American Elephants


A Few Wednesday Short-Takes to Make You Indignant! by The Elephant's Child

The Defense Department has classified the Fort Hood massacre as “workplace violence.” Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) blasted the Defense Department and suggested that political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation’s Armed Forces at home.Thirteen people were killed and dozens more wounded at Fort Hood in an act of terrorism by radical Islam. “Workplace violence,” indeed.

Major Nidal Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist was allegedly inspired by radical U.S. born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki who was killed in an American  drone strike in Yemen  in late September. Members of the American military are increasingly targets of terrorists, not only on the battlefield, but here at home.

— Suspicions that the “Fast and Furious”operation by the ATF division of the Justice Department was intended to argue for controversial and stringent rules on gun ownership, seems to be true.  Emails obtained by CBS News show that the illegal gun sales they ordered gun dealers to make, were intended to justify a new regulation called “Demand Letter 3″ which would require gun dealers to report the sale of multiple rifles. It would be the third ATF program requiring dealers to report tracing information.

Gun dealers who cooperated with ATF did it only because they were asked to by the U.S. Government, something that was against their own best judgment. ATF claimed to be tracking the guns, but that went out of control, and ended with the death of a Border Control agent. Reluctant dealers were afraid that their cooperation with ATF would lead to trouble for themselves.” Fast and Furious” went far beyond Congressional authorization. The Justice department declines to comment.

— Obama’s speech in Osawatomie made a strong case for more governmental oversight of you, not of the government.  “For the first time in history, the reform we passed puts in place a consumer watchdog who is charged with protecting everyday Americans from being taken advantage of by mortgage lenders, payday lenders or debt collectors….Every day we go without a consumer watchdog in place is another day when a student, or a senior citizen, or a member of our Armed Forces could be tricked into a loan they can’t afford—something that happens all the time.”

Doesn’t that drip with elite condescension? You poor dumb boobs can’t manage your finances without the help of a wise governmental watchdog.  I have read that the Obama’s were deeply in debt until “the money from the book came in.” I thought the way most people learned to manage money was to make a purchase that they couldn’t really afford and had to take the consequences. If someone cheats me, it’s my fault for allowing it to happen, and a lesson is learned. But nevermind, you won’t have to learn any lessons, you will have nanny government to protect you.  Not just a nanny, but someone with nearly unlimited and undefined powers.

— The NAACP is so concerned that black and Hispanic Americans could lose the right to vote if they are required to show identification at the polls to prove that they are a resident and a citizen, that they have petitioned the United Nations over what they call an effort to disenfranchise black and Hispanic people. So the new civil right is — never having to prove that you are who you claim to be. Because people bussed in from a neighboring state and illegal residents might not be able to vote if they have to show their driver’s license or other proof of citizenship?

I have to show my driver’s license every time I write a check. I have to identify myself that way at the bank, to get an airplane ticket, and for so many other occasions that it is so normal that I don’t give it a thought. Asking people to identify themselves at the polls is an attempt to suppress the votes of black citizens? The NAACP sees this as a cynical attempt to suppress a surge in ethnic minority voting in 2008, so they are appealing to the UN to get more publicity. William Barber, a member of the association’s national board, said it was the “most vicious, coordinated and sinister attack to narrow participation in our democracy since the early 20th century”. Part of the campaign by the NAACP is to eliminate laws that prevent felons from voting, and of course they don’t believe that it’s necessary for one to be a citizen in order to vote either.



Plant a Garden, Go Directly to Jail for 93 Days? by The Elephant's Child

You didn’t pay any attention to the post below about overcriminalization, did you? Sure that you can’t be breaking any laws?  Think again.

The nanny government type that insists that little kids can’t sell lemonade in their front yards without a license from the city, are the same type who populate a big chunk of Congress, making laws that respond to current hot buttons.

They want to make the world a better place by telling us what to do. They are unable to exercise the restraint that characterizes a free people.  I call it the temptation towards tyranny.  You will find it in the requirement that restaurants post nutritional information on their menus. It’s rampant in San Francisco. There’s a reason why New York’s mayor is called Nanny Bloomberg.  Banning Happy Meals is typical. I hate tattoos, and piercings. I think they are remarkably ugly, but it’s their body, and not my business.

(h/t: Instapundit)



It’s Not So Easy Being Green! by The Elephant's Child

The U.S. Post Office is running at a huge deficit, but you will be glad to know that they have officially “gone green.” They are making planet friendly decisions every day, they have certified green packaging, they publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions and get third party verification, and — wait for it—they have electric vehicles, charged up and ready to deliver.

And as you can see from the short video above, they have cool new “Go Green” stamps to tell you what to do in order to  live a proper, government approved lifestyle.  Obviously you wouldn’t do any of these things unless your government told you to, and now you can annoy your friends  by sending them intrusive messages on your letters.  And they even include President Obama’s favorite tip of checking your tire pressure! Doesn’t this all make you feel that you are really doing something to save the planet?

(h/t: wattsupwiththat)



The Democrats’ Insatiable Demand to Regulate Other People’s Lives by The Elephant's Child

Nanny government strikes again.  Or should we call them the Food Police? The Food Police raided an Amish farm in Pennsylvania,at 5 o’clock in the morning.  The raid was the result of a yearlong sting operation including aliases and surreptitious purchases, which concluded this week with the federal government’s announcement that it has gone to court to stop Rainbow Acres Farm from selling its contraband to willing customers.  The contraband in question— unpasteurized milk.

This is a battle that has been going on behind the scenes for years.  Natural foods advocates argue that raw milk is healthier than the pasteurized product.  The Food and Drug Administration says that raw milk may carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria. (So does the raw chicken you bring home from the store, but most people learn to cook the chicken).

Tamara Ward, FDA spokesman said “It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed.” They filed a 10-page complaint in federal court seeking an order to stop the farm from shipping across state lines any more raw milk or dairy products made from it.

This  federal government has become noted for all the violations of law that they choose to ignore, but drinking raw milk is beyond the pale.  Raw-milk devotees are furious.

Raw-milk devotees say pasteurization, the process of heating food to kill harmful organisms, eliminates good bacteria as well, and changes the taste and health benefits of the milk. Many raw-milk drinkers say they feel much healthier after changing over to it, and insist they should have the freedom of choice regarding their food.

One defense group says there are as many as 10 million raw-milk consumers in the country. Sales are perfectly legal in 10 states but illegal in 11 states and the District, with the other states having varying restrictions on purchase or consumption.

Congress has joined the nanny state regulation.  They are forcing vendors to post the calorie counts of vending machine items. Thus we will pick the ancient apples instead of potato chips or heaven forbid — a Snickers bar.

Last year, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act which grants the FDA all sorts of new regulatory authority. ($1.4 billion in new spending— did you think regulation is free?)

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act would authorize the FDA to dictate how farmers grow fruits and vegetables, including rules governing soil, water, hygiene, packing, temperatures, and even what animals may roam which fields and when. It would also increase inspections of food “facilities” and tax them to do so. And, fulfilling the dream of a long line of agency officials, the bill grants the FDA unilateral authority to order recalls.

There’s more.  The USDA, the Department of Agriculture, has declared war on potatoes. The tuber itself contains no fat, is low in calories, and supplies about the same nutrition as a banana.  It adapts itself deliciously to being fried, topped with sour cream, butter, bacon and cheese. Bananas only get topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recently recommended that the potato should be blacklisted from the variety of starchy vegetables to be included in the federally funded, state-provided WIC (Women, Infants ,Children) program.  That is now trickling down into the school lunch program.

This is idiocy. A very large percentage of school lunches end up in the garbage can, as anyone who has visited a school during lunch period can attest. The elimination of salt has spoiled flavor, and contra Mrs. Obama, parents are better judges of what their children should eat than the federal government.

The federal government is intruding into areas where it does not belong.  Big Time! Neither the FDA nor the Department of Agriculture nor any of their assorted bureaus have any business telling the American people what they may or may not eat. But the Nannies desire to tell other people what to do is insatiable.



Central Planning by The Elephant's Child
April 18, 2011, 5:50 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, History, Statism | Tags: , ,

We complain about “paternalism,” and about “nanny government,” and about the “elites” in Washington who presume to tell us how to live our lives.  People hate twisty CFL lightbulbs, and resent the governmental ban on ordinary incandescent bulbs, especially when they find out that the ban was initiated so lightbulb makers could make more profit. Calorie counts on all menus, forbidding children from bringing their lunch from home, restrictors on showerheads, the list goes on and on.

It is all the same syndrome. Instead of turning their attention to their own lives, they want to meddle in everyone else’s. First it is for your good health. Then it is to save energy, and save water, then it’s just something that annoys them, and pretty soon it’s a regulation that would help out a major supporter.

Power corrupts, and soon those who attain power start believing that government, at their direction, can better decide how taxpayer money should be invested, that government can do better research, that government can decide what products should be made and how they should be sold. Back in 2008, candidate Obama called for “an end to the age of oil in our time.”  He called for one million plug-in hybrids capable of 150 miles to the gallon.  He called for a $7,000 tax credit for consumers who bought early models.  He demanded one half of all car purchases by the federal government would be plug-in hybrids or all-electric by 2012.

How did we slip from a market-based economy to central planning? What made a community organizer, someone whose only executive experience was the disastrously failed Annenberg Challenge, and a stint as a part-time lecturer in civil rights law, decide that he knew better than the American people what products we should buy and use and produce? There’s a long history of Central Planning, and it never, never works.  Government, at best, is an enormous clumsy bureaucracy that does almost everything badly.

It’s top-down versus bottom-up.  When an individual has an idea, hones it until he has it right, is willing to mortgage his house and beg money from his relatives, then has to convince investors, venture capitalists or banks to finance his dream— and has to prove it over and over to bring it to market— that’s bottom-up. Some assume that vast spending by government will overcome technology hurdles, consumer preferences, and business acumen, and then economies of scale will bring down the price so the product can be justified in the market.

Lord Acton, the British historian, said “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  The Founders had experience of governmental power and they were wise enough to write a Constitution that limited the power of government.  We the People grant certain powers to our government —but government is not entitled to keep enlarging those powers without our consent, even when they think it’s for our own good.



Get Your Hands Off My Lightbulbs! by The Elephant's Child

Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), along with Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and 12 other Republicans,  has introduced a bill to repeal the 2007 law that bans incandescent lightbulbs starting in 2012.

As I understand it, the bill banning incandescent lightbulbs was essentially written by General Electric, a company that has managed their bottom line by close cooperation and subsidies from the Obama administration.  GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is the chairman of President Obama’s new Jobs Commission.  GE expects to make considerably more income from selling CFL bulbs produced in China, and has closed all their incandescent bulb factories in this country. So much for American “green jobs.”

California’s utilities are spending $548 million over seven years to subsidize consumer purchases of compact fluorescent bulbs.  Californians are obliging by buying more than they need to prepare for the time when the subsidy ends.  Another reason is that the bulbs burn out far faster than advertised.

In theory, CFL bulbs offer energy savings of about 75% over traditional incandescents. The United Nations says that 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to lighting and the adoption of compact fluorescent bulbs could cut pollution. Whoa.  We have learned that information about greenhouse gases from the UN is highly suspect, and the statement is filled with weasel words like “linked” and “could cut.”

PG&E  thought people wold buy 53 million CFL bulbs by 2008.  They allotted $92 million for rebates, but fewer bulbs were purchased, they didn’t last as long, and they didn’t save as much energy as expected — 73% less than expected.   The bulbs were expected to last 9.4 years, but the average has been 6.3 years. They don’t adapt well to being turned on and off frequently, either.

Even more, people hate them.  They don’t like the CFL light, they don’t like the time it takes for the bulb to reach full brightness, they don’t like the excessive cost, and they especially don’t like nanny government interference in their homes in things that most people feel are not the government’s business.  Enough is enough.

LED bulbs give a more pleasant light, last far longer, but give you a real shock at the price.  At over $30.00 for a bulb, the price for replacing all bulbs in the house is a bit daunting.

Consumers like incandescent bulbs.  They prefer incandescent light, and the fluorescents’ cost at retail 10 times more than ordinary bulbs that work perfectly well.  The idea that incandescent bulbs contribute to “greenhouse gases” and thus to global warming have been relegated to junk science, and most people know it.   And the EPA’s elaborate instructions for disposal of a broken CFL bulb are frightening.

The EPA promotes the safety of CFLs in order to advance their jihad against greenhouse gases, yet a broken CFL bulb releases mercury at concentrations from 667 to 2,557 times what they claim is permissible exposure for you and your children. T he EPA finds the bulbs useful in their regulatory efforts, otherwise they would have been banned long ago as unsafe.

If you like Representative Barton’s bill, you might want to let your representatives know.  I’m all for it, and if anyone else wants to eliminate the EPA, I’m with them on that one too.  I can’t think of anything useful that they do.

ADDENDUM: I neglected to mention that the bill is called the BULB Act (HR 91).  Congressional struggles to name a bill so that it will get a memorable acronym are always funny.  It’s the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act.



Gastronomical Nirvana? by American Elephant
September 15, 2010, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Freedom, Humor, News of the Weird | Tags: , ,

Texas chef invents deep-fried beer.

Michelle Obama is undoubtedly already working to ban it.



For Big and Little Boys Everywhere: by The Elephant's Child
August 23, 2010, 2:02 pm
Filed under: Heartwarming, History, Humor | Tags: , ,


You May Be Able to Eat a Hamburger With a Guilt-Free Conscience! by The Elephant's Child
May 18, 2010, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Freedom, Health Care, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

In history, city population was limited by the  ability of surrounding farms to provide enough food.  Farmers had to plan their plantings to have enough to get themselves through the winter.  What a far cry from the bounty of our supermarkets today, when there are no real seasons for fruits and vegetables, for summer vegetables come from the Southern hemisphere  in our winter, and strawberries seem to be a year around fruit — if a little on the hard and flavorless side.

With such plenitude we have arrived at a very strange relationship with our food.  The European Union devised rules and regulations governing the length and curvature of a banana, the acceptable size of a potato, and farmers were obliged to write the name and address of the hen on each egg.  The EU has relaxed their most stringent regulations, but that they ever were thought reasonable and logical speaks volumes.

Now most stores have special sections for ‘organic’ produce, and cartons throughout the store proclaim that their ingredients are natural, healthy, organic, there is no rBST, low fat, non-fat, low salt, Vitamin C or D added,  and the box is made from recycled fiber, and that’s just the   product label.  On the back you will find the nutritional chart required by Congress.  New regulations may require the nutritional chart to be on the front of the package, not the back. Once again you have a glimpse of the extent to which Congressional elites think the rest of us are far too stupid to turn the box around and read the back — if we want to.  We are still allowed to be uninterested.

It seemed to me that companies could just turn their products around, but then they wouldn’t have room for their logo, required net weight and all the ‘natural, healthy etc. claims. Do pause for a moment of gratitude to food producers who have to struggle  with all the inanities from Congress and still produce food that you will mostly take some pleasure in consuming.

There have been constant food “scares,” many of them derived from the work of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the chief nanny of the food police. Remember “Frankenfood,” or genetically engineered food? Vegetarians have become aggressive in demanding that everyone else become vegetarian as well.  My grocery has a section for “vegetarian food” that simulates all the food the rest of enjoy, made out of tofu and soy beans and who knows what else.  (Tells you something about their love of vegetables when they want them to come in the size and shape and taste of a hot dog).

And there’s red meat!  I know so many ( I started to say people) women who would loftily say “Oh we don’t eat red meat! From today’s Wall Street Journal:

A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that the heart risk long associated with red meat comes mostly from processed varieties such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and cold cuts — and not from steak, hamburgers and other non-processed cuts.

The finding is surprising because both types of red meat are high in saturated fat, a substance believed to be partly responsible for the increased risk of heart disease. But the new study raises the possibility that when it comes to meat, at least, the real bad actor may be salt. Processed meats generally have about four times the amount of salt than unprocessed meats.

The article is quick to point out that the study is far from definitive.  It is, however, a reminder of constantly changing scientific ideas about what is good for you, and what isn’t.  But the notion abroad is that if we can just find the perfect diet, the right foods,  the perfect combination of foods, grown in just the right way then we won’t get cancer, or heart disease or any of those other noxious diseases that kill us off before we have the chance to die of very old age.

ObamaCare seems to be predicated on a government forcing its citizens to eat just the right diet and get just the right amount of exercise so that you will be healthy and not cost the government any money, or to have to courtesy to die early and save the government all those high end-of-life expenses.  And if you don’t, the government won’t pay for those high expenses anyway.  As Nancy Pelosi said, “We have to pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it.”  We are beginning to find out, and it isn’t pretty.



The Regulatory State Wraps You in a Network of Red Tape. by The Elephant's Child

The bigger and more intrusive government becomes, the less that it can do effectively.

Fredrich Hayek, the Austrian-American economist and Nobel Laureate, devoted much of his brilliant career to describing how rationalism could never work.  How can anything good happen.  Hayek asked, if individuals cannot think and act for themselves?  Rules preclude initiative.  Regimentation precludes evolution.  Letting accidents happen, mistakes be made, results in new ideas.  Trial and error is the key to all progress.  The Soviet system of rules and central planning is doomed to failure,  Hayek stated fifty years ago, because it kills the human faculty that makes things work.

ADDENDUM: Alexandria, Virginia residents soon will have to pay for larger home recycling bins featuring  monitoring devices. Also a mandatory $9 charge added to the waste collection fee.  The new recycling carts will be equipped with microchips which will allow the city to keep track of its bins and track residents’ participation in the city’s recycling program.

“If you know who’s participating in the programs, you can focus your education and outreach to those who are not participating.” New bin sizes range from 25 to 65 gallons, replacing the old 18 gallon bins.  Apparently the larger the bin, the more people recycle.  But you will notice that nobody mentions whether the recycled goods are sold, or go straight to the landfill.  Aluminum cans are always recyclable, but other things depend on the market, and there is often no market. Alexandria hopes to raise its current recycling rate from 29 percent to 35 percent.

I recycle.  The yard waste makes good compost which I get to buy back at an exorbitant price after paying to have it taken away.  I hate Nanny Government, and I just learned that the recycling truck drivers (unionized) here, make $125,000, and were striking for higher wages.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,429 other followers

%d bloggers like this: