American Elephants

The Danger Islands and 1.5 Million Penguins by The Elephant's Child


In one of the most remote places on Earth, there are 1.5 million Adélie Penguins enjoying their own private island, completely unknown to  humanity. There they are on the Antarctica’s Danger Islands—something like 750,000 pairs of penguins. There were fears that perhaps the penguin population was declining rapidly due to climate change. Uh huh.

The islands are incredibly remote, surrounded by thick sea ice, and essentially hidden from the world. In this amazing world, there are still real surprises. New species are being discovered all the time. There are unexplored places. Many new things are popping up in NASA satellite images. In this case it was penguin poop.

Here’s the article. And there’s a video. The photograph above is by Tom Hart/Oxford University/Penguin Watch.


“Climate” Is A Tool For Getting Rid of Capitalism by The Elephant's Child


Susan Crockford, who may be the world’s greatest expert on polar bears, has released the State of the Polar Bear Report for 2017Bad news for the belief in climate doom. The polar bears are doing just fine. Their numbers are stable or have risen slightly since 2005. The predicted 67% decline in polar bear numbers just didn’t happen. Prey were plentiful. There was adequate sea ice in spring and early summer. The only place where polar bear numbers were drastically declining were in computer models based on flawed assumptions.

A new study published in the prestigious journal Nature finds that the global warming doomsday scenarios are not credible. The study finds that if CO2 in the atmosphere doubled, global temperatures would climb at most by 2.4 degrees Celsius, far below what the UN has been claiming for decades— that temperatures would rise by 4.5 degrees or possibly up to 6 degrees. This means that the planet is not as sensitive to changes in CO2 levels as they thought. The projected temperatures were just too high.  The computer models used to project future warming were grossly exaggerating the impact of CO2, as the planet has just not been warming as much as the models claimed it should.

But why were Leftists so sure that the planet was doomed? Why did they call those who were skeptical  — “Deniers”, and attempt to ban their voices and statements from public conversation? Nobody has denied that there is climate change. The climate has been changing for millions of years, and the Medieval Warm Period, the time of the Renaissance, was some of the finest weather known to man. We know about past ice ages. There is a major clue in this video that was published on May 2, 2017. The date is important.

This was supposed to be a video of a Climate March. but quite obviously, that was not what it was about. It was at a news conference in Brussels in Early February 2015, that Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity—but to destroy capitalism.

This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.

Does the Climate March, which was not a march about the climate but of ridding the country of the deplorable Donald Trump, begin to make sense? The Paris Climate Accords which were designed to transfer wealth from the industrial nations to the developing nations, end capitalism, and have no effect whatsoever on the actual climate, explain the Left’s rage at President Trump withdrawing from the Climate Accords, thereby ending them, and do their incessant efforts to impeach him begin to make sense?

I cannot fathom the brain-dead insistence that any failures of socialism or communism were simply because they didn’t do it right. The “If we were in charge it would have been different” refusal to grasp the realities of Venezuela, Cuba, or Soviet Russia itself. Of course there are those who absolutely believe that the globe is warming and we are all going to die if we don’t do something. People cling to their illusions when they deeply believe. It’s hard to admit that you’ve been wrong all along.

(I changed the headline to more accurately fit the reality)


Our governor, Jay Inslee, was sure that a carbon tax would pass now that the Legislature is Democrat controlled, but they wouldn’t go along with him. They dumped it.

Carbon dioxide is not “carbon” and is not a pollutant. It is a natural fertilizer for plants (hark back to your high school biology and photosynthesis) and the slight increase of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse gasses has been greening the planet, feeding more people and erasing fears of famine across the world. The planet is not warming, but cooling slightly, if evidence of snow in the Sahara Desert convinces anybody. The sun seems to be entering a quiet period with fewer sunspots, which seems to predict colder weather. The East Coast just got a cold blast as the news media has been informing us minute by minute, but thankfully it’s taking their attention off the demands for gun control, which doesn’t work either.

“Greens” Embarrass Themselves Once Again by The Elephant's Child

King Cove is back in the news again. An Alaskan tribal council voted yesterday to aid the Department of the Interior in a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental organizations against  the Department of the Interior and Secretary Zinke over a federal land swap to save Aleutian tribal lives.

In January Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke approved a land swap that would turn over 500 acres of federal wilderness to King Cove, Alaska, so the small city could complete the construction of a land route to Cold Bay, and the region’s only all-weather airport.

King Cove is a small fishing town of about  1,000 souls on the remote Aleutian coast. They call themselves King Cove City. People there have accidents, have babies, have trauma and other health issues that may need fairly immediate attention. For emergency cases they must get to the all-weather World War II airport in Cold Bay, 11 miles away. They requested of the Interior Department a 11 mile-long, one-lane gravel road which would provide for all-weather access for transportation for the 600 miles to Anchorage and doctors and hospitals.

At least 18 residents of King Cove have died because foul weather prevented a rescue helicopter from reaching King Cove. The town has a clinic for ordinary accidents, but no doctor and no hospital. It has a tiny airport, which is frequently socked-in with gale-force winds or fog. Back in March of 2014, Etta Kuzakin, a 36-year-old resident who was the tribal president, needed an emergency Caesarean section after going into early labor with her daughter. Giving birth in King Cove could have killed her and her baby. Medevac flights were grounded by ugly weather. She waited in labor for ten hours when a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was finally able to fly her out. Mother and daughter survived, thanks to the Coast Guard.

Sally Jewell, Obama’s Interior Secretary, met with Aleutian citizens in the gymnasium at King Cove to listen to their request for a single one-lane gravel lifeline to a dependable airport.  Ms. Jewell, former head of R.E.I. told her King Cove audience that “I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals.” She rejected the road, saying that “it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.”

Waterfowl fly, hop and walk. They are quite able to walk off a rarely used road to avoid being run over by a vehicle. They are not flightless species. A waterfowl’s potential annoyance at having to move trumps human life every time? Environmentalists always leave a mess behind.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke approved a land swap in January, turning over 500 acres of federal wilderness to King Cove to finish their road. Five hundred acres sounds like a lot of land, but it isn’t really much. I grew up on 400 acres, and I knew every inch. King Cove residents have been begging for this road for 35 years. At least 18 King Cove residents have died from causes related to not having a road available.

Nine ‘environmental’ groups, led by Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges, are pushing to block the land swap. They are accompanied by all the usual suspects: Wilderness, Audubon, Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and 4 others. One would assume that the idiocy of their lawsuit would be so apparent that there would be no contest, but Sally Jewell demonstrates the closure of the leftist mind. This is a swap, not a giveaway.

King Cove Corporation Spokeswoman Della Trumble said “After fighting for decades for a road, we will do everything in our power to defend the land exchange. This is a matter of life and death for us.”

Nikolas Cruz, School Discipline, and Misunderstood Statistics. by The Elephant's Child

Even though our legislators, we assume, are trying hard to make good law, they often fail miserably. Laws don’t just establish what one must do or not do, but laws create incentives. All too often the good intent of the legislation creates some very bad incentives that are poorly understood. What is your impression of the frequency and numbers of dead in school shootings? Increased or not? From a lot of the talk, one would think that we have a rash of school shootings, and more victims than ever, but that is not the case. Frequency and numbers are declining.

An article from the Broward County, Florida’s  Sun-Sentinel reported that Nikolas Cruz “kicked doors, cursed at teachers, fought with and threatened classmates and brought a backpack with bullets to school, in 2014 administrators transferred him to an alternate school for students with “emotional and behavioral disabilities” but in 2 years he was returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was banished for disciplinary violations but “never expelled from school.” Legally he couldn’t be.

Under federal law, the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Nikolas Cruz had a right to a “free and appropriate” education at a public school. As special education lawyer Stephanie Langer told the Sun-Sentinel, “You can’t just kick kids out of the public schools because you are afraid of them, or because they are hard to educate.” In Parkland, Florida, that notion overrode the right of other students to an education free from fear, and as it turned out, deprived them of their right to life as well. 

But it was apparently not, or not just, the 1973 law, but extensive meddling by the Obama administration in what they considered the “school to prison pipeline.”

This is a stunning example of the tendency of statistics to confuse and  mislead. The statistics pointed out that 61% of the incarcerated population were Black or Latino, while only 30% were white. Obviously this must be racism at work. A 2007 study by the Advancement Project and Power U Center for Social Change said of every 100 students who were suspended, 15 were black, 7.9 were American Indian, 6.8 were Latino and 4.8 were white. The article includes examples from around the country, and from different sources.

In October, 2015, Heather MacDonald testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing on proposed legislation to “reform” criminal sentencing by releasing large numbers of felons from federal prisons. The Obama administration was just getting going on their drive to end the disproportionate numbers of Blacks in prison.

The most dangerous misconception about our criminal justice system is that it is pervaded by racial bias. For decades, criminologists have tried to find evidence for that bias, and they have always come up short. In fact, racial differences in criminal offending account for all of the racial disproportionality of blacks in prison.  (my emphasis)

A year later, Heather MacDonald published an important article in City Journal: “Violence in the Halls, Disorder in the Malls” in which she explains that the pathology of the inner city, children without fathers in the home, single mothers with little time, gang culture, are the cause of violence in the schools and violence in malls, and the Obama administration’s destructive efforts to undermine school discipline were to blame. Nikolas Cruz, as a Latino, qualified to be treated with care, to avoid trouble with Education Department authorities.

Once again, we have the usual rush to judgment, and slowly, slowly, the facts begin to come out. Obama went to great lengths to seem the great leader of the Black Community, and increased the calls of racism, where there really wasn’t all that much of it. I guess that’s what he learned in community organizing school. Even if his efforts were well meant, the incentives were poorly understood and have had unfortunate consequences.

Politicize Everything. Act Without Understanding. by The Elephant's Child

You have  noticed, I am sure, that Democrats are out there in full cry, demanding that any businesses who have had possible dealings with the NRA be forced by the outcry to end any association with the National Rifle Association. Politicizing business is a very bad idea, as I noticed in an earlier post about “The Elephant in the Room.”  If a business decides to get political, half the country will take their business elsewhere.

Viewer interest in the Winter Olympics is down considerably as well, probably due to the young man who went to a foreign country to demonstrate his objection to Vice President Pence’s objection to changing the definition of marriage back when he was a governor, in an insulting display of his disrespect for the Vice President of his country. What is now being called “virtue-signaling” does not fool anyone, nor does it disguise bad manners and as members of our country’s national team, excuse such an embarrassing display.

The Left is very big on organization. That’s the reason for “community organizers.” Whenever opportunity arises, the Left will be there with a group of activists with pre-printed signs. No sloppy homemade signs, they want their organization and activism to be completely visible. The organized don’t really need to know much about the action, just that it’s time to be active with other activists in an action—exciting, and generates a feeling of power. Another example of the Left’s ultimate goal—power and control.

An article at the beginning of the NRA protests featured a photo of protesters with pre-printed signs from CREDO. Never heard of that bunch so I had to look them up. You can go to their website. Click on  “victories” in the header to see what they have been up to. The first signs simply said “Stop the NRA”. The second round said “Another”, then left a blank panel to be filled in with “Student, Mother, Grandmother, or Aunt. ” I would be surprised if any of the women holding signs had any idea of who the NRA is, what they do, or the extent of their membership. Their list of  “victories” is a startling exposé of where much of the fake “news” comes from. And CREDO is just one of their many activist groups.

It is particularly interesting because for the most part, conservatives, or people on the right are not much interested in organizing or being organized. Fiercely independent, conservatives are inclined to study up, be familiar with the Constitution, our history, and current issues. But marching around holding signs isn’t one of their favorite activities.

Interesting post today at American Thinker, attempting to understand the Left and their actions. Worth your time, and food for thought. The contrast with what the Lefties have to say could not be greater. When folks on the right do get together, they are apt to pick up after themselves. Demonstrations by the Left invariably leave a huge mess behind for someone else to clean up. Look up any big demonstration, Occupy Wall Street, the Women’s March (either one), the Standing Rock protests which left behind a $43 million mess to clean up with 240 rollout dumpsters. That’s fairly symbolic—they usually leave a mess behind in more ways than one.

Adventures With Cats by The Elephant's Child

A Day unlike most days, filled with unusual adventures. I will try to report tomorrow, but it’s very late and I need sleep.

And Just What Will Actually Prevent Another Tragedy? by The Elephant's Child

Disgusting.  Prominent Lefties are preying on traumatized kids. What could be more useful than a crusade by the children who survived a massacre to see their friends shot down, to further the Leftist goal of gun control? George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfree (of course), Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg have each pledged  $500,000 to the student gun control “March for Our Lives.”

Two million dollars can certainly pay for a lot of school buses and hotel accommodations. It probably could have paid for a significant number of metal detectors, or a fund for school guards, but the emotional weight of traumatized kids is more valuable to push for “gun control.” And just what sort of personal protection do each of these fat cats have? Body guards? Guards for their residences? Electronic devices? Of course.

What lefties fail to understand is that ordinary Americans oppose gun control, not out of a passion for the NRA, but because gun control simply does not work. It has been tried over and over in many cities,and  many countries, and the shootings go on.  A new favorite weapon is a truck. You can mow down a lot of people with a truck. Google the Nice attack.

Most of our public buildings are protected.  The capitol in Washington D.C. is thoroughly guarded. Every Federal building is guarded. Our State houses have metal detectors and guards. Courthouses have metal detectors and guards. Schools often have Gun Free Zones.

CNN has been urging the kids on, putting them on camera as often as possible. That is not only not healthy for the children, it is exploitative.  What is that doing to these kids lives? These teenagers were from 14 to 18 years-old.  Two years ago the 14 year-old was 12. Six years ago the 18 year-old was 12. They are still children and can contribute nothing useful to the conversation. We know that what they have been through will have a life-changing effect. Exhibiting them is a typical Leftist response—they want to use the emotion for their own purposes without a single thought or care for the welfare of the kids. That is what exploitation is.

It takes some time to study up, to familiarize oneself with guns, to study the statistics and see what is really happening. Much easier to start blathering about “assault weapons” and “AK 47s” without having any idea what they are and what their uses are.

Chicago has the strictest gun control regulations in the country, and the highest rate of murders and gun violence.The Chicago Police Department released statistics in January that show the number of homicides fell from 771  in 2016 to 650 last year. The number of shootings dropped from 3,550 to 2,785 during the same period. Baltimore has blamed their record high (more than 300) murder rate on lower Police presence. Lower police presence? The media made a great deal of the high-profile cases of police brutality, and police consequently backed off in neighborhoods.

The Left has gone into “overdrive” as John Hinderaker said at Powerline, demanding gun control, any gun control, same old proposals, none new and none that would have prevented the Parkland murders. The potential reforms lie in the areas of law enforcement and mental health, not banning firearms.

Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site.  She was a gun-control advocate until she and her colleagues at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year.

We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

The Washington Post Editorial Board, very left, is a proponent of gun control, but deserves some credit for considering both sides of the debate. The goal of the Left does not seem to be in saving lives, but in banning guns, eliminating the Second Amendment, banning the NRA which donates to the GOP. They want to decriminalize crimes and reduce the prison population. That’s supposed to appeal to blacks in high-crime areas who may have family members in prison. When crime statistics go down, it is usually because more criminals are incarcerated. Repeat offenders are not unusual. The Left does not do statistics, they do feelings. And that is a problem.

(Michael Rameriz cartoon is not this year, but pertinent)

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