The John Batchelor Show

Friday 23 August 2013

Air Date: 
August 23, 2013

Photo, above: Zanzibar woman (about 1890) wearing a kanga ensemble. See Hour 1, Block D,   Margot Kiser, Daily Beast, on Inside the Zanzibar Acid Attack


Hour One

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Gordon Chang,, in re: At China's big trial, Bo Xilai keeps up his counterattack Bo Xilai, the former high-flying Chinese politician whose dramatic fall from grace shook the ruling Communist Party, made a defiant court ...

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Henry I Miller, M.D., Hoover &, in re: "Ignoring the Ignorant," published by Project Syndicate (which distributes articles to a worldwide syndicate of newspapers), is available here.

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Robert Zimmerman,, Space engineering

Space agencies of the world unite!  On Tuesday NASA released what it calls a new “space exploration roadmap,” outlining the agency’s goals for the human exploration of space over the next few decades.   Normally I’d say, who cares? The space agency puts these kinds of PR roadmaps together periodically. None of them really ever mean that much. And in truth, this particular report doesn’t mean that much either. However, what makes this “Global Plan” interesting and worth mentioning is the participants who wrote it. It seems that NASA and the Obama administration didn’t do it alone.
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     The competition heats up: Japan’s unveiled its new Epsilon rocket yesterday, scheduled for its first launch next week.  Epsilon is a low-cost, high-performance, solid-fuel rocket co-developed by JAXA and IHI AEROSPACE Co.,Ltd. and designed to launch scientific satellites. Epsilon features the world’s first innovative launch system called “Mobile Launch Control” which allows for built-in checks to be conducted autonomously within the rocket’s system. This allows staff to focus on high-level monitoring, making overall performance very smooth. A spokesman joked that it is so easy to control that staff could monitor the rocket on their laptops while at Starbucks.

In the past Japan has not been very good at building cheap and efficient rockets. We shall see how this one does.  The rover Opportunity has settled into its winter haven on Mars. The rover’s handlers plan to get Opportunity up onto Solander Point’s north-facing slope before mid-December, NASA officials said. But the golf-cart-size robot won’t hibernate through the winter; rather, it will continue to move about, investigating several different Solander Point outcrops.

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 1, Block D:   Margot Kiser, Daily Beast, in re: Inside the Zanzibar Acid Attack: the ongoing investigation into who threw acid on two British teen girls as they visited the island, and whether or not the attack has religious overtones. Men in long white kanzus (robes) glide through ancient alleyways like dhows slicing through the Indian Ocean. A vendor of coffee and sweets offers a free Arabic espresso. The cellphone tone of a black burqa-clad Arab teller rings with the theme to Sex & the City. Tourists—many of them back packers—and locals seem hardly to notice one another, and maintain a respectful distance. In Zanzibar, as in most idyllic, exotic tourist destinations, it’s difficult to imagine anything bad ever happening. Western tourists still wander Stone Town, the ancient spice island’s cultural capital, despite the ugly incident last week that nearly disfigured two young, beautiful, foreign visitors for life. On the evening of August 7, Londoners Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18, were en route to a seaside restaurant here. Near the corner of Suicide Alley and Kenyatta Road two men passed on a Vespa, splashing the two girls with a liquid that burned their skin, apparently what locals call tindikali—battery acid.  The two girls came running down the street to Baboo café. Trup ran straight to the sea and, with the help of a local man, began washing the acid off her body. The salt water would bring vital relief to her injuries. Back at the café, two waitresses, who had run outside, heard screams coming from inside the restaurant “from the toilet.” “The short one came up from the sea screaming, ‘My face, my face!’” and began calling for her friend, one of the waitresses said.  Gee came out of the washroom with almost no clothes on—the chemical substance had burned through her dress. Her back and shoulders were especially blistered, noted the waitresses—wounds that suggest the substance may been thrown from behind. Luckily the girls’ faces seem to have been spared. Gee (the taller one—the girls look alike, which created some confusion in initial reports on the attack) seems to have taken the brunt of the attack, though she  [more]

Hour Two

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 2, Block A: Sebastian Gorka, FDD, in re: Bombs kill 42 outside mosques in Lebanon's Tripoli  Bombs hit two mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday, killing at least 42 people and ..

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Liz Peek, Fiscal Times, and National Review, in re: Jamie Dimon has landed in the penalty box with a thud. Not long ago the CEO of JPMorgan Chase was donating to President Obama’s campaigns and Obama was calling Dimon one of the country’s “smartest bankers.” That was before Dimon became one of Wall Street’s most outspoken critics of the Obama administration’s “constant attack on business” – before the president launched his campaign against “fat cat” bankers. It was also before the $6.2 billion “London whale” trade tarnished Jamie Dimon’s sterling reputation. Today the love fest has cooled and the country’s top bank is being hit from all sides with investigations and accusations of misdeeds – at least eight that we know about. Is this multi-pronged ambush a sign that JPMorgan was not well managed after all, or is the White House trying to bring Dimon to heel?

RELATED:  THE REAL RISK AT JPMORGAN ISN'T ITS LEGAL MESS     In a note to clients, long-time bank analyst Dick Bove writes “the United States government has made it a priority to break this company. In my view, it wants the firm broken up and it wants the management changed.” As Bove points out, despite JPMorgan Chase’s extraordinary performance – it is one of the nation’s top five money-making businesses across all industries – the media and the White House continue to insinuate that it is too big to manage, and too big to fail.  The Obama administration, for sure, seems to be “piling on.” It was recently revealed that the SEC is investigating the bank’s . . . [more]

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  . Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution, Chicago Law, in re:  Next year, this nation will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That occasion will rightly give rise to many reflections about how far this nation has come and where it will go in the future. One early entrant into this dialogue is new buzzy film The Butler. Though many are praising the film, The Butler gets race relations all wrong—and this comes at a real social cost. Watching the movie, the viewer comes away thinking that the civil rights movement has largely failed. But the actual record is more upbeat. My quarrel with The Butler is that its wrong narrative of the evolution of race relations serves to strengthen a set of misguided government programs . . .  [more]

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 2, Block D: . Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution, Chicago Law, in re: A Tale of Two Butlers.  Born in 1919, Eugene Allen grew up in segregated Virginia, and slowly worked his way up the butler profession, largely without incident. Unlike the fictional Cecil Gaines, he did not watch the boss rape his mother on a Georgia farm, only to shoot a bullet through his father’s head as he starts to protest the incident, leading Cecil years later to escape his past for a better future. Instead, over a period of years, Allen rose from a “pantry man” to the highest position in White House service, maître d’hôtel. His life was marked by quiet distinction and personal happiness. He was married to the same woman, Helene, for 65 years. He had one son, Charles, who served in Vietnam. During the Reagan years, Nancy Reagan invited Allen and his wife to a state dinner as guests. When he retired shortly afterwards, “President Reagan wrote him a sweet note. Nancy Reagan hugged him, tight,” according to the story in the Washington Post. During service, he never said a word of criticism about any president. Nor was his resignation an act of political protest.

Hour Three

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Jim McTague, Barron's Washington, in re: Obama targets 'crisis' in college costs as part of middle-class push President Barack Obama traded in Air Force One for.  Obama remarks on college affordability in Syracuse.    Obama Back to Blaming Bush, Says Closing 'Income Gap' is Washington's... deteriorating income levels for the middle class, an increasingly .  Root Cause of Nasdaq Outage: Complexity  The root cause of the glitch that knocked out trading in Nasdaq securities for three hours can be traced to a single word: complexity.

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Chris Christof, Bloomberg, in re: Abandoned Dogs Roam Detroit in Packs as Humans Dwindle – As many as 20 canines have been found making dens in boarded-up homes in the community of about 700,000 that once pulsed with 1.8 million people. One officer in the Police Department's skeleton animal-control unit recalled a pack splashing away in a basement that flooded when thieves ripped out water pipes.    [more]

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Jim Robbins, NYT, in re: Crowdsourcing, for the Birds Migrating Vaux Swifts flocking around a chimney. Stationary sensors can measure things like carbon dioxide levels and highway traffic, but it takes people to note the type and number of birds in an area. The online network eBird uses data turned in by tens of thousands of citizen scientists to create what may be the first real-time view of the world’s bird populations.

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Annie Linskey, Bloomberg, in re:

Greenwich Stilt Houses Foreshadow Impact of New FEMA Maps – Ten months after Hurricane Sandy, Greenwich is among the first U.S. municipalities to adopt revised flood maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that predict fiercer waves and higher storm surges. In doing so, the town has fallen in line with a federal initiative meant to thin the density of low-lying coastal populations, prepare for more damaging weather and reduce rebuilding costs borne by taxpayers.   [more]

Hour Four

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Visions of Infinity: The Great Mathematical Problems by Ian Stewart  (1 of 4)

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Visions of Infinity: The Great Mathematical Problems by Ian Stewart  (2 of 4)

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Visions of Infinity: The Great Mathematical Problems by Ian Stewart  (3 of 4)

Friday 23 August  2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Visions of Infinity: The Great Mathematical Problems by Ian Stewart  (4 of 4)

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