Signs and Wonders
President Obama speaks at Smith Electronic Vechicles in Kansas City, Mo., in 2010.
Associated Press/Photo by Orlin Wagner
President Obama speaks at Smith Electronic Vechicles in Kansas City, Mo., in 2010.

Signs and Wonders 09.26


Green IPO abandoned. A British electric vehicle company that had received $32 million in U.S. taxpayer funds has abandoned plans for an initial public offering. Smith Electric Vehicles had hoped to raise $76 million—down from an earlier plan to raise $125 million. But CEO Bryan Hansel said, “We were unable to complete a transaction at a valuation or size that would be in the best interests of our company and its existing shareholders.” The survival of the business is now in doubt. It has lost nearly $100 million in the last three years and in public filings has disclosed it is running short of cash. Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center and a critic of using government funds to subsidize speculative “green energy” projects. He said the fate of Smith Electric Vehicles is typical of government-backed start-ups. The money creates “a phony market for products nobody wants unless they are almost free,” he said. Worse, he added, other investors are duped into believing that “the future was bright because government money made the business look legitimate. It’s an economy fitting for Mr. Rogers, in his Neighborhood of Make-Believe.”

Megachurch mess. A sex scandal is rocking Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Okla. Police there say employees at Victory Christian waited two weeks to report the rape of a 13-year-old girl by a church employee. The alleged rape took place on church property. Police have charged five employees, including the son and daughter-in-law of the church’s pastor, Sharon Daugherty, with failing to report the alleged assault. The charge is a misdemeanor. A former employee, Chris Denman, has been charged with the crimes. So far, at least three other victims have come forward, so other charges may be forthcoming. Victory Christian claims 17,000 members, and Sharon Daugherty’s television broadcasts are carried by Trinity Broadcasting Network, among others.

Even in New York. Strong conservative stands can be a political asset, even in famously “blue” New York. On Tuesday, newcomer Kathy Marchione beat incumbent state Sen. Roy McDonald in the Republican primary race for the 43rd New York Senate District seat. McDonald had played a key role in passing New York’s same-sex “marriage” law last year, and his campaign received funding from homosexual activist groups. Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of the New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms PAC, said even in New York, values voters are living up to their pledge not to turn a blind eye to Republicans who turn their backs on party principles. “It’s our responsibility,” he said, “to hold senators who ‘go rogue’ accountable.”

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Eliot remembered. Finally, a quick mention of T.S. Eliot, who was born on this date in 1888. Eliot is often called a British poet, and he did live most of his life in England and became a British subject at age 39. But his sensibility was also very American, and Midwestern at that, having spent most of his youth in St. Louis. Of his upbringing he said, "It is self-evident that St. Louis affected me more deeply than any other environment has ever done. I feel that there is something in having passed one's childhood beside the big river, which is incommunicable to those people who have not. I consider myself fortunate to have been born here, rather than in Boston, or New York, or London." Eliot was also a committed Christian and—by my reckoning, anyway—the greatest poet of the 20th century. If you don’t know much about him, I recommend starting with Russell Kirk’s brilliant assessment, Eliot and His Age. Originally published in 1984, a new edition is now out from Intercollegiate Studies Institute. And, oh yes, don’t fail to read Eliot himself.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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