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Obama administration sought to keep voters in dark about (coming) Solyndra collapse?

Earlier today, Bruce e-mailed me this tweet, “OMG! Bush told Halliburton to delay announcing layoffs until after the ’06 elections!!!????”  Therein, @robertcurlin linked a Washington Post article that has gotten a lot of conservative tongues wagging:

The Obama administration urged officers of the struggling solar company Solyndra to postpone announcing planned layoffs until after the November 2010 midterm elections, newly released e-mails show.

Solyndra, the now-shuttered California company, had been a poster child of President Obama’s initiative to invest in clean energies and received the administration’s first energy loan of $535 million. But a year ago, in October 2010, the solar panel manufacturer was quickly running out of money and had warned the Energy Department it would need emergency cash to avoid having to shut down.

The new e-mails about the layoff announcement were released Tuesday morning as part of a House Energy and Commerce committee memo, provided in advance of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s scheduled testimony before the investigative committee Thursday.

Read the whole thing.   “Yeah — that’s odd,” Ed Morrissey offers in a mock deadpan:

The DoE requested that a privately-held corporation withhold important financial information from investors until the day after a national election.  But that’s just a coincidence … right?  Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

This means that the DoE knew that Solyndra had begun to fail, and that the cash they provided as part of Barack Obama’s job stimulus wouldn’t actually create jobs.  (more…)

What value the humanities?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:08 pm - November 15, 2011.
Filed under: Academia,Mythology and the real world

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

As part of his “series” on the “higher education bubble,” Glenn today links a post with a title which addresses an issue I focus on (directly and indirectly) for much of the time I’m not reading about politics or writing this blog:  “Kenneth Anderson: The New Physiocrats, or, Is There Value in the Humanities? There can be, if they’re taught rigorously and seriously. That does happen.”

As I finish up the proofreading of my dissertation, I am also working on creating several myth courses to teach, including a general introduction to Græco-Roman mythology, a course on the hero, another on Near Eastern myth and a fourth comparing the themes of great myths to those of classic films.

I have found the greatest challenge to the first course (the one on Græco-Roman myth) to be not organizing the study of the various myths (the outline I constructed corresponds almost perfectly with the two leading college textbooks on mythology), but organizing the first week:  how to introduce the study of myth to show that it’s relevant to people in our contemporary society.

All too many scholars in the humanities (alas!) focus on esoteric and obscure theories, trying to “deconstruct” literature or define its structure while losing sight of its meaning — or even speculating why it is that humans tell stories.  When I was an undergraduate, I sometimes wanted to challenge some of the humanities professors (those whose classes I learned to avoid), asking them why they were pursuing a career teaching language, literature and philosophy to young men and women who were looking forward to careers in banking, law, medicine, industry and other entrepreneurial endeavors.

It is a question I regularly ask myself as I look forward to teaching.

Is objectivity of major American dailies a “sham”?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:37 pm - November 15, 2011.
Filed under: Media Bias

“I don’t,” Ben Howe writes in Big Journalism, “read the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune“:

For that matter, I don’t read the closest newspaper to my home, the Charlotte Observer.  I don’t read these rags for a simple reason: I find that the objectivity that is claimed within their pages is a sham.  There are plenty of polls and countless bits of anecdotal evidence and investigations that have shown a liberal bias that overwhelmingly represents the modern newspaper.

I often quip that anything the New York Times publishes about conservatives individuals or institutions must first be verified by a reliable news source.

Senator Coburn takes on federal subsidies for millionaires

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:23 pm - November 15, 2011.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Noble Republicans

Media (repetition of White House talking points) reports notwithstanding, these days it does seem that at least when it comes to fiscal issues, the only grownups in the room come from the right side of the aisle. On Sunday, the junior Senator from the Sooner State

. . . released a new report “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous” illustrating how, under the current tax code, the federal government is giving billions of dollars to individuals with an Annual Gross Income (AGI) of at least $1 million, subsidizing their lavish lifestyles with the taxes of the less fortunate.

“All Americans are facing tough times, with many working two jobs just to make ends meet and more families turning to the government for financial assistance. From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Multi-millionaires are even receiving government checks for not working.

Kudos to Dr. Coburn! More Republicans need to speak out against such corporate welfare.  This is one issue where our principles accord with at least one criticism leveled by those associated with the #Occupy Wall Street Movement.  Making clear our opposition to such spending makes clear that the Republican is not the party of the rich, but instead of small government.

Commenting on Coburn’s report, Veronique de Rugy quips, “What is more striking here is the absurdity of a system that taxes people on one hand and gives back on the other.”  Indeed.  Read the whole thing.

The government, she contends, shouldn’t target millionaires for tax hikes nor should it single them out for federal benefits.

Why can’t Obama say this about his critics?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:00 am - November 15, 2011.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Movies/Film & TV,Strong Women

Given reports I have read on how the soon-to-be released biopic on perhaps the greatest woman of the Twentieth Century, I doubt I will see Meryl Streep’s The Iron Lady, but that great actress did make a good point about that great lady:

I still don’t agree with a lot of [Margaret Thatcher’s] policies. But I feel she believed in them and that they came from an honest conviction, and that she wasn’t a cosmetic politician just changing make-up to suit the times.

Via Powerline.  It would be nice if the president could say as much about his conservative critics, instead of dispatching his minions to scold them for sabotaging the economy* in order to doom the Democrat’s electoral prospects.  Or hinting that the “very core of what this country stands for is on the line” in the coming presidential election as he hints that his Republican adversaries don’t believe in opportunity for individuals of different backgrounds.

—-

*UPDATE:  the argument Democrats and their media minions make about Republican obstruction of the president’s jobs bill is really just an example of partisan demagoguery and/or intellectual laziness.  They can’t (or refuse to) accept that we might oppose the bill for legitimate reasons.  In saying that Mrs. Thatcher’s beliefs came from “honest conviction,” Streep acknowledges the sincerity of that great Briton’s opposition to big government policies.  Would it that Obama Democrats could do the same.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  Sometimes our defenders dispatch our critics in such a thorough manner that we don’t even need respond.  So does Naamloos address the first criticism to this post:

Levi, I think Dan’s point is that Obama attacks Republicans in an unpresidential manner and doesn’t address the substance of their opposition to his policies. In other words, rather than attempt to logically demonstrate why enacting his policies would solve problems, he simply dismisses the Republicans’ opposition to his policies as threatening the “very core of what this country stands for” (which is behaviour that should be below that of the president).

Furthermore, I don’t construe Dan’s post necessarily as a complaint, but rather as simply pointing out Obama’s actions. And that is warranted whenever one of Obama’s actions is worth pointing out, especially if it demonstrates a pattern (and particularly if that pattern is hypocritical, such as Obama’s tendency to impugn the motives of Republicans after his promise to be “post-partisan”).

Well said, very well said.