American Elephants

Celebrate Diversity of Thought; Not Race, Not Sex. by The Elephant's Child
December 4, 2012, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Education, Freedom, Politics, Progressivism, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Few bad ideas are more devastating, and conversely more celebrated than “diversity.” There are few, if any, places where “diversity” is more important and more needed than in America’s colleges and universities. Every picture taken for the college catalogue will be a careful array of skin colors and ethnic heritages. If they could get some Indian (excuse me Native American) headdresses and Sikh turbans in the pictures they would be in seventh heaven. Yet conservative thought, conservative speakers and heaven forbid, conservative faculty members are simply not allowed. Diversity of thought is unwelcome.

The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto has some wonderful examples today:
“A construction crew working on the campus of Ohio’s Sinclair Community College was forced to halt work until it removed a ‘Men Working’ sign that was deemed ‘sexist’ by a college administrator,” reports National Review’s Eliana Johnson:

A spokesman for the college told National Review Online that the incident, which occurred on November 21, stemmed from the school’s “deep commitment to diversity,” and that it takes that commitment “very seriously.”

One laughs, but then one reads stuff like this, from a Lafayette College (Easton, Pa.) press release:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $100,000 grant to Mary Armstrong, associate professor of English and chair of women’s and gender studies, and Jasna Jovanovic, professor of psychology and child development at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, for their study of how colleges and universities can more effectively support the success of underrepresented minority women faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) academic fields. . . .

“Our approach is based on the idea that institutions tend to structure supportive initiatives that address only one aspect of a potentially marginalized group, such as gender, or race, or sexual orientation,” explains Armstrong. “But an underrepresented minority woman will, by definition, have several such identities; hence, lesbians or women of color experience being a woman in STEM with complex, compound disadvantages.”

Armstrong and Jovanovic are conducting the first comprehensive study of how initiatives funded through the NSF ADVANCE program are enhancing the success of underrepresented women in STEM. The research team believes that successful institutional programs have to be creatively reshaped to accommodate the complications experienced by women who identify within multiple underrepresented identities.

One wonders how much money and talent are being poured into this sort of thing instead of producing scientists and engineers. It reminds us of that scene in “Star Trek” when Captain Kirk asks (we quote from memory), “Scotty, can you get us warp drive?” and Scotty replies: “I’m doin’ my best, Cap’n, but I’m strugglin’ with multiple underrepresented identities!”

We really have to do better than just holding up examples to laugh at. Ridicule, disparage, mock, sneer and taunt. They deserve every bit of it. I think it’s a kind of mind rot.

There are problems with the agenda. by The Elephant's Child

Immediately after the election, the Office of the President-elect posted their agenda at Then it quickly disappeared and the website displayed only the following:

The Agenda

President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden have developed innovative approaches to challenge the status quo in Washington and to bring about the kind of change America needs.

The Obama Administration has a comprehensive and detailed agenda to carry out its policies.  The principal priorities of the Obama Administration include: a plan to revive the economy, to fix our health care, education, and social security systems, to define a clear path to energy independence, to end the war in Iraq responsibly and finish our mission in Afghanistan, and to work with our allies to prevent Iran from  developing a nuclear weapon, among many other domestic and foreign policy objectives.

Well, today it’s all back, so you can read the whole thing should you so desire.  I find this little paragraph sufficiently troubling. It is still ‘I will stop the rising of the seas’ stuff.  These eight priorities would occupy, and have occupied,  the presidencies of at least eight different administrations, and even more.

Presidents have been trying to improve the education of our children, for example, ever since the Eisenhower administration at least, and no one has ever been willing to tackle the root of the problems. President Bush, with No Child Left Behind, has made an effort to let parents and schools know how their kids are doing compared to the rest of the nation, and had some distinct success in improvement as a result.

Obama is going to fix everything, specifically by paying for everything.  Community College?  Free.  Afterschool programs, sure.  Preschool programs, of course.  Get the kids early— “The Zero to Five” program. Support good schools and close low-performing charter schools.  Make Math and Science education a priority — that’s the one every administration has done, to little effect, but hope springs eternal.

I want to give Obama every chance, yet the economic crisis suggests that raising taxes and major government spending are clearly not the best approach.  Obama apparently wants to model his program after FDR’s disastrous approach to the Great Depression, by raising taxes, canceling free trade agreements, instituting all sorts of government make-work programs, and building ‘infrastructure’.  It is just that sort of thing that extended the depression into the 1950s in many parts of the country.

Obama is a climate hysteric.  That is, he firmly believes that global warming is a problem rather than a natural part of the earth’s constant warming and cooling.  He believes that we can actually do something to stop the earth from warming if we just shut down all the nasty fossil fuels and switch to wind and solar energy.  Of course since global warming has stopped in the last ten years, perhaps he can just take credit for that and not mess with the rest.

He believes firmly, as do the environmental organizations to which he owes so much, that we can create millions of “green jobs”.  But if you destroy an existing job in the oil industry in order to create one in a so-called ‘green’ industry — you have done nothing for the economy at all. There is simply no evidence that the so-called “renewable energy” producers can replace our dependence on fossil fuels in the foreseeable future.

There is an absence of understanding of what the free market is, why it works, and why you ignore it at your peril. They’re blaming it on “deregulation”, in the false notion that the government just wasn’t regulating enough.

There is a lot of “hope” here, but the agenda is more than a little short on the specifics that might promote some confidence. There is a lack of understanding of history, our history, and a lack of understanding of the programs and policies of past presidents and what they accomplished and where they failed.  I find it troubling.

“Spreading the wealth,” continued. by The Elephant's Child
November 16, 2008, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Economy, Liberalism, Politics | Tags: , ,

During the presidential election campaign, some voters were startled to hear for the first time that at least a third of Americans pay no income taxes whatsoever.

The Tax Foundation notes that in 2006, 45,600,000 tax filers paid no income tax at all.  Under today’s law, in 2009 47.000,000  (representing probably 96 million individuals)  will pay no income tax.

The Foundation maintains that under Obama’s plan 63,000,000 filers will pay no taxes or 44% of all returns.  So pretty close to 1/2 of Americans will pay the taxes for the other half as well as themselves.

Obama said repeatedly that 95% of Americans would get a tax cut under his plan.  Economist Alan Reynolds, when asked where they got that figure, said simply “They made it up.”

In 2006, IRS figures show that the top 10% of all filers ($109,000 and over) paid 71% of all taxes.

I’m inclined to think that everyone should pay some taxes, and participate in our society. No matter how compassionate you feel towards those who make less in our society, it is not healthy for only a handful of people to pay the taxes for the rest of us.

Now a new report from the OECD that our taxes are the most progressive in the world — we already collect the most from the wealthiest 10% and extract the most compared to their share of the country’s income.

Will Obama continue with his plans to tax the top earners still more?  Most economists are suggesting that the current crisis is not a time to raise taxes — any taxes.  Yet he seems to be determined to go after those he categorizes as “the rich.”

“Spreading the Wealth Around.” Good Idea? by The Elephant's Child
October 28, 2008, 7:33 pm
Filed under: Economy, Election 2008, Liberalism, Politics, Socialism | Tags: , ,

“Redistribution of wealth” is a phrase that has made Joe the Plumber famous and caused the mainstream press to pruriently investigate every aspect of his life.  It caused three TV stations to be banned by the Obama campaign because they were impertinent enough to ask Sen. Biden about redistribution of wealth and socialism.

KYWTV, Channel 3 in Philadelphia, a station serving Wilmington DE has been banned because Sen. Biden doesn’t like tough questions.  WFTV in Orlando has also been banned, for Barbara West asked the kind of probing questions of Joe Biden that the mainstream media refuses to ask.  And then there is Angela Russell of CBS Channel 3 in Philadelphia who also asked about “spreading the wealth around.” You can’t even ask!

Sweetness & Light has gathered together some of the reflections of the founding fathers on redistribution here.

“Redistribution of wealth” or “spreading the wealth around” is, of course, a socialist idea, designed to help those who are less fortunate.  Oddly enough we already have a very progressive tax system.  Over 30% of those at the bottom of the income groups currently pay no taxes at all.  And Americans are the most generous people on earth, not only giving more of their income to charity, but giving of their time as well.

The assumption is that the only reason people are poor is strictly a matter of money, which it is not.  Studies have shown that if one graduates from high school, doesn’t get married until they have graduated from high school, and waits to have a child until they are married, they will do fine in our society.  I should add stay away from drugs. We do better if we help kids to finish school, and that does not have to be a government program.

Somehow, it is hard for people to understand because it is usually couched in terms of “fairness.”

I shamelessly borrowed this from the folks at geeeeZ.

I don’t know who wrote this, but it sure works…….

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read “Vote Obama, I need the money.” I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a “Obama 08” tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference–just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept.

He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need–the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I’ve decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

or just a fools game?

Here is what Barack Obama had to say on a call-in radio show in 2001:

You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil-rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

And that hasn’t shifted, and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that.

Free people are generous because they have the choice of what to do with the funds that they worked hard to earn.  Even poor people value the money they earn themselves far more than they do handouts.  Making people dependent on handouts destroys ambition, pride and even, Senator Obama — hope.

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