The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Air Date: 
July 09, 2013

Photos, above: Cyanobacteria are a phylum of bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis. Stromatolites of fossilized oxygen-producing cyanobacteria have been found from 2.8 billion years ago, possibly from 3.5 billion years ago. The biochemical capacity to use water as the source for electrons in photosynthesis evolved once, in a common ancestor of extant cyanobacteria. The geologic record indicates that this transforming event took place early in our planet's history, at least 2450-2320 million years ago, and probably much earlier. See: Hour 1, Block D: John Batchelor.

Finding very early signs of life in Precambrian rocks is certainly a rare event because of the expected small size of specimens and the assumed fragility of the first organisms without hard shells. Microscopic analysis of sliced rocks is needed, as well as hitting at just the right spot on the lithosphere of our planet. The very, very, very first known signs of life on planet Earth were discovered in 1987 by Arthur H. Hickman. He found fossils of cellular microorganisms in carbonaceous cherts that were bedded in basalt in the now- world-famous Warrawoona Belt in Pilbara province of Western Australia. This geological group is dated to the Early Archean period some 3500 million years ago. The date is very early, indeed, considering that our planet is estimated to be some 4500 million years old.




Hour One

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block A:  Steve Moore, WSJ, in re: Video: Opinion Journal: The ObamaCare Jobs Report -- Steve Moore explains the surge in part-time hiring  Editorial board member Steve Moore explains the surge in part-time hiring in the June jobs report.

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Clint Bolick, Hoover; Wall Street Journal; Immigration Wars; Goldwater Institute; in re: Immigration and Congress.  Family preference: 650,000 family members of immigres enter the US legally each year and are en route to citizenship – in the 1960d, the US changed from professional-based entry to family-members entry, leading to many elderly, unwell, and untrained arrivals.  Canada, New Zealand and Chile all carefully bring in high-skilled immigrants, which the US doesn't attract because of our crazy immigration system.  H1B visa:  we train hundreds of thousands of highly skilled immigrants in our universities then oblige them to leave and go to other countries. If the House defeats immigration reform, well continue to have this dysfunctional system. Further, we have an ageing population, so we need lots of young, educated people; not by birth currently, so we need immigration. Entitlements coming for the rest of this century: reduce family-preference visas and increase commensurately the number of highly-skilled visas.  Too few work opportunities causes illegal immigration. 

A Republican Case for Immigration Reform by Clint Bolick (Research Fellow) and Jeb Bush

Now that the Senate has passed comprehensive immigration reform, the action shifts to the House of Representatives. Here the GOP's informal "Hastert Rule" requires Speaker John Boehner to have majority support among Republicans before he will bring legislation to the floor for a vote. That means an immigration bill will need a far greater share of Republican House members than the Senate version received (where fewer than one-third of Republicans voted "aye").  This is a tall order. But it is one to which House Republicans should respond.

    No Republican would vote for legislation that stifled economic growth, promoted illegal immigration, added to the welfare rolls, and failed to ensure a secure border. Yet they essentially will do just that if they fail to pass comprehensive immigration reform—and leave in place a system that does all of those things. To grow economically, the nation needs more young workers, as the population is aging and its growth is slowing. Yet only 13% of the immigration visas each year are issued for work or special skills. Nearly two-thirds go to relatives of existing residents, under an expansive definition of family preferences that includes not just spouses and minor children but parents, siblings and unmarried adult children.

Family preferences crowd out the . . .  [more]

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block C:  Michael McConnell, Hoover, in re:   Obama Suspends the Law: the Affordable Care Act mandates that details must be in place by certain dates – Jan _ 2014 – every employer in US with more than 50 employees must either provide the mandate or pay a penalty. John Paul Stevens, Clinton vs City of New York: nothing in the Constitution authorizes the president to amend or repeal statutes. Article 2: President shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed. Cannot announce that a statue will be delayed for a year.  Seventeenth Century, English Bill of Rights. "The pretended power of suspension . . . " US presidents in the past have not suspended laws, but Nixon decided not to enforce certain appropriations laws – called impoundment; Supreme Court ruled he hadn't the authority to do that.  This action by President Obama sets a precedent that in future can be as dangerous to both parties and all citizens: president cannot just say, "Never mind."  Why did they bother negotiating the details of the bill if the Executive Branch can simply ignore?  No one would have standing to go to court to challenge this. Our system does not always have a judicial remedy for every violation – only where individuals have specific injuries.  In immigration, border security, no one has standing to go into court.  This delay came in a blog from an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (and somehow connected to Valerie Jarrett).  many may be blasé about this deed; but when legislation lie this is written it has many moving part that all depend on one another. If someone can remove a part, then the whole is thrown [out of whack]. Winds up increasing costs, and affects the individual mandate. Last week WH [or its employe)] announced a sort of honor system. Also, no guarantee that in a year it'll actually go into effect. Constitution obliges the president to enforce all parts of a law. Otherwise, president is effectively enforcing a law the Congress didn’t pass.

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block D: John Batchelor, in re: NASA will discuss plans for its Mars rover launching in 2020, a huge robot slated to borrow the design of the agency's Mars rover Curiosity. Life on the surface of Mars?  Curiosity is there – geology, evidence of water anciently gushing on the surface and now perhaps frozen subsurface.  For life to be present, need: free-flowing water; energy source (Sun or gravity) and a biology of minerals or the like.  NASA will launch another rover in 2020 with scientific instrument to look for fossils – biosignatures.   Cyanobacteria (green slime) on Earth burst through ___ years ago, flooded the atmosphere and oceans with oxygen.


Hour Two

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Claudia Rosett, FDD, in re:  ElBaradei, just sworn in as VP of Egypt, is the airbrushed product of the West. The fact that he speaks English and has been photographed with Angelina Jolie des not a democrat make.  He was UN bureaucrat for 12 years, ran the IAEA in Vienna, where he behaved as though he as in the pocket of Iran, Syria, North Korea. Aggressively anti-American. He dresses neatly, is on CNN.  One of his last acts was to visit Iran; after years of refusing to report what his own inspectors wrote up having seen, gave a speech saying how he enjoyed visiting Iran, His successor swiftly issued a report enumerating the illegal acts of Iran. ElBaradei not only has no record of being a democrat, he has a huge record of being friendly to some of the most odious governments.  An opportunist who naturally inclines toward govts such as Iran, North Korea. He's in his seventies; his career has never embraced democratic principles – rather, horrific weapons development.  Egypt has close ties to DPRK, smuggling arms to Africa, is a good candidate for a regional arms race. Egypt's economy is a true disaster now; with someone like ElBaradei, not much likelihood of economic resuscitation.

The press has been scrambling this weekend to keep up with the fortunes of Egypt’s Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei. First it looked like he’d been named as interim prime minister of Egypt. Then it turned out it wasn’t a done deal. Whichever way that goes, the renewed spotlight on ElBaradei is inspiring comments about his erstwhile democratic credentials — for instance, The Washington Post web site has an item referring to Elbaradei’s “democratic idealism” and his “democratic credibility.”

       Democratic? Really?

       ElBaradei has two main credentials. He worked at the United Nations for almost 30 years, capping that career with his stint from 1997-2009 as director-general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. And in 2005, together with the IAEA, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Neither of these provides any evidence of democratic principles. The Nobel Prize is a famous label, but it has been given to such a wide and utterly contradictory range   of winners — from terrorist Yasser Arafat to Chinese democratic dissident Liu Xiaobo — that it could mean almost anything. The winner defines the prize, not the prize the winner. In the case of ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize committee, consisting of five members of the Norwegian parliament, picked a UN official during a year in which the UN, beset by the Oil-for-Food scandal in Iraq, badly wanted a boost. It’s hard to find any other reason why at that juncture the Nobel committee was suddenly [more]

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Charles Pellegrino, author and explorer, in re: Startram: like Arthur Clarke's space elevator, but     - can launch into space at a cost of $50/lb. Branson and others have methods costing $3,000/lb; space shuttle was $10,000/lb.  Our method can’t take people, who couldn't survive the accelerations, so this is good for cargo. Almost the same as freighting cargo around Earth. Launches at an angle into the atmosphere; cd even be a permanent launch system permanently attached to a mountain (maybe twenty miles long). Almost like the Jules Verne Space cannon but much longer. The nose of the cannon opens up at the last second, launches at hypersonic speeds (from the vacuum tube).  At this price, it opens up the industrialization of space. Note the asteroid that has more gold in it than all the gold yet minded on Earth. Could be operating within a decade. Similar to the Tokyo-Osaka system.  Book available in about two weeks:  StarTram – the New Race to Space, by Charles Pellegrino, James Powell and George Maise (the latter two are nuclear physicists at Brookhaven National Laboratory).

Startram is based on existing maglev technology and basic physics. A motivated nation could build a startram system capable of launching 300,000 tons of payload into orbit for less than $40/kg. The infrastructure for a cargo-only version would cost on the order of $20 Billion to build and could be completed within 10 years. A people-capable version could be built for $60 Billion and be completed within 20 years. For more technical information, please visit the resources section.   Startram will necessarily be an international program, otherwise the potential for a expensive and dangerous arms race between nations is too great. Therefore, the next great step in human civilization must come from you, the people. This is simply too important to leave up to individual nations and militaries.   If you believe in this vision, we want to talk with you. If you have engineering skills, web skills, or people skills, we want to talk with you. We are looking to build a community of smart dedicated people who want to push this idea forward. 

Please join us!

The California Incident (the ship that saw Titanic sinking and sailed away). 

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Code Name Caesar: The Secret Hunt for U-Boat 864 During World War II by Jerome Preisler and Kenneth Sewell (1 of 2)

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Code Name Caesar: The Secret Hunt for U-Boat 864 During World War II by Jerome Preisler and Kenneth Sewell (1 of 2)

Hour Three

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:   Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: CA prison inmates (about 30,000) on a hunger strike to push for a cap on solitary confinement, among other things.   Asiana exec apologizes for S.F. jet crash: President Yoon Young-doo describes the pilots as 'skilled' and says it could take time to determine what went wrong. Also: 2 Chinese teenagers killed in crash identified   Will Bay Bridge open on time? Caltrans is expected to meet with state lawmakers Monday to brief them on proposed fix for faulty rods.   BART plays hardball  It's game is proving to be a lot better than its unions had anticipated — and it looks it isn’t planning any changes.     Luna Rossa won't sail
  TheItalian team is to skip the America's Cup opener over a rule protest. Only one team will sail today.

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast,  and Newsweek International, in re: Spitzer’s Comeback Plan.   In U.S., 64% Want Their Child to Avoid Career in Politics   In the U.S., 64% would not like to see their child go into politics as a career, with the results the same for "sons" vs. "daughters." Americans are more likely to favor political careers when asked about daughters first.

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Ramesh Ponnuru NRO, Bloomberg, in re: Bloomberg View’s Six Inconvenient Truths About Obamacare—“First, important parts of it are badly designed. President Barack Obama’s administration has pulled back on the employer mandate -- the part of the law that fines large businesses that don’t offer health insurance -- because, among other things, it threatened to depress full-time employment before the next congressional elections.” [more]

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Betsy Hiel, Pittsburgh Tribune, in re: Egypt Names New Premier Amid Disarray  Former Finance Minister Hazem el-Beblawi was chosen as Egypt's interim premier under a six-month timetable for elections, as the country's emerging post-coup government drew pledges of $8 billion in assistance from Arab supporters.  

Hour Four

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block A: John Bolton, AEI, in re:  (Ottawa Citizen) Mubarak understood his country better than Western know-it-alls.  . . . Moreover, keeping the Suez Canal open is critical to the world economy. An unstable Egypt inevitably raises international fears that terrorists or saboteurs will obstruct the canal, with potentially devastating consequences. Global oil-price increases last week underlined this fundamental geopolitical reality.

We should insist on Egypt meeting its international commitments, and worry less about second-guessing what could be a lengthy transition to representative government. That does not mean abandoning America’s commitment to its own ideals, or ceasing to insist that any Egyptian government respect individual rights, such as those of religious minorities such as Coptic Christians. But it also means remembering our own fundamental priorities in the Middle East, and having a more realistic understanding both of Egypt’s basic circumstances and our ability to influence Egypt’s domestic politics than we have displayed since the Arab Spring began.

John R. Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. From August 2005 to December 2006, he served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations. From 2001 to 2005, he was under secretary of state for arms control and international security.  Read this article online.

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Joshua Green, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re: THE GOP'S RISKY BID TO KILL IMMIGRATION REFORM AND STILL WIN HISPANICS  Republicans think they can emulate senators like Jon Kyl, who opposed amnesty and still won Hispanic support. Kyl isn't so sure they can.
By Joshua Green

Last fall, when President Obama was newly reelected and Republicans were still processing their unanticipated loss, the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform looked stronger than any policy had in Obama’s first four years. That was mainly because Republicans had just watched Mitt Romney lose Hispanic voters by more than 40 percentage points and understood that demographics were threatening their future viability.

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Bill Harwood, CBS News, in re: Spacewalk chips away at backlog of station tasks ... - CBS News  "Any spacewalk is challenging. ... just because the environment is so different from anything we know here on Earth," he said. "Chris and I have . . ." NASA will discuss plans for its Mars rover launching in 2020, a huge robot slated to borrow the design of the agency's Mars rover Curiosity.

Tuesday  9 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re:

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