American Elephants


Socialism Makes People Selfish by The Elephant's Child

From Praeger University: quickie courses in stuff you should know about. Most are only around a few minutes long, this one is just over 4. Right size for busy people. This one features Dennis Praeger himself.



At Last! A Grownup. I Hope It’s Catching. by The Elephant's Child

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From Economist Mark Perry at AEI— the quotation of the day:

The University of Chicago’s Dean of Students has sent a letter to the Class of 2020 incoming students:

Welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the College at the University of Chicago. Earning a place in our community of scholars is no small achievement and we are delighted that you selected Chicago to continue your intellectual journey.

Once here you will discover that one of the University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. This is captured in the University’s faculty report of freedom of expression. Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and  freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called “trigger warnings,” we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

Perhaps a little publicity will help other universities to discover just what education is all about, and stop pandering to agitators.



Heather MacDonald: “Are the Police Racist?” by The Elephant's Child

The Data and the facts don’t support the accusations of racism. But the whole question is involved with feelings, not facts.  It’s past time to set the record straight.



There’s A Battle Going On Here, But It’s Not Quite What You Think! by The Elephant's Child

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For years, everyone has pretty much agreed that ordinary Americans are blessed with plenty of plain old common sense. I believe that to be true. But the level of society represented by businesses and managers and officialdom at all levels seems to have gone remarkably nuts.

For example, consider the “zero-tolerance” thing that has infected our public schools across the country. Remember the little boy who chewed his Pop Tart into what the zero tolerance administration at his school considered a gun-shape, and he was suspended from school. What it actually looked like was the shape of the state of Idaho. You just turn the state on it’s side and voilá — a gun. Kim R. Holmes points out:

Children are suspended from school for pointing their fingers as a gun, using an imaginary bow and arrow on the playground…  Seven high school students are arrested for engaging in a harmless end-of-the-year water balloon fight, A student is slammed down on the sidewalk and hospitalized for an injury, and a parent standing nearby and complaining about the excessive use of force is threatened with a stun-gun, hospitalized for an injury, and arrested for trespassing. … So-called “free-range children” who are allowed to walk home by themselves from the playground are picked up by police, and their parents are investigated by Child Protective Services. Only decades ago their “offense” was the norm for most American families.

The sheer insanity of the “snowflakes” on college campuses has become well known, as has the utter inability of college administrators to do what would seem to be common sense and send the brats home. “A backlash from parents and alumni is turning up as a result of the campus disruptions of the last academic year. The University of Missouri, where the high-profile, racially-charged protests made national news, have found that enrollment is expected to decline by 2.600 students in the fall. The new freshman class will decline by 1,400. For every 100 fewer students on campus the university loses $1 million in tuition revenue, which rises to $2.5 million for 100 fewer undergraduates from outside the state.”

Across the pond, the experts told us not to worry, that BREXIT would never pass, the consequences would be too severe, but ordinary Englishmen were sick of being controlled by unelected members of an unaccountable bureaucracy and voted to leave. The world has not fallen apart.

Target Corporation responded to the current zeitgeist when it announced that it would allow customers to use whatever bathroom corresponds to their “gender identity.” The American Family Association charged that Target’s new policy would make women and children susceptible to sexual predators, and led a boycott effort that has now garnered nearly 1.5 million signatures. When Target announced its policy, its stock price was $83,50 a share. It has dropped to $67.17 a share. A man who “identifies” as transgender was caught taking pictures of a female customer in a Target fitting room. Target decided to add a third single-toilet bathroom at all stores, which can be locked by users, at a cost pf $20 million. Target clearly still doesn’t get it. Common sense Americans probably will not return.

Kim Rhodes is an Olympic champion who has won medals in six games. Her historic feat  had gone unmentioned by the press. She won her medals by (Gasp!) shooting a gun, which apparently puts her beyond the pale. No major corporate sponsor, but her ammunition and training costs are offset with sponsorship from firearms companies. Companies fear a backlash from the progressive anti-gun lobby. She shoots skeet, better known as clay pigeons.

Even when the press has reported on her achievement, the tone has often been dismissive. An NBC story noted that her medal record is arguably “far less impressive than, say, a gymnast or a swimmer” because shooting “requires fewer physical attributes.” Sure, all it takes is remarkable hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, steady nerves and dedication over 20 years.

Trap or skeet shooting is a pastime for tens of thousands of Americans outside the main media corridors. I even tried it once myself, I wasn’t too bad .

Meanwhile in Academe — the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout — has decided that two paintings should be removed from hallways in Harvey Hall, because the uncontrolled access poses a risk of having a “harmful effect” on their students. They are “French Trappers on the Red Cedar” and “Perrault’s Trading Fort.” They will be hidden away in the Library along with a document that explains their historical significance and the concerns Native Americans have expressed about how they are portrayed in the paintings. Can’t foist those ideas on unaware or unwilling recipients. It is becoming clear that today’s college students don’t know ANYTHING about history.

It is a pattern, repeated over and over. It’s not ordinary Americans who are out of touch. It is those who conceive of themselves as smarter, more enlightened, and just ever so modern and up-to-date for the 21st Century, you know. Every time someone utters the phrase “21st Century” you will know just where they are coming from.



Not to Worry. The Bees Are Just Fine. by The Elephant's Child

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The true believers of the environmental movement need causes that will entice contributions from the gullible to get the funding to support their organization and their demonstrations. “A decade ago, a sudden die-off in some regional honeybee hives got the fundraising juggernaut rolling to protect us from another apocalypse. And they get to claim their methods have worked so far. ”

The science on bee deaths was settled long ago; bees have been dying off for no real reason for as long as we have kept records of bees. It used to be given fancy names, before neonics or pesticides even existed, like Autumn Collapse, May Dwindle, Spring Dwindle and Disappearing Disease. Environmentalists promoted something more apocalyptic sounding: Colony Collapse Disorder.

Yet it was just a new name for a long-existing phenomenon. Taking surveys of bee deaths kept the hype going for a little while, but the public quickly learned that environmentalists were taking up beekeeping as a fad and that resulted in huge numbers of deaths due to mismanagement.  Rather than admit they had amateur incompetence, they wanted to blame pesticides.And small beekeepers did nothing about varroa mites, the big killer of bees. Viruses have evolved too. Bumblebees prefer infected plants over healthy ones because the viruses cause the gene expression of plants to change to be more appealing.

A new study drives another nail into this manufactured neonics coffin. American Council on Science and Health Scientific Advisor Dr. Allen Felsot, Washington State University Tri-Cities professor of entomology and environmental toxicology, and colleagues reaffirm what those versed in science know; hazard is not risk. Mainstream media certainly gets that wrong – it’s why the International Agency for Research on Cancer will get attention with crazy claims like that bacon and plutonium are same level of carcinogen while any junk yard employee knows that’s not true.

I was looking on Yelp yesterday for some recommendations on companies to deal with garden pests, lots of recommendations from women who are frightened by spiders and want them all removed. But there were also recommendations for those who wanted very careful pest removal in order to avoid hurting any honeybees, because the bees were in trouble. Well, no they are not. I don’t know if it has always been so, but the current age seems to have a deep belief in catastrophe waiting right around the corner. And things like “Colony Collapse Disorder” are more comfortable to worry about than problems like ISIS, or corrupt federal agencies like the IRS, or a lack of economic recovery because the current occupant of the White House can’t stop regulating, and controlling, and spending in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.

ADDENDUM: I am not one of those frightened by spiders, but many years ago when we lived in Phoenix, we returned from a trip to Mesa Verde to find out the air conditioner has quit. (In Phoenix in the summer that’s a big deal) The unit was located in a closet accessible only from the outside of the house. Went out to open the door to the closet, and the whole thing was filled with thousands of black widow spiders. That’s something else entirely! Had Raid or the equivalent on hand. Mass death. I was once charged directly by a huge potato bug.The pest control people take care of serious problems as well, including trapping and removing Rats and Raccoons. I once had a mother Raccoon  give birth in the attic over my carport. Cute babies, but Raccoons hiss when annoyed. I put a loud radio in the attic, and encouraged them to leave, which they did, and I quickly made it impossible to get back in.  Adventures with pests!  I’m deadly with woodrats. Nasty critters. Ask about my other adventures with wildlife –rattlesnakes, garter snakes, porcupines, and a lynx.



Hillary’s Big Economic Plan Is an Embarrassing Display of Leftist Ignorance by The Elephant's Child

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Why would anyone getting ready to go to bed start pounding their head on the wall? (Simile.) Someone mentioned Hillary’s big economic speech on Thursday in Warren, Michigan, and I thought I ought to watch it so I would know something about her economic plans. I didn’t expect much, but I was still taken aback.

It was a powerful-sounding speech, promising to solve everyone’s problems and the problems that had never occurred to them. Jobs, lots of them, how? — Infrastructure! Why is it always infrastructure? If you remember, Obama was going to create all sorts of jobs in Infrastructure — “crumbling roads and bridges” — all sorts of promises of what they were going to do, and eventually Obama admitted that there didn’t seem to actually be any “shovel-ready jobs.”

The interstate highways are federal business. State and county roads are the state’s and county’s business. You can’t just pick a piece of land and start to build something. First, all sorts of jurisdictions have to agree to the project. Then there are the environmental impact statements, and the plans need be drawn up, soil testing, legal challenges, eminent domain. I probably have the order wrong and have left out many steps, but that’s the general idea. All that stuff can take years, and usually does. The people who do those tasks are already on staff. There will be no new jobs until construction starts, and construction jobs only last  until the project is done, which may be 10 or 20 years down the road. Construction jobs are temporary. That’s why Obama said there weren’t any “shovel-ready jobs.” We went through all this before, but Hillary wasn’t paying attention, or else she doesn’t care because it sounds good.

She promised a lot of clean energy jobs too, and lots more clean energy. Installation is done by skilled workers from the company that manufactures the turbines or solar panels, and there aren’t many jobs there. She babbled on about Germany and China, but those countries are already getting out of the “clean energy” business. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming that she doesn’t know any better and is not just pandering to the rubes. Obama tried the clean energy jobs bit too, and we got Solyndra and Ivanpah.

She’s dragged out every tired old cliché that worked for the Left in past elections — “trickle-down economics” is the pander for an opposition who promises tax-cuts, which is how you get an economy recovering. Leftists just don’t get it. They cannot conceive of a world where they are not increasing their control and forcing people to do what they want. That is how you build a brave new world. (I think someone used that phrase before.) Increasing the minimum wage makes the economy grow. what? She promises a manufacturing renaissance, economic revitalization, free college for the middle class, free trade school, With her $10,745,378 income last year, she has a lot in common with you, and knows just how to make life better for you hard-working Americans — a job with dignity and equal pay, not everybody needs to go to college, the trades are fine too, broadband for everyone, infrastructure bans, a cleaner power grid. $25 billion government seed money, $10 billion to make things in America, lots of tax credits, deductions for child care, blah, blah, “better together.”

It was painful. If you want an economy to recover, you have to reduce taxes so people can save and invest and create. Raising taxes, and Hillary’s economic plan would demand huge tax increases on an already damaged economy — just prolonging the decline for another 4  years.

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How This Election Came About, Who Is Responsible, and What the Heck We Are Going to Do. by The Elephant's Child

This is possibly the weirdest election year ever, though there have been some pretty disturbing ones in the past. We have candidates in each of the major parties who were not only not my choice, but far from it. We had our primaries and conventions, and this is what they came up with. We have two equally impossible candidates in the two minor parties.

The earth has shifted, and much has changed — and we are beginning to wake up to it. First, consider the news. The world of information as we knew it consisted of the news (solemn, reasonably accurate, and fairly non-partisan), and opinion — partisan, but you could identify those on your side and decide who among them to pay attention to. The news came on at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. A good percentage of the American people also got a daily newspaper, some even got two, and maybe some magazines. Where do you get your news today?

The powers that be do want desperately to divide us into classes — the upper class. middle class, working class and the poor — they have other names for the “upper” class, and the “they” clearly represents those who want to be considered “upper.” Charles Murray wrote:

Harvard economist Robert Reich was the first to put a name to an evolving new class of workers in his 1991 book, The Work of Nations, calling them “symbolic analysts.”Reich surveyed the changing job market and divided jobs into three categories; routine production services, in-person services, and symbol-analytic services. In Reich’s formulation, the new class of symbolic analysts consisted of managers, engineers, attorneys, scientists, professors, executives, journalists, consultants and other “mind workers” whose work consists of processing information. He noted that the new economy was ideally suited to their talents and rewarded them accordingly.

Murray, in The Bell Curve, called this new classthe cognitive elite,” and said that currently when he uses the term  new upper class, he is referring to a fuzzy set of people who run the nation’s economic political and cultural institutions, and at the top are those who have risen to jobs that affect the nation’s culture, economy and politics. So if you are one of those who mumbled about all of us working for a living, there you are.

So where do you get your information? Note that we no longer have a “news” class — it’s all opinion. Brief rants on Twitter are as apt to make the “news” as the latest from the wire services. (Are there still wire services?) Count up the sources you have for information — takes a heck of a lot more than two hands.

We are all human beings, including those we send to Congress as well as those we send to the White House, and to judges chambers, and those currently serving time. Oddly, the new upper class, who need so badly to think well of themselves, usually forget that—possibly because being human means we don’t know as much as we think we do, we make mistakes, some of us lie, commit fraud and are false to our best ideals — and worse. We are told that we must commit to lifetime learning, but when you come home at the end of the day, an old movie seems more enticing. Those who run for political office have an extra gene for public speaking and imperviousness to criticism, and of course ego. Don’t expect too much.

In the meantime, the Left has changed dramatically. Kim Holmes has written a fascinating book to explain the changes that have taken place.

For most of the 1980s and 1990s, leftists worked, if not underground, then certainly below the political radar. They were still operating in a Reagan or post-Reagan era. They inhabited universities and activist organizations that had existed on the fringes of American liberalism since the 1960s. This marginal existence ended in the 2000s under the presidency of George W. Bush. Progressive activists launched a movement against the war in Iraq, and eventually the Democratic Party broke with the moderation of the Clinton years. Energized and radicalized, Democrats moved left and began to take on the old liberal establishment, much as the New Left had done in the Kennedy and Johnson years. The result is a far more aggressive liberal party. This cause triumphed with the election of Barack Obama, a quintessential postmodern leftist, to the presidency in 2008.

The new Left is better characterized by groupthink and intolerance.  Hillary has disavowed her husband’s accomplishments in office, but her only real ambition has always been to get very rich and be the first woman President of the United States. She hasn’t given much thought to what would be good for the country as is easily evidenced by her claim to make college and university free to all.  (And how do we afford that?) She has arranged the rich part through the worst kinds of graft in pubic office, and ‘the first woman part’ seems fairly absurd in the wake of women presidents and prime ministers and heads of state around the world, not to mention long history of queens who headed states. The Big Whoop has pretty much gone out of it. Nobody cares.

We are stuck with 4 candidates that we mostly don’t like very much. We need to stop blaming it on the uneducated in backwoods districts, and realize that this is all entirely the work of the far left press. We had 17 candidates, too many, but the Republicans have a big bunch of extraordinarily successful governors. All were left desperately trying to get some attention while the press was only interested in what Donald would say next.

Most people don’t spend a lot of time on politics, and aren’t all that familiar with policy. They just know when things are not right and their lives are being turned upside down. They may not know all that much about government, but they revere their Constitution, their freedoms, and the idea that we have a system for immigrants that has, through the years, done an excellent job of welcoming immigrants and turning them into American citizens. So there you are.

Donald Trump blurts out whatever occurs to him — apparently in the vein of Obama’s statement “If they bring a knife to the fight, you bring a gun.” Hillary is a crook. She is not just untrustworthy, or lies occasionally — she has used the high office entrusted to her to enrich her family Clinton Foundation by responding to donations by doing federal favors for the donors. That is called graft. Or selling out your country for cash. Trump says things he shouldn’t say. Hillary does things that are very, very illegal and very damaging to our country.

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian candidate, a successful governor and a “pot entrepreneur,” and is for drug legalization, and other unacceptable views. Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate,  a doctor of internal medicine, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard and Harvard Medical School, and a complete environmental nut who expects the United States to be underwater by 2030 or so, and is an environmental activist, sit-ins and protests too many to measure.




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