American Elephants


General John Kelly: An Emotional Press Conference by The Elephant's Child

If you haven’t watched this today, please watch it now. It’s important. General Kelly takes on the media reaction to a presidential call to a bereaved widow who just lost her husband.

He patiently explains just how the American military treats the loss of one of their own, step by step. General Kelly understands the whole thing deeply, from all sides. He understands enlisting in the military, serving in war, reaching a position where he must send men into harm’s way, and losing some of them to an enemy, and making calls and sorrowing with the bereaved. And he’s been notified of the loss of his own son and received the condolence calls and visits himself.

A Florida congresswoman disgraced herself and her party. Contemptible.

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Poor Information Flow Between School and Home by The Elephant's Child

Was I saying that it “can’t happen here?” of course it can. Here’s a report from the Minnesota conservative think tank the Center of the American Experiment (CAE) about the public schools in Edina, a Minneapolis suburb, one of the wealthiest cities in Minnesota. The school district has long been regarded as one of the state’s very best. The problem seems to be the lack of information that flows between school and the students’ homes.

The Schools in Edina have “increasingly implemented a controversial, ideologically-driven curriculum” first reported by Intellectual Takeout here and here. And surprise, it’s all about race, class and gender.

If you are thinking, “I don’t live in Edina, what do I care.” You’d probably better pay attention if you have children in school, or expect to, or have grandchildren, or just care about your local schools. Surely you have noticed that our colleges and universities are hotbeds of political indoctrination and activism. Education has long been considered an easy major, and Education Departments have always felt slightly looked down upon because of that, with some justification. Or listen to new teachers complain that they were never really taught how to manage a classroom and control the uncontrollable.

Today, for example, K-2 students at Edina Highlands Elementary School are learning—through the “Melanin Project”—to focus on skin color and to think of white skin as cause for guilt. “Equity” is listed as a primary criterion on the district’s evaluation for K-5 math curricula. At Edina High School, teachers are haranguing students on “White Privilege,” and drilling into them that white males oppress and endanger women. In a U.S. Literature and Composition class, 11th-graders are being taught to “apply marxist [sic], feminist” and “post-colonial” “lenses to literature.”

“In short,” Kersten concludes, “in Edina, reading, writing, math and critical thinking skills are taking a backseat to an ideological crusade.”

• A teacher tearfully told a classroom of 100 students that “the election was rigged.”
• Another teacher announced to a class that “Trump winning was worse than 9/11 and the Columbine shooting.”
• Students gathered in the high school commons on election day chanting “F*** Trump,” while teachers watched on, doing nothing.

While the schools are busy with activism, the consequences are that one in five high school students can’t read at grade level and a third cannot do grade level math. The state ranking of Edina high schools has slipped from fifth to 29th in reading proficiency.

I’ve been a parent, and it’s easy to feel all warm and fuzzy when the teacher’s note or the teacher conference tells you what a good student you have, who is a delight to have in the classroom. But that is not real communication with the school and the curriculum. Schools have decided that  kids don’t need to learn cursive writing, because they will always have keyboards. So the ability to write a hand-written thank-you or sympathy note, or simply a gracious thank-you for a job interview will be beyond them.

College professors all over the country are complaining about their incoming students, their inability to read, write and think. We need to take that seriously and to be sure that we know what our schools are actually teaching, or we will suddenly wake up and find that like the previous video, we had no idea what the schools were teaching our children.



For Newly Naturalized Citizens by The Elephant's Child

Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, spoke at a September 21, naturalization ceremony in Bakersfield, California. The Wall Street Journal noted it in their column “Notable &Quotable:”

Every one of you has a story—an American story now. You come from many countries—but today the Pilgrims are your ancestors. You’ve known many leaders—but today George Washington is your Founding Father. You’ve experienced many hardships—but today Valley Forge is your winter.

The Declaration is your inspiration and the Constitution is your inheritance. Lincoln is your liberator. . . . The GIs of D-Day are your heroes. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of your dreams. The moon bears your flag. And our future is your future.

 You are adopted sons and daughters of America with every right, every privilege, every duty and every national memory of those blessed with citizenship by birth. I pray that as you grow into your place as a citizen, that what you would feel more than anything else is gratitude.
Very, very nice.


A Little Inspiration for a Chilly October Day by The Elephant's Child
October 11, 2017, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Education, Freedom, Heartwarming, Military, The United States

Admiral William R. Raven, 2014 Commencement address
 University of Texas at Austin.

It’s not Commencement season, but this excerpt from Admiral Raven’s address to University of Texas grads, is a particularly memorable one. And inspirational. Commencement addresses always strive to be memorable, to give new graduates encouragement for their first steps into the real world. New graduates are usually so wound up with finally getting to that point, wearing the caps and gowns, having parents and family in the audience. It’s a pretty big deal in a student’s life. I don’t know about you but I can’t remember who the speaker at my graduation was or what he said.

This one is memorable.



Obama’s Presidency Destroyed the Democratic Party by The Elephant's Child

This is an excerpt from a longer speech given at the Reagan Ranch. The full speech is about an hour long, and worth your time, but you probably don’t have a spare hour now. A hard look at the facts.



A Small Step Forward on Campus Disruptions by The Elephant's Child

It has come to this—the University of Wisconsin administration is, “taking steps to crack down on protesters who push their right to free speech and protest to the point where they shout down or entirely shut out speakers with whom they disagree.”

University of Wisconsin System leaders approved a policy Friday that calls for suspending and expelling students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations, saying students need to listen to all sides of issues and arguments.

The Board of Regents adopted the language on a voice vote during a meeting at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. The policy states that students found to have twice engaged in violence or other disorderly conduct that disrupts others’ free speech would be suspended. Students found to have disrupted others’ free expression three times would be expelled.

“Perhaps the most important thing we can do as a university is to teach students how to engage and listen to those with whom they differ,” system President Ray Cross told the regents. “If we don’t show students how to do this, who will? Without civil discourse and a willingness to listen and engage with different voices, all we are doing is reinforcing our existing values.”

The astonishing thing is that this perfectly reasonable step has become news. Ben Shapiro was shouted down at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last year. Jazz Shaw, author of the piece,raises questions about “who determines what differentiates disruption from legitimate protest?” What about protesters who are not students? And asks what is a disruption and what is protesting and expressing an opposing opinion?

How about just plain bad manners? Why is it acceptable to protest an invited speaker? Why does someone have the right to keep others from hearing a speech? Seems to me that someone who disrupts a speech should be quietly removed from the room. Why do they get to engage in violence or disorderly conduct twice before they get suspended? The University of Wisconsin seems to be on the right track, but way too wishy-washy.

Student protests seem to be all the rage, quite fashionable. In most cases an example of student ignorance and bad manners. I think immediately of the misguided protests against Charles Murray and Heather MacDonald at Middlebury and Claremont respectively. It is the students who are violating Constitutional rights of free speech, not engaging in it. And part of a University’s job of turning out responsible citizens might be teaching about basic manners.



A Quick History of the American Revolution by The Elephant's Child

I like timelines or chronologies that tell you just where and when the events of history took place. It gives you a sense of history as it happened and what was happening at the same time elsewhere in the world. So you will see one here now and then, and I hope you find them useful.

So lets start with the 1765 Stamp Act, passed by Parliament on March 22, 1765. It imposed on all American colonists a tax on every piece of printed paper they used. The money collected was to be used to help pay the costs of defending and protecting the American frontier near the Appalachian Mountains, and 10,000 British troops were to be stationed on the frontier for this purpose. It wasn’t the cost that was so offensive, but the standard it seemed to set, that Britain could impose a tax without the consent or approval of the colonial legislatures. This was a tax on ships papers,legal documents, licenses, newspapers, other publications and even playing cards. That started things:
1767: Townsend Acts (import taxes on tea, glass, and products from England)
1770: The Boston Massacre (Colonists rioted to protest English soldiers there to protect British commissioners and the Townsend taxes) 5 colonists
killed, including Crispus Attucks, an escaped slave.
1773: Boston Tea Party
1774: The Intolerable Acts and the First Continental Congress
1775: Rhode Island abolished slavery.
Paul Revere’s Ride to warn Lexington and Concord
Battle of Bunker Hill
1776: Declaration of Independence.
Battle of Long Island (August)
Battle of Trenton   (December 25)
Washington crosses the Delaware R. (Dec. 26)
1777: Battle of Princeton (Jan. 3)
Burgoyne captures Fort Ticonderoga
Articles of Confederation
Saratoga: Sept. 19, and October 7.  Victory!
1778: American Colonies sign treaties with France and Holland,
reject British peace offer.
1779: John Paul Jones on Bonhome Richard defeats Serapis.
1780: Charleston Falls
Camden Aug 16, Kings Mt. 7 October, Cowpens, Jan 17
1781: Cornwallis Surrenders at Yorktown, October 19.
1789: George Washington chosen president
1799: George Washington dies of strep throat
1789-1793: The French Revolution




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