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[Music clip: Al Jolson, "Chicago."]
01 — Intro. Yes, there's something about Chicago, jewel in the crown of the noble state of Illinois, sometimes referred to as "Louisiana with Snow."
Chicago is home town, or home base, of so many great Americans: the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, Bill Ayers, David Axelrod, Rahm Emmanuel, Tony Rezko, Rod Blagojevich, and a major power couple whose name escapes me at the moment. Well, perhaps it'll come back to me later.
Meanwhile, there's a subject I'd like to take the opportunity to make a brief statement about. Some listeners may have seen newspaper stories about the arrest and indictment of my wife on charges of running an unauthorized steel foundry in our garage.
I just want to make it clear that I had no knowledge whatever of this activity, was never told about it, and was never present when the raw materials were being delivered or the finished product shipped out. Mrs Derbyshire and I occupy different parts of the house, and I had no contact with her. I am saddened and sobered by the news of her arrest.
Obviously it would not be appropriate for me to comment further. Thank you.
|02 — Land of Lincoln. I still can't think of the name of that Chicago
power couple, but here's a different power couple: Rod and Patti Blagojevich, the governor and first lady of Illinois.
Patti told the Chicago Sun-Times back in 2002 that Rod won her heart during their courtship with his impromptu performances of Elvis Presley songs. Interesting, huh?
Well, Governor Blagojevich may soon be able to try out his version of "Jailhouse Rock" in an authentic setting. Then he's going to be facing a "Blue Christmas" over in "Heartbreak Hotel," a.k.a. the federal pen.
That's how it goes in Illinois politics. Rod's predecessor in the governorship, George Ryan, is formally known at present as Federal Inmate Number 16627-424, resident at a medium security facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. There were a couple of clean governors before Ryan, but Dan Walker, back in the seventies, also ended up wearing those orange overalls; and Otto Kerner, back in the sixties, did three years' weed-whacker duty for bribery and tax evasion.
It's a sorry record for the state that gave us Abraham Lincoln; but let's at least be grateful that our President-elect had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this shenanigans. Absolutely nothing.
We know this is so because our reliable, ruthlessly investigative mainstream media are telling us it's so … every hour on the hour.
|03 — Auto Big Three bailouts. Much talk this week about a government
bailout of the Big Three car makers, and the appointment of a Car Czar.
Funny, I didn't hear anything about a Bank Czar when the feds started sluicing taxpayer money into failing Wall Street firms. I guess the assumption is that banks know what to do with money, since after all they are, you know, banks … though you have to wonder why, if that's the case, they got in so much trouble in the first place.
Anyway, the car makers' bailout went down in flames in the U.S. Senate on Thursday night. Republicans objected to the car worker unions' refusal to yield up any of their members pay or benefits. Half a million Americans lost their jobs last month; but asking UAW members to take a wage cut is apparently beyond the pale.
A White House spokesman said the Senate bill had been the Big Three's, quote, "best chance to avoid a disorderly bankruptcy."
That shows how much politicians know about business. Bankruptcy, though naturally very distressing, is an orderly process, with useful assets being sold to buyers who can make productive use of them, creditors being paid off on a strict basis of priorities long established in corporate law, and profitability-destroying labor contracts being declared void. It's just the ticket for the Big Three.
Harry Reid says it'll be another big hit on the stock market, and he's probably right — I'm recording this early Friday morning, and the markets haven't opened yet.
The market is what it is, though, and if there is more falseness and rottenness to be purged from the economy, let's brace ourselves for it. Fiat justitia, ruat caelum — let justice be done, though the sky falls. Justice, for the Big Three, is bankruptcy.
|04 — Guantánamo Bay. Our President-elect is coming face to face with
the problem of those Guantánamo Bay detainees.
The choices are:
The problem with option one is that the terrorists might be acquitted, claim asylum, and end up as permanent residents of the U.S.A. This is not to mention the opportunities for grandstanding offered by proper court procedures.
Option two, given the nature of their home countries, would mean that some at least of the detainees would end up right back in active terrorism.
Option three will infuriate Obama's left-wing base and cause a lot of whining by foreign moralists, but is probably the best choice politically.
Meanwhile families of those murdered by the terrorists on 9/11 are being allowed to watch the current legal proceedings down in Guantánamo. The Bush administration set up a lottery that family members could enter, the winners being shipped down there to sit in on the military commissions when they finally get started. It's the least we can do for the bereaved.
In future, though, for heaven's sake, let's drop all the fussy legalism and deal with captured terrorists via summary proceedings in the field. War is no place for lawyers.
|05 — Muslim War on Christmas. You've heard of the War on Christmas, I'm
sure. Well, it's no fiction, not in Britain at any rate. Listen to Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary.
Mr Choudary has previously made a name for himself by demanding the execution of the Pope and by urging Muslims to have more babies to take over Britain. Well, here he is on Christmas, quote:
In the world today many Muslims, especially those residing in Western countries, are exposed to the evil celebration Christmas. Many take part in the festival celebrations by having Christmas turkey dinners. Decorating the house, purchasing Christmas trees or having Christmas turkey meals are completely prohibited by Allah. Many still practise this corrupt celebration as a remembrance of the birth of Jesus. How can a Muslim possibly approve or participate in such a practice that bases itself on the notion Allah has an offspring? … Every Muslim has a responsibility to protect his family from the misguidance of Christmas, because its observance will lead to hellfire. Protect your Paradise from being taken away — protect yourself and your family from Christmas.
Now that's what I call a War on Christmas! No dithering around with "Happy holidays" there, no carefully-placed menorah next to the Christmas tree, no feeble placards saying that angels don't exist. Put up those Christmas lights, go directly to hell — do not pass Go, do not collect your 72 virgins.
Choudary, by the way, was born in Britain to Pakistani immigrant parents. He is an example of a common phenomenon: the radical second generation.
I remember when Pakistanis first began to settle in Britain in large numbers. They were very polite, and tended to be accountants, or small businessmen like Choudary's father. Then the second generation came up, and produced all these jihadis.
That's the problem with mass immigration: you can't know what you're going to end up with. Even if the first generation assimilates, the second may not. This is not a thing to chance your country's security and stability on.
Mass immigration is the worst idea of our age. Mass immigration of Muslims is sheer insanity.
|06 — Obama's infrastructure squid ink. What's our federal government going
to do to help the economy? Infrastructure!
You're going to be hearing that a lot — infrastructure. It means things like roads, bridges, tunnels, and public buildings. Gotta put people to work, you see. May as well put them to work fixing up roads and schools on the federal dollar.
It's all a bit naive. I mean, how does a federal job laying asphalt help an unemployed computer programmer? Construction workers are unemployed too, to be sure, but there is a much cheaper and simpler way to help them: Round up and send home the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants working in construction.
In any case, even with a federal infrastructure program, the total amount of infrastructure work in the country will likely decline. That's because the great majority of infrastructure work is done by states and cities, and they're all broke.
News item from December 8th, dateline San Diego, heading: State to halt infrastructure spending. Quote:
California will have to stop financing nearly all infrastructure projects within two weeks if lawmakers don't immediately solve the state's $11.2 billion budget shortfall, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer warned Monday as legislators met in a rare joint session.
In fact California is in such a terrible fiscal hole, it's fantasy to talk about infrastructure spending.
The political imperative, in California and every other state, is to keep the public-employee unions happy. That mainly means teachers, cops, firemen, prison staff, social workers, and the paper-pushers in government offices. Health-care workers, too, who get most of their wages via the public fisc, even when they work for theoretically private hospitals and clinics.
Those are Obama's constituencies too, the people he's been schmoozing with all his working [laugh] life, and he'll look after them long before he puts anything real into infrastructure.
All the infrastructure talk is, in other words, politicians' squid ink. The political priorities in the coming crisis, at both state and national levels, will be to take care of the public employees, take care of the illegal immigrants, and give the shaft to the private sector middle classes.
|07 — Harry Reid smells the peasants. Our political overlords regard us,
the great unwashed mass of voters, with loathing and contempt, mingled, at two-year intervals, with some fear. I think we all know that. We do expect
them to keep their hatred of us decently masked, though.
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid failed this elementary standard of political self-control the other day when opening a new, air-conditioned visitors center at the U.S. capitol. Quote from Harry, speaking at that ceremony, quote:
My staff tells me not to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway. In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it's true.
You have to pity the poor legislators. All they want is to conduct their business in peace and quiet — fund-raising, organizing junkets, lunching with lobbyists, and so on — and yet they have to put up with the noise and stink of peasants traipsing through their beautiful palaces. It's a bit much.
Mind you, talking to colleagues who have actually worked in the capitol building, I've heard another side to it. No names, no pack drill here. Let me just say that if my colleagues are to be believed, the late lamented Dennis Thatcher, husband of Margaret, was not too far off the mark legislature-wise when he referred to Britain's House of Commons as "Halitosis Hall."
A fair response to congresscritters complaining about the smell of hoi polloi would be: "Physicians, heal thyselves."
|08 — Chuck E. Cheese horrors. The storm center of violent misbehavior in
these United States has finally been located. It is Chuck E. Cheese.
Yes, the kiddie-centric chain of pizza parlors, where my own kids celebrated a couple of birthdays each, is the source of more disorder and fisticuffs than any pool hall, crack house, or session of the Taiwan parliament.
Case in point: The Chuck E. Cheese in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Local police say that no restaurant has triggered more calls to the police department since last year than Chuck E. Cheese's. Officers have been called to break up 12 fights since January 2007.
The biggest melee broke out in April, when an uninvited adult disrupted a child's birthday party. Seven officers arrived and found as many as 40 people knocking over chairs and yelling in front of the restaurant's music stage, where a robotic singing chicken and the chain's namesake mouse perform.
Quote from Brookfield's police chief, quote:
The biggest problem is you have a bunch of adults acting like juveniles. There's a biker bar down the street, and we rarely get calls there.
It's the same all over. In Pennsylvania, police are searching for suspects involved in a November 9th altercation at a Chuck E. Cheese's outside Harrisburg. The police department gets called to respond to disputes at Chuck E Cheese as many as 15 times a year, said the local Police Chief.
In Toledo, Ohio, there was a fight between more than ten people at a Chuck E Cheese, in which participants punched and screamed at each other. According to the police report, one woman removed the red rope that marks the entrance queue and handed it to another woman, who swung the metal clip attached to it at other partygoers.
So there you are, belligerent listeners. If you're looking for a wild night out featuring a good fist-fight, forget those downtown dives and biker bars. Head over to your local Chuck E. Cheese.
If anyone wants my opinion, it's that damn robotic singing chicken that's to blame. A couple of minutes listening to that bird screeching away up on stage, with twenty or so howling infants for accompaniment, and anyone would want to start breaking the furniture.
At biker bars you just get heavy metal, which is positively soothing by comparison.
|09 — Miscellany. A few minor items here.
Item: Back to the War on Christmas.
Amazon.com launched a Christmas promotion, using as its theme the, quote, "Twelve Days of Holiday." After protests, they reinstated the C-word, but not before protestors had received boilerplate emails apologies saying, quote: "Please accept our sincere apologies if you were offended by the use of the word 'Christmas' on our website."
It was of course the omission of the word "Christmas" that the protestors were protesting about, but it took Amazon a few days to figure that out, proving once again that political correctness is the normal mindset in the corporate world, and needs a lot of kicking before any self-awareness dawns.
Item: The nation is reeling from the news that Oprah Winfrey's weight has gone up to over 200 pounds.
Actually, many of us took secret pleasure in this story. Not out of any offense to Ms. Winfrey, but considering that she, with all her vast fortune, with the legions of personal trainers and masseurs and dieticians she has on staff, can't fight the flab, makes the rest of us feel there's not much prospect of us being able to do so. May as well have that second slice of cheesecake.
Item: Also on the personal-failings front, Barack Obama confessed in a TV interview that he hasn't quite exactly given up smoking.
There's yet another validator for our own bad behavior. If even the President of the United States has to dodge out on to the White House balcony for a quick drag, we're not going to feel bad about doing the same thing ourselves. What ever happened to the idea of role models?
Item: Colin Powell crossed party lines a few weeks before the election to support Barack Obama because there was just an undefinable something about the candidate that appealed to the former Secretary of State, I don't know what it was.
Well, Colin Powell has been giving advice to his party, which apparently is still the Republican Party — I guess the Barack Obama wing of the party. Says Powell, quote:
If the party wants to have a future in this country, it has to face some realities. In another 20 years, the majority in this country will be the minority.
It's more like 35 years, actually; but Powell can be excused for some wishful thinking.
He went on to tell us to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh, though he assured us that, quote:
There is nothing wrong with being conservative. There is nothing wrong with having socially conservative views — I don't object to that.
Well, that's big of you, Colin. If anyone can tell me why conservatives should pay attention to anything that is said by a guy who publicly supported the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, I'd be interested to hear it.
Item: I just saw Maxine Waters on the telly, saying that, quote:
Barney Frank is bending over backwards to help homeowners facing foreclosure.
No further comment on that, not a word.
|10 — Signoff. That's it, folks. Now I have another brief announcement to
Our producer here at Radio Derb is leaving us. The lucky guy has got a position on Oprah Winfrey's production crew, holding the lipstick tray for the makeup supervisor. I'm looking for applicants to fill this position, which is entirely in my gift.
I'll be blunt with you about it: I've got this thing and it's [bleep] golden and I'm just not giving it up for [bleep] nothing. Hope that's clear.
More next week from Radio Derb. Here's a farewell song — one of our President-elect's favorites, I believe.
[Music clip: Matthew Ford, "My Kind of Town."]