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Sunday, September 25, 2022

On Midrats 25 September 2022 - Episode 636: AUKUS at 1-year, with Alessio Patalano

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 25 September 2022 for Midrats Episode 636: AUKUS at 1-year, with Alessio Patalano

In September of last year, the national security story was the announcement of AUKUS - trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Though the Russo-Ukrainian War quickly took it from headlines, it is still moving forward - and in ways you may not expect.

These three Anglosphere nations have a long cultural, diplomatic, economic, and military history together - so many of the building blocks are already there to make something impressive.

Using his recent article in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as a starting off point, our guest for the full hour returning to Midrats this Sunday will be Dr. Alessio Patalano.

Alessio is Professor of War & Strategy in East Asia and Director of the King’s Japan Programme at the Centre for Grand Strategy at the Department of War Studies (DWS), King’s College London (KCL). Prof Patalano is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan, a Visiting Professor at the Japan Maritime Command and Staff College (JMCSC) and a Senior Fellow at the highly influential think tanks Policy Exchange and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). In 2022, he also became fellow at the Royal Navy Centre for Strategic Studies, and Sir Herbert Richmond Fellow in Maritime Strategy at the Council on Geostrategy.

If you do miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to you use Apple Podcasts here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Saturday Is Old Radio Day- Ray Bradbury "The Earthmen" from Escape (1951)

The typo in the title to video is acknowledged.

On Midrats 18 September 2022 - Episode 635: Mid-September Melee

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 18 September 2022 for Midrats Episode 635: Mid-September Melee

Labor Day is behind us, school is in session, and winter is coming. That can mean only one thing - it’s time for a Midrats mid-month melee!

For the full hour this Sunday, EagleOne and Sal will take a bit from the headlines, a tad from the history books, and whatever shows up in the chat room or the studio line.

From DC to Ukraine, to the other side of the International Date Line, we’ll try to squeeze it in.

We'll distribute your defense, integrate your lethality ... whatever it takes.

As with every melee, if it is interesting and in the maritime or national security arena - we’ll take it on.

Open chat, open phones, open topic - come join us!

If you do miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to you use Apple Podcasts here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Friday Film - "Canals Towpaths West" (1963)

Before modern highways, the easiest way to move goods was on rivers and then on the canals and towpaths. The U.S. is fortuneate to have rivers that could be connected by the hard work of our ancestors in creating a internal line of communication. This film is a look at the history of such projects, but bear in mind that our rivers, canals, and other inland waters still provide a tremendous highway for logistics.

Update- A map of the navigable inland waters of the US:

Monday, September 12, 2022

Important Read - "Beijing’s Window To Attack Taiwan Comes Sooner Than Plans To Rebuild the U.S. Navy"

From Brent Sadler and Jackson Clark at Heritage -Beijing’s Window To Attack Taiwan Comes Sooner Than Plans To Rebuild the U.S. Navy
China is flying missiles over Taiwan and into Japanese waters, in just another sign that Beijing may be closer to trying a military takeover of Taiwan than most believe. Given how long it takes to build modern warships, the U.S. needs to start building now if it is to have the fleet needed to deter Chinese aggression.

Read the whole thing (it just takes a few minutes).

Photo is of Boston Navy during WWII.

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 10 August - 7 September 2022

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - Sam Spade "The Death Bed Caper" (1948)

On Midrats 11 September 2022 - Episode 634: Looking West to the Taiwan Strait, with Dean Cheng

Please join us at 1200 on 11 September 2022 for Midrats Episode 634: Looking West to the Taiwan Strait, with Dean Cheng

The People's Liberation Army Navy has her capital ships underway and under construction. The Japanese Navy continues her plans to grow in a way not seen in a century, and the lessons on the other side of the Eurasian landmass in Ukraine are shuffling long held assumptions concerning food, fuel, demographics, and economics.

We're going to cover this and more with returning guest Dean Cheng.

Dean is the Senior Research Fellow for Chinese political and security affairs at the Asia Studies Center of The Heritage Foundation. He specializes in Chinese military and foreign policy, and has written extensively on Chinese military doctrine, technological implications of its space program, and “dual use” issues associated with China’s industrial and scientific infrastructure. He is the author of “Cyber Dragon: Inside China's Information Warfare and Cyber Operations.”

Before joining The Heritage Foundation, he was a senior analyst with the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded research and development center, and a senior analyst with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC, now Leidos), the Fortune 500 specialist in defense and homeland security. He has testified before Congress, spoken at the (American) National Defense University, US Air Force Academy, and the National Space Symposium, and been published in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

If you do miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to you use Apple Podcasts here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Triangle Rail Project Won't Receive Federal Funding

Back in September, I suggested that the Regional Light Rail System being developed for the Raleigh-Durham area was a waste of money and a candidate for Porkbusting. The project was added to the Porkbuster pages. Letters were written to Senators and Congressmen. The Senators (both Republicans) responded with letters indicating their support for the project. However, as reported on February 6, 2006, here:
On Monday, the federal government gave the TTA proposal a low rating and announced that no money for the Triangle Rail is in the president's budget. Despite the news from Washington, D.C., the local commuter effort will continue because of the need. The TTA says federal funding is not the only means in which the rail system could be built.
I have held off announcing success in the battle against this expensive project because well, these things never really seem to die as well-said here at Talking about Politics:
Ronald Reagan used to say the closest thing to eternal life on earth was a government program. I’m beginning to think the Triangle Transit Authority is may prove his point. The News and Observer reports that yesterday Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr wrote the TTA that the Federal Transportation Administration had “thoroughly examined” the TTA’s light-rail project and “the initiative does not meet the current required standards, nor the former standards.” The bottom line: TTA will not be eligible for federal funding. The Senators added, “the rail project is likely not an option for the region; we therefore believe it is time for TTA to explore other possibilities.” Amen. Did that please the TTA? Not one bit. It rolled-out old warhorse (and now TTA’s legal counsel) Wib Gulley for a late-night news conference to respond. Gulley said: Not so. According to Gulley the TTA has discovered it left 132,000 commuters out of it’s computer model – and the new model will give a better chance of getting its hands on federal money. The problem is we’ve heard that before. It’s almost become TTA’s standard response to a no – we have to redo the computer model. The TTA has been going on for ten years and its proposal has grown from $100 to $800 million. It is a bureaucracy fighting for the government equivalent of eternal life – so that whatever happens it can keep on keeping on at taxpayers’ expense. And it’s got politicians like Raleigh Major Charles Meeker – who is apparently heart-set on light-rail whether it’s needed, justified, and no matter what it costs – helping them. These folks have been burning through taxpayers’ money for ten years and it’s time they stopped. Senator Dole and Senator Burr gave the TTA some good advice: Move on. When the federal government – which normally has never seen a pork-barrel project it doesn’t like – says your project is a waste of money, it’s time to give up.
Note that the final (?) knife in the project was its omission from the Federal Budget offered up in February, while the Talking about Politics piece appeared in December. Maybe a sign of how dead this project is lies in the headline of this report: "Raleigh Councilman Wants To Redirect Regional Rail Project Funds" and the Councilman's comments:
To date, the Triangle Transit Authority has spent more than $140 million on the Triangle Regional Rail Transit System, which would provide a commuter rail line between Raleigh and Durham. But with funding resistance from the federal government, Raleigh City Council Member Philip Isley wants the city's share of the money back. "I don't think anybody who has looked at this objectively would disagree the federal government has done pretty much everything possible to make sure this does not occur," Isley said. "We've got a pot of money out there that's not being utilized. My hope would be that we could take a look at it." About $7 million a year from a rental car tax goes toward the Regional Rail project. Isley wants the City Council to lobby the Legislature to let Raleigh and Wake County use the tax money for road and school needs.
"Funding resistance from the federal government" - what a funny way to phrase a denial of the money because no one can cook the books enough to show that the rail system will be anything but a money pit. In any event, there is one possible spark of life left in the federal funding path and a plea for local taxpayers to foot the bill in this line:
The TTA will know by Sept. 30 if the project is permanently derailed from federal support. Even if it's not, Worthy says the project could continue with local funding.
It may never die.  UPDATE: If you are wondering why this thing popped up, a link that was valid in 2006 seems to have been taken over by evil forces and Google asked me to fix it. So - I removed the link and the post from 2006 is back with us. And taxpayer money is still being wasted on boondoggle projects like that described. So . . .

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - "1984" with Vincent Price - Lux Radio Theater (1955)