American Elephants


Dr. Istvan Marko, Award Winning Chemist, Explains About Carbon Dioxide. by The Elephant's Child

Dr, Istvan Marko, Professor of Chemistry at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, discusses the need for CO2 on Earth.

We keep telling them and telling them, but the global warmists aren’t interested in facts or evidence. It is their religion, and they believe absolutely.



The Bill of Rights Will Be 225 Years Old This Year, And Nobody seems to Understand it After All This Time! by The Elephant's Child

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Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof; or Abridging the Freedom of Speech,
or of the Press; or the Right of the People Peaceably
to Assemble, and To Petition the Government
for a Redress of Grievances.

The Bill of Rights will be 225 years old this year, and remains as contentious as ever. In a way, it’s only natural. Nobody likes rude comments directed to them, or to someone or someone they favor. Depending on just how rude — you probably want them silenced. Certainly we have a current problem on college campuses where the students not only don’t want to be offended, but they don’t want any microaggressions, and want to be protected from having to hear anyone who might disagree with them.

Well so much for education. No one who needs protection from opinions different from their own has any interest in being educated. ‘Protection from’ and ‘education’ are antithetical. Parents, you’re wasting your money.

“December 17, 2015 ought henceforth to be a date which will live in infamy, as that was the day that some of the leading Democrats in the House of Representatives came out in favor of the destruction of the First Amendment. House Resolution 569 condemns “violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.”

That freedom of speech thing is all very well until it is your own ox being gored. How did we get to a place where understanding the meaning of free speech is so hard?

Here’s a short history of how the Bill of Rights came about. and follow that up with Wikipedia’s account of the Alien and Sedition Acts. What? You mean they can throw you in prison for criticizing the government?  That’s what Sedition is, and in many countries it is grounds for being arrested, thrown in prison, or even having your head chopped off. ISIS chops off heads of those who criticize the Caliphate or its leaders, or the prophet, or its rules. Iran does the same, and Saudi Arabia just executed 47 prisoners. You will find many countries where Sedition is against the law.

Jonathan Rauch wrote a splendid little book back in 1993 called “Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought. The jacket flap says “Thou shall not hurt others with words. The commandment looks harmless even admirable. But it is neither. As Jonathan Rauch states in the groundbreaking book, “This moral principle is deadly—inherently deadly, not incidentally so—to intellectual freedom and to the productive and peaceful pursuit of knowledge.”

The most frightening thing of the year has been to discover that there are significant numbers of students who have been admitted to good colleges, even ivy league colleges, who have not the slightest idea of  the importance of free speech, nor of the blessings of living in a country that has such protections. American schools go to great lengths to inform us that they are teaching “critical thinking.” That is a lie, and a big one. They are teaching the art of being a victim. They are teaching “social justice,” unaware that there is only one kind of justice in this country—which is embodied in the Constitution, the laws of the nation, the states, and the courts.

A reading list might start with Kindly Inquisitors, include 1984, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Add to that Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag: an account of the 22 years author Armando Valladares spent as a prisoner of conscience under Fidel Castro. His only crime was upholding his Catholic faith by refusing to display Marxist propaganda on his work desk. He was kept up at night by the sound of Castro’s firing squads murdering innocent Cubans, brutally beaten, immersed in human feces, forced to watch guards abuse and even murder other prisoners. President Reagan read his memoir and appointed Valladares the U.S. ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights.

The pitiful “snowflakes” on our campuses, having been “organized” by former protesters from Ferguson and Baltimore, Acorn, and Obama’s Americorps, were protesting faux racial offenses, and nonexistent hate crimes. There was no excuse for administrators and faculty who forgot how to behave like adults, and pandered and resigned in disgrace.

Greg Lukianoff of the organization FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has been defending freedom of expression on campus since 1999. He wrote today at Cato, an essay titled “Campus Free Speech Has Been in Trouble for a Long Time.” FIRE is a splendid organization and his essay is worth your time. If we do not stand up for freedom of speech, we may end up with a new batch of Sedition laws. The Left is certainly of the opinion that freedom of speech should be curtailed.  Or do you not understand what the Citizens United case was all about? Our presidential candidates on the Left promise to get rid of the decision.

Another essay worth your time is “Campus Turmoil Begins in High School” by Jonathan Haidt. The kids are heading back to school after Christmas vacation. We’ll see if the holidays (or their parents) have mellowed the returning students at all. We can only hope.



So You Think You’re Right, Do You? Well, Think Again! by The Elephant's Child

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The general mood in America seems, on Christmas eve, to be fairly sour — at least according to comments and gripes and posts and articles. The public is unhappy with our government. Republicans are furious with Republicans, especially over the so-called Omnibus spending bill. The purity police are out in full force arguing over who is and who is not a proper conservative. Breitbart has even gone so far as to give each Republican voting member of the House or Senate a red-flagged grade according to their purity — according to Breitbart.

Whatever happened to the big tent? The amusing thing is that they are getting close to the kids on campus demanding an end to free speech, and the Democrats who are furious with anyone who has the gall to disagree with them, and scream bloody murder about Citizens United. You must think the way we demand that you think.

Democrats, or Progressives if you prefer, have long despised anyone who disagrees with them. They’ve tried to have RICO charges brought against anyone who does not accept the notion that 97% of all scientists insist that global warming is going to cook the earth and all its creatures. Some have gone so far as to suggest jail and felony charges. Republicans demand an end to any subsidy for Planned Parenthood. Democrats demand full funding. But sorry, it’s not that simple. There are Democrats who don’t like abortion, and Republicans who do.

There are 435 members of the House. And after the last election 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats and one vacancy. In the Senate, there are 100 members, 2 for each state, and 44 are Democrats and 54 are Republicans, and two independents —Sanders and King. Immediate family does not agree on much of anything, and politically it’s even more unlikely. We are all human and fallible. Democrats are more likely to forget the human part.

Being human means that even the brightest people can be quite stupid in some departments. There was a story in the last few days about a robber who had an exceptional number of tattoos, including devil’s horns on his forehead and written across his forehead was “F##k the Police.” The business he held up was unsurprisingly able to identify him, and the police were quickly able to apprehend him. We are all stupid in ways small and very large. Some are definitely sins, and others are just unfortunate. We just don’t know as much as we think we do.

Yet that is what Christmas is all about and what we never seem to learn. A little more humility please, and try to remember that we all are human and struggling to find our way through this life that we don’t understand very well. It’s hard to know when to be tough and when to give comfort, when to teach and when to listen carefully. More tolerance please, and more listening. We will not agree, but it will go down better if we explain why. And knock it off with the purity police. Your definition of correctness ( did I hear the word political correctness applied to Republicans?) is not necessarily correct. Michael Ramirez said it more succinctly than I could.



It May be Possible that the Majority of College Students Are Not Protesting, But Trying to Learn Something in Difficult Circumstances by The Elephant's Child

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Katie Pavlich reports on a new poll of college students by the Young America’s Foundation and conducted by Inc./Woman Trend which shows that the majority of students reject the absurd microaggression, triggering, politically correct, goofy gender neutral pronouns.

Sixty-two percent of students did not believe that professors should have the right to downgrade students for failing to use “gender inclusive” language like “humankind” in preference to men and women instead of “mankind.” That gets us into the “personholes” in the street instead of “manholes” which proves what silly territory this is. They didn’t go for the use of pronouns like “ze,” “zir,” and “xyr,” either, but not by nearly a large enough majority.

Nearly 7 in 10 students rejected Black Lives Matter. Given recent acts of violence against police officers, the Black Lives Matter movement has cultivated an anti-police culture.

Fifty percent of students prefer smaller government, and twenty percent more prefer free enterprise  than prefer socialism. That’s a little encouraging. Colleges may face a big backlash when parents wake up to what their kids are being taught and what they are paying outlandish fees for.



Oh Come All Ye Faithful by The Elephant's Child

We teamed up with two talented a Capella groups, BYU Vocal Point and BYU Noteworthy, to create a beautiful reminder that we hope inspires people of all denominations to look inward and reflect on the value of faith in their own lives this holiday season.



Wealth, Poverty, and the Role of Politics by The Elephant's Child

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses poverty around the world and in the United States. Poverty in America, he says, is not severe, compared to the rest of the world. Many of the poor in the United States have one or two cars, central heating and cell phones.

The real problem for the poor is the destruction of the family, which Dr, Sowell argues dramatically increased once Great Society welfare policies were introduced in the 1960s.

“The World Has Never Been a Level Playing Field.”

Published on December 8, 2015



The Rise and Fall Of American Education by The Elephant's Child

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The Democrats have been trying to end poverty and problems like crime and drugs and lack of education in the black community. After a long history of segregation and slavery, being on the wrong side of the Civil War, they are anxious to make the black community reliable Democrat voters. Thus any black person who leans Republican has become an Uncle Tom, a traitor to his people, and other rhetoric that is even worse. Democrats’ efforts to improve the schools or the educational attainment of black children has been a mixed bag. They consistently focus on the wrong things.

The attempts to improve things have been many, desegregating the schools, busing, classroom amenities, Head Start, and now pre-pre school. Well-to-do families put their kids in pre-school, so that must be the answer. Head Start shows a slight improvement in outcomes which disappear by 3rd grade.

In Washington D.C., there is a program called “Opportunity Scholarships”which provides scholarships to children from low-income families to attend a private school of choice. It operates by a lottery. President George W. Bush signed the program into law in 2004. It targeted 2,000 children from low income families to give them funding to help offset the cost of private schooling, and has been hugely successful and popular.

In 2009, new President Barack Obama ‘s budget proposal cut all funding for the program and included language to prohibit any new students from receiving scholarships. Whether this was simply to attack all things Bush, or at the urging of the teachers’ unions, I don’t know.

In 2011, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senator Joe Lieberman introduced a new Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR), restored funding and allowed new students to participate. Again, in 2012, Obama’s budget proposal did not include new funding for the program. Jason Riley argued that the program cost less per child and had a higher graduation rate than D.C. public schools. A very popular program with parents and students.

Well, never say die. The federal intrusion into schooling continues. There is a push for  pre-kindergarten, or extended babysitting for parents. Tuition-free two years of community college. Entrepreneurship education. Of course Bernie Sanders and Hillary are pushing for free college tuition, without the slightest idea how it could possibly be paid for. Obama demands less testing. Now comes the zinger. America’s national obsession with raising our “educational attainment” level has reached a new height of absurdity.

On November 6, the U.S. Department of Education put out a press release that declared a “sense of urgency about the need for significant improvement in both the rigor and flexibility of accreditation.”

The rationale is that the Obama administration is concerned that the U.S is falling far short of the president’s stated goal of becoming the nation with the highest percentage of citizens holding college degrees by 2020 — 60 percent. The numbers have actually declined slightly.

Schools with poor graduation rates are said to be “failing their students.” The federal government push for “affirmative action” has resulted in minority students enrolling in colleges where under ordinary circumstances they would not qualify for admission, but in a school with lower admission qualifications they might do well. It is meant well, but the results are bad for the schools and bad for the students. The administration fixation on graduation rates ignores the plain fact that we already have a glut of young people with college degrees, and employers are devising harder and harder tests to see if job applicants know anything.

We have an economic problem in that not enough well-paying jobs are being created — because of the actions of the federal government. An excess of regulation, high taxes, and a general suspicion of business have forced many small businesses to give up.  Colleges have designed more easy classes to appeal to kids. I don’t remember who puts out the list of silly college classes every year, but it’s enough to give you nightmares if you care about education.

The current furor on Campuses is an outgrowth. Faculty and administrative inability t0 act like grown-ups and insist on order demonstrates why the students are acting like children. We have a problem, and it’s going to get worse. Businesses will not hire graduates who exhibit no learning. Parents won’t pay for big tuition bills for poor results. The result of a college education is not supposed to be one more tic on the number of college graduates on some national list. It’s supposed to be hard, and they are supposed to have really learned something.




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