»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, July 9, 2010

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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]

01 — Intro.     Y'know, things are getting awfully slack around here. I sometimes think I'm not a good boss — too easy on the help.

For example: I was chatting with Jonah in the grotto this morning and my eye happened to settle on the rim of the water slide, and I distinctly saw a spot of mildew.

Now, my research assistant Mandy, as part of her ancillary duties, is supposed to go up there once or twice a week, get down on her hands and knees, and give the grotto a good scrub. I've even gone up there with her on occasion in the past, and we've got down on hands and knees together.

So what happened? Did you miss a couple of weeks there, Mandy? [Lindsay Lohan clip: "In terms of going more than once in a week …"] C'mon, Mandy, you know how fussy Jonah is about keeping the grotto clean. ["I know that I was ordered to go once a week …"] Well, hey, you know, we all have to pull our weight around the office … ["I wanted to make sure that I would come back making you happy …"] Oh, hey, it's all right, there's no call to go getting upset.

See, listeners, this is when I fall apart, when the help gets all emotional and needy on me. They know it, of course. I guess I'm just a big old softy. Off you go then, Mandy. Don't forget that other thing you promised to do for me after the show.

Right, what have we got here? Oh yes — the station identification. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Radio Derb. I am your malleably genial host John Derbyshire and here are some highlights from the week's news.

02 — Disappearing summer internships.     [Clip: "Here Comes Summer"] Yes, it's summer, time for the kids to get away from that boring bookworm grind and get some experience of working for a living.

Boy, that dates me, doesn't it? Yes, back in the day we working and middle-class kids looked forward to the long summer vacation as an opportunity to make a little money of our own doing some kind of low-paid drudge work, out of doors if we could get it. What happened to all that, you ask? Basically, the H-2B visa happened. Employers discovered that there were millions of youngsters out there in Bulgaria, Ghana, and Malaysia willing to work for less than American kids, and much more docile. There was the problem of getting them here, of course; but fortunately employers discovered another thing about the same time: that by banding together in industry groups and hiring Washington lobbyists, they could put the squeeze on politicians to rig the immigration laws in their favor — or even better, put the squeeze on the Executive to just stop enforcing the laws. That's why the kid who just served you ice-cream comes from Kuala Lumpur, not Kentucky.

So what's the kid from Kentucky going to do in his summer vacation? Why, he's going to do an internship. No more of those grubby menial jobs for our American kids. They are much too good for that. As Karl Rove famously said: "I don't want my son picking tomatoes." So instead they do these internships — acquiring basic office skills to prepare them for the air-conditioned white-collar life that is every American's birthright. Internships are often unpaid, but still the kids are willing to do them, for bragging rights and résumé points. In fact, some internships are so coveted, they're negatively paid. The record so far was a summer internship at Vogue magazine, which recently went for $42,500. That was a charity auction admittedly, but someone was willing to pay it.

The topic is dear to my heart as my own beloved princess, 17-year-old Nellie Derbyshire, started her first ever summer internship last week, at a trading firm in New York City. She's thrilled, of course — who wouldn't be? — and we're mighty obliged to the firm for taking her on.

So far, so good. To assume that this happy state of affairs, or any happy state of affairs, will go on for ever, though, is to reckon without the job-destroying, soul-destroying, moon-booted stupidity and arrogance of the federal government. Here's the story, from this week's New York Times, long quote:

The willingness of many young people to sacrifice pay for experience has led a number of states as well as the federal government to take a close look at the legality of hiring young people to work free. In April, the Obama administration issued a fact sheet listing six criteria aimed at preventing employers from violating the Fair Labor Standards Act with their unpaid internship programs … Some employers have converted to paid internships but in the process have cut back on the number of posts they can offer. Others have abandoned their programs altogether.

This story vaguely reminded me of something. After digging around in my books, I found it. Here it is: a wee literary passage for you. It's taken from P.J. O'Rourke's 1988 book Holidays in Hell, a brilliant collection of travel essays by our greatest living gonzo journalist. This is from the chapter on South Africa, long quote:

The game warden told how the leopard was coming to extinction in South Africa. The leopards used to be hunted as trophies, mostly by Americans and Englishmen. Any farmer who had a leopard shot on his land received a trophy fee of several hundred Rand. So whenever a farmer had a leopard around, he was careful to preserve it until some rich guy came looking to decorate the rumpus room. Even if this cost the farmer a few lambs or calves, it was worth it. Then the animal-rights people … got legislation passed forbidding the import of all spotted fur, including stuffed heads, into the U.S. and the U.K. Now the farmers just shoot the leopards — mothers, cubs, and everything — as pests.

End quote. You see the parallel, listeners? Back then, a bunch of dewy-eyed types got together to save the leopard in South Africa, and now, as a result of their efforts, the darn thing's extinct. And today, a bunch of busybody do-gooders to whom the U.S. electorate has been fool enough to grant political power, moves in to protect the tender hides of our summer interns, and pretty soon they'll be extinct too.

Then the do-gooders, who of course never learn anything from their murderous blunders, will move on to destroy some other species or occupation.

For heaven's sake, why can't the do-gooders and the legislators and the damn fool government just **LEAVE**US**ALONE**?

03 — Feds sue Arizona.     The federal Department of Justice launched its much-anticipated lawsuit against the state of Arizona. Arizona wants its law-enforcement people, when conducting routine inquiries on probable cause, to be able to check a suspect's immigration status, and hand him off to ICE — that's Immigration and Customs Enforcement — if the person can't show citizenship or legal residence. It's not exactly a new idea. In fact, the federal government has a program in effect, called the 287(g) program, to encourage local law enforcement to do exactly that, after a brief training course from the feds. And of course federal law-enforcement agents, including ICE agents, DEA, ATF, FBI, Border Patrol, and the rest, can already check a suspect's immigration status in exactly the way specified in the Arizona law.

Bearing that in mind, it's a little difficult to see any plausible grounds for the federal lawsuit. The feds' actual argument is that a state should not be able to duplicate a federal function. That's not a contemptible position, jurisprudentially speaking, but given the existence of the 287(g) program, it rings a bit hollow.

The actual reason for the lawsuit, pretty much every honest commentator agrees, is to shore up Hispanic support for the Democratic Party, when that Party is going to need all the support it can get going into the mid-terms.

Viewed from the lofty height of long-term political and demographic trends, this move, if the commentators are interpreting it correctly, is one more step along the road to a race-based party system. In a decade or two the Democratic Party will be the party of African Americans and Hispanics, the Republican Party will be the party of white Americans, close to minority status themselves at that point, and elections will be fought over the allegiances of marginal groups like elite whites (who will trend Democratic), entrepreneurial south and east Asians (who will trend Republican), contrarian minority subgroups like Cuban Americans, and whatever is left of union labor after a decade of fiscal cratering.

The racial identification of the parties is of course nothing new. John Kerry lost the white vote by 17 points in 2004. Obama did better in 2008, which suggests that voters are thinking of more than just the candidate. However, that was against a lackluster Republican nominee, backed by an unpopular Republican administration, in a time of financial crisis; and even then, Obama still lost the white vote by 12 points.

While the racialization of our politics is nothing new, though, the current administration seems to want to accelerate it. We actually got a second illustration of that this week.

04 — Black Panther case.     That was the case of the Black Panthers who stationed themselves at a Philadephia polling place during the 2008 general election, wearing military-style uniforms and berets, toting night-sticks, and insulting voters. White voters were called "crackers" and "white devils," originality apparently not being the Panthers' strong suit. It wasn't just white voters who were insulted, though. An elderly black Republican poll official was called a "race traitor" and warned that there'd be "hell to pay" when he got outside. All this has been testified to under oath. The Department of Justice started up a case under the previous administration and got a default judgment against the Panthers, then inexplicably dropped the case in May 2009, when the Obama administration had settled in.

Well, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has been having hearings on the Panther case. Just a word about the Commission: It has eight commissioners, each serving a six-year term. Four of them are appointed by the President; four by Congress. Not more than four can belong to the same political party. Currently there are four Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independents. OK, as I said, they've been having hearings on the Panther case. Star witness this week was J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department attorney who quit in disgust on June First at political interference in the cases he'd worked on.

Adams gave some lurid testimony. He alleged, for example, that Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes told department attorneys that she would not support any enforcement of the federal "Motor Voter" law, which requires states to do periodic clean-ups of their electoral rolls to get rid of dead people, felons, illegal voters and people who've moved out of state. Fernandes said, according to Adams, that, quote, "We're not interested in those kind of cases. What do they have to do with helping increase minority access and turnout? We want to increase access to the ballot, not limit it." End quote.

Adams further testified that, quote: "I was told by Voting Section management that cases are not going to be brought against black defendants on the benefit of white victims," end quote. Well, that explains the Panther case dismissal.

None of this is very surprising. Barack Obama and Eric Holder, and many of their political placemen like Julie Fernandes, come from the grievance culture of the Academy and the law schools, where everything is discussed in terms of victimhood, power, and humiliation. It's a precious, self-contained little world, that you only glimpse very occasionally if you are not a part of it. I got a glimpse by chance the other day, reading a book of essays about the state of the English language — a book called, in fact, The State of the Language, edited by Christopher Ricks. The book includes an essay by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a huge name in African American studies and hero — or, depending on your point of view, anti-hero — of last year's incident in Cambridge, Mass., when he was arrested after breaking in to his own home. Gates is also a friend of Barack Obama. Here's a sample quote from his essay, written in 1990.

We as critics can turn to our own peculiarly black structures of thought and feeling to develop our own language of criticism … We can redefine reading itself from within our own black cultures, refusing to grant the racist premise that criticism is something that white people do, so that we are doomed to imitate our white colleagues, like reverse black minstrels done up in whiteface.

End quote. That's the kind of language they talk in the academic grievance culture. See how fearlessly and courageously Prof. Gates stands up against, quote, "the racist premise that criticism is something that white people do." Did you ever hear of that premise, listener? Or see it written down anywhere? No, me neither. Gates' essay is just empty blather, just victimological log-rolling. To the degree that the passage I quoted has any meaning, it's a hifalutin' way of telling black intellectuals not to act white.

That's the atmosphere in which products of the grievance culture, people like like Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Julie Fernandes, were marinated from adolescence on. Is it surprising that when they get into power, all that carefully tended resentment, all that picking at historical scabs, all those lovingly-preserved folk memories of minstrels and the Ku Klux Klan turn into bitter spite?

Well, the Commission is proceeding with its investigations. A key figure is Christopher Coates, who was head of the Justice Department's voting rights section until his political superiors put a gag order on him and hustled him off to South Carolina. Commissioner Ashley Taylor says they will issue a subpoena for Coates, and that commissioners will perhaps even go down to South Carolina to serve the subpoena personally. J. Christian Adams says that Coates can corroborate his testimony.

Things could get interesting. Let's remember, though, that whatever the Civil Rights Commission comes up with, they have no prosecutorial powers. All they can do is refer matters to the Justice Department for action. The fox is in charge of the hen-house here. As long as products of the grievance culture are running the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, Civil Rights will be strictly for designated victim groups. Keep resentment alive!

05 — Bibi comes calling.     Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, came calling, and got an hour and a half interview with our President Tuesday. Each one wanted something from the other. Bibi wants to reassure his own voters back home that he's a guy who can deal capably with the U.S.A., a thing Israeli voters prize highly in their leaders, for obvious reasons. Obama wants to shore up support among American Jews, a key Democratic constituency, ahead of the coming mid-terms.

So all was sweetness and light and talk of peace, peace, p-e-a-c-e. Everybody likes peace. Well, everybody except Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the West Bank Palestinians, who refuses to meet with Bibi to talk about peace or anything else, and the Hamas leaders in Gaza, who don't believe Israel has any right to exist.

Still, who gives a damn about the Palestinians when there are voters to be shmoozed and photo-ops to be posed for? Come to think of it, who gives a damn about the Palestinians under any circumstances? And at least this time Bibi wasn't told to leave the White House via the laundry chute, as happened last time he was here. So I guess things are looking up in the Middle East.

06 — Russian spies.     This business about Russian spies gives one a warm glow of nostalgia, doesn't it? You might have thought that all ended when they wound up the U.S.S.R. twenty years ago. Nope: everybody spies on everybody, all the time. I sure hope we spy on Russia, and on every other nation we can get into, too. It's a dangerous world, and you can't be too careful.

But what a motley crew they are, these eleven spies we've caught! The star of the show has been Anna Chapman, née Anya Kushchenko, the 28-year-old red-haired lady who's been boosting the sales of our New York tabloids into the stratosphere this week. Anna was formerly married to an English swell, hence the name Chapman, and spent a lot of time in her English days hanging around London night clubs trying to get acquainted with young male royals. I suppose she thought they were entrusted with Britain's state secrets, which bespeaks a certain naïvete on Anna's part, since (a) Britain has no state sectrets worth the trouble of stealing, and (b) if they had any, the British government would strive mightily to keep them out of the hands of dimwitted Windsor brats. When she wasn't stalking royalty, Anna was posing for salacious pictures taken by her husband, the pictures that have proven such a boon to our tabloid newspapers this past few days.

For a while it looked as though Anna might be the only authentically Russian person among the lot of them. There were Richard and Cynthia Murphy of New Jersey, and Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley of Boston. They sound like characters in some joint British-Irish TV drama production. And then there was Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez of Yonkers, New York. If they'd had any sense they'd have moved to Arizona so they could have howled racial profiling when the FBI fingered their collars.

It was all bogus, though. Donald Howard Heathfield turns out to be Andrey Bezrukov; Richard and Cynthia Murphy were in point of fact Vladimir and Lydia Guryev; Juan Lazaro has 'fessed up to being Mikhail Anatonoljevich Vasenkov; and Tracey Lee Ann Foley is Elena Vavilova. Not a drop of Irish blood there at all — unless, of course, one of them happens by chance to be related to that great Irish-Russian WW2 General Tim O'Shenko. I thought for a while there the KGB were celebrating diversity, but I am sadly disappointed. And the KGB, I should note, in proper journalistic due diligence, is nowadays called the SVR, 'Sluzhba 'Vneshney Raz'vedki.

Although, wait a minute: Vicky Pelaez actually is Vicky Pelaez, a Peruvian-born communist who works as a reporter for a Spanish-Language newspaper here in New York. This gal really hates the U.S.A., says our prisons are concentration camps, our foreign policy's imperialist, and so on. You kind of wonder if she hates the place so much, why does she live here — but I guess now we know the answer to that: she lives here because the Russians paid her to. And here was me thinking she came here to enrich the vibrancy of our gorgeous mosaic.

And what were these spies actually spying about? In Yonkers? In New Jersey? Vicky Pelaez worked for a no-account newspaper; her husband was a professor of finance at City University of New York — national-security-wise, a no-account job. It's all a long way from Los Alamos. Still, I suppose the Russian spy recruiters know their job best, it's not for me to criticize.

Anyway, they're all being traded for some guys imprisoned in Russia, so that'll be the end of that. Is there any way we can include Lindsay Lohan in the shipment? No? Oh well.

07 — NASA's mission to Muslims.     [Bolden clip] That, believe it or not, was Charles Bolden, the Director of NASA, our National Air and Space Administration. Please note that Bolden is himself an ex-astronaut, veteran of four shuttle flights. Before that he was a test pilot and a Marine Corps flyer, who flew over a hundred combat missions into Vietnam. This is no manicured, blow-dried, law-school lefty we're talking about; this is an all-American kick-ass tough guy.

So … why's he talking like a grade school principal? Why's he saying that NASA's mission is to help kiddies with their homework, make the world love us, and boost the self-esteem of Muslims? Well, one reason is, he's an Obama appointee, and those are the kinds of things our Camp Counselor-in-Chief thinks are important. Another is, he was giving an interview to Al-Jazeera, which broadcasts to the Muslim world, and administration policy is to present the U.S.A. to the Muslims as a nation of nervous old maids yearning for love.

NASA. let me remind you, before the fact disappears down the memory hole, NASA was the outfit that, a mere 41 years ago this month, pulled off the greatest feat of engineering in the history of the human race: they landed men on the Moon and brought them safe home. That was back when we were a nation of makers and doers, of engineers and adventurers, of teenagers who spent Saturdays fixing their cars or inventing the micro-computer, of college students who did dirty jobs in their summer vacations, of kids who didn't need encouraging to study math and science because they knew there were careers to be made from that kind of knowledge.

Now we're a nation of lawyers, financiers, counselors, and diversity consultants. If we need engineering work done we hire it out to China or India, or bring engineers in on H-1B visas so we don't have to pay them too much. Now our teenagers spend Saturdays hunched over their iPads playing Guitar Hero, and our college students intern for Goldman Sachs in their summer vacations, learning the difference between forward trading and futures trading. Can you imagine a U.S. government agency pulling off a feat of engineering like the Apollo Program today? They can't even secure our borders. The federal government doesn't have any engineers any more. Only lawyers — lots of lawyers, masses of lawyers. Lawyers don't get you to the Moon.

08 — Miscellany.     Our closing miscellany of brief items.

Item:  World Cup news: Some country will play some other country in the final on Sunday. Don't ask me. There is a bit of fun to be had in the World Cup sidebar stories, though. I especially liked Paul the psychic octopus. Paul was born in Britain, but now resides at a Sea World-type park in Oberhausen, Germany. Paul has correctly predicted six of the World Cup results. A psychic octopus. And here's my favorite World Cup headline, quote: Goalkeeper's Lover Fed to Dogs. The goalkeeper here is Bruno Fernandes of Brazil. His girlfriend disappeared a month ago and was apparently last seen being served up as puppy chow. Fernandes hasn't actually played in a World Cup yet, but there's a World Cup tag in the last sentence of the news story, quote: "Mr Fernandes has expressed regret that the allegations could damage his chances of playing for Brazil in the 2014 World Cup final." Yes, breaking up is hard to do, and when the flame of passion has cooled, the temptation to reduce your partner to Kibbles'n'Bits can be awfully strong. If you want a spot on that World Cup team, though, a gentle apology and a nice piece of memento jewelry is the better way to go.

Item:  The London Daily Telegraph has reported on the most comprehensive ssurvey ever of convicted terrorists in Britain. Something called the Centre for Social Cohesion has studied 124 individuals convicted of Islamic terrorism offences since 1999. Turns out that 69 percent of them are British citizens. That doesn't mean they're called Jeeves, Parkinson, and Featherstonehaugh, though: half have family origins in South Asia, one-sixth East Africa, one-eighth from North Africa, the rest from the Caribbean and the Middle East. If you cut by nations, the lead nations are Pakistan and Somalia. What fools the British were to permit mass settlement of Muslims! Thank goodness we in the U.S.A. would never fall into that kind of folly.

Item:  You know you don't get through a Radio Derb broadcast without at least one exhortation to Get a Government Job. Here's our hero of the week: Retired New York City firefighter Lt. John McLaughlin, who retired in November 2001 after 20 years on the force with a disability pension of $86,000 a year — free of state and local taxes, of course. What was the nature of the disability? "Diminished lung capacity." Well, that's worth $86,000 a year, I guess. But how does Lt. McLaughlin occupy himself in his retirement, with those battered lungs of his? Fishing, perhaps? A little light gardening work? No, he runs marathons. In 2006, five years after his retirement, he actually competed in a Fire Department marathon, helping them defeat the Police Department. His times are pretty good. "He runs like the wind," declared a fellow runner. The shape he's in, Lt. McLaughlin, currently 55, should live another 40 years. That'll be a total pension of 4.3 million dollars, paid by the taxpayers of New York — people like me. Lt. McLaughlin I guess has a message for us, something like: "Thanks, suckers!"

Item:  A chap in Germany is in trouble on account of the ringtone he'd installed on his cell phone: it was a speech by late German leader Adolf Hitler. The speech called for "the destruction of world Jewry." Fellow passengers on the train got on their own cell phones and reported the matter to the police, who arrested the chap when he got off the train in Hamburg. German law prohibits public displays of Nazism. Perhaps it should; but then, perhaps Russian law should prohibit broadcast of Lenin's speeches, and perhaps Chinese law should prohibit pictures of Mao Tse-tung. I guess to be really sorry about your nation's historical crimes, you need to lose a big war.

09 — Signoff.     That's it, folks. Another week, another few yards traveled along the road to perdition. I must say though … [FDR speaking] … Oh, excuse me, that's my cell phone … just a minute … Oh Hi, honey, what's up …

[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]