American Elephants

Be Thankful! by American Elephant
November 26, 2015, 11:56 am
Filed under: History, The United States | Tags: , , , ,


I am thankful for the health and well-being of my family and loved ones.

I am thankful that I am alive, happy, and retain all my necessary organs and appendages.

I am thankful that I am blessed to live in the United States of America — truly the greatest nation on Earth — where we still remain free.

I am thankful for the Pilgrims, the Native Americans, the colonists, our founding fathers, and thankful that I know liberal revisionist history is codswallop.

I am thankful that the Pilgrims tried and abandoned socialism before it killed them all, so that we could learn and benefit from their most costly mistake.

I am thankful that after progressives took full control of the elected branches, the American people threw them back out again as soon as humanly possible in the biggest electoral landslide in 75 years—and then repeated that shellacking in 2014.

I am thankful that I am blessed with everything I need: food, drink, warmth, heat, light, clothing and healthcare, and many comforts above and beyond that which I require.

I am thankful for opportunities to multiply and share these blessings and help those in need.

I am thankful for our armed forces who keep us safe at great peril and sacrifice.

I am thankful for the wisdom I gain every day from others.

I am thankful for all of our readers.

I am thankful for fresh apple cider, thick socks and down pillows.

I am thankful that I have more blessings than I can count here.

And I am thankful that there is a God in Heaven who loves us, and has blessed each and every one of us, no matter our circumstances, in different ways, and blessed us all in the same way, through His Son, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, to whom I am thankful for everything.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Break: Time For Some Serious Talks With The Kids. by The Elephant's Child

AP_yale_protest_05_mm_151110_12x5_1600The campus hooplah has died down, as it’s time for Thanksgiving break. Even the community organizers have to take time off for turkey. It becomes clearer and clearer that that’s what’s up. Organizing for Action and Americorps community organizers are hard at work stirring up discontent. An outgrowth of the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, and Baltimore, they are mobilizing mobs against “biased cops,” “climate change deniers,” “Wall Street predators,” and other assorted crimes against social justice.

They’ve had their power demonstrated as they get administrators to resign and faculty members admonished or fired or disgraced. But they don’t really have anything real to protest about. The hate crimes against blacks turn out to be fake, the fists held up in solidarity are unsure about just what they are in solidarity about. When those supposedly in charge want to know what the fuss is all about — somebody used the n-word, except there is no evidence. What do they want? More black studies courses! But there is declining interest in black studies courses because nobody wants to enroll. In today’s difficult job market, there is no demand for black studies, nor ethnic studies.

At Princeton the mob called for eliminating Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus buildings. He was a president of the University, and yes he was a bigot, and went on to become a president of the United States. History is simply what happened in the past. You can’t change it , or make it go away by disapproving of it in the present.

At Yale it was about Halloween costumes. At the University of Missouri, Jonathan Butler, the son of a wealthy railroad executive, went on a hunger strike to protest “revolting” acts of racism. Except the supposed acts of racism never seem to have occurred, or at least there was no evidence that they did.

Like the “campus rape culture” that never happened, Emma Sulkowitz has carried her mattress around in protest, but that seemed to be second thoughts about consensual sex.

At Amherst College, there are nonnegotiable demands from a student group that the president apologize for Amherst’s institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latinx racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native indigenous racism, heterosexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma and classism.” Oh please. The community organizers may have got the mob all stirred up, but once stirred, they don’t really know what to do with it nor do they have any clear idea about just what they are excited about.

The safe spaces, microaggressions, trigger warnings, are all nonsense promulgated by faculty more interested in social justice — whatever that is — than in scholarship and substance. No wonder some companies are looking abroad for STEM employees. Who needs a new employee who needs a safe space and no microaggressions? Every workplace on this planet has microaggressions daily. Roger Kimball has long investigated campus trends, notably in his book Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Higher Education. (2008). Take a look at his other books too. They are directly applicable today.

Mr. Kimball’s article in the Wall Street Journal was accompanied with a photo of a girl with a bullhorn (You can’t have a protest without a bullhorn) in the Odegaard Library at the University of Washington in Seattle. The rally was in support of black students at the University of Missouri where Jonathan Butler, son of a multimillionaire railroad executive was conducting a hunger strike because someone drove by in a pickup with confederate flags shouting the n-word— except no one could be found who saw such a pickup. But the football team threatened to strike in solidarity with Mr. Butler, because of other racist utterances, also unproven. Forfeiting the football game would have cost Mizzou $1 million, so the students got what they wanted, but they weren’t too sure of what it was. Lots of solidarity though.

But everybody across the campuses of America was in solidarity with whatever it was. I hope the parents of the unruly offspring have a word with their kids over Thanksgiving and return them to campus suitably cowed or don’t return them and suggest they get a job instead.

This is going to reverberate across academia. It is an ideological fantasy, and it’s going to get much worse. A lot of parents aren’t going to be willing to pay the freight at elite schools if this is the result. Universities have gotten way too greedy on the governmental push on student loans to back an ever expanding tuition bill. The American people are firm believers in freedom of speech and the Bill of Rights, even if the faculty isn’t, and they won’t put up with much of this.


Francine’s Interview — France by The Elephant's Child

Born in August, 1933, Francine Christophe was deported with her mother to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944. Released the following year, she continues to share her experience and memories with the younger generation.

(h/t: Maggie’s Farm)

Why is College So Expensive? Is It Worth It? by The Elephant's Child

b083ddd2-e58a-4a80-a72a-6af0700c5f16So why is College so expensive anyway? Parents who have a child about to enter the American university system are stunned by how much tuition has gone up — way more than normal inflation would amount to.

There are a number of big items at play here. During World War II, the young men went to war, not to college. That meant that colleges and universities limped along with women and 4F men. Even a lot of younger professors were called up. When the war ended in 1945, the G.I.Bill flooded the university system with returned G.I.s and often their new wives. Colleges had to provide housing for married students, and their new babies — the beginnings of the Baby Boom.

Beginning in 1946, and increasing exponentially through the boom’s high water mark in 1957 was a generation that found everything crowded from maternity wards to law school. From 1958 till 1964, the boom gradually ebbed. When the boomers were ready for college, colleges expanded to be ready for them. New dorms, new classrooms new buildings, expanded campuses, and even new colleges. When the baby boom ended and we got back to “normal” — colleges were facing a dearth of students to fill their expanded campuses. Colleges added amenities to attract students, and more amenities.

The federal government stepped in to guarantee student loans, which got the universities off the hook. There had always been scholarships for outstanding students, but student loans meant that universities could charge more because the government guaranteed the loans. There was no push-back from the government on the cost of college, kids could borrow what the colleges charged. Employers demanded college degrees

During the war years, professors salaries were held down, and many had summer jobs to make ends meet. When the baby boom arrived, professors wanted more pay and more free time for research, writing and counseling students. Large lecture classes were turned over to adjuncts who were paid far, far less. Professors with doctorates pointed out that CEO salaries were skyrocketing and they were better educated and deserved better. Inflation.

Inflation meant that everything cost more, and not just college. Food, houses, all kinds of goods. What it meant was is that in most case, both parents had to go to work, and families were smaller. What it meant for American universities was retrenchment. Employers were demanding college degrees, partly because primary education was poorly training students. That was a big benefit for colleges because more kids headed for college with big student loans. Big student loans meant that colleges could charge more. The federal government was subsidizing increased tuition. The politicians insisted that every child should go to college. Not true, some kids are not suited for college, and there are fine professions that do not require college degrees.

The end of the baby boom, and the smaller generation produced by the baby boomers because of inflation and working mothers wasn’t enough to fill up the university system. Some colleges closed, others went for more amenities. Climbing walls, bigger libraries, bigger swimming pools, tennis courts and student unions. More landscaping, sculpture. Professor salaries topped the $200,000 mark, and football coaches earned more, way more, that university presidents.

But they have reached a point of no return. To please students, classes have become silly. Gender studies in all its variations, ethnic studies, social justice, political correctness, speech codes, and on and on until we have today’s little “snowflakes,” who are so confused that they assume a right to be coddled, to never face disagreement or offense, but only sheltered kindness. Which means they protest against speakers who have different ideas than their own.

But Marco Rubio was right. Welders make a lot more than philosophy majors. There are high-paying jobs that do not require a college degree. Parents are home-schooling their kids, or forming charter schools that are part of the public school system but more effective. Teachers unions are fighting back, determined to remain in charge and applying all the political pressure of all the dues collected from teachers to get their way. Parents hate, with reason, Common Core, and the whole idea of a federally-directed curriculum. Federal bureaucrats do not know what is best. Times are always a-changing. Just what comes next will be a battle.

Here I should recommend a couple of books: Great Expectations by Landon Y. Jones, a popular study of the baby boom generation (1980). Essential reading for boomers, their kids, and the following generation who are stuck with paying for Medicare for the retiring boomers. Great fun. The other is really a trilogy, a marvelously funny academic satire by David Lodge, a former British professor.  The books are Changing Places, Small World, and Nice Work, now conveniently offered in one volume. It may be satire, but you learn a lot about academe.

I wonder how many full professors teach a full 15 hour schedule?

Quotation of the Day: How Times Have Changed! by The Elephant's Child

trumanpicBOnce a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.

–Harry S. Truman, Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, 8 August 1950
(h/t: The Global Warming Policy Forum)

The Quotation of the Day: Food for Thought! by The Elephant's Child

From Cafe Hayek:

From page 220 of philosopher Michael Huemer’s powerful 2013 book, The Problem of Political Authority

The general lesson is that if some part of government fails in its function, it will most likely be given greater funding and power.  Of course, the purpose of this is not to reward failure; the thinking would be that more money and power will enable the agency to solve the problem.  But the effect is that government grows when social problems grow, and thus it is not in the government’s interests to solve society’s problems.

Cafe Hayek added:

I recall long ago hearing David Boaz ask rhetorically about this reality: ‘Can you imagine a worse incentive system than one that rewards failure with higher budgets and punishes success with lower budgets?’  I can’t – yet that’s pretty much the prevailing incentive system for governments around the world.

Have you heard Carly Fiorian talking about “Zero-Based Budgeting?” That’s a serious attempt to rectify the situation.

The Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America by The Elephant's Child

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”


July 4, 2012, Phoenix, Arizona
About 250 new Americans take the oath of citizenship

In July, 2015, President Barack Obama stripped out the requirement for individuals becoming naturalized citizens to defend the United States through military service. On September 16. 2015 President Obama said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship that they didn’t need to assimilate.

“It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about adding a new chapter to your journey… and to our journey as a nation of immigrants,” Obama narrates in his two-minute video urging almost 9 million resident migrants to sign up for citizenship so they can vote in 2016.

There’s another new turn of phrase designed to hide or soften what he is doing. “Nine million resident migrants” — think about that for a moment. We wouldn’t want you to get all serious about an oath, or make you uncomfortable. There’s one graduate of Harvard Law School who apparently never really learned anything about the Constitution at all.

Human beings are tribal. It’s an instinct that comes down to us from the first humans, and it’s never completely gone away. Most of the nations of Europe are tribal. That’s why the Czech Republic separated from Slovakia. I don’t think you can become a German unless you have German ancestry, but I’m not sure about that. The countries of Europe each have their own languages and customs. The Middle East is divided between Sunni and Shia, with a large number of other tribes thrown in. And it seems to be human nature for the tribes to fight each other, over things serious or not so much.

We join big organizations, tea parties, bridge clubs, Rotary, Job’s Daughters, join a golf club, work for the Salvation Army or Food for the Poor, or just the Thursday night poker club. We form neighborhood clubs, research our ancestry, or join a gym. We are tribal by nature. We are drawn to people who share our interests or heritage, enthusiasm for quilting, or political leanings.

Americans came from all over, but what has bound them together was the formal oath of citizenship renouncing all other allegiance. You raise your hand and your solemnly swear, and you become an American —just as much as the immigrant whose ancestors came on the Mayflower or with the Winthrop fleet.

What Mr. Obama doesn’t get is that Americans are a tribe, we have a proud identity. Many Europeans say that you can identify an American in Europe by the way they walk—heads up, more confident. Does any other country celebrate their founding day with the hoopla and fireworks that we do?

The full-throated “USA, USA, USA” may be annoying, but it’s heartfelt. Howard Zinn may corrupt the young with his soviet-propagandized attempt at revising our history. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright may bellow “God Damn America “to the future president and his family, but there’s a reason why Stalin’s daughter, Khrushchev’s son, and one of Castro’s daughters all became American citizens. Russian oligarch’s moor their yachts in New York harbor just in time to get their newborn child American citizenship, and wealthy Chinese just happen to be visiting the country when the baby is due.  Mexican women wade the Rio Grande to bear their children in the United States. Why do you suppose they do that?

A small bunch of English religious refugees seeking liberty undertook a dangerous Atlantic crossing to an unknown land. Joined by other discontented Europeans, before long they were pushing back against English taxes, English regulations and English regiments. After sending the British back home, and writing a constitution, Americans pushed on across the Appalachians, facing angry Indians, bears and starvation. First in bateaus, then on horseback and in covered wagons, they crossed the Rockies and conquered a continent, fought a bloody civil war to free the slaves.  World Wars, John Wayne, the Super Bowl, Star Wars, the Marshall Plan, GI Joe, Baseball, Dunkin’ Donuts, the Grand Canyon, — so many things go into the making of an American, including complaining about the government. But here, it’s your right to complain. In Stalin’s Russia — off to the Gulag. In today’s Syria, we don”t even want to think about that.

Don’t be messing with the Oath Of Allegiance, Mr. President. We know that you are out to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” but if we had realized what you really meant by that, you’d be back in your house in Chicago and someone else entirely would be our president. You go too far.


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