Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010

OTR hopes all his readers are having a Happy Halloween. So far, Cleopatra, Thomas the Train, a generic pirate, and a wide assortment of princesses have made the trek to our door.

The postcards are from the family archives dated 1910-11.

Adolph Hitler And The Shape Of History

We owe to Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson the observation that all history is biography. Some folks may argue with that, but OTR thinks the distillation of history indeed yields the stories of men and women, both great and small, living their lives as participant-observers in the world. Norman Stone has a review in The Wall Street Journal addressing this issue and some new research by Brigette Hamann and Thomas Weber. In their recent books, they have brought to light some fascinating details about the shaping of one of the twentieth century's most complex personalities, Adolph Hitler. And in their search for truth they correct the record and provide some much needed direction:

It is very much to Mr. Weber's credit that he has managed to dig out the details, and we can place his book together with Ms. Hamann's as a triumph of original research in a very stony field. The conclusion that might be drawn is that Hitler was far more of the opportunist than is generally supposed. He made things up as he went along, including his own past. If we still haven't answered the question of what turned Hitler into an anti-Semitic idealogue, at least attention has been shifted to the Bavarian years of 1919-22. Ms. Hamann and Mr. Weber point the way forward for the next scholar's diligent researches.

Sound scholarship makes useful history. OTR hopes these authors continue to make lasting contributions to the field of history. Who knows, perhaps someone will write their biography someday.

Source: Jonah Goldberg, The Corner, NRO

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pathological Behavior Consumes The Leftist Women's Movement

My favorite online psychiatrist, Dr. Sanity, has applied her professional training and experience to Joy Behar's application of the term "bitch" to Nevada Senate candidate, Sharon Angle. Whatever your party preference, you have to give credit to the good doctor for her succinct point by point exposure of today's "women's movement" as a leftist political prison. The transparency is so evident, I am amazed more of my liberal friends don't see the light. You can read Dr. Sanity's post here. As usual, you'll find plenty of supporting links in the post.

Our Drug War: A "Hideously Expensive...Protracted Failure."

As his long-time readers know, OTR favors the legalization of cannabis in the United States and is pleased to share thoughtful observations on the reasons why our policy needs to change. Today, Conrad Black posted an article in National Review Online that is worth sharing. His theme:

There is room for legitimate argument about what course the U.S. should follow in drug-control policy, but there is no possible dispute that the present course has been such an unmitigated failure that it has aggravated the societal problem, strained relations with friendly foreign countries and destabilized some, and, as Milton Friedman said in 1991, constituted a protectionist bonanza for the most virulent and sociopathic elements of organized crime.

Some of his statistics are astounding. For example, annual cannabis consumption in the nation is a $140 billion industry, and 44,000,000 pounds of it comes from Mexico. And drug-related violence in Mexico has claimed 28,000 victims in the last four years. Furthermore, for American blacks the chances of being arrested, charged, and convicted of a cannabis offense is 300% greater than for whites. It seems our enforcement focuses on the least defensible consumer/producer while enriching the drug cartels with tens of billions of dollars every year. This reality should shock every American, but it doesn't. It's barely registering as an issue in the 2010 election and the entrenched enforcement industry it created keeps rolling on with the most marginal of impacts.

After forty years of such madness, OTR thinks it's time for a new direction.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Harvey Phillips: The Father Of Tuba Christmas

OTR notes with both sadness and a smile the passing of Harvey Phillips. He loved the tuba, played it, composed for it, and conducted hundreds of tuba players in what became know as Tuba Christmas across the country. OTR was lucky to know about Tuba Christmas in Atlanta beginning in the late '80s, thanks to a colleague who happened to play one of the smaller versions of the instrument. For most of the next twenty Christmases, he and other co-workers found themselves enjoying the sound of three hundred tubas playing in the CNN Center and, later, on the terrace at Underground Atlanta.

Last year, more than 250 cities celebrated Tuba Christmas. If you ever have the opportunity to attend, you will enjoy some beautiful music and leave with a renewed appreciation for the instrument. Just in case you can't make a concert, here's a taste of what you're missing:

Photo: Harvey Phillips, 1979, Archives Indiana University

"The Winter Is Young Yet, So Young."

In typical fashion, Fall in the Georgia Piedmont keeps lingering like a long goodbye. Although there is some nice color finally showing in OTR's woods this week and temperatures are pushing into the low 80s, there is something brewing in the tropical Pacific Ocean that could bring these pleasantries to a quick end. Meteorologists are calling it a super La Nina, and it's being described as potentially the strongest since 1955-56. La Ninas bring on colder winters to most parts of the United States and Europe. Super ones bring record low temperatures and seemingly endless cold waves. Most everyone knows about La Nina's warmer brother, EL Nino. Looks like were about to get an unforgettable introduction to another member of the family. Here is your link to the details at Pajamas Media.

Thanks to Instapundit for the link.
Title: from the poem, Winter Milk, by Carl Sandburg.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

UPDATE: National Public Radio Firestorm

OTR sees where Fox News took his advice and signed Juan Williams to a $2 million contract and an expanded role at the network. Not only that, the link below shows us that NPR CEO Vivian Schiller turns out to be the small-minded, leftist political hack--labeling your enemy as a mental case was a Soviet tactic-- most of us knew lurked at the top of the organization. OTR enjoys plenty of NPR programming and an sorry to see all this happen. Local donations to public broadcasting will likely suffer and he expects Ms. Schiller will join the ranks of the unemployed long before the January Congress can fire her. Good riddance.

Leftist NPR Execs Cleanse The Ranks

OTR can't believe that National Public Radio (NPR) would fire liberal news analyst Juan Williams because he had the courage to state the obvious that people in Muslim dress make Americans nervous. And if it isn't obvious to you, you haven't flown on a domestic flight with full-bearded men in galabiyyas and turban hats or ridden Atlanta's subway with women covered head to toe in black burkas. If you saw those World Trade Center towers fall on September 11, 2001, you will have an autonomic response to such chance encounters that could emerge as a response in your conscious mind.

Here are a few takes on the Williams story: Moonbattery, Gateway Pundit, and National Review Online.

OTR hopes that Fox News executives are preparing a long-term contract for Williams's signature, and preparing a seat for him at the Fox News Election Central desk on November 2. Williams would make a lasting and positive center left contribution to any discussion of the American experience.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bite Of The Lepus

Back in 1972, Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun and DeForest Kelly--notable actors all--made a most forgettable film entitled Night of the Lepus. OTR likes the film's theme as presented by Giant mutant rabbits terrorize the southwest!!

Fast forward forty years into the age of environmental enlightenment and we now have something called soy-based wiring replacing the petroleum product used over the past century. OTR thinks this is a fine idea as long as it does not introduce any seriously negative variables into life's already complex formula. Unfortunately, there seems to be an issue involving rabbit terror and Denver International Airport. The rabbits have developed a taste for the soy-based wiring found in new automobiles. Travelers who park their cars there for a week or so are returning home to find that they will barely start or not start at all.

You may ask why OTR thinks this is terrorism. For starters, any readers who have enjoyed the pleasures of the new Denver airport know that, at 25 miles from town, they seem to be doing so from Kansas. Follow that with long-term shutdowns for blizzards, structural collapses from snow weight, crumbling runways, unpredictable highway conditions and no rail link to the city and you get the idea. Add to this list the fact that rabbits do not hibernate. That means they are out there waiting for your soy-based wiring in the dead of winter when the food supply get a bit low on the vast plain that is this airport. No traveler facing a foot of snow and an hour's drive to town needs to face the terror of nibbled wiring. Getting underway in this circumstance will be more complex than dropping a new battery in the car. It's almost enough to make one take the bus.

OTR wishes the story would end there, but it doesn't. In time, travelers may have to face a new strain of super-healthy rabbits due to the change in diet. And we can only speculate about the threats urban rodents present once they discover soy-based wiring. Fortunately, this is another story. Today's terror rabbit threat is real and you can read more about it here.

Postscript: Night of the Lepus is a complete howler. If you like B movie cult classics, this is your film.

Source: Steve T via Moonbattery

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Democrat Plantation

Moonbattery 's Van Helsing posted a fine history lesson--first-rate links too--on the American welfare state, an entity that could easily be called the Democrat plantation. It begins with an ominous warning delivered by Franklin Roosevelt, the welfare state founding father, about the destructive potential of sustained dependence on government aid. The story snakes through the presidencies of Johnson, Carter and Obama, and ends with the nation teetering on the abyss where fewer and fewer taxpayers support almost half the electorate. Stepping back from that edge and a descent into a slave rebellion on the part of the producers may be difficult, but it is essential if we want to sustain the republic as we know it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Brit Who Savors America

Daniel Hannan is a politician and journalist, and an ardent supporter of United States interests to the point that he is a leading patriot. The odd thing about Hannan is his citizenship. He's British, writes for the Telegraph and is a member of the European Parliament. Kathyrn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, has posted a notable interview with Hannan that will be of interest to readers who enjoy tea.

Photo: Berchemboy@en.wikipedia

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Could It Be...SATAN!

The last century provided Americans with a rich array of religious personalities from the fringe, including Sister Aimee, L. Ron Hubbard, Jim Jones, and Pat Robertson. Sometimes--most unfortunately-- even the brightest mainstream Christians make complete fools out of themselves. Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's premier seminary in Lexington, Kentucky, holds the honors today by proclaiming that yoga is "not Christianity." OTR thinks most people who breathe already know that. On top of this insult, Mohler says, because yoga isn't Christian, people should avoid it and its "spiritual attachments." Obviously, he needs to take up a relaxing pastime in order to gain some perspective on how stupid he sounds. Without some rest, he's likely to go after martial arts in his next polemic. Here's your link for the rest of the story.

Postscript: Once upon a time, OTR practiced yoga exercises religiously every day, but there was never a time when his workouts turned him into a Hindu. These days, OTR enjoys his vegetables, but he doesn't fear that doing so will convert him to vegetarian theology in any future. His faith shall remain steadfast.

Das Wort sie sollen lassen stahn
Und kein’n Dank dazu haben;
Er ist bei uns wohl auf dem Plan
Mit seinem Geist und Gaben.
Nehmen sie den Leib,
Gut, Ehr’, Kind und Weib:
Lass fahren dahin,
Sie haben’s kein’n Gewinn,
Das Reich muss uns doch bleiben.