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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. [Sings] Nobody knows de trouble I's seen … [Normal voice] Er, that's computer trouble I'm talking about there. It's all fixed now though; so here we are with a new edition of Radio Derb, the thinking conservative's window on the news.
This is your genial host John Derbyshire, back in the magnificently-equipped sound studios at Buckley Towers in the heart of Manhattan. The sound engineers are all seated at their control panels; the On Air light is flashing; and the producer is giving me three, two, one … although I must say, I really don't think that's the right finger for a "one" …
Anyway, here we go with all the insanity, illegality and lefty outrages you can handle, and then some.
|02 — Don't be scared of amnesty! says W. The President, whose name escapes
me just for the moment, gave a speech at a training center for border enforcement agents in Georgia.
The President said this, quote:
If you want to scare the American people, what you say is, the bill is an amnesty bill. That's empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our citizens.
Well, darn it, he's figured us out. Yes, Radio Derb listeners: What I've been trying to do has been to frighten you with empty political rhetoric, especially that a-word. Amnesty! Aam-nee-styy! AMNESTY! Ooooh!
No, no, it's all right. You can come out from under your desks. I didn't mean to frighten you that much. Calm down. Take a few deep breaths. I promised not to say the a-word again.
Giving United States residency rights to twelve million trespassers and their forty or fifty million parents, brothers in-laws, and cousins is not scary, not the least bit. It will be great for America.
So will giving them waivers on unpaid taxes, and dismissal of their court cases, and free legal aid if any issues arise, and of course in-state college tuition discounts, and all the rest of the goody bags.
There's nothing scary about this at all. After all, it's only what we owe them for being so kind as to come here and do the jobs we won't do. Aren't we a nation of illegal immigrants? Of course we are!
You won't be hearing any more empty political rhetoric from this commentator. No, sir. You have shamed me, Mr President.
Well, after the President had got through exposing us hate-filled, mean-spirited opponents of his immigration policy, he went on to give the usual boilerplate speech that he always gives to border patrol agents. You know, the one where he warns them that if in the course of their work they try to apprehend any drug smugglers fleeing back across the southern border into Mexico, he'll make sure they go to jail for ten years.
|03 — W's A-G sues FDNY over disparate impact. That same
President — the one whose name I'm having trouble recalling — has an Attorney General … whose name escapes me.
This Attorney General runs a Justice Department that has so much time and money on its hands — that's their time and our money — it has just launched a lawsuit against the Fire Department of New York City charging that the department practices racial discrimination.
The evidence for this challenge — the sole and only evidence — is that black and Hispanic applicants scored lower on the department's entrance exams in 1999 and 2002 than white applicants did.
In the 1999 exam about 90 percent of white applicants had a passing score, but only 61.2 percent of black and 77 percent of Hispanic test takers passed. In 2002 the figures were 97.2 percent of white applicants passing versus 85.6 percent for black applicants and 92.8 percent for Hispanic applicants.
There is no allegation in the complaint as filed that the Fire Department marked the tests incorrectly. The complaint is, so far as I can understand it, that those clever racists in the Fire Department — and by the way, this is the same department that lost 343 brave firefighters on 9/11 — those clever racists designed the questions on their exam so skillfully that black and Hispanic applicants were bound to score lower than white applicants.
They asked questions that they knew would baffle blacks and Hispanics, but not white folks. How did they manage to do that? What's the trick to writing test questions like that?
It seems to me that the New York Fire Department can get off the hook by just applying that trick in reverse: writing questions that baffle and confuse white test takers, but which are a breeze for black and Hispanic ones.
There you are: problem solved! I'll be billing the Fire Department for my consultancy fee. It'll be a lot less than they'll pay for defending themselves against this stupid lawsuit.
That lawsuit initiated by that Attorney General whose name escapes me, who reports to that conservative [laughter] Republican President whose name escapes me.
|04 — Deeper into the quagmire. I am actually reading this broadcast on
Thursday, the last day of May and looking at casualty figures for this month for the U.S. armed forces.
There have been 123 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq, the worst monthly figure since the siege of Fallujah back in November of '04. The number of U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan is surprisingly hard to find, but I make it eleven with the five U.S. Army guys who died when that helicopter crashed or was shot down yesterday.
The premise of the troop surge was that it would give the Iraqi government time to get its act together; but unfortunately someone forgot to tell the Iraqi government, whose act is no nearer to being together now than it was six months ago.
Here at home Congress is inching its way towards an exit, and so is the public. The Gallup polling organization periodically offers citizens a choice between (a) keeping troops in Iraq until things get better there, however long it may take, or (b) set a timetable for withdrawal and stick to it regardless. In early May the poll went 36 percent for staying, however long, against 59 percent for leaving on a timetable, whatever happens.
That's a 23-point gap, the widest it's ever been — four points wider than in April.
Osama bin Laden hasn't been caught, which I must say strikes me as inexcusable; the Taliban is recruiting in Afghanistan; we're about to lose our only reliable ally in Tony Blair; and Pakistan could go belly-up any day.
Iran's nuclear program is going full steam ahead and they're arresting our citizens to boot. Mooky al-Sadr is back in business in Baghdad, and sectarian killings are up in that city from 320 in January — that's the last month before the surge started — to over 400 this month.
What a mess! It was dumb of the administration to get us this deep into such a chaotic situation. It was dumb of me to support the Iraq attack in the first place, imagining, as I did, that all the administration had in mind was a little rubble-doesn't-make-trouble gunboat diplomacy.
Well, there's been plenty of dumbness to go round, but what do we do now?
Personally, I'd set a timetable not for full withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, but for withdrawal to fortified bases out in the desert and the mountains.
I'd kill Mooky and I'd have an all-out intelligence effort with stupendous bribes on offer to find and kill Osama bin Laden.
I'd bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. These guys should not have nukes, and they will if we don't act.
I'd secure America's borders, ports, and visa-processing procedures.
And a couple of other things, too: things, like the ones that I've just listed, that a serious and competent administration would have done three or four years ago.
|05 — Mexicans hate us. Here's a couple of things you can pretty much always
rely on. One, Mexican resentment of and hostility towards the United States: and two, Russian surliness, unco-operativeness, and bad faith towards the
entire Western world.
To deal with the first one first: The beautiful and gracious Ms Rachel Smith, a 22-year-old lady — and I mean "lady" in the full sense — from Clarksville, Tennessee won the Miss U.S.A beauty pageant back in March. That put her in the running for the Miss Universe title contested this week in Mexico City, Mexico. That's a corrupt poverty-stricken joke of a country somewhere to our south.
The Mexicans all hate us for the reason that one of them expressed to P.J. O'Rourke as follows: "Señor, you stole a big part of our country — the part with all the good roads."
Well, when Ms U.S.A., the aforementioned Rachel Smith, came out to strut her stuff, the Mexican audience jeered and booed at her. It turned out that the jeering and booing at Miss U.S.A., and only at Miss U.S.A., had been going on all through the preliminary events these past few days.
Now, you might think that this Mexican display of bad manners — or perhaps we should just say this display of Mexican manners — is a natural response to the Senate Immigration Bill, which contains some vague and provisional language about securing our southern border, a thing that of course would make Mexicans mad as Hell. Who do we think we are, trying to keep them out of our country?
However, this theory doesn't stand up because there was similar booing at Miss U.S.A. the last time the Miss Universe pageant was held in Mexico, way back in 1993 when we were waving illegal immigrants in with smiles and goody bags.
Let's face it, these people just hate us, and they hate our country. What should we do about this?
Here's an idea. Why don't we let another twenty or thirty million of them come and live here?
|06 — Act your age, Vlad! And then there's Russia.
Some wise man — a Frenchman, I feel sure — once said: "Russia is never as strong as she looks, and Russia is never as weak as she looks."
Well, we had a little illustration of that apothegm this past week as Russia fired off (a) a new type of ICBM, and (b) a barrage of insults at the United States.
The ICBM made Russia look strong, or at least that was certainly the intention. The petty, peevish, anti-American insults — the word "imperialism" was in there somewhere, which is a bit rich coming from a country whose armies were holding down half of Europe until twenty years ago — these petty insults made Russia look weak.
I thought of the writer Arthur Koestler, who once reported one of his friends as telling him: "Athur, plenty of people have an inferiority complex, but yours is a cathedral."
That's what Russia's inferiority complex is like: a cathedral, if not an entire Vatican City. But Russia is not as strong as the ICBM tried to make her look, nor as weak as the loud-mouthed blustering made her sound.
The occasion for it all was our plan to install anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. This, say the Russians, will turn eastern Europe into a, quote, "powder keg."
Once again, these are anti-missile defenses we installing. They're not even meant to defend against Russia, actually. Why would the Poles and Czechs think that Russia might launch missiles at them? If Russia wanted to attack those countries she'd just invade them, as she did back in the forties … and in Poland's case, also in the thirties. The point of these sites is to defend against rogue Middle East states with missiles.
Never mind. It's an excuse for Mr Putin to pose and strut, pretending that he's in charge of a great power capable of dealing with any threat from anywhere.
Remember, in fairness to Putin, he has four — count 'em, four — nuclear states on his borders. If Iran gets nukes, it'll be five. That's excuse enough for a little saber-rattling, I guess.
Memo to Putin: You're not as strong as that. You've got a swelling Muslim population and a major problem of demographic decline with your non-Muslims. You've got the legacy of eighty years of communism: the work ethic in the tank, rampant alcoholism and ill-health, and one major environmental crisis per hundred square miles.
Your military is in a sorry state, with soldiers selling their uniforms for cash to buy food. You're not that strong.
On the other hand, you're not that weak. You've got a hundred million-plus people for the foreseeable future; you have major natural resources, vast territory, and a great glittering tradition of science and culture. Act your age!
|07 — Strip-mining the Third World of its talent. Whatever you might think
of United States immigration policy as it affects the actual citizens of the United States — and that of course is how you should
mostly think of it — there's plenty of evidence that it is terrible for foreign countries.
The eagerness of our higher-education rackets to bring in bright foreign students, and the eagerness of U.S. employers to get well-trained and educated workers at lower salaries than they'd have to pay to citizens, combine to suck the talent out of poor countries.
Here's another angle in an Associated Press report from the town of Salcajá, Guatemala. I'll just read the opening few sentences, quote:
Working and going to school have become optional in this highland Guatemalan town thanks to a flood of U.S. dollars sent home by migrants living in the United States.
The AP dispatch goes on to tell us that Guatemalans in the U.S.A. send home 3.6 billion dollars a year, more than half the value of Guatemala's entire industrial output.
So here's the scoop. You're running a poor Third World country. You'd like to get rid of your most-smart young people and you'd like simultaneously to destroy the work ethic of your less-smart young ones. What do you do? Well, get 'em immigrating to the U.S.A. That'll do the trick.
We get computer programmers and maids: They get remittances and a really big cohort of really good pool players. I think that's what economists call "comparative advantage," isn't it?
|08 — Lifers prefer death. The Nation of Italy — or, as people
say here on Long Island, Iddly — abolished the death penalty after World War Two. The worst crimes now only get you a life
sentence. That means pretty much what it says in Iddly though, although you can get conditional release after 26 years of good behavior.
Well, a lifer in one of Italy's jails, an ex-mobster 52 years old and now in the eighteenth year of his life sentence, has written a letter to the country's President asking for the death penalty to be brought back. He said he was tired of, quote, "dying a little bit each day," and he wants his life sentence commuted to a death sentence.
This fellow, his name is Carmelo Musumeci, has passed his high-school graduation exams in the slammer and he now has a degree in law; but his sentence, he says, has "transformed the light into shadows."
In his letter, he told the President his future was the same as his past, killing the present and removing every hope.
Now here's the punchline: He got 310 other lifers to co-sign his letter. They'd all prefer to die rather than go on serving their life sentences.
This leaves me conflicted. On the one hand, I favor the death penalty, so I'd like to see all these horrible people executed. On the other hand, if life sentences seem worse to them than death — well, then, as far as us law-abiding types are concerned, the worse, the better. Let the swine go on suffering.
I know, I know: To understand all is to forgive all; I was in jail and you visited me; … I know all the tear-jerker lines. Look, just try reading what some of these guys did to get themselves awarded a life sentence.
I think that if I were the Italian authorities, I'd try for a middle path here. No formal executions, but just leave a few lengths of rope lying around in the cells, or the occasional razor-blade perhaps, or a bottle of lye. Let them find their own way out.
|09 — Miscellany. Okay, here's a little miscellany of short items.
Item: I have to admit, I don't really get these Pirates of the Caribbean movies. My kids love them though, so I got exposed to the first two, at least to the point around fifteen minutes in where I fell asleep. I shall be avoiding the third one. My kids have already been to see it, I'm glad to say.
Still, I'm happy to see pirates make a comeback. Pirates were part of the imaginative scenery of childhood way back before kiddie literature got all girlified and sanitized.
Pirates keel-hauled you or made you walk the plank. Pirates were mean, cruel, and nasty. I like that in a literary character. I'm glad pirates have made a comeback.
Now: Can we have some cowboys? And Indians? Not touchy-feely Indians sighing over the oneness of all created things — real Indians, the kind that practice sensational tortures on you before scalping you.
Can we? No? Why not? Oh, right, I know why not. Sorry I mentioned it.
Item: Speaking of the way things used to be: Whatever happened to that cute ten-year-old girl who delighted my family playing both the twins in the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap?
Oh, right: She turned into the cheesy slut who seems to be out on the front page of my daily tabloid every other day for being arrested on drugs or DUI charges, or for smashing up yet another automobile.
Hey, it's your life, Lindsay. I just can't figure out how you went from being a cute ten-year-old to being a burned out forty-year-old in just ten years.
If I could understand that, then I might be able to understand how a guy could go from being a hero of conservative Republicans and a stalwart defender of the U.S.A. and our values, to a directionless spendthrift shill for Mexican elites and teacher unions, who can't get conservative Republicans to answer his phone calls.
That would be a cool thing to understand.
Item: Understatement of the month came from nature guide Arthur Du Mosch of the Israel Nature and Parks Protection Authority authority.
Mr Du Mosch was wearing only a T-shirt and underpants when a full-grown leopard jumped through his window and tried to climb into bed with his sleeping family.
After wrestling the leopard into submission and calling the police Mr. Du Mosch said, quote: "This kind of thing doesn't happen every day."
Well, certainly not on Long Island, Mr Du Mosch.
Item: Here's another sidebar on the immigration story — the sidebar about people who you think our country would be glad to let in, but who just can't get a visa.
I got a long and plaintive email from a lady who's trying to get one of her relatives into the U.S.A. but just can't. The relative is law-abiding, well-educated, and a modestly successful businesswoman.
Unfortunately she is a white South African. Huh! — we don't want any of those, do we? And apparently we actually don't .
[Item]: Here's an even worse case from Britain.
Tul Bahadur Pun is a Gurkha, one of those hill people from Nepal who have served with great distinction in special units of the British military for 150 years. Mr Pun served in World War Two where he won the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest military decoration, "for conspicuous bravery in action."
Now Mr Poon is 84 and not in very good health. He'd like to go live in Britain when he feels he'd have access to better healthcare. The Brits, however, won't let him in. He is, they say, "unable to demonstrate strong enough ties to the U.K."
Fighting for a country so bravely that you win that country's highest military award apparently it doesn't count as having a tie.
Cue Mr Kipling.
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
|10 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gentlemen: another week of
merriment here on Planet Earth, brought to you by the reporters of Radio Derb who scour the world to bring you all the news you need to know.
Tune in again next week for more mockery, irreverence, and shallow cynicism from Radio Derb.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]