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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Radio Derb is on the air! Lots of spicy news to report this week, so here am I, your piquantly genial host John Derbyshire, with a selection from the passing charivari.
02 — Gaza love boat, bizarro version. This flotilla of boats sailed for the Gaza Strip.
The boats were filled with peace activists wearing beads and sandals, singing Pete Seeger songs and scattering rose petals on the waters of the Mediterranean as they went. Their mission was to bring much-needed food and medicine to the poor, peace-loving souls in the Gaza Strip, who have been languishing in sickness and hunger since the cruel Israelis, for no reason but sheer malice, imposed a blockade on the place three years ago.
Well, the evil Israelis carried out a wanton assault on one of the ships, actually killing nine of the flower children while they were halfway through the second verse of "Puff the Magic Dragon."
This Atrocity aroused the indignation of that mighty power for justice, liberty, and truth — the international community. Wherever in the world there is a hungry child, an anxious mother, a helpless invalid, or a victim of injustice, the international community will soon be on hand to cool the fevered brow, apply balm to the wounds, wipe away the little child's tears, murmur words of gentle encouragement, and bring relief to the oppressed.
Naturally the international community was outraged by Israel's wanton aggression. On Wednesday the international community's most potent organ, the United Nations Human Rights Council, voted 32-3 to condemn Israel and set up an independent fact-finding mission. Among the 32 nations registering aye votes were such paragons of human rights as China, Cuba, Egypt, Gabon, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.
Now that it is mobilized, the international community will soon bring the vile Zionist agressors to justice, never fear.
03 — Gaza love boat, real world version. I'm sorry, I read off that previous segment without checking. I now see that the transcript slipped in through a tear in the space-time continuum from the bizarro universe. Here's the actual story.
The Gaza Strip is a welfare sinkhole run by Hamas, a crazy group of homicidal maniacs. The inhabitants are either fully-paid-up members of Hamas, studying how to set off bombs in buses, or else they sit around all day in the very pleasant climate of the place waiting for the next shipment of free food to come in from … let me see … oh, yes — Israel.
Anyway, I think that's how the non-Hamas Gazans occupy their time, though I'll admit I'm not sure. The CIA World Factbook shows a total fertility rate of 4.90 for the place, ranking Gaza second in the world behind Afghanistan among non-African countries. Perhaps that gives us a clue.
Anyway, I'd guess that the non-Hamas inhabitants of Gaza would probably be happy to go on sucking down free food and keeping up that total fertility rate for ever, or until the ongoing baby boom has the place filled up shoulder to shoulder. The Hamas types, however, want to kill Jews, and to do that they need weapons.
Unfortunately, while the Israelis are happy to send in food and medicine, they are reluctant to include bullets, bombs, and rockets, seeing as how such items will only be shot back at them. To make quite sure nothing of the kind slips in, the Israel Defense Force maintains a sea blockade.
The Egyptians, by the way, who also have a border with Gaza, and who are likewise averse to crazy Islamists blowing the arms and legs off their citizens in the name of Allah, are building one of the world's most formidable border fences to keep the lunatics out, extending it far underground to prevent tunneling.
How to get around all this? After consulting with their good friends in the government of Turkey, that well-known NATO ally of ours, the Hamas guys loaded up some ships with ordnance, laid a few sacks of rice and boxes of vaccine on top for cover, recruited some jihadis from the Istanbul chapter of the Joan Baez fan club, and set sail for Gaza.
They figured either the Israelis would try to stop them, or not. If not, then Hamas has a whole lot more rockets and bombs to kill Jews with. If the IDF did try to stop them, the jihadis could squeal that their peace-loving convoy was being attacked. Win-win for the jihadis.
Sure enough, the Israelis tried to board the boats to search for contraband. The jihadis attacked them, the Israelis defended themselves, and the outrage started.
Israelis aren't supposed to defend themselves. When Israelis ask what the international community expects them to do in the face of people trying to annihilate them, the international community gives the answer Gert Strobe gave Sean Connery in Goldfinger: [Clip: "I expect you to die."]
It's extremely vexing to the international community, this stubborn refusal of the Israelis to let themselves be massacred so that the Arabs can re-occupy their land and reduce it back to the barren desert it was before early 20th-century Zionists started settling there, back in the days when it was ruled so benignly by … who was it ruled by? … oh yes, Turkey.
The Israelis are getting to be a very serious obstacle to the ability of Western lefties to enjoy warm feelings about helping colorful third-world peasants escape from colonial oppression. Those pesky Israelis just won't play along with the script. No wonder everybody hates them.
04 — Gaza love boat, Stephen Walt version. The international community of course includes many Americans … many, aside from Noam Chomsky, I mean. Here's one of them: Stephen Walt, writing on the ForeignPolicy.com website, quote:
By now you'll all have heard about the IDF's unwarranted attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a fleet of six civilian vessels that was attempting to bring humanitarian aid (i.e., medicines, food, and building materials) to Gaza. The population of Gaza has been under a crippling Israeli siege since 2006. Israel imposed the blockade after Gaza's voters had the temerity to prefer Hamas in a free election held at the insistence of the Bush administration, which then refused to recognize the new government because it didn't like the results.
Where do you start with something like that? "Civilian vessels"? Turkish media report that many of the people on those "civilian vessels" had made martyrdom videos before they set out, hoping to be killed fighting the Israelis. "Humanitarian aid"? How does Walt know what was in those ships? Given Hamas's track record, was it unreasonable of the Israelis to want to board and search them?
Israel imposed the blockade because it doesn't like Hamas? Did it cross Stephen Walt's mind that maybe the reason Israel doesn't like Hamas is the habit Hamas has of peppering Israeli housing estates, shopping malls, and schoolyards with rockets every time they can get their hands on some?
I suppose Stephen Walt thinks Israel should give up hitting back at its enemies and make peace with them. But how do you make peace with someone who doesn't think you have a right to exist? The miracle is that Israel continues to try behaving in a civilized way with these mad savages, when they just get condemned anyway, whatever they do.
My advice to Benjamin Netanyahu would be, next time a flotilla of jihadis shows up singing Joan Baez songs, sink the buggers. The international community will howl, but look — they howl anyway. And I never could stand Joan Baez.
05 — The Stupid Party. Here's something closer to home — way close to my own modest few hundred acres in Long Island's Suffolk County.
Back in April, the April 16th broadcast to be precise, I recommended a politician to your attention: my own county chief executive Steve Levy. Steve was contesting for the Republican nomination in this fall's New York gubernatorial election.
I warned that Levy was a long shot, polling behind former Congressman Rick Lazio among GOP primary voters, with Lazio in turn polling well behind the Democratic candidate, hard-left liberal fanatic and eager tool of public-sector unions Andrew Cuomo.
Well, the wheels of our state Republican party duly turned, and this week they decided that Lazio will be the Republican nominee.
Lazio is a fine upstanding citizen, a good husband and father, and a public servant with no more than the average number of ink blots in his copybook. Unfortunately he is deeply un-charismatic. In fact he has negative charisma — I mean, Rick's the kind of person who, when he walks into a room, people turn to each other and say: "Who was that who just left?"
He's also a very typical northeastern RINO, with carefully hedged positions on all social issues — yes on abortion, no on partial-birth abortion, no on amnesty for illegal immigrants, yes on bringing in more legal immigrants to depress middle-class wages, and so on.
On the exceedingly faint possibility Lazio ever gets elected Governor, the leftist lobbies, race rackets, crazy-liberal judges, and public-sector unions will eat him for lunch and spit out the bones, as they did our last RINO governor George Pataki.
Lazio's going to be the GOP gubernatorial candidate, though, and the champagne corks are a-poppin' at Cuomo headquarters. Not for nothing we're called the Stupid Party.
06 — Oil spill silver lining. The oil spill in the Gulf — it's a mess all right, and it looks like it'll be a bigger mess before it gets smaller.
Fishing around here for a silver lining, all I can come up with is the hope that perhaps some of the people who believed that Barack Obama is the Risen Christ will now scale down their expectations, and perhaps even come to realise that he's just another shady Chicago pol who got lucky running for President against a more-incompetent-than-average administration stuck in the trough of a business cycle.
That's my hope. Is it a realistic hope? Nah. There is no cure for gross stupidity; and the desire to perceive Obama as an omnicompetent miracle worker is nourished by deep springs in our culture.
In any case, the lefty spin machine is already getting traction with its narrative about greedy corporations — in this case BP — heedless of the general welfare, polluting wetlands and massacring seagulls so that the corporation's shareholders can gorge on caviare while taking baths in sheeps' milk.
A call to nationalize the oil industry can't be far behind. You know how much better the federal government would be at managing offshore oil platforms than those dunderheads in private industry.
Yes, let's nationalize the business — it worked out so well for Venezuela.
07 — Oil spill: nukes & movies. A couple more on the oil spill.
The idea has been mooted of just nuking the borehole, letting the molten rock from the blast close it up.
That would be my choice. I am a disciple of the great National Review ex-editor Jeffrey Hart, who memorably opined that we shouldn't make any more nuclear weapons till we've used up the ones we've got. Well, here's a great opportunity to use up a few.
I don't hold out much hope, though. The U.S.A. of today is much too sissified to do something as macho as nuking an oil well. We could contract out the job to North Korea, but I doubt that'll happen either.
Meanwhile the nation's eyes naturally turn in a crisis to Hollywood, home of the only other American industry that still makes any money. Hollywood was glad to oblige.
Movie director James Cameron offered BP his services, apparently on the grounds that he once made a movie with some deep-underwater shots in it. BP politely declined the offer.
In related news, Francis Ford Coppola offered his services, pointing out that the Gulf spill was a kind of apocalypse now; Clint Eastwood gave BP chairman Carl Henry Svanberg a call, mentioning that the oil looked real dirty, Harry; Steven Spielberg offered to do a documentary when the thing was over, to be titled Memoirs of a Gusher; Oliver Stone announced he's already working on a conspiracy-theory movie about the whole thing, provisionally titled Natural Born Spillers; and Woody Allen shot off an email to the BP board of directors advising them to take the money and run.
08 — Tale of two counties. I know what you want to hear. Yes, it's Radio Derb's Get a Government Job spot.
You should get a government job, of course, but you need to be careful where you get one. Here's an instructive little story from the May 30th Washington Post, a story of two counties.
One of the counties is Montgomery County, in Maryland. The other is Fairfax County, in Virginia. These two counties are right next to each other, on opposite sides of the Potomac River, just west of our nation's capital. They have roughly the same populations, demography, climate, and wealth. Quote from the Post:
Montgomery County has just completed a nightmarish budget year. Stressed, squabbling and besieged elected officials savaged services and programs and jacked up taxes to eliminate an eye-popping deficit of almost $1 billion in a $4.3 billion spending plan. Meanwhile, across the Potomac River in Fairfax County, all was sweetness and light by comparison. With a budget roughly equal to Montgomery's, Fairfax officials erased a deficit a quarter as large with relative ease and far less drama.
Wow, what accounts for the difference? Why is the Maryland county looking at a huge budget hole and endless angst while the Virginia county is coasting along serenely? Let's read on. Quote:
The average teacher salary in Montgomery today is $76,483, the highest in the region. Average pay for teachers is now almost 20 percent higher in Montgomery than in Fairfax … Since 2000, salaries for Montgomery teachers, as for many other county employees, have nearly doubled, rising at almost triple the rate of inflation.
End quote. What's going on here? Keep reading. Quote:
Virginia law denies public employees collective bargaining rights …
As revenue dipped two years ago, Fairfax officials froze all salaries for county government and school employees with little ado.
OK, how about the other guys across the river in Maryland? Quote:
By contrast, Montgomery leaders were badly equipped to cope with recession. County Executive Isiah Leggett took office proposing fat budgets and negotiating openhanded union deals … Then, as economic storm clouds gathered, he shifted gears and cut spending — while still trying to appease the unions.
You getting the picture here, listener? Get a government job, but make sure it's in a state where government-worker unions call the shots.
09 — Arizona round-up. Arizona's law making illegal immigration illegal continues to generate ripples.
Ripple One: the school board of the Los Angeles Unified School District has ordered their Superintendent to make sure the horrible injustice of the Arizona law is taught in the district's history classes alongside the evils of slavery, the Chinese Exclusion Act, anti-semitism, and the wartime internment of Japanese Americans. The school district is 73 percent Latino and has a 50 percent dropout rate.
Ripple Two: At a church hall in Tucson last weekend, John McCain declared his support for the Arizona law. Quote from him:
Peoples' homes are being invaded, their property is being wrecked, the wildlife refuges are being harmed, in some cases irreparably, because of human trafficking.
Yep, just like they were three years ago when you joined with Teddy Kennedy to push for amnesty, John. Just like they were two years ago when you had that guy Juan Hernández on your campaign staff as "Hispanic Outreach Director."
Surely you remember Hernández — the guy who'd formerly had a high-level position in the Mexican government looking after the interests of Mexicans in the U.S.A.; the guy who told Tom Tancredo that Mexico and the U.S. are not two separate countries, "just a region"; the guy who said of those Mexicans resident here that, quote, "I want them all to think Mexico first." Remember him?
You should do, you hired him.
But let's not be cynical. What we have here is a little American tragedy. Poor John McCain bust a gut pandering to Hispanics in the 2008 campaign, and all he got in return was a lousy 31 percent of the Hispanic vote. Hell hath no fury like a politician scorned.
One more ripple, this one a quote from Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, quote:
It's not mainstream politics. [Legislators] are being approached by folks, who are front organizations for white supremacist hate groups.
Hm, let's see: the latest poll here — this is from Quinnipiac University — says that 48 percent of Americans want their state to pass a law like Arizona's. That breaks out as 53 percent of whites in support, 26 percent of blacks, and 37 percent of Hispanics. But representative Sanchez says it's not mainstream. That 48 percent, she apparently believes, is just dimwitted rubes being manipulated by "white supremacist hate groups."
I guess when you're a politician you can just say anything, even when it gives away how much you despise the voters.
10 — Miscellany. And now … [cock crowing] … our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: Just one more on Arizona.
I happened to pick up the New York Times last Saturday, May 29th. The newspaper has a separate Arts section. Front page of the Arts section, top of the page, first headline, quote: Musicians Differ in Responses to Arizona's New Immigration Law.
That was the lead item of news in the arts last week. According to the New York Times.
Item: Long Island, yep, that's where I live. Long Island Railroad, yep, that's our commuter line into New York City, the one I ride in to our state-of-the-art recording studio here at Buckley Towers.
I of course have my own private carriage, with a well-equipped bar, pool table, jacuzzi, movie screening room, manicurist, and so on, so it's pretty comfortable; but the little people have to ride in crowded carriages, sometimes standing in the aisles. My heart goes out to them!
Well, it never occurred to me to wonder how much the workers on the Long Island Railroad make. This week the New York Times told us. One of our train conductors made over $239,000 last year. Altogether 8,000 employees of the Metropolitan Transit Authority made over $100,000.
I don't mind this myself, but I can't help wondering how the poor souls crammed together in the steerage compartments feel about it.
Item: Samson Obama, Barack Obama's half-brother, was denied entry to Britain. He was actually on his way to the U.S.A. but had planned to take a break in Britain on his way. However, British immigration officials spotted that one of his documents was fake.
They checked his fingerprints and found he was a suspect in a sex crime when on a previous visit. Eventually they let him proceed to the U.S.A., where he can now join up with our President's other scofflaw relative, Auntie Zeituni.
Perhaps there'll be a family party, who knows?
Item: A news item from Derbyshire. Yes, that would be the lovely county of Derbyshire, in the heart of England. This story's kind of weird, but you might want to pay attention.
Ruth and Martin Ball owned a lovely mansion in Osmaston, Derbyshire, with several bedrooms and an indoor pool. Alas, this beautiful house was burned to the ground last week.
An investigation by Derbyshire fire department revealed the cause of the fire: a seven-dollar glass paperweight had focused the rays of the sun onto some books, setting them alight.
A seven-dollar paperweight destroyed a million-dollar house. I tell you, Nature is angry with us.
Item: Sports news! I don't give you much sports news here on Radio Derb, mainly because I'm a sports ignoramus, having been too busy this past few years attaining total mastery of physics, metaphysics, higher mathematics, molecular biology, political science, celestial mechanics, Italian opera, and classical Chinese.
I do occasionally glance at the sports pages while being swept from one scholarly conference to another, though. What should I see this week but this story about the perfect game that wasn't, thanks to a bad call from an ump.
Pitcher Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers had got every batter out, with no-one getting on base. The last batter came up, hit a grounder, ran for first, and didn't make it … except that the first base umpire called him safe. Everyone could see he wasn't safe, and the replays confirmed it.
That's got to hurt. Jim Joyce, the guy who made the bad call has been a full-time major league umpire for 21 years. He knows what he's doing, but human error can always creep in.
A lot of people are calling for video review now, but that's a lousy idea, for a stack of reasons laid out by our own Fred Schwartz on The Corner at 1pm Thursday. When all's said and done, it's only a game.
To their immense credit, both Galarraga and Joyce seem to understand this, and have been gentlemanly about it, though Joyce spoiled the effect slightly with a regrettable display of public blubbering. Stiff upper lip there, man.
Anyway, if we're going to cogitate about reducing human error, let's do it where lives are at stake, or major environmental catastrophes like the one in the Gulf.
Item: Here's another sports news item, quote:
NY Jets offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson told fans at his foundation's second annual dinner the other night at the Swan Club on Long Island about attending last month's state dinner at the White House with teammate Mark Sanchez. Ferguson said he asked Obama if he could convert him to a Jets fan. The President pointed his finger at him and said emphatically, "No! Chicago Bears!"
OK, it's nice to see the President displaying a little municipal pride in the city whose peculiar political customs boosted him to the White House, but … "D'Brickashaw"? That's the guy's name, "D'Brickashaw"? D-apostrophe-Brickashaw? Maybe I'm getting old. When I was a kid we were all Johns, Davids, Steves and Bills. "D'Brickashaw"?
Well, perhaps it's churlish of me to poke fun at the guy's name — for which, after all, the responsibility falls on his parents, not him. Since this is a pro footballer, and an offensive tackle to boot, it may also be dangerous. I'll make amends; I'll compose a poem. Ahem.
D'Brickashaw, D'Brickashaw, there's no-one like D'Brickashaw.
Apologies there to T.S. Eliot.
11 — Signoff. There we are, ladies and gentlemen. A glorious weekend here in New York, the sun shining in brightly through the windows here at Buckley Towers, the rays dancing and flickering in a most delightful way in the numerous glass paperweights my sound engineer Ahmed seems to have taken a fancy to — he's placed them on every level surface. Says they remind him of his home back in Waziristan — isn't that right, Ahmed?
[Ahmed: "Bring down the cleansing fire."]
Fine, thank you, Ahmed. There'll be more from Radio Derb next week. In the meantime the watchword is: Don't mess with anybody named D'Brickashaw … D'Brickashaw …
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]