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[Music clip: The Waikikis, "Blue Hawaii" instrumental]
01 — Intro. Aaaah, yes, blue Hawaii. I miss her already. Those scented breezes, those palm trees, the surf on the shore, the swaying figures of the girls in grass skirts. [Sigh.]
Well, here we are back in the saddle at Buckley Towers. This is your pacifically genial host John Derbyshire with the first post-vacation broadcast of Radio Derb.
Speaking of girls, where are my assistants? I see Mandy and Brandy — Hi there, girls, how ya been? [Bimbo talk.] But where's Candy? Oh, here she comes. [Bimbo greetings.] And Pepe, here comes Pepe. Eh amigo, qué pasa? [Pepe gibbering in Spanish.] Yeah, that's great, Pepe.
Everybody's here? Right, then on with the show!
[Ethel Merman, "Let's go on with the show."]
02 — Obama's healthcare speech. OK, we got the big healthcare speech.
Let's face it, presidential oratory has been going through a bad patch recently. Bush 41 had the self-effacing WASP thing so thoroughly internalized you had forgotten everything he said a minute after he'd said it. Clinton came over like a time-share salesman. Bush 43 was in the same relation to grammar and eloquence as Tiny Tim was to higher mathematics.
Now here's Barack Obama jabbing away with that thumb and forefinger pressed together as it he wants to remove some lint from your jacket, his chin up in the air so he can look down his nose at you, and snapping his sentences shut like he's afraid you might get a good look inside them.
Obama is probably likeable enough as a person, but he's awfully small for the job he's in, and filling up the empty space with gas isn't going to go on working much longer.
Here's a guy who, in his autobiography, described his one brief experience of work in the private sector as being, quote, "behind enemy lines." And yet he assures us that the profits of small businesses won't be harmed by his healthcare plan, and that the insurance industry will continue to thrive.
What does Obama know about profits? What does Obama know about how a business thrives? Here's a guy whose party's next big priority is amnesty for 20 million illegal aliens in order to boost Democrat voter rolls, telling us that no way will illegals get coverage under his plan. Joe Wilson called him out on that one, and I say good for Joe. You stand up there and tell bare-faced lies to the American people, you should be called on it.
And it is a bare-faced lie: Everyone who has looked through the legislation agrees that illegals are covered — that includes the Congressional Research Service. When Republicans put forward an amendment to make sure illegals wouldn't be covered, the President's people voted it down.
The biggest lie of all was the one about paying for this bureaucratic extravaganza with savings got by reducing waste in Medicare and Medicaid. If anyone in Washington had any interest in doing that, and any actual ability to do it, why hasn't it already been done?
I say the speech was a failure. All the college-lecturer tricks with gestures and timing, all the gassy rhetoric, didn't help a bit. Outside the far left, nobody any longer believes the federal government is much good at doing anything, and we're not going to watch our taxes rise so these corrupt, bumbling leeches can take over a system that already works pretty well, except where Congress's own cack-handed legislation has messed it up.
I did get one good belly laugh out of the President's speech, though: where he said that he might possibly consider giving some thought to appointing a commission to deliberate carefully for a decade or two about the feasibility of just maybe working out some proposals that Congress might one day take a look at for restraints on trial lawyers. Oh yeah, that'll happen — with trial lawyers stuffing money into the pockets of Democratic politicians coast to coast.
The President's rhetoric was empty, when it wasn't actually mendacious.
03 — Van Jones resigns. How much of a radical leftist is Barack Obama?
There's a school of thought that says the President doesn't actually believe in anything — that he's just a kind of political automaton, whose every thought, every word, and every deed has for all his adult life been directed towards his own advancement.
I don't myself agree with that, though I'll admit that Obama's brisk willingness to throw his friends under that proverbial bus makes a strong case. Surely everybody believes in something.
Whatever the truth about Obama's inner life may be, though, of one thing there is no doubt at all: He has always sought out the company of left-radical extremists, and has always seemed perfectly comfortable among them, and surprised when anyone questions their intentions. That's the background to the resignation of Van Jones, President Obama's czar in charge of handing out taxpayer money to far-left eco-loons.
Glenn Beck fired this one off, bless his Teutonic heart, calling Van Jones a black nationalist and a communist. I dunno about "black nationalist" — I mean, at least Van Jones didn't write a book subtitled "A Story of Race and Inheritance," or anything like that — but if you take "communist" to be an abbreviation of "community activist," which I think you reasonably can, the second shoe certainly fits.
Anyway, things escalated, with an anti-Beck faction calling for advertising boycotts of Glenn's shows, and a pro-Beck faction posting a YouTube clip of Van Jones saying that Republicans are sphincters. Way to get a job at the highest levels of the American government, Van — refer to one half of the U.S. electorate as sphincters.
Incidentally, and picking up on the Teutonic theme, the "Van" in "Van Jones" is the guy's first name. It's not one of those Teutonic name prefixes like Van Dyke or Von Braun. I'm going to go out on a limb here and hazard a guess that Van Jones isn't the least bit Teutonic. I suspect, in fact, that if you even asked him about this, he'd smack you in the jaw.
That's a digression. Anyway, the punchline was, it turned out that back in 2004 Van Jones had signed a Truther petition calling for congressional hearings into whether Bushitler had personally ordered the 9/11 attacks. Confronted with this, Jones said that he had not carefully reviewed the language in the petition before signing it, and that it, quote, "does not reflect my views now or ever."
So what apparently had happened was that one of Jones' community-activist pals had said to him: "Hey, Van, we're circulating this here petition to impeach Bush for killing all those little Eichmanns in the Twin Towers. You'll sign it, right?" and Jones had said: "Will I ever!"
Well, by this point President Obama was doing his deep-disapproval-frowny-pursed-lips thing, and Van Jones knew that he had to sacrifice himself for the revolution, like the guy in Arthur Koestler's book Darkness at Noon. So off he went, though not without a parting whine about how, quote, "opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me."
I must say, the quality of revolutionaries has dropped off this past seventy years. Koestler's hero goes to the execution chamber without a murmur. How are we going to have a real revolution and remake the world, if the cadres whine about losing a job?
I tell ya, you just can't get good help nowadays.
04 — Afghanistan is three percent Taliban-free! Stunning news from Afghanistan — you might want to sit down for this one. The Electoral Complaints Commission in that country has invalidated some of the results from the August 20 presidential election. BBC News reports that "irregularities" were found at 600 polling stations.
I know you're just as shocked as I am. The apparent election winner, current President Hamid Karzai, took a break from shoveling U.S. taxpayers' money into his Swiss bank account to claim that the election was perfectly honest and that the government official in charge of bribing the Electoral Complaints Commission had gone off for a long vacation in the Hindu Kush and wouldn't be seen around for a while.
Meanwhile, how's the war going? You know, the vitally important war to ensure that, er, … [crickets chirp] and to safeguard our interest in, ah, … [more crickets]. Not so well, is the answer.
A policy research group, the International Council on Security and Development, reported this week that there is heavy Taliban activity across 80 percent of Afghanistan, and a "substantial" Taliban presence — defined as one or more attacks per month — in another 17 percent of the country.
Let's see: Eighty plus 17, that would be, ah, 97 percent. So three percent of Afghanistan is Taliban-free.
Going to the first derivative, this is worst than last year, when there was heavy Taliban presence in only 72 percent of the country and substantial presence in another 21 percent, for a total of 93 percent, with seven percent of the country Taliban-free.
Well, nil desperandum, and it is of course terrifically important for us to keep fighting in Afghanistan, so that … you know, in order that … come on, help me out here, someone. Oh, right! to put an end to Islamic terrorism. Case in point …
05 — Liquid-bomb terrorists convicted. Three cases in point, actually, names of Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain. These three Islamic terrorists were convicted September 7th of conspiring to bomb seven transatlantic passenger flights, using liquid explosives hidden in drinks bottles.
This conspiracy occurred back in 2006, and it is the reason that your can of hair mousse got taken away from you by airport security the other day. If successful, the bombing would have been the biggest terrorist attack in British history — "our 9/11," says Andy Hayman, head of specialist operations for London's Metropolitan Police.
Wait a minute: did I just say "London"? Shouldn't that be "Kabul," since Afghanistan is the beating heart of Islamic terrorism?
No: Mr Ali, Mr Sarwar, and Mr Hussein are all native-born Englishmen. Oh. Well, they must surely have done their terrorist training in Afghanistan? Nope: they seem to have got their training in Pak-istan.
Still, the British government told its citizens, we have to keep fighting in Afghanistan. What bigger threat is there to the lives and property of the British people than Islamic terrorism?
The effect of this was somewhat spoiled the day after the terrorist convictions, when a 600-pound bomb was found in Armagh, Northern Ireland, with a command wire leading over the border into the Irish Republic. Twenty people were evacuated from their homes while British Army experts defused the bomb.
So let's see where we are here: Convictions in London of three British-born terrorists trained in Pakistan; a 600-pound bomb set by Irish terrorists to blow up twenty people in their homes; and let's not forget Abdel el-Megrahi, the terrorist serving time for the 1988 PanAm atrocity, who got his sentence commuted so British firms could get construction contracts in the terrorist's home country, which would be … Afghanistan? No, Libya.
Right. And we have to keep fighting in Afghanistan because, you know, that's the world capital of terrorism. Got it.
06 — Massachusetts is running out of Kennedys. These are dark days in Massachusetts. Following the August 25th death of Ted Kennedy, the people of the Bay State are facing the terrifying prospect of not having a Kennedy to represent them in the U.S. Senate.
There was a flicker of hope for a while in the person of Joseph P. Kennedy, eldest son of Robert and Ethel. Joe has actually been in Congress: He was the representative for Massachusetts' 8th district back in the nineties. He gave that up to concentrate on running his non-profit, an outfit that brings low-cost heating oil to poor people. If you dial 1-877-JOE-4-OIL, Ol' Joe will send a tanker truck round posthaste, non-profitably. Well, non-profitably to any shareholders and suchlike capitalistic parasites. There are none of those, thank goodness, but Joe does draw an annual salary of 545 thousand dollars from the firm, so it's pretty darn profitable for him. What a lot of money you can make from a non-profit!
There's also been a slight cloud over Joe's non-profitable enterprise since it was discovered that a lot of the oil being sold cheap to penniless old ladies is actually donated by Hugo Chávez, the U.S.A.-hating president-for-life of the People's Republic of Venezuela. Joe has had at least 83 million gallons of crude free from his bosom buddy Hugo. I guess when he needs more he just dials Hugo's own toll-free number: 1-877-HATE-USA.
Joe also, in the family tradition, has had a complicated relationship with the doctrines of the church he belongs to, at least where those doctrines have impinged on his relations with the opposite sex: He's been engaged in a years-long struggle with church authorities to get his first marriage annulled.
None of that, of course, would dissuade the voters of Massachusetts from exercising their constitutional right to be represented by a Kennedy. Nothing would dissuade Massachusetts voters from voting for a Kennedy, not even if the Kennedy in question left a girl to drown while he went home to sober up, concoct a cover story, and stuff some bills into an envelope for the local sheriff.
So there were the people of Massachusetts, their eyes raised hopefully to heaven, waiting for Joe to come sweeping down in a golden chariot and claim his inheritance. Then, on September 7, Joe announced he wouldn't be running. Howls of anguish were heard from Pittsfield to Provincetown.
Whither now can Massachusetts voters turn for succour? Patrick seems happy down there in Rhode Island. Caroline is of course available; but in the fiasco over Hillary Clinton's Senate seat a few months ago, Caroline revealed the unfortunate fact that she had no political opinions, rarely bothered to vote, and had spent a lifetime aggregate of no more than 53 seconds thinking about public affairs.
What on earth is Massachusetts to do? The hungry sheep look up and are not fed. If there truly is a loving God, let us all pray that he will soon send a Kennedy to the distraught, bereft, disoriented people of Massachusetts.
07 — Climate Change news. As the current global cooling trend continues, the global-warming propagandists get more and more, well, heated.
A new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research pours some cold water on their arguments. (Yes, I am going to stretch this metaphor to breaking point. [Snap!] Oops, there it went.)
Eighty percent of the variability of global climate this past half century is just the earth's atmosphere and oceans doing their natural thing, says the study. The remaining twenty percent may not have anything to do with CO2 or human activity, either: variations in solar radiation may be the cause.
Interesting; though not surprising to anyone who's looked at the long-term trends. In the years from 1945 to 1965, for instance, when the postwar world economy was developing faster than it ever had before, big countries like China, India, and Brazil were industrializing, and pollution controls were not yet thought of, global temperatures actually fell.
In other climate news, Energy Secretary Steven Chu wants us to paint our roofs white, to reflect the sun's heat back into space. Hmm. Now, Chu is a physicist and I'm not, so I speak with proper deference here: but looking at Google satellite views of my own town, I don't see too many roofs in summer. They're mostly hidden by trees. In winter, of course, they are visible; but then, if I'm reflecting solar heat away from my house in winter, won't I need to burn more heating oil?
And does infrared actually get reflected back into space anyway? Doesn't it just bounce around inside the atmosphere — isn't that, in fact, precisely what the Greenhouse Effect is all about?
Ah, the mysteries of science.
08 — Our dedicated public servants. Oh those selfless, hard-working public servants of ours!
Charlie Rangel, for example. Ol' Charlie has been toiling away in the thankless vineyards of public service for nigh on fifty years. He's been in the United States Congress for almost forty of those years, representing Harlem. Having sacrificed all those decades to public service, when he could have been in the private sector where real money is made, Charlie is naturally hard up, with a net worth of no more than 2.5 million dollars.
Charlie's current position is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he plays a big part in writing the nation's tax laws. Just recently, for example, he has got included in the House health-care bill some new IRS rules to raise the level of punishment on citizens who make mistakes, including demonstrably honest mistakes, in their tax returns.
But here's a funny thing: Charlie himself failed to pay taxes on a vacation home in the Dominican Republic. He also failed to pay taxes on two properties he owned in New Jersey.
Now here he is in the newspapers again on August 28, 'fessing up to having failed to report 1.3 million dollars in outside income on the financial-disclosure forms he filed with Congress. That includes a million dollars from the 2004 sale of a New York City building which, according to city records,Charlie still owns.
The House ethics committee is of course conducting a thorough investigation. [Laughter.] Nancy Pelosi is mad as hell. [More laughter.] Attorney General Eric Holder says he will have the Justice Department look into the matter [more laughter] just as soon as they get through training the New Black Panther party in the correct techniques for waterboarding CIA personnel.
Meanwhile, our state legislators here in New York are doing their best to attain Charlie Rangel's level of integrity. The majority leader of our state senate, Democratic pol Pedro Espada from the Bronx, is on that good old "non-profit" gravy train along with Joe Kennedy. He runs a group of health clinics for the needy, a registered charity, and strictly non-profit you understand, which pays him 460 thousand dollars a year, much of it taxpayer money funneled through — guess where? — the state senate.
Espada also makes some undisclosed but large amount of cash from service companies he's set up to do cleaning and maintenance work for the clinics. Did I mention that his son Pedro, Jr. makes 90 thousand as the charity's "director of environmental care" — well, you have to have one of those, don't you?
And in his capacity as a public servant, Espada has been handing out government jobs to his friends and family, at a cost to us New York taxpayers of around half a million dollars a year.
Not that we're complaining. It's worth every penny, to have these dedicated public servants working so hard on our behalf 24/7.
09 — Obama addresses schoolkids. The President gave an address to the nation's schoolchildren.
He did not say to them what I would have said — which would of course have been: GET A GOVERNMENT JOB! You know he wanted to, though. Remember last year on the campaign trail, when Mrs. Obama told a group of women at an Ohio day-care center, quote:
Don't go into corporate America … become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we're encouraging our young people to do that.
That's the true Obama mentality, the leftist mentality. Capitalism is wicked. Working in the private sector means being — what was that phrase from the President's autobiography? Oh yes — "behind enemy lines." I'm sure that's what the President would like to have told our children.
David Axelrod's got him on a revised script, though. Now the Obamas pretend to be champions of free enterprise. So Obama stuck to bland generalities about responsibility and diligence.
He did mention twelve actual occupations in his address: writer, inventor, mayor, senator, Supreme Court justice, doctor, teacher, cop, nurse, architect, lawyer, and soldier. That's six public sector jobs, six private sector.
Stick with the script, Mr President, stick with the script. America's going to need the private sector for another generation or two, if we're ever going to climb out of the fiscal hole you're digging.
Though I see I included doctors there in the private sector. No telling how much longer that will be true once Obamacare kicks in.
10 — Miscellany. OK, here's Radio Derb's traditional miscellany of short items.
Item: Tracking back a bit here through the news stories, Radio Derb had no opportunity to coment on the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, August 16.
The star turn here was a presentation by University of Massachusetts professor Yueguang Zuo. Dr Zuo has been studying the traces of cocaine on U.S. paper money. Guess what? $5, $10, $20 and $50 bills were more likely to be positive for cocaine than $1 bills. Who woulda thunk it? Also bills collected from urban areas had higher rates of contamination than those from rural areas.
You can't say these researchers don't earn their money — which, one hopes, they then store away in their wallets until time comes to spend it.
Dr Zuo offered us some international comparisons. Quote:
Compared with currency from Brazil, Canada, China and Japan, U.S. bills had the highest percentage of cocaine, with 90 percent of bank notes contaminated. Canada followed with 85 percent and Brazil with 80 percent. China and Japan had the lowest, with 20 and 12 percent respectively.
China, eh? Well, nice to know the grand old tradition of "chasing the dragon" is being revived.
Item: In Thousand Oaks, Califonia, where Mickey Rooney married his eighth wife — or was it his thousandth wife in Eight Oaks? I forget — anyway, in Thousand Oaks, some Obamarrhoids demonstrating in favor of the President's healthcare plan were confronted by counter-demonstrators. One of the Obamarrhoids got into a nose-to-nose argument with one of the counter-demonstrators, and ended by biting off the guy's left pinky.
The victim is 65 years old and so presumably covered by Medicare, at least until the White House finds out his name.
Item: This week's prize for calling down fire on your own position goes to the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, a Washington D.C.-based group representing 20,000 churches nationwide.
You can tell by the name right away that this is a group working to amnesty illegal aliens. Well, now they've started a boycott. What are they boycotting? The U.S. census.
See, the census counts everybody, including illegals. Then, following the constitution, congressional seats are apportioned based on the head count in each state. Well, the Latinos are saying, quote from one of them, Fausto da Rocha, an immigrant activist quoted in the Boston Globe: "Legalize us before you count us."
Mr da Rocha further said, quote:
Politics is about power and money, and by not giving your information, you'll be taking away money and power from the politicians.
Yeah: but you'll also be taking congressional representation away from states that are hospitable to illegals. The Globe reckons Massachusetts could lose a seat. I'm fine with that myself, but why would illegals wish for it? I guess they just haven't thought it through.
Look: if we must have illegal immigrants, can't we try to get some smart ones?
Item: Well, we got the answer on South African champion runner Caster Semenya quicker than Radio Derb predicted we would.
The IAAF, that's the International Association of Athletics Federations, who've been running tests on Semenya, tell us she has no womb or ovaries, and an internal set of testes. On the other hand, her testosterone levels, while higher than normal for a gal, are within the female range.
That leaves us all confused … though probably not as confused as Semenya's dates.
Latest news is that Semenya's being considered for a spot on the American Idol panel.
Item: Remember back in May when the White House predicted a deficit of seven trillion dollars over the next decade? Well, that's no longer operative.
August 25 the Congressional Budget Office issued a revised number: nine trillion. That's an extra two trillion in three months. If we keep on revising the number at that rate, by the end of Obama's term — his one and only term, we should hope — we'll be looking at 37 trillion.
Take heart, though, America: The President's trillion-dollar health care plan will not add one cent to the deficit number, not one red cent. We have the President's word on that, and we all believe our President, don't we?
Item: News from the world of science: Sleep specialist Dr Neil Stanley told the British Science Festival that sharing a bed with someone is bad for your health.
Bed sharing, says the good doctor, causes rows over snoring and hogging of bedclothes, and robs us of precious sleep. One study found that, on average, couples suffered 50 percent more sleep disturbances if they shared a bed.
I'll admit, I don't quite know where to go with this one. It is a fact, as Dr. Stanley notes, that sharing a bed with your spouse is quite a modern idea. In Britain, at any rate, until well into the 20th century, sleeping with a spouse was considered shamefully low class. The aristocracy didn't just have separate beds, they had separate bedrooms, as we all found out in 1982 when an intruder got into Queen Elizabeth's bedroom.
Lady Alice Hillingdon famously told her diary in 1912 that, quote:
I am happy now that George calls on my bedchamber less frequently than of old. As it is, I now endure but two calls a week, and when I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, close my eyes, open my legs and think of England.
Ah, that's the spirit that made the Empire.
Item: Here on Long Island, the dog up and died. That would be Chanel, the world's oldest dog, a dachsund aged 21 who died last week. The world's oldest dog now is believed to be Otto, a terrier-dachsund mix over in Shrewsbury, England. Otto is twenty years and six months old. That's 143½ in human years, so you should be impressed.
Oh, and the Internet was forty years old on September 2nd, so happy birthday to it.
11 — Signoff. There you are, listeners; normal service has been resumed. I'm looking forward here to another year of recording Radio Derb, assisted by my faithful crew of recording technicians here on the 95th floor of Buckley Towers in the heart of Manahattan. Also of course by my dedicated research assistants Mandy, Candy, Brandy, and Pepe.
Ah, Pepe, I'm going to need you to stay behind a minute to give me a quick rub-down, but girls, you can head on up to the grotto and get the party started. Tell Jonah I'll be up shortly. [Party sounds.] I tell you, listeners, here at Buckley Towers it's work, work, work.
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]