»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Thursday, September 22nd, 2005


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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]

01 — Intro.     That was one of Franz Joseph Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is John Derbyshire with all the news to make you spray coffee across your computer screen.

It's been a busy week, so let's get on it.


02 — Conservative, not Republican.     Well, George W Bush, you lost me — my vote, I mean. This is a bit academic since you won't actually be soliciting my vote anymore — not unless you move to Long Island and run for my local school board, which I don't actually see happening.

No, you lost me. It was that speech that did it. You know, the one where you declare that we will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship in order that people fool enough to want to live at a spot below sea Level in Hurricane Alley should be able to do so in full assurance that if disaster strikes, Uncle Sam will float them right out of trouble on a big fat raft of greenbacks, and award them lifetime membership in the ever-swelling ranks of welfare queens.

Heck, if the feds are going to rebuild New Orleans with our money, why not just call the place what it will actually be: a reservation?

Well, anyway, that speech did it for me. The next vote I cast in a national election will be for whichever candidate I judge most likely to reduce the size of the federal government; restore the ancient American ethic of self reliance and self support; veto obnoxious legislation; use proven competence, not cronyism, as a criterion when making departmental appointments; enforce the immigration laws; and leave backward, barbarous countries to sort out their own stinking affairs, so long as they don't vex us in the process.

I shan't care what party label that candidate wears. I'm a conservative, not a Republican.


03 — Feeding the bureaucratic beast.     One thing made clear by Hurricane Katrina was that the attacks of September 11th, 2001 led to a tremendous efflorescence of bureaucracy in the federal government.

It's not hard to figure out why. The Department of Homeland Security, a bureaucratic extravaganza all by itself, was created. There being no further attacks on our territory, the DHS really had nothing to do, so it busied itself with thinking up petty rules and regulations, each one of which in isolation probably has some reasonable sounding rationale, but which taken together form an impenetrable jungle in which nothing can ever get done.

So you have the spectacle of doctors arriving in New Orleans only to find that they can't treat Katrina victims because they aren't FEMA-certified. That actually happened.

I don't know what can be done about this, except for the old conservative remedy for bureaucratic growth: Starve the beast. That, however, seems to be deeply out of fashion nowadays. For sure it's no part of George W Bush's program … or worldview.


04 — You're welcome, race hustlers!     The race hustlers were out in force after Katrina. Jesse Jackson, Kanye West, and the rest of that grisly crew were all telling us that if it had been white folk left there in New Orleans, the aid would have moved faster.

Whatever you think of all that, you can hardly deny that there's been a huge outpouring of generosity towards Katrina's victims from white Americans and from American corporations. Will any of the race hustlers acknowledged that? Shall we hear some word of thanks?

Don't count on it. Come to think of it, President Bush has spent millions of federal dollars and an immense amount of his own time and energy courting black church ministers through his faith-based initiative. Will any of the recipients of all that goodwill and largess stand up and say: "Hey, George Bush is no racist"? Will they? Funny, I don't hear them.

A friend out in Los Angeles tells me that police chief Bratton out there has invested similar time and resources courting that city's black leaders. Yet when there's any kind of race-related police incident, these leaders are nowhere to be found.

Perhaps it's naive to expect gratitude in politics; but when the word "racist" is thrown around so freely, it wouldn't hurt, just once in a while, for some respected black spokesperson to stand up and say: "Hey, these guys aren't racist. They're doing their best for all of us."

How come we never hear that?


05 — How to loot-proof your store.     Just one more Katrina-related item.

Here's a quote from the Associated Press, and it has a quote within the quote, which I'll mark. Quote: "The Walmart store in uptown New Orleans, built within the last year, survived the storm, but was destroyed by looters. [Inner quote.] 'They took everything, all the electronics, the food, the bikes,' said John Stonacker, a Walmart security officer. 'The only thing left,' he said, 'are the Country and Western CDs.' [End quote.]" End quote.

So there you are. If you want to start a store that is looter-proof, stock it up with Country and Western music.


06 — Feds under the bed.     Did you know, gentle listener, that slightly more than half of all American youngsters aged 15 to 19, have engaged in oral sex; that the proportion rises to about 70 percent among 18- and 19-year olds; and that among women in the late teens and twenties, one in seven report an intimate same-sex encounter?

Fascinating stuff, eh? And which university or research institute is bringing us these figures? Why, it's our very own federal government — to be precise, the National Center for Health Statistics.

Now I'm just as interested as the average person in who's doing what to whom out there on the fruited plain, but what the heck business is it of the federal government?


07 — Why we hate Blair.     There were riots in Northern Ireland …

Wait a minute, isn't that whole business supposed to be over and done with? Didn't the nationalists and unionists — Republicans and Loyalists, Taigs and Prods, whatever they call themselves — didn't they kiss and makeup back in 1998?

Well, not exactly. What happened was that the terror gangs promised to be good boys if the Brits let all their gunman and bombers out of jail. Tony Blair did so. To sweeten the deal, he also emasculated the Northern Ireland police force. So now you have streets full of gangsters and no effective police force to control them.

I don't think the word "brilliant" has ever been used to describe any British policy in Ireland, but Tony Blair's Ireland policy has plumbed new depths of stupidity and cynicism.

And my American friends wonder why we expat conservatives gag at the mention of Blair's name. Take a trip to Belfast and you'll understand.


08 — For President Blah.     I confess to a fascination with African names.

This started back in the 1960s when there was a leading politician in Kenya named Odinga Oginga — or was it Oginga Odinga? — and another one in Nigeria who rejoiced in the name Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

That latter gentleman met a sorry end. He was found in a roadside ditch with a very nasty case of lead poisoning after one of Nigeria's many coups d'etat. I don't recall what happened to Mr Oginga … or Odinga.

Then there was sometime president of Zimbabwe, the Reverend Canaan Banana, who I believe got a law passed to prohibit people making fun of his name.

Now, I don't mean any disrespect to anyone — well, not much. And I am of course aware that "Derbyshire" probably sounds hilarious in some language somewhere. It's just that when you have to read new stories for a living, any kind of light relief is welcome, and these African names provide light relief of a harmless kind.

Well, here's my latest addition to the honor roll of smile-producing African names. I just learned recently that for a few weeks in 2003, Liberia had a President named Moses Blah. Thats B-l-a-h, Blah.

President Blah is now retired from public life and I am sure Radio Derb listeners will all join with me in hoping that he does not find retirement too dull.


09 — Silly pun prize.     Another way that we newshounds relieve the monotony of our daily tasks is by inserting little puns and quips into our copy.

There were some ways of doing this that are now time-honored and traditional in the world of journalism. In any story about pigs, for example, you are sure to read of explanations being trotted out, of spokespersons hamming it up, of someone saving someone's bacon, and so on and so on.

Well, we had a mice story this week and I braced myself for lots of sly references to squeaking through, turning tail, scurrying about and so on.

These particular mice had escaped from a medical research facility in New Jersey where they had been deliberately infected with bubonic plague. The New York Post, America's Newspaper of Record, won the Silly Pun Prize with its headline A Plague on Your Mouses.


10 — Like it or lump it.     Pop music kind of left me behind round about, oh, 1975. I still from time to time take a peek to see what's going on in there though. So what's going on?

Well, a reader passed on some lyrics he came across while channel-surfing on his car radio and I thought I'd share them with you.

The following stanza is from a little number titled "My Humps," performed by a group named Black-Eed Peas. You Ready? Here we go.

Whatcha gonna do with all that junk?
All that junk inside that trunk?

I'm a get get get get you drunk.
Get you love drunk off my hump.

Whatcha gonna do with all that ass?
All that ass inside your jeans?

I'm a make make make make you scream.
Make you scream make you scream

'Cause of my humps my hump my hump my hump,
My hump my hump my hump my lovely lady lumps.

Check it out.

Cole Porter, thou shouldst be living at this hour. America hath need of thee. She is a fen of stagnant waters … and lovely lady lumps.


11 — Signoff.     That's all for today, boys and girls. I'm off to the opera to see the first ever, I think, U.S. performance of Il viaggio a Reims, an opera by Rossini in which nothing happens. A bunch of people gather together to go on a journey, but never set out. They just stand around singing. "The Seinfeld of operas," the producer calls it.

I'm betting and hoping that it contains no references at all to lovely lady lumps.


[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]