[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, this is your transgressively genial host John Derbyshire, here as usual with news of the passing charivari.
More than the usual amount of political incorrectness this week, ladies and gents. I apologize for that — you know how I hate to give offense. It's just that the news focus this week has been on topics of race and sex.
Consider for example the end-of-term batch of decisions from the United States Supreme Court. I'll take the headliners one by one.
02 — A beast no-one dares kill. The first big ruling out of the Supremes this week was on the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas. Fisher had applied to the University of Texas at Austin five years ago but been rejected on account of not belonging to any favored minority.
Ms. Fisher had sued, the lower courts had ruled against her (which is to say, in favor of the University, which is of course taxpayer-funded), and the case ended up before the Supremes last year.
The nub of the matter was a previous Supremes decision, handed down in 2003, that allowed racial diversity to be a "compelling governmental interest" but narrowed the scope of methods universities have for reaching that interest. So: Had the University of Texas stepped outside that scope in Ms. Fisher's case?
Well, on Monday the Supremes ruled that the lower courts had been too lax in taking the university's word for it that their methods for getting to diversity were indeed strictly within those 2003 bounds. So they bounced the whole thing back to the lower courts.
I had some fun with Fisher v. University of Texas back in October last year when the Supremes were hearing oral arguments. I can just quote myself here from that October broadcast. First quote:
[Clip: "In the matter of affirmative action, the preference of the Supreme Court up to now has been to obfuscate the issue as much as possible, wrapping it in such a blanket of legal Esperanto as to make your average Byzantine theologian a model of clarity and precision by comparison."]
Second quote, from a bit later in the broadcast:
[Clip: "My guess is that the Court's decision on Fisher, when it emerges, will add another layer of juri-babble to the issue, confusing everyone still further, but in a way that allows the universities to go on as before admitting less-qualified minorities while rejecting better-qualified whites."]
Well, at least they avoided that. They also, of course, avoided ruling that affirmative action in public accommodations is a gross and clear violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which of course it is.
And so affirmative action rolls on, a beast no-one dares kill, the justifications for it ascending ever further into realms of cloudy algebraic abstraction.
The republic has a clear choice. Behind Door One, public policies that violate the Constitution and the most elementary principles of fairness. Behind Door Two, public universities with student bodies almost exclusively composed of whites and Asians. We choose Door One, and the Supreme Court dare not tell us we are wrong.
03 — From Jim Crow to Jim Snow. The Supreme Court of course stands at the head of one of the federal government's three branches. Its judgments are often best seen in the context of the static tension between those three branches.
The second big ruling this week concerned the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The key concepts are "covered" and "preclearance."
A state or locality is "covered" by the Act if it belongs to a list kept by the Department of Justice, a list of jurisdictions with some history of unfairness in voting procedures. If a "covered" jurisdiction wants to change its voting procedures in any way, it has to apply to Justice to get permission. That permission is "preclearance."
The key word there is "history." How far back does the Justice Department have to reach when figuring out whether or not a jurisdiction should be "covered"? As the Act originally passed, in 1965, the benchmark was the 1964 election. Subsequent revisions of the Act by Congress brought that benchmark up to the 1972 election, but then it got stuck there.
The preclearance requirement was supposed to expire in five years, but Congress kept renewing it, most recently in 2006 — when they renewed it for twenty-five years! The criteria for deciding who was covered, however, remained stuck in 1972.
What was on display here was simply Congressional cowardice. The Voting Rights Act is a relic of the 1960s; but it is a sacred relic, like a splinter from the True Cross, because it was a key achievement of the Civil Rights movement, which has a religious quality for liberals. Any congressman who dared try to change that relic would be denounced by all the panjandrums of liberal America as a foe of Civil Rights; which is to say, an evil person, a hate-filled bigot filled with bigoted hatred, seeking to restore race slavery. Or something.
Well, the Supremes struck down that section of the Act that tells Justice how to determine who's "covered," on the grounds that the data Justice is required to use when making that determination is 40 years out of date. Unless Congress comes up with replacement criteria, the Act is a dead letter.
Of course, Congress could have dealt with the issue themselves, and spared the Supremes from having to confront it. As I just explained, though, Congress is too race-whipped to deal with anything in this zone, so the Supremes had to do their work for them.
The ruling was greeted with shrieks of horror from the liberal establishment and the race lobbies, and much hand-wringing about, quote, "continuing discrimination."
These folk are truly living in the past. As the Fisher v. University of Texas case illustrates, all the discrimination nowadays is against whites. Jim Crow is long gone; this is the age of Jim Snow. Voting discrimination today is not a matter of literacy tests and refused registrations; it's Black Panthers with nightsticks at the entrance to the polling place, and La Raza busing in illegal aliens to vote — neither of which things our current Department of Justice has the least interest in prosecuting.
04 — Gay trumps black in California. The third Supreme Court headliner this week — it was actually two rulings — concerned homosexual marriage.
First ruling: One section in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act — "DOMA" to its friends — said that for the purposes of the federal legislature and bureaucracy, the word "marriage" and related terms like "spouse" could only refer to heterosexual unions. The Supremes said that section of DOMA was unconstitutional on Fifth Amendment grounds.
The majority opinion here, by Justice Kennedy, was frankly totalitarian — that is, it declared that one opinion about the nature of marriage should be held by all good citizens, and that anyone holding a different view could only be motivated by malice. Dissenters from the one correct view sought, in Justice Kennedy's words, to, quote, "disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity," end quote. One such dissenter, Supreme Court Justice Scalia, said that the Court majority had declared opponents of homosexual marriage to be hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.
The second ruling concerned California's Proposition 8, passed by referendum five years ago. Proposition 8 put a clause into the constitution of the Golden State saying that only marriage between a man and a woman should be recognized as marriage in California. State courts upheld it on appeal; federal courts ruled it unconstitutional.
At that point it was up to the state Attorney General's office to appeal the federal court's ruling. The A-G refused to do so. This was deeply unsurprising: California's Attorney General, Kamala Harris, is a San Francisco lefty from Central Casting, who ticks every box on the far-left-liberal positions checklist. When she ran for Attorney General in 2010, her platform included a specific pledge not to defend Proposition 8 in federal court.
So the private citizens who had moved the Proposition appealed instead. Well, the Supremes ruled this week that they had no standing. Quote from the majority opinion, written by John Roberts, quote:
We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend a state statute when state officials have chosen not to.
End quote. On this one, ironically, Justice Kennedy was a dissenter, claiming that the court majority hadn't made proper allowance for California's initiative system.
My colleague Kathy Shaidle pointed out a bigger irony. Proposition 8 was passed thanks to heavy support from California's blacks; so this Court ruling on Prop. 8 effectively disenfranchised blacks. Yet all the professional blacks like Al Sharpton and Touré Neblett who were hyperventilating on TV the day before over the Voting Rights Act decision had nothing to say about the Prop. 8 decision. Strange.
05 — Zimmerman "trial" witnesses forget their lines. The George Zimmerman show trial got under way this week in Florida. I assumed this would proceed along the lines described by Karl Malden to Marlon Brando in One-Eyed Jacks, quote: "Sure, we'll give ya a fair trial. Then we'll hang ya."
Day One, Monday, did go pretty much like that. It was opening arguments. To a reverently hushed courtroom, prosecutor John Guy quoted George Zimmerman as having told the police dispatcher, quote, "Fucking punks. These assholes, they always get away." End quote. I must say, those are pretty much the words I'd be using if my residential estate was plagued by young hoodlums breaking into cars and houses, stealing stuff. If the young hoodlums are black, though, then the young hoodlums are "teens," and any rude words about them are Hate Speech.
Guy then brought the room to tears with a lyrical account of how the evil racist Zimmerman had stalked and murdered the cherubic young innocent Trayvon Martin. Actual quote: "George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to. He shot him for the worst of all reasons — because he wanted to." End quote.
Defense attorney Don West then tried to make his opening statements, but he walked into a blizzard of objections from the prosecutor, every one of them upheld by the prosecutor's assistant, presiding judge Debra Nelson. Don West was reduced to standing there silent at last, everything he wanted to say having been ruled inadmissible. As I said, all according to plan.
On Day Two the wheels looked to be in danger of falling off. A succession of prosecution witnesses forgot their lines. One of them, the black lady who'd coached Zimmerman in how to do Neighborhood Watch, described him as shy but professional. Another, the president of the homeowner's association, admitted that a burglar had been caught three weeks before the Zimmerman-Martin encounter, by some contractors on the estate following him while reporting his movements to the police. Under dogged questioning, the witness admitted at last that the burglar was black.
The crime scene technician stepped up to give her forensics testimony, but under careful questioning revealed that Zimmerman's injuries were even worse than we'd thought. Zimmerman's black neighbor was a catastrophe for the prosecution, contradicting herself and admitting to having signed a petition for Martin's parents.
On Day Three, Wednesday, we got testimony from neighbors who had heard the commotion. Star turn here was Jane Surdyka, who came across even to sympathetic observers as being not very tightly wrapped.
Ms. Surdyka told the court that, quote: "I truly believed, especially the second yell … I really felt it was the boy's voice … It was like a boy's voice … Then I heard 'Pop, pop, pop.'" End quote. Since it is indisputable, on the physical evidence, that Zimmerman fired only one shot, the court was left wondering about the acuity of Ms. Surdyka's hearing and/or memory.
Day Three also brought us the first tranche of testimony from Rachel Jeantel, a.k.a. Deedee, a 300-pound slab of ghetto attitude, advertised to us as the last person to have spoken with Martin, on the phone that is, before he was shot.
Ms. Jeantel testified that Martin had told her that he was being followed by a, quote, "creepy-ass cracker." This doesn't jibe very well with the notion that Martin was fleeing from a person he was scared of. It would also suggest that Martin was a bit of a racist, except of course that blacks can't be racist. One might even speculate further, as Steve Sailer has, that a young man being followed by an older man could easily imagine that the older man was seeking a homosexual encounter. If there were any proof of that, it would be delicious. Martin's assault on Zimmerman would then be a gay-bashing hate crime, and liberals' heads would explode. Alas, there is no such proof.
In spite of having been offered to us as a person who speaks three languages — English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole — Deedee, a 19-year-old high school senior, soon began to cast doubts on her own cognitive powers. It became apparent in fact that her BBI — that's Body-Brain Index, weight in pounds divided by I.Q. — is at least four.
We knew for instance that Deedee had written a letter to Martin's mother describing what she says she heard on that last phone call with Martin. Asked to read out the letter in court, however, she could not. "I don't read cursive," she explained. This, remember, was a letter that, according to her own sworn testimony, she had written herself. Hoo boy. Under further questioning, Deedee admitted to having told other lies under oath. Not a star prosecution witness.
The trial proceeds. The quality of the witnesses may improve. That would make the show less entertaining, but it won't affect the verdict, which was decided months ago.
06 — Cracker trouble. The republic has been having trouble this last few days with what Trayvon Martin would have called a "cracker," which is to say a white person.
The offending cracker here is Paula Deen, a celebrity chef and restaurateur. Ms. Deen is not just white, she's Southern white. Cracker-wise, that makes her a twofer — a Ritz Bits Sandwich, if you like.
Well, the manager of one of Ms. Deen's restaurants brought an action in law against her for creating a hostile workplace atmosphere by using racial insults. Ms. Deen's deposition in the case included the following exchange with a lawyer.
Lawyer: "Have you ever used the N-word yourself?"
The lady was referring there to a documented incident that happened in 1986. That was enough to get her denounced from all the nation's pulpits, though. The TV network canceled her show and several of her sponsors dropped her, though to their great credit some others didn't, or at least haven't as we go to tape.
We then went through the usual embarrassing charade. Ms. Deen made a tearful apology, swearing that she is not a racist. That of course didn't help her; neither did the fact that she is a liberal and an on-the-record Obama supporter. Hey, George Zimmerman's a liberal, too — a registered Democrat, anyway. That's not helping him. When the forces of righteousness and orthodoxy have decided your pelt would look real good on the wall of the Diversity Chapel, ain't nothing going to help you …
… Although it depends who you are — specifically, how useful you are to the Cultural Marxists. The late Senator Robert Byrd said the N-word on nationwide TV, twice, yet every standing structure in West Virginia is still named after him. Ah, but he was a bigfoot Democrat politician, useful to the elites in getting their pet laws through Congress. That's different.
Ms. Deen has been banished into outer darkness, to the place of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Still, although the Thought Police have pushed her off the airwaves and killed her big sponsorship deals, they haven't yet deprived her of all her income. In one respect, in fact, they've given it a boost. Ms. Deen's cookbooks are selling like hot cakes … hot deep-fried Twinkies, it would be more apt to say. Her latest, which doesn't even hit the bookstores till October, is running at Number One on Amazon.com at week's end. Another book, Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible, is at No. 13. Several other Deen titles are out of stock.
So … that's how you bump up your Amazon ranking, is it? Er … hmmm …
07 — Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States! The U.S. Senate voted through the 2013 Scofflaw Amnesty and American Worker Displacement Bill on Thursday.
I'm a bit weary with reporting the immigration follies, so I'll just read you what was said Thursday by Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who has emerged a true patriotic hero from this sordid mess. Senator Sessions, edited quote:
The legislation adopted today guarantees three things: immediate amnesty before security, permanent future illegal immigration, and a record surge in legal immigration that will reduce wages and increase unemployment.
End quote. Listeners, I've spilled a lot of words on this shameful amnesty bill. Today I'll give you just four more:
JEFF SESSIONS FOR PRESIDENT!
08 — Death by political correctness. Here's a sad little story. And no, I am not being facetious: this really is sad.
The story comes from New York's Long Island, where my own domestic estates are located. In the town of Bay Shore on Long Island there is a gym, one of the Planet Fitness chain of gyms. A local young lady, name of Emily Hamlin, died in that gym back in February 2012. She was in a toilet stall in the ladies' locker room when she suffered some kind of seizure. A female member heard her fall and ran to the front desk to get help.
At the front desk was a young male employee, name of Sean Higgins. When he was appealed to for help, Sean said he wasn't allowed to go into the ladies' bathroom. Four or five minutes later he did dial 911, but by that time the unfortunate Ms. Hamlin had passed the point of no return. She was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Now her family has a lawsuit against the gym and Mr. Higgins.
I think this story tells us something about the times we live in. You could make a claim, in fact, that poor Ms. Hamlin was killed by political correctness.
Look at it from the point of view of the employee, young Sean Higgins. He's likely on minimum wage, or close to it. The rules of his job say he's not allowed to go into the ladies' bathroom. A frantic young woman is urging him to break the rule.
Sean, however, has grown up in a society where rules about crossing sex lines are written in bright red ink and are hot to the touch: a society whose schools and colleges publish checklists of things boys may and may not say and do in the presence of females, if they don't want to get stuck with a "sexual harassment" charge: a society in which there is essentially no defense against such a charge, in which a woman's word will be taken as truth, regardless of anything a man says: a society in which, if you spill coffee on a girl's dress, she is liable to cry "rape!" and you are liable to find yourself down at the station house being read your Miranda rights.
And in this social atmosphere we expect Sean Higgins to ignore the rules and go rushing into the ladies' bathroom?
The news report says, quote:
As Hamlin lay dying, Higgins remained frozen and was "scared and confused and didn't know what to do."
End quote. Is anyone surprised?
My sincere condolences to the family of Ms. Hamlin. I don't know what precisely was given as "cause of death" on her death certificate, but it looks to me like death by political correctness.
09 — Signoff. All out of time, I'm afraid, ladies and gents. I must forgo our closing miscellany, and just hasten to wish my American listeners a relaxing and joyful July Fourth.
There will of course be more from Radio Derb next week. Here to see us out is some July Fourth music: Our beautiful National Anthem, sung by the incomparable Kate Smith.
[Music clip: Kate Smith, "The Star-Spangled Banner"]