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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your complacently genial host John Derbyshire on a rather damp and unseasonably cool weekend.
Damp the air may be, but nothing can dampen the spirits of us National Conservatives, this week of Trump's triumph. Our man is now the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, ready to take the field in November against a widely disliked and distrusted candidate from the other party. We now have reasonable hopes of genuine, patriotic immigration reform, fiscal discipline, non-crazy Supreme Court nominees, and an end to the Cold War disposition of our forces around the world, under a President who will place the interests of Americans first and leave foreigners to shift for themselves. Hallelujah!
We now move on to strategizing for the party-political battle to come. Let's gird up our loins.
02 — Nothing personal, Ted, just business. First off, I have to eat crow. Not a lot of crow, just a little — a wing, perhaps, or one of the internal organs.
A month ago here on Radio Derb, after Trump took a beating in the Wisconsin primary, I grumbled about Midwesterners being too nice — too nice to appreciate Trump's forthright manner towards his opponents. Quote from me, April 8th:
Donald Trump, in his public persona, comes across as not nice. He's loud, he's flamboyant, he's rude, sometimes coarse. He couldn't be less Midwestern. I'm surprised he got as many votes as he did in Wisconsin.
Well, Indiana's in the Midwest. At any rate, it's listed under "Lakes and Prairies," along with Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in my 1961 edition of Our Fifty States by Earl Schenck Miers. This week Indiana Republicans put aside their meek niceness for a day and sent The Donald over the top with 53 percent of the vote to Ted Cruz's 37 percent.
Many thanks, Hoosiers. You can go back to being nice now, and I promise not to carp about it any more.
Trump himself was nice in victory, praising Cruz as, quote, "one hell of a competitor," with a side compliment to, quote, "Heidi and their whole beautiful family."
That was just a few hours after Cruz had referred to Trump as, quote, "utterly amoral, a pathological liar, a serial philanderer and a narcissist at a level the country has never seen," end quote. That, in turn, had been Cruz's response to Trump's telling the hosts of a TV morning show that, quote, "His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being, you know, shot!"
Trump had picked that up from a story run in The National Enquirer April 20th under the headline Ted Cruz's Father — Caught With JFK Assassin. The Enquirer story included a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald distributing pro-Castro literature in New Orleans a few months before Oswald shot President Kennedy. There's another guy in the picture, claimed by the Enquirer to be Cruz Sr., but never dispositively identified.
Scanning the National Enquirer website, I see headlines like:
PRINCE'S LOVE CHILD — EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
So yes, this was wacky stuff. That's the Trump style, though: Throw anything that comes to hand, without looking too closely at it. It's a brick — throw it! It's a Meissen vase — throw it! It's the cat's litter tray — throw it!
It's not as if our politics is a wackiness-free zone. Our current President believes all kinds of wacky things. He believes, for example, that the over-representation of blacks in our prisons is caused by race prejudice on the part of cops and judges, when statistics gathered by his own Justice Department make it indisputably plain it's just higher black criminality.
And Trump's generous remarks in his victory speech translate as: "It was nothing personal, Ted, just business." It's the Trump style, a New York style. Trump supporters, including those out in Indiana, understand that.
Trump's Indiana campaign surely got a big assist from hostile anti-Trump demonstrations in the last few days. In Fort Wayne, Indiana on Sunday, pre-teen Mexican children waved Mexican flags, yelled obscenities in Spanish, and made obscene hand gestures outside a Trump rally. The previous Thursday, April 28th, there had been far more violent demonstrations in Costa Mesa, California, where Trump was speaking. Rocks were thrown, police cars were damaged, and 17 people were arrested. Again, a lot of Mexican flags were in evidence. That was ten thousand votes for Trump right there, I should think.
The most sensational numbers out of Tuesday's primary were for turnout. GOP turnout was up 73 percent on 2012. Turnout of Democrats was down 51 percent on their last contest, in 2008. Trump got 43 percent more votes than Romney did in 2012; Hillary got 54 percent less than she got in '08.
There was a strong candidate here propelled by real voter enthusiasm, and a weak candidate struggling to get supporters to the polls. The omens for November are good.
03 — The badwhite ticket. Ted Cruz and John Kasich folded following Tuesday's Indiana victory, leaving Trump free to concentrate on (a) repairing fences with GOP party bosses, (b) mulling choices for Vice Presidential and cabinet positions, and (c) raising funds for the national campaign that's now essentially begun.
Just a note on that last one. Isn't Trump rich enough to fund his own campaign? Surely he doesn't need to go around shmoozing donors, does he?
Well, yes, he does. He's worth billions on paper but in liquid funds only a couple hundred million, which is nothing like enough for a Presidential campaign. Sure, he could sell a hotel or two; but as Charles Gasparino noted in an op-ed on Friday, quote: "Selling real estate when the buyers know you need cash quickly is a fool's game," end quote. Trump's not a fool. Get shmoozing, Don.
Money's boring, though. It's people that are interesting; in this case, the people Trump is considering for his administration, starting with a V.P. pick.
Pundits are of course free with advice. Popular suggestions, listed alphabetically: Scott Brown, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Sarah Palin, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, Jeff Sessions, … The usual calculations are being worked through: This guy will bring me a state I need, that one will appeal to women, and so on.
My first suggestion in this zone, back in July last year, was for a Trump-Coulter ticket. All right, that wasn't totally serious. I would certainly vote for Trump-Coulter, but in the context of those calculations about strengthening the ticket, it doesn't have much to be said for it. Trump-Coulter is basically Trump-Trump. A ticket needs some seasoning.
Then in March this year, here on VDARE.com, I did make a serious suggestion: Jim Webb for V.P. Sure, he's a Democrat. In fact he made a try for the Democratic nomination early last year. As I noted at the time, though, it's hard to figure what Webb is doing in the modern Democratic Party. He's a patriot, a decorated veteran, a Second Amendment enthusiast, and he has openly mocked feminism and the diversity rackets.
As Cultural Marxist website Salon.com sneered when Webb dropped out of the Democratic primary contest last October, quote:
With his skepticism of "government-directed diversity programs," his soft spot for the Confederate battle flag, and his previous opposition to comprehensive immigration reform, Jim Webb has always felt like something of an anachronism.
Webb has already told us, on TV, that he will not vote for Mrs Clinton.
In any case, for Trump to have a Democrat on his ticket could be a feature, not a bug. There must be a lot of habitual Democrat voters who dislike their party, and its presumptive nominee, just as much as Webb seems to. Calculation-wise, he was a Senator from Virginia until he retired in 2012. That's 13 Electoral College votes right there.
Webb's big negative, from a National Conservative point of view, is his squishiness on immigration. It's a mixed record, though. As Salon.com noted with stern disapproval, he voted against the Schumer-Kennedy-Rubio-McCain open borders bill in 2007. On the other hand, the last rating he got from NumbersUSA was a D+. On the other other hand, that was a tie with Rand Paul, and actually better than Marco Rubio and John Kasich, who both got plain Ds. By the standards of congressional Democrats, a D+ is, as Mrs Clinton would say, off the reservation.
I can't claim originality in suggesting Webb for V.P. A commentator at Conservative Treehouse had the idea back in October. Webb in fact owns the interesting distinction of having been suggested as a Vice Presidential pick for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
If you want to read an eloquent argument for Trump picking Webb, I refer you to Matt Lewis's column at the Daily Caller on Thursday this week. Sample quote:
Trump has said he wants a political insider as a running mate, and Webb offers him the chance to find somebody who is simultaneously an insider and an outsider. He was a U.S. senator, a highly decorated combat Marine in Vietnam, and later Secretary of the Navy. He provides experience and gravitas without muddying the brand.
Having Webb on the ticket also helps solidify the new political alignment that Trump represents. It's been said so often now, it's a cliché, but like most clichés, it's true: Republican voters are turning out not to be very conservative, not in the sense of the word "conservative" as it's been used by the Wall Street Journal or Weekly Standard. They're not, as we say, movement conservatives. The average Trump voter never heard of Russell Kirk or Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.
What they are is more like traditionalist. They like their Social Security and Medicare. They're more nationalist than globalist. They're suspicious of ideologues, economists, and bankers. They don't want a demographic revolution, or any kind of revolution. They want to say "Merry Christmas."
Donald Trump's on that wavelength, and so is Jim Webb. A Trump-Webb ticket would, in short, be a rallying point for our side in the Cold Civil War between goodwhites and badwhites — a solid badwhite ticket. What's not to like?
04 — Hillary to losers: Die, already. Over now to the fortunes of Mrs Clinton. Before I get going with that, though, here's a spot quiz.
The following ten states are ranked in order, as I read them, from first to tenth, on one particular statistic. See if you can figure what that statistic is. Here we go, top of the list to bottom, first to tenth:
OK, what's the ranking metric there? [Metronome.] Give up? Those are the top ten states by suicide rate. Now you know that, here's the list again: Alaska, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, West Virginia, Arizona, Oregon, Kentucky.
Oregon's an outlier, but otherwise you have a "suicide corridor" going north-south down the mountain and desert West — Alaska an honorary member — and a couple of hillbilly states.
What does that tell us? First off I have to say, you shouldn't read too much into my list. As a sociological phenomenon, suicide is a fascinating study, with many many variables in play. A big variable, for example, is just the availability of guns. Men tend to shoot themselves. Women go much more for poison, or impulsive stunts in the Anna Karenina style. Age and race are factors, too: Blacks are less suicidal than whites, young people less than old people.
Genetics is also surely in play, as our personalities are shaped by our genomes. History offers many illustrations. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein had four brothers: three of them committed suicide. The novelist Thomas Mann had two sisters: They both committed suicide. So did two of Mann's children.
That list is none the less highly suggestive. What does it have to do with Mrs Clinton, though? Well, I'm going to float a theory about Mrs Clinton's strategy. You may find it bizarre; but I urge you to consider it in a spirit of dispassionate objectivity. OK? Here we go.
This theory came into my mind while reading the April 30th issue of The Economist. On page 29 there's a sidebar about suicide, mostly with reference to the U.S.A. According to the Centers for Disease Control, which monitors these things, our country has been seeing a steady increase in the suicide rate since the turn of the century.
Quotes from The Economist, quotes:
The data are [should be "data IS" … grrrr] alarming: America is in the grip of a sustained raise in the suicide rate across all age groups and for both sexes. [Well, thanks at least for not saying "genders."] From 1999 to 2014, the suicide rate rose by 24 percent. The numbers are adjusted to take account of ageing …
OK, now go back to my list of the most suicidal states. Hillbillies and the mountain West, right? Let's take the mountain West first. Another finding from the Centers for Disease Control, quote from MedPageToday.com, a clinical website, October 2015, quote:
Young American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) have much higher rates of suicide than those of other racial and ethnic groups, according to findings of a new federal report.
That's what you have in the mountain West and Alaska: lots of AIANs.
What about those hillbillies in West Virginia and Kentucky? Well, let's do a word-associaion test on "Appalachia." What comes up? Coal mining!
So my suicide list features states with lots of AIANs and states with coal miners. And, all right, Oregon. It rains all the time in Oregon.
Hold that in your mind: AIANs and coal miners. Now: Which two groups has Hillary Clinton seriously ticked off recently?
Well, March 13th in Ohio Mrs Clinton told a townhall meeting that, actual quote:
We're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.
She didn't actually say "going to" and "out of." It was a working-class audience, so Hillary put on her populist voice and said "gotta" and "outta."
This of course was in aid of President Obama's energy plan, which is deeply hostile to coal mining. You can imagine how it went over with coal miners.
What about the AIANs? Well, in a CNN interview last Saturday, Mrs Clinton said the following thing, quote: "I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave," end quote. That was in reference to Donald Trump's forthright style.
Saying "off the reservation" is apparently a microaggression of the serious kind, perhaps actually a milli-aggression. Lefty activists claiming to speak for AIANs emerged from their tepees in full war paint to chide Mrs Clinton.
So here's my theory. Mrs Clinton is dog-whistling to these groups with high suicide rates. She's saying: "Don't bother voting for me, just die already." She's a subtler, more politically-honed version of Kevin Williamson.
The facts speak for themselves, ladies and gentlemen.
05 — The Bernie segment. I haven't had a whole lot to say about Bernie Sanders, and have never given over a segment of Radio Derb to him, so it's time to redress the balance.
First, on immigration, NumbersUSA gives Bernie a C-minus grade on his voting record in Congress. That sounds bad; but for the Democratic Party, whose nomination Bernie is seeking, I've already explained that anything better than a D is way out in right field. C-minus actually puts Sanders ahead of Jim Webb, who I've just gotten through endorsing for Vice President.
Like Jim Webb, Sanders opposed the 2007 Schumer-Kennedy-Rubio-McCain open borders bill. Like Webb and other old-line Democrats, he was at that time channeling early 20th-century labor leaders like Samuel Gompers, who saw mass immigration as a threat to American workers, which of course it is.
[Added later: Sorry, I got my immigration bills mixed up. Sanders did indeed vote against the 2007 open-borders bill, but that bill was the property of Senators Edward Kennedy and John McCain. He voted for the "Gang of Eight" Schumer-Graham-Rubio-McCain open-borders bill in 2013 … by which time Kennedy had been dead for four years. Sorry about that.]
Then, as Cultural Marxism tightened its grip on the American left, Sanders, like Webb, sipped from the poisoned chalice and turned against his countrymen.
My impression is that Bernie's sipping was less reluctant than Webb's. Whether it was or not, the turnaround on immigration puts something of a dent in the propaganda about Bernie being a man of iron principle.
In fairness, though, I should say while running comparisons with Webb that while Bernie avoided the draft as a conscientious objector and was an antiwar pacifist in the Vietnam era, I can't find any evidence of his being broadly anti-military in the style of the modern left, as exemplified by whichever Clinton White House staffer told General McCaffrey that, quote, "I don't talk to the military." Sanders sat on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee for a while, and by all accounts worked hard on veterans' behalf.
Again you see there the divide between Old Left and New Left. The Old Left approach to the soldiery was one of pity for dimwitted innocents who had been duped into uniform by capitalist lies, or driven into it by poverty. Bob Dylan expressed that view in songs like "Masters of War" and "God on Our Side."
And here you do get a definitive parting of the ways with Jim Webb, who sees his own military service — which was very distinguished — in traditionalist terms of patriotism, honor, and duty. That's my V.P. candidate!
All that said, I can't let Bernie off the hook. His attitude to the totalitarian despotisms of the mid-20th century was, to make the best of it — and a lot of people are trying hard to make the best of it — equivocal.
Plenty of people on the political left have spoken out against the cruelty and obscurantism of communism — George Orwell for example. Bernie, to my knowledge, never has, certainly not while communism was a major force in the world.
May 16th, a week on Monday, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the start of Mao Tse-tung's Great Cultural Revolution, which was just one episode among dozens in the blood-soaked history of communism in power. Communists still rule China today, and their victims include persons known personally to me.
Sanders, on the very kindest interpretation, was a willing accessory to all that, and an actual promoter of it in Cuba and Nicaragua. When I see his cranky face on TV, I don't see a picturesque but wrong-headed old codger, I see an accomplice to mass murder.
06 — Forty acres and a mule … in Siberia. If you're looking for an investment opportunity, here's something for your consideration.
Vladimir Putin has just signed a new law offering a hectare of land — that's two and a half acres — to any Russian that wants it.
That's the good news. The bad news is, the land is in Siberia.
After you have used the land lawfully for five years you get full title. You can rent it out or sell it.
So far the offer is only open to Russian citizens. Foreigners may be able to buy into it, though. Or, if you're single, you could marry into it: Russia has a lot of beautiful women. And no, it's not true that every Russian woman wakes up on her 35th birthday transformed into a replica of Nina Khrushchov.
If the global warming alarmists are right, this could be a really good investment. Fifty years from now, Siberia might be Kansas. All right, it's a gamble. You don't want to gamble, go buy a bunch of T-bonds.
In fact, global warming aside, Siberia has its charms. Persons of status in the old U.S.S.R. would sometimes take hunting vacations out in eastern Siberia. One such person described it to me as an unspoiled paradise of wildlife and sensational landscapes. Varlam Shalamov, who did time in a Stalin-era slave-labor camp in northeast Siberia, in his stories broke off now and then from describing the horrors of camp life to include some similarly lyrical descriptions of the Siberian scenery.
Question for listeners who watch Russian TV: Do they have shows like our own Alaskan Bush People, but about Siberia? Just curious.
Meanwhile in the Baltic, the Russian air force has been having some fun harassing our planes doing routine reconnaissance flights in international airspace near Russia's borders.
Why are the Russians doing this? Short answer: Same reason the proverbial dog licks its penis — because it can. Tugging on Superman's cape is fun, when you can be sure Superman isn't going to smack you on the jaw with his superfist. Which in this case you can: the U.S.A. isn't going to risk an international incident over some hotdogging Russian pilot.
Also, this is a cheap way for Putin to show up the emptiness of NATO. According to the NATO charter, if Putin were to roll his tanks into, say, Latvia, we'd all have to go to war against him. If we actually tried to do that in such an event, NATO would collapse in a cloud of dust, as Pat Buchanan pointed out in a column recently.
Possibly there's also an element of guns-and-butter distraction here. If your people are short of butter, put on a minor display of military bluster to take their minds off it. Butter is definitely a problem: the World Bank reports that Russia's Gross Domestic Product shrank nearly four percent last year, and will dwindle another two percent this year. One in seven Russians live under the poverty line, and the number's growing.
My advice to our policy-makers is the same as Pat's: Dump NATO, which is just a needless annoyance to Russia. The Baltic is not the Crimea. Russia has neither the physical resources nor the strategic necessity to re-occupy the Baltic states, and doesn't need the sanctions that would surely follow. Those nations are, though, in Russia's sphere of influence, and Russians are justifiably vexed that they don't keep themselves respectably neutral, as Finland did all through the Cold War (and still does).
World War Two ended 71 years ago. The Cold War ended twenty-five years ago, quite likely before that hotdogging Russian pilot was born. Can we please talk about updating the configuration of U.S. overseas troop deployments, to bear some relation to the geopolitics of 2016?
07 — African American Community lives matter. Oh, here's another microaggression. At the White House correspondents' dinner last weekend, goodwhite comedian Seth Meyers jeered at Donald Trump for saying he has a great relationship with the blacks. Said Meyers, quote: "Unless the Blacks are a family of white people, I bet he's mistaken."
I goofed there. It was the 2011 White House correspondents' dinner, not last weekend's. Sorry. The following remarks still work.
So apparently it's now microaggressive to refer to the blacks as "the blacks." Don't you get tired of having to overhaul your vocabulary every time CultMarx Central issues a directive?
I wish I could tell you that Trump has given the New York finger to these nuisances, but I'm sorry to report that in his most recent remarks he's switched to saying "African Americans." Let's be thankful for small mercies, though: At least I have not so far spotted him saying "the African American community," as if they all live in one town.
And if it's so flagitious to refer to blacks as blacks, why is there a Black Lives Matter movement? And that is not, of course, even to mention Historically Black Colleges, the National Association of Black Everythings, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. All the cognitive energy we waste trying to keep track of this stuff must surely be contributing to Global Warming.
I guess my Negro Fatigue is showing. Why do we have to keep fussing about these picayune trivialities? Can't we all just get along?
Rather than enlarging further on that, though, I'm going to refer you to Fred Reed's May 5th column, "The Case for Separation." You think I'm showing Negro Fatigue? Fred's had a chronic case for years.
On the Black Lives Matter front, the Washington Times ran a story May 2nd, headline: Police more reluctant to shoot blacks than whites, study finds. The story is about a research study carried out in 2012 and 2013 by Washington State University. Quote from the Times, quote:
An examination of shooting errors found that the officers were "slightly more than three times less likely to shoot unarmed Black suspects than unarmed White suspects," the article said … What's more, officers took "significantly longer" — 200 milliseconds on average — in deadly force scenarios to shoot armed black suspects than armed white suspects, controlling for variables such as "demeanor, language, dress, distance from participant, movement, location, sound and light levels."
That's interesting, but in apparent contradiction to a different study, this one a joint effort by the University of Louisville and the University of South Carolina, reported in the April 7th Washington Post. That other one was the Times, this one was the Post. Pay attention, please!
Post headline: Study finds police fatally shoot unarmed black men at disproportionate rates. Sample quote:
In the study, researchers wrote that their analysis of the 990 fatal shootings in 2015 "suggests the police exhibit shooter bias by falsely perceiving blacks to be a greater threat than non-blacks to their safety."
That word "falsely" strikes me as sly, but let it pass.
Note please that the Times study — the one that found police more reluctant to shoot blacks than whites, while it used real police officers with real handguns, was carried out experimentally, under controlled conditions, with those handguns firing laser beams at volunteer test subjects. The Post study, on the other hand, was based on actual police shootings, analyzed after the event.
Radio Derb's basic function here is like that of the Gods of the Copybook Headings, limping up to explain it once more. Blacks and whites are different races, whose ancestors for thousands of generations took different paths through evolutionary space. Of course they exhibit different statistical profiles on all kinds of behavioral, cognitive, and personality traits, leading to different statistical outcomes in all kinds of social situations, including cop-perp confrontations.
There's plenty of overlap between the statistical profiles of whites and blacks. Statistical differences are no excuse for cruelty or rudeness. They do, though, make it essential for honest citizens to scoff at the frauds and snake-oil merchants who pretend that they can, by some social engineering scheme or other, eliminate statistical differences that can't, in the nature of things, be eliminated, and change things that can't be changed.
They also make it perfectly right and proper to push back — or better yet just ignore — those who try to make us feel guilty about facts in the world that are the fault of nobody but Mother Nature.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Following right on from that last segment, here's a bunch of black misfits guilt-tripping whitey and threatening us with violence at, of all places, West Point Military Academy.
A photograph buzzing around the internet this week shows sixteen black and mulatto female West Point cadets, in uniform, posing with their fists raised in an apparent tribute to the Black Lives Matter Soros-funded anarchist group.
Where there should be comradeship and institutional loyalty these troublemakers have introduced rancor, division, and victimological whining. That's not to mention being in clear violation of Department of Defense directives and every traditional conception of military dignity and honor.
In a country that had not lost its collective mind on the subject of race fifty years ago, these malefactors would be shamed before their comrades, then sent to the brig for five years each, then dishonorably discharged. In the country we actually live in, where blacks are the pampered pets of a fawning elite class, they will probably be decorated for valor.
In the text accompanying the photograph, poster John Burk, who has some inside information from the Academy, writes the following, quote:
The ladies before you are class seniors and have been making their voices heard more and more on an app called "Yik Yak" where users are kept anonymous, yet no one dares speak up in public against them due to them being accused of being racist and risk being expelled from the Academy for hurting someone's feelings.
To think that brave, patriotic Americans in combat might find themselves under the command of these self-obsessed harpies! Far as I'm concerned, Hell can't be hot enough for the cowards and time-servers in our senior military leadership who tolerate, and even encourage, this lunacy.
As for the harpies themselves, did I say five years in the brig? Make it ten.
Item: As if my blood pressure didn't go high enough reading that, here's the news that London has elected a Muslim Mayor. Although actually, where the rape and murder of the historic English nation by mass immigration is concerned, I long since passed through seething rage and came out the other side into numb resignation.
The new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is a Muslim supremacist who has been palling around with fanatics and terrorist supporters for years. That doesn't matter, though; his chief opponent, Zac Goldsmith, kept reminding people of his unsavory associations. That makes Goldsmith a racist [scream], which of course is far worse than setting off bombs in the subway.
Mayor Suicide-belt has made a great noise about how, as Mayor, he will review the city's police, fire, and security services because, quotes:
I need to be reassured as the mayor of London that we are all going to be safe" against "a Mumbai-style attack."
Memo to English people: If you hadn't been such damn bloody fools as to let Mayor Infidel-slayer and two million of his co-religionists settle in your country, there would be no need for all that security and no fear of attacks by foreign assassins. You have been fools, fools, fools, and you've given away your country to people who hate you.
Item: In last week's podcast I passed some brief remarks about artificial intelligence and machine learning. I should have said I have had some tenuous interest in this field since my college days fifty years ago, when I had friends who were enthusiastic about getting computers to understand natural language.
Well, I got several unusually interesting and well-informed emails in response to those brief remarks. They were in general agreement with what I said; and where they disagreed, it was in a conservative direction — arguing, that is, that although I was pessimistic about the rate of progress, I wasn't pessimistic enough.
Gary offers another wet blanket, or at any rate a damp one. He contrasts what he calls "the big data paradigm" — for example, translating a sentence by searching a billion texts for some similar sentence and then searching again for an existing translation of it — he contrasts that with what our brains do, which is nothing like that.
What our brains do is understand the real-world scenario the sentence describes, then describe that scenario in the other language.
We don't, as Gary says, have a handle on what it means for the brain to understand the world. We don't even understand consciousness at the metaphysical level. What the heck is it? Perhaps it's something the brain produces. Or perhaps the universe is a fizzing ocean of consciousness and the working brain just opens a window into it. Or perhaps something nobody's thought of. Or perhaps something nobody can think of, any more than a dog can think about calculus.
Well, this is kind of a hobby-horse of mine. If you're interested, I do urge you to listen to Gary's podcast.
On the political and economic front, at any rate, "the big data paradigm" can steal a whole lot of jobs yet, on the Good Enough Rule. As I like to remind people: The automobile easily won out over the horse, even though no automobile yet marketed can jump a fence. At getting you around, the automobile is Good Enough.
Item: Oops: Just as we go to tape here at Radio Derb, comes the news that Donald Trump has ruled out nominating a Democrat as his running mate. Talking to Fox & Friends today, Friday, the Donald said he will, quote, "pick a great Republican."
So, sell Jim Webb, buy Chris Christie.
09 — Signoff. There you have it, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and the usual apologies for being behind with email. I do my best, and everything non-abusive gets read with careful attention.
Oh, and if your Mom is still among us, go see her on Sunday and make a fuss of her, or at least give her a call.
I'm still quietly seething about those West Point brats. Don't they even have a clue how lucky they are? Obviously not.
Let me make it clear that I do not think that dishonoring the Military Academy and spitting on its code rises to the level of a capital offense. A spell in the brig will meet this case. The story has, though, put me in mind of military punishments in general. Here's a fine old song about that to play us out.
More from Radio Derb next week!
[Music clip: Reinald Werrenrath, "Danny Deever."]