American Elephants


Things Work Better Without Obama’s Overtime Rules by The Elephant's Child

When President Obama is not busy with annoying problems of national security and terrorism,  he will soon grant millions of workers overtime pay. Just a quick signature with his executive pen. Obama just does not understand how business works. He had, according to his biography one brief job in the private sector as sort of a copywriter, which he hated.

Businesses that pay salaried workers less than $455 a week currently  have to pay overtime as well. As a result, many companies, Obama says, are “skirting basic overtime laws, calling somebody a manager when they’re stocking groceries and getting paid $30,000 a year. He wants to raise the threshold to $50,400, which he says will make 5 million more workers eligible for time-and-a-half pay.

Journalists praised Obama’s generosity because he was going to “bring overtime pay to millions,” which assumes that businesses who are employing these newly overtime-eligible workers won’t change anything, they’ll just start paying them time-and-a-half.  Journalists  don’t understand how business works either, unless they specialize in business or economics.

If those workers weren’t getting a market wage, and were underpaid, given their skill levels and  the work they’re doing, they’d get another job. The Left has a view of economics that involves vicious managers who are raking it in, and almost enslaving poor workers who desperately need the benevolent hand of government to force companies to pay them a fair wage.

So in an economy where so many are out of work, businesses are hurting, Obama will fix things by insisting that everybody raise workers’ pay. And he’ll  issue more regulations. Some companies will make sure that workers don’t put in overtime, or ban overtime completely. Or they’ll bring in more part-time workers to avoid the wage hit, or perhaps they’ll just lay off some people. Or maybe they’ll just raise their prices, forcing consumers to pay for Obama’s generosity.



The EPA’s Enormous Land Grab by The Elephant's Child

unofficial-stream-small-custom-e1339556645568The EPA  has just finalized one of the biggest land grabs in American history.

Just reprimanded by the Supreme Court, the EPA is anxious to try their luck again. Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA was  granted the authority to regulate the navigable waters of the United States to see that they remained clean.

Under the Clean Water Rule, all  “tributaries” will be regulated by the federal government. Broadly defined, which they intend, this means  anything moist that eventually flows into something that can be defined as a “navigable river,” including the roadside ditch above, and even smaller trickles.

Under the same rule, the word “adjacent” is stretched from the Supreme Court’s definition of actually “abutting” what most Americans regard as a real water of the United States to anything “neighboring,” “contiguous,” or “bordering” a real water, terms which are again stretched to include whole floodplains and riparian areas. Floodplains are typically based on a 100-year flood, but a separate regulation would stretch that to a 500-year flood.

And, finally, under the rule, the EPA cynically throws in a catch-all “significant nexus” test meant as a shout out to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Rapanos v. United States when, in fact, the EPA’s rule makes a mockery of Kennedy’s opinion and of no fewer than three Supreme Court rulings.

Under the three approaches, no land or “water” is beyond the reach of the federal government, never mind the traditional understanding of private property or state and local control of land use.

Farmers, ranchers, dairymen and everyone in rural America are in panic mode. Not only does this rule allow the EPA onto their land, but it throws wide open to environmental group-led citizen lawsuits that promise to go far beyond what the EPA envisioned. Citizen lawsuits are controlled only by the rule. The rule carries with it fines to the tune of $37,500 a day. The EPA has a habit of imposing fines big enough to scare the accused  of whatever violation into immediate compliance.

I grew up very rural, and I’m sure city people cannot imagine the havoc this rule could cause. Although here in the Seattle area, a good portion of our lawns could be considered wetlands for a portion of the year. It rains a lot, and there is runoff. Farmers and ranchers spend a significant amount of time ditching, or controlling the flow of water where it is not wanted.

The goal of the Environmental Protection Agency has little to do with the environment, but only to do with how environmental regulation can be used to further their political goals of control, ending private property, and bringing on the utopia where everyone is, at last, truly equal. Well, except for those in charge, of course.



When the Crazies are Demanding Censorship, Jonathan Rauch Speaks Out for Free Speech by The Elephant's Child

Most of the idiocy about anything Confederate, anything critical of gay marriage, unisex bathrooms, comes from the Universities. When the Humanities have turned to Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Diversity and microaggressions and triggering, and for the most part dumped Shakespeare as another dead white male, it’s getting really weird out there. Apple has dumped all their military games that include the Civil War, Amazon. Walmart, eBay and Sears have all dropped any reproduction of the battle flag like a hot potato. University buildings must be renamed, statues and memorials are being defaced.

Book-burning comes next. They have already announced that Gone With the Wind must go, but that’s probably the only Civil War book they know, clearly they haven’t read any history. When the current hysteria dies down, we need to speak out, as Jonathan Rauch has long done, and is doing now in recognition of its importance.

The gift shop at the Gettysburg memorial has just eliminated the Confederate Battle Flag from their merchandise. Apparently we were fooled all along, it was just a maneuver where the Yankees fought Yankees, for what reason I don’t know.



It’s Cute, It Folds Up to Park in Your Garage, And It’s Amphibious! by The Elephant's Child
June 18, 2015, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, News, Science/Technology, Sports | Tags: , ,

KWP_2200_TA-582x395

They have had years of delays, as is common when seeking approval for something from the federal government, but Icon Aircraft is finally getting approval for its A5 Light Sport amphibian aircraft. Futurists have been promising something like this as long as I can remember, usually a flying car. This one is a two-person airplane, which doesn’t just land on water as well as land, but it folds up for easy towing and garage parking.

The FAA issued an airworthiness certificate for this unusual plane, giving it’s official go-ahead for commercial production. Icon can now start delivering to the more than 1,250 customers who have already placed their orders.

The IconA5 is classified as a Light Sport Aircraft, a two-person plane meant to be easier to learn on than more traditional aircraft. It’s a new classification of 7F0A4457_IL-482x321Sport Pilots that can fly in lower altitude, uncongested airspace, during good weather. The appeal is that getting a license will take much less time and money than what is needed for a traditional private pilot license.

It has an Angle of Attack indicator, a feature usually on military aircraft that basically shows when a wing will stall. It also has spin-resistant design, and is one of the first planes to meet the FAA’s spin-resistance standards. An airplane specifically designed to mitigate those risks will attract attention. Full production will begin in September. The price tag is just under $200,000. Kind of cute.



Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airship — the Next Revolution. by The Elephant's Child

You learn something new every day. I had no idea they were working on this. I’ve long been familiar with dirigibles.  Used to drive by the hangar near the freeway just north of San Jose, fairly frequently. The working model pictured is 1/3 scale, so Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airships — the real ones — would be huge.  Able to go to areas with little transportation and no highways or runways.  The possibilities seem endless. Fascinating.



McDonalds’s Response to $15 Minimum Wage –Touch-Screen Cashiers by The Elephant's Child
June 16, 2015, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Politics | Tags: , ,

mcdonalds-minimum-wageSo you are demanding that the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour? “You can’t raise a family on the minimum wage” is the common cry. Work at a fast food chain was never meant to support a family. The positions were meant to be for part-time workers,with some full time advancement. There is no shortage of people capable of doing the job. Most of the jobs go to beginners just starting in the job market,

Nevertheless, there is a lot for a new worker to learn: how to interact with customers, how to make change, how to stay cheerful and cope with difficult people and keep the premises clean. Those skills, if well performed, can be a stepping stone to the next job.

The mayor of Los Angeles just signed a $15/hr minimum wage bill into law. The minimum wage will go from its current minimum to $15 an hour by 2020, for businesses with 25 or more employees.  The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009.

Unions have been big supporters of the Fight for $15 movement, so supposedly they backed the effort to make the minimum wage $15 an hour in Los Angeles, which makes sense even if the $15 an hour does not.

Somebody apparently did the math. Unions are now insisting that $15 an hour should not be the minimum wage where unions are involved. Union shops should be allowed to set the wage lower than $15 if that’s what they want to do.

There should be no minimum wage. A wage should be determined by a willing worker and a willing employer. There needs to be a place for real beginners, for people down on their luck who want to earn enough for their next meal. Many people are willing to pay someone to do a dirty job, but if it costs too much — they’ll do it themselves. Think washing windows, raking leaves, digging a ditch. There are lots of jobs for those who are unkempt, don’t speak the language, Here in Seattle, hotel workers and airport workers get the higher minimum wage, but now they have to pay for parking and for meals.

People on the left always envision businessmen and corporate officers as mean and greedy people who treat their workers badly. So they plan to force businesses to do what they say, with no understanding that businesses exist to make a profit. They are not charitable enterprises.

“Progressive,” “socialist,” and “liberals” are today interchangeable terms that describe participants in a moral crusade with a political agenda usually referred to as “social justice.” It can be summed up as equality imposed by the state. The quest for a utopia of equals forges progressive alliances, defines their allegiances and justifies the means they are willing to use to get there.”  (David Horowitz: Take No Prisoners

McDonald’s in Europe just hired 7,000 touch-screen cashiers.



Myth, Lies And Capitalism by The Elephant's Child
May 29, 2015, 6:24 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom | Tags: , ,

Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, economist, and french horn player, gives a short class in Capitalism, always a worthy endeavor. Free enterprise works to lift people all over the world out of poverty.




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