Saturday, August 29, 2015

On Midrats 30 Aug 2015 - Episode 295: "NATO Goes Back to Fundamentals" With Jorge Benitez

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 30 Aug 2015 for Midrats Episode 295: "NATO Goes Back to Fundamentals" With Jorge Benitez:
From the Balitic to the Black Sea, the last year has seen the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) return to its roots - the defense of Europe from Russian aggression.

The names and players have changes significantly since a quarter century ago - but in many ways things look very familar.

To discuss NATO's challenge in the East in the second decade of the 21st Century for the full hour will be Dr. Jorge Benitez.

Jorge is the Director of NATOSource and a Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

He specializes in NATO, European politics, and US national security. and previously served as Assistant for Alliance Issues to the Director of NATO Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has also served as a specialist in international security for the Department of State and the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis.

Dr. Benitez received his BA from the University of Florida, his MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Join us live if you can, or pick the show up later by clicking here. Or you can also find the show later at our iTune page here.

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: "Let George Do It"

Let George Do It:
Let George Do It was a radio drama series produced by Owen and Pauline Vinson from 1946 to 1954. It starred Bob Bailey as detective-for-hire George Valentine (with Olan Soule stepping into the role in 1954).

Clients came to Valentine's office after reading a newspaper carrying his classified ad:

Personal notice: Danger's my stock in trade. If the job's too tough for you to handle, you've got a job for me. George Valentine.
The few earliest episodes were more sitcom than private eye shows, with a studio audience providing scattered laughter at the not-so-funny scripts. Soon the audience was banished, and George went from stumbling comedic hero to tough guy private eye and the music from wah-wah-wah to suspenseful.

Here's "The Little Man Who Was Everywhere"

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Nigeria: River Pirates/Kidnappers Strike Again

Reported as "Pirates strike again in Bayelsa waterways, abduct local chiefs":
Barely three weeks after pirates killed 4 soldiers and one policeman at a military base in Nembe, sea pirates on Wednesday afternoon ambushed two speedboats and kidnapped three persons along the Ogbia-Brass waterways of Bayelsa East senatorial district.

Police spokesperson, Asinim Butswat, confirmed the development but said he was yet to get details.

A security source said two Okpoama chiefs where abducted, and identified them as Blessing Wagio and Isaac Akono-Igolo.

The victims’ boats were said to have left the Ogbia water front at about 2pm for Brass when they came under attack around Kiberibio area of the Ogbia-Brass waterway, an area notorious for sea pirates attacks.
Area in red on the Nigeria map is the State of Bayelsa, Nigeria. Red circle on GoogleEarth map is vicinity of attack, yellow line is linear representation of river route from Orgvia to Brass. Click on maps to enlarge.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

An Interesting Look at the "Risk-Denying" White House

Tying in the Iran Deal and the President's Clean Power Plan might seem a stretch, but Bob Tippee of the Oil and Gas Journal sees a connection:

And, while this video by Nick Snow of the same publication doesn't quite plow the same field, it shows that in the seemingly never-ending quest to "fix" our environment, the need for sound cost-benefit analysis should play a major role:

How decisions can be made or validated without considering risks and costs is troubling question for this administration.

We've seen the consequences of taking action based solely on a political agenda issues without looking at all risks and costs played out in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, ISIS, medical coverage, race relations and other areas.

Calling people who demand such analysis "crazies" is not a sign of mature leadership.

Or any leadership, really.

Disaster Prep Wednesday: FEMA asks "Are You Ready?"

FEMA has a way too long guide asking "Are You Ready?"
The guide has been designed to help the citizens of this nation learn how to protect themselves and their families against all types of hazards. It can be used as a reference source or as a step-by-step manual. The focus of the content is on how to develop, practice, and maintain emergency plans that reflect what must be done before, during, and after a disaster to protect people and their property. Also included is information on how to assemble a disaster supplies kit that contains the food, water, and other supplies in suffi cient quantity for individuals and their families to survive following a disaster in the event they must rely on their own resources.
Use the info most applicable to you and your situation. I doubt people in Omaha have much need for earthquake or hurricane info. And, as the the guide is from 2004, so you know that there have been some changes in the past 11 years, so think about those changes.

The fundamental thought, though, is still valid: You need to rely on your own resources - perhaps for 3 days or perhaps much longer. And it is better to do some planning now, in anticipation of a disaster, rather than trying to catch up after your world has changed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Iran and the Fictional Pirates Are Back Again

Photo accompanying the Iranian "news" release is of the French frigate Le Nivose F732
Oil tanker rescued from pirates
TEHRAN, Aug. 25 (MNA) – The Iranian Navy commander has said that a pirate attack on an oil tanker was foiled by the 35th fleet of the Iranian Navy.

Underlining that in the recent years, there have been 189 cases of intense battles against pirates, the Iranian Navy's Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari stated that, “in the past few days, due to the peaceful conditions at the sea, pirates had increased their activities and the Iranian naval flotilla had to thwart their attacks for several times.”

“In the last clash which broke out on Monday, an Iranian oil tanker was attached by several pirate boats equipped with heavy machine guns and was released by the 35th fleet of the Iranian Navy,” added Sayari.
Total pirate attacks reported by anyone else in the area: 0.

It's a mostly harmless fantasy.

So, go 36th fleet! See if you can also defeat "several pirate boats equipped with heavy machine guns" - maybe even with drones and missiles. I mean why stop with machine guns?

Oh, by the way, the 2009 report behind the photo is here:
The Indian Ocean is a slightly safer place today after a gang of gormless Somali pirates were arrested when they accidentally attacked a French warship, the frigate Le Nivose, after mistaking it for a merchant vessel.

The pirates were traveling in three boats, two small skiffs and a nine metre ‘mother ship’. The gang was armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, a grenade launcher and five grenades. They pursued the French naval vessel after failing to recognise it as such after the captain of the frigate, Lieutenant Commander Jean-Marc le Quilliec, decided to head towards the sun to camouflage the ship’s identity.

As the pirates approached they were astonished to see the ‘merchant vessel’ launch an attack helicopter and two assault dinghies full of highly trained and heavily armed French commandos. The pirates immediately surrendered after the helicopter fired a volley of warning shots.
That's not a fantasy.

Dear Young Men: Co-ed College is not for you.

Could there be a more egregious overreaction? Old Dominion University's Sigma Nu Frat Suspended During Probe Into Sexually Suggestive Signs:
Crass, sexually suggestive banners "welcoming" freshman women to a Virginia college last week have sparked outrage and led to the suspension of at least one of the school's fraternities.
Wow. Just wow.

This requires an "investigation?" Pretty obvious that some guys in a frat thought it would be funny and acted on a whim.

Frankly, I am offended by the offense taken by some priggish pervert who sees "rape" behind every innuendo. There are more "sexual" suggestions in any ten-minute segment of "The Big Bang Theory" than in those signs.

I suggest young men with a sense of humor find a single-sex college or university to attend. Oh, wait - there aren't many left for men.
As of March 2015, there are three non-religious, four-year, all-male college institutions in the United States. These are:

Hampden–Sydney College, Hampden–Sydney, Virginia
Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia
Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana
Women, especially those who may be uncomfortable to be around men, have a broader choice:

Agnes Scott College
Alverno College
Barnard College
Bay Path University
Bennett College for Women
Brenau University
Bryn Mawr College
Cedar Crest College
The College of New Rochelle
College of Saint Benedict
College of Saint Elizabeth
College of Saint Mary
Columbia College
Converse College
Cottey College
Douglass Residential College of Rutgers University
Hollins University
Judson College
Mary Baldwin College
Meredith College
Midway University
Mills College
Moore College of Art and Design
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Mary University
Mount St. Mary's College
Notre Dame of Maryland University
Russell Sage College of The Sage Colleges
St. Catherine University
Saint Mary's College
Salem College
Scripps College
Simmons College
Smith College
Spelman College
Stephens College
Stern College for Women
Sweet Briar College
Trinity Washington University
University of Saint Joseph
Ursuline College
Wellesley College
Wesleyan College
The Women's College of the University of Denver
Meanwhile, a little more joy goes out of the universe. The joy of being young and rowdy and in college.

Saturday, August 22, 2015