The John Batchelor Show

Sunday 23 September 2012

Air Date: 
September 23, 2012


Photo, above: Arab and Persian astronomers.  The history of the best Western science runs through a massive flowering of Islamic thought; long before that, many sciences embraced in earliest Egypt, whence they spread to Greece and the entire ancient world, were first developed in Africa, especially Greater Ethiopia.


Sunday  905PM Eastern (605P Pacific): Alan Katz, Bloomberg, in re: the pirates of Somalia and the mercenaries who shoot first, threatening the fishing fleet of the poor of the Indian Ocean; 1 of 2

The killing by automatic weapons in cold blood of two Indian seafarers (fishermen) onboard the fv (fishing vessel) S. Anthony in Indian controlled waters off Alappuzha on the Malabar coast by the crew of the Italian ship Enrica Lexie once again brings into focus the unequal task that Indian seafarers have in trying to safeguard their own lives and livelihood. On one side is the real and present danger that our seafarers—people working on fishing boats, dhows, offshore industry ships and more—have from the perils of the sea which now include piracy in no small measure in waters off the Indian coast.

Sunday 920PM Eastern (620P Pacific): Alan Katz, Bloomberg, in re:  the pirates of Somalia and the mercenaries who shoot first, threatening the fishing fleet of the poor  of the Indian Ocean; 2 of 2

Sunday 935PM Eastern (635P Pacific): Henry Miller, Hoover, in re: Proposition 27 in California and labeling to favor organic food over GM food

Sunday 950PM Eastern (650P Pacific): Michael Grynbaum, in re: mapping New York City for Google

Sunday 1005PM EDT (705P Pacific): Richard Epstein, Hoover, in re:  John Locke, John Mill and the Arab Spring failure at tolerance; 1 of 2

Sunday 1020PM EDT (720P Pacific): Richard Epstein, Hoover, in re:  John Locke, John Mill and the Arab Spring failure at tolerance; 2 of 2

Sunday 1035PM EDT (735P Pacific): Maggie Koerth-Baker, in re:  What is a prion? how does it cause Mad Cow and Alzheimer's Diseases?

Sunday 1050PM EDT (750P Pacific): Kirk Johnson, NYT, in re: wave energy – New Jersey innovates in conjunction with the Left Coast

Sunday 1105PM EDT (805P Pacific): Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky; 1 of 2 Millions of dead persons are registered to vote; millions are registered in two states.  In many states, it's not illegal to ask for a ballot in the name of a dead person.  For example, 191 felons voted illegally in Al Franken's senatorial election – and he was he sixtieth senator for a while, and his presence in the Senate has enormous effect.  Minnesota encourages same-day registration, although many of the registrations later turn out to be bogus.

The 2012 election will be one of the hardest-fought in U.S. history. It is also likely to be one of the closest, a fact that brings concerns about voter fraud and bureaucratic incompetence in the conduct of elections front and center. If we don't take notice, we could see another debacle like the Bush-Gore Florida recount of 2000 in which courts and lawyers intervened in what should have involved only voters.

Who's Counting? will focus attention on many problems of our election system, ranging from voter fraud to a slipshod system of vote counting that noted political scientist Walter Dean Burnham calls “the most careless of the developed world.” In an effort to clean up our election laws, reduce fraud and increase public confidence in the integrity of the voting system, many states ranging from Georgia to Wisconsin have passed laws requiring a photo ID be shown at the polls and curbing the rampant use of absentee ballots, a tool of choice by fraudsters. The response from Obama allies has been to belittle the need for such laws and attack them as akin to the second coming of a racist tide in American life. In the summer of 2011, both Bill Clinton and DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz preposterously claimed that such laws suppressed minority voters and represented a return to the era of Jim Crow.

But voter fraud is a well-documented reality in American elections. Just this year, a sheriff and county clerk in West Virginia pleaded guilty to stuffing ballot boxes with fraudulent absentee ballots that changed the outcome of an election. In 2005, a state senate election in Tennessee was overturned because of voter fraud. The margin of victory? 13 votes. In 2008, the Minnesota senate race that provided the 60th vote needed to pass Obamacare was decided by a little over 300 votes. Almost 200 felons have already been convicted of voting illegally in that election and dozens of other prosecutions are still pending. Public confidence in the integrity of elections is at an all-time low. In the Cooperative Congressional Election Study of 2008, 62% of American voters thought that voter fraud was very common or somewhat common. Fear that elections are being stolen erodes the legitimacy of our government. That's why the vast majority of Americans support laws like Kansas's Secure and Fair Elections Act. A 2010 Rasmussen poll showed that 82% of Americans support photo ID laws.

While Americans frequently demand observers and best practices in the elections of other countries, we are often blind to the need to scrutinize our own elections. We may pay the consequences in 2012 if a close election leads us into pitched partisan battles and court fights that will dwarf the Bush-Gore recount wars.

Sunday 1120PM EDT (820P Pacific): Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky; 2 of 2

Sunday 1135PM EDT (835P Pacific): Fouad Ajami, in re:  The Arab Spring and intolerance - and fear of the modern

Sunday 1150PM EDT (850P Pacific): Bruce Thornton, Hoover, in re:  Bad religion in America and the American election of 2012: what can go wrong, and how did this happen?

Sunday/Mon 1205AM EDT (905 Pacific): Floodgate: A Short Story by Matt Richtel, 1 of 2.  Reviews: It's Watergate. On servers.

On the eve of the presidential election, a conspiracy threatens to alter the outcome of the vote—and the future of American politics. At the heart of the plot is a powerful computer program, aimed at rooting out hypocrisy among politicians to expose their truths . . . and ours. Left to unravel the conspiracy is a bitter, hotheaded former journalist, but he's just not sure he cares enough to get to the bottom of it.

Sunday/Mon 1220AM EDT (920 Pacific): Floodgate: A Short Story by Matt Richtel, 2 of 2

Sunday/Mon 1235AM EDT (935P Pacific): :  Sean Carroll, NYT, in re:  pit vipers and vampire bats and the genes that discern infrared, same as the gene that allows us to identify peppers


Gumprecht's Green Pit Viper
This striking bright green snake, commonly known as Gumprecht's green pit viper, is found in the Southeast Asian region of Greater Mekong.

Sunday/Mon 1250AM EDT (950P Pacific): Sid Perkins, in re: The Amazon forest makes its own rain.