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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! That was one of Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, and this is your supererogatorily genial host John Derbyshire, bringing you highlights of the week's news from Radio Derb's state-of-the-art studio on our private island here in the sun-kissed Aegean Sea.
Much to report this week, so let's dive right in.
02 — What's the Puerto Rican for chutzpah? Radio Derb reported on the case of Fisher v. University of Texas back in October, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments. This is the latest case challenging race preferences, also called "affirmative action," in college admissions. A ruling from the Supremes should be forthcoming soon.
Perhaps as a warm-up to the expected ruling, the CBS TV program 60 Minutes ran an interview with one of the Supreme Court's own race preference hires, Sonia Sotomayor. The Justice spoke of her first encounter with race preferences.
[Clip: The first day I received in high school a card from Princeton telling me that it was possible that I was going to get in, I was stopped by the school nurse and asked why I was sent a possible and the number one and the number two in the class were not. Now I didn't know about affirmative action. But from the tone of her question I understood that she thought there was something wrong with them looking at me and not looking at those other two students.]
I have to side with the school nurse here. There absolutely was something wrong. While private institutions ought to be free to discriminate in any way they like, Princeton is only theoretically private. They get scads of taxpayer money by way of research grants, student financial support, and so on. They should not be discriminating in favor of high-school students claiming some kind of minority status.
And what kind, anyway? Sonia Sotomayor is as white as I am. I have never seen any evidence that she or any of her ancestors suffered state-sponsored injustice at the hands of the United States. Why is she the recipient of favoritism?
Next question: Why is she so breathtakingly, hair-raisingly, toe-curlingly, stomach-churningly, spleen-splittingly insensitive? Did she not, and does she still not, understand why that school nurse would be vexed by Number One and Number Two students being passed over in favor of Number Three, just because Number Three had parents from Puerto Rico?
She, this "wise Latina," really does not possess the few molecules of wisdom required to understand someone's resentment at elite colleges showing favoritism to Puerto Ricans? Including Puerto Ricans who would not look out of place at an Aryan Nations clambake?
And what exactly is the jurisprudential position on this woman deciding on a race preference case?
[Clip: Interviewer: "Is there a role for it today?" Sotomayor: "The affirmative action of today is very different than it was when I was going to school, and each school does it in a different way. I can't pass judgment on whether there's a role for it or not without it being seen as making a comment on an existing case. But I do know that for me it was a door opener that changed the course of my life."]
Let me just rephrase the justice's answer there. "I can't give you a substantive answer to your question about race preferences because I'm judging this current case; but hey, I really like race preferences and they sure worked fine for me!"
Excuse me? Or should that be "Re-cuse me?"
[Clip: "It was a door opener that changed the course of my life."] Yes, lady: it changed the course of your classmates' lives, too: those two who did better in class than you did, but didn't get cards from Princeton because they didn't have enough Puerto Rico-ness.
Race favoritism is a crime, and not a victimless one.
03 — Gun control kabuki. The gun control charade rolls on forward.
I say "charade" because nobody, certainly not the politicians leaping around on the national stage calling for gun control, nobody imagines that the nation's 300 million privately- and legally-owned firearms are going to be surrendered by their owners. It's just kabuki theater, the politicians strutting and posing for their own personal advantage without doing very much of substance.
The governor of my own state, Andrew Cuomo, illustrates the process. He has ambitions to run for President in 2016, so he wants to solidify support with his leftwing base. To that end he has just forced a bill through the state legislature adding even more picayune rules to New York State's already labyrinthine gun laws.
If the stock of your rifle is shaped like this, it's an assault weapon and illegal; if it's shaped like that, the difference being barely detectable to the human eye, and with of course no difference whatsoever to the speed or force of the bullets fired, it's OK and legal.
If your rifle has a bayonet lug, it's illegal: no bayonet lug — legal. New Yorkers are now safe from the possibility that some lunatic will go into an elementary school and start bayoneting their kids.
The text of the bill, as presented to the state senate and passed on Monday this week, contains 22,000 words, roughly the same as the Gospel of St. Matthew. The state senators were given fifteen minutes to read it, so we sure do have some fast readers in our legislature.
It's all kabuki, all theater. New York State's 20 million people committed 774 murders in the year 2011: rifles were used in five of those murders. Bare fists killed 28. I don't have the number for bayonets.
But hey: Andrew Cuomo is the first state governor to tighten up gun laws following the Newtown murders. That's the important thing. You'll be hearing a lot about it in the Democratic presidential primaries three years from now.
Barack Obama is pulling the same empty stunt at the national level, though since he can't run for President again his motives are not clear to me — just sheer wanton vanity, most likely. Either that, or he's plotting to repeal the 22nd Amendment. Nothing would surprise me.
Anyway, here was the President on Wednesday surrounding himself with winsome kiddies from a carefully-selected menu of ethnicities as he signed a raft of executive orders making the federal government marginally more of a nuisance to legitimate gun owners than it already is.
To legitimate gun owners, please note. Criminals won't be obeying these laws because, you know, criminals are people who don't obey laws. Since practically all gun crime is committed by criminals, this is not irrelevant.
What we have here is more anarcho-tyranny: The state and federal governments tyrannizing over citizens of a law-abiding disposition while leaving felons free to mature their felonious little plans. Freer than before, in fact, since from a fixed body of law-enforcement resources, a greater proportion will now be diverted to harassing non-criminals.
But as I have explained to you before, liberals like criminals, whom they see as vibrant, exciting, and victims of malign circumstances. They hate bourgeois citizens, with their unimaginative whitebread lifestyles, their repressed sexuality, their absurd devotion to rules and laws, their reactionary attachment to yellowing 18th-century documents, and their mean-spirited desire to hold on to their own property instead of handing it over to the government for redistribution to the poor and downtrodden.
04 — Rubio slithers forward. The Radio Derb Snake in the Grass award for this last week goes to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Rubio laid out his ideas on new laws about immigration.
Does the U.S.A. need reform of its immigration laws? You bet it does.
I could go on for a while, but that would do for starters.
The problem with all that of course is that it would benefit Americans. Rubio isn't the least bit interested in helping Americans; he wants to help foreigners, most especially foreigners who speak Spanish.
So here he is in the open-borders Wall Street Journal with his proposals for, yes, "comprehensive immigration reform."
Rubio leaves no immigration cliché unvoiced, no immigration lie unrepeated.
Quote: "the U.S. doesn't produce enough science, math and engineering graduates." End quote.
That's a lie. Salaries in those fields have been falling for years. I know, I used to work in them. If there were a shortage, salaries would be rising. Let's stop all skilled immigration and see which fields' salaries then begin rising fast. That would indicate a shortage; though even then, seeing those rising salaries, young Americans would flock to be educated in those fields.
The case for any skilled immigration at all is highly dubious.
Quote: "From Georgia to Washington state in recent seasons, unpicked fruits and vegetables have rotted in the fields." End quote.
Let them rot. If farmers can't carry on their business without enabling massive lawbreaking, then their farming is essentially a criminal enterprise. The federal government should not be encouraging criminal enterprises.
Quote, on the mechanism Rubio proposes for amnesty of illegal infiltrators: "They would have to come forward. They would have to undergo a background check." End quote.
Does Senator Rubio have a single freaking clue how overwhelmed the immigration service currently is? He wants to add to that some new, thorough background checks for 20 million illegals? Who, by definition, don't have documents that can be checked — unless you count the forged ones that can be purchased for a few dollars on street corners in any big city?
To answer my own question: Yes, Rubio probably does have a freaking clue. He's just lying. He's a liar and a fake, a fake on the make.
Quote: "The waiting time for a green card would have to be long enough to ensure that it's not easier to do it this way than it would be the legal way." End quote.
OK, Senator. My waiting time for a Green Card was twelve years, 1985 to 1997; and mine was by no means an extraordinary case. So it will definitely be more than twelve years, right? Yeah, sure.
Quote: "In an ideal world we wouldn't have eight, 10 million people who are undocumented. We have to address this reality." End quote.
Another lie. Nobody thinks it's as few as "eight, 10 million people." Serious estmates start at twelve million and go up well above twenty million.
But OK, Senator, let's address it. Let's firm up E-verify so that illegals can't get work and go back to their own countries. And let's deport any who come to the attention of the authorities: Barack Obama's drink-driving Uncle and welfare-queen Aunt, for starters.
Quote: "Most conservatives understand that immigrants are entrepreneurial and assimilate easily" End quote.
If they assimilate easily, why are all the signs in my local Home Depot written in Spanish as well as English?
As for "immigrants are entrepreneurial" — don't these damn fool politicians ever think to check the facts before opening their stupid mouths? I'm making a podcast for an audience of a few thousand, and I wouldn't think of making a factual statement here without checking the numbers. The internet makes it easy enough, after all. This nincompoop is proposing to make national policy, and he talks in vapid data-free clichés.
It took me less than ninety seconds to locate data on immigrant entrepreneurship. Executive summary: Overall, immigrants are a tad less entrepreneurial than natives, measured by percentage self-employed: 11.5 percent for immigrants versus 11.7 percent for natives. Some immigrant groups are more entrepreneurial than others: Koreans lead at 26.2 percent self-employed. Brits are a healthy 16.9 percent.
Mexicans, let's see … oh, here they are, a ways down the table: 8.9 percent, well below the average. Hispanic immigrants overall are 9.3 percent self-employed: Compare native non-Hispanic whites, 13.2 percent.
Again, I could continue indefinitely sifting through the pile of garbage Senator Rubio extruded onto the pages of the filthy lying nation-wrecking Wall Street Journal. I really don't have the heart for it, though. I'd rather talk about some national politician who cares more about the interests of American people than he cares about the interests of foreigners. Some politician like, for example, … [crickets.]
05 — Head Start never ends. Here's how you run a government social program.
You identify a social problem. You consult with credentialed experts to figure out a possible solution to the problem. You present your solution to legislators, who appropriate necessary funds, conditional on periodic studies to make sure that the program is indeed solving the problem.
Now what if, after a number of years and several of those periodic studies, it turns out that your solution didn't actually solve the problem? Well, then, the legislators will stop funding the program and it will come to an end. Right? [Laughter.]
Yes, we're talking about Head Start. Now, there are some news topics I feel guilty about reporting. Not because reporting on them might hurt someone's feelings. I'd have to be a cringing PC ninny to care about that, and I'm not. No, I feel guilty about certain topics because they are just too easy to mock. It's fishing with dynamite — just seems unsporting.
So it is with Head Start. Permit me to quote myself, please. This is from Chapter 6 of that tremendous international bestseller We Are Doomed, quote:
That landmark Great Society educational program, launched in 1965, is still going strong. The name of the program is still a sort of magic spell among liberals. Their faces light up with virtuous certitude as they utter it — Head Start! — and the effect of the spell, they seem to imagine, is to silence their opponent. You can't POSSIBLY be against Head Start!
Head Start comes under HHS, that's the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS did one of those periodic studies to check on the efficacy of the program. The study was carried out in the middle of the last decade, so Head Start had already been running for forty years, during which time there had of course been other studies.
Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom reported on all that in their 2003 book No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning.
So here's this latest study, and it's a big one. HHS tracked 5,000 children who either did or didn't participate in Head Start. It followed their progress from ages three or four through the end of third grade.
What did it find? Same thing all the previous studies found: That whatever immediate benefits the preschoolers got from Head Start had disappeared by First Grade. The Head Starters and the non-Head Starters were indistinguishable in achievement or attitude.
Bottom line here: Since Head Start began in 1965, U.S. federal taxpayers have spent nearly 200 billion dollars on a program that does nothing at all … except, of course, for the bank accounts of the program administrators.
The rational course, as I started off by saying, would be to dump the program. Congress of course, in response to this latest study proving the utter uselessness of Head Start, has just done the opposite thing: They have increased funding by $100 million dollars a year, slipped into the Hurricane Sandy relief package.
Head Start will cost 8½ billion dollars this year, around forty dollars per taxpayer. Forty dollars out of your pocket, pal, for a program that has never, in 48 years of operation, been proved to do a darn thing.
And Barack Obama thinks we're under-taxed. Perhaps someone at the next press conference will ask him about Head Start? [Laughter.]
06 — Erin go multicultural. The Irish have been known for a long time — several centuries, which is certainly a long time — as a passionately nationalistic people. Their struggle for national independence is one of the great epics of European history, much embroidered by songs, stories, poetry, and drama from the great Irish reservoir of literary talent.
Well, you can forget about all that. Today's Ireland couldn't be less nationalistic or more multicultural. It may be, for all I know, that the British are still not welcome in Ireland, but everybody else is. Nine percent of the population, one in eleven, is now foreign-born.
And the ranks of the foreign-born are swelling fast. Ireland is in dire economic straits. The country has a quarter trillion dollars in debt. That doesn't seem like a lot compared with our 16½ trillion, but this is a small country we're talking about — 4½ million people.
Ireland's debt to GDP ratio is set to hit 122 percent this year, which is above the 120 percent threshold the IMF considers unsustainable, and way above the U.S.A.'s 105 percent.
These poor conditions have brought about a traditional Irish result: large-scale e-migration, especially of the young, talented, and resourceful. Last year 87,000 people left the Emerald Isle. Yet strangely, im-migration is holding steady, with foreigners pouring in. Why? Because the welfare benefits are great!
Quote from the libertarian website thecommentator.com, quote:
In north Dublin … over half the applications for social housing are from immigrants, with over 43 percent of the total being lone parents. While waiting to be housed, all social housing applicants receive rent allowance, with the result that over half of all residential rents in the country are now paid for by the state, or more accurately by the few remaining tax payers.
The Irish seem bent on proving Milton Friedman's theorem: You can't have open immigration and a welfare state.
The problem with the Irish is that their much-advertised nationalism was mostly of a negative sort. The real burning heart of it was not pride in themselves as a people: It was resentment of the British. It was a yearning — an entirely reasonable and understandable one — not so much to be independent as just to to escape from domination.
See, the desire to escape from the domination of outside force X is perfectly compatible with a willingness to submit to domination by different outside force Y.
The nationalist impulse of the Irish realized itself as a flight from the hated British. When you flee from something, though, you are willy nilly fleeing to something else. The determination to escape from British control was so powerful, the Irish never paused to ask the question: What are we fleeing to?
Now we know the answer to that question: The Irish were fleeing to control by the bureaucrats of the European Union. From the point of view of national psychology, this is not very surprising. Paradoxically, in view of their intense ethnocentric pride in themselves, the Irish have always had a parallel longing to belong to something big and international.
Hence their long devotion to the Roman Catholic church, and more recently to the United Nations. Again, that's understandable, given Ireland's history; but it's just not compatible with being a proud, independent nation.
Pulled by those national traits, with assists from lousy government, poor choices, and a national fondness for con-men and gangsters, Ireland has escaped from one kind of bondage into another.
That's tragic, yes. The episode of her history that Ireland has now entered is a tragic one. But then, so were all the previous episodes. A most distressful country, indeed.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: If you've been suspecting that the Humanities departments of our public universities are dominated by Hate Studies, you are right.
By "Hate Studies" I mean those fake academic disciplines that present the human sciences in Cultural Marxist terms, which is to say, organized around the notion that some group of good people is being oppressed by some group of bad people. Hate Studies is more commonly known as RCG Studies, those initials standing for "Race, Class, and Gender."
Well, as I said, if you thought that Hate Studies dominate college Humanities curriculums, you are right, at least in Texas. The National Association of Scholars has just brought out a report on history teaching in that state's two most prestigious public universities, UT at Austin and Texas A&M. In Texas, be it noted, all students at public universities have to take a year of American history.
The National Association of Scholars studied assigned readings on these compulsory history classes. Course sections with half or more of their content having an RCG focus were classified as RCG high.
At UT Austin, 78 percent of faculty members ran courses with RCG content that high. At Texas A&M, 50 percent did.
Along with that, traditional materials were drastically under-assigned for reading. Tocqueville's Democracy in America and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address were rarely assigned.
At the next level down, the Mayflower Compact and Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address were not assigned in any American history courses.
Kiss your country goodbye, Americans. You should be ashamed of it, anyway. It's nothing but a machinery of race, class, and gender repression. [Clip: "Lesbian seagull."]
Item: Something or other happened in Mali, wherever the hell that is. No, I don't care either.
Item: Egypt got itself a new president last year, name of Morsi, Mohammed Morsi.
That's Egypt's new president, after that wonderful Arab Spring we enouraged and promoted because the previous guy, Hosni Mubarak, was a real bad hat, not the least bit democratic, nor at all interested in moving from the "cold peace" with Israel to something a bit more mature and neighborly.
So our efforts — not to mention the 1.5 billion dollars in aid we send to Egypt each year, brought in this great new guy, Morsi. So far, so good.
Ah, but before he was president, Morsi was a leading light of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Jew-hating club. A few days ago a video surfaced from 2010 showing Morsi urging Egyptians to, quote, "nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred," end quote.
Hatred of whom, you might ask? … but you really don't need to.
Then another interview surfaced from a few months later describing Zionists — you know who Zionists are: could be Jews, could be Cambodians, Albanians, who knows? — describing Zionists as, quote, "the descendants of apes and pigs."
That didn't please our own President, nor a raft of Congresscritters who signed a joint complaint. Now Morsi's blaming the fuss on media distortions — you know, the Western media controlled by apes and pigs.
These are the fruits of the wonderful Arab Spring our neocons were all so thrilled about. So that worked out well, then.
Item: Spare a moment's thought, please, for 32-year-old Ulanda Williams, a social worker from Queens borough in New York City. Ms Williams was waiting for a bus last Friday when the sidewalk gave way beneath her. She fell six feet into the cellar of a business establishment, breaking her arm.
That a New York City sidewalk should have proved so fragile is a bit easier to understand when you learn that Ms Williams weighs 400 pounds. The Fire Department had to use a crane to get her out of the hole.
While avoirdupois was the lady's downfall, though, quite literally, it was also a blessing. Staff who treated her at a nearby hospital said that a person less well-upholstered than Ms Williams might have been killed in the fall. So there is good news here as well as bad news.
And for Ms Williams, of course, the news from here on out is nothing but good. [Ker-ching!]
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Did I give enough offense there? I sure hope so, otherwise Taki will dock my wages.
Any offense to Head Start administrators, Marco Rubio fans, Muslims, Malians, Texas history professors, Lesbian seagulls and the morbidly obese was entirely intentional.
Any offense given to the Irish was not. For one thing, I harbor no ill will towards Irish people, honestly; for another, I don't want to have to get one of those mirrors on a long handle for checking under my car.
Actually, I wish Puerto Ricans would struggle as bravely for their independence as the Irish did. I'd be only too happy to give it to them … but perhaps I'd better bail out of the topic here.
Anyway, if any Irish person anywhere took offense, here is a feeble attempt to atone.
Ireland's history has been tragic all right, but nobody's miserable all the time, not even an Irishman … "person of Irishness," whatever we're supposed to say nowadays. The Irish, let me tell you, know how to have fun — or as they say, craic. Really, that's what they say.
To drive the point home, and also in honor of Nikki Nicolaides, proprietor of our island's goatberger joint, here are Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers singing a pretty and fun little song titled "An Poc ar Buile," which means "the mad goat."
I'm not sure what's going on with the goat in the song, but I hope it's nothing like the rumors we hear about Nikki.
Beidh níos mó nuacht sé ón Derb Raidió tseachtain seo chugainn!
[Music clip: Clancy Brothers, "An Poc ar Buile."]