American Elephants


Here’s Some of the Excitement of “Earth Day” by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday was “Earth Day” which I take no notice of.  Penn State University, however marked the day by announcing that they would refuse to allow a near-century old recreation club— The Penn State Outing Club founded in 1920—to organize the outdoor, student-led trips of camping and hiking . It seems they judge the activities to be too risky. Two other outdoor recreation clubs — the Nittany Grotto Caving Club and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club have been directed to end trip offerings.

Mark J. Perry Ph.D. a professor of economics at the University of Michigan Flint, writing for the American Enterprise Institute, posted a spectacular list of 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around the first “Earth Day” in 1970.

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

Here are the other fourteen: The true believers heard this news, swallowed it
whole, and attributed any suggestion that they were not true to the “deniers.”

A good many of the most hysterical anti-Trump crowd are in despair or fright because he withdrew from the Paris Climate Accords, which would have accomplished nothing, nothing at all for the climate. An amount too  small to be measured, the scientists said.

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Sunny Southern California And Smog by The Elephant's Child

Los Angeles smog

Scott Pruitt has been doing a great job of eliminating useless regulations at the EPA, so naturally the Left is going bonkers. Under the Obama administration, the EPA became a heavy handed armed bully, attacking innocent landowners, attempting to control all the waters of the United States, including the water draining from your downspouts. It was a vast overreach. The EPA was innocently founded by Congress with the idea that when great interstate projects were built, perhaps someone should be in charge of making sure they weren’t doing something damaging to the environment.

Downspouts are one thing, but Lefties are claiming that the Trump Administration’s plans to roll back the Obama fuel-mileage rules will increase pollution. Environmentalists have long blamed L.A.’s millions of cars and freeways for its smog, but even if most gas-burning vehicles were replaced by electric cars, L.A. would still have a smog problem. Los Angeles is a natural basin, ringed in by taller hills, a pollutant trapping topography, and sunny weather.

I lived in Los Angeles when it was smoggy, and it was bad. When you flew in, you’d look down at that brown soup and think— if I have to breathe that I’m going to die.

A recent study in the journal Science traced and measured volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Los Angeles. In the presence of sunlight, these compounds react with NOx to form ozone and smog. Car exhaust was once a greater relative contributor of VOCs and NOx, but engines are now much cleaner.

Researchers at the University of Colorado found that petroleum-based chemicals such as those found in deodorant, soap, hair spray, household cleaners, pesticides and other commercial products account for about half of VOCs emissions in industrial cities. Gasoline fuel and exhaust make up about 32%.

So, if you want less smog, shower less, don’t clean your house so often, but trees and people also emit VOCs. The biological sources of VOCs are also responsible for the blue haze in the Appalachians. The real target of the greens are automobile carbon emissions, but if all vehicles had electric engines, would we have enough electricity to support the country’s power needs and run all our vehicles as well?

Of course that’s why the Left wants to get us all out of our cars and into the nice electric trains they are building. The new Seattle Mayor is talking about tolls to drive on downtown Seattle streets, which isn’t going to improve her popularity.



Tom Sowell on Immigration by The Elephant's Child

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“What should American immigration policy be? It doesn’t matter what any of us think that policy should be if the borders are not secure, because whoever wants to come across that border will come across anyway in defiance of whatever the policy might be.

If legal benefits are conferred on illegal immigrants before the border is secured, we may as well give up any pretense that we have an immigration policy, because benefits conferred are never going to be taken back, no matter how porous the border remains.”



Business is Demanding to be Regulated. Bad Idea. by The Elephant's Child

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We seem to have entered an age where business executives assume that it is acceptable to do politics with their business. Businesses have, of course, long favored policies that help them to do business, and supported whatever politicians established the policy. That’s perfectly natural. But suddenly we have private-sector businesses entering the political fray, using their corporate budgets to silence free speech, sign on to very contentious political issues without the slightest awareness that there is a large mass of customers who may be offended.

“The reason that capitalism has managed to create real economic growth of 1.5% annually, and a 19-fold  increase in living standards over —the last two centuries — is because when people treat the marketers and inventors  as having some dignity and liberty, innovation takes hold.” (Those words are from economist Dierdre McCloskey). The reason why innovation has created and is continuing to develop computer connectivity, artificial intelligence and all that can lead to— is because business has been free of government control. There are many countries where such freedom does not exist, and government tells business what to produce and how and when, where and with whom.  Perhaps these executives were too busy with technology to study a little history: perhaps The Gulag Archipelago, or maybe Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom.

Milton Friedman, in his 1962 classic, presented his view of the proper role of competitive capitalism — the organization of economic activity through private enterprise operating in a free market — as both a device for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom.

Economic freedom is not going to work when some businesses chose to boycott other businesses for political reasons. They are dealing with the public, their customers, who can choose to boycott too, and are doing so.



There Are Always Consequences. That’s How Life Works. by The Elephant's Child

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In his speech, Dennis Prager mentions the bad ideas of the Left, and rates the Self-Esteem Movement as possibly their worst idea ever. Back in 1945 Dr. Spock published his “Baby and Child Care” for the generation of the mothers of the Baby Boom when the fathers of the baby boom came home from World War II. “He began his book with the reassuring words:”Trust Yourself”, but as Kay Hymowitz wrote,”Not that he believed it.” For some it was a bible, others simply found it to be a comfortable reference. So when Nathaniel Brandon published a path-breaking paper in 1969 called “The Psychology of Self-Esteem” that argued that feelings of self-worth were a key to success in life, new parents were ready for advice, since they had been raised on Dr. Spock.

The American school system was ready for the”key to success in life” and  his big idea soon became the hot new thing in education. The California Legislature, always ready to be the leader, even established a “Self-Esteem Task Force” for the state’s schools. Competition was frowned upon. Soccer coaches quit counting goals and gave out trophies to everyone. Criticism was replaced with praise, even when undeserved. In Britain, which usually follows our fads, Author Melanie Phillips wrote in her book All Must Have Prizes in 2003;

 Alas, the latest pronouncement from those in charge of our exam system is truly beyond satire.

Their new idea for boosting examination success is to abolish the very idea of failure, along with the difference between the right and the wrong answer to a question.

Overpraising does not work. Kids know when they deserve praise, and false praise makes them become cynical about the undeserved praise they receive. They perform better with skilled and serious criticism rather than empty praise.

Seventy-six-million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964— the biggest generation ever, anywhere, and they became known as the Baby Boom. Tract houses, bomb shelters, hula hoops, an economic boom, assassinations, Rock and Roll, Vietnam, and protests. Society had a hard time dealing with the numbers of the Boomers—they were simply unprepared. The Sputnik Generation, the Pepsi Generation, Love Generation, Protest Generation, Woodstock Generation. The sheer numbers demanded, and got, attention. Great Expectations by Landon Jones  (1980) was a marvelous study about how society and the numbers interacted. They’re not through with us, as their retirement is playing hob with Social Security, Medicare and elder care as the first Boomers turn 73.

Boomers moved all over, and so did their children. New parents didn’t always have a parent  close by for advice. College and graduate schools admissions became harder. Unemployment went up, divorce went up.

In 1996, Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. AMBER stands for Americas Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hageman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington,TX and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities soon followed suit, and the idea was adopted, but that too had consequences.

Before there was AMBER, there were news reports of abducted children. Doesn’t take much of that before parents start monitoring their children’s activities more closely. We now have “helicopter parents” — moms who “hover”over over their children to protect them from the dangers of the world. Parents who allowed their children to walk to a nearby park were turned in to child protective services. “Play dates” have become fashionable, and children are walked to and from school.

Psychology Today has even published a report (2017) on “The Effects of ‘Helicopter Parenting'”, which is continuing into the college years as some parents call the school regularly to find out how their kids are doing and trying to make sure they will get into graduate school. All these trends, fashions, movements  have an effect and have consequences.

You can’t watch Dennis Prager’s speech and his comments on the Left’s Self-Esteem movement without thinking of the celebrated  “survivors” of the Parkland school shooting. CNN and Media Matters have used the very young David Hogg for their own purposes, which are banning guns and destroying conservative talk radio, as well as preparation for the midterm elections. This is the worst kind of child exploitation. They have taken the young man’s ill informed cause for gun control, and are using him as a puppet to attack Laura Ingraham by attacking her advertisers. When corporate heads follow the misguided lead of a 17 year-old kid, there will be some probably severe consequences for that as well.



Devin Nunes Reacts to the Inspector General’s Inquiry by The Elephant's Child

Pulling information out of the FBI and the CIA has been an interesting exercise. You can tell how frustrated Chairman Nunes is. They were absolutely sure that Hillary would win, and none of it would have to be covered up. The best laid plans …and all that.



The March for Our Lives Was Not What It Was Cracked Up to Be by The Elephant's Child

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The Left is very fond of “marches”— it feels really good, I guess, to be out being an activist for a cause your really believe in, as much as you believe in much of anything. That’s what the few studies that have been done seem to indicate—that they promote activism, but don’t have much of any effect on legislation. Lots of fellow feeling.

The “March for Our Lives” was, as is usual, not what it was cracked up to be. It wasn’t the voice of a new generation, the voice of the future, but the same middle-aged women from the Women’s March with some photogenic teenagers out front for the cameras. The Women’s March was 85 percent women. The March for Our Lives was 70% women. Only about 10% of the crowd were under 18. The average age of the adults was just under age 49. Only 12 percent of the people who were new to protesting said they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue, though 60 percent of the experienced protesters were. The new protesters were motivated by peace (56 percent) and Trump (42 percent). Anti-War protesters are the most regular protesters. Lefty protests don’t really care about gun control, they hate Trump, the Right, and want the “U.S. Out of Everywhere” and the “Jews Out of Palestine.”

Daniel Greenfield did a marvelous job of digging out just who were the organizers and sponsors, and who directed the March. The kids who participated did not raid their piggy banks to get to the march. There were millions behind the funds.  The March for Our Lives Action Fund was overseen by six directors and incorporated in Delaware. Everytown for Gun Safety was formed out of two other groups: Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Both of which are front groups for Michael Bloomberg, the lefty billionaire, and the group is really New York City. Lots of long-time activist professionals to direct the events, from Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Florida was notably absent from the supporters. Lots of the usual Hollywood crowd.

Do read the whole thing to get an understanding of how these things work.  It has very little to do with Parkland. The mass shooting by Nikolas Cruz, which was badly fumbled and should have been prevented by the FBI. the Sheriff’s Office, the School District officials, or the school itself, who should be held responsible. Most of the participants have little idea of what actually went on. They shout about assault rifles, with no idea that there is no such thing, just ordinary rifles dressed up with some extra accessories to make them look sexier. The NRA is not some evil organization that sells guns. They support the second amendment and the shooting sports. Where I came from, people counted on hunting to fill the freezer for the winter. Others hunt ducks, or wild boar, or skeet.

 




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