American Elephants


How About Some Really Good News That Is NOT Political? by The Elephant's Child

A California robotics company called suitX has presented it’s Phoenix exoskeleton to the public. It makes it possible for paraplegics and those with mobility disorders to regain their ability to walk, which is a priceless blessing. It is not the first exoskeleton, which was developed in Israel, but it is the most affordable so far, at about the price of a new Cadillac.

SuitX is led by Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni, who is director of the Berkley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory and co-founder and chief scientist of Ekso Bionics. Dr. Kazerooni and his team are driven by a dream of developing low-cost consumer bionic products to improve the quality of life for the disabled. To achieve their goal of keeping the robotics as affordable as possible the team worked with biomechanics instead of the bulky robotics used in the other exoskeletons available so far. One of their prime goals is to help children affected by neurological conditions like cerebral palsy and spina bifida, during the brief time in development when they perfect their walking skills.

The current Phoenix totals around 28 pounds. It consists of modules made for a person’s hips, knees and feet — each can be independently removed and adjusted to the individual’s exact size. A back-mounted battery pack provides power for eight hours of intermittent use or  four hours of continuous use.The Phoenix can move a paralyzed person at a speed of 1.1 miles an hour, the company said.

Steven Sanchez was a former BMX dirt bike rider who became mostly paralyzed by a sports injury. He’s now one of the biggest proponents of the Phoenix. “It feels like you’re actually walking,”

The exoskeleton has silent carbon-fiber orthotics capable of being customized to its wearer. Attached to the orthotics are small motors that provide mobility to the hips and legs. Crutches provide upper body support and are integrated into the orthotics, allowing the wearer to control the movement of each leg with the touch of a button. A built-in back-mounted battery pack provides the wearer with 8 hours of intermittent or 4 hours of continual use.

Weighing around 27 pounds, the Phoenix is not the lightest exoskeleton on the market, but it is comparatively lighter than competing suits such as the more cumbersome 50 pound ReWalk.

While still costlier than a motorized wheelchair, the minimal design translates into a lower-cost exoskeleton; the Phoenix costs just $40,000 in a market where prices range from $70,000 to $100,000.

Dr. Kazerooni is more interested in cleverness. He says you can buy a motorcycle with all sorts of technology for $10,000, so he’s hoping to reduce the cost even more within two or three years— something robust and simple that walks, stops. sits and stands — hugely enabling.

Steven Sanchez tests the product monthly and demonstrates the product all over the world. He wore the Phoenix on a trip to the Vatican, and stood in line like anyone else — “wearing an “awesome robotic suit” and “no one cared.” For those who can only dream of walking, that is a very big deal indeed.



He Has a Phone and a Pen, And Congress Should Just Not Interfere! by The Elephant's Child

Obama-McDonough
Dennis McD0nough, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, confirmed the intent of the Administration to pursue “audacious” executive actions. He stated that the Obama administration’s desire was that its actions “not be subject to undoing through [Congress] or otherwise.” Many presidents have used “executive orders” to move an issue forward when Congress was stalling, but McDonough’s comment was something quite different. The end goal here is policy decisions that cannot be undone by Congress “or otherwise” which would seem to be the courts. Obama wants what he wants and he doesn’t want any  ignorant interference.

This is the man who regularly claims to have been a ‘Professor of Constitutional Law,’ when he apparently was only a lecturer in civil rights law at the University of Chicago, so his casual treatment of the law is not surprising.

The Founders created a governing system with three branches that was meant to act slowly, with deliberation. The Federalist explained the idea of what James Madison called “checks and balances” in The Federalist No. 51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

The Progressives in our country have somehow come to believe that whatever it is, is better done by government. Philanthropy should not be granted by rich men, but done by government. What to eat? The government will tell you what you should eat. Health care? The government will decide what medical care you may have and from what physicians or hospitals, and what they will pay for. You taxes will support useless wind turbines and solar arrays, and put the nation’s corn crop in your gas tank. You cannot buy raw milk from a dairy, and you must buy organic food. You are required to use less water when you take a shower, and the government will tell you what kind of light bulbs to use in your house. I could go on and on, but you will find the exercise more informative if you do it yourself.

Over the centuries since the founding, the shallow inclinations of politicians have been limited by respect for the restraint on their authority as a part of the guarantee of American freedom, so essential to who we are and what we believe. Many have commented on the anger of the American people in this campaign season. That is the root of the fury—an administration that ignores the rules and customs and traditions of our history—because this President, like a spoiled child, wants his own way.

He does not like Congress, because they disagree. He does not want to deal with them, and he ‘s not going to argue or try to convince them. He has a pen and a phone, and just try to stop him. And believe it or not, Hillary wants to appoint him to the Supreme Court, when his term is finally over.

Donald Trump said he would use a lot of executive actions as well, but he’d do good ones. And who decides that?



So You Think Socialism Is a Good Idea? Think Again, Booby. by The Elephant's Child

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The Peter Peterson Foundation says that America’s fiscal outlook is still getting worse, with the 2016 deficit climbing by $105 billion  to $544 billion. Over the next decade deficits will total $9.4 trillion and there’s Bernie Sanders with his $28 trillion health plan if he were elected.

That’s the additional spending for Bernie’s “Medicare for All” plan. Gerald Friedman, a professor at the University of Massachusetts , working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projections of national health care spending, claims that the Sanders plan would cost $40.9 trillion between 2017 and 2026. That doesn’t even include his free college for everyone. I keep telling you that Democrats are math avoiders, and unfamiliar with economics. Britain’s NHS is broke, and killing around 9,000 people a year unnecessarily. So that’s Bernie’s plan to bankrupt America.

Meanwhile, Venezuela is on track to barrel past 700% inflation. The International Monetary Fund says Venezuela inflation will reach 720 percent this year. Nicholas Maduro, getting defeated in the legislative election is running an economic decree backed by a Supreme Court that his party packed. The newly elected free market legislature is defying him. This is Socialism, and how it works.

If the whole business of trying to become president doesn’t work out for Bernie,  he could run down to Venezuela to see how Socialism really works in practice. The Army has taken over the toilet paper factories, and staples are no longer on the shelves.

The new legislature suggests that Nicholas Maduro is the problem.

ADDENDUM: The Washington Times reports that the Congressional Budget Office today warns that the federal government will be flirting with $30 trillion in debt within a decade. The problem is an aging population (baby boomers retiring) new spending and tax cuts approved on Capitol Hill, and the growing burden of ObamaCare. ObamaCare will chase more workers out of the labor force over the next five years. The Affordable Care Act is still struggling to attract a customer base. The estimate for the number of people who will sign up for the exchanges has dropped from 21 million to 13 million. They also say the economy might see significant growth of 2.5 percent this year and 2.6 percent next year. Big whoop! How about a real 4 percent growth? The business sector wants to grow and expand, but is being reined in by this administration with way too much regulation, fear of regulation, and stupid taxes. Cut the corporate tax. Corporations don’t pay taxes anyway — consumers do.



Rewarding Bad Behavior Just Gets You Way More Bad Behavior by The Elephant's Child

Homeless in Seattle
Local Seattle radio, “Eyes on Washington” — conversation with a Seattle policeman. It seems like the city is getting a lot dirtier, more trash, shopping carts, what’s going on?

Policeman — The  homeless population is up by about 400 percent. They’ve come here for the pot. 

(Marijuana is now legal in Washington State.) If you are thinking of voting for it in your state, you might want to reconsider.



Can You Answer a Simple Question? by The Elephant's Child

Well, no. No I can’t. But please vote for me anyway.



Can You Trust the Polls? Probably Not. Here’s Why. by The Elephant's Child

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Gallup, the most well-known brand in public opinion voting, announced on October 7, 2015 that they would no longer poll Americans on who they would vote for if the election were held today. Let others focus on predicting  voter behavior, Gallup would dig deeper into what the public thinks about current events. Reason magazine reported:

Still, Gallup’s move, which followed an embarrassingly inaccurate performance by the company in the 2012 elections, reinforces the perception that something has gone badly wrong in polling and that even the most experienced players are at a loss about how to fix it. Heading into the 2016 primary season, news consumers are facing an onslaught of polls paired with a nagging suspicion that their findings can’t be trusted. Over the last four years, pollsters’ ability to make good predictions about Election Day has seemingly deteriorated before our eyes.

The day before the 2014 midterms, all the major forecasts declared Republicans likely to take back the Senate. The Princeton Election Consortium put the odds at 64 percent; The Washington Post, most bullish of all, put them at 98 percent. But the Cook Political Report considered all nine “competitive” seats to be tossups—too close to call. And very few thought it likely that Republicans would win in a landslide.

It seems that voters told the pollsters one thing, and when they voted, they did something else. After the 2012 election there was the Israeli election, and a virtual tie was predicted, yet Netanyahu’s Likud party  won a plurality and picked up 12 more seats. Then there was the British election which they got completely wrong as well.

How much are people affected by the polls? In the midst of this campaign, polls are being reported daily, and if you don’t hear the results, Donald Trump will tell you how he is winning. We have been told (I forget the source) that for reporters campaigns are really boring, because they have to listen to the same stump speech over and over, and Mr. Trump provides real interest because you never know what he will say or do.

Is that the reason for the excessive Trump coverage and neglect of other candidates? The Reason article explores some of the obstacles to good research, and some of the ways pollsters are changing, including the use of social media, and ambient noise.  Are they including vote fraud in their calculations? There is clearly a lot more fraud than is admitted.

We can’t ignore the polls, but it’s probably wise to look at them with a somewhat jaundiced eye, and look more carefully for solid information about your candidate, so you are a more informed voter, and fare better in the arguments with your neighbor.



Here’s The Preliminary Debate Tonight Which You Probably Didn’t See by The Elephant's Child

I watched the debates tonight, and though they were extremely well handled by the Fox Business channel, I was distressed again by the “undercard,” “kiddie table,” treatment of those who weren’t measuring up in the polls. We have too many outstanding candidates. But where they rank in the polls is largely determined by the attention of the media.When the media speaks of no one but Trump, it is not surprising that he leads in the polls.

I’m not ready to choose a candidate, and I’m not at all convinced that early caucuses in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina are helpful. It’s not so bad when there are just a couple of candidates, but when there are still ten, some of the better ones may be forced to drop out, and we’re left with temporary crushes that we don’t really know enough about.

I’ve seen a number of campaigns, but I have never seen anything like the excess and adulation for Barack Obama in 2007. Anyone would have to admit that the Nobel Peace Prize for campaign speeches was wretched excess. It was a skillful campaign that revealed nothing real about the candidate at all. But the love affair has grown stale, and the promises didn’t work out. I fear that we may be facing that again.

I read a lot of news, and from the last debate to this, Carly Fiorina simply disappeared from the news. The progressive media didn’t want another woman in the news, when all Hillary had to run on was her gender. I don’t know what it is Hillary is supposed to have done for women, though she did make some speeches abroad about educating their girls. Nikki Haley, successful governor of South Carolina, gave an excellent response to the State of the Union, and the Progressive media turned it into a hit piece on Donald Trump (it wasn’t) and a hit piece on all the Republican candidates.(it wasn’t)

Carly Fiorina is a government outsider who actually has real applicable experience. (But she was fired?) Her tenure at HP was the same length as the average major corporate CEO — six years during a very difficult time for the industry, and she managed to leave the company far better off than when she took over. She essentially saved the company. She’s done really hard things — having to lay off large numbers of employees is very very hard.  I suspect she may be another Margaret Thatcher, but will we be allowed to find out?




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