»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Thursday, September 29th, 2005


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[Music clip: Soaring chords, orchestra and chorus.]

01 — Intro.     Yes, my fellow Americans, time once again for news of the day from Radio Derb, brought to you from the glittering towers of National Review World headquarters here in New York. This is John Derbyshire.

I'm sorry about the intro there. I've misplaced my Haydn clip so today you have to make due with the massed voices of the National Review Mail-room Choir.

Okay, let's see what's been happening.


02 — FEMA boss talks sense.     I gotta admit I ended up liking Michael Brown a whole lot better after those Congressional hearings.

Of course, it's no great stretch to look good by comparison with a bench full of low-IQ Congresscritters stuffed up to the gills with the conviction of their own importance and omniscience. Still, Brown did better than I expected. Listen to the guy, quote:

You should, as an individual, take personal responsibility and be prepared to be on your own for perhaps up to two or three days. And while my heart goes out to people on fixed incomes, it is primarily a state and local responsibility; and in my opinion, it's the responsibility of faith-based organizations — of churches and charities and others — to help these people.

End Quote. I'm sorry, but I agree with every word of that. He's talking self-help, self-reliance, self-support. I thought those things were the essence of Americanism. I guess I'm just hopelessly out of date … Oh, hold on, I gotta take a call.

Hello? Yes, yes, I did. Yep, no problem. Bye. Okay.

That was the federal inspectors, just checking to make sure I brushed my teeth this morning.


03 — How to save Air America.     Did you see that the lefty radio network Air America is begging listeners to send in cash contributions?

Memo to lefty broadcasters: To really get out on the airwaves with your big-government message, what you really need is … big government.

Change your name to PBS or National Public Radio. Then go to Congress and ask for a hundred million dollars of taxpayer money. That's the right way to do it!


04 — You can never have enough nukes.     On the principle I have laid down here before on NRO, the principle that you can never have enough nukes, I am glad to see North Korea doing the sideways shuffle on this latest agreement about nuclear weapons development, even before the ink is dry on the stupid thing

I must say. I'm happy to see North Korea get nukes. That will prompt Japan, possibly South Korea, and maybe even Taiwan to get nukes or their own, which is great as far as I'm concerned.

Nothing keeps the peace like nukes, as the Cold War proved. Do you want Communist China to be the only East Asian power with nukes? I sure don't.

The only downside to the Norks getting nukes is that they might sell some to al Qaeda types for smuggling into the US. Fine: Let's just make it really, really clear what will happen to Kim Jong Il and his country if we find out he's done that.

Then let's get ourselves a decent intelligence service up and running so we actually have a chance of finding out.


05 — New Orleans conduct report.     Was there lots of really atrocious behavior following Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans? Was there? Wasn't there? Was-there-wasn't-there …? I don't know about you, but I'm getting whiplash from all this to-ing and fro-ing about it.

Well, look, you heard it here first, folks, on Radio Derb, right after the event. I said I was betting that a lot of the horror stories wouldn't pan out. Well, a lot of them haven't.

There was stuff going on though; and some of the folk now telling you that there wasn't anything like as much stuff going on as you thought there was, are just a little bit too gleeful about it.

There was massive looting: for goodness' sake, we have film footage of it. There were gunshot deaths. There was shooting at relief workers. There was large-scale dereliction of duty by New Orleans police officers.

If you heard that newborn babies were being slaughtered in batches and cooked and eaten in the Superdome, you heard a lie: but the fact remains — and with all due deference to the many people who did good and behaved with dignity in the crisis — it remains that the people of New Orleans as a whole don't come out of this with a glowing report.

And the authorities of New Orleans come out a whole lot worse than that.


06 — Make getting yourself arrested illegal.     Cindy Sheehan finally, after strenuous efforts, got herself back in the news again. We all hoped her fifteen minutes of fame had been washed away by the hurricanes, but no such luck.

Cindy had to go to some lengths to get our attention, though. Fact is, she had to get herself arrested for blocking the sidewalk in front of the White House. She was so happy about it! Did you see her smiling and waving as the police carried her away?

Here's a suggestion for some legislators somewhere. Public nuisances like Mr Sheehan love to get themselves arrested. It's great publicity. There's no downside since they hardly ever get jail time and their supporters pay their fines.

So here's my hint to lawmakers. Pass a law for your jurisdiction mandating five to ten for the crime of deliberately getting yourself arrested in order to gain publicity.

Then maybe our police forces would have a little more time available to chase down muggers, robbers, and murderers.


07 — A non-segment.     This segment is kind of a non-segment. Topic: supermodel Kate Moss caught inhaling cocaine.

I can't honestly say this is the first time I ever heard of Kate Moss. The name is familiar. Although if you'd asked me, I think I would have guessed that she was some kind of movie starlet.

What exactly is a supermodel anyway? I mean, is that what it says in her passport: Supermodel? But look, this is a whole zone of the human world in which I just have no interest at all. No interest, nothing to say. Fashion … supermodels … Sorry, no clue. I guess there is something interesting to be said about this zone of human activity, but don't look to me to say it.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not pushing the Puritan-lefty point of view, if it's even still around, that people like this are social parasites who should be put to some kind of useful work, driving tractors or something. Let freedom ring! I say.

I'm happy for the Kate Mosses of the world to do whatever it is they do. I just can't summon up a microgram of interest in it, nor any surprise that they snort cocaine while doing it … whatever it is.


08 — Abu Ghraib: a minor military offense.     Lindy England, poster girl for sex segregation in the military, got three years in the slammer for allowing herself to be photographed humiliating Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib.

She told the court she did it all for love: love, that is, of Private Charles Grainer, her soldier boyfriend now doing ten years porridge for running that grisly little show.

I got into trouble with certain quarters of the blogosphere at the time those pictures came out for saying that I didn't care what happened to Iraqi jail inmates and I thought the whole thing was pretty trivial — just a military unit in bad need of some discipline.

I can't say I've changed my mind about any of that, and it's not Private England's fault that the hate crowd picked up those pictures and ran with them. If I were judging the case, I'd still say the hell with world opinion and the hell with Iraqis and just deal with it as a minor military offense. What does world opinion ever do for America anyway?

So I think these sentences were way too long. That's the military for you though. I forget who said it, but it was worth saying: Military justice is to justice as military music is to music.


09 — Bush no Wilson.     Just a brief note about the adjective "Wilsonian," which is getting thrown around a lot recently.

It seems to be getting to be a shorthand for the George W Bush program of exporting democratic ideals to the Middle East. Mostly it's used by people who don't care for that idea, but even our own Vic Davis Hanson dropped a "Wilsonian" in a National Review piece the other week.

Well, I've been reading up on Woodrow Wilson and here's what true Wilsonianism looks like to me.

In the first place Wilson wanted U.S. military power subsumed under some big international authority. Second, he was very big on ethnic self-determination, so a Wilsonian policy on Iraq would involve breaking the place up along ethnic lines. Third, Wilson was one of those American Presidents who never really give a moment's thought to foreign affairs — except possibly in the case of Mexico — until events forced him to; then he cooked up a foreign affairs philosophy real quick and dirty.

So if you want to draw parallels between GWB and Wilson, you've only got one out of three to work with.


10 — Congress bans hate.     Wonderful news, folks: Pretty soon there will be no more hate in America!

Yes, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed an amendment called the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. It empowers the feds to join in with any state or municipal-level enforcement of hate crime statutes.

We can now look forward to the creation of a proper federal hate crimes bureaucracy dedicated to using federal power to stamp out all bad deeds — and, you can be sure, bad speech and bad thoughts, too — directed against protected minorities.

Let's hope that when they have eradicated hate from our national life, the federal government will go to work on envy, greed, anger, and all the other sins. Then we shall be whiter than the driven snow!

No, wait a minute. Did I say "whiter"? That could be construed as hate speech, couldn't it? Oh, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so very sorry. No, don't take me away. I'm sorry. No, no-o-o! … [Scuffling sounds] …


11 — Signoff.     Well, that's all for this week, guys and gals. I'm sorry, I still can't find my Haydn clips, so … take it away, Kathryn.


[Music clip: More soaring chords.]