Archive | News RSS feed for this section

Cars: Mazda Quits Making Rotary Engine

“Mazda to stop making rotary-engine vehicles,” read the Associated Press headline. After 45 years of making the engine that powered the first and only Japanese car to win the 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, Mazda Motor Corporation, the only automaker in the world to manufacture rotary engine vehicles, recently announced that production of the rotary engine will end in June 2012. Developed by Felix Wankel in 1960 and first used by Mazda in 1967, the rotary engine costs more money and uses more fuel compared to the piston engine, but it’s lighter and quieter and uses fewer moving parts. Amid environmentalist-backed government emissions regulations and government favortism toward electric and hybrid cars, Mazda admitted in its statement that emissions dictates are a partial cause for the decision and said sales had declined. The company, which pledged to continue researching rotary engine possibilities, puts the latest edition of the RX-8 (the only Mazda model with a rotary engine) on sale Nov. 24 with a sales target of 1,000 vehicles. A small percentage of the Hiroshima, Japan-based Mazda is owned by Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Company, the only private automotive manufacturer in the United States.

The Death of Capitalism

The response to the death of Steve Jobs is overwhelming; as I indicated in yesterday’s post, there’s an outpouring of admiration, affection, and love for the all-American capitalist. But there’s also what Ayn Rand called the hatred of the good for being good and the contrast echoes today’s stark cultural schism. As if we needed more evidence that America is dying and desperately in need of resuscitation, the Christians known for anti-gay protests of American soldiers’ funerals announced on Twitter that its members plan to picket Steve Jobs’s funeral (this from Yahoo!’s Lookout). The Baptist church wrote: “He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin.” The Tweet was posted from an iPhone.

On one hand, it’s merely another example of where faith meets force. But the opponents of capitalism are dead serious; they aim to occupy the United States of America in every sense, taking it by force, fueled by faith in fill-in-the-blank, from the religion of Judeo-Christianity or Islam to the religion of environmentalism, welfare-statism, and some form of egalitarianism, such as multiculturalism or feminism. The faith-based forces are merging, as Objectivist academic dean Onkar Ghate observed some time ago, and we see this today, from the cancellation of NBC’s Playboy Club, vilified by feminists and religionists alike, to the outright hatred of Steve Jobs.

Don’t expect the press to report on this ominous rise of what propels fascist power. As I observed when I denounced nihilist Jon Stewart, a puny-minded cretin taken more seriously among dominant intellectuals than any single journalist, the media are complicit in this arguably historic shift toward virulent, explicit anti-capitalism that results in totalitarianism. Today, journalists, such as Digital Media Fellow Jeff Sonderman at the Poynter Institute, post pieces mocking Steve Jobs in the context of his death. They’re a disgrace to the profession, but they have influence; I’ve seen Objectivists sharing and posting pieces that undermine, mock, and attack titans of industry, including Mr. Jobs.

In a particularly telling contrast in the city where Apple is based, Cupertino, California, the man suspected of opening fire at a quarry, killing three co-workers and injuring six, Shareef Allman, had become upset during a company meeting, left the meeting and returned with guns to start killing people. Various reports indicate that the churchgoing man of faith, who had been convicted of numerous crimes, was upset that his shift had changed. This beast represents man at his worst; the ultimate death worshipper, who turns to faith and force as against reason as a way of dealing with life’s problems. Steve Jobs was man at his best; the ultimate life worshipper, who follows reason, not faith or force. His life was dedicated to solving life’s problems, to rational self-interest and the pursuit of happiness. Each man must choose either one philosophy or the other, that which hastens death or that which promotes life. As Objectivism demonstrates, every choice is ultimately reducible to this essential choice: life or death.

Certainly, now is the time to remember the incredible achievement which was the life of Steve Jobs (and I’ve included a statement from his family below). But it must be said that the death of Steve Jobs signals the death of capitalism. Not necessarily the inevitable death, which may be spared by individuals uniting to follow reason, individual rights and living in accordance with reality, but its spiritual death. The pursuit of knowledge, which requires reason, is at the core of Apple’s success and the art of Steve Jobs’ remarkable life. At the core of today’s destroyers, a mindless herd that obeys intellectuals, goosesteps toward takeover of Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge, and is led by the almighty Obama, is nothing; the center of those posting jokes about Steve Jobs, stalking our streets, cities, and companies, is hollow. Life has been drained from them year by year in soulless, government-controlled bureaucracies and institutions breeding contempt, envy, and the worship of death. They have lost the will to live and are like body snatchers who seek only to destroy that which is living. Zombies stimulate them and give a jolt to their death-tracked lives (if you can call it life). Steve Jobs was a giant who towered over them. Now that he’s gone, they’re going in for the kill to see to it that one never rises again. To do that, they must kill what made Steve Jobs possible, capitalism. The destroyers are making progress. They are acting fast and taking over. And, from Mecca and Teheran to Wall Street, Los Angeles, and Boston, and Cupertino, they are everywhere.

Steve Jobs fought for his life. I say to those who admire him: So should you.

Statement from the family of Steve Jobs:

“Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family.

In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.

We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”

Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

One of America’s greatest businessmen died today. Apple founder and Chairman of the Board Steve Jobs was in his prime, and he went out on top of the world, exiting gracefully if prematurely due to pancreatic cancer amid a chorus of passionate expressions of love and admiration for his breathtaking achievements in business, technology, and the arts. I can’t add to the countless tributes, posts, and deeply felt bows to this American hero, and I’ve already posted about Apple here, so I’ll simply say that this longtime Apple consumer, who began using Apple’s products at a California newspaper where I was writing ad copy and designing ads before hustling my way into a writing assignment (a feature on the 50th anniversary of The Fountainhead), learned of my hero’s demise in an Apple Store in Century City, California. The location and setting, a rainy, autumn afternoon where steel towers meet the sky in an urban landscape predicated on the union of form and function, seems fitting. I had been taking a brief tutorial on Apple’s new business service, Joint Venture, from Gustavo, with another Apple associate, Chadwick, who later confirmed that Mr. Jobs was gone. I’d already been briefed on the forthcoming Apple iPhone 4S, and watched a clip from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape on AppleTV, and I was exiting the store, the busiest enterprise in the complex, when I noticed his image on a MacBook with his name and birth and death dates. When Chadwick told me, we shared a moment of sadness and I went off to be alone. With America in its darkest days, with capitalism being destroyed by our government, and with mobs of vacant hippies occupying Wall Street, Los Angeles and Boston, threatening to tear down business, the rich, and the productive, I thought: here was a man who took on the whole world and won, with honor, self-interest, and excellence and on the merits, in every sense. He brought us together, in newsrooms, stores and coffee shops, and on social media, and he knew the supremacy and simplicity of what it means to be left alone. Saying thank you isn’t enough for what he did. Steve Jobs deserves something deeper, like a prayer. Today, he died, and I am glad I was in a place he created when I heard the news. But I think I will always feel like those stores, and the neat rows of products made by the company he created, are an embodiment of something larger than life, something sacred, and something real, made by him. Steve Jobs.

Disney/Pixar to Re-release Classics in Theaters

With its successful re-release of The Lion King in the three dimensional (3D) format (it’s near the $80 million mark in U.S. box office receipts, according to the Walt Disney Studios), Disney announced today that the Burbank, Calif.-based company will release limited theatrical engagements for four of its classic films for the first time in 3D.

In a press statement, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios said they will distribute Beauty and the Beast (January 13, 2012), Finding Nemo (September 14, 2012), Monsters, Inc. (January 18, 2013) and my personal favorite Disney picture, The Little Mermaid (September 13, 2013). “Great stories and great characters are timeless, and at Disney we’re fortunate to have a treasure trove of both,” said Disney Studios President Alan Bergman.

Beauty and the Beast (1991), the first animated film nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture, earning $380 million in international box office, follows the adventures of Belle, a bright young woman held against her will by a village monster. Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo, a father-son story of a lost fish, was the second highest-grossing film of 2003, and Monsters, Inc. (2001) featured a scary monsters in the closet tale involving a little girl meeting good and and bad monsters in a factory in Monstropolis. It grossed $527 million worldwide. The Little Mermaid is the story of a rebellious mermaid who worships man and wants to become a human in defiance of her harsh, insensitive father. The 1989 motion picture was a box office smash and restored the studio to its original animation arts glory. The Walt Disney Studios is owned by The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), which also controls Marvel Studios.

Malcolm Wallop Dies

Associated Press reports from Cheyenne, Wyoming, that Western pioneer descendant and former Wyoming U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop has died at age 78. The anti-Communist Republican, who served in the Senate for 18 years, is the first elected official to propose space-based missile defense, which became part of the Strategic Defense Initiative.

But I remember Sen. Wallop, an advocate for property rights, as one of only two U.S. senators during the historic Clinton health care plan debate of 1993-1994 to proclaim – correctly – that health care is not a right. During this crucial national debate, which preceded America’s current system, ObamaCare, Sen. Wallop named the flawed premise of government-dictated medicine by standing on the Senate floor and declaring that health care is not a right (Texas Sen. Phil Gramm was the only other senator to say it). Despite Republican attempts to compromise and pass the Clinton health care plan, socialized medicine was defeated; the Clinton administration’s widely unpopular scheme never became a piece of legislation.

According to his official bio, Wallop was also the first non-lawyer in U.S. Senate history to serve on the Judiciary Committee and, as ranking Republican member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 1990 to 1994, Sen. Wallop was an outspoken advocate for development of domestic energy supplies of coal, oil and natural gas. Wallop pushed for an amendment to the 1980 Clean Water Act, barring federal usurpation of state control of water, authored the Sunset of the Carter Era Windfall Profits Tax, the first sunsetted tax in history, and he sponsored the 1977 Wallop Amendment to the Surface Mining Control Act, which directed the federal government to compensate, through purchase or exchange, owners of mineral rights whose right to mine had been denied by government regulation. In 1981, Congress enacted his legislation to cut inheritance and gift taxes. He later founded his own grass-roots organization, Frontiers of Freedom, whose agenda includes “preservation of property rights and reform of the Endangered Species Act, the privatization of Social Security, protection of civil liberties and the defeat of such big government initiatives as the antiterrorism bill and the national ID card legislation, and reform of the Food and Drug Administration.”

In 1996, Steve Forbes asked Wallop to be general chairman and executive director of his presidential bid, leading to changes which led to primary victories in both Delaware and Arizona. The Yale University graduate served in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant from 1955 to 1957 and was a member of the Wyoming Legislature from 1969 to 1976. His extensive business career includes management of the Wyoming ranch holdings he owned and the self-described rancher, businessman, real estate developer and investor jointly ventured oil and gas development projects in Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming. Mr. Wallop died Wednesday afternoon at his home near Big Horn, Wyoming.