American Elephants


Major Changes Coming to One of the Largest School Districts in the Country. by The Elephant's Child

Two school choice proponents won election to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board this past week. That means that supporters of charter schools and school choice now have majority control over the seven-person panel that directs one of the largest school districts in the country. So this is a very big and positive step forward. Particularly for those who believe that parents should have a say in the choice of school for their child.

Not everyone agrees. School districts and the state authorities, and the teachers’ unions firmly believe that they should be the governing authorities. But like all large bureaucracies, they are inclined to forget who really should control what their children learn and where. Possibly the people who care about the specific children and ones who pay the cost. Bureaucrats  are usually good at platitudes, but in the real world the platitudes are mostly empty. They are more interested in diversity, segregation, race, ethnicity—all the usual leftist themes—than in what and how well children are learning. And the constant demand will be for more money and smaller class size.

Some of the best schooling I ever had was in 2nd and third grade in a one-room country schoolhouse with one very good teacher for 8 grades. Better schools are not a result of more money and smaller class size, as the teacher’s unions insist. Charter schools are public schools. They just can be organized on different principles.



The Democratic Party: The Inconvenient Truth by The Elephant's Child

Did you know that the Democratic Party defended slavery, started the Civil War, founded the KKK, and fought against every major civil rights act in U.S. history? Watch as Carol Swain, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, shares the inconvenient history of the Democratic Party. Donate today to help us reach more people with this video! http://l.prageru.com/2eB2p0h



A Complete and Unverifiable Explanation of Most Everything by The Elephant's Child

Are you paying attention to the news? It is difficult. James Comey has been unjustly fired, Comey deserved to be fired. Comey kept memos of his conversations. Comey is very close  to Senator Schumer. Comey refuses to testify before Congress. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller will head the investigation into Russia ties. Robert Mueller and Comey are old friends. Robert Mueller is widely respected.

The storm has been gathering for more than a week. It started when Trump impetuously fired the FBI director, James Comey, claiming at first that he did so on the advice of Rosenstein. Then the president changed his story and told NBC News that he was going to fire Comey anyway and that part of this was because the bureau’s Russia investigation was dragging on.

The Comey camp soon struck back. First his allies leaked that Trump had asked Comey for his loyalty back in January over dinner. Then in a more damaging story, the New York Times reported on a memo Comey had written to record a conversation in which Trump asked him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, the national security adviser Trump fired after three weeks on the job.

To state the obvious, all of this made Trump look like he had something to hide. And it did not take long for Democrats to seize on this theme, mounting a campaign for a special counsel as a condition to approve the next FBI director.

If you read all that or the equivalent, and there is lots of equivalent out there, you know no more than you did before you started reading. Here’s The American Conservative:

America is in crisis. It is a crisis of greater magnitude than any the country has faced in its history, with the exception of the Civil War. It is a crisis long in the making—and likely to be with us long into the future. It is a crisis so thoroughly rooted in the American polity that it’s difficult to see how it can be resolved in any kind of smooth or even peaceful way. Looking to the future from this particular point in time, just about every possible course of action appears certain to deepen the crisis.

What is it? Some believe it stems specifically from the election of Donald Trump, a man supremely unfit for the presidency, and will abate when he can be removed from office. These people are right about one thing: Trump is supremely unfit for his White House job. But that isn’t the central crisis; it is merely a symptom of it, though it seems increasingly to be reaching crisis proportions of its own.

The President who is so unfit for the presidency has assembled the most impressive national security team, perhaps since Eisenhower: James Mattis, John Kelly, H.R. McMaster,  Nikki Haley. His appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is outstanding. Executive orders have begun the task of whittling down the abusive powers of the rogue EPA.  Illegal immigration is reportedly down around 70%. He’s working to simplify the tax code and business regulation to boost the private sector.His cabinet appointments are outstanding. Today he is leaving on a trip to meet some of the heads of state of our allies and some who are not. He has been criticized for meeting with Erdogan, and Abbas, yet he clearly wants to get a feel for who these people are, rather than just read the intelligence dossiers.

Trump is described as crude, uncouth — and he tweets. Democrats, in the meantime, seem unable to utter a simple sentence without the F-word or the S-word. They suggest in the crudest way incest, that Melania Trump was of low morals, attack the Trump children, late night “comics” compete to see who can be most vulgar, and who can do the most repellent imitation. Maxine Waters waffles between demanding Trump’s impeachment, being confident that she can turn up an impeachable offenses and denying that she ever asked for his impeachment.

Trump promised to deport criminal aliens, so many sanctuary cities have redoubled their efforts to protect illegal immigrants.

The policy has evolved into active non-cooperation with federal law enforcement, to the extent that Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City, for example, will not comply with requests to detain illegal immigrants unless they have recently been convicted of a serious crime and a judicial warrant accompanies the request. Federal immigration authorities have been banned from operating within municipal jails, and sanctuary cities will not expend any resources in assisting these agents.

Despite these efforts, it has not been possible for cities to protect their illegal aliens from deportation to the extent that sanctuary advocates demand. Cities cannot forbid federal officers from arresting criminal aliens in their homes, on the streets, or in courthouses. The best way to deter possible deportation, sanctuary advocates contend, is to limit interactions between illegal immigrants and the criminal-justice system, not in the traditional way—by obeying the law—but rather, by not enforcing the law. If there are no arrests, then there is no criminal record to base deportation orders on.

And so it goes. Somehow it is Donald Trump who is uncouth, not the real president, illegal, impeachable, unfit for office, yet he seems to be accomplishing quite a lot. And the once-respected fourth estate labors on enlightening and elucidating the affairs of the nation and the world, or whatever it is that they are doing, And we are all living in some dystopian alternate universe aren’t we?  It’s all very confusing.

 



Germany’s Solar Industry has Collapsed by The Elephant's Child

Germany’s last surviving manufacturer of solar equipment, Bonn-based Solarworld has officially declared it will file for insolvency after six years of red ink.

Thousands of workers who banked their futures on solar jobs now face uncertain futures. Solarworld’s demise is the last in a spectacular series of solar manufacturer bankruptcies that swept across Germany over the past years, with names like Solon, Solar Millenium and Q-Cells going under.

According to Finanzen.net here, Solarworld had over 3000 employees on the payroll at the end of 2016.

In the early 2000s leaders and green energy proponents promised to turn parts of former communist East Germany into a “Solar Valley” that would boast secure, high paying hightech jobs. Today it’s a solar rustbelt with a ruined landscape of shattered visions and dreams. Spiegel calls it a “valley of tears”.

The problem is Chinese manufacturing, they manufacture solar equipment so cheaply that others cannot compete. And solar energy just does not produce enough energy to make such investment make sense. Political hype, corruption, myths and moonbeams. Germany still believes, and is anxious to reduce carbon as the Paris Agreement demands. Won’t do any good. Theclimate is controlled by the action of the sun, not CO2.

Some villages, such as the one shown at the top, have gone off grid. I don’t know how that is working out, nor how they cope with winter.



Sun and Wind and Rainbows and Magic Do Not Power the Planet by The Elephant's Child

A post I wrote back in 2013 is getting another round of attention, as it does now and then. I wrote about abandoned wind turbines, and the misguided notion that wind and sun are free, therefore renewable energy—and to be endlessly subsidized as our most desirable source of power. I hasten to add that I am not a scientist nor do I have any pretense of being one. I was an English major at a time and in a college where the pursuit of knowledge and the critical examination of sources were considered essential.

But I also grew up in the mountains of Idaho on 400 acres with a river running through it, and spent most of my time, winter and summer, outdoors. We had winters with 5′ of snow and winters that were fairly mild. Flood, forest fires, lightning strikes, cougar, bear, lynx and woodrats. (I’m a deadly shot on woodrats. They gather up the cotton from cottonwood trees, store it in the attic of the woodshed and then pee all over it, and have their babies there.) You don’t live outdoors for years interacting with weather, and get all panicky about a few degrees warmer or cooler.

Science is complicated. I just read about a cave discovered in Mexico, a half a mile down, so hot that scientists can only stay for a few minutes, where there are microbes trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old, living on minerals like iron and manganese. Lots left on Earth for us to discover yet, diseases to conquer, unknown territory, they are discovering new species every year. The world economy runs on some form of electric power, and not just for our convenience, light and heat. Transportation, manufacturing, business and government are dependent on electricity and their needs are growing constantly, so the more power we need.

People are frightened by nuclear power after the horrific catastrophe in Japan, and the nuclear accident in Russia. We have dams on most of our major rivers, and environmentalists long for free wild rivers. Power good, but dams bad. Environmentalists say that coal, oil and natural gas are all evil, and should “stay in the ground where they belong.” So it’s unsurprising that there is a fetish for energy from the wind and the sun. Surely with our advanced modern technology we can invent wind turbines and solar arrays to harness the free energy of the wind and the sun. Well, no, no we can’t. Or we can, if we’re content to live in extreme poverty.

The wind is terminally, fatally intermittent. When the wind blows, which is not most of the time, it blows in gusts and wafts or gales. What you need is a steady stream of wind and then you get “capacity,” which is what the manufactures of the turbines promise when they are extolling the virtues of wind. Never happens. In winter, when you are freezing, the wind is apt to not blow at all, and the turbines don’t turn. They have already tried most of the really windy places —Altamont Pass in California, the tip of the Hawaiian Islands, they’ve even replaced a lot of the idle turbines in my 2013 post, so now they are moving offshore. There’s a big offshore farm coming online off our East coast shortly. Offshore turbines take a lot more punishment from saltwater and weather. The life of an onshore turbine is 20 years at best, offshore is a lot less.

The sun, on the other hand, is too diffuse. For real power you need really hot sun bearing down, in a cloudless sky. How many cloudless, sunny days do you get? This is the Northwest, where we get rain all the time, and plenty of clouds. The sun also has a habit of sinking beneath the horizon at night, and even more so in the short days of winter. Elon Musk keeps promising battery arrays to take care of that, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet, and his solar farms haven’t been in the news much. Wind turbines have a nasty habit of chopping up bats and birds by the hundreds, birds of prey as well. What that does to our insect population and rodent population I don’t know, but it doesn’t bode well for malaria and Zika. and other disease.

Both of these technologies demand more and more land each year as the need for more and more energy increases, land in quantities simply unavailable.  Look for Robert Bryce’s book: Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper. It’s a clear, simple explanation of why wind and solar will remain interesting, but are not a major source of power except in the remote places where any source of power, however limited,  is a bounty.



Democrats Are Making a Mess of Things! by The Elephant's Child

Trump is bad at being a tyrant: Brandon Weichert,  American Greatness
The past 100 days have been a disaster-for Democrats: Mark Thiesson, Washington Post
Marches for Science vs. Actual Science: John Hinderaker, Powerline
And What is the Scientific Basis for Imposing Energy Poverty On the Masses?: Francis Menton, Manhattan Contrarian

And then there is this:  A Little Golden Book! Who thought this was a good idea? Perhaps (hopefully) it’s not real. But there are far too many things these days that one assumes blithely that are not real, and it turns out they are. Or perhaps this is the bedtime book that was read to the little progressives and snowflakes inhabiting our colleges.

Or perhaps it’s just a photoshop for a clever comment on our times. Your guess?

From Victor Davis Hanson: Fundamentalist Nihilism, American Greatness

Dr.Hanson considers three separate cases: Nihilist Environmentalism, Nihilist Immigration, and the Factories of Nihilism: Our Universities.

At some point, progressivism begins to collapse by the weight of its own internal contradictions and becomes faith-based. Future anthropologists will have a difficult time sorting out all the bizarre rituals and sacraments of this early 21st-century progressive cult.

In today’s headlines, we have three crystal clear illustrations of the phenomenon. Let’s begin first with the recent case of the four-year California drought (2011-2015)

1) President Obama, Governor Jerry Brown, and California’s legislative leadership all declared the drought to be a result of climate change. Accordingly, it would both be near permanent and demand government intervention to make radical changes in Californians’ lifestyles;

2) Yet in some 120 years of accurate record-keeping, no California drought seems to have lasted much longer than four years;

3) Not a single new reservoir, canal, or aqueduct was started during the drought, although several projects had been envisioned over a half-century earlier in the original blueprints of the state California Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

California has not handled the immigration thing well, to say the least. The problems are fairly clear, but the ability of progressives to deal with them is another matter entirely.

The refusal by California universities to hear speakers who might say something offensive to pearl like little ears, which then developed into riots,  is becoming almost commonplace. That is not to say it is acceptable.

A sad story of the failure of Progressivism. Means well. Doesn’t work.



This Is A Map of Murders in the United States Of America by The Elephant's Child

I ran across a shocking map yesterday, a map of murders in the United States in 2014. Fifty-four percent of U.S. counties had no murders in 2014—none, zero. Two percent of counties have fifty-one percent of the murders.

The map comes to us from the Crime Prevention Research Center. 2014 is the most recent year where county-level breakdown is available. The United States can be divided up, they say. into three types of places: places where there are no murders, places where there are a few murders and places where there are a lot of murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders.

Murders used to be even more concentrated. From 1977 to 2000, on average 73% of counties had zero murders. They suggest that possibly this is related to the opioid epidemic’s spread to more rural areas. You can reach your own conclusions about the areas where murders are concentrated.

Other headlines: from CBS News“Chicago saw more 2016 murders than New York City and Los Angeles combined.” It was one of the most violent years in Chicago history with 762 homicides, and 1,100 more shooting incidents in 2016 than in 2015. New York had 334 homicides in 2016 and Los Angeles 294. Chicago has not only seen a spike in violence, but a spike in attacks on police as well. Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said that anger at police has left criminals “emboldened” to commit violent crimes. It’s clearer to criminals that they have little to fear from the criminal justice system.

From The Daily Caller: “Baltimore is Begging Feds to Step In To Restore Law and Order.” Baltimore’s mayor asked the FBI to send in reinforcements to help the city to get it’s murders under control. “The city already has 101 murders for the year, a number not seen for almost 20 years” the mayor said.

On top of an over 30 percent increase in murders, the city is also experiencing a shortage in police officers. The city is operating with the lowest number of officers in about a decade — 2,500 police officers. Usually, the department has 2,900 officers.

From National Review: Heather MacDonald in an article at City Journal dismantles Hillary Clinton’s debate claims that the criminal justice system is infected with racism and that stop-and-frisk (which Trump has called for reviving) is unconstitutional and ineffective.” Andy McCarthy goes on to explain that the statistical overrepresentation of blacks in the prison population…is caused by patterns of offending. “Federal sentences (and sentences in most states) are computed under race-neutral guidelines that factor in both offense conduct and criminal history. The more crimes one commits, the heavier the sentence for any one crime. This is a recidivism thing, not a race thing.”

Across the pond, “knife crime has soared since Theresa May kerbed police use of stop and search, a tactic that activists condemn as “racist” but which senior officers insist saves black lives.

The year ending December 2016 saw 32,448 criminal offences involving a blade or other sharp weapon take place in Britain, a rise of 14 per cent from the previous year and the biggest knife crime total since 2011.

With five young men having been stabbed to death in London already this year, police warn that these are the first signs of a knife crime epidemic in major UK cities.

Lots to ponder in these articles. Which cities are being run by Democrats? Is the race situation better or worse as a result of former president Barack Obama’s policies? What about the “Black Lives Matter” movement? Heather MacDonald suggests that what has been called “the Ferguson Effect” is real and has caused police officers across the country to pull back a little, which has resulted in a rise in crime.  She reminds us that most police officers went into policing to protect the people from crime and violence, and care about  the people they serve. Her newest book The War on Cops is one of the most important books of the last year.

She was the target of silencing tactics two days in a row last week. The more serious incident took place at Claremont McKenna College at Claremont, California. A Facebook post from the “students of color at the Claremont Colleges

announced grandiosely that “as a community, we CANNOT and WILL NOT allow fascism to have a platform. We stand against all forms of oppression and we refuse to have Mac Donald speak.” A Facebook event titled “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascist Heather Mac Donald” and hosted by “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascists” encouraged students to protest the event because Mac Donald “condemns [the] Black Lives Matter movement,” “supports racist police officers,” and “supports increasing fascist ‘law and order.’”

Poor dumb kids. As Heather said “My supposed fascism consists in trying to give voice to the thousands of law-abiding minority residents of high-crime areas who support the police and are desperate for more law-enforcement protection.”  See Baltimore above. When the county statistics for 2016 become available, looks like the murder rate will climb once again. Spare a moment to honor the Policemen who have lost their lives this year trying to protect the American people. It should not be a thankless job.

 




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