[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. A bit of an upset here at Radio Derb this week, listeners. You'll recall that my faithful factotum Pépé has been having unspecified surgery at an upstate clinic. Well, he's been convalescing for a couple of weeks now, and seems to be fine. Then mid-week I got a call from him. Listen: [Pépé babbling] Apparently He met a fellow in this clinic having the same operation, who invited him to join the faculty at San Francisco State University, Department of Raza Studies. Pépé accepted, so now we're in a bind. With Pépé on the premises we could tick no fewer than four of the diversity boxes on the EEOC compliance form, Pépé being a mixed-race, transgendered, undocumented immigrant, registered disabled on account of strabismus. Now we're coming up short on diversity here at Buckley Towers, and the suits are going round looking worried. That's the problem with these diversity two-fers, three-fers, and in Pépé's case, four-fers: they are in such demand. Well, any listeners seeking a job in our lavishly-equipped sound studio here on the 95th floor of Buckley Towers in the heart of Manhattan, drop us a line. You'll need to be at least a diversity two-fer, though, we don't need Eric Holder's boys coming down here and trashing the place. You know what those Department of Justice people are like. "Nice little Radio show you've got here, Mr. Derbyshire. Be a shame if anything happened to it …" OK, on with the motley.
02 — Raza Studies. Following that distressing call from Pépé I looked up the college department he's joining. Yep, here it is: San Francisco State University, Department of Raza Studies. Thirteen professors and assistant professors on the faculty, teaching Raza this and Raza that. But what is Raza Studies? I went to the website seeking enlightenment. They have an FAQ page, frequently asked questions. Just reading off that page: Question — Why the term "Raza"? Answer — The term Raza literally means race or colloquially, the people. Oh I see. So they're teaching the kids about race. Isn't that nice. And Raza Studies is only one component of a much bigger enterprise at SFSU: The College of Ethnic Studies, with 6,000 students, 47 professors, and 175 courses spread over four departments: Asian American Studies, Africana Studies, Raza Studies, and American Indian Studies. Hm, seems to me there's something missing there … Anyway, this is a huge part of the instruction there at SFSU. For comparison, the Department of Computer Science has a mere nine full-time Professors and Assistant Professors. The School of Engineering lists 26 faculty personnel on its website, but it's not clear how many of them are full-time professors … although, I must say, it is clear that the demographics of Engineering and Computer Science faculties differ quite strikingly from those of Ethnic Studies. Now, this is a public university in San Francisco, part-funded by the taxpayers of California. That's California, as in"flat broke," California as in "greatest state fiscal crisis the U.S.A. has ever known." Here's a prediction from Radio Derb: The Computer Science Department and the School of Engineering at SFSU will both be shut down, their labs sold off, their buildings leveled, and the ground plowed up and sown with salt, before a single professor is let go from the College of Ethnic Studies. After all, what use is that picayune geeky stuff about engineering and computer science? We should just leave all that to China and India to do. America's sacred task, at this point in the evolution of human civilization, is to push forward the great wheel of knowledge in fields that are really critical to our children's future — you know, like Raza Studies.
03 — Massa resigns. All right, question of the week: "Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man?" Well, yes, as a matter of fact I do. I tell you, discussions can get pretty heated up there in the grotto after hours, and many's the time Jonah and I have squared off behind the waterfall over Woodrow Wilson's Federal Reserve policy. The question was actually asked by Representative Eric Massa, who sounds like one of Harriet Beecher Stowe's characters, but who is in fact the congressman for New York's 29th, up there in the burned-over district by Canada somewhere. Massa was striving to come up with another reason for his recent resignation, to add to the fifteen or so he'd already offered us. The administration, he said, in the unclad person of Rahm Emanuel, had forced him out on account of his lack of enthusiasm for the healthcare bill. This was after he'd told us that he'd resigned because of an ethics investigation into whether or not he'd made a pass at a male staffer, which in turn came after the explanation that he was resigning for health reasons, which in its turn followed a story about a gypsy telling him he should never run for re-election in a year divisible by 67. The only real point of interest here to the universe outside Eric Massa's head is, whether he in fact made a pass at a male staffer, and whether anybody should care in an age when in-sufficient enthusiasm for celebrating gayness can get you fired. As far as I can judge, Massa's guilty of nothing more than some salty language and horseplay at a party. Possibly the language went beyond salty: the congressman, who served 24 years in the Navy, tells us that, quote, "I did in fact, use language in the privacy of my own home and in my inner office that … might make a Chief Petty Officer feel uncomfortable." End quote. From what I understand about Chief Petty Officers, that could be way beyond salty. Even so, it's a sad measure of the girlification of our society that a few cuss words and a little horseplay can get a congressman in front of the ethics committee. Next thing you know, they'll be taking the spittoons away from the House chamber.
04 — Good old Charlie. If giving noogies to staffers is a firing offense, what is it when a congresscritter fails to report income, engages in sleazy real-estate deals, and makes pee-pee all over the rules for using congressional facilities? And whatever it is for the ordinary run of congressmen, what is it when the congressman in question is chairman of the Ways and Means committee, charged with overseeing the writing of tax rules for the nation? Well, what it is, is, dear old Charlie Rangel poking a finger in the eye of The Man. However, with congressional approval ratings so far underwater they're holding caucus meetings in the grand ballroom of the S.S. Titanic, dear old Charlie had to go. Dear old Charlie! — you can't find anyone with a bad word for dear old Charlie. Hardscrabble Jim Crow era childhood, valiant service to his country in the Korean War, schmoozer and accommodator, gentrifier of Harlem, everyone's friend, every political talk show host's favorite guest, dear old Charlie has been coasting along on a warm tide of general public affection for forty years, while quietly fortifying the tax-and-spend culture of his city, state, and country, boosting liberal causes, playing the racial guilt hustle for all he was worth, and making sure, by means legal and otherwise, that what he was worth increased by leaps and bounds, year after year. Dear old Charlie. Everyone has his purpose in the grand scheme of things, though. Now that Ted Kennedy's left us, we still at least have Dear old Charlie to remind us of the need for term limits on all politicians, not just the President.
05 — Politics equals wealth. Forbes magazine has published its list of America's 25 richest counties. Top of the list: Loudon County, Virginia. Where's that, exactly? Why, it's just northwest of Washington D.C. — a dormitory suburb of our nation's capital, in fact. Pretty much everyone in Loudon works for the government. Median annual family income: $110,643. Yep, things are pretty good in Loudon County. Quote from Forbes: "Jobs in Loudon have grown four percent between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics," end quote. Recession? What recession? The same applies all round D.C.: six other counties in that top 25 are suburbs of the capital: Fairfax, Arlington, Stafford, Prince William, Charles, and Alexandria. Yes, you saps down there in the private sector may be worrying about how to raise the next mortgage payment, but in government land it's party time! I was a bit surprised to see that my own county of Suffolk, New York, out here on breezy Long Island, squeaked into the list at number 25. I called in Mrs. Derbyshire from the nearby stretch of woodland where she was grubbing for roots and showed her the article. The eagle-eyed Mrs. D. noticed that the Suffolk County data Forbes is using is pre-crash, from 2008, so that it doesn't represent current circumstances here. Then she fainted from malnutrition, and I had to revive her with some of the soup I'd made from boiling up my old gardening boots. Yes, things are tough all over … except for those of you who were wise enough to Get a Government Job.
06 — Trouble assembling Suffolk jury. Also from Suffolk County: We made the august pages of the New York Times last week. The issue here was a grisly murder that took place in Suffolk County in November 2008. A gang of teenage punks in one of the small towns here, beat up and stabbed Marcelo Lucero, an illegal immigrant from Ecuador. Well, the case has just now reached the jury selection stage, and things aren't going well. The Times headline reads: In Jury Selection for Hate Crime, a Struggle to Find Tolerance. In the story, we read that a lot of the jurors are excusing themselves, or being excused, because of their strong feelings on illegal immigration. Quote: "Those who raised illegal immigration as a factor in their ability to serve chose their words carefully, so as not to condone the crimes for which Mr. Conroy stands accused. One man, a school bus driver, said his Teamsters union had taken a stand on what he described as a lack of a federal immigration policy, and because some witnesses might be illegal immigrants, this would be a problem for him. Before he was released, the man said that what he has and what he has earned was gained legally, not illegally. 'I'm the old-fashioned way,' he told Justice Doyle." End quote. Well, as a resident of the county, I can testify that those kinds of sentiments are pretty general here. People are mad as hell at the federal government's failure to enforce the people's laws on immigration. Suffolk's a county of working and middle-class people: the main stocks are Italian, Irish, German, African American, English, and Scandinavian, with a scattering of Asians and Puerto Ricans and some heavily-interbred aboriginal remnants. It's very bourgeois at all class levels. People here work hard to support their families. We respect the law and are proud of our country. We pay high property taxes to support good schools. People here in Suffolk County can't understand why those schools are filling up with the children of scofflaws who pay no taxes, who shouldn't even be in our country. My own township in Suffolk has recently fenced off some waste ground and announced they're going to turn it into soccer fields. This has got people mad. You can't have a conversation around the township without it coming up. People say: "We're paying all these taxes so the illegals can play soccer?" It's too bad Mr. Lucero was murdered, and I and my neighbors are happy to see justice take its course, if the court can find itself a jury at last. We have respect for the law, you see — unlike the federal government, which stops enforcing our laws as soon as some powerful agribusiness CEO gets on the phone to his congressman.
07 — The week of breast milk stories. In one of those weird conjunctions that sometimes happen, this week has seen a spate of breast milk stories. First up we had that lady in Owensboro, Kentucky, who was taken to the cells for public intoxication; then, while she was changing into the orange jumpsuit, she squirted breast milk at the deputy in charge of her. This was a very bad move, or squeeze: public intoxication is only a misdemeanor, but assaulting a deputy, even just with body fluids, is a felony. The target deputy had to undergo decontamination, as breast milk is considered a bio-hazard — which, depending on how much the perp had drunk, may indeed have been the case. I had to undergo decontamination myself after reading that story, for exposure to excessive grossness. I had barely got out of the decontamination unit than I found myself looking at breast milk story number two: A restaurant owner in New York City who made cheese from his wife's breast milk. When this story first came out we were given to understand that the preparation of this unusual delicacy was done in the actual restaurant, to be served to customers. The chef backpedalled like crazy on that, though, and now swears he did it in his own apartment. New York City is the bailiwick of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for whose anal-compulsive fanaticism about other people's behavior, the phrase "control freak" is pitifully inadequate. The city is also sinking ever deeper into the red, as the Mayor's 24/7 obsession with telling us what we may and may not ingest, has left the city's public sector unions free to write themselves checks for wages and benefits on the municipal bank account. Put the two features of New York City together, and you have a place patrolled by battalions of inspectors who will hit a restaurateur with a $100,000 fine if his table setting has the fish knife incorrectly positioned relative to the salad fork. So our breast-milk entrepreneur is now telling us that his cheesy endeavors are udderly … sorry! I mean "utterly" private and domestic. That didn't stop one of the local radio stations from sending Raymond Sokolov, the Wall Street Journal's restaurant critic, round to our chef's apartment to sample the dainty. Mr. Sokolov reported thus. The cheese had, he said, "a surprising amount of personality," though he found it "a little elastic … with a distinct fermented taste." Asked if he thought the product had commercial potential, Mr. Sokolov squeezed out the following opinion, quote: "You'd have to have a human dairy to produce commercial quantities, and I think the social consequences of putting a lot of lactating women into a sterile environment where a health department would approve what they are doing are really pretty horrifying." Just so, just so. Finally, not precisely on breast milk but in the same approximate zone, here's this story about the baby commercial taking Lindsay Lohan's name in vain … but, I'm sorry, Lindsay Lohan? This whole segment just crossed my threshold of disgust. let's move on. Please.
08 — Education madness. News here from the education front. Education is a treasure trove for the conservative commentator. It is a field dominated by far-left liberal nostrums, none of which is founded on anything real, and most of which are an order of magnitude even sillier than liberal nostrums in other policy areas. I had great fun with education in Chapter Six of We Are Doomed, but I felt a bit ashamed to be writing it as it was so easy — shooting fish in a barrel. There is in fact so much lunacy in education, the only problem with writing a 40-page summary of it all, is what to leave out. Well, here we go again. First the Kansas City school system — the gift that keeps on giving for education cynics. We've all heard liberals tell us a thousand times that the main problem with education is, we don't spend enough money on it. In Kansas City, under a judge's orders, the school district got to spend as much as it wanted — over two billion dollars across twelve years. Schools were pulled down and rebuilt. There were Olympic-size swimming pools, professional quality TV and recording studios, libraries, art galleries, and film studios, a mock court and a model United Nations with simultaneous translation equipment, field trips to foreign countries, sports coaching from Olympic medallists, ballet, drama, theater production, fashion design, before-school programs, after-school programs … To coax white students back to the inner-city schools, the school board laid on taxis to bring them in. What was the result? Test scores declined, drop-out rates rose (as of course did waste, embezzlement, and corruption in the school district), and the schools got more segregated than ever. Any time a liberal tells you we need to spend more money on our schools, just utter the two words: "Kansas City." Well, as I said, it keeps on giving. Here's the latest news item, from Associated Press, March 11, quote: "The school board of Kansas City, Missouri narrowly approved the plan Wednesday night to close 29 of the district's 61 schools to try to stave off bankruptcy … Administrators have said the closures are necessary to keep the district from plowing through what little is left of the $2 billion it received as part of a groundbreaking desegregation case. Although other districts nationwide are considering closures as the recession ravages their budgets, Kansas City's plan is striking." End quote. Oh, and here comes Barack Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a career education bureaucrat who I don't think ever actually set foot inside a classroom. In a speech in Alabama on Sunday, Duncan declared that civil rights in schools have been neglected for ten years. Later, in a conference call with reporters, he said, quote: "Rather than just determining whether a district complies with the letter of the law in certain areas, the department will look at what the outcomes are for students." Under Obama rules, you see, it isn't enough for a school district merely to obey the law, they have to make student test scores come out the way Arne Duncan thinks they should come out. As with lavish funding for inner-city schools, the consequences here are pathetically easy to predict. I will now predict them. School administrators will avoid federal lawsuits by cooking the books on student test scores. In fact, that's not even a prediction: they are already doing it, to comply with the insanely impossible standards set by George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. Ah, education — a treasure trove, a cornucopia of bureaucratic idiocy, government waste, and liberal wishful thinking. Reality? There's no such thing as reality. Just put enough lawyers on the problem, and the world will be the way you wish it to be.
09 — Miscellany. And now … our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: I have to admit, all this parliamentary maneuvering over the healthcare bill has lost me. What the heck is going on up there? Now I read that the Democrats may get their damn fool bill passed via something called "the Slaughter solution." What's that? They slaughter anyone who tries to speak against the bill? There's a provision in the bill to slaughter people who won't buy health care? Insurance company executives are to be slaughtered en masse? Who knows? For crying out loud, guys, either poop or get off the pot. Enough with the parliamentary minutiae.
Item: Some kind of peace talks are going on, or scheduled to go on, or are being contemplated, or something, between Israel and the Arabs. That doesn't strike me as news, I must admit. I mean, when is it ever not the case that there is some peace plan, peace process, peace talks, peace initiative, peace roadmap, peace telethon, peace beach volleyball tournament, peace this, peace that, going on between the Israelis and the Arabs? Nothing ever comes of it because of the fundamental fact that the Israelis want peace and the Arabs don't. Anyway, while this latest peace whatever was happening, or about to happen, Joe Biden went over there to show his supersize dental implants to Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu was suitably impressed, but just as they got down to some real discussions about cosmetic dentistry, Netanyahu's Secretary for Annoying the Hell out of Arabs announced that they were going to build some new houses in Jerusalem — which, after all is Israel's capital city, to which the U.S.A. is going to move its embassy some time real soon. The Arabs had conniptions, Biden looked like an idiot (who would have thought that possible?), and Netanyahu and his cabinet colleagues, after closing the door of the cabinet room and pulling down the blinds, fell down on the floor and rolled around laughing uncontrollably. Another day in the Middle East.
Item: More news from Nigeria this week. The Nigerians have been celebrating diversity in their traditionally colorful way. In the town of Jos, in the center of the country, 109 Christians were hacked to death with machetes by a mob of Muslims screaming "Allahu Akbar." "The attacks …" I'm just reading this from the BBC website, "The attacks appear to be retaliation for violence in the villages around Jos in January, when most of the victims were said to be Muslim." There were previous sectarian massacres in this town in 2001 and 2008. The BBC cautions us that although these look like sectarian clashes, the underlying causes are economic and political. Of course they are. If not for those underlying economic and political causes, the Christians and Muslims would get along together in perfect harmony, just as they do in places like [crickets chirp] and [more crickets]
Item: The Itawamba County school district in Mississippi has a high school senior named Constance McMillen. Ms. McMillen declared that she is a lesbian, and wanted to attend the senior prom with her girlfriend, and wearing a tux. The school said nay to the gay and nix on the tux. The ACLU came in with 800 attorneys and declared, surprise surprise, that Ms. McMillen's rights were being violated. You know, it's in the Constitution, that article that says high school kids can wear what they like and date any mammal with an even number of legs. Itawamba County, to their everlasting credit, canceled the prom. The ACLU is fighting that, too, but they're having trouble finding which article in the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a senior prom.
Item: A pretty thin crop of apologies this week. Congressman Massa apologized for one transgression or other, I forget which. Benjamin Netanyahu, once he had got his laughter under control, apologized to Joe Biden for making Biden look like an empty suit Senate seat-warmer whose only qualification for the Vice Presidency was to add some old-white-guy ballast to the light-as-a-feather Obama candidacy. And Dan Rather apologized for saying that Barack Obama, quote, "couldn't sell watermelons if you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic." Apparently this was a gaffe of breathtaking insensitivity, causing African Americans from coast to coast to weep, tear their hair, and leap from tall buildings in rage and humiliation. Eric Holder has launched an investigation.
Item: The Iraqi elections went off as planned — as planned, that is, in Tehran. I can't improve on the comments by Daniel Pipes on our group blog, The Corner, so I'll just quote them, quote: "My mood about Iraq could variously be described as depressed, despairing, despondent, dejected, pessimistic, melancholic, and gloomy." Hey Dan, I've got a book for you! Continue quote: "That's because the Iraqi regime (along with those of Afghanistan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority) is a kept institution that cannot survive without constant American support. As long as Washington pumps money and sacrifices lives to maintain the Baghdad government, the latter can hobble along. Remove those props and Iranian-backed Islamists soon take over." End quote.
Item: There seems to have been a lot of illegal eating going on this week. That breast milk story aside, here's a hotel in India serving a protected species of sea cucumber: India arrests after sea cucumbers seized at Delhi hotel says the headline. meanwhile a Los Angeles restaurant called The Hump has been hit with federal charges after serving whale meat. So if you're looking for somewhere you can get the sea cucumber and whale meat combo with breast milk cheese for dessert — sorry, pal, not on this planet.
10 — Signoff. There you have it, ladies and gents. A pretty sorry week here in the republic, but let's look on the bright side: with all those brilliant young minds flowing into the Raza Studies Departments of our universities, the U.S.A. will soon lead the world once again in something other than long-term debt, leaving the dull-witted, geeky Chinese and Indians in our dust, obsessing over their stupid, pointless math and science and engineering. The future belongs to us, America, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Onward and upward! Excelsior!
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]