»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, November 19, 2010

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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]

01 — Intro.     Radio Derb here, listeners, coming to you from the balmy Caribbean. This is your nautically genial host John Derbyshire demanding to know why you aren't out here with us on National Review's 2010 Post-Election Cruise.

We're having riotous fun, with a very lively and knowledgable complement of guests from every corner of the republic. For instruction we have talks and panel discussions featuring some of conservatism's deepest brows: Andy McCarthy, Victor Davis Hanson, Roger Kimball, Michael Novak, and others too numerous to mention.

Jonah and myself, as well as of course supplying valuable input to these intellectual symposia, strive also to amuse the guests, each of us in his own way. I offer them my world-famous impersonation of the late Norman Wisdom and a selection of readings from 19th-century German humorists, in of course the original German. Jonah does his justly renowned stunt with the mop handle, the loofah, and the jar of peanut butter, and we thus make sure everyone goes to bed not only with food for thought but also with smiles on their faces.

If you have never been on a National Review cruise, I urge you to consider it. The shipboard accommodations are superb. I am sharing a modest 8-room suite amidships with my research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy — a bit of a squeeze, especially when everyone wants to use the jaccuzzi at the same time, but all in all we are coping pretty well.

In any case it would be churlish to complain. Here at Radio Derb we have dedicated ourselves to bringing you nothing but the very highest quality of political commentary. If that means nothing but work, work, work, then so be it. Mandy, would you put a little more ice in this rum punch for me? Thanks so much, my dear …

02 — New York Times all at sea.     News-wise, I am in fact at something of a loss. Ever eager to augment my stock of knowledge about foreign parts, I have felt it my duty to go ashore at the various ports of call and conduct ethnographic, culinary, meteorological and sociological investigations on the beaches and in the refreshment outlets where the natives gather to practise their colorful folkways. This has left all too little time for my usual intense daily scrutiny of the news.

The girls have done their best to compensate, but we are still short of material. The only source of news on board ship, in fact, is something called Times Digest, an 8-page précis of items from the New York Times. Not being a regular Times reader I find the headlines somewhat off-putting. This one for example: "Republican Party Lackeys of the Billionaire Class Seek to Subvert Tax System." Or this one: "Gulf Oil Catastrophe Caused by Oil Companies' Reckless Pursuit of Profits." Or how about this: "Hate-Filled Nativists in Congress Ready to Block Comprehensive Immigration Reform."

Well, I guess every journal of opinion serves some particular point of view. All that is by way of an excuse for this being a somewhat abbreviated edition of Radio Derb. Let me see if I can extract a few points.

03 — Ghailani acquittal.     The main news item in the latter part of the week was the acquittal in a New York court of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, charged with more than 280 counts of conspiracy and murder in the 1998 terrorist bombings of our East African embassies.

The old Irish legal joke goes that the judge says to the defendant: "Mr. O'Shaughanessy, you have been acquitted of this charge by a Limerick jury, and may leave this court with no other stain on your character." Well, there wasn't a Limerick jury involved in this case, but there was a lefty federal judge.

Ghailani used TNT to blow up our embassies. The chap who sold him the TNT was the prosecution's main witness. Unfortunately they were not allowed to present that witness because a federal judge said the information had been extracted from him unlawfully while he was in CIA custody.

Without that witness the prosecution case collapsed. Ghailani was found guilty on just one of the 280-plus charges — damaging government property, I think it was — but in all likelihood that will be overturned on appeal and this time next year Ghailani will be running a chain of falafel stands in Brooklyn, or perhaps gainfully employed in the spiritual realm as a prison chaplain.

This is, after all, the land of opportunity. Who are we to deny a share in our abundance to Mr. Ghailani if he is eventually cleared on that one remaining charge? As a person of Islamicness he will be a valuable addition to the gorgeous mosaic of American diversity.

Welcome, Mr. Ghailani, welcome to America!

04 — California's budget hoax.     Remember the relief everyone felt five weeks ago, when after three months of wrangling, the California state legislature passed a budget to finally close the $20 billion gap between state revenues and state spending? At last, everybody said, California's done the right thing.

Well, turns out they were only kidding. That budget gap was closed not with real cuts in spending but by gimmicks and, well, not to put too fine a point on it, lies. Revenues from the federal government are nothing like as big as projected, and lawmakers probably knew this. Voter initiatives passed in November manage to both increase spending and reduce revenues, as could easily have been foreseen, and cheery forecasts of an economic upturn proved to be as empty as the seating at a "Schwarzenegger For Senate in '012" rally.

New governor Jerry Brown, when he takes office in January, will be looking at another $20 billion budget gap … or rather the last one all over again, as the legislature didn't do anything about it, just pretended to so they'd hold their seats in the November elections.

Meanwhile, if you want to know why California's in such an almighty fiscal mess, here's a clue. On Monday that state's Supreme Court ruled that illegal immigrants can enrol at public colleges at the reduced rate offered to in-state students. Citizen students from other states will of course pay a higher rate. I haven't yet seen it reported that U.S. citizens will have to sit in the back of the bus in California, but it can only be a matter of time.

05 — Charlie Rangel's self-defenestration.     Congressman Charlie Rangel walked out of a hearing by the House ethics committee, declaring that its investigation of him was unfair.

Rangel faces 13 charges of misconduct, including failure to declare income to the tax authorities, soliciting donations from persons with business before Congress, and accepting gifts of rent stabilized Manhattan apartments from a property developer.

Charlie's abrupt departure from the proceedings looked a bit odd in light of his having declared many times how eager he was to tell his side of the story. Those declarations were of course made of the same political cloth as the California legislature's announcement that they had closed their state budget gap last month — just empty, worthless, lying politician-talk.

Following Charlie's exit, the House committee went ahead anyway and recommended a censure by the full House. Quote from the New York Times, quote: "Rangel's tenacity, distinguished military record, quick wit, and fund-raising prowess made him one of the most popular and mighty Democrats in Congress." End quote. The Times also called this slimy unprincipled lying socialist race-baiting reptile, quote: "A towering figure in Washington and New York politics.," end quote.

Which tells you all you need to know about the current state of our democracy. What's that you're asking? Did Charlie's constituents re-elect him the other Tuesday? Of course they did, overwhelmingly. What a dumb question!

06 — DREAMing of amnesty.     The Democratic leaders of Congress — remember, please, that the 111th Congress still has six weeks to run — the leaders of Congress, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, have announced that they will bring the DREAM act forward in the remainder of this session for the congressfolk to vote on.

The "DREAM" in "Dream Act," D-R-E-A-M, is an acronym for something or other; something like "Democrat Reinforcements Entering America from Mexico," I think. Or perhaps it's just "D" for "Democrats" and "Ream" for what the Act will do to the Republican Party, I don't know. Anyway this is the bill that says if your parents entered the U.S.A. illegally with you in tow when you were under 16, or if you can afford $200 for the fake documents to pretend they did, and if you further enlist in one of the less-demanding arms of our flabby, dumbed-down, diversity-obsessed military, or can can gather some credits from one of our flabby, dumbed-down, diversity-obsessed colleges, we'll comp you a citizenship with full benefits.

The argument being offered by open-borders lefties and RINOs in support of this monstrosity is — and you might want to have a box of tissues handy here, listeners, it's a real tear-jerker — the argument is that helpless little kiddies should not have to suffer, nor even be put to any inconvenience — like having to move from one country to another — because their parents broke the law.

On this principle, nobody who is the parent of a child should be punished by law for any offense at all, since sending a person to jail, or fining him, or even just dragging him through the courts, will impoverish, humiliate, and distress his kids. That's pretty much the standard of open-borders argumentation, though.

Here's my suggestion for an early legislative act by the 112th Congress. Instead of giving comp citizenships to the children of scofflaws, let's legislate mandatory, automatic impeachment of public officials who violate their oath of office by wilfully refusing to faithfully enforce the people's laws. In the acronymic spirit, we could call it the WIDE AWAKE Act. That stands for " Wrathful Impeachment of Demagogues Encouraging Amnesty While Attempting to Kill Enforcement."

07 — Miscellany.     Like the rest of this week's broadcast, our customary closing miscellany of brief items is somewhat truncated.

Item:  North to Alaska: Senator RINO Murkowski seems to have won the Senate race in Alaska, those fearless ballot counters up there in the Russia zone having completed their scrutiny of write-in votes. RINOwski will be the first candidate elected to Halitosis Hall on write-in votes since Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1954. Strom Thurmond … RINO Murkowski … what a falling-off there has been!

Item:  Speaking of South Carolina, we learn that the wonderfully lifelike robot marketed as Alvin Greene won over 80 percent of the black vote in that state, while Jim DeMint won over 80 percent of the white vote. It would of course be shamefully wrong of me to suggest that any kind of tribal preference is on display there, and so I shall not suggest it. This is, as we have all been assured numberless times since January 2009, post-racial America, and thank goodness it is. No more of that nasty, divisive old race business — no, Sir! Not in Obama's America. The voters of South Carolina, black and white alike, voted after mature, thoughtful consideration of each candidate's position on the issues. There is nothing tribal about those voting statistics at all. Nothing whatsoever. Absolutely not. Perish the thought.

Item:  I hope you joined me this Wednesday in celebrating the birthday of August Möbius, who popularized the Möbius strip, and who also invented a rather nifty system of homogeneous co-ordinates. I say "popularized" because the strip was first spotted by a different mathematician, but Möbius wrote it up and got the credit. A Möbius strip is a two-dimensional surface that has only one side, as opposed to a sheet of paper, which has two sides, recto and verso, or the skin of a balloon, which also has two sides, one outside and one inside. Well, a Möbius strip only has one side, and the guy it's named after was born 220 years ago this week. The Möbius strip belongs to the branch of math known as topology — the math that tells you, for example, how to remove your undershirt without first taking off your shirt. You might want to try doing that, if you can figure it out. Should anyone happen by while you're in the midst of the project, just explain to them that you are doing it in honor of August Möbius, born 220 years ago last Wednesday.

Item:  Finally, a scattering of items that nobody who has a life should care about. Canada will withdraw all her troops from Afghanistan next year after a mere ten years' fighting — deplorable lack of resolve there, you Canucks. In the modern style of war that we're pioneering, ten years is barely enough time to get the advance party in place. What else? There's been a coup in Madagascar, wherever that is. Something something Middle East something something. And Prince William, heir to the heir of the British throne, has got engaged to the daughter of an airline stewardess. Jolly good luck there Wills; you can send the wedding invitation to me care of National Review.

10 — Signoff.     There you have it, listeners. From the watery wastes somewhere between Grand Cayman and Cozumel, this is your tropically genial host signing off. It's seven fifteen and I must begin to dress for dinner. One doesn't want to be late at the captain's table. One might end up chained in the brig with no-one but the ship's cat for company, or splicing the mainbrace, or swabbing the futtocks … who knows?

[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]