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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. Welcome, Radio Derb listeners! This is your host John Derbyshire, ready to escort you down into the shadowy depths of this week's news.
Pluck this golden bough, unsheath the sword, and follow me down into the realms of chaos and darkness.
|02 — Muslims discovered America! Back in Stalin's time, when the Soviet
Communist Party was boasting that absolutely everything had been invented or discovered by Russians, the joke whispered around among intellectuals
was: "Russia — home of the elephant!"
Well, now the Muslims are up to something similar. Here's a report in the British journal Muslim Weekly, written by one Hisham Zubair, telling us that Muslims crossed the Atlantic 603 years before Columbus. Quote:
We were in the Americas hundreds of years before Columbus, and of that we can be sure.
What's that you say, listener? You want to see evidence? No problem! Here's another quote from Mr Zubair, quote:
The language of the Pima people in the Southwest and the Algonquian language had many words in their vocabulary that were Arabic in origin; and Islamic petroglyphs were found in places such as California.
Are you impressed yet? Well, how about this, quote:
Columbus further admitted that on October 21st 1492, as he was sailing past Jíbara on the coast of Cuba, he saw a mosque. Remnants of other masjids have been found in Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and Nevada.
Now, how can you argue with all that? And what did these Muslims do in the new world? Says Mr Zubair, quote:
Unlike Columbus, they had not come to enslave the populations or plunder the land. They had come to trade, and they married among the natives.
These, you see, were the kinds of Muslims who would have nothing to do with slavery, unlike the Muslims who ran the slave trade from East Africa for more than a thousand years. Or the Muslims of the Barbary Coast who kidnapped and enslaved Europeans for hundreds of years. Or the holiest Muslims of all: the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, where slavery was only abolished in 1961. No, these were the non-slave-trading kind of Muslims.
It's a pity the Weekly World News has just gone out of business. Mr Zubair would have fit right in there. So would those peace-loving, slavery-eschewing Muslims of his, along with Bat Boy, the giant mutant hog monster and Hillary Clinton's alien baby.
|03 — Justice in Estonia. Since I've mentioned Stalin, here's a related
story from the news.
My friends all groan when I bring out my Estonian jokes from the period of Soviet occupation. Sample: Why is Estonia the world's biggest country? Answer: The coastline's on the Baltic, the capital is Moscow, and the population's in Siberia.
It's not actually such a joke, though. Untold numbers of Estonians were shipped off to the Siberian slave labor camps during the Soviet occupation, which lasted from 1940 to 1941 and then from 1944 to 1991. In just one week in 1949, twenty thousand Estonians were arrested and sent to camps. That's more than one in fifty of the population at that time; and that was in one week. Less than half those who were sent to the camps survived.
Well, here's a news item from Estonia. A former Soviet Communist Party official has been charged with genocide for his part in organizing those deportations. Eighty-eight-year old Arnold Meri says he did indeed participate, but he was only obeying orders.
Isn't that what they call the Nuremberg defense? Anyway, it's good to see that in Estonia, at least, the foot soldiers of communism are being hunted down as remorselessly as the foot soldiers of Nazism have been.
|04 — GIs speak truth to power. Nice column by George Will this week on the
coming report to Congress by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker about the situation in Iraq.
We may, said George Will, be heading for a, quote, "Weimar moment" — a moment, that is, when an angry faction is born, declaring that defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory by a cabal of defeatist politicians and elites.
Presumably that cabal will have to include Army Ranger Staff Sergeant Jeremy A. Murphy, Sergeant Wesley D. Smith, Sergeant Jeremy Roebuck, Sergeant Omar Mora, Sergeant Edward Sandmeier, Staff Sergeant Yance T. Gray and Army Specialist Buddhika Jayamaha.
These were the six gentleman who wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, August 18th … I'm sorry: That's August 19th. All of them are infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division on the point of heading back home after combat duty in Iraq, though Staff Sergeant Murphy was shot in the head August 12th after contributing to the op-ed and he is being flown to a military hospital stateside.
These soldiers throw cold water on the surge triumphalism now resounding through the ranks of administration supporters, quote:
We are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and we feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political, and social unrest we see every day.
Meanwhile our President made a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Missouri, arguing that withdrawal from Iraq would, like our withdrawal from Southeast Asia a generation ago, lead to disaster for, quote, "millions of innocent citizens."
Presumably the President isn't referring to U.S. citizens, though it's always hard to tell with him. If we were to withdraw before the job was done, the President continued, this enemy would follow us home.
How would he do that, if we have strict border and visa controls? Oh, right: The President doesn't believe in border and visa controls.
Back to Sergeants Murphy, Smith, Roebuck, Mora, Sandmeier, and Gray, and Specialist Jayamaha, quote:
The primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed.
I guess those are the citizens the President was referring to. Heaven forbid he should give a thought to American citizens, who have no stake in Iraq, who are at danger from terrorists precisely to the degree that this administration has neglected its most elementary responsibilities, and who are sick of this trillion-dollar adventure in stupidity.
|05 — Ethnic apologies: count me out. Here are a couple of news items from
the strange little world of ethnic apologizing.
In Liverpool, England, an International Slavery Museum has been opened as part of the celebrations for the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade. The museum was opened by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who was in full grovel mode. Quote:
I advocate a national memorial day for victims of slavery and that this should be held on a date in October, which is Black History Month.
Hang on there a minute, Mr Former Deputy Prime Minister. Isn't February supposed to be Black History Month? How many Black History Months are there? And wasn't Britain actually instrumental in ending the slave trade?
Whatever. Jesse Jackson was in England for this event and naturally criticized England's refusal to formally apologize for slavery, quote from the Righteous Reverend, quote:
It does not surprise me, but it disappoints me, that there has been no apology. Once we have apologized, we have admitted a wrong done.
Well, yay for apologizing when you've done something wrong. A lot of us, however, are not convinced of the need to apologize for wrongs committed by our great-grandfather's great-grandfather, especially when someone in our family line may very well have served and died in the Royal Navy trying to intercept slave ships in the Atlantic, or might've been maimed or killed fighting to abolish slavery in the Civil War.
From what I can surmise about my own great-grandfather's great grandfathers, they spent most of their short lives a thousand feet underground hacking away at coal seams with pick and shovel in darkness, filth and danger for starvation wages.
I think I'd like to consult with them before I offer any apology for slavery; but since I can't, I think I'll pass on the apology.
|06 — Ethnic restaurant suggestion. In somewhat brighter news on the apology
front, ethnic apologizing has taken a welcome new turn in Papua New Guinea, where tribesmen offered a formal apology for having killed, cooked and
eaten four Methodist missionaries back in 1878.
These killings did not go unavenged at the time. When news of the Methodist-bake leaked out, a party of armed natives, Fijians, and Samoans under British leadership attacked the villages that had been involved. They burned those villages, killed ten of the cannibals, and retrieved some bones of the martyred missionaries, one hopes from somewhere other than the cannibals' alimentary tracts.
In the logic of these things, I suppose someone ought to apologize for that. After all, the tribesmen were only practicing their own colorful, vibrant ethnic customs — celebrating diversity, as it were.
Isn't it one of the main selling points of diversity that we get all these interesting ethnic restaurants with new and curious styles of food? Perhaps the Papuan tribesmen could be induced to come over and open a little bistro on Third Avenue. Lunchtime special: Presbyterian Parmigiana.
Are these comments insensitive? I'm sorry. Sorry, sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry …
|07 — Ground the shuttle! The space shuttle Endeavor has returned
to Earth after completing its mission to go and dock with the International Space Station, which remains up there to continue its mission of
being the thing the space shuttle docks to. Now is the time for my organization to swing into action.
Did I tell you about my organization? We are Citizens Against Bureaucratically Originated Orbital Maneuvers, known for short as CABOOM. Our aim is to shut down government-funded manned space flight. If people want to go and have fun in space, let 'em pay what it costs. Private enterprise, it's the American way.
There is no way the U.S. taxpayer should be shelling out half a billion dollars per shuttle flight to investigate the effects of weightlessness on caterpillars. We don't need to know.
So this is CABOOM's moment, while all the shuttles are safely grounded. We shall sneak into the hangars and ring them — you know, a great big scratch right down the fuselage. Then, for good measure, we'll ice-pick their tires. Sugar in the gas tank? It might come to that.
If Congress doesn't stop this pointless extravaganza, CABOOM will. Are you listening, NASA?
|08 — Kansas jurists ♥ scofflaw. I have further evidence here
that there is a ranch somewhere in a secret location near the Canadian border where a cabal of fanatical leftists under Cuban and North Korean
direction breeds crazy liberal judges by mating cuckoo birds with slime mold.
Here are three of the products of that ranch: Judges P.J. Hill, Jay McAnany and S.J. Brazil sitting on the bench at the Kansas State Court of Appeals.
The case in front of these mighty jurists involved an illegal immigrant, Nicholas Martinez, who'd been caught in Barton County, Kansas using his young son to help him sell cocaine. You know, just another one of those good-hearted people from south of the border selling the cocaine that Americans won't sell.
Martinez had pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and endangering the welfare of a child. Normally that'll get you probation in Kansas — you know, to give you a fair chance to go out and slaughter a few college students. However, the judge in Martinez's case imposed a one-year jail sentence on the grounds that a person on probation is supposed to obey the law very scrupulously and Martinez couldn't since he was in violation of the law just by being here.
Appeal Judges Hill, McAnany, and Brazil threw out that judge's ruling, telling us that while it is illegal to cross the U.S. border without authorization, there's no further illegality involved in continuing to live here.
On this logic, presumably, a guy who breaks into your house has committed a crime by doing so, but he can then live in your house as long as he likes. If you didn't actually catch him in the act of picking your lock, you can't do a darn thing.
Mi casa es tu casa, Mr Martinez.
|09 — Feds deport illegal alien! It's not all dark on the immigration
front, either, though you might want to sit down for this one, it's a bit of a shocker. Are you sitting? Here it is.
The federal government has deported an illegal alien! Yes! Elvira Arellano, who's been holed up in a Chicago church this past year, was deported to her native Mexico when she left the church to attend a rally in Los Angeles.
This is the second time Ms Arellano has been deported. She was deported back in 1997 having been found to be in the country illegally. She came right back, got a job, and — listen to this — she got a job cleaning planes at O'Hare airport using a false social security number.
Cleaning planes! — isn't that just the job you want to see illegal immigrants doing with false documents?
Anyway, Ms Arellano leaves behind her eight-year-old son who claims to be a U.S. citizen by virtue of having been born here — an anchor baby, in other words.
The anchor baby business rests on a contentious interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which Congress has the power to clarify. They ought to do so ASAP. This should be a high priority for immigration reformers.
Well, the lad has stayed behind in the U.S.A., though there was never anything to prevent his Mom from getting him a U.S. passport and taking him with her. Family reunification, as we immigration wonks have been pointing out for years, can be done two ways.
What about the lad's father? He doesn't appear in any of these new stories. Perhaps he's off somewhere practicing those wonderful Hispanic family values we hear so much about.
"How dare they arrest this woman?" sputtered Javier Rodriguez, an immigration activist who'd helped Ms Arellano in Chicago. I guess the answer is, Mr Rodriguez, that they dared to arrest her because she'd, like, broken the law.
What did Ms Arellano have to say? Quote: "I only have two choices. I either go to my country, Mexico, or stay and keep fighting. I decided to stay and fight." End quote. And going to your country, Mexico, is such a bad thing … why, Ms Arellano? We're even giving you a free ticket home.
And what exactly is it you're fighting for? The right to break the law without penalty? If that's what you're fighting for, you'd do better in Kansas.
|10 — China's old commercial habits. We've all been joking for years about
that party game where everybody has to hunt around the house to try to find something not made in China. Well, the game may be up.
First we heard about tainted pet food from China killing American puppies and kittens. Then there were the baby bibs from China that sent poisonous vapors up into your tot's nostrils — an early introduction to the ancient Chinese pastime known euphemistically as "chasing the dragon," perhaps.
Next was Chinese toothpaste which was found to contain diethylene glycol, a substance very handy for stripping the rust off bolts, but not something you'd want to spread on your breakfast bagel. Then came the revelation that Mattel toys made in China were decorated with toxic paint, followed shortly by the news that Zhang Shu Hong, the director of Mattel's Chinese factory, had committed suicide from shame. (More likely, in the mind of this old China cynic, because he knew what he could expect at the hands of the Public Security Bureau chimps following his inevitable arrest.)
Don't worry, though. The ChiComs are on top of the situation, dealing with it in their own inimitable way. How? By suspending U.S. meat imports that, they say, are contaminated, and by grumbling about, quote, "weeds and contaminated dirt" in imported American soybeans. That'll show those stinking round-eyes with their absurd complaints about toxic paint and dead pets!
History may be repeating itself here. Tea first came to the West from China, yet most of the tea drunk outside China today is Indian or Sri Lankan. Why is that? One reason is that the 19th-century Chinese exporters of tea got a bad reputation for adulterating the product — a thing it's rather easy to do, since chopped-up tea leaves aren't easy to distinguish from chopped-up leaves of any other kind. Some of the mid-19th-century Chinese exporters were even more blatant, mixing the tea with sand for extra weight.
Old Habits die hard, I guess. Though at least the guys who mixed sand with the tea weren't poisoning any kids or kittens.
|11 — Out with CDs. Books next? The CD — that is, the compact
disc, not the
certificate of deposit — is 25 years old this week. Abba was the first music group to market a commercial CD. There, now; I bet you didn't
Seems to me that the CD's lifespan is drawing to an end. I went to my local Tower Records recently to browse some CDs and I found that … it had gone. No more Tower Records. I asked in the Barnes & Noble bookstore next door what had happened. "Nobody wants to buy CDs any more," said the clerk. "Everybody just downloads."
This Barnes & Noble clerk had an anxious look about him. Perhaps he felt the earth moving under his feet. Perhaps he was having a vision of someone walking into the place next to that Barnes & Noble — which is actually an Applebee's — five or ten years from now to ask what happened to the bookstore, only to be told nobody wants to buy books anymore. Everyone has the entire Library of Congress in the yottabyte chip in their key chain.
Well, that's progress, I guess. That will also be an end to bookstore browsing, unfortunately — one of the pleasantest and most intellectually productive activities known to man.
Here's a story an academic friend told me. The professor had given my friend's class an assignment that involved reading an article in a learnéd journal. Of course, the students all just downloaded the article to read it. In class next day the professor discussed the article. Then he said: "By the way, did you all notice that sensational paper in the same issue of the Journal on excitatory neurotransmission?" Well, of course nobody had.
There you see what you lose when you lose folding paper pages in bound books and journals.
Support your local library! … but tell them to get those damn computers out of there.
|12 — Campaign round-up. Can I think of anything to say about the campaign
trail? I bet I can, but do I really have to? Oh, all right.
The best campaign news of the past few days, at least for politically inattentive types like myself — myself and about ninety-nine percent of the rest of the population — the best news was that Tommy Thompson has dropped out of the Republican race.
That removes the vexing issue of there being two Thompsons to think about. Now there's only one: you know, the guy with the Dudley Do-right jaw, the guy who's definitely going to declare his candidacy, without a shadow of doubt, absolutely any day now, unless he decides not to.
What else is happening? Let's see. Barack Obama's wife said something or other about somebody. John Edwards is fading away into a fragrant pastel cloud of men's cosmetic products. John McCain has been removed to an undisclosed location. Mitt Romney wants us to know that he's really, really good at absolutely everything and mostly agrees with himself, except when he doesn't. Mike Huckabee made a Dick Cheney duck-hunting joke. Ron Paul has ten million passionate supporters, every one of whom has now sent me a two-thousand-word email … or has it been two thousand passionate Ron Paul supporters sending me ten-million-word emails? I forget.
Oh, and some dude in the Village Voice, a newspaper produced out of Pyongyang and printed on the cured skins of Enemies of the People, says that Rudy Giuliani is telling little pork pies about his record as a stalwart fighter against terrorism.
You want more? Go read the NRO campaign briefings. That's where I get my campaign news from.
|13 — Signoff. Well, that's quite enough to keep you busy down there in your
hurricane shelter. The world's a mess; we're all doomed; and if you're a faithful Radio Derb listener, you're probably going to be among those
Tune in again next week — if there is a next week — for more of the same from your infallible, impartial news source, Radio Derb.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]