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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Radio Derb here once again, citizens, with your iridescently genial host John Derbyshire to bring you the week's news.
I apologize for the somewhat degraded quality of my voice. I have been smitten with the flu. Thanks to the tender ministrations of my personal masseuses Mandy, Candy, Brandy, and Pépé, I shall be back out on Long Island Sound at the helm of my 70-foot schooner by the time you read this, deep into another weekend of nonstop partying with my friends here at National Review.
Oh, I'd better introduce you to Pépé, the new hire on my team of personal assistants. Say hello to the ladies and gentlemen, Pépé. [Voice babbling in Spanish.] Thank you, Pépé. Er, you can stop doing that now …
You see, we heard informally from a Washington, DC source that if we didn't want the IRS, the SEC, the EEOC, and the Justice Department crawling all over Buckley Towers and peering up our fumaroles with flashlights, we'd better start celebrating diversity and embracing multiculturalism ASAP.
Always eager to do my part in helping build the gorgeous mosaic, I hired Pépé, who is a transgendered Hispanic of mixed racial origins, which I think covers all bases. Pépé had been hanging around the office for a while as an unpaid gofer, polishing Andy McCarthy's golf trophies, testing the temperature of the rose-water in Jonah's finger-bowls, playing bézique with Vic Hanson, and so on, and so I thought it was high time we hired him. Or her …
02 — How are things in Mogadishu? How are things in Somalia? You remember Somalia. Capital city Mogadishu, through whose streets the corpses of U.S. servicemen were being dragged by howling mobs 16 years ago, in the early months of the Clinton administration.
That Somalia. Size: between Afghanistan and France, a bit smaller than Texas. Population: just short of ten million. Total Fertility Rate six and a half — that ranks it number five in the world. Recently famous for piracy.
OK, so what's up in Somalia? Jihadists, that's what. A coalition army of Islamic fundamentalists has closed in on the capital, and it doesn't look as though the government will survive.
Oh, this government is Islamic fundamentalist, too — just not as much so as the rebels. The president, Sheikh Ahmed, who's only been in office three months, introduced Sharia law [clip of "Maria," doctored], but that didn't satisfy the rebels. They don't just want Sharia Regular, they want Sharia Premium. Looks like that's what Somalia's about to get.
Should we be worried? The BBC wants you to be. Quote:
Somalia becomes the West's worst nightmare: A strategically placed country under the control of Islamic militants with links to al-Qaeda.
There isn't a lot we can do about any of this, short of sending an expeditionary force to Mogadishu, which I think it's safe to say is as off the cards as a policy can be.
There isn't quite nothing we can do, though. One thing we should do is prohibit Somalis from entering the U.S.A. Under State Department refugee-resettlement programs, 36,000 Somalis have been brought here this decade, though it's in the nature of Somali society that we can't possibly verify what they tell us about their background and circumstances. Two dozen Somalis associated with a radical mosque in Minneapolis have mysteriously gone missing: the FBI thinks they may be planning a terrorist attack.
You might wonder why our government — and not just this one, but the last one, too — have been importing jihadists into the U.S.A. You might even, if you are very impertinent, wonder why major Christian organizations — in this case, Catholic Charities and Lutheran World Relief — are doing everything they can to get fundamentalist Islam established here.
You may well ask these questions, but don't come to me for the answers; I don't know them. My best guess is that Western Civilization has a kind of death-wish and is trying to commit suicide by the fastest route possible. But that's just a guess.
03 — Obama's federal power grab. It becomes clearer by the day that the Obama administration has embarked on a massive federal power grab.
Watch what's happening in the state of California. Tax revenues for the state cratered in April, so the estimated budget deficit for the coming fiscal year, beginning in July, is even more colossal than previously thought — somewhere between 15 and 22 billion dollars.
OK, so California has to cut costs, right? Given the record of mismanagement there, it's not likely the bond markets will cut them any slack. Right — cut costs, then. Ah, but there's a catch, in fact a couple of catches.
Everybody has just noticed that the Stimulus Bill our President signed three months ago, to spread around 800 billion dollars, has a teeny little clause in it specifying that a state can't get stimulus funds unless it maintains spending at a certain minimum level. If state funding falls below that level — sorry, no stimulus funds.
It's like the old joke about how a bank will only lend you money if you can prove you don't need it. To get the 20 billion dollars in federal funds he figures that he's entitled to, Governor Schwarzenegger has to keep over-spending!
And that's only the first of the catches. Here's the second one: Public-sector unions basically bankroll the Democratic Party, so they have to be obeyed in all things. Well, those unions collect a lot, a lot of money in dues from their California members; so if public-sector workers are laid off, that hurts the unions.
Principal villain here is the SEIU, the Service Employees Internationl Union, which says that if cost cuts go through, that will violate the contracts they've negotiated with counties and cities.
The Obamarrhoids are of course taking the SEIU's side. So, bottom line, the state of California is in a terrible fiscal hole. It has to cut spending; but every time it tries to do that, the feds say "Not so fast, pal!"
It's the same in other states, just not as horrendously bad as in California. Can anyone here say "Tenth Amendment"?
04 — Japan wary of T-bonds. Let me just pursue that line of thought a wee bit further.
Massive government over-spending puts California in a hole. The federal government, from sheer will to power, offers to help, but only on Obama's terms — terms which involve a huge expansion of federal influence in California's affairs. Got that?
Now, what if massive government over-spending puts the U.S.A. in a hole? Impossible, I know, but just imagine. Who would bail us out? The short answer, and the only answer, is: the international bond markets. That's where we borrow all our money, since we gave up on the idea of, you know, earning it.
But now here's a nasty thought: What if the international bond markets were to look at the condition we're in, think to themselves "Nah, don't want any part of that," and refuse to buy our bonds? What if the Treasury held a bond auction and nobody showed up?
That day inched a little closer this week when Masaharu Nakagawa declared that Japan would continue to buy U.S. bonds only if they were denominated in yen. If the bonds are yen-denominated, you see, then a falling dollar would impact the bond seller — that's us — not the bond buyer.
In other words, Mr. Nakagawa has no faith in the value of the U.S. dollar. Similar sentiments have been expressed in China, another huge buyer of U.S. bonds.
That's the bad news. The good news is, that Mr. Nakagawa is the finance spokesman for Japan's Democratic Party, which is not currently in power. The party had a shot at coming to power in this summer's election, but party leader Ichiro Ozawa has got caught in a scandal and had to resign, so now the election's up in the air.
Still, Mr. Nakagawa's remarks are a straw in the wind. Another straw, in a rising wind, that could blow away our own Democrats' dream of ever-increasing government spending.
05 — Feds back-pedal on security. The administration's been doing a bit of back-pedalling on their former policies of humiliating America and handing out free citizenship to our sworn enemies.
On the first point, the President has said he will not authorize the release of photographs that are claimed to show abuse of prisoners at U.S. military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ACLU had brought a lawsuit demanding the photographs be made public, so the whole world would know how evil we are.
The courts might still order release of the photographs, to our great national detriment; but Obama's gotten himself off the hook, and that's what the man is all about. He's also probably forestalled a mass resignation by the Joint Chiefs, but that's also kind of the same thing.
On the other front, the administration has let it be known that it is considering keeping some of the Guantánamo Bay detainees locked up indefinitely on U.S. soil, instead of releasing them into the general population, with green cards and welfare rights thrown in.
Boy, what a fiasco this whole Guantánamo Bay business has been, hasn't it? Couldn't the Bush administration have thought this through? With all that expertise at their disposal, all those lawyers and constitutional scholars and military advisors, couldn't they have figured out what a headache this was going to be?
Now, how on earth do we justify locking someone up for ever, without a trial? My own suggestion, which I offer to the administration free of charge, is to do a reverse Mariel.
You remember the Mariel boat-lift of 1980, when Castro emptied out his prisons and lunatic asylums and sent all the inmates to Florida? Well, look: Guantánamo Bay is actually on Cuba. All we have to do is snip a hole in the perimeter fence, say "Out you go, fellas! Lots of luck out there," and wave them goodbye.
Since left-wing Democrats like Obama think Cuba is a wonderful place anyway — did you know they have free universal health care? — there need be no pangs of conscience on their part that they'd done anything wrong. And I bet Castro could use a few more pairs of hands to help build Latin American Socialism.
06 — Black LGBTQTSUIAPOZ comedienne addresses White House correspondents. Now come on, be honest: Had you even heard of Wanda Sykes before this week? I sure hadn't; and as longtime Radio Derb listeners know, nobody has his finger more attentively on the pulse of popular culture than myself.
So who is this Wanda Sykes? Let's check Wikipedia here: Wanda Sykes is an American Emmy Award winning stand-up comedian and actress. She is known for her blunt comedic observations on current events, the differences between the sexes and races, and the human condition.
"The human condition" — sheesh, we've got a real Simone de Beauvoir here, haven't we? But what's that about "the differences between the sexes and races"? There aren't any differences, everybody knows that. And if anyone says out loud that there are, then the sun will explode and we'll all die. Those people at Wikipedia should be more careful.
What else? Oh, then this: "In October 2008 in California she married her female partner … and publicly came out in November at a same-sex marriage rally."
So in a nutshell, Ms Sykes is a proud lesbian who makes race and sex jokes for a living. I guess she didn't make the cut for poet laureate.
Well, Ms Sykes was up there in Washington, DC the other day to address the White House Correspondents' dinner — the first African American and first openly LGBTQTSUIAPOZ to do so.
(For listeners not as au courant as us metropolitan sophisticates, perhaps I should explain that LGBTQTSUIAPOZ stands for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning, Two-Spirited, Unsure, Intersex, Allied, Polyamorous, Omnisexual, or Zoophile.")
Ms Sykes's moment of glory came when she referred to Rush Limbaugh's well-known remark that he hopes Barack Obama's plan to get our economy onto the Cuban model will fail. Ms Sykes then put her devastating wit on display by saying that she hoped Mr Libaugh's kidneys will fail. She further referred to Limbaugh as "the 20th hijacker," and accused him of treason.
The assembled dignitaries loved it — including Barack Obama, who was laughing fit to bust.
Isn't it great once again to have a President with real class?
07 — The Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, was introduced on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week, having passed through the House of Representatives without barely touching the sides.
It's a pretty good general rule that any bill named after some person is a lousy idea, but this one's worse than most. The notion of a hate crime is in fact one of the worst ideas we have come up with, in an age of bad ideas. If you were to rank ideas by badness, in fact, I think "hate crime" would be up ahead even of "public-sector union" and "detention of terrorists captured abroad."
Fundamentally, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act is another assertion of federal power — in this case, the power to override the ancient Anglo-Saxon legal prejudice against double jeopardy.
A person goes to trial in state court on some charge that causes offense to some powerful voting bloc. He is acquitted by a jury of his peers. The powerful voting bloc is mad as hell and makes a fuss, so the feds step in to re-arrest and re-try the accused. In Obama's America, court proceedings aren't over till the powerful voting bloc is satisfied.
Never mind that nobody has been able to name any case where an obvious injustice was done for want of a Hate Crimes Prevention Act. None of the bill's supporters on the House floor even bothered to. Never mind that any unpleasant thing one citizen might do to another is already covered by a dozen laws at least. Never mind any of that.
Politics fought the law, and politics won.
08 — Grace at Newnham too Christian. At Newnham College, an all-women's college, part of Cambridge University in England, a nasty spat has broken out over grace.
No, not Grace Slick, or Grace Coolidge, or Princess Grace: This is the grace we say before meals. The beefy, crop-haired, rugby-playing lefty feminists who attend Newnham College apparently decided that the traditional grace was too religious.
The old grace offered thanks to Jesum Christum dominum nostrum — Jesus Christ our Lord. The new grace reads: Pro cibo inter esurientes, pro comitate inter desolatos, pro pace inter bellantes, gratias agimus Translation: "For food in a hungry world, for companionship in a world of loneliness, for peace in an age of violence, we give thanks."
The best comment on this came from the comments thread at the Daily Mail website, where I found this story. A reader sent this in, quote:
To all the complainers here that think this is just multicultural nonsense, I say: You do not know our own British history! Do not forget that the god "Jesus" was brought from the Middle East by invaders, not local Britons. Our local gods have long been forgotten!
Well, yay for the old British Gods: Morgan le Fay, Brigantia, Sul, Ludd, and let's not forget the great horse-Goddess Epona. How are you going to fit them all into one grace, though?
I've always thought the grace we got at my school lunches took care of pretty much everything, with no offense to anyone — and this was fifty years ago, long before multiculturalism came on the scene: Benedictus benedicat — May the Blessed One bless. If people got bored with that, you could shift the grammar subtly to Benedicto benedicatur — Let praise be given to the Blessed One. Whoever he is. Or she, I guess.
09 — Miscellany. Here's a little closing miscellany of brief items to see us out.
Item: America's sweetheart, Nancy Pelosi, started out — remember? — telling us that water-boarding is a wicked, wicked business and that heads should roll among Bush administration employees for having allowed it to happen.
Then one of Nancy's aides let slip that the CIA had actually briefed Nancy on the whole business back in 2003, and told her that suspects were being waterboarded. Madame Speaker held a press conference to clear the air.
At the conference she said, quote: "LA LA LA LA CAN'T HEAR YOU CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA …" Then she stuck a banana in each ear and launched into the aria Un bel di from Madame Butterfly, until some orderlies were brought in to give her an injection and carry her from the stage.
Item: Ageing cross-dressing pop star Boy George … [Clip of "Karma chameleon"] … was released from the Bridewell after serving four months for chaining a Norwegian male hooker to the wall in his apartment and thrashing him with chains.
He said he'd learned a great deal while locked up, and made many wonderful new friends.
Item: A bathroom story here from India.
Indian peasants have been practicing abortion of female fetuses since ultrasound imaging came in twenty years ago, with the result that there's a shortage of young women, and the ladies are getting everything they want.
What's the main thing they want? Toilets. Male Indian peasants relieve themselves in the fields, and see no reason to go to the trouble and expense of installing a john. Quote from the Christian Science Monitor article on this topic, quote:
In Ladravan, a village of farms and brick kilns about an hour's drive from Delhi international airport, one bride has already divorced her groom when she learned that his family lied about having a toilet, says Anil Kumar Chhikara, one of the village leaders.
[Sigh.] The modern woman — never satisfied. You have my sympathies, you Indian guys. Whatever you do, don't let 'em find out about Internet shopping.
Item: Meanwhile, next door in Pakistan … oh, who cares …
Item: The lovely Carrie Prejean has been allowed to keep her title as Miss California, after intervention by the portly but always sensible Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, I'm still trying to find someone who can explain to me why a beauty pageant had a hysterical homosexual on its panel of judges. That would be like having me on a panel of judges at a hip-hop festival. Whose idea was that?
Item: A Los Angeles police officer was filmed kicking someone in the head.
You understand that Radio Derb, with the tremendous authority we have over the nation's thinking, and especially that of our impressionable younger listeners, we can't condone this kind of police misbehavior.
I must say, though, if I lived in Los Angeles, I'd be strongly inclined to kick someone in the head, too. One of those lefty air-head movie stars perhaps, if I could get close enough.
Item: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is going through an ugly divorce from his wife of 29 years, whose name is … can't find it … Mrs Berlusconi, obviously.
Mrs Berlusconi claims to have suffered innumerable umiliazioni at the hands of her husband, the last straw being when she found out that the 72-year-old Prime Minister had been playing boccie ball with an 18-year-old lingerie model who calls him "Papi," which means "Daddy."
Quote from Mrs Berlusconi, quote: "I can't go on being with a man who consorts with minors … He is not well," end quote.
I dunno, Signora, sounds to me like your old man's in excellent shape.
10 — Signoff. There you have it, listeners. Not too bad a week, all things considered. Some nasty stuff, to be sure; but watching Nancy Pelosi implode in front of the Washington press corps made up for everything. A bright shining memory to be carried forward with us as a talisman against the darkness to come. Thank you, Nancy, thank you.
More from Radio Derb next week. Take us out, Nancy.
[Music clip: Tebaldi, "Un bel di."]