Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Putting The Finger On Media Bias

The photographs above were taken during the 2012 LGBT-pride reception held at the White House last week. Showing this kind of disrespectful public behavior has no place in the President's home or anywhere for that matter.

Here is how Dennis Prager begins his National Review Online article on this incident:

Imagine this:

A future Republican president invites tea-party leaders to the White House. Some of them have themselves photographed standing in front of a portrait of President Barack Obama with their middle fingers extended. They then posted these photos on Facebook with the caption “F**k Obama.” (Needless to say, the F-word was spelled out.)

Some questions:

1. How much coverage do you think the national press would give to this?
2. How would Democratic — and Republican — leaders react?
3. How would tea-party activists react?

The "real life" event got this result in the traditional media:

Not a word about it appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, or on NPR . . . . There was no coverage on ABC News, NBC News, or CBS News.
Read the rest of Prager's observations on media bias as well as his answers to the other two questions here. 

Very enlightening. It's no wonder new media formed to fill such an obvious information vacuum.

Photo: blog.phillymag.com

Monday, June 25, 2012

The American Catholic Church Defends Religious Freedom

On June 21, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops launched Fortnight For Freedom, a national campaign for religious liberty. It is in response to the "very narrow governmental definition of what constitutes a church" as found in the Health and Human Services mandate better known as Obamacare.

There are 68 million Roman Catholics in the United States, making the campaign a large social and political issue on a scale we have never seen before. If you are a Catholic and attended Mass yesterday, you very likely heard a message about the Fortnight for Freedom. If you did not, or attended another church, you heard nothing. And don't expect ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other members of traditional media to pay attention to the story. Fortnight For Freedom doesn't fit their plan - you know the rest of the story - still, it is of national importance and worthy of your attention.

Regardless, later this week the Supreme Court renders a decision on Obamacare. The outcome may diffuse much of the argument contained within Fortnight For Freedom. We'll also witness the Obama administration's response. In the coming weeks and months of debate on this issue, citizens will have an opportunity to gather landmark information, see the Constitution in action, and make informed decisions about their future. We must not squander this opportunity. Our constitutional republic - and the liberty it preserves - cannot stand without an informed electorate.

Performance Perfection, Or: Why Television Talent Shows Don't Matter, Part 7

First depiction of juggling                              Egypt, about 1900BCE

If you want entertainment instead of warblers, screamers, and low-rent vaudeville, you can experience this even if the art form is at the bottom of your list:

Johnny Mercer: Memories Will Linger

Johnny Mercer Statue, Ellis Square, Savannah, Georgia

Thirty-six years ago today, Johnny Mercer, Savannah's favorite son and one of the most significant figures in  American music history, died in Los Angeles. He was a prolific lyricist and songwriter, a  popular singer, and a music industry entrepreneur. For those who enjoy the Great American Songbook and jazz/pop vocals, the Mercer magic remains very much alive in contemporary music. For those who may not be familiar with his work, here is a list of Mercer's "bread and butter songs," including his four Oscar-winning efforts (in bold):

Lazybones (1933), music by Hoagy Carmichael

Goody, Goody (1936), music by Marty Malneck

Too Marvelous For Words (1937), music by Richard A. Whiting

Jeepers Creepers (1938), music by Harry Warren

Satin Doll (1958), written with Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn

You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby (1938), music by Harry Warren

That Old Black Magic (1943), music by Harold Arlen

Accentuate the Positive (1944) music by Harold Arlen

Fools Rush In (1940), music by Rube Bloom

I Remember You (1942), music by Victor Schertzinger

Day In - Day Out (1939), music by Rube Bloom

Dearly Beloved (1942), music by Jerome Kern

Come Rain or Come Shine (1946), music by Harold Arlen

Tangerine (1942), music by Victor Schertzinger

Hooray For Hollywood (1938), music by Richard A. Whiting

Laura (1945), music by David Raksin

Dream (1944), words and music by Johnny Mercer

On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe (1946, Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song), music by Harry Warren

Something's Gotta Give (1954), words and music by Johnny Mercer

One For My Baby (1943), music by Harold Arlen

In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening (1951, Academy Award for Best Music, Oroginal Song), music by Hoagy Carmichael

Skylark (1941), music by Hoagy Carmichael

Autumn Leaves (1950), music by Joseph Kosma

I Wanna Be Around (1962), words and music by Johnny Mercer and Sadie Vimmerstedt

Blues in the Night (1941), music by Harold Arlen

Charade (1963), music by Henry Mancini

Summer Wind (1965), music by Henry Mayer

Moon River (1961, Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song), music by Henry Mancini

Days of Wine and Roses (1962, Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song), music by Henry Mancini

Hardly a day can pass that even a casual music listener will not hear a Johnny Mercer song. He has become America's Old Music Master, indeed.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Get Your Kicks On Route 66

Route 66, the Mother Road, the Will Rogers Highway, is one of OTR's favorite American drives. Our friends at Reuters have a brief tribute to this amazing transportation artifact that still holds our imagination more than thirty years after its deauthorization as a federal highway.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fast And Furious: What Did Obama Know, When Did He Know It?

Watergate Complex and adjacent Kennedy Center
 The Obama administration's Fast and Furious gun running program will go down in history as an object lesson in how not to manage potentially controversial policies and programs. For over two years, Fast and Furious has been a smoking but reasonably dormant story for the nation's traditional media. After all, in their eyes we're experiencing the most transparent administration in history. Today, they can no longer ignore a story that brought a contempt of Congress citation to Attorney General Holder's desk. Today, they can no longer ignore a contempt citation that suddenly forced President Obama to exercise executive privilege over thousands of Fast and Furious documents. Last week's Holder problem is this week's Obama problem. Last week search for transparency is this week's search for a cover up. Had Obama invoked executive privilege two years ago, the investigation of Fast and Furious would likely be a small footnote in the history books. Now it's taking on the hallmarks of Watergate.

And all of this is spilling across the media just 120 days before the November election. With virtually no positives to bolster his campaign and a Supreme Court decision coming next week that could demolish his health care overhaul, a Watergate is the last thing Obama needs.

Unfortunately, this story simply reinforces the amateur, if not reckless, management Americans have endured under this administration. It's like a horrendous big-budget Hollywood flop: bad plot, bad direction, bad acting, cheap CGI, overcooked score, sloppy cinematography, poor editing, and a bad end.

For more interpretation of Fast and Furious:

Hiding Behind Executive Privilege, National Review Online 

The Politics of Fast and Furious, Power Line

Those Fast and Furious Documents Must Be Dynamite, Power Line

The Fast and Furious Scandal is turning into Watergate, The Telegraph, H/T Drudge

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Midsummer Night 2012

Summer solstice at Stonehenge                Photo: NASA

The great arc of the sun reaches its highest point in the sky today. It is the longest day of the year and the beginning of Summer. In the northern hemisphere, this solstice (sol=sun, stice=still) occurs at 7:08 EDST when the solar arc begins its slow retreat south. Although daylight will decrease, the accumulation of heat will continue to raise atmospheric temperatures until late July.

As this day marks the end of the season of renewal and the beginning of the season of growth and flower, I am reminded of this quote by D. H. Lawrence:

The greatest need of man is the renewal forever of the complete rhythm of life and death, the rhythm of the sun's year, the body's year.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Performance Perfection, Or: Why Television Talent Shows Don't Matter, Part 6

If you want entertainment instead of warblers, screamers, and low-rent vaudeville, you can experience this even if the art form is at the bottom of your list:

Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg are a couple on and off stage. Considered among the best dancers of all time, observers compare them to Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev who dazzled the world of dance for almost twenty years beginning in 1962.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day 2012

 Today is Flag Day. Is there a flag flying at your home?

The original Star Spangled Banner, Smithsonian Institution

The Star Spangled Banner 

Verse 4

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Performance Perfection, Or: Why Television Talent Shows Don't Matter, Part 5

If you want entertainment instead of warblers, screamers, and low-rent vaudeville, you can experience this even if the art form is at the bottom of your list.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Current Reaffirmation Of How The Democratic Party Left OTR Some Years Ago

Is there room in Congress for more hate?

Charles Barron is a dangerous radical communist and anti-Semite. And the Democrats are about to nominate him for US Congress two weeks from today. Let’s face it, this isn’t your daddy’s Democrat Party anymore.

This is a terrible turn of events on all fronts. Read more about it here. There's more about Barron here. It is unbelievable that the party of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy would tolerate such a vile individual.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Welcome Rain

Today's Gulf monsoon happily washed away most prospects for a summer drought.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Must-Read From Peggy Noonan On Obamadammerung

This Wall Street Journal post by Peggy Noonan is impacting the blogosphere on several fronts as a notable appraisal of what's going on with Obama presidency. Note that she wrote this analysis before yesterday's "The private sector is doing fine" gift to the Romney campaign.

Noonan has spent forty years observing the American scene and deserves the attention of readers from the full political spectrum.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ray Bradbury Tribute In His Own Words

With Ray Bradbury's passing earlier this week we lost not only a great imagination, inspiration, and interpreter, but also a great story teller. With scores of tributes flying across the Internet and the blogosphere, OTR has found none better than this, Bradbury's brief account of his experience that led to "The Fire Balloons."

Indeed, greatness lies in simplicity.

N.B.  The short story is one of eighteen published in Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, published in 1951

H/T to Instapundit

OTR Reaches One Thousand Posts

On August 28, 2008, OTR wrote his first substantive post as a blogger. With a post earlier today, the blog crossed the milestone of 1000 entries, about 80% reposted from other sources. OTR has enjoyed writing the other 20% as a means of staying informed, maintaining writing skills, and broadening knowledge about the American experience  for himself and his readers.

Here's what he had to say in that first post:

Reason, Logic, And The Democrats

Something strange has happened to political discourse in the United States in the past decade. Where is reason and logic these days? The hanging chads, a president selected by the judiciary, an unpopular and protracted war, and hate speech born out of derangement have changed some of us. I'm at a loss as to where this leads our two-party system except to say that the Democrats are suffering from a serious neurosis. This saddens me deeply, having voted for their presidential candidate in two out of the last eight elections.

Today the party finds itself hijacked by emotion. How else can you explain the ascendance of such a political anomaly as Barack Obama to his party's nomination for POTUS? He was shaped, as he writes in his autobiography (Dreams from My Father), by Frank Marshall Davis, a noted Communist. He has associated with a host of bizarre personalities including James Cone and Jeremiah Wright of Black Liberation Theology fame; and William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn of the infamous Weather Underground. He developed skills as a "community organizer" - see Saul Alinsky - a profession dominated by "progressives." He is a product of the notorious Chicago political machine, having spent about seven years in the Illinois Senate. He has about 146 days of experience as a United States Senator. He runs on a theme of "hope and change" we can believe in. Yes, he may present a convincing argument for his admirers, but where's the substance, the practicality, the integrity for the rest of us? I see Barack Obama as virtually unprepared to assume the presidency, yet, he draws the support of half the potential electorate. What are they thinking? Are they thinking? I think not.

Perhaps the delegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention next week will come to their senses, make some real changes, and give themselves hope in this upcoming election. Either way, stay tuned for some real entertainment.

 Looking forward - backward, maybe - to the next four years.

Performance Perfection, Or: Why Television Talent Shows Don't Matter. Part 4

Stravinsky was a constant explorer. Here is a nine minute study in genius.

Is Firebird a century old or was it written yesterday?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6, 1944 - D-Day

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach
June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded -- but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

We don't teach history much these days. If students simply learned that "more than 100,000 soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler" and his National Socialist movement, OTR would be pleased.

Link to the U.S. Army D-Day Page here to learn more.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Been in this beautiful state for 37 years. Spectacular sunset on the patio helped remind us.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Don't Be Too Political When It Comes To The White House

Lech Walesa:

Union leader
Nobel Prize winner
President of Poland
Did you know that the government of Poland wanted it's national hero, Lech Walesa, to receive the Medal of Freedom for the late Jan Karski at a White House ceremony on Tuesday?  The White House refused, saying he was "too political." For those who don't remember, Walesa and his Solidarity movement freed Poland from the grip of Soviet communism in 1989. At the same ceremony, Barack Obama hung the Medal of Freedom around the neck of Delores Huerta, a labor organizer and the honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Rory Cooper, writing for National Review Online, had this comment about the circumstances:

So socialist politics are acceptable, but not the politics of a man who stood up and fought socialism.

The likelihood is that President Obama didn’t want Walesa in the White House because Walesa has made critical remarks toward the president’s policies and in 2010 warned that the United States was slipping toward socialism. But rather than taking the mature and diplomatic path and respecting Walesa’s right to have a differing perspective, Obama chose to shun his lifetime of achievements.

Read the rest of Cooper's remarks here. What a sorry state of affairs.

Politics And Art History

Art often dances with politics. OTR found this work especially interesting because he enjoys the products of the Austrian Secession and its branches, particularly the Wiener Werkstatte. Granted, it is a tiny yet complex niche working together nicely to produce a most creative statement about our current situation. Older liberal arts types have the advantage on this one.

A good prof could teach at least one semester out of this interpretation.

H/T Moonbattery