American Elephants


Lunch. In Photos Uploaded by the Kids Who Hate the Lunches. by The Elephant's Child

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I don’t know what inspired Michelle Obama to take charge of the school lunch program in America, or what her qualifications are for that position. The kids have responded by uploading pictures of the  totally disgusting food on offer in their school cafeterias with the hashtag #thanksmichelleobama. “Mystery mush” is featured frequently.  The lunches are a far cry from the lunches the Obama daughters get at tony Sidwell Friends School. Elizabeth Harrington reports in the Free Beacon:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service issued a proposed rule Monday to codify parts of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by Mrs. Obama.

The regulation would punish schools and state departments with fines for “egregious or persistent disregard” for the lunch rules that imposed sodium and calorie limits and banned white grains.

A West Virginia preschool teacher was threatened with fines for violating the rules by rewarding her students with candy for good behavior in June 2015. The teacher ultimately did not have to pay, but the school had to develop a “corrective action plan” with training on the policies.

The government now seeks to make fines enforceable by regulation. Section 303 of the law requires that the federal government “establish criteria for the imposition of fines” for all the Department of Agriculture’s child food programs.

More than 1,4 million students have left the lunch line since Mrs. Obama’s rules went into effect. There have been constant complaints of small portions and unappetizing fare. Pictures of the food have been circulating on the internet for several years, and from the pictures, I wouldn’t eat the stuff either. The standards have been blamed for cafeteria workers losing their jobs, and reportedly, some kids have resorted to creating black markets for salt to add some flavor to the food.

The government plans to fine schools that fail to comply with the rules, for egregious and persistent disregard for the lunch rules that imposed sodium and calorie limits, and banned white grains.Section 303 of the law requires that the federal government “establish criteria for the imposition of fines” for all the Department of Agriculture’s child food programs. The agency said the fines would amount to 1 percent of the total amount the school was reimbursed for lunches for the first fine. A second fine would be 5 percent of the total cost of the program and a third fine would be for 10 percent. Alabama received $210,937,195 in 2015. One percent would total $2.1 million and ten percent would be $21 million.

The rule will be open for public comment for 60 days once it is officially published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. The more public comment, the merrier. I presume you comment at the Department of Agriculture, according to the link given:

http://federalregister.gov/a/2016-06801, and on FDsys.gov

Michelle-Obama-fish

 



No Difference between Capitalism and Communism? by The Elephant's Child

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In Argentina, in a Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Town Hall, Obama argued that capitalism and communism are just two competing interests that need to be overcome.

I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory — you should just decide what works.

And I said this to President Castro in Cuba. I said, look, you’ve made great progress in educating young people. Every child in Cuba gets a basic education — that’s a huge improvement from where it was. Medical care — the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States, despite it being a very poor country, because they have access to health care. That’s a huge achievement. They should be congratulated.

The Cubans do have access, but they have to take their own sheets and towels, and medicine, which they buy out of the $20 a month they are allotted.

But you drive around Havana and you say this economy is not working. It looks like it did in the 1950s. And so you have to be practical in asking yourself how can you achieve the goals of equality and inclusion, but also recognize that the market system produces a lot of wealth and goods and services. And it also gives individuals freedom because they have initiative.

And so you don’t have to be rigid in saying it’s either this or that, you can say — depending on the problem you’re trying to solve, depending on the social issues that you’re trying to address what works. And I think that what you’ll find is that the most successful societies, the most successful economies are ones that are rooted in a market-based system, but also recognize that a market does not work by itself. It has to have a social and moral and ethical and community basis, and there has to be inclusion. Otherwise it’s not stable.

What he apparently means is that a market-based system can get along if it is regulated and managed by those with superior knowledge and understanding like himself. We do have a remarkable number of examples of the brutality and terror of communist regimes throughout the world, something approaching 150 million dead, but never mind. Obama added:

And it’s up to you — whether you’re in business or in academia or the nonprofit sector, whatever you’re doing — to create new forms that are adapted to the new conditions that we live in today.

“Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative” indeed.

In the midst of double-digit inflation and a stagnant economy, Argentinians elected the 56-year-old Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri as their new president last November. “One week into office, he had slashed taxes, ripped out capital controls and restored the peso to its natural level. It takes guts, but this blaze of reforms has worked wherever it’s been tried.”

The IMF is forecasting a single tough year in 2016, followed by 7% growth in 2017. Obama’s speech seems oddly out-of-touch.



The American Idea, Honored and Celebrated. by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) speaking at CPAC 2016, on March 3 2016 talking about classical conservatism, and how you rank the order between American, Conservative, and Republican. Good speech and real food  for thought.



Thomas Sowell On the Vulgar Pride of Intellectuals by The Elephant's Child

Peter Robinson talks to economist Thomas Sowell about his book “Intellectuals and Society.” Robinson and Sowell discuss the fact that intellectuals play a disproportionate role in society, as evidenced by linguist Noam Chomsky’s influence on liberal politics. Is a fancy education a high speed rail ticket to fallacy? Find out as Professor Sowell discusses the pride and fallacies of the intellectuals, in addition to the unused brilliance of the masses.

This is not a new video from Uncommon Knowledge, but still very appropriate, particularly with the peculiar events on our college campuses, what they are being taught, and the administrative reactions (or surrender) to students remarkable demands.



Step by Step, American Universities Are Making Themselves Irrelevant. by The Elephant's Child

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The University of Missouri is still suffering from student protests last fall. They have caved in this week to student diversity demands, hired a chief diversity officer (the current campus fashion) and announced that undergraduates will now be required to complete three credit hours of “diversity intensive” courses in order to graduate. The courses will focus on “understanding different social groups” and “will explore at least one form of social inequality, broadly defined.” Just how the relevant inequality will be defined and by whom is not mentioned.

This is of course blatant nonsense. Students have been ‘organized’ by activists from Black Lives Matter and activists from Ferguson and Baltimore, with a few cases of racist hoaxes. The only diversity that matters on a college campus is a diversity of ideas. If students are not exposed to a wide variety of ideas and philosophies, there is no education taking place. Universities make great claims about teaching “critical thinking,” but they teach student activism and social justice instead.

There is no such thing as “social justice”— there is only one kind of justice, embodied in the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the nation. The American Constitution is the envy of the world, students would do well to discover just why this is so.

The debacle last fall when student protests shut down the University of Missouri  led ultimately to the resignation of the university president and the chancellor of the entire UM system. But the aftershocks are still being felt.

Surrendering to campus bullies cost the University 1500 students who did not enroll and a significant $32 million budget shortfall. Parents decided that enrolling their children elsewhere would be for the best. Other universities considering capitulating to childish demands, might consider that acting like adults and sending the cry bullies on home might well be more profitable for everyone concerned.

Diversity of ideas has become increasingly unpopular — today it is students at Emory who were traumatized by graffiti like “Trump” and “Trump 2016” chalked on stairs and walls around campus. They are receiving counseling.

The list of those engaged for graduation speeches who have subsequently been disinvited is long and embarrassing: Condoleeza Rice, who is not only distinguished, accomplished, conservative and black; Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Janet Napolitano; IMF managing director Christine Lagarde; George W. Bush; David Horowitz, and Dr, Ben Carson are just a few. Students are taught, apparently, that they don’t need to hear ideas with which they might disagree. “Critical thinking” indeed.

University students across the country are engaged in another new fad, an attempt to rename campus buildings and streets, remove statues and change athletic team names in the name of changing past history into something more politically correct. Some people in the past who may have founded a university or contributed to it should be removed from history because long ago they did something that is not approved of today.

What all this tells future employers is that they might look elsewhere for workers. Students who have learned nothing in college but activism and mindless protest don’t really have much to offer an employer. There is, I understand, a critical shortage of welders,who are offered well over $50 an hour.



Obama is Frustrated by The Separation of Powers by The Elephant's Child

It’s called the U.S. Constitution, and it’s the envy of the world. That old document that the Left finds so annoying. Nearly eight years in office, an oath twice taken:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute
the office of the President of the United States,and will
to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution  of the United States.

And he still doesn’t get it.



Only a Tube of Toothpaste… by The Elephant's Child
Zahnpaste, toothpaste


The Wall Street Journal offers this in their “Notable & Quotable ” column. From author César Hidalgo’s “Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economics: (Basic Books, 2015)

In my talks I often ask the attendees to raise their hands if they have used toothpaste that morning. [Then] I ask audience members to keep their hands up only if they know how to synthesize sodium fluoride. As you can imagine, all hands go down. . . .

When we are buying toothpaste we are not simply buying paste in a tube. Instead we are buying access to the practical uses of the creativity of the person who invented toothpaste, the scientific knowledge informing the chemical synthesis that is required to make toothpaste, the knowhow required to synthesize sodium fluoride, put it inside a tube, and make it available across the planet, and the knowledge that fluoride makes our teeth stronger and has beneficial effects on our health. Something as simple as toothpaste gives us indirect access to the practical uses of the imagination, knowledge, and knowhow that exist, or existed, in the nervous systems of people we have probably never met.

Very nice.

 




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