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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. That's one of old Frank Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is John Derbyshire with your weekly roundup of the news from Radio Derb.
And just to respond to a question I'm often asked: If Derbyshire is pronounced "Darbyshire," why is Derb pronounced "Derb"?
This is in fact one of those unfathomable cosmic mysteries like: Where do flies go in the winter? Why do cargoes go by ship, but shipments go by car? Why is there no synonym for "thesaurus"? How did Lindsay Lohan manage to go overnight from looking thirteen to looking forty-five? … and so on?
Well, in short, there is no answer. It just is. As Laozi famously observed: 道可道非常道, 名可名非常名 — "The way that can be spoken of is not the eternal Way; / The name that can be uttered is not the eternal name."
|02 — Are elites seeing the light on immigration? A few immigration items
to get us started.
It's been a cliche among us immigration wonks for years that there is no topic on which the gap between America's elites and the American people is wider than it is on immigration. The Center for Immigration Studies just published a high-quality survey of American public opinion. Asked if we thought current immigration levels were too low, just two percent of us of us — the American people — said yes, the levels are too low. Two percent.
And yet the U.S. Senate is mulling a bill that would massively increase immigration.
The elites are starting to wake up though. Watching TV coverage of those May Day demonstrations on behalf of amnesty for illegal immigrants, one question came irresistibly to mind: Where are the politicians?
They were there a-plenty a couple of weeks ago, in the previous round of demonstrations. Hillary Clinton was there cheering on the demonstrators; and Ted Kennedy was there making a long gassy speech; and Chuck Schumer was there declaring his solidarity. Back then in April every liberal politician in the country was up on a platform somewhere pledging his support for the demonstrators. So … where were they all on May Say?
I didn't think at the time to call the offices of my own two Senators, the aforementioned Clinton and Schumer, but I suspect that if I had done, I might have been informed that the Senator most unfortunately had a prior engagement — an absolutely unbreakable engagement! — to address a Rotary club in a really, really inaccessible region of the Adirondacks; and so, to the Senator's immense regret, was unable to be present at the May Day demonstrations.
What on earth could have happened to make our liberal politicians so shy all of a sudden? I wonder.
Now, I'm not going to recycle that tired old metaphor about switching on the lights in a roach-infested kitchen at midnight, but I do get the impression a lot of light bulbs are going on over a lot of elite heads — even liberal ones, perhaps even George W Bush's.
This immigration thing is getting interesting, real interesting.
|03 — Herndon, Va. leads the way. And the backlash begins! Playing the role
of Fort Sumter, here, is the little town of Herndon, Virginia, population 16,139 in my seriously-out-of-date Rand McNally.
Last August the town council of Herndon voted five to two to spend 170,000 of the town taxpayers' dollars to establish a hiring center where illegal immigrants could hang out while waiting for local contractors to illegally hire them for a day's illegal work.
Of the five councillors who voted in favor of the center, four had their lunch pails handed to them by the voters of Herndon this week. The one who didn't got the fewest number of votes of any winning candidate. The chap who got the most number of votes was one of the two who'd voted against the hiring center back in August.
I told you this was getting interesting. The last time a third-party candidate made a major difference in an American election was back in 1992 when Ross Perot took enough votes from Poppy Bush to give us the Clinton presidency … Oh, did I just uttered the phrase "third party"? Yes, I did. I want to practice saying it, you see, because I have a feeling I'll be saying is a lot over the next thirty months.
|04 — The language of our anthem. A fuss of the minor sort developed over a
Spanish-language version of The Star-Spangled Banner written by red-diaper baby Adam Kidron.
Adam's father was the British economist Michael Kidron, who died in 2003. The journal Socialist Review, in its obituary, described the elder Kidron as "probably the most important Marxist economist of his generation."
The website www.marxists.org, which I know you all have bookmarked, says that Kidron père was, quote, "a leading theoretician of the British Socialist Review group and its successor, the International Socialists," end quote.
We are deep in crazy-leftist territory here, folks. As well as having had a Marxist Dad, Adam Kidron also had a Marxist uncle, Tony Cliff, leader of Britain's Socialist Workers Party.
Has Adam repudiated all this family leftism? Not at all. He was last seen in public praising Al Sharpton's politics.
Well, after Kidron came out with this Spanish-language version of our national anthem, George W Bush said that in his opinion, the anthem should only be sung in English.
This was odd, as the anthem was sung in Spanish at several of the President's campaign events for the 2000 and 2004 elections, and Bush's own State Department has four — count them, four — Spanish versions of The Star-Spangled Banner on its website. I suspect that website is being hastily revamped even as I write.
Yes, those light bulbs are going on all over. The elites may look down with haughty disdain on the common people of America, but they're not stupid.
|05 — Terrorist asks his Mom. Here's a touching little story from the Big
Twenty-three-year-old Shahawar Matin Siraj, who works at an Islamic bookstore and lives in the noble borough of Queens, New York is on trial for having plotted to set off a bomb in a subway station.
One exhibit in the trial was a covert video taken of Siraj in conversation with his co-conspirators, one of whom was actually a police snitch secretly operating the video camera.
From the video we learned that Siraj was pressed to plant the bomb himself, but he had doubts. He was fine about, quote, "working with the brothers" as a planner or a lookout, but he balked at being the actual bomber. Said he, quote, "I'll have to ask my Mom's permission."
Now isn't that sweet? Blowing up a subway station full of infidels is no problem, just as long as Mom gives the okay.
And they say family values are dead in America.
|06 — Moussaoui gets three hots and a cot. After a trial that seriously
depleted the nation's stock of Kleenex, Zacarias Moussaoui got a life
Relatives and friends of 9/11 victims expressed different opinions. Some said they would rather have seen Moussaoui executed — after, of course, the necessary fifteen or twenty years of appeals and stays of execution. Others declared their satisfaction that Moussaoui would, as the saying goes, rot in jail.
But why does the saying so go? Surely we all know that at the faintest sign of rot, or even at the very first blush of mildew on Moussaoui's precious person, the ACLU would be all over the case, loudly demanding that federal prisons should be rot-free zones.
In practice Moussaoui will not rot. He will have three hots and a cot, as well as a well-equipped gym and library, cable TV, and access to the Internet.
As for that life sentence, would you like to bet money that long before Zacarias Moussaoui is eligible for Social Security, life imprisonment won't have been declared cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional?
Unthinkable, you say? Yeah, right. Unthinkable: just like a million illegal aliens marching in the streets demanding citizenship was unthinkable, until it happened.
If there is one thing we have learned this past 40 years, it is surely that we should never, ever underestimate the determination of Western civilization to commit suicide.
|07 — Amazing coincidence at the U.N. Lucky, lucky, lucky
Achim Steiner, an
environmental activist from Germany.
Forty-five-year-old Mr Steiner has just been appointed head of the U.N. Environmental Program at a salary I have not been able to discover, but which I do not doubt is lavish, and lavishly supplemented by a well-nigh infinite expense account in the proper U.N. style. Lucky Herr Steiner!
Who appointed him to this terrific job? Why, Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations …
… Who, by the way, is another lucky guy. Last December Mr Annan was awarded the Zayed Prize for global environmental leadership. This prize is put up by the United Arab Emirates and it's worth half a million dollars. Lucky Mr Annan! Lucky Herr Steiner!
Now, just to go back to this Zayed Prize that the Secretary-General was awarded back in December. Who decides who should get it?
Well, you see, there's an eight-person jury made up of environmental bureaucrats, retired diplomats, and the like.
Anyone we know on that jury? Well — hey, look! — one of the jurors was none other than Achim Steiner, the very same guy that Annan has just appointed to that super-duper job. What a coincidence!
|08 — Hunting the Great White Defendant. Down in Durham, North Carolina
District Attorney Mike Nifong took time out from hunting the Great White Defendant in the Duke lacrosse case to run for re-election. He got in with 45
percent of the vote.
Having won his election, is it too much to hope that Nifong will dump this ludicrous case in the Pamlico Sound? Probably it is.
Just to remind you, this is the case where a drunken stripper with a track record of making unsubstantiated rape allegations has made a rape allegation against three Duke lacrosse players, one of whom on actual photographic evidence was somewhere else at the time.
Funny, I haven't been seeing those two rape allegations all over my newspaper headlines. Can't imagine why.
|09 — Who are you calling a fairy? Now, just to show I'm not one of those
horrid nativists and am totally with the globalization program, here is a scattering of news items from around the world.
Let's start with Australia, whose southern shores are, along with nearby New Zealand, the natural habitat of a cute little penguin species named Eudyptula minor.
That is the official Latin name for the bird. New Zealanders, a dour and unimaginative lot, call it "the little blue penguin"; but to the more romantically inclined people of Australia Eudyptula minor is "the fairy penguin." [Sound of alarm going off.]
Oops, sorry, that's the political correctness alarm going of. Sorry, hold on a minute here … [alarm stops] … all right. Yes, the "fairy penguin."
"Fairy"? "Fairy"? You can't say "fairy" nowadays. Someone's feelings might be hurt.
Alert to this dreaful possibility, managers at the Sea World theme park near Brisbane, Australia have changed "fairy penguin" to "little penguin" in all their literature and signs.
But are homosexuals really that sensitive Down Under? … The chairman of a local gay support group was quoted thus: "If the penguins were called 'poofter penguins' or something more direct, then it might be a problem, but I don't see the name 'fairy penguin' as a mickey-take at all." End quote. I think that means he doesn't mind.
|10 — This year's most-failed states. Hearty congratulations go out from
Radio Derb to the people of Sudan, whose nation topped this year's list of failed states.
Compiled by Foreign Policy magazine and a think tank called Fund for Peace, the list ranks nations according to their viability, judged on criteria like human flight, economic decline, and criminalization of the state.
States range from the most failed Sudan to the least failed Norway. The Democratic Republic of Congo came second in this dismal contest, Ivory Coast placed third, and fourth was … let's see … oh, Iraq!
Quote from the accompanying report:
The exodus of Iraq's professional class has accelerated, leaving the country without the trained citizens it needs to staff important posts.
Funny; I thought the Iraqis were showing such fine patriotic spirit.
Also in the top ten failed states list were Zimbabwe, Chad, Somalia, Haiti, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Quote from the BBC report:
The top sixty positions in the list were occupied almost exclusively by African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries. The only European states in relatively high positions were Bosnia and Herzegovina at 35, Russia at 43, Belarus at 50, Serbia and Montenegro at 55, and Moldova at 58.
All ex-communist countries, I note. The least vulnerable states were Finland, Sweden and Norway at 144, 145, and 146 respectively.
Useful to be reminded that while Europe's problems may be dire, they barely even count as problems when set against what great swaths of the world's people have to endure.
|11 — Pope permits prophylactics. You remember that song for Roman Catholics
from Monty Python's movie The Meaning of Life? I can't
remember the tune, but the words go: "Every sperm is sacred, / Every sperm is great. / If a sperm is wasted/ God gets quite
Well, the Pope and his advisors are doing some rethinking here. CNN reports that, quote: "The Vatican is studying whether condoms can be condoned to help stem the tide of AIDS" End quote.
Well, I'm not a Roman Catholic myself, and I'm fine with whatever the Holy Office decides. What I am not fine with is CNN employing a reporter who writes a phrase like "condoms can be condoned."
Condoms can be condoned, can they? Can contraceptives be countenanced? Can prophylactics be proselytized? Can spermicides be espoused and pessaries apotheosized? Should alliteration be allowed, or is it alarmingly alienating?
Do you have any idea how many times I had to record this segment before I got it right?
|12 — May to December. Finally, a wee titbit of news from North
A 33-year-old man of those parts has married a 104-year-old woman. It was the groom's first marriage and his wife's twenty-first, according to the Star newspaper of Kuala Lumpur
Ex-serviceman, Muhamad Noor Che Musa, said he found a sense of belonging after meeting Wook Kundor, adding that he had initially sympathized with her because she was old and alone.
Quote from Mr Musa: "Before meeting Wook I never stayed in one place for long."
Well Muhamad, not to rain on your parade at all, but I wouldn't be looking to put down any deep roots in your new wife's hometown.
And should anything tragic happen and you take to wandering again, why not come over to the States and look up Anna Nicole Smith? You two would have so much to talk about.
|13 — Signoff. There you go, kids: insanity, hilarity, and barbarity, all
courtesy of National Review Online and our dedicated teams of researchers and recording engineers.
Tune in again next week for more of all the news you wish you'd never heard from Radio Derb.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]