»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Thursday, May 27th, 2004


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01 — Intro.     [Voice of Michael Graham] This is Michael Graham and you're listening to Derb Radio on NationalReview.com — what Air America would be if it were funny and informative.

[Music clip:  from Carmen, Act 1 Prelude.]

[My voice] This is John Derbyshire with news of the week.


02 — Be nice, fly free.     Free flights for nice people. Delta Airlines is offering free tickets to passengers who are nice to one another.

Help another passenger carry a bag, stay upbeat during a difficult situation, or assist a flight attendant, and you could earn one of Delta's five thousand round trip tickets on Delta's low fare carrier, which is called Song.

Delta hopes that the program will build customer loyalty and generate revenue.

I am of course wasting my breath on the air here. Listeners to Radio Derb are conservatives, known for their hate-filled souls and for being … what's the Homeric epithet here? oh yes: mean-spirited. No free flights for us! Carry your own stupid bags, sucker!

But I can't do justice to this one. It cries out for a comment by Florence King.


03 — Fathoming Chalabi.     Which one of the following describes Ahmed Chalabi?

(a) An opportunistic crook who bamboozled the United States — and Britain, and France, and Germany, and the U.N. — into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction for his own ambitious and self-enriching ends.

(b) An honest patriot who has toiled away in the wilderness of emigré politics for decades, occasionally yielding to the temptation to make a little cash on the side in shady deals.

(c) An Iranian spy who, by playing a very long game, has got access to the innermost workings of the U.S. occupation administration in Iraq.

(d) (b), but skilfully painted as (c) by Iranians in order to discredit someone they see as unwilling to work on their behalf.

(e) (a), but skilfully painted as (b) by those scheming neocons in Washington.

(f) (b), but skilfully painted as either (a) and/or (c) by State Department Arabists.

(g) All the above.

(h) An astute, tireless, and knowledgeable operator who, by merely staying alive for thirty years in this particular game, has demonstrated that he is a man we ought to be able to make good use of, one way or another, if only by "turning" him in John Le Carré style … or else we should not be playing this game at all.


04 — Blue roses from a red state.     By fiddling with enzymes, genes, and whatnot, scientists in Nashville, Tennessee believe that they have found a way to produce a blue rose — a goal that has eluded horticulturalists for centuries.

Blue roses from a red state! But how will this translate into the language of flowers? A red rose means "I love you," everybody knows that. What should a lady think on receiving a single-stem blue rose?

Nothing good, surely. All the connotations of blue are depressing: bluenose, bluestocking, blue pencil, blue states — well, they depress me — and of course the blues.

You can invent away to your heart's content, but my guess is it'll take a marketing genius to make money out of blue roses.


05 — The case for divorce.     British Prime Minister Tony Blair was on his feet in the House of Commons the other day responding to questions from the Leader of the Opposition when he was struck by a condom filled with purple flour.

The condom broke, scattering the flour all over Tony's suit. A second condom was hurled at him but missed.

This was not the work of irate Tories; or, the atmosphere in his own party being what it is, of Labour members disgruntled with Blair's Iraq policy, but of two men in the Spectators' Gallery protesting on behalf of Fathers for Justice, a group of dads who believe that men get the short end of the stick in divorce proceedings.

This group has a track record of imaginative protesting. Previous ventures included a member in a Batman suit holding up traffic in London; and another one, this one dressed as Spiderman, who occupied a construction crane above Tower Bridge for six days, causing fifty million pounds worth of delays.

Now, I have a lot of sympathy with Fathers for Justice, having had a couple of friends in that sad situation. Yet still, a little voice inside me is whispering that, on the evidence of these antics, their ex-wives may have a case too.


06 — Obeying the law is for suckers.     The state of Kansas has decided to give tuition aid, funded by state taxpayers, to illegal immigrants attending state colleges.

The way it works is, for fifteen credit hours of in-state tuition at the University of Kansas, state residents, and now illegal immigrants too, pay $1,763, while out-of-staters pay $5,501 — over three times as much.

A nice feature of this new plan is that a foreigner who comes to the U.S.A. legally, on a proper student visa, having jumped through all the immigration hoops, will pay the full out-of-state tuition rate. So illegal immigrants are actually being given preference over legal ones, henceforth to be known as "suckers."

Whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.


07 — Fruit punch.     The world welcomed new arrival Apple Blythe Alison Martin, undoubtedly the apple of her Daddy's eye, and also of her Mommy's.

What's with that "Apple"? "Apple"? That's a kid's name now, as well as a fruit, a computer, and a record company?

The only precedent I can think of is the old blues singer Blind Lemon Jefferson, whose real forename was actually Clarence.

There's one of those name jokes here somewhere. You know: If Blind Lemon Jefferson married Apple Blythe Alison Martin … er, … but I can't get a punchline out of it.

(Punchline … punch … apples, lemons … Think about it.)