The John Batchelor Show

Friday 3 May 2013

Air Date: 
May 03, 2013


Photo, above: Vermont State Archivist Gregory Sanford stands among the stacks of stored records in Middlesex. The man responsible for ensuring that Vermonters are able to keep in touch with the state's history is retiring. AP/Toby Talbot.  See: Hour 4, Block A, below - Alison Cowan, NYT, on Leaving Cloister of Dusty Offices, Young Archivists Meet Like Minds

In his 30 years as state archivist, Gregory Sanford has moved from a windowless cubicle in the basement of a Vermont state office building in Montpelier to a modern office attached to a warehouse full of documents six miles away in Middlesex.  People looking for those records often don't have to pull yellowing bound volumes off the shelves anymore, but can find what they're looking for online, thanks to an ambitious effort headed by Sanford to make the records easily accessible to the public.  "I spent almost all my career saying, 'OK, how do I fold this back into our public dialogues, get it to reporters, get it to legislators, get it to public officials.' And not just simply, 'Isn't that nice? Ye old government, whatever," said the 65-year-old Marshfield resident.

From his arrival in 1982 to four years ago, Sanford worked to get the new archive system up and running. "Now that it's created and launched, it's really time for me to go," he said in announcing Tuesday that he is retiring Aug. 1. Sanford said an archives available to the public can "provide context to help decision-making. [It] doesn't tell you what to do, but it sort of suggests how you got here from there." Want to shed some historical light on the push by Gov. Peter Shumlin and lawmakers for universal health coverage in the state? Sanford has his fingertips on materials about legislative debates from 1931 about improving health care for the poor and from 1944 about "socialized medicine."  [more]


Hour One

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Simon Constable, WSJ, in re: Consumers show strength. Retailers added 29,000 jobs in April, more than reversing an unexpected decline in March, and restaurants and bars added 38,000 jobs. That suggests consumers, who helped carry the economy in the first three months of the year, remained a source of strength to start the second quarter. Other sectors were more mixed, however. Construction employment was basically flat after 10 months of reasonably strong growth, which is made more concerning by this week’s weak report on construction spending. Manufacturing employment was flat, too, and the government once again cut jobs, although it may be too early to declare a major impact from the budget cuts known as the “sequester” — the “professional and business services” sector, which includes many government contractors, added jobs in April.

Some signs of caution. More people worked in April, but they worked fewer hours per week on average, a possible sign of caution among employers. Factories similarly cut both regular and overtime hours. And the number of people reporting they were working part-time because they couldn’t find full-time work rose by more than a quarter-million. There was also a small drop in [more]

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Jane Sutton, Reuters, in re:  What options does Obama have to close Guantanamo?  With his renewed vow to close the detention camp for foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, President Barack Obama has effectively assigned himself a list of possible ways to take the prison's population down from 166 to zero.  Some would be more easily achieved than others.   [more]

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Ira Boudway, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re: THE KID WHO BOUGHT THE MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES At 35, Robert Pera is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley – a former Apple engineer whose company Ubiquiti has revolutionized wireless networks – and the youngest owner in the NBA.  Along the way he’s also survived a counterfeiting scandal and a rushed IPO, but Ubiquiti’s stock price, and his dunk, remain intact.  Read the full story…

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Scott Stewart,, in re:  Why the Boston Bombers Succeeded   It is quite possible that the success of the Boston bombing will help jihadist ideologues finally convince grassroots operatives to get past their grandiose plans and begin to follow the simple attack model in earnest. 

Hour Two

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  . Michael Vlahos, Naval War College, in re: Could Body Armor Have Saved Millions in World War I?  The follies that led to poor helmets and a lack of torso protection for men in the trenches. Unlike ancient bloodlettings lost to memory, World War I lingers in our collective DNA. The image of the trenches is our icon of hell on earth. Ten million soldiers died in mud-ditches and no-mans-land during the Great War, and we remember this dark narrative because they died for nothing. After reaching pinnacles of human achievement, civilization set about to destroy itself out of pride over imagined slights and disrespect.  (1 of 2)

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  . Michael Vlahos, Naval War College, in re: : Could Body Armor Have Saved Millions in World War I? (continued) In total contrast, the early 1900s's Metropolitan Museum of Art's Arms and Armor Collection was a magical place. Boys steeped in Howard Pyle's Champions of the Round Table or Arthur Conan Doyle's The White Company (and N.C. Wyeth's illustrations!), would have come here to see the armor ... and dream.  But what does the Met armor collection have to do with World War I? We know from war poets like Rupert Brooke that so many of those boys would as men lead their soldiers and themselves to muddy death, still idealizing the knights they once dreamed to be. But there is another irony, sadder still, now forgotten: Medieval armorers and men-at-arms knew a secret that would have spared perhaps 30 percent of those who died in battle. We have the evidence right at the Metropolitan Museum itself.  Bashford Dean, zoologist and curator of the Met's arm's and armor collection, knew that . . .  (2 of 2)

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  . Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution, Chicago Law, in re:   In the aftermath of the terrorist bombing—no lesser word will do—at the Boston Marathon, a major debate has broken out over surveillance and targeted searches. Many insist that a general right to privacy should limit the first, and that concern with racial and ethnic profiling should limit the second. Both of these overinflated concerns should be stoutly resisted. And this is from a writer whose entire career has been devoted to imposing workable and principled limitations on government power…

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution, Chicago Law, in re:   Michael B. Mukasey: Defining 'Rights' in a Terror Case

Hour Three

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Jim McTague, Barron’s  Washington, in re: High-speed traders are using a hidden facet of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange computer system to trade on the direction of the futures market before other investors get the same information.

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  . Kate Galbraith, NYT, in re:  About a year ago, talk began circulating in this West Texas town about a huge oil-producing formation called the Cline Shale, east of the traditional drilling areas around Midland.  Then the oilmen and their rigs arrived. Now homes and hotels are sprouting, “help wanted” signs have multiplied, and a major drilling company has cleared land to build an office and equipment yard.  “It is coming, and it is big,” said Greg Wortham, the mayor of Sweetwater, who also serves as executive director of the Cline Shale Alliance, a new economic development group.  The Cline Shale, thousands of feet underground in a roughly 10-county swath, is just one of many little-tapped shale formations in Texas and . . . [more]

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  . Michael Grabell, Propublica, in re: Key parts of the raitero system, especially the transportation fee, may run afoul of Illinois' temp labor law. But, ironically, that very law helped create the current system.  Illinois changed its law in 2006, making it illegal for temp agencies to charge workers for transportation or to refer them to van drivers who did. The law already outlawed temp agencies from forcing a worker to pay a fee for cashing a paycheck.  As a result, temp agency managers say, most staffing firms did away with official, paid relationships with drivers. Instead, they developed informal arrangements with the raiteros, which insulated the temp agencies from responsibility.  The author shares several personal stories of the raiteros and workers, who, if they speak up about what's happening to them will cause them to lose the work.  Some of the main corporations that benefit from the raitero system are Beanie Baby maker Ty Inc., Sony, Frito-Lay, Pampered Chef, Smirnoff, Marlboro and Fresh Express.  Grabell and Krista Kjellman Schmidt break down a worker's paycheck to show how the system really works.
Marketplace reports here.  (The story may be reprinted, and a Spanish version is available as well.)

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Larry Johnson No Quarter, in re: Benghazi: the story moves forward (q.v.; listen at 11:45PM EST, or go to podcast at http://johnbatchelorshow [dot] com/podcasts )

1) The GOP-Fox News Benghazi Feedback Loop
The Atlantic Wire - 
Congressional Republicans have had little luck convincing anyone other than Fox News and its viewers that there's something scandalous about the attack on . . .  
FBI seeks Benghazi tips with Arabic video, Facebook page  3

Sources: 3 al Qaeda operatives took part in Benghazi attack  CNN International

Hour Four

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Alison Cowan, NYT, in re: Leaving Cloister of Dusty Offices, Young Archivists Meet Like Minds  Caring for Albert Einstein’s childhood teacup or Meyer Lansky’s marriage certificate, archivists in New York are assuming a higher profile and doing more networking.

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Peter Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re: THE KILLER COST OF ALZHEIMER'S 
Alzheimer's disease threatens to overwhelm economies like the U.S.'s.  Dementia of all kinds already costs over $150 billion a year in the U.S., more than heart disease or cancer. That number could more than double by 2040 as baby boomers age into the Alzheimer’s danger zone. Report on why a breakthrough is needed and what it will take to get one. 

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Tamar Lewin, NYT, in re: Colleges Adapt Online Courses to Ease Burden  Dazzled by the potential of free online college classes, educators are . . .

Friday  3 May 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Matt Richtel, NYT, in re: Sports Goggles Can Provide Vital Data and Distraction  Several companies produce sports eyewear that provides data, including speed and altitude, heart rate and time per mile, but critics say the devices create a distraction that could be dangerous.

..  ..  ..


Hour 1:

Hour 2:

Hour 3:

Hour 4: