Podcast Review: Conversations with John Anderson

Featuring Ian Macfarlane

Podcasts are an important part of my day. I spend a great deal of time in the car, making many short trips of an hour or less every day. Frequent interruptions make it hard for me to enjoy audio books. Podcasts are perfect for my schedule and Conversations with John Anderson is one of my favorite podcasts. Mr. Anderson is a former Australian MP, he served as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2005. His podcast title provides an accurate description of its format. Anderson’s interview style is conversational, which makes it compatible with driving. In a recent installment of Conversations, Anderson interviewed Ian Macfarlane. Macfarlane is an Australian economist, who served as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia from 1996 to 2006. However, what prompted his interview on Conversations with John Anderson was the release of his latest book: Ten Remarkable Australians. In this book Macfarlane tells the stories of ten Australians who played significant roles in world history but are now somewhat forgotten.

The Current State of History Present

Dropping a post to update my status. In my professional life, I provide goods and services that support critical industries (power gen, other utilities, hospital maintenance, etc.) We, like many of you, have been incredibly busy over the last several months. Unfortunately for the blog, the outbreak coincided with my need to re-image History Present.

Trip To Czechia: Telč

Telc 7

In 1550, Zachariáš of Hradec assumed authority over several Czech towns and villages. He was 24 years old. Telč, his inheritance’s leading town, had suffered a fire 20 years earlier. Zachariáš visited Italy in 1551 and brought the renaissance home to Telč. New projects were commissioned that looked to improve the towns appearance and function. Stone replaced wood as the principal building material. A large central square dominates the town. Zachariáš upgraded the castle, added city walls, and created lakes to surround the town. The lakes aided security and provided a food source. After Zachariáš died in 1589, Telč continued to flourish becoming an important trade center. Many of the town’s home adopted Baroque facades during later renovations. However, the town maintained many 16th Century characteristics. Telč was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. We made a quick visit to Telč in March 2018. Unfortunately, we did not have an opportunity to visit the castle. We walked around the town and ate lunch at a restaurant on the main square. I hope you enjoy the pictures we enjoyed the town.

RNAS Dunino – in the shadow of St. Andrews.

As I continue my (moderately successful) effort to catch-up with everyone, I do appreciate your work. Here is another great site. I hope you enjoy Andy’s writing as much as I do. He creates fantastic pieces about very important history. As we move further away from World War II, we risk losing much of that story. Andy keeps the story alive. Those in Britain can experience this history by following his trails. Importantly, Aviation Trails allows us to visits these airfields even if we are not in Britain.

Aviation Trails

Continuing on in Trail 53, Scotland’s east coast, we visit another Royal Naval Air Station, this one, a satellite of RNAS Crail, is not quite so well preserved.  However, with that said, a number of buildings do still exist, and whilst most are on private land, some are visible from the public road.

Sitting not far from Scotland’s east coast and a short distance from the parent airfield at Crail, we visit an airfield that had a short military life, but one that saw many squadrons use it. With these squadrons came a multitude of aircraft types, but one in particular stood out as the predominant type- the Fairy Swordfish, a biplane that became famous with the Royal Naval Air Service.

On this trip, we visit another of Scotland’s relics, this time the former Royal Naval Air Station at Dunino.

RNAS Dunino (HMS Jackdaw II, HMS Merlin III).


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Expansion and the Mexican- American War in Party Platforms from 1832 to 1848

It is surprising how little attention is given to the idea of expansion in general, and the war with Mexico specifically, in the platforms of American political parties between 1832 and 1848. With Texas, Oregon, Manifest Destiny, and the Mexican War defining the period, I expected to find these subjects being addressed in the party platforms. It is only after the fact, the Mexican- American War that the parties mention the new territories. More prominent are statements concerning constitutional questions: limited government versus large scale internal improvements, and slavery. They generally feature praises of the various candidates. Below are planks that address expansion and the war with Mexico. One plank, the #6 plank in the 1848 Whig platform, is over-board in its description of Taylor’s virtues. If you are interested in reading it a link is provided in the source reference. 

Mexican- American War/ Part 4B: More Background

Three documents are key to understanding how Mexico was able to achieve independence from Spain. These same documents attempt to join the fractured society under the most inclusive umbrella possible. Mexican society featured groups that often held interests that were in opposition to the goals of the other groups, or to the cause of the nation. There was little consensus on what form of government was desirable. While independence was achieved, it initially resulted because loyalists realized that Spain could no-longer maintain control over the colony and that they would have to face the masses of creole, castes, and Indians alone. It would be left for the new government of Mexico (whatever form that would take) to deal with the nation’s many deep divisions. At the moment of independence, The Mexican Empire was declared a constitutional monarchy. Mexico’s challenges were extensive. Understanding Mexico’s actions in 1846 are only possible in the context of 1821.
The first two links are very quick reads.

History Nugget #19: October 2019


When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted; and so far from being a guarantee for their inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression. When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted Federative Republic, composed of Sovereign States, to a consolidated Central Military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the ever ready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.

Texas Declaration of Independence, 1836” History Now, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-now/spotlight-primary-source/texas-declaration-independence-1836, Accessed Oct. 26, 2019.