Thursday, July 06, 2006

BOOK REVIEW of "Only in America" by Paul Oreffice

Published by Stroud & Hall, Macon, Georgia. H.B. $25

This book is a lot better than it sounds at first. Happily, stories about immigrants making good in America are so common that they have become almost boring. But this is a very un-boring book. As the son of an Italian/Jewish father who fled Italy to escape Mussolini, Paul Oreffice certainly started out at the bottom of the ladder. And when he became head of America's vast Dow Chemical company, he certainly reached the top of the ladder.

But much of the book is about the times before he even arrived in America and that certainly transports you to a different and unfamiliar time and place. Oreffice senior was a brilliant and courageous Jewish businessman in Italy who was so unwise as to tell all and sundry about his contempt for Mussolini. Many Jews for many years have seen the advantages of keeping a low profile -- particularly in political matters -- but Oreffice senior was one who ignored that and allowed his passions to show. The Fascists did of course eventually arrest and maltreat him so he fled Italy to escape further problems with them. But the story of how all that happened is a vivid human-interest story that is as good as any novel. And the story goes on from there in similar fascinating style.

Of his time in America, I particularly liked the accounts of how Dow chemical responded to attacks on it from the Left. Paul Oreffice had the burden of doing a lot of that responding and he actually managed to turn a lot of his opponents around by sticking to the facts and keeping his cool. That seems to have been very effective in undermining Leftist emotionalism and misinformation. I think there is a lesson for us all in that.



Depressing: Read here the appallingly ignorant description of how the internet works given by Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens, chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation committee of the US Senate. It's like having an illiterate in charge of education.

Boeing buries Europe: "Airbus will confirm tomorrow that it has lost the lead in aircraft orders to its rival Boeing after five years of dominance, The Times has learnt. The beleaguered jet builder will collate its half-year order book at a sales meeting in Toulouse tomorrow and a yawning gap between the two companies will become apparent. Airbus has definitive orders for 145 to 150 aircraft so far this year. In May it had 105 orders. Boeing has three times as many with 445 (358 in May). The disparity in sales figures emphasises the difficulties facing Airbus, which announced production delays in its flagship A380 project last month."

Parenting discouraged in Germany: "Low birth rates and the ageing population in Germany have dominated media in discussions about how to pay for health care and social security. Now, a study says it is men who are primarily responsible for fewer births. In its study, the Robert Bosch Foundation found that "men are scared to start families," said Ingrid Hamm, managing director of the foundation.... Hamm said another reason for fewer children in Germany is that people feel too much pressure. They have long career training periods and then "have to do everything at once between the ages of 30 and 40: get married, have kids, build a house, pursue their careers and save money for retirement," she said. "All that pressure makes people put off having children until later or not at all." ... Hamm said the study showed that having children is just one of many values among Germans; it is not a top priority. Parents with many children are viewed critically, while "it is completely socially acceptable to not have kids here."

An Overdue Tribute Unveiled: "According to the Albanian concept of besa, a sort of code of honor, a person in need must be provided with every possible measure of protection and assistance. It was thanks in no small measure to this idea that nearly all of Albania's 2,000 Jews - and hundreds of foreign Jewish refugees - were spared as World War II tore through Europe. In April, journalist and amateur Holocaust historian Jack Goldfarb witnessed the unveiling of a granite monument devoted to Albania's heroism, thus fulfilling his own personal pledge of besa that began more than eight years ago. The monument is displayed at a Holocaust memorial park in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.... "This is a story that needs to be told," Fischer told the Forward this week. "There were actually more Jews in the country after the war than before - thanks to the Albanian traditions of religious tolerance and hospitality. In Albania, when someone crosses the threshold of your home, your honor depends on defending him."

British Muslims very divided: "A significant minority of British Muslims believe they are at war with the rest of society, the largest poll of Muslims in this country suggests. The Populus survey for The Times and ITV News has found that more than one in ten thinks that the men who carried out the London bombings of 7/7 should be regarded as "martyrs". Sixteen per cent of British Muslims, equivalent to more than 150,000 adults, believe that while the attacks were wrong, the cause was right. But the poll also revealed a stark gulf between this group and the majority of British Muslims, who want the Government to take tougher measures against extremists within their community."

Leading Australian Leftist admits to rubbery principles: "Reconnecting Labor - one of several books dealing with the state of the federal ALP - was launched yesterday by Julia Gillard, touted as a future leader, who said: "It is said if sharks don't swim they die, but if progressive forces don't debate ideas, then they may as well die." She said there was a "lively debate within Labor about what our traditional values are, whether we are honouring those values, or whether in truth we have sold them out". To laughter, she quoted Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others."

Amusing: There is a rock music video here that says: "Bush was right". Good to see some real "diversity" in the popular music industry. I am a Bach and Mozart man myself but to my inexpert ears the song sounds a good one.

Dick Mac on his home-town paper: "The Los Angeles Times is a leftist rag. It spews such liberal propaganda that it is hard to find actual news in its pages. To say that it is anti-American, anti-war, anti-business, anti-Republican is just scratching the surface of this pathetic excuse for communication. Today they scold Harvard Business School for turning out the embarrassment of all embarrassments, their MBA, George W. Bush. To give some authority to their scolding, they enlist the services of Charles R. Kesler, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. After a reading of the article I seriously doubt this academic is any more qualified to opine on the subject than my pet poodle."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

Comments? Email me here (Hotmail address). If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Pages are here or here or here.


No comments: