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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, folks, it's summer time, the livin' is easy, and this is your languidly genial host John Derbyshire, broadcasting from the sun-baked Aegean, with all the news you can take in while sitting out there on the deck nursing a chilled brewski.
There's an air of anticlimax here on the island, as we had the annual Goat Derby on Thursday, with accompanying festivites and refreshments.
Though fascinating in its own way as an instance of colorful old folk customs surviving into the modern age, I regret to report that the event generated a certain amount of rancor.
The winning quadruped was one owned by our Mayor, Mr Papakonstantinou; but there were rumors that he had secretly brought in a famous goat whisperer from the mainland to encourage the beast, and this was considered unsporting by the locals.
My own choice was Kallipygos, a handsome Anatolian billy with well-shaped hind-quarters belonging to our neighbor Mr Bestialathou. I thought Kallipygos would run a good race, but alas he finished third from last, leaving me 200 Euros out of pocket. Mr. Bestialathou assures me that the creature will roast up very nicely with some zucchini and onions, though, so it's not all downside.
Enough of this idle gossip! — on with the show.
02 — Professional politicians, Bah!. I'm just going to start off this week with an article about British politics from one of that country's newspapers.
I know British politics is a snoozer if you're not British, or increasingly even if you are, but bear with me, as the content of the article has some universal application, which I'll explain in following segments.
This article is from the July 18th Daily Mail. Headline: "Increase in 'professional politicians' means one in seven MPs have never done a real job."
"MP" means "Member of Parliament," which in Britain's system includes the Prime Minister and most of his cabinet. There are currently 650 Members of Parliament.
The article concerns a study done by the Parliamentary library on the backgrounds of those 650 MPs. It turns out that 90 of them — that's fourteen percent, nearly one in seven — have never had a job outside of politics. That's a fourfold increase over the equivalent study done thirty years ago in 1982. Then there were only 20 MPs who'd never worked outside politics.
You won't be surprised to hear that the phenomenon of the lifetime professional politician is most marked on the political Left. Among MPs of the Labour Party, the never-had-a-job proportion is over 20 percent. Labour is the party of public-sector unions, unmarried women, homosexuals, globalizing nation-haters, and racial minorities — in other words, the equivalent of the Democratic Party over here.
Twenty percent of Labor MPs never had anything you or I would consider a job. Twenty percent, one in five.
For MPs of the Conservative Party, which has nothing to do with what Americans consider conservative, but resembles the business wing of our Republican Party, the percentage is only ten. The small Liberal Democrat Party, ideologically in the middle, is at twelve percent.
And those numbers are on a strict interpretation of the expression "never had a job outside politics." If you also count those MPs whose non-political work experience was restricted to jobs in the penumbra of actual politics — jobs like lobbyist, staffer, speechwriter, journalist, "community organizer," or public relations propagandist — you are up to around a quarter of MPs.
This is a horrible development. For one thing, it makes politicians the slaves of their party managers. They don't dare step outside the bounds of party discipline for fear of losing their seats in Parliament.
If you're a doctor, or a lawyer, or a landowner, or a businessman, or a union organizer, or an electrician, then if you lose your seat, you can shrug and go back to your practice, your farm, your business, your union shop, or your trade.
If you've never known anything but politics, you're unemployed and wellnigh unemployable, except in that lobbyist-staffer penumbra, where the pay and benefits are dismal. A professional politician is never going to utter an independent thought for fear of the frown of his party managers.
For another thing, it widens the gulf between politicians and other citizens. Legislators know little enough about our lives and our concerns as it is. If they've never punched a time clock, met a payroll, made a sale, won over a client, or pacified a disgruntled employee, they're at one further remove from us, the great unwashed masses.
A horrible development, as I said — in Britain or anywhere else. Let's come back to the U.S.A. with that thought and look at two case studies, one comic and one tragic.
03 — Anthony Weiner thrusts himself forward. You'll recall the story of Anthony Weiner, formerly congressman for New York's 9th district, part of the borough of Queens in New York City.
Rep. Weiner resigned from Congress a year ago after confessing that he'd sent photographs of his private parts to several women via his Twitter account.
Weiner, a Democrat, is precisely one of those professional politicians the Daily Mail is writing about. He went straight from student politics to work as a congressional staffer. Then he got elected to New York City Council, the youngest person ever to do so. After seven years of that, he advanced to the House of Representatives in Washington in 1999, and he'd be there still but for last year's unfortunate exposure.
You have to imagine that time's been hanging heavy on Anthony Weiner's hands in the year since he resigned. Let's hope that's the only thing that's been hanging heavy on his hands … but no, I'm going to eschew Weiner jokes. They're just too easy, it's like fishing with dynamite.
In any case, the New York Post, America's Newspaper of Record, which I have flown out by airmail to me here on the island, the New York Post pretty much has a monopoly on Weiner jokes. The front page of the Post's July 19th edition showed Weiner with his 6-month-old baby son alongside the headline: Weiner Shows Off His Little One.
So enough with the Weiner jokes. As I said, time's been hanging heavy on his hands this past twelve months of unemployment. Fortunately Weiner's wife has a job. Well, sort of. Mrs Weiner is a staffer for Hillary Clinton.
Her work doesn't do anything to increase the Gross Domestic Product; but then probably neither does mine, and at least Mrs Weiner is earning a paycheck while hubby stays home changing diapers.
That's a dull, depressing way to pass the time for a guy who's participated in great national affairs. Not surprisingly, Anthony Weiner wants to get back in the political game. We learn from the Post that a few weeks ago he summoned his former staffers to a dinner to discuss a possible run for Mayor of New York City.
Yes, folks: Anthony Weiner is polishing his staff in hopes of a second coming …
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I've broken my promise, I know. The temptation is just too great. Okay, I'll try, I'll try to be a good boy. No more promises, but I'll try.
Apparently Weiner has four and a half million dollars in campaign funds left over from his congressional days. I have no idea how that can be; but campaign finance laws have been thoroughly rigged to make them so complicated nobody but these professional pols can understand them. There's another reason to hate the phenomenon.
So while Weiner is upstairs changing diapers, down below the vault is bulging … er, with cash.
In an opening bid to get the public aroused, Weiner has done a family photo shoot with Mrs Weiner and the baby for People magazine. There's an … election (note how carefully I said that) — for Mayor of New York City next year. That seems to be object of Weiner's attention, though apparently his plans are not yet firm.
Public reaction to Weiner's declared ambitions has so far been limp. I wouldn't count the guy out, though. It may seem preposterous that a politician who's made such a laughing-stock of himself could go out campaigning for votes again, and perhaps even win an election; but remember, this is New York City we're talking about. Tweeting pictures of your wife's best friend to female admirers might be outrageous in Ohio, idiotic in Idaho, or demented in the Dakotas, but over there in Gomorrah-on-the-Hudson it's not such a big thing … even if … never mind, never mind.
Furthermore, the declared field of candidates for next year's mayoral election in New York is exceptionally mediocre, as Radio Derb reported to you on June 1st. Every one of them wants to raise the city's minimum wage; every one of them wants to gut law enforcement; every one of them is a sock puppet for the city's extravagantly-compensated public-sector unions.
Anthony Weiner is a leftist creep, but even he looks good by comparison with this motley crew. When your opponents are that lackluster, nobody's going to care that you tweeted your cluster … And four and a half million dollars is a lot of money.
Well, it should all be very stimulating. To judge from the spread in People magazine, Weiner certainly knows how to work the organs of public opinion, at least as well as he knows how to work … Oh, never mind.
If all else fails, I'd advise Mr Weiner to emigrate. In another country, where he's not well known, he'd be more likely to succeed. The further away the better, of course; though since Weiner speaks no foreign languages, it would have to be an Anglosphere country.
How about Australia? I bet Anthony Weiner could be really big Down Under. [Boo, hiss, …]
Get me out of this segment, please. Where's the exit?
04 — Obama's view of business. A favorite on Radio Derb, with at least five mentions over the years, has been that passage on page 135 of Barack Obama's autobiography, Dreams from My Father where he describes his few months working in the private sector. Obama felt, he tells us, like, quote, "a spy behind enemy lines."
What else did you need to know about Obama's attitude towards wealth creation? This man is government, government, government, all the way through.
I guess that strictly speaking those few months "behind enemy lines" excuse Obama from the remarks I've been making about professional politicians who never held a real job. Why should I give Obama any breaks, though? Would he give me any?
So the heck with it; Obama's as much a professional pol as those 90 British MPs who never did an honest day's wealth-creating work between them, as much a professional pol as Anthony Trunks-full-of-junk Weiner.
If there was any doubt about this, Obama dispelled that doubt at a campaign stop in Roanoke, Virginia last Friday. [Clip: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that …"]
Talk about being behind enemy lines! There's capitalism's enemy, in plain sight: the arrogance and ignorance of our professional politicians, who have no clue about the realities of wealth generation, about the risks and challenges of getting a business off the ground, about the struggles and disappointments and sudden crises that every entrepreneur knows too well.
But what's to be surprised about? Risks and challenges are things Barack Obama knows nothing about. He's spent his entire life on the reward side of the risk-reward equation. From a pampered middle-class childhood he was wafted upward through prestigious colleges on thermals of affirmative action, then wafted further upwards into the political stratosphere, with only minimal effort required on his part, by adoring liberals who saw in him their dream candidate — left-liberal, charming and well-spoken, black but unthreatening.
[Clip: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that …] That is one of the most outrageous things a President of the United States ever said. Obama, however, is the least surprising President to have said it.
This is a guy whose entire experience of the private sector was a few months in a New York office, at a desk with a computer — "behind enemy lines."
You can imagine the relief he must have felt afterwards, when he had made it back to his own lines. Back to the real world! — the world of grants and favors, of sucking on the public teat, of demonstrations and fund-raisers, of kissing up to power-brokers and wealthy donors, of smooching with media morons and Hollywood bubbleheads.
That, to Barack Obama, is the real world. That's where things happen; and what happens there, in the political world, makes everything else happen.
Entrepreneurs, businesses, profits, payrolls — these are just epiphenomena, what Marx called "superstructure," brought into existence by politicians and permitted to go on existing at the favor of politicians.
That's the sham behind their favorite self-descriptor: "public servants." In reality — their reality — it is actually we who are the servants. They are the masters, the masters of the universe, at a wave of whose hand everything happens.
Bow down before them, ye petty folk, ye peasants!
05 — Pool panic on Park Avenue. I'm going to return to New York City for the next two pieces. I'm sorry to be so New York-centric, and I assure you I mean no slight on the rest of the nation.
It's the fault of my research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy. Or rather it's my fault for having been far too indulgent with them, allowing them to disport themselves on the island's beach all day, or on Taki's boat, when they really should be bent over their desks indoors scanning the wire services.
But then, you see, if they were indoors, they wouldn't be wearing bikinis, so there are pluses and minuses here. Did I mention that my office has a picture window overlooking the beach?
The result is that when it gets close to the time the girls are supposed to deliver their news digests to me so I can read them to you over the air, they rush indoors at the last minute and do fast cut-and-paste jobs from my airmail edition of the New York Post. Those are the news items I end up with.
It's not very professional, I agree. I shall chastise the girls and try to be stricter with them in future. The blue skies and silver sands of the Aegean, and the turquoise waters and warm sun, have a way of soothing and mellowing the spirit, though. The Protestant Work Ethic is not dominant down here in sunny Greece … as the rest of the European Union has been discovering.
Well, on with the news. Yes, it's from New York City and it's all about pools.
First story. This one's from Park Avenue in Manhattan, than which no stretch of real estate is tonier or more expensive.
Down around 30th street on the Avenue there is a hotel, the Gansevoort. This is not the toniest stretch of the Avenue: Room rates at the Gansevoort start at a quite modest $350. The restaurant's kind of pricey, though: A bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne brought to your table will set you back $2,750. You can get a cheaper bottle for around $200, but the Post says that Gansevoort guests just use that stuff to spray each other with.
Not in the restaurant, of course: There's a rooftop pool where the champagne gets sprayed. Especially on Sundays. Every Sunday there's a pool party on the Gansevoort's roof, and this is the place to be seen if you're a young, cool New Yorker with money to burn … or spray. The lines stretch around the block.
So Sunday afternoons and evenings you have about 300 revellers on the 19th floor rooftop pool at the Gansevoort, talking at the tops of their voices and jitterbugging to loud techno music, whatever that is.
And all around are these high-rise luxury apartment buildings, residents paying $5,000 a month just for maintenance, trying to rest up on a Sunday afternoon, and the whole place is shaking from the techno music out of the Gansevoort pool party. If they look out of their windows they see a lot of young dudes in shorts and tank tops and a lot of young women in bikinis, spraying each other with $200 champagne and shrieking.
These nearby residents have been complaining. Quote from the New York Post:
A law-enforcement source said the NYPD's cabaret unit will monitor the parties on future Sundays checking for excessive noise and other rowdy behavior.
NYPD is of course the New York Police Department. But who knew they have a "cabaret unit"? I wonder how much seniority you have to rack up to get posted to that unit?
This is the public pool that was shut down in 1984 after the surrounding area deteriorated. Then recently the area got gentrified and the city spent $50 million to renovate the pool. It re-opened June 28th.
Unfortunately, while the immediately surrounding area is now a mix of older white ethnics and young white yuppies with kids, a few blocks away are public-housing developments full of "teens" and "youths," and even I believe some "thugs." For the sake of delicacy, let's refer to them as TYTs.
Well, as yuppified as the neighborhood may be, this is a city public pool. Entrance is free, first come first served, and the weather's been hot. The TYTs have been showing up in force, and they don't seem to get the idea of a peaceful family afternoon by the pool. There's been a lot of trouble, as Radio Derb reported.
The city responded by drafting in a lot of cops to back up the lifeguards at the pool. It hasn't helped. Longish quote from the New York Daily News, July 17th, quote:
Cops had to use pepper spray to subdue brawling bathers as yet another fight shut down Williamsburg's star-crossed McCarren Park Pool on Tuesday.
So on Park Avenue they're spraying champagne, in Brooklyn they're spraying pepper spray. Today, pepper spray: tomorrow, baton rounds and tear gas.
The TYTs are not altogether getting away with their misbehavior, though. Further quote from the Daily News:
Antquan Lomax, 23, of Broooklyn, was charged with pushing an NYPD deputy inspector, while Ronald Crouthers, 24, of Brooklyn, and Jamaar Gordon, 24, of Queens were charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. A fourth person was issued a summons.
Should you attempt to deduce anything concerning the ethnic affiliation of Antquan and Jamaar from their interesting forenames, you would be a very bad person indeed. At age 23 and 24 I guess they're not "teens," but they may still be "youths." All that can be said for certain is that they are not geezers.
They might, however, be New York City firefighters, or on their way to being such ……
07 — Failure rewarded, excellence punished. This next story is kind of an old chestnut; but it's in the news, so we have to report it.
It's the story of the New York City firefighter exam. You may recall that back in 2007 under the left-liberal George W. Bush administration, the federal Department of Justice sued the city of New York under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
See, the city had been selecting new firefighters from the pool of applicants by administering a pair of written exams. Black and Hispanic applicants failed these written exams at a higher rate than white applicants.
Those exam results triggered one of those rounds of litigation we are all so wearily familiar with. A group of black firefighters joined the Justice Department as plaintiffs, a Clinton-appointed federal judge of far-left-liberal opinions was asked to rule, and we were off to the races. So to speak.
Three years ago Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled in favor of the Justice Department and the black co-plaintiffs. Six months later he further ruled that the city had practiced, quote, "intentional discrimination" by deliberately devising the written exams in such a way that black and Hispanic applicants would find them more difficult than white applicants found them.
Nowhere in the judge's ruling was it explained how the city had done this. Judge Garaufis offered no examples of exam questions that would be plainly harder for blacks and Hispanics to answer than they would be for whites. Nor has anyone else been able to point to such questions.
In fact, no evidence of intentional discrimination was offered at all, at any stage of the proceedings. Judge Garaufis just declared it to be so, like the Pharaoh in Cecil B. deMille's Ten Commandments: "So let it be written, so let it be done!"
In discrimination lawsuits, evidence is not required.
Judge Garaufis then proceeded to ponder an appropriate remedy for the aggrieved plaintiffs. This week we learned of that remedy.
First, Judge Garaufis imposed race quotas on the New York City Fire Department. The quotas are perfectly explicit. Out of every five firefighters hired from now on, two must be black and one must he Hispanic.
This is a bit peculiar, as in October last year Judge Garaufis declared from the bench that his remedial plan would not include quotas, despite, quote, "the city's misleading and inflammatory statements to the contrary." Those misleading and inflammatory statements turned out to be dead-on accurate. To put it slightly differently, Judge Garaufis turned out to be a shameless liar.
To further remedy the pain and humiliation suffered by these discriminated-against applicants, the judge has ordered that any black or Hispanic individual who failed either written exam — not both, but either — with a score of 25 out of 100 or higher must be placed on the priority hiring list, and will also receive monetary damages, including, quote, "non-economic damages."
If you look at the actual exams — just google "New York City Firefighter Examinations," they've been posted many times on different websites — you'll see that they consist of multiple-choice questions, with four choices per question.
Thus if, on either one of the exams, you answered all the questions at random, without even reading them, you would score 25 out of 100 or higher half the time for that exam. If you did it for both exams, since you only have to score 25 or more on one of them, you have a 75 percent chance of eligibility for that priority hiring list and those monetary damages, without having even read a single question!
The blacks and Hispanics who failed the written tests are to receive back pay — the estimate is $129 million — and, quote, "retroactive seniority" and, quote again, "a retroactively higher salary," once they've been hired through the new quota system.
Some of these test fails go back to 2003. So: You're a New York City firefighter. You studied hard, passed the exams, got hired, and have been fighting the city's fires for nine years. Now suddenly one day here come DeShawn and Miguel, loaded up with nine years back pay and benefits, with seniority equal to yours in spite of not having spent a day on the job, and in spite of not having passed the exams. No: make that because of not having passed the exams.
That's where our beloved Republic has come to with this race-guilt insanity: Failure is rewarded, excellence is punished.
Our only consolation in this particular case is that statistically speaking, it is highly likely that some of the New Yorkers who will lose their lives and property because of incompetent firefighters hired according to Judge Garaufis's race quotas, will be left-liberal nation-wreckers of the same kidney as Judge Garaufis.
Now: May we please see a racial breakdown of the results from the New York State bar exam, the one that got Judge Garaufis a start in his profession?
08 — Interracial crime numbers, revisited. I have a critical listener here, querying something I said in last week's broadcast about different rates of interracial homicide, blacks killing whites more than whites kill blacks.
First, here's the thing I said:
[Clip: "Black-on-nonblack homicides are only about twice as many as nonblack-on-black; 447 to 218 in reporting year 2010, the latest I can find. Again, though, if you scale up for relative populations, blacks kill nonblacks at a rate 13 times higher than vice versa."]
OK, here's my reader's query. It's a bit mathematical, so pay attention. There'll be a quiz period afterwards. Quote from my reader's email, quote:
Let me take a large population … that is 1/8 black and 7/8 white. Let me assume that a killer and a victim are randomly chosen black and white. Then the fractions of killings with all four combinations of perp and victim are as follows. Black kills white, 7 out of 64: black kills black, 1 out of 64: white kills black, 7 out of 64: white kills white, 49 out of 64.
That's the end of my reader's remarks. They suggest that on a totally random basis, without any race differential in preferences, you'd get equal numbers of black-white and white-black in the homicide data. A ratio of two to one, although bad, isn't therefore as bad as I painted it.
He's right; but I'm right, too. We're just answering different questions.
Here's my arithmetic, which gets a different answer, just because I'm asking a different question.
With blacks at 13 percent of the population and 447 black-on-white homicides, we have 13×n blacks killing 447 whites, where n is some number that doesn't matter because I'll cancel it out in the course of my argument. (It's one percent of the U.S. population, whatever that is.) So just doing basic division there, an average black killed 34.38×x whites, where x equals 1/n.
09 — Miscellany. Just time for a very quick canter through our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Breaking news here: This is burning up the news wires.
We have just had a report that a childhood acquaintance of George Zimmerman has come forward to tell us that when George was eight years old, he forgot to feed his goldfish, and the poor thing died.
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, on hearing this latest revelation, declared that first degree piscicide has now been added to the list of charges against Zimmerman, bringing the total number of charges to an even eight hundred.
Item: The Summer Olympics opens in London in a few days' time, and the Brits are determined to show the world how much they hate their ancestors and how terribly, terribly sorry they are for having been top dog all through the 19th century.
The July 27th opening ceremony has been scripted by Brit-hating Irish movie director Danny Boyle. It will feature panoramas of mill workers falling asleep at their looms, Indian coolies dropping dead in their rickshaw shafts from overwork, Virginia Woolf being turned away from entry to an Oxford college because she was female, and Irish peasants eating grass.
At the climax of the piece, a hundred representative white British males will simultaneously disembowel themselves for the sins of their nation.
Item: Also on the London Olympics: Thanks to Britain's nonexistent immigration controls, all the world's pickpockets are converging on London ready for two weeks of full employment.
Romanian gypsies were first on the scene, but we now hear that gangs from West Africa, the Baltic states, and South America are coming in as reinforcements. Further, there are widespread rumors of plots by Muslim terrorists, with which Britain is well supplied even at the best of times.
Boy, am I glad to be out of that place. Place is all it is now; though I am old enough to remember when it was a country — a country that settled half the world, and civilized the other half. Sic transit gloria mundi.
Item: Finally, a slice of toast from Prince Charles's breakfast the day he married Princess Di has been sold at auction for $370.
The toast was, I hasten to say, uneaten. It looks to be in pretty good shape for a 31-year-old piece of toast. It sure survived better than their marriage, his reputation, or her.
Poor old Britain! My recommendation would be, when the Queen eventually falls off her perch, just sell the whole shebang to some Arab millionaire. Seems like they're the only ones who like the wretched place any more.
10 — Signoff. On that sad note, ladies and gents, I leave you. Here's the way things used to be: bumptious, bold, ornery, proud, and unapologetic.
[Music clip: The Broadside Band, "Rule Britannia!"]