American Elephants


Sometimes Complaints Are Heard, And Action Is Taken. And Sometimes Not. by The Elephant's Child

The company behind the Advanced Placement courses for U.S. high school students released a revision to the standards for the AP U.S. history Thursday morning, after significant complaints from conservatives who claimed the redesigned course framework, released last year, presented American history in far too negative a light.

A new section on the concept of “American exceptionalism” has been added, and some names that were omitted from last year’s framework, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, have been added. Old white men, I presume. This was a sticking point for critics, who objected to Founding Fathers being omitted and negative aspects being more emphasized than positive ones. The new framework pares down last years Thematic Learning Objectives from 50 to 19, according to a College Board official. Dr. Ben Carson said the curriculum was so anti-American that students who complete it would be “ready to sign up for ISIS.”

The Leftist domination of our colleges and universities is problematic. The nonsense about “microaggressions” and “triggering” isn’t dreamed up by the students themselves, that’s what they learn there. Here’s an article about Freshman reading choices for 2015, from the Pope Center, with summer reading programs from North Carolina universities.

Unfortunately, colleges often use their summer reading programs not to help students make the leap to the higher standard of scholarship that should be demanded of them at the collegiate level, but to expose them to books that may influence them to adopt the political agenda of the left. …

Especially popular this year are books centered on victimhood or identity struggles of various kinds. There may be good cause to learn about those topics, but when they become the dominant trend for summer reading programs over multiple years, one starts to wonder what really is the intent of these programs. Such consistent pounding away at similar themes, given the entire vast array of books from which to choose, suggests the programs are meant to introduce students to a certain worldview, and the reading program is just the convenient and seemingly scholarly way to do so. 

 



Senator Tom Cotton Shows How it’s Done in Questioning Secretary of State John Kerry by The Elephant's Child



It’s Panic Time At Planned Parenthood! by The Elephant's Child

Planned Parenthood is in full panic mode. The organization’s involvement in the trafficking of aborted baby organs has gained so much attention in the news, and in Congress, that Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, felt compelled to appear on ABC’s This Week on Sunday to defend the organization.It didn’t really go well.

Richards claimed repeatedly that the videos that have been released were heavily edited, but the full versions were released at the same time as the condensed versions. Richards also claimed that Planned Parenthood does not receive any financial benefit for “donating” fetal human organs for biotech research. She claimed it was just the cost of shipping the fetal material to the research institutions. But their own officials make it clear that this is not so. Medical sources say the need for fetal specimens for “research” is outdated and stem cell research is concentrating on adult stem cells, though some haven’t updated their research methods.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-26-at-6.41.14-PM-489x650It has also been reported that Planned Parenthood is advertising for paid demonstrators — “Activist Jobs”to “earn $1,600 – $2,500 a month to oppose attacks on healthcare access, expand reproductive rights and keep birth control affordable.”

Planned Parenthood has hired the Democratic SKDKnickerbocker PR firm to handle the public relations effort surrounding the growing organ trafficking scandal.

The group has circulated a memo to reporters and producers late Monday to discourage them from airing the undercover videos, claiming they were obtained under false identification and violated patient privacy. If you wonder why some liberal outlets are avoiding the story completely — that’s why.



Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA) Attempts to Get Some Straight Answers From John Kerry by The Elephant's Child

Secretary Kerry struggled to explain how the nuclear accord with Iran will benefit the United States of America. Questioned about Iran’s continuing commitment to killing Americans and Israelis, Mr. Kerry was unable to explain how the nuclear accord would moderate the regime’s behavior.

“Don’t give me any lessons. Let me make it crystal clear to you. This is America’s interest. Because America is the principal guarantor of security in the region,” Kerry said. “Particularly, with respect to some of our closest friends, we believe Iran was marching towards a weapon or the capacity to have a weapon and we’ve rolled that back.”



The Continuing Battle Against The Left’s Tragic Delusions by The Elephant's Child

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Heather MacDonald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. She has made a career of painstakingly going into the nation’s police departments, town meetings and impacted urban neighborhoods to research the facts on the ground about how police practices actually affect lives.

She appeared on July 21, 2015 on the Harvard Lunch Club political podcast. The 35 minute podcast is at the bottom.

MacDonald spoke out against the poisonous influence that the “Black Lives Matter” movement is having on the quality of life in the very neighborhoods where the protests are taking place.

I think this is an even more extreme example of the way this country deals with race and policing, which is to talk fanatically about police in order not to talk about the far more difficult problem of black crime.

This type of policing that pays attention to public order is demanded by the residents of poor communities. They want the police to get the drug dealers off the corner, they want them to get the kids off their stoop who are hanging out there loitering and smoking weed and so that sort of policing is in fact a moral imperative.

Proactive police practices have been the target of protests against “police racism.” In what is called “the broken windows” style of policing, police detain perpetrators for minor violations like turnstile jumping or loitering and smoking weed. Far from being a threat to Black lives and Black communities, the one government agency most dedicated to the idea that “Black lives matter is the police force.”

Maintaining order on the small things makes it clear that the big things will be addressed as well. It demonstrates a low tolerance for crime. Rudy Giuliani’s policy of “broken windows” in New York City cleaned up the city of petty crime and big problems.The complaints from residents currently are getting louder.

The second part of the podcast  addresses  MacDonald’s recent City Journal essay “Microaggression, Macro Crazy.” It deals with University of California President Janet Napolitano’s asking all deans and department chairs in the ten university system to undergo training in overcoming their “implicit biases” toward women and minorities.

(H/t: Legal Insurrection)



The Unintended Consequences of Demanding Higher Pay by The Elephant's Child

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The law of unintended consequences strikes again. Low wage workers in Seattle spent months agitating for a city-wide $15 an  hour were successful in their agitation. The City of Sea-Tac (the area surrounding the Seattle-Tacoma airport) had passed a $15 an hour bill. The state wide minimum wage locally was already $9.32.

Workers in local hotels and restaurants and in the airport soon found out that the raise was not as profitable as they had assumed. Hours were cut. Workers suddenly had to pay for their own parking and their own lunches. Politicians, those unfamiliar with basic economics, often assume that they are lifting poor people out of poverty.  Not so fast.

Some workers across the city are suddenly asking their bosses to give them fewer hours, because the higher wage is forcing them off the welfare programs they rely on, so they can earn less to avoid losing assistance. 

Who are low-wage workers, and why can ‘t they get higher pay? A very large percentage are young people in their first job, learning how to work. A hike in the minimum wage law that is unrelated to economic growth, means the hike will be an unemployment act for young people. Ideally, the low-wage worker will learn on the job, skills that are transferable to better jobs. Most employers prefer to hire skilled workers than beginners.

Looking through the images of “Fight for $15″ protests, it’s clear that the main driver and sponsor of the protests was SEIU, hoping to unionize fast food workers. The main target was McDonalds. Oddly enough, a very large percentage of McDonalds restaurants are franchises or small-businesses, who are no more capable than other small businesses of absorbing the cost of a government-ordered increase in wage costs. Restaurants in Seattle are closing at higher than normal rates.

No one has ever doubted that it’s quite possible to increase employment and the minimum wage at the same time. But it happens when the economy is growing and demand increases. And, contrary to Mr. Obama’s usual bragging, the economy is not growing healthily.

Most people have encountered low-wage workers who hate their jobs, are unpleasant, but say the required “Have a nice day.” A worker in a local store fits that description, and adds to it tattoos on arms and neck, and ear-lobes stretched out to take huge disks. A long-sleeved shirt would take care of the tattoos, but the earrings will limit his future job prospects.

On the other hand, my grocery had a box-boy, high-school and Jr. College age, who always appeared to enjoy his job, remembered my name, and that I had two cats, and was cheerful and efficient as well. He’s gone on to college now, but he will do well in life.

If you work hard and become the best worker in your current job, you may be ready to move up. Work is not meant to be just a payment to you, but fair pay for fair work. There are plenty of unskilled workers ready to take those jobs you sneer at, and there are other replacements who don’t protest and don’t demand time off, overtime nor sick pay.

I should probably add that this is a case history in the way government welfare is set up to keep the recipients from turning to real work to escape dependence. They are not into helping people on welfare to become self-supporting.



The Iran Deal Actively Helps Iran to Perfect Its Nuclear Program by The Elephant's Child

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Omni Ceren writes from The Israel Project, a non-partisan American educational organization dedicated to informing the Media and public conversation about Israel and the Middle East:

The Iran Deal commits the international community to actively helping Iran perfect its nuclear program over the life of the deal. On a political level it means the deal will be seen as accomplishing the exact opposite of what the Obama administration promised Congress. Instead of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, it will commit the U.S. and its allies to funding and boosting it.  On a policy level it means Iran’s breakout time will be constantly shrinking.

The commitments across the JCPOA obligate a range of global powers:

Russian sponsorship/cooperation on nuclear research at Fordow — The Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) will be converted into a nuclear, physics, and technology centre and international collaboration will be encouraged in agreed areas of research. The Joint Commission will be informed in advance of the specific projects that will be undertaken at Fordow…The transition to stable isotope production of these cascades at FFEP will be conducted in joint partnership between the Russian Federation and Iran on the basis of arrangements to be mutually agreed upon.

European sponsorship of nuclear security, including training against sabotage — E3/EU+3 parties, and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran on the implementation of nuclear security guidelines and best practices…Co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.

International sponsorship/cooperation of Iranian fuel fabrication, which will help Iran complete its mastery of fuel cycle, making Iran’s program harder more opaque and difficult to regulate — The Joint Commission will establish a Technical Working Group with the goal of enabling fuel to be fabricated in Iran while adhering to the agreed stockpile parameters… This Technical Working Group will also, within one year, work to develop objective technical criteria for assessing whether fabricated fuel and its intermediate products can be readily converted to UF6.

This deal does the opposite of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. It funds, protects, and perfects the nuclear program.




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