American Elephants


Sometimes a Headline… by The Elephant's Child

Holman Jenkins column in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday was titled:
“The Long War on Donald Trump: The president is guilty of something. It’s Robert Mueller’s job to figure it out. “

That captures the whole thing so precisely that it made me laugh.

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Are You Offended by Free Speech? by The Elephant's Child

Free Speech zones, small spots set aside where one can speak freely? Parents and alumni should let their colleges know that restricting freedom of speech is a non-starter. Universities are very aware of what has happened at Mizzou and Middlebury, Claremont and Evergreen to name a few, and they deeply, sincerely don’t want any big drop-off in enrollment nor in Alumni donations. Since they all belong to the same crowd, they are not really aware of how offensive contemporary colleges are to many, with outrageous tuition, and Marxist professors who consider themselves as the righteous ones, working to bring about a new and better world.

FIRE is a dandy place for your donations if you so choose. They take them to court, defend free speech and defend students caught up in the melee.



The Leader of the Free World by The Elephant's Child

The presidency has evolved into something that was not quite intended. George Washington felt a great responsibility and made a real effort to avoid any elements of grandeur. There were many who would have made him a King, but he resisted, and set the plain standard for future occupants of the office.

Today, we still don’t do grandeur, at least not in the European way. In contrast, other new countries have gone for presidents as we did.  We do, however, make a very big deal of our president as the leader of the free world, and the most important man. We watch every action of the president and of his family, approve or disapprove, love him or hate him. Yet we think of him as someone we picked to lead for four years, and if he does a fairly good job, we’ll give him another four. Then we want them to fade away. George W. did a particularly good job of working with the veterans he sent off to war, encouraging the wounded, honoring those who served.

We are told that those who unsuccessfully ran, but were not elected, never get over it. Harold Stassen kept running for years. That may account for John McCain’s attitude towards Trump. Al Gore concentrated on getting rich with environmental propaganda. But we had what ? —17 candidates when Trump got the nomination. Do they all still resent that they didn’t get the nomination? I’ve seen signs…

But we really don’t want to hear from past presidents, except on formal occasions. Perhaps each retiring president should be supplied with a copy of Winston Churchill’s Painting as a Pastime. George W. got a copy and has used the pastime to honor the veterans who served. Very nice. Good paintings too.

Perhaps someone could send a copy to Hillary?

 



12 Principles for a 21st century conservatism by The Elephant's Child

Jordan Peterson is a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto in Canada. He also a clinical psychologist, and an important voice in today’s world. He is honest, and has thought deeply about what he says, and he thinks out loud and shares the process with you. His mind is well connected to his mouth, and he talks with his hands as well.

He clarifies the most basic things. Things that no one is making clear in our world as it is today. You will hear the audience burst into applause when they realize just how very basic those things are.

This is a very long video that is really worth your while. It might change your life. It is the answer to the previous video about how Sweden has gone so badly astray.

When you finally get down to the basic way things are, ask why they are that way.

(The introduction is way too long, you can skip some of it.)



The Teacher, The School System, The City Council, the Legislature. the Governor and Maybe Even the Courts Will Tell You the Schools Need More Money! It’s All Lies! by The Elephant's Child

What about America’s public education? There are a lot of complaints about K-12 as well. Many hope that Betsy DeVos, the newly confirmed Secretary of Education, can make a big difference in the schools that are failing our most-at-risk children in poor neighborhoods. She is a big proponent of school choice, which allows parents to choose where their child should go to school—something well-to-do parents do quite naturally without realizing that choice is not available to all. One of the great tragedies of the Obama administration was the president’s failure to support the nation’s capitol’s Opportunity Scholarships which have changed the lives of poor kids.

Most ordinary Americans support their community schools, and believe public education to be a good thing. Yet college professors are complaining that their incoming students don’t know anything. There was a small note of cheer this week when I ran across an article that said “Cursive Writing Is Making a Much- Needed Comeback in Schools.” Alabama and Louisiana passed laws in 2016 that mandate cursive proficiency in public schools, the latest in 14 states that require cursive. Fads, unfortunately, pass through the education system destroying everything in their wake. There is a generation out there who never learned cursive skills. They hold a pencil awkwardly, and write in big block letters.

Penmanship proponents say writing words in an unbroken line of swooshing l’s and three-humped m’s is just a faster, easier way of taking notes. Others say students should be able to understand documents written in cursive, such as, say, a letter from Grandma. And still more say it’s just a good life skill to have, especially when it comes to signing your name.

A remarkable amount of dross comes out of the schools of education. When computers arrived on the scene, they decided everyone would communicate with keyboards, and all kids needed was to learn “keyboarding.” You also have to learn how to read other people’s handwriting. I was lucky in that my father and an aunt had the world’s most execrable handwriting possible, and learning to cope with them made me pretty good at deciphering anyone’s scribbles.

The act of handwriting helps to fix the thought in the mind. You learn better if you write it down. That’s why people intuitively write lists, directions, rules and anything they want to remember. The more you write things down the better you will do in the memory department. This is an actual scientific fact. It’s all very nice to have things in 12 to 15 point type in a clear font, but the teeny keyboards you can pull up on your phone are not an improvement on a pencil and a scrap of paper. (If this kind of thing is of interest to you, try to get your hands on the 4 books by Richard Mitchell, beginning with “Less Than Words Can Say” or simply Google “Richard Mitchell underground grammarian,” and you will have access to his works)

“Diversity” is another fad that swept the schools. Children obviously couldn’t learn properly unless the classroom had a wide array of skin tones, ethnicity, countries of origin, language, etc., etc.  That schools were supposed to be about reading, writing and arithmetic, as they used to say, escaped the educators in the education schools. Teachers used to learn how to teach in “Normal Schools.” These were 2-year schools that covered the basics of grammar school. (There was also once a reason why they called it “Grammar” school) By the time kids got to high school, it was a bit more demanding so teachers gradually were required to have a college degree. Departments of Economics, Philosophy, Physics, that sort of thing, were apt to look down on Departments engaged in how to draw the letters of the alphabet on a blackboard, and unimpressed with PhDs in Education, which has made Professors of Education very sensitive, and apt to fall for the latest new thing.

Even more recent is the discovery that many black adolescent boys behave badly in school, and get sent to the principal, sent home or expelled more frequently than white adolescent boys. Obviously racism. And the cure is to just not expel or punish those who misbehave if they are black. If you know anything about kids, this is an invitation for more bad behavior. There is a rash of teachers being attacked in schools across the country. Science says successful students need hours of physical activity every day. They don’t get enough exercise. Boys particularly. But we have to protect children from physical dangers. Did you ever wonder where the teeter-totters went? Or what happened to the swings and the merry-go-round?

Parents trek to the schools for parent-teacher conferences and the teacher tells them how splendidly their kid is doing, and you assume all is well. But you have not learned the basic lesson of the schools. All problems are to be solved with more money. Class size is deemed to be a major problem, if the classes were smaller your kid would get more attention. More money. Even the courts have gotten into the money problem ordering states cough up equally for all districts everywhere. Some of the best schooling I ever had was in a one-room country schoolhouse with a very good teacher, a pump on the front porch, a stove in the classroom and two separate outhouses in the separate back corners of the property. It’s not the money, it’s not the playground (there wasn’t one, just fields) it’s not fancy equipment. It’s a skilled teacher. And the Schools of Education are failing, and it’s not their money either.

 



YouTube Just Censored a Video Criticizing Censorship! by The Elephant's Child

YouTube has just censored a video criticizing censorship.  Yes, the one just below titled “the Dark Art of Political Intimidation.”

Beginning in 2010, the IRS intentionally targeted conservative nonprofit groups and delayed approving their tax-exempt non-profit status an attempt to render them politically impotent during the 2012 election, Strassel explains.

In Wisconsin, a Democratic prosecutor went after conservatives in a shadow campaign finance investigation. The real reason for the pre-dawn raids on conservative activists’ homes and the subsequent gag orders legally compelling them to stay quiet about it all were to enact revenge for their support of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, she says.

These are two of several examples she highlights in this five-minute-long video decrying censorship of one’s political opponents, which YouTube decided to censor by placing it on “restricted mode.”It’s common for schools and parents to place their YouTube account on restricted mode to keep obscene or graphic content away from children. But PragerU’s videos, including the aforementioned one about censorship, are G-rated, so it’s unclear why the video platform is placing these videos on the naughty list.

Goodness, don’t let children see the short educational videos that Prager University creates. Here’s a list of the naughty and salacious videos from which children must be protected. Sound scary?

The Dark Art of Political Intimidation
Are The Police Racist?
Why Don’t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women?
Why Did America Fight the Korean War?
Who’s More Pro-Choice: Europe or America?
What ISIS Wants
Why Are There Still Palestinian Refugees?
Islamic Terror: What Muslim Americans Can Do
Did Bush Lie About Iraq?
Who NOT to Vote For
Don’t Judge Blacks Differently
Israel: The World’s Most Moral Army
Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology
The Most Important Question About Abortion
Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?
What is the University Diversity Scam?
He Wants You
Israel’s Legal Founding
Pakistan: Can Sharia and Freedom Coexist?

YouTube is a Google company. Google had many subsidiaries, and last year reorganized with the parent company becoming Alphabet Inc.  Visit Wikipedia.org and search for Alphabet Inc.

According to Wikipedia, Larry Page, Google CEO, said that “the establishment of Alphabet was prompted by a desire to make the core Google Internet services business “cleaner and more accountable” while allowing greater autonomy to group companies that operate in businesses other than internet services.”

A new study from SEO Competitive Analysis Company CanIRank finds that, confirming many conservatives suspicions, Google searches favor left-wing content.

It finds that top search results are almost 40 percent more likely to contain pages with a “Left” or “Far Left” slant than they are to contain pages from the right. Searchers are 65 percent more likely to encounter liberal search results than conservative search results among the five first returns to their inquiry.

Moreover, 16 percent of political keywords contain no right-leaning pages at all within the first page of results.

Are these findings the result of politically neutral rules for determining which results appear first? The study concludes they are not.

Google highlights two key determinants for ranking content: (1) the number and quality of links pointing to a page and (2) the content (i.e., relevancy and comprehensiveness). According to the study, pages demonstrating a left or far left political slant made it into the top results with significantly fewer external links compared to pages rated balanced. And pages with a right-leaning slant needed still more links to make it into the top results.

In the case of actual content, conservative websites were more comprehensive, which they measured by number of words, yet they were less highly ranked. The study also considered the secondary factors in Google ranking. Both sides of the  political spectrum agreed on where sites ranked in the study. Google appears to be biased towards the left. Voters get much of their information from search engines about elections and campaigns. This is not a minor thing, though many of us know to just keep going down the list until we reach a reliable website.

Go here to sign the petition to Stop YouTube from Blocking Prager U Videos.



The Washington State Ballot Makes National News, for some Surprisingly Dumb Issues by The Elephant's Child

vennwastate

Washington State voters have just received their ballots and the Voter’s Guide. It tells you something when we have already made the national news. The above Venn Diagram comes from economist Mark Perry, writing at AEI.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, we got a full article on “The SEIU’s Ballot Fraud:  The union tries to hoodwink voters into protecting its dues.”

That’s the story in Washington state, where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is funding a ballot measure that advertises itself as the Seniors and Vulnerable Individuals’ Safety and Financial Crimes Prevention Act. What the ballot measure would really do is prevent home-care workers from being informed that they have the right to opt out of the union.

In Harris v. Quinn in 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that home-care workers have a First Amendment right not to pay fees to a union they don’t wish to join. In Washington state the ruling was taken up by the Freedom Foundation, which sought to inform the members of two unions representing child-care and home health-care workers that they could opt out. …

Under the ballot measure, the Freedom Foundation or other outsiders would be blocked from obtaining the list of union members’ names. The unions know that when workers know they have a right not to pay union dues, they often don’t. According to the Freedom Foundation, of the roughly 7,000 unionized child-care providers notified by the Freedom Foundation, well over 60% have dropped their union membership.

National Review targeted the same ballot measure.

In Washington State, Unions Advance a Ballot Measure to Keep Members in the Dark.” It is disguised as a measure to protect the elderly from abuse but is simply an aggressive effort to keep home care providers from knowing that they don’t have to belong to the union, nor do they have to pay union dues.

Also on the ballot, but unaddressed at the national level is a state attempt to invalidate the (much hated by the Left) Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision, the aforementioned minimum wage issue,  a gun bill that attempts to remove guns from the mentally ill or depressed in an ineffective suicide prevention idea. And to top it all off, there’s an attempt to pass a carbon tax that would accomplish nothing, nothing at all, except an increase in taxes.

The Wall Street Journal also points out that “State government revenues have swelled 30% in the last five  years. That’s a bigger raise than most workers have received, but public unions and their friends are asking voters for more at the ballot box on November eighth.

So they are, and we should not give them a cent.




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