Wednesday 6 February 2013

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First Hour

Toshi Yoshihara, John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Naval War College and co-author with James Holmes of Red Star over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy, in re: Marking a new escalation in tensions between countries with the world's second and third largest economies, Japan formally complained today that China had locked a military radar on one of its ships.

Dean Cheng, Heritage Foundation, in re Indeed, this past weekend, China conducted another “missile defense test,” involving intercepting one ground-launched system with another. This test, however, could just as easily be part of China’s burgeoning anti-satellite (ASAT) effort, since the interception was in outer space.

Don Yeomans, NASA, Manager Near Earth Objects; David Livingston, SpaceShow.com, in re: 2012 DA14 is a fairly typical near-Earth asteroid. It measures some 50 meters wide, neither very large nor very small, and is probably made of stone, as opposed to metal or ice.  Yeomans estimates that an asteroid like 2012 DA14 flies past Earth, on average, every 40 years, yet actually strikes our planet only every 1200 years or so.

Jillian Kay Melchior, NRO, in re ChinaAid report on Christianity in China, 2012: Throughout 2012, Chinese persecution of Christians intensified, according to a new report from ChinaAid, a Texas-based organization that monitors religious freedom.

Second Hour

Bruce Bechtol, author, "The Last Days of Kim Jong-Il," in re the threat of North Korean nuke test, the video of the dream of a North Korean missile strike that nukes New York City.

Reggie Littlejohn, Women's Rights Without Frontiers, in re the China One-Child Policy is infanticide and gender-cide, because Chinese couple discriminate against girl children.

Michael Auslin, AEI, in re the Sino-Japan Standoff in the East China Sea: Thus, Japan’s control of the islands presents a problem for Beijing. The history is murky, but Japanese control really didn’t start until the late 19th century. In 1945, the U.S. took over the Senkakus, and it returned them (along with Okinawa) to Tokyo’s administrative control in 1972. In recent years, however, basically since oil and gas were discovered nearby, China has reasserted a historical claim to the islands. Since the possibility of extractable energy reserves was discovered a decade ago, both Japan and China have tussled over whose islands (and resources) they really are. Half-hearted attempts at joint explorations for oil and gas have foundered due to mistrust and nationalistic intransigence.

Joseph Sternberg, AWSJ from Hong Kong, in re: Boosting consumption is hard when consumers fear. "Dicyandiamide," or DCD, sure sounds scary. It's actually not, at least when present only in vanishingly small amounts. That hasn't quieted the alarm of mainland Chinese parents when they learned that traces of the chemical had been detected in milk powder imported from New Zealand, in what is becoming the latest revealing episode in China's bumpy transition to a consumption-driven economy.

Third Hour

Mary Pilon, NYT, Warm Mushing Season: It has been an unusually warm winter in Alaska, and that has caused trouble for mushers and their sled dog. Alaska. During last year’s snow season, defined as July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, Anchorage had 134.5 inches of snow, according to Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with the National Climatic Data Center. This season’s tally in Anchorage was 39.2 inches, through Wednesday. North of Fairbanks, another area where mushers train, snowpack is 21 percent of average.

Bret Stephens, WSJ: in re Chuck Hagel is mediocre: the Chamberlain Cabinet of 2013: Stephens: Hagel's Hruska Defense

Tuvia Tenenbom, author, "I Sleep in Hitler's Bedroom:" in re arrested for giving the Hitler salute at a Neo-Nazi rally in MAgdeburgh, Germany.  Tuvia Tenenbom went to a far-Right rally last month in Magdeburg with a German television crew making a film about him after the success of his book I Sleep in Hitler’s Room. The book details Mr Tenenbom’s accounts of anti-Semitism while travelling through Germany and became a bestseller when translated into German as Allein Unter Deutschen (Alone Among Germans).

Matt Robinson, Bloomberg: in re: S&P Lawsuit Undermined by SEC Rules That Impede Competition

The U.S. lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s raises pressure to accelerate competition in the ratings industry while the government itself has adopted rules that left the business dominated by the same companies whose flawed grades sparked the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The Justice Department accuses McGraw-Hill Cos. and its S&P unit of deliberately understating the risk of bonds backed by mortgages made to the riskiest borrowers to win business from Wall Street banks. S&P, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings provided 96 percent of all ratings for governments and companies in the $42 trillion debt market in 2011, versus 97 percent in 2008. 

Fourth Hour

Born to Battle: Grant and Forrest--Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga by Jack Hurst

Ernest B. Furgurson, author of Chancellorsville 1863 and Not War But Murder: Cold Harbor 1864
“In a finely wrought battle narrative and character study, Jack Hurst shows how two men seemingly so different—one flamboyant and daring, the other solid and determined—became great soldiers by struggling not only against their enemies, but against their own inner demons.”

Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country

“It is rare indeed to have a writer like Jack Hurst, both a careful and meticulous historian and a first-rate storyteller.  Born to Battle is what Jack Hurst does best.  Drawing on many years of examination and research, Hurst has laid out the details of history as if he were crafting an epic myth.  Grant and Forrest come alive as they take on the roles of the very human giants of the war, battling through the western campaign in what would be the death knell of the Confederacy.  Hurst’s epic tale of history gives us a better understanding of why the war would be won or lost far from borders of Virginia.”

Gordon C. Rhea, author of Carrying the Flag

“Jack Hurst’s Born to Battle brings the American Civil War’s Western Theater alive through dramatic portraits of Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan B. Forrest.  The product of working-class backgrounds, each general approached warfare with a uniquely American blend of cunning, resourcefulness, and resolve—traits that both contributed to their successes and baffled their superiors.  Masterfully recounted, this gripping tale will enthrall seasoned Civil War buffs and history novices alike.”

John F. Marszalek, Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Mississippi State University, and Executive Director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association

“Not all readers will agree with everything Jack Hurst says, but they will find the argument intriguing that a commoner won the Civil War because his side gave him the chance, while the Confederacy lost because it kept its most talented commoner at arms length.”

Hour 1: Shaolin, Star Trek, Painted Veil

Hour 2: Infamous, Shaolin

Hour 3: Painted Veil, Iron Lady, Valkyrie, Infamous

Hour 4: The Patriot