[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire Marches.]
01 — Intro. Radio Derb here, ladies and gentlemen. This is your host John Derbyshire with a roundup of the news this sad week.
02 — NY Philharmonic in Pyongyang. The New York Philharmonic went off to play a concert in Pyongyang. Their program started with the national anthems of the U.S.A. and North Korea. Then they gave the Norks some Beethoven — the second piano concerto [clip] and the Fifth Symphony, of course. They-fin-ished-uuuup … sorry, I mean they finished up with a Korean folk song beloved on both sides of the border called "Arirang," whose lyrics I think translate as: "We're all Koreans together, one heart and one soul, and the 55 year division of our country has all been a terrible misunderstanding, probably the fault of meddling foreigners." The musical director of the Philharmonic, brushing a tear from his eyes, declared that, actual quote: "There's no sides — there's no North and South in 'Arirang.' It's a melody for everybody. All these artificially created barriers fade away." End of actual quote. Great! So I guess now that that silly artificial border zone has melted away, we can withdraw our 29,000 soldiers from South Korea. Right. Before the performance the Philharmonic was given a big grand banquet. To make sure there was plenty of food for the banquet, 300 extra North Koreans starved to death. That's on top of the several thousand who starve to death in an average year anyway. Before leaving the Democratic People's Republic, each of the musicians received special gifts from the hands of the Dear Leader himself: a box of finest-quality ginseng, a bound multi-volume set of the collected works of Kim Il Sung, and a scale model of the U.S.S. Pueblo in 22-karat plutonium. Long live international harmony and co-operation!
03 — Slow progress on border fence. From August 1942 to July 1945 — less than three years — the notion of a nuclear weapon went from pure theoretical physics to the detonation of an actual atom bomb. That was the famous Manhattan Project, back when this was the can-do nation that actually, well, could do things. Now here we are 63 years later trying to secure our southern border. The Manhattan project it ain't. Here I was last week reporting on our government's efforts:
Quote from an AP report on Friday: "Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff will today to announce approval of a 28-mile section of virtual fence along Arizona's border with Mexico. The fence, built by the Boeing Co. and using technology the Bush administration plans to extend to other areas of the Arizona border, could get under way as early as this summer, officials said." End quote. As early as this summer! 28 miles — that's for a border 2,000 miles long! And a "virtual fence" — nothing as vulgar as a real fence, which might tick off our friendly neighbor to the south. Will the virtual fence actually stop anyone coming over that 28-mile stretch? The administration sure hopes not, and in any case there are still another 1,972 miles where people can walk in. Still, after 20 years of people flooding in illegally across our southern border, it's great to see the federal government leaping into action like this, isn't it? Well, not "leaping," exactly. Shuffling, perhaps, or crawling. Let's hear it for Homeland Security!
I was, of course, much too optimistic. Here's this week's news, quote from the Washington Post: "The Bush administration has scaled back plans to quickly build a 'virtual fence' along the U.S.-Mexico border, delaying completion of the first phase of the project by at least three years and shifting away from a network of tower-mounted sensors and surveillance gear, federal officials said yesterday. Technical problems discovered in a 28-mile pilot project south of Tucson prompted the change in plans, Department of Homeland Security officials and congressional auditors told a House subcommittee." End quote. So this 28-mile stretch of our 2,000-mile border won't actually be secured until two years into the Gore administration, assuming they continue with it. A three-year delay, huh. That's as long as it took to make the atom bomb. Of course, you have to make allowances. This is totally new and untried technology — nobody ever secured a nation's border before. Putting up fences, building walls — this is the space-age cutting edge of human technological achievement. Ah, well — a three-year delay for the 28-mile fence. At that rate, we should have the whole border secure in, let me see, around summer of the year 2222. When our federal government swings into action, things really get done, don't they?
04 — Obama on Rev. Wright. At last, at long last, someone asked Barack Obama about that wacky preacher he claimed, in his autobiography, as his mentor and inspiration. That would be the guy who hero-worships Louis Farrakhan, and whose website, once you get past the big map-of-Africa logo, advertises his church as, quote, "a congregation with a non-negotiable commitment to Africa." What about all that? asked Tim Russert. Obama gave a very carefully lawyerish reply, quote: "I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible." End quote. Well, that's nice. Now then, Senator, how about Farrakhan's — whoops, I mean of course Minister Farrakhan's — how about his anti-white comments? Samples, from doing a quick google on "Farrakhan quotes." Quote: "Murder and lying comes easy for white people." Quote: "White people are potential humans — they haven't evolved yet." Did you denounce those, Senator? Are you going to? And don't you see how obnoxious this double standard is to a lot of us out in voter-land? Imagine that John McCain had given years of loyalty, and gifts of money, to a church that fronted its website with a map of Europe and boasted of promoting a "white value system." Imagine the pastor of that church had given an award, with gushing praise, to the leader of the Aryan Nation. Imagine that John McCain explained himself by saying that, oh, he had denounced some anti-Muslim remarks by that leader, whom he referred to with a respectful honorific. Can you imagine any of that, Senator? No, I can't either. Senator, Louis Farrakhan doesn't look like a hero to very many Americans. To most of us he looks like a racist thug. When you address him respectfully as "Minister Farrakhan," you're insulting the people Farrakhan insults — which is to say, white Americans, Jewish and Gentiles both. Don't you understand that? If you don't, then in my opinion, you have a problem.
05 — Russia's presidential election. Russia has its own elections this Sunday. The ruling party, United Russia, has a presidential candidate, Mr. Dmitry Medvedev. He's a very close friend of current President Vladimir Putin — so close, in fact, that if elected President, he will make Mr. Putin his Prime Minister. But of course, you never know how elections will turn out. Plenty of other parties are running candidates. There's the Liberal Democratic Party, for example, headed by Vladimir Zhironovsky. [Gunshot] Opps, well, best forget about them. Then there's the good old Communist Party, headed by Gennady Zyuganov [Gunshot]. No, I guess we can scrub them too. How about the Citizens' Force party, which promotes liberty and private property. Are they in with a chance? [Gunshot] No, I guess not. Looks like Mr. Medvedev's the favorite, then, with Mr. Putin as favorite for the next Prime Minister. Of course, I'm just surmising. We won't know for sure until the votes have all been collected and counted. I mean, I wouldn't want to … jump the gun here …
06 — Nations breaking up. The independence declaration by the Albanians of Kosovo is having some interesting repercussions. People like the Bush administration and the big European countries — Britain, France, Germany, Italy — recognized Kosovar independence in the belief that it was just the last phase in the break-up of the old Yugoslavia. Elsewhere in Europe, though, the suspicion is that this is not the end of something but the beginning, or a continuation, of something. Of what? Of a general splitting and dividing on ethnic lines that is going on all over the world, from Kosovo to Kenya (and not forgetting Iraq). Different ethnicities just don't want to share countries with each other any more. Even dull old Belgium seems to be splitting, the French Belgians and the Flemish Belgians heading for divorce. You can see what's going on if you look at the list of countries that are not happy about Kosovar independence. Spain is not happy — they have Basque separatists. Romania's not happy — they have a big Hungarian minority. The Greek part of Cyprus is not happy — they still claim sovereignty over the Turkish part of Cyprus. Even China's not happy. If Kosovo can break away from Serbia, why can't Taiwan, Tibet, and Eastern Turkestan break away from the People's Republic? Contrariwise, a lot of peoples you never heard of — Ossetians, Transdniestrians, Abkhazians — are happy, because they'd like to break away from their parent countries, too. Every ethnicity wants its own country nowadays. Personally, I'm fine with it. I just give thanks that I live in the U.S.A., where these kinds of ethnic conflicts and separatist demands could never, never arise.
07 — The Oscars. Did you catch the Oscars? No, I didn't either — I had to defrag my hard drive that night. It's all gone political, anyway. I mean, look at those top movies. "No Country for 72-year-old Men"? Really! And that other one: "There will be Blood if You Don't Nominate Me" — who was promoting that? Then there was that movie based on some book by Charles Murray: "The Diving Bell Curve and Butterfly McQueen" — for goodness sake, who wants to hear that divisive stuff? Let's heal, let's unite, let's have change, let's, you know, have some healing uniting changefulness. That's what the country's looking for. Then there was that other movie, "Atonement," which means making amends for something you did wrong — you know, shredding your law firm's billing records, or teaming up with the biggest liberal in the Senate to push open borders and amnesty legislation — stuff like that, stuff you really need to atone for. Politics, politics, you just can't get away from it.
08 — "We're the greatest!" says Li'l Squinty. Who is the number one power in the world? Britain held that envied position for a hundred years or so, down to the First World War, thanks to the fortifying powers of warm beer, Yorkshire pudding, and Marmite. Then the U.S.A. came up, and this country was top dog for a few decades. But who is top dog now? Answer: Iran. That's according to Li'l Squinty, the diminutive and hirsute president of Iran. Quote from the malevolent midget, quote: "Everybody has understood that Iran is the number one power in the world. Today the name of Iran means a firm punch in the teeth of the powerful and it puts them in their place." Well, that explains a lot. It explains those Iranian carrier groups patrolling the oceans, the fleets of Iranian bombers that periodically darken our skies, the "Made in Iran" label on everything we seem to buy nowadays, the all-pervading influence of Iranian culture in our movies and popular music. Once there was Alexander, Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon. Now there's little whats-his-name, the poison dwarf of Tehran. Iran may only be ranked 17th by population, 24th by military expenditures, 38th by export volume, 79th by per capita GDP, 94th by Human Development Index, and 170th by fertility rate, but don't let mere statistics fool you — this is the world leader. You'd better send your kids off to learn Farsi if you want them to have any kind of future in the 21st century.
09 — Signoff. That's all I have for you this week, ladies and gentlemen, a week that left us poorer than it found us. Whether the pen truly is mightier than the sword, I leave you to discuss among yourselves; but anyone who has served in the military is certainly entitled to a soldier's farewell; and anyone who, after serving, went on to fight with his pen for freedom so tirelessly, for so long, is entitled many times over.
[Bugle call: Last post]