• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. Welcome to 2006, ladies and gents. This is your genial host, John Derbyshire, bringing you news and views from Radio Derb, courtesy of National Review Online. [Sings] "Vesti la giubba e la faccia infarina …"
|02 — Senator Leahy wrestles with syllogisms. If someone who hates the
United States and wishes to bring it into disrespect were to devise some method of doing so, he couldn't come up with anything more effective than the
Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It's hard to believe, yet it's obviously true, that the liberal members of the Committee do not know what asses they're making of themselves, and what disrepute they're bringing on the institution they profess to serve.
Quote: "A number of us have been troubled by what we see as inconsistencies in some of the answers." That was Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
I suppose Senator Leahy thinks he has planted in our minds an image of him tossing sleepless in his bed at night, so troubled by logical contradictions in Judge Alito's testimony — wrestling with predicates and syllogisms.
Does any sentient being in the U.S.A. actually nurse such an image? Is there anyone who cannot read the subtext in the smug self-serving remarks of Senators Kennedy, Biden, and Schumer? Something like this:
Liberal opinions like ours are so overwhelming in their moral superiority, and I myself have attained such an exquisitely refined degree of moral purity, that if you do not subscribe to those opinions, if you do not agree with me, you are a moral pygmy — a twisted, drooling degenerate, secretly desiring to oppress and enslave your fellow citizens.
Something like that. Can anyone take this scheissdreck seriously? I sure can't. Oh, excuse my German there.
|03 — Iran stops pretending. I doubt that Iran's program to equip itself
with nuclear weapons has ever slowed down for as much as an hour; but for reasons best known to themselves, the Iranians have now decided to stop
pretending the program has slowed down and are going ahead brazenly with the production of fissionable material
They probably figure that Israel is too preoccupied with its post-Sharon transition, America too gun-shy from the Iraq fiasco, and the Europeans too cowardly and feeble to do anything but whine, so they might as well let it all hang out.
The awful thing is that they are right on all counts. I recall seeing George W Bush on the O'Reilly show prior to the 2004 election being asked by Bill if he would permit Iran to get nukes. No, said W, it would not be allowed to happen.
So … what are you going to do, Mr. President? or was that just election talk?
Quote from John Keegan, one of the best military historians and analysts in the business, quote: "The ayatollahs are known to favor the placing of nuclear warheads in target cities by terrorists traveling by car or public transport." End quote.
Writing here from Long Island's north shore, right under the fallout plume from New York City, I'd really like to know.
|04 — Harry Belafonte's new song. [Singing, to the tune of Harry
The Banana Boat Song.]
Went down to Venezuela on a whim.
|05 — Jack Abramoff's troubles. I understand why Jack Abramoff in trouble.
He took money from people for work he told them he'd do. Then he didn't do it.
Fair enough. It's no different than a crooked building contractor. What I don't understand is why all these congresscritters are wetting their pants.
Big-money interests pay big money to guys like Abrahamoff to influence the votes of the congresscritters. Isn't this S.O.P. in Washington? Isn't this precisely what keeps our capital's tony restaurants, golf courses, travel agents, stock brokers, escort services, and massage parlors in business? Hasn't it been going on since the beginning of the Republic? Are there any adult citizens who don't know all about it?
Isn't the difference between lobbying and playing bribery sort of theoretical, like the difference between monophysitism and monotheletism?
Why should I give a damn about this? Answers on a postcard please to National Review, 215 Lexington Avenue, New York City.
|06 — Riling up the Scots.
Scots, wha hae! Over in Jackson, Missouri, young Nathan Warmack, who is 18 years old and
of Scottish lineage, showed up at a high school dance wearing a kilt. On his top half he had a smart dress shirt and tie. The principal whose name, no
kidding, is McClard, told young Nathan to go home and change into pants.
That got Scots all over the world, riled up — a thing you really don't want to do. You could ask King Edward the Second, if he was around. Several of these Scots felt moved to point out that Principal McClard would not likely have tossed his caber at a student showing up in a dashiki or a poncho.
Wear that kilt with pride for Burns Night, Nathan!
Ancient Scottish joke. "Excuse me, Sir. Is anything worn under the kilt?" "No, Ma'am. Everything is just as good as new."
|07 — Save the vultures! A news story from India. We don't get much out of
India, but here's a story, courtesy of the BBC: Vultures are dying out.
Yep. Apparently some drug commonly given to cattle is getting into the poor vultures' digestive systems — they eat dead cattle, you see — and this drug is destroying the vultures' kidneys.
Hey, I eat dead cattle, too. I call it "beef." Anybody worried about me?
In any case, I find it hard to believe that vultures are really an endangered species. Surely they're not — not while the Trial Lawyers Association is in business.
|08 — RIP Heinrich Harrer. Heinrich Harrer died the other day at the age of 93.
Harrer was a member of the first team to conquer the north face of the Eiger back in 1938. An Austrian, he joined the SS at about the same time, not because he knew or cared anything about politics, but because he thought they'd make him a ski instructor. He was never an active Nazi and even Simon Wiesenthal gave him a clean bill of health.
The fuss about Harrer being a Nazi was in fact financed and whipped up by the Communist Chinese, who hated Harrer because of his friendship with the Dalai Lama and his tireless support for Tibet and its people.
Harrer was the author of Seven Years in Tibet, one of the best books ever written about that strange, wrecked country. A rather good movie was made from the book in 1997. That was when the ChiComs whipped up their anti-Harrer propaganda campaign.
Nobody loved mountains like this guy, and it is not in the least surprising he ended up on the roof of the world. I never met Harrer, but I knew people who knew him, and everyone spoke of him with great affection and respect.
He did much good, no harm that I know of, was brave and honest, and lived an enviably full life. Rest in peace, Heinrich Harrer.