American Elephants


Absolutely Entitled to Be In Charge! by The Elephant's Child

It is certainly clear that Democrats believe they are entitled to run things, to be in charge. Three years later, and they still have not gotten over it. “Entitled” seems to be the key word. They should be in charge – because they are morally superior. They are compassionate. They care.

Republicans clearly do not care. They make it clear every day. Desperate people looking for a better life, and Republicans want to build walls to keep them out. They want to send people to prison just for smoking a joint. They have this cruel police force called ICE that wants to track down immigrants living quietly in this country and deport them. They want to tell women what they can do with their bodies, and deny them health care when they need it most. They clearly do not really care about the people at all.

The earth is facing a horrible doom because Republicans won’t face facts and move to clean renewable energy, and stop the evil oil pipelines that are despoiling the planet, because they favor Big Oil companies instead of clean natural wind and solar energy. It’s very clear that Republican care far more about budgets and big corporations than they do about the American people.

If you just keep their moral superiority in mind, everything will become clearer and less argumentative. They are really trying to improve things. Just see what they are offering to do to improve your lives. Rein in those big corporations that are polluting the planet. Medicare for all, not just the old folks. Compassion for all.  Social Justice for all. More equality. More fairness. What more could you ask?



Are We Getting Dumber? Or Does It Just Seem That Way? by The Elephant's Child

I just questioned (online) the vaguely remembered claim that most Americans cannot name the three branches of government. It was supposedly only 26% who could not name them, then it got turned around to 75% of Americans could not, and just 26 percent who could, and only 33% who could name a single branch. Well, that’s informative. No wonder President Trump speaks of “Fake News.”

It’s clear that people don’t know how to think about the climate. Popular thinking runs somewhere from total panic because the earth is ending in just 5 years, to this article I ran across today: “A Relatively Painless Guide to Cutting Plastic Out of Your Life.”

Last year may have been the beginning of the end for plastic. It may have taken a while for the average person to wake up to its dangers, but many were shaken into action by the images and videos of plastic’s impact on the natural world that flooded the media in 2018.

A viral video showed a turtle with a straw stuck up its nose. Stories about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch revealed how island-sized trash mounds had collected in the ocean between Hawaii and California. And then there was that National Geographic cover of a plastic bag floating in the water, beneath the scrawled words “Planet or Plastic?” The issue publicized a remarkable statistic: Despite the world’s efforts to recycle, 91 percent ends up in the trash.

What, you are telling me that we have these huge, expensive recycling programs, and they don’t work at all? Not to worry, the plastic in the oceans apparently comes from China, which is actually worrisome. The United States has done a remarkable job of reducing noxious emissions — more than any other country.

This is from SEPP’s weekly newsletter (Science and Environmental Policy Project’ free newsletter)

Appropriate Models: Mathematics is the language of science, but that does not mean that mathematical models correctly describe physical phenomena. Or that a mathematical process in a model used in analyzing physical evidence (data) from observations and / or experiments suitable for one phenomenon is suitable for other phenomena. The model may or may not describe the subject phenomenon. That is one reason why Richard Feynman stated that hypotheses (guesses) must be tested against all relevant data. Experimental data is preferred because other possible influences are controlled to the extent possible, but observational data may be necessary.

Benny Avni writes in the New York Sun that as America’s Democratic Presidential Candidates promote programs borrowed from Europe’s traditional left, Europeans are increasingly pushing back against them. Angela Merkel was blamed for dragging Germany’s Christian Democratic Party too far to the left. France’s National Rally Party beat President Macron’s centrist faction. In Poland, Hungary and Italy, politicians of various right-wing parties are now in power, and anti-leftist parties are on the rise. In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau is struggling to stay in power after his Liberal party suffered parliamentary seat losses. Lot of Politics out there.

I got my hair cut yesterday, and picked up a copy of the old familiar Readers Digest  in the waiting room. No longer a big thick magazine, it had dieted down to maybe a quarter of an inch thick. Magazines and newspapers are clearly dying. I’m more concerned about the dumbing-down of society. I suspect that the online opinions flashing across computer screens suggest that people don’t read anything of length. Some websites are suggesting, beside their stories, that it is  only a 4 minute, or 6 minute read, to encourage those who have a tiny bit of time to pause long enough for their story. Reminds me to be brief and get to the point. But it suggests that we are becoming more superficial, less informed, and more open to bad information. What do you think?



AAAARGH!!! by The Elephant's Child

Forgive me, but I want to rant a bit! I HATE PASSWORDS! I did business with this outfit two or three years ago, wrote down the password in my little password notebook, but it seems that is not actually my password, because (???) it doesn’t work. Well, then, they have my special verification clues, which apparently is the name of my best man or matron of honor at my wedding a couple hundred years ago. But that doesn’t work, and which one did they want — male or female, They don’t accept either one. So we start all over with sending codes and emails and new passwords. Supposedly I gave then the name of my “favorite author” as a verification back in the distant past. Favorite author? I was an English major, I do not now or ever have favorite authors. It depends on what I just read and whether I liked it or not, and I read all the time. And all this was for a very unimportant $10.00 purchase.

Does anyone else have this difficulty with passwords and verification? Or is it a universal complaint? Didn’t some federal person just become a laughingstock recently because his password was “password”? Oh do, please, tell me your horror stories so I won’t feel so alone in my rage.



Sixteen Year Old Greta Thunberg Has Arrived in America to Address the UN on the Horrors of Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

Democrats have, in the modern era, always insisted that Republicans, those backwoods folk who live in the hollows of  Arkansas, or the woods of Idaho, are racists or Nazis, or whatever boogie-man they can devise. Democrats are destined to be in charge of the important things, like the country, [and major cities like New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle] simply because they are morally superior.

Democrat-run cities don’t hold out a lot of promise for allowing them to be in charge of much of anything. You should probably keep that in mind when you vote. That said, they are now down to 10 Democrat candidates for the next debate, and there will be only one, not two.

Our governor, Jay Inslee, has dropped out. His campaign was entirely about Climate. But ordinary people are not convinced. He is clearly a true believer, and it is looking as if our state is going to go entirely to renewable resources for energy. Wind and solar, which do not produce dependable power, and Washington state still has renewable hydropower, though we’ve pretty much run out of places to dam. Look for regular blackouts.

We apparently do not need facts in order to be concerned about climate. There’s a worldwide outcry and those most passionate fight to see just how many years we have left. I suspect that few have ever studied up to see what the cries of Climate Change are all about.  And as they cry passionately that we have only 12 years left, their information is as ephemeral as 16 year old Greta Thunberg’s insistence that she can (in complete refutation of science) see the molecules of CO² in the air. A little child will lead us, I guess. She has arrived by sailboat in  America to address the United Nations.

I am concerned with the amount of nonsense out there. I think that our reliance on computers has us accustomed us to too much news in snips and bits. The long reads of background and history and development get passed by, and our understanding because of that lack, is even more incomplete. When there are voices shouting Climate panic and suggesting that the earth is going to end in a very few years, there are lots of people who will take that as fact, and order their lives accordingly, without ever studying up.

It is quite possible to determine who are the experts and who are the phonies, and what is established and what is simply fashionable conversation. Whenever there is a Climate demonstration, there’s usually someone in a polar bear costume to elicit pity and warm feelings, but the polar bears are just fine and multiplying nicely according to Susan Crockford who is the expert on polar bears. But that is how it works today



The Hottest July on Record? Not So Fast! by The Elephant's Child

When President Trump complained about “Fake News” the media, en masse, had a hissy-fit. How Dare He!! In the interest of the “Climate Crisis” the media has been touting “The Hottest July on Record.” File that one along with the Amazon Rainforest burning up.

When climate happens to you, it seems like the worst one ever. If you sweltered in New York this July, I’m sure it felt like the hottest ever, but the statistics don’t support your feelings. There’s some pretty impressive graph work here. And graphs are another one of those things that seem to get too complicated for us poor mortals. You have to spend a little time to really absorb what they are saying.  The hottest was way back in 1936. 2019 wasn’t even in the running. Fake news indeed!



Words, Words, Words, But Does Anyone Really Read Anymore? by The Elephant's Child

The conversation out there has become quite impossible. Rude, insulting, partisan, phony, uncivil. How did we get here? Everyone seems to be playing the old “can you top this” game. Can insults become offensive enough? Some were suggesting that it was a matter of attention. People just weren’t paying enough attention, and they didn’t understand what was really going on. I’m not convinced. But it started me off on a slightly different track.

I have been noticing that people don’t seem to read anything much – in depth. Snippets here and there. A few lines, and decide it’s not interesting enough. A headline here, a picture caption there and on to something else. Reading is complicated, much of the writing is lightweight. The internet world flashes words. A serious passage is interrupted with ads and pictures, The worst is a ad with a picture that is moving right in the middle of something that promised to be rewarding. Your concentration is always broken. Words and voices are competing constantly for your attention. While you are trying to read a short paragraph, a message appears about your incoming mail, and are you listening to the radio while you read? As you surf the web, are you actually learning anything at all? What do you do with longer pieces that promise to offer something worthwhile? Do you read it immediately to see if it is worth saving or just save it, and forget to read it later?

Think back to earlier days when new information was not so easily obtained. When there were town criers, when the telegraph finally crossed the continent. When books were scarce, and information only arrived occasionally. Now we are drowning in it, and view it with mild interest and often contempt. We suffer from a glut. The fact that it is no longer valued is exemplified by the proliferation of “fact-checking sites,” Back when information was slow and scarce, we probably believed it all because there was no competition. Do you know the history of our country? Do your kids know the history of our country? Or only Howard Zinn’s phony version?

Let’s say you are interested in China, because you have heard of the Hong Kong riots, and “Trump’s trade war”— how do you satisfy the urge to know more? Do you start with a Google search? Turn to Fox News or the Huffington Post or Drudge? You surely search for a source you trust, but why has that site earned your trust? And are they informed enough to have good information, and how much information do you need to find to satisfy the need to know?

I was an English major a hundred or so years ago, and I learned to read and read a lot. I know I read a lot more than my kids do, because I have more available time. Do you squeeze the news into your work day? Or does that wait till you get home? I suspect that in the “Information Age”, we may be dumber and more poorly informed than ever before. I think there are many who have never learned to read the hard stuff. What has Twitter done to our use of words and our understanding? Are our kids learning too much from computer screens instead of the printed page? Newspapers and magazines are clearly slowly dying. Do people subscribe to newspapers and magazines any more? Does anyone subscribe to a movie magazine or a People type magazine except for Doctors offices and hairdressers? Are any of your children real readers who get lost in a book? And how did they get that way? I think there is a big change here underlying our present world, and I’m not at all sure it is a good one.



Reason’s Remy With a Beatles Parody by The Elephant's Child

Here is Reason’s Remy with a parody of the Beatles, with Remy playing the whole band. Making fun of the Left is always great fun, and Remy is good at it.




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