American Elephants


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.



Will Obama Get His 16-Year Era Of Progressive Rule to Fundamentally Transform America? by The Elephant's Child

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I received my copy of The Claremont Review of Books summer edition in the mail today, and a paragraph in the editorial statement caught my eye. Charles Kesler reflected on the campaign season.

For President Obama , the stakes are clear. As he told Politico recently; he wants his legacy to include “a 16-year era of progressive rule” that would upend the Reagan Revolution and fulfill his promise in 2008 to transform the country “fundamentally.” Obama’s own achievement, in other words, depends on eight years of a Hillary Clinton Administration, its agenda shoved further left by Bernie Sanders’s “political revolution.”Whether Obama likes it or not, if Change doesn’t continue, Hope will die, above all his hope of being the progressive Reagan.

I am continually amazed at the ignorance of the benefits of free market capitalism that is necessary to believe in a glorious Progressive future. But then, Christiana Figueres, Secretary General of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, cheerfully admitted that they weren’t really interested in saving the Earth from a forthcoming climate disaster, but that it was their best chance of ridding the world of Capitalism.

How do they continually banish the clear evidence before their eyes of the results of progressive governance? People are voting with their feet to leave the states where the administrative state reigns. Companies cannot make a go of it under confiscatory taxes and ever-increasing regulation. 9,000 businesses have packed up and left California for less regulation and lower taxes. The Cities that have been run by Democrats the longest, are the cities with the highest murder rates, the most dysfunction. There is a long and ugly history of socialism, but they just didn’t do it right? Obama has tried to open up Cuba with a visit and promises of closer relations, and the Castros simply said fine, but we’re not changing anything.

Venezuela is a classic example—an oil rich country that cannot feed their people who are breaking into the zoo to kill the starving animals for food. The absence of toilet paper has been the most celebrated, but there is little food in the stores, and long lines when the slightest truck loads come in. Nicholas Maduro has tried to confiscate all weapons — as he has some idea of his future.

Steven Hayward captured the essence of the administrative state in one paragraph.

Here’s Richard Epstein on “The Perils of Executive Power.

David Harsanyi  writes about “California: The Ultimate Nanny State.”

 



Enough With the Tired Old Slogans. Let’s Talk About the Real Issues. by The Elephant's Child

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“This is the most important election of my lifetime,” unfortunately, that is a statement you hear in every election. But then, sometimes, it’s true.  So do we worry most about — ISIS? The plight of Europe as they can increasingly not cope with the flood of migrants, many of whom are ISIS fighters? Or do we worry about terrorist attacks in our own country? Is it the Zika Virus? Or is it the economy which after over seven and-a half long years has shown little sign of a real recovery. This is really not the new normal.

Republicans are more apt to recall what they learned in school about separation of powers and federalism. Democrats have decided that they are far more interested in controlling the peoople, and that is a problem.

President Obama has maintained a steady course of increasing new regulations, more spending on”infrastructure,” more spending on the chimera of global warming, and through his unconstitutional executive actions, he has backed federal mandates on business, closed a lot of small businesses, increased taxes and in the strange interest of making America just one among the many countries of the world, made America weak. And then there’s the Iran Deal.

The executive actions are a big problem. All presidents do some, but President Obama has carried it to an extreme, and Congress has found it hard to cope. This is the first time we have had a president, schooled by Saul Alinsky, determined to change the country to something that is more in line with his personal vision of social justice, and unconcerned with following custom or the rules.

Republicans are inclined to believe that there is no such thing as “social” justice — that justice is what is embodied in our courts, our body of laws, our Constitution and the constitutions of the several states.

Democrats have had a degree of success with “social justice” and the associated ideas of an unjust minimum wage, income inequality, racial injustice, “white privilege,” a War on Cops, excessive incarceration of black perpetrators, too many blacks in prison, thousands of Syrian “refugees” who cannot be vetted are put ahead of those who have waited patiently in line as legal immigrants, and of course “crumbling roads and bridges.” You will notice that most of these are rallying cries in the Democrat campaign.

I continually get the sense that Democrats operate with talking points handed down, and thus do not have to study issues, read, or think seriously about history or the world, or about whether their issues are right or workable or even make sense. Or maybe that’s just Hillary.

They seem to be fixated on an improved version of socialism that will be socially just, totally different from all those other socialisms, and will fix all the dreadful problems of America — as it is. They find the old buildings and their peeling paint and the antique cars in Havana charming, and can’t get it through their heads that it is “charming” because that’s all they have. They completely ignore the devastation in Venezuela where the people are dying from lack of the simplest medicines, and plain starvation. They broke into the zoo to kill a horse to eat, but the animals in the zoo are starving to death too.

Hillary wants to raise taxes on the rich, who already pay most of the taxes, and on corporations, capital gains, death taxes and stock transactions, without the slightest understanding that will simply deliver more stagnant growth, falling wages and declining productivity. But then, that’s what her economic plan promises. More of Obama’s “success.”

What makes economies grow and prosper are free markets and free people who can work to come up with new ideas and bring them to fruition in their garage or small town or big city. Freedom works small and big miracles every day. Tried and tested for 240 years.



More Than You Wanted to Know About Garbage Disposals. by The Elephant's Child

 

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Late last night, very late, I must have put something I should not have put down in the disposal. Probably lettuce, because we had a big salad for dinner. Got it  unclogged and flowing freely again, but it was clearly time to look up what to put down the disposal and what not to. The Don’t List is long, and includes nothing that is not biodegradable food. Or as someone else said — just put down what you would feed your baby. So why did I buy this appliance?

  • Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal or even paper.
  • Don’t grind anything combustible.
  • Don’t grind cigarette butts
  • Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.
  • Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
  • Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes (avoid artichokes like poison), asparagus, carrots Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains .
  • Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles. Then turn off water.
  • Don’t put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause blades to stick.
  • Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running; this will help the food scraps flow down freely through the drain pipes and plumbing.
  • Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot; they do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
  • Don’t grind large animal bones (beef, pork etc.), no shrimp shells. Other lists contain even more no-nos.
  • Avoid putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. They won’t harm the garbage disposal and they’ll actually help eliminate odors. However, they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs. Best to avoid. If you don’t have one, buy one of those little screen covers for the drain that keeps bad things from inadvertently going down.

So what can you actually use the expensive little appliance for? Not much. Sour milk, baby food. You can grind up a lemon or orange and rind to make it smell better. Once a month or more often, freeze some vinegar in an ice cube tray and grind that up. The ice will scour the disposal, and keep the blades sharp.

If, in spite of faithfully following the rules, your disposal still gets clogged, Google or Bing will have specific directions for clearing it, but if you have dumped artichoke leaves in, prepare to buy a new disposal. Been there, done that.

The problem is that those little green waste bags made for your city-supplied little green bin, are made from cornstarch and will instantly dissolve at the merest hint of moisture. Things like coffee grounds do make wonderful compost. If you live in a house, buy a small or build a large compost bin. Coffee shops are often happy to have you take used coffee grounds off their hands. If you live in an apartment, there’s no hope. You just have to cope. Consider this my good deed for the day.



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.



Judge Jeanine Pirro Explains Hillary Clinton. by The Elephant's Child

I don’t watch television, but get my news online or on the radio, ao I wasn’t really familiar with Judge Jeanine Pirro, but she went on a bit of a rant on Saturday that is really special.

You have probably guessed that I am a Republican— the American Elephants thing is  a clue. When the Clintons moved into the White House, I didn’t really know all that much about them. A political campaign is not exactly a good way to get to know the real candidate, and politics is a weird occupation — pays well though.

Living in the White House must be a strange change for most newly-elected Presidents and their families: big staff, little privacy, and you have the Secret Service to accompany you everywhere, for your safety and protection. It’s a thankless task. The service members are sworn to lay down their lives to protect the President and his (or her) family.

Hillary taught Chelsea to refer to the Secret Service men — as “the Pigs.” Then I learned that she called them, directly to their faces, in the most vulgar epithets, even when they made the simple mistake of saying “Good Morning.” Hillary has a mouth like a sewer. I knew the words existed, I’m not that naive, but I had never heard of them being directed to a public servant in such a situation. That’s not bad manners, it’s bad character.

She has never given me reason to change my opinion.



Now California’s Climate Cops Are Going After the Cows by The Elephant's Child

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California is sliding slowly into the abyss. It’s not enough that 9,000 companies have packed up and moved to more tax-friendly states. The Bay Area is so expensive that few can afford to live there. Progressives run the place like their own personal slot machine.

The California Air Resources Board has issued regulations to cut the state’s greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but the board is getting worried about their climate agenda. It could all be ruined by natural phenomena.They’ve gone after the oil producers, the manufacturers and now they are going after the cows.

It’s methane, which”according to the board is a ‘short-lived climate pollutant with an outsized impact on climate change in the near term.” ” “Cow manure and ‘enteric fermentation’ (flatulence) account for half of the state’s methane emissions.”

“If dairy farms in California were to manage manure in a way to further reduce methane emissions,” the board explains, “a gallon of California milk might be the least GHG intensive in the world.” And the most expensive. Many California dairy farms have already been converted into nut farms, which are more economical amid the state’s high regulatory costs.

The board suggests that dairy farms purchase technology to capture methane and then sell the biogas to consumers. Yet the regulators acknowledge that most ideas involve environmental trade-offs and are not cost-effective without substantial government subsidies and regulatory credits that can be sold to fossil-fuel producers….

Other brainstorms include breeding animals that belch less and testing “gut microbial interventions”—though no doubt Democrats will want to see if the anti-genetic-modification activists object. This all may be too much information for readers, but it shows that in their attempt to impose their climate religion there is no corner of the economy or life that progressives won’t try to control.

They don’t give up. They believe what they want to believe, and are sure that anything else is a lie and shouls probably be prosecuted. The climate of the earth over the past century has warmed by approximately 7 tenths of a degree Centigrade.  Carbon dioxide, which they are desperately trying to get rid of, is fertilizer for plants and is greening the world, and helping to feed a hungry planet. California has managed its water resources so poorly that the great Central Valley, the breadbasket of the world, has turned into a dust bowl as they attempt to save the Delta smelt, a tiny bait fish that may or may not be endangered.




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