Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Obama's $535,000,000 Green Flash

This is another bad day for those who pay federal taxes.

Fifteen months ago, Obama used Solyndra, a solar technology company near San Francisco, as a shining example of green job creation. Below is the video of that speech. The first four minutes is Obama as conversationalist. The real speech begins at 4:00.

This company was so "successful" it received a $535,000,000 guaranteed loan from the Department of Energy. Today, Solyndra announced it is filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and laying off 1100 employees . OTR's little Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-240 Solar Calculator-on his desk for twenty years-tells him that Solyndra burned through that loan at the rate of around $116,000 a day. There are so many things wrong with this scenario at so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. OTR will leave it at two:

1. Unrealistic expectations
2. Striking incompetence

Barack Obama likely knows very little about Solyndra. He may have the vision, but he's relying on the green energy gurus in his administration to make the tactical decisions. In this case, they made some very poor choices and made him look mighty foolish in the process. And this is just one of many stumbles at the starting gate for next year's re-election campaign. Not good if you're a "hope and change" fan.

UPDATE: Gateway Pundit has the story here.

UPDATE: An Oklahoma billionaire and major fundraiser for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign is the principal owner of Solyndra. Anybody smell something?

Friday, August 26, 2011

The New York Times Retracts A Lie

On Friday, August 19, OTR posted about a piece of scandalous New York Times junk journalism attacking California Congressman Darrell Issa. Issa's attack dog style is a bit much for OTR so he doesn't have any skin in this game other than the pursuit of objective reporting. Well, it seems The Times has begun retracting the story at a slow, steady pace designed to correct the wrong and sweeten the truth for it loyal readers, all at the same time. Here is your story link.

The Times can say anything it wants on the editorial pages and in signed political columns. It would be refreshing to see truth and objectivity in their reporting of the news of the day. Is that really to much to ask of this once-great newspaper?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Well-Seasoned

A quiet cold front moved across Atlanta earlier today bringing a nice dry breeze and exceptionally clear skies, but no relief from temperatures approaching the mid-nineties. Our aging summer brought some color to the tulip poplars early in the week while today's wind caused an early leaf fall among the oaks and pines. And this year's mast appears quite heavy. The squirrels are taking full advantage of the juicy bounty as it approaches maturity. Their appetites remind OTR that it's time to fill the hummingbird feeder as our winged visitors are drinking about two ounces a day as they prepare for their annual flight into Central America.

These seasonal messages, especially with Hurricane Irene churning the Caribbean, have OTR thinking about the coast. But fear isn't in his mind. It's Beach Music, that R&B, cross-racial sound celebrated by white kids on the Carolina coast since the middle of the last century. It's that beat and tempo, and the shag dancing that came out of it. Listening to this sound, especially as we approach the end of summer, brings fond memories to mind. OTR could go on with more details, but this is music and the way to learn is to listen:

Hope you enjoyed these covers by The Embers, a Raleigh band that has been defining the Beach Music sound since 1958.

Wanna dance?

Photo: Old Ranger's Tybee

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The New York Times Continues Its Descent

Darrell Issa is a hard-hitting, wealthy, self-made conservative congressman from California. The Marxist/socialist/ collectivist left targets him because he doesn't like the sweeping growth in federal power in Washington especially in the last two years. This week, The New York Times slimed Issa in a seriously weak hit piece by Eric Lichtblau. Issa has corrected the record in a point-by-point response. Powerline's John Hinderaker has more on the story here.

OTR may like some of Issa's political positions, but not all of them, and he doesn't care for the in-your-face methods either. What he does like is the traditional journalistic pursuit of the truth. If readers still think The New York Times seeks truth, they need to devote some careful study to both the Issa article and the response.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Could Growing Executive Authority Be A Problem?

When your support among a select groups of Americans drops 36% in two years, what's a politician to do? Of course, you exercise your executive authority when possible-as every wise executive does-to stop the bleeding. The Obama administration has done just that by implementing portions of the Dream Act that was defeated on the Hill. The action replaces wholesale deportation of "safe" illegal aliens with a case by case review and decision. This should please many in the Hispanic community. Read more about this story, in addition to some excellent comments, at this NRO link posted by Mark Kirkorian.

Interestingly, this decision is also a perfect fit for the "White House Friday afternoon bad news dump" and coincides with the President's departure for his Martha's Vineyard vacation. Convenient? Yes. But remember that this activity isn't new. It's been an increasingly common practice for decades.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Gods Of The Copybook Headings

Rudyard Kipling, writing in 1919 on the death of his son in World War I, has much to say to us as London burns and our president fiddles.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Postscript: OTR first read this poem several years ago in a National Review post. He agrees with an Instapundit reader that this is a good time to revisit its wisdom.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Solar Storm/Northern Lights Alert Tonight

Earth is experiencing a severe solar storm at the moment. Folks living at or north of a line running from central Virginia through central Nebraska to northern California have up to a 50% chance of seeing the Northern Lights tonight. Best viewing is usually around midnight local time. If this is your thing, check out this page frequently for updates. The page updates every two minutes.

Perseid Meteor Shower Overhead

The Perseid shower is the most dependable of the year, often producing upwards of 60 meteors per hour in the predawn sky. Unfortunately, the full moon arrives on August 13 this year and coincides with the expected peak. The good news is that you can still enjoy the shower in a moonless morning sky for the next five days starting today. Finding the darkest sky possible is a key element to enjoying the Perseids this year. Today, observers are reporting about 20 meteors per hour.

Viewing is easy. If the night is clear, take a lounge chair or blanket and bug spray outside between midnight and dawn and look into the northeast sky. In that sky, you'll see a lopsided "W" known as the constellation Cassiopeia, an easy marker for its neighbor, Perseus. As you might guess, the meteors radiate from this point, but it's important to note that they may occur anywhere in the sky dome. Furthermore, you will likely see some random meteors that will not fit the pattern. Don't bother with a telescope, but you may enjoy binoculars for exploring deeper into space when the meteor watch gets a tad boring.

This link at EarthSky may be helpful.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blue Grass Fiddler, Kenny Baker, Passes Away

Baker was an extraordinary musician who blended jazz elements into his fiddling over a long and distinguished career, much of it with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Though never a big marquee name in the industry, he left a significant imprint on just about every fiddler playing in the last half of the 20th century. His New York Times obituary is here.

And here is Baker at his best playing Walking In My Sleep:

Bet you tapped your foot.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Marx, Music, Marti, and Mayhem

Back in 1971 when OTR was in the throes of grad school, he was in love with Marti. She was the most beautiful Marxist he knew and one who enjoyed film and fine music. Marti introduced him to the films of Sergei Eisenstein and their more revolutionary musical scores by Sergei Prokofiev , but their love of music took them beyond the silver screen. Together, they would enjoy many National Symphony Orchestra concerts at the Kennedy Center dressed in their revolutionary blue jeans and Pendleton shirts and seated in Orchestra Center, Row Three. They went so often, the young concertmaster (Miran Kojian) began to greet them when the orchestra was seated. And yes, they were making a statement. After all, the contradictions were not confined to the concert hall. They were everywhere in the tumultuous American experience of 1971, but that discussion is for another time.

What brings these memories to the fore is a spectacular performance of Prokofiev's
cantata arranged from his score for the 1938 Eisenstein film, Alexander Nevsky. This vivid, complex, and patriotic music (about 35 minutes in length) is available for the next four days on BBC's Radio 3 high-definition Internet link. The concert is part of the Proms 21 music festival and features Andris Nelsons, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and soloist, Nadezhda Serdiuk. A note about the radio link: nothing short of superb. Even readers who don't care for the classics should make note of BBC Radio 3 as it features a wide variety of first-rate music and sound.

A concluding note: Though my Russian film maker and his composer stayed with me, Marti did not. After a year or so, she transferred to UNC Chapel Hill and eventually rekindled a relationship with a professor there. We parted on the best of terms, but it was tough to say good-bye and after some phone calls and letters, she was a memory. I imagine her beauty in both looks and personality are still with her. I would hope that her political philosophy eventually mellowed toward sanity as did that of the student who loved her so many years ago.

Photo: Still from Alexander Nevsky

The Satan Sandwich

OTR is just waiting for some enterprising restaurateur to announce the Satan Sandwich is on the menu. What will it be? We surely know the main ingredients, but they may need a tad of refinement. And what about lettuce and tomato? Cheese? Is it better with mayo or mustard? Can it only be served on white or is there room for rye and pumpernickel?

Byron York doesn't have much to say about the condiments, but he does provide some perspective on the main ingredient.Link

What'll ya have, what'll ya have, what'll ya have?

H/T Instapundit
Illustration: William Blake, Satan in His Original Glory, ca 1805

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fiat Lux: "Saving" Chrysler For America

So, to recap, the Obama Energy Department is loaning a foreign car company $3.5 billion so it can pay the Treasury Department $7.6 billion even though American taxpayers spent $13 billion to save an American car company that is only worth $5 billion.

Oh, and Obama plans to make this "success" a centerpiece of his 2012 campaign.
You can't make up this stuff. It is an object lesson in what is happening to your children's future at the hands of a severely misguided government. OTR is only too happy to shed light on the darkness.

H/T Powerline

Blast From The Past

OTR sometimes wished he had bent or broken a few more rules back in the day.