the length of saying, “Now, sir, you must let me forget that you are General Washington and I am Stuart the Painter. Washington replied (as it seemed to him politely), Mr. Stuart need never feel the need for forgetting who he is and who General Washington is.”

Stuart emphasized, as no other portraitist did, the distortions of Washington’s mouth. Flexner suggests that since Stuart was known to have angrily used General Knox’s portrait as the door of his pigsty that perhaps the harm he did to Washington’s historical image was somewhat deliberate.

This life mask by Jean Antoine Houdon gives us more clues as to what Washington actually looked like. He was tall, about 6’2″, and most verbal descriptions mention his ‘roman’ nose, so it was perhaps a little prominent. This is not the face of the Stuart portrait, but looks more probable.

Washington was an outdoorsman who spent much of his life in the saddle, and his complexion would have reflected that — more wrinkles, more weathered. They didn’t have sunglasses and baseball hats with a brim to keep the sun out of the eyes, lots of squinting. The portrait above seems to match the life mask fairly well. A far cry from the disagreeable Gilbert Stuart portrait.

I’m going a bit out on a limb here, but I spent some years in art school attempting to capture likenesses, and the smallest errors in size and distance relationships can lose a likeness completely. Also, people see likenesses differently. Some will insist that two siblings look just alike while others will see no resemblance between the same two. I have no real explanation for that.

I suspect that Gilbert Stuart had such a reputation as a great portraitist, undoubtedly aided by his own self description, that perhaps people were apt to accept his work as the “right” one. Portraits are an odd matter. One tries to capture a mobile. alive face that changes its expression constantly and represent it on a flat surface. If you have ever had photographer’s proofs of pictures of you to choose from, that will explain the problem. They’re all you, but you’ll like some better than others.

Here are “reconstructions” done by a forensic reconstructionist of Washington at his inauguration, as a general, and at around the age of 19. They are startling in their realism. I suspect (nit-picky as I am) that the face is too free of wrinkles, and too pinky-white, and not quite rawboned enough. (I said I was being picky) But they give you a vastly different impression of the man. Haul out a dollar bill and compare. Stuart played a cruel joke on Washington.

Washington didn’t know much about being a general when he was appointed by Congress to lead the American armies, but he was the best we had, and he did fine. His men loved him, and he gradually taught them to be soldiers. He was elected unanimously to be President when he wanted nothing more than to return to Mt.Vernon and retire from public life. The people idolized him. He could have been a king or an emperor, or like some — a dictator for life. But it was he, with his sterling character, who set the nation on the right path. He had a horrible temper, and mostly kept it under firm control. Any of his deeds alone would have made him famous, but in twenty-four years he led the armies, led the country, shaped a constitution, set a nation on its path and then went on home.

The portrait above is by Gilbert Stuart. He made many copies and others made copies of his copies which were sent around the new country so people could see what their new president looked like. Unfortunately, one of them was copied for the engraving on the dollar bill. Just mean.

ADDENDUM: I especially recommend Richard Brookhiser’s Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington. It is not a life history, but a moral biography, only 199 pages. It’s a rewarding book. I post this every year on Washington’s birthday.



February 22 is George Washington’s Real Birthday, Not Some Ginned Up “President’s Day” by The Elephant's Child

Imagine, you just turned 43 years old, and suddenly you find yourself Commander in Chief of a ragtag American army, such as it was. The battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill had already been fought when Washington arrived in Massachusetts, and had established that the British could not break out of Boston. Once Washington placed the captured British cannon on Dorchester Heights, the British evacuated by sea.

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Washington had been named Commander in Chief by the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia in June 1775. He was forty-three years old. There was not yet any American army for him to command, only the militias ringing Boston, but the delegates of the increasingly rebellious colonies were seized by fury for action and for war. “Oh that I was a soldier,” wrote John Adams, a radical lawyer from Massachusetts. “I will be. I am reading military books. Everybody must and will, and shall be a soldier.”

Adams never became a soldier, but Washington had already been one. He had served in the Virginia militia during the French and Indian War twenty years earlier, rising to the rank of colonel. In his old age, Adams would describe Washington’s selection as a political compromise—a southern commander, to lead what would at first be a mostly New England force—engineered by congressional wise-men, including Adams. But Congress did not have many other officers to choose from, Israel Putnam, of the Connecticut militia, was, at 57, too old. Artemas Ward, the commander of the Massachusetts militia, was incompetent and suffering from the stone.
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The state begins in violence. However lofty the ideals of a new country or a new regime, it encounters opposition, as most new regimes and countries do, it must fight. If it loses, its ideals join the long catalogue of unfulfilled aspirations.

At six o’clock on the evening of July 9, 1776, the soldiers of the main American army, stationed in New York, were paraded and read the Declaration of Independence. General George Washington, Commander in Chief, hoped this “important event” would inspire them, though when some soldiers joined a mob in pulling down a statue of George III, he deplored their “want of order.” Over the next two months the American army and its commander, orderly or not, were unable to offer much in defense of the Declaration’s sentiments. …

During the summer, the British assembled, on Staten Island and in the harbor, the largest expeditionary force of the eighteenth century: ten ships of the line, twenty frigates, and 32,000 regular troops. On August 22, most of those troops began moving to Gravesend Bay on Long Island, in what is now southwest Brooklyn. Anticipating a possible landing there, Washington had posted more than a third of his own force of 19,000 men on Brooklyn Heights, and on a line of hills to the south. But he expected the British to attack him on the harbor side of his position, where they could bring the guns of their ships into play. On the morning of the 27th, the British slipped a force through the hills five miles away in the opposite direction and hit the American front line from before and behind.
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These are excerpts from Richard Brookheiser’s Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, which he calls a moral biography, which has two purposes: to explain its subject, and to shape the minds and hearts of those who read it—by showing how a great man navigated politics and a life as a public figure. Brookheiser says “If Washington’s contemporaries were too willing to be awed, we are not willing enough. …We have lost the conviction that ideas require men to bring them to earth, and that great statesmen must be great men. Great statesmen are rare enough in their world. We believe they are mythical, like unicorns.” They are not.

According to recent studies, our kids don’t know anything about George Washington, nor do most adults. There is some speculation that the problem is big fat books. People are more apt to read thin books that don’t scare them about the time involved. Answering that need is a new biography by the great British historian Paul Johnson. The paperback is only $8.71, and a hardback is available.

ADDENDUM: The picture above is a forensic reconstruction of Washington as a General, and Commander in Chief. Getting a likeness is hard. You get one thing just a little off, and you have lost the resemblance. Washington’s skin was pale, we are told, and he burned in the sun. I don’t think the tricorn hat gives even as much protection as a baseball cap, so I’m sure he appeared much more weathered, with squint lines (no sunglasses). His real hair was reddish. But nasty Stuart Gilbert did him real dirt down through the ages by overemphasizing the distortions of false teeth, and getting a poor likeness. Remember that, every time you look at a one dollar bill. It was deliberate.



Today is the Real George Washington’s Birthday by The Elephant's Child
February 22, 2018, 1:19 am
Filed under: Art, History, Military, Politics | Tags: , ,

That’s why we left the header up for the last two days. The picture at the top is a great deal more what George Washington looked like than the familiar image on the dollar bill. That was a dirty trick played by portrait artist Gilbert Stuart. In the days before photography, we had to rely on portraits of varying expertise done by those who chose to be artists, not all were particularly successful at it.

Portraits are hard. if you have ever had a portrait taken at a photo studio, you received a sheet of proofs from which  to choose the one that pleased you most. The you that you are most familiar with is the one in the mirror. Unless you make a lot of faces at yourself, there are a lot of expressions that you do that you are unaware of. Others may look at the proofs and choose a completely different one, and they are all you. In Washington’s day you were entirely dependent on the artist, and for the most part most people didn’t have a bunch of mirrors. And different people will see different things. A face is mobile and expressive. I post the following piece every year on Washington’s birthday, because I really hate the Gilbert Stuart portrait and believe, with a great deal of justification, that it was a dirty trick. I want you all to believe in the George Washington shown here, and in the header. Believe in the life mask by Jean Antoine Houdon, which is the most likely correct.



And Just What Will Actually Prevent Another Tragedy? by The Elephant's Child

Disgusting.  Prominent Lefties are preying on traumatized kids. What could be more useful than a crusade by the children who survived a massacre to see their friends shot down, to further the Leftist goal of gun control? George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfree (of course), Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg have each pledged  $500,000 to the student gun control “March for Our Lives.”

Two million dollars can certainly pay for a lot of school buses and hotel accommodations. It probably could have paid for a significant number of metal detectors, or a fund for school guards, but the emotional weight of traumatized kids is more valuable to push for “gun control.” And just what sort of personal protection do each of these fat cats have? Body guards? Guards for their residences? Electronic devices? Of course.

What lefties fail to understand is that ordinary Americans oppose gun control, not out of a passion for the NRA, but because gun control simply does not work. It has been tried over and over in many cities,and  many countries, and the shootings go on.  A new favorite weapon is a truck. You can mow down a lot of people with a truck. Google the Nice attack.

Most of our public buildings are protected.  The capitol in Washington D.C. is thoroughly guarded. Every Federal building is guarded. Our State houses have metal detectors and guards. Courthouses have metal detectors and guards. Schools often have Gun Free Zones.

CNN has been urging the kids on, putting them on camera as often as possible. That is not only not healthy for the children, it is exploitative.  What is that doing to these kids lives? These teenagers were from 14 to 18 years-old.  Two years ago the 14 year-old was 12. Six years ago the 18 year-old was 12. They are still children and can contribute nothing useful to the conversation. We know that what they have been through will have a life-changing effect. Exhibiting them is a typical Leftist response—they want to use the emotion for their own purposes without a single thought or care for the welfare of the kids. That is what exploitation is.

It takes some time to study up, to familiarize oneself with guns, to study the statistics and see what is really happening. Much easier to start blathering about “assault weapons” and “AK 47s” without having any idea what they are and what their uses are.

Chicago has the strictest gun control regulations in the country, and the highest rate of murders and gun violence.The Chicago Police Department released statistics in January that show the number of homicides fell from 771  in 2016 to 650 last year. The number of shootings dropped from 3,550 to 2,785 during the same period. Baltimore has blamed their record high (more than 300) murder rate on lower Police presence. Lower police presence? The media made a great deal of the high-profile cases of police brutality, and police consequently backed off in neighborhoods.

The Left has gone into “overdrive” as John Hinderaker said at Powerline, demanding gun control, any gun control, same old proposals, none new and none that would have prevented the Parkland murders. The potential reforms lie in the areas of law enforcement and mental health, not banning firearms.

Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site.  She was a gun-control advocate until she and her colleagues at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year.

We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

The Washington Post Editorial Board, very left, is a proponent of gun control, but deserves some credit for considering both sides of the debate. The goal of the Left does not seem to be in saving lives, but in banning guns, eliminating the Second Amendment, banning the NRA which donates to the GOP. They want to decriminalize crimes and reduce the prison population. That’s supposed to appeal to blacks in high-crime areas who may have family members in prison. When crime statistics go down, it is usually because more criminals are incarcerated. Repeat offenders are not unusual. The Left does not do statistics, they do feelings. And that is a problem.

(Michael Rameriz cartoon is not this year, but pertinent)



“Kill Chic” by Victor Davis Hanson by The Elephant's Child


Kalashnikov AK47

If you read anything today, read this outstanding piece by Victor Davis Hanson, and share it with friends.

In movies, novels, music, and art, progressives murder their enemies, including presidents, in myriad ways.

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom.

We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping flesh, as if it is some sort of macabre ballet. Rap music has institutionalized violence against women and the police — to the tune of billions in profits, largely as a way for suburban kids to find vicarious street authenticity. And this idea of metaphorically cutting, bleeding, or shooting those whom you don’t like without real consequences has seeped into the national political dialogue.

For example, why does popular culture wink and nod at the widespread metaphorical killing of Republican presidents? Liberals used to believe that words mattered and images had consequences; the casual glorification of carnage trivialized violence and only made it more acceptable — and likely.

(More)



Here’s Why You Should Object To “Presidents’ Day” by The Elephant's Child

Today is officially President’s Day, in lieu of having to celebrate a birthday for each of the presidents, which is just silly. The people were delighted to have another 3-day weekend, and the unions could offer that to the people from whom they demand dues as a gift from them, or something like that. I’m an anti-President’s Day crank, and firmly believe that we should celebrate only Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays, unless someone turns out to be spectacular in some way, which is unlikely.

We’ve had a few very good presidents, and a lot of mediocre ones and a few really unfortunate ones. Presidents are merely normal human beings with ordinary human failings, who somewhere along the line got the bug to run for the presidency. Some, once infected, never get over it, like Harold Stassen and Hillary.

Today, as a few have reminded us, is a day that should live in infamy. It’s the seventy-sixth anniversary of the day Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066  in February, 1942, which rounded up about 120,000 American immigrants and American citizens of Japanese ancestry and sent them off to internment camps.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, people were afraid of an attack on the West Coast. Many regarded the Japanese-American population of California as a threat. They were forcibly removed to ten “internment” camps. Most lost their homes and businesses. Immigration from Japan had been banned since 1924, and all Japanese immigrants were ineligible for citizenship.

Some people of German or Italian ancestry were also detained or interred, but most were already American citizens. Some were removed from coastal security areas, but authorities soon decided that Italians were not a problem. President Reagan made a public apology with the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1998 which spoke to Japanese Americans and members of the Aleut community. President George H.W. Bush pledg   es to “take a clear stand for justice and recognize that injustices were done to Japanese Americans during World War II.

Some people writing about this today have attempted to make a parallel with President Trump’s exclusion of refugees from Islamic states where terrorism is supported with the Japanese American internment, which is silly, but not surprising in the current atmosphere. The Left is currently in favor of open borders because new immigrants are inclined to vote for Democrats, because they favor more government assistance.  The Left’s  only interest is in power, more voters and a larger body-count for the next census in 2020 so they can dispose of the Electoral College.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is usually judged by academic historians to be one of our greatest presidents, presumably because he was president during World War II, and we won. He made a mess of the Depression with constant tinkering and it was far longer and more damaging than it would have been otherwise. And then there was Yalta.



Gov. Inslee Wants to Save Us From Global Warming With a New Carbon Tax! by The Elephant's Child

While everyone’s attention was consumed with the Parkland, Florida shooting, we apparently had a visit from former Secretary of State John Kerry to advocate for our Washington governor Jay Inslee’s bright idea of a carbon tax.  Stupid tax, and extremely bad timing. The vote on the school levy here in King County was on Tuesday, the 13th. Don’t know how that has turned out yet, but it is close. They wanted lots of money to build new schools and give all the kids their own laptops. The following day, the new property tax bills arrived. Don’t try to tell anyone that those dates were an innocent accident. Adding another huge tax may seem like a good idea to the Democrats who always like higher taxes, but there are limits. The beautiful state of Washington is following California down the drain.

At the request of Gov. Jay Inslee, former US. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the state Capitol on Tuesday Feb. 13, to advocate for the governor’s proposed carbon tax.

Flanked by Inslee and several prominent Democratic lawmakers outside of the Capitol Legislative Building, Kerry Argued that, in the absence of action on climate change from President Donald Trump, states such as Washington need to independently pursue carbon-pricing  systems and investments in sustainable energy. “Washington has an opportunity to lead here and I can tell you that, as a former Secretary of State of our country, that the world is looking to the United States, the world believes in us and in what we’re trying to do” Kerry said.

The climate of the Earth has been changing for millennia. We have had warm periods and ice ages. The only place where there is dangerous carbon buildup making the climate warm alarmingly is in the computer programs of the climate ‘scientists’ who got new labs and assistants from government grants as a result of their computer results.

Unfortunately, we still can’t predict the future, and the Earth seems to be cooling slightly at present. Please pause and watch this video from Dr. William Happer, one of our most distinguished climate scientists.

Carbon dioxide, which we exhale, has increased slightly and caused a great greening of the earth. Better crops, forest growth, fewer starving people, fewer dying children. The polar bears are just fine and multiplying nicely. Consult Dr. Susan Crockford, expert on all things polar bear, excluding the goofy costumes worn by lefties at climate get-togethers.

Governors have been assisted over the years since 2008 or 09 by the guidance of the Center for Climate Strategies. I copied this bit down back in 2009:

You ration energy use and coerce the public into major lifestyle modification and we’ll help you to inflate your reputation with media attention and praise as a pragmatist.

They came from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, offering software and training for quantification. tool kits, online resources, case studies, fact books, policy and practice manuals and guides on approaches. They added access to a professional network of peers list serves, newsletters, conferences, workshops and training workshops for staff and elected officials to implement long term emission reduction strategies and notice of grant opportunities.

The cities got CCP—Cities for Climate Protection, advocating a 20¢ tax on paper and plastic shopping bags (failed) to generate $10 million for the city to take effect 1/1/09.

I don’t know if they are still around and advising the governor and the City of Seattle, but they were in 2009. I have seen no signs that anyone in governance in our state is out there studying up on climate science, nor anyone even vaguely interested in just why President Trump would dare to ban our participation in the revered Paris Climate Accords. The answer is quite simple. At the end of the next 100 years the change in climate due to the Paris Climate Accords would be completely negligible.  But they were never intended to make a difference to the climate, only to transfer money from the rich nations to the poor, and promote world government.

You have probably noticed that those who advocate controlled borders and effective immigration laws are now referred to as “Nativists” and “Nationalists” and even more derogatory epithets. They seem to have declared war on us. At some point we should probably wake up and take notice.




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