»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, May 30, 2008

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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire Marches.]

01 — Intro.     Radio Derb at your service once again, gentle listeners, and this is your host John Derbyshire with all the news of the hour. I apologize for a slight production glitch last Friday that made me sound like Alvin the chipmunk; the responsible parties have been reassigned to menial duties here at Buckley Towers — cleaning out the head, peeling grapes for Jonah, proof-reading George Gilder's next book review, chores like that. Any further mishaps of that sort, we'll have 'em crawling through the air-conditioning ducts looking for Kathryn's pet tarantula that escaped from his box last week and hasn't been seen since. We run a tight ship here at NRO, let me tell you. OK, on with the motley!

02 — Houston Rodeo.     The Houston Rodeo is the biggest in the world. Its full name is "Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo." It's held once a year, it goes on for twenty days, and it looks like a lot of fun. Main features: bull riding, pig racing, a calf scramble, concerts, a parade, and the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. Attendance at the rodeo this year was 1.8 million. Now you know that in today's America you're not allowed to have that much fun without the "diversity" police coming and checking up on your compliance. Yep, here they come, a collection of Hispanic lobbying outfits headed by LULAC (that's the League of United Latin American Citizens), whinging and whining that the rodeo is insufficiently "inclusive." I'm going to give you the grisly details here, but they're pretty shocking, so you might want to have a jar of smelling salts at hand to revive yourself after hearing this. You ready? The rodeo's 16-member executive committee has no women or minorities. Oh my God! What are we in here, the Dark Ages? More: Of the 17 committees that control different aspects of the rodeo, 14 are headed by Anglo men. How racist is that? There's worse to come: Of the 324 voting members of the rodeo board, only 34 are women. Racism and sexism! And still worse: This year the rodeo decided not to include Tejano groups at the rodeo concerts. Tejano is apparently some kind of Hispanic music. The grounds for not including Tejano music were, according to the rodeo, that nobody likes it, which seems fair enough to me. Are you still conscious? I've got even worse for you yet. Listen to this: Houston Rodeo has a big scholarship program to help young people get through college, but — and I can hardly bear to tell you this, so if my voice is cracking a little, please excuse me — but this scholarship program is only open to U.S. citizens. [Pause] Well, obviously this is a case for the federal government, so the LULAC people went running off to Washington DC to see if they could get Janet Reno and her flamethrowers down to Houston to teach this rodeo a lesson in inclusiveness. Unfortunately they're an administration too late. Janet Reno's running an alligator-wrestling school in the Okefenokee Swamp. The Justice Department did offer to mediate the dispute, but Houston Rodeo were having none of it. Quote from Leroy Shafer, the rodeo's chief operating officer: "At this point, we see no need to have a Justice Department mediator involved in this. We've heard (the minority groups') issues. We think they are all pointless." Mr. Shafer, I like the cut of your jib! Now, unless the Justice Department gets those flamethrowers out, the "diversity" nuisances are all out of options. Well, not quite: According to the Houston Chronicle, they're urging Hispanics to boycott the rodeo. Fair enough. Here's where Radio Derb swings into action. I'm going to organize an anti-boycott. That is, I'm going to encourage Radio Derb listeners to get on down to Houston for next year's rodeo, and see if we can push attendance over the two million mark. I'll be there myself if I possibly can. Never been to a rodeo. Perhaps I'll even have a try at calf scrambling. Is that like arm wrestling, but you use your calf instead? Or what?

03 — Che at Cannes.     The award for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival has gone to Benicio del Toro for his portrayal of Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's worshipful 4½-hour epic about the famous revolutionary. For the word "revoutionary" there, you can read "psychopathic fanatic." This is the guy who wrote in his diary, quote: "To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate." He lived up to that, or rather down to it, not just shipping "class enemies" off to the firing squads, but supervising executions himself, especially liking to parade victims past the blood-spattered wall against which they were to be shot, and often administering the coup de grace — the bullet to the back of the head — himself. So here's this movie actor Benicio del Toro, a Puerto-Rico-born U.S. citizen, portraying this repulsive murderer in Steven Soderbergh's movie. How does he feel about playing Che? Listen. Here's what del Toro said on receiving his award at Cannes, quote: "I'd like to dedicate this to the man himself, Che Guevara … I wouldn't be here without Che Guevera, and through all the awards the movie gets you'll have to pay your respects to the man." End quote. Let's hope that some moviegoers will instead pay their respects all the people who would be here if they hadn't been murdered by Guevara, and indeed also to those who drowned or were shot while attempting to escape the totalitarian hell-hole that Cuba became under the regime of Castro, Guevara, and their fellow assassins. A very good way to pay these latter respects would be to stay away from Steven Soderbergh's disgraceful movie, and his future movies too.

04 — Obama's idea of "service."     Barack Obama (who I'm willing to bet has a Che Guevara T-shirt in his closet somewhere), Barack Obama gave a commencement speech at Wesleyan University last weekend. I logged the speech at 3,300 words. The word "service" occurred 17 times, which is better than once per paragraph on average formatting. What does Obama mean by "service," though? Like "service" in the armed services? Oh dear, my goodness, no. He spoke for example of "the purpose that service gave my own life." I guess he means that "community organizing" he was doing. Then he speaks of the Peace Corps volunteers and the Civil Rights freedom riders of the sixties. Uh-huh. Then, quote: "There's no community service requirement in the real world; no one forcing you to care." Well, I'm sure that would soon change under an Obama presidency. And then the thrill that comes when people, quote: "force an unresponsive leader to provide services to their community." Seems that the word "service" in Obama's mind doesn't wander far from the word "community," which of course means black people. And then, a whole lot of stuff about Ted Kennedy's "service," presumably referring to Kennedy's forty-five years in the U.S. Senate. So we're getting the picture here. "Service" has nothing to do with the private-sector economy, and nothing whatever to do with the military. It's all about "community action," political agitation, and getting into Congress. Nothing particularly wrong with any of those things, but … that's it? This is just a more inflated version of Mrs Obama's exhortation to the nation's youth back in February, as reported by our own Byron York: "Don't go into corporate America … Work for the community." This is the Obamas' entire outlook. Productive, profit-seeking corporations are instruments of Satan. No good-hearted person should go to work for them. But then, Mr and Mrs Obama, who will pay the bills? Productive, profit-seeking corporations are the bones and muscles of our economy and the foundation of our country's strength. Their revenues make everything else possible. Do the Obamas understand this? On the evidence of their speeches so far, no, they do not.

05 — Phoenix Mars lander.     NASA's Phoenix spacecraft landed safely near the north pole of Mars. It will now start digging down through the Martian surface to look for ice. Will it find traces of life, past or present? Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom says we should hope it doesn't. He has an article in the current MIT Technology Review, arguing his case. I can't summarize it properly in a couple of hundred words, and I urge you to read it for yourself. In a nutshell: Bostrom starts from one of the great scientific mysteries of our age, the so-called Great Silence. According to the best theories we have about how life originates and develops, advanced civilizations should be plentiful in the universe. So how come there is no trace of them? No visits, no structured signals — after fifty years of scanning the heavens, we have detected absolutely nothing. Well, says Bostrom, take the present state of our civilization as a point on a time line, with the origin of life as a distant point in the far past, and a civilization capable of interstellar travel or communication as a point in the future. There is obviously some huge stumbling block that prevents life from getting to that future point; and that stumbling block is either behind us, or ahead of us. If it's behind us, it may be way back behind; it may be that the origin of life on a planet is a fantastically rare occurrence. If it's ahead of us, it can't be far ahead — we can already broadcast signals into space. Now, if there is life on Mars, or ever was, that means that the origin of life is not fantastically improbable — heck, it happened on two adjacent planets in one Solar System. That reduces the probability that the stumbling block is in the past, and correspondingly increases the likelihood it's in our future — our near future. It would indicate, in fact, that our species may be on the edge of exinction. If the origin and development of life is a common thing, lots of species all over the universe got to where we are; but none of them got much further. Uh-oh. Let's hope there is no sign of life on Mars!

06 — Texas polygamy cult.     Yet another follow-up on the Texas polygamy case. I started out two weeks ago with the observation that while I have no problem with prosecuting welfare fraud, statutory rape, or violations of state marriage laws, I could not for the life of me see where there was any justice or humanity in taking 460 kids, 130 of them less than five years old, away from the only homes, parents, and playmates they had ever known. That's not right. Last week I reported that the Texas Third Appeal Court agreed with me. They ruled that the Texas officials who had kidnapped the children and scattered them to various kinds of care and foster homes, had failed to demonstrate that the kids were in any danger. Now here is more good news: The Texas Supreme Court has affirmed the Appeals Court decision. Quote: "We are not inclined to disturb the court of appeals' decision. On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted." End quote. This FLDS cult looks like a pretty unsavory business, but that's no reason to go wrecking the lives of hundreds of children. There has to be a better way to deal with whatever illegalities are being committed. Perhaps it's worth pointing out, too, as many readers have emailed in to remind me, that twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls are being impregnated by adult men every day of the week in the ghettos of America's inner cities, and nobody is snatching those kids from their mothers. Why not? What's the difference? See if you can figure it out.

07 — Sharon Stone disses ChiComs.     Sharon Stone the movie actress got herself into a spot of bother the other day when being interviewed by a Hong Kong movie crew. Here's what she said: "I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And then all this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and I thought, is that karma?" Naturally this caused shock and horror after it was broadcast all over China. Now Chinese movie chains are boycotting Sharon's movies, and the big cosmetic firm she models for, which sells a lot of stuff in China, has dropped her. I'm never quite sure where to go with this Tibet stuff. On the one hand, it's embarrassing to find yourself on the same side of any issue as the Hollywood air-head set. I mean, it's embarrassing. I don't want to keep company with these people. On the other hand, I've had some slight acquaintance of my own with the Tibet cause for nearly 25 years, and it's a good cause, one I strongly sympathize with. Tibetans are not Chinese. They don't speak Chinese, dress Chinese, eat Chinese, or worship Chinese. They have run their own affairs for most of their history; and they were running them pretty well, and minding their own business, when Mao Tse-tung marched his armies into their country in 1950. That was an act of naked imperialism. What followed was far worse, with Tibetans massacred and starved by the Chinese communists, their historic buildings wrecked, their national treasures carted off to China, their envrironment despoiled and polluted. Hundreds of thousands of Tibetans were just murdered by the Chinese Communists. It's a dreadful story, very well documented, and a great blot on modern Chinese civilization. Tragically, very few Chinese people know the truth about Tibet. The Maoists just tell them: "Oh, it's always been a part of China. There are a few agitators there, in the pay of China's enemies, that's all." The disturbances this last March were actually represented to the Chinese people, by the Communist Party propaganda mouthpieces, as victimization of innocent Chinese people by Tibetan hooligans. It's bad enough to have your country stolen from you. To then be portrayed as an aggressor, is a double insult. Well, I'm certainly not going to go along with airhead Sharon on the karma stuff, which is all nonsense. The Chinese earthquake is a ghastly tragedy all of its own, and that's all that can be said. The Chinese Communists did do great wickedness in Tibet, though, and the Chinese people, by allowing themselves to believe the communists' imperialist propaganda lies, share some collective complicity in that horrible crime. That's nothing to do with earthquakes, but it's true anyway, even though dim-witted Hollywood airheads are the main people talking about it.

08 — Miscellany.     A handful of short items to see us out.

Item:  Slight problem up there on the International Space Station: the toilet's backed up. Don't ya hate it when that happens? I have one of those roto-router things for when we have a major bathroom malfunction chez Derb, but I guess they forgot to ship one with the space station. You think it's tough to get a plumber at weekends? Try getting one when you're 200 miles up and traveling at 17,000 miles per hour. Now, call me nosy, but there's a thing I've been wondering about the International Space Station since this story first broke: Seeing that the thing is international, what style of toilet do they have? The sit-down kind, or the kind where you crouch over a hole? I mean, you know, some countries prefer the one, some the other. I was hoping the news pictures might tell me, but so far none of them has. Well, you guys up there; as my Dad used to tell us kids on long car trips, just hold it for a while. I'm sure they'll have a relief ship up there in a week or two. And "relief" is definitely the right word here.

Item:  The town of Mattawa, 150 miles east of Seattle in Washington State, is surrounded by miles of fruit orchards and vineyards, it says here. Well, that's nice. That probably accounts for Mattawa having grown from 300 to over 3,000 inhabitants in the last 20 years. And guess what: ninety percent of the town's population now speaks Spanish. Eighty percent of that ninety percent speak English "less than well," according to the latest census figures. Of the ten percent of Mattawans who speak English, very few know any Spanish. That would include the city government and the police department. Now a legal aid group has filed a complaint under the Civil Rights Act, and the feds have stepped in. The Justice Department has ordered the town to go bilngual in its dealings with townspeople, employing at least one bilingual person at all times, and publishing all its printed materials in Spanish as well as English. It would of course be shamefully racist to expect people living in our country to speak our language. Better to dump the cost of federal immigration non-enforcement on the taxpayers of tiny, poor country towns.

Item:  I have no clue what to make of this flap over Scott McClellan's book. I don't know the guy, and I don't know what went on in the White House, no better than the average citizen does anyway. It is, though, another illustration of the fact that this administration is falling apart even sooner and more comprehensively than happens to most in the final few months of a second presidential term; and the reason for that is the Iraq War, a horrible blunder that will hang round the neck of George W. Bush and his administration, and the memory and reputation of them, for ever. What McClellan's motives are, and whether he's correct on the details, I don't know. I do know, though, that if some insults from a disaffected staffer are the worst punishment that Bush, Cheney and Co. take for the Iraq fiasco, they will have got off lightly.

Item:  Al Qaeda's calling on jihadists to use NBC against targets in the West. No, that's not the TV news network — not that I'd be terrifically surprised if Al Qaeda deployed them, but that's not what they're talking about. NBC is NATO jargon for "nuclear, biological, and chemical" — weapons, that is. It's probably hollow talk by a bunch of guys in caves up there in the Hindu Kush, and I'm not going to lose any sleep over it myself. Still, ten or twenty years from now, who knows what these lunatics might be capable of? The solution's pretty simple: just don't let people from Muslim countries enter the U.S.A., and politely ask those who are here to leave. It's our country. We can let in who we like, and send home any foreigners we don't trust. Why don't we have the will to do this? If, heaven forbid, the jihadi dream comes true, then we'll do it fast enough. Why wait? Because we are damn fools, that's why, whose brains have been rotted by political correctness. Folly has its price, and one day I'm afraid we — you and me, your children and my children — will pay it.

Item:  Nice little story here in Condé Nast Portfolio. They sent a reporter to the Kurdish region of north Iraq, and he found a nice bustling little mini-nation. Quote: "The Kurdistan region is Paul Wolfowitz's wet dream: maybe not a beacon of democracy, but certainly a red-hot ember — peaceful, orderly, secular, democratic, wildly capitalist, and sentimentally pro-American — afloat on an ocean of oil." End quote. I doubt things are quite that rosy. This little Kurdish state has a lot of hungry, angry, and crazy neighbors. Still, it all confirms the great trend of our times: the rise of states based on common ethnicity, and the break-up or decline of nations with big blocs of different kinds of people in them, like the old Iraq. Czechoslovakia, Cyprus, Yugoslavia, the USSR: where are the multi-ethnic states I remember? I'd say Iraq's near the head of the list for next countries to break up, along with Belgium and Canada, maybe Bolivia, maybe Nigeria. Perhaps Iran, which after all is only half Persian. Can the really big ones be far behind: India? The U.S.A.? I won't think about that today, I'll think about that tomorrow. Meanwhile, sell multiculturalism; buy ethnonationalism.

09 — Signoff.     What a depressing note to end on. Sorry, can't come up with anything brighter. The impending demise of Mrs Clinton's electoral prospects might have cheered me up in other circumstances, but the prospect of an Obama candidacy turns even that into wormwood and gall. Obama and McCain — oh boy, I need a drink. Cheers.

[Music clip: More Haydn.]