[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, this is your humbly genial host John Derbyshire with Taki Magazine's broadcast roundup of the week's events.
News-wise here on the island, we're in a state of great suspense. The nearest neighboring island, just half an hour away by row-boat, does not belong to Taki. The owners there are an elderly couple, a Greek named Phillip and his English wife Betty. I don't visit them as much as perhaps I should, mainly because the food over there is awful, they drink their beer warm, and there isn't a decent bottle of bourbon in the whole island.
Well, their grandson and his wife also live there, and the wife is expecting her first baby any time now. The villagers here speak of nothing else, with much speculation about what sex the child will be and what name they'll give it. Nikki Nicolaides down at the goatburger joint has actually opened a book, and there is cash betting going on. I have the baby a male named "Beauregard" at 100 to one.
Well, we shall see. Meanwhile, let's look at the news headlines from Stateside.
02 — Life under Jim Snow. In case you didn't hear, we got a verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. The verdict was: not guilty.
"Sad augurs mock their own presage," as Shakespeare said, and I'll confess I was one of those sad augurs. My presage was, to quote from Radio Derb's June 1st broadcast, that Zimmerman is toast. I was sure the state would find some way to railroad him. God knows they tried, but it didn't work. I was — can you believe it? — too pessimistic. I'm happy to have been found so; I'm happy to mock my own presage.
The best brief summary of the whole event, from confrontation to acquittal, was provided by commentator "Mike in Hawaii" on the Daily Mail website Tuesday, quote:
Let's see. Zimmerman saw a hoodie-wearing black guy and got suspicious, only to have his suspicions validated by almost being beaten to death by the hoodie-wearing black guy. Following the acquittal, thousands of hoodie-wearing black guys take to social media and threaten to kill Zimmerman. What exactly did Zimmerman do wrong again?
End quote. Among leftist commentators the commonest theme was: What if Zimmerman had been black and Martin nonblack?
As it happens, we know the answer to that. In April 2009, in a suburb of Rochester, New York, 42-year-old Roderick Scott, who is black, large, and muscular, shot and killed an unarmed white teenager, Christopher Cervini, aged 16.
There had been some burglaries of cars in the neighborhood. Mr. Scott, inside his home at 3 a.m., saw Cervini and two other white teenagers behaving suspiciously around his car. He profiled them, you might say. He picked up his licensed handgun, went outside, and confronted Cervini. Cervini somehow caused Scott to feel threatened. Scott thereupon shot Cervini twice, killing him.
New York State has no Stand Your Ground laws — more about those in just a moment — so Roderick Scott was arrested, charged with manslaughter and brought to trial.
Quote from Michael Filozof's report at American Thinker, quote:
Despite the fact that he left his own property, confronted, and shot dead an unarmed white person thought to be committing a petty property crime, Scott was acquitted by a majority-white jury after claiming that Cervini charged at him, putting him in imminent fear of his life.
End quote. And, admit it listener, you never heard of this case until now. It was not a media sensation, simply because it was not of any utility to the media in their mission to dramatize the fantasies of our liberal ruling class — fantasies about evil white proles being beastly to helpless trembling minorities.
This is life under Jim Snow.
03 — Guilty of Bad Thoughts? That Justice Department investigation seems to me the most sinister, disturbing aspect of the whole affair.
We learned on Sunday that last year the FBI questioned three dozen — that's the estimate given by George Zimmerman's brother — three dozen of Zimmerman's close friends and acquaintances, seeking evidence that Zimmerman is "racist," which in this context I assume means: has negative feelings or opinions about blacks. They found, again according to the brother, they found nothing. No, George Zimmerman is not "racist."
But what if he was? Negative feelings and opinions, about blacks or anything else, are not illegal. What kind of jurisprudence is this? Jim Snow jurisprudence, I guess. As Michael Filozof remarked in that report I quoted in my previous segment, these federal "civil rights" cases are little more than reverse lynch mobs: the mob ignoring the law, or going around it, to get the result they want.
Now we learn that following the acquittal Justice has re-started that investigation into George Zimmerman's thoughts. They have actually set up a public email address to which you can send them any information you have about Zimmerman. So if you're black and Zimmerman stepped on your toes in a bus once, let the Justice Department know! The email address is Sanford.Florida@usdoj.gov.
We learned another thing this week, another fact relevant to the Zimmerman case, though not mentioned in court.
This concerns Trayvon Martin, who you'll recall did not live in Sanford, but in Miami, 200 miles away. That's where he went to school. Now, a house near the school was burgled in October 2011, four months before Martin's death. Some jewelry was stolen. The burglary was reported to Miami police, and they opened an investigation.
A few days later, an officer of Miami Schools Police Department — that's a separate law enforcement unit — was going through Trayvon Martin's backpack looking for a magic marker in relation to a graffiti incident at the school. He found several items of jewelry, which later were matched to the items stolen in the house burglary. He also found a burglary tool.
Why wasn't this reported to the main police unit investigating the burglary? Because the chief of the schools unit was cooking the books, that's why. To make his statistics look good, he was logging incidents like this as disciplinary or mental health problems, not crimes.
It worked. Less than two weeks before Martin's death, the school system commended Chief Hurley for, quote, "decreasing school-related juvenile delinquency by an impressive 60 percent for the last six months of 2011," end quote.
It worked again when, about the same time, Martin was found to possess drug paraphernalia and residue. Again, no crime was logged, only a school disciplinary infraction. Martin was suspended from school. That's why he left Miami to go to his dad's girlfriend's place in Sanford. If Miami Schools Police Department hadn't been cooking the books to make themselves look good, Martin would still be alive, even if possibly in jail.
The chief of the Schools police unit, Officer Charles Hurley, eventually got found out. Last May he was reassigned to desk duties pending a misconduct investigation. That was for cooking the books on his crime stats. Early this year he was demoted; but that was for sexual harassment.
A real piece of work, Officer Hurley. But no-one seems to have thought to connect him to Trayvon Martin, for whose death he bears some indirect responsibility. Where were America's investigative journalists? Trying to find evidence that George Zimmerman forgot to feed his goldfish back in 1983, that's where.
04 — Stand Your Ground stupidity. The overwhelming impression I came away with from this whole affair was, I am sorry to say, one of mass stupidity. I have mentioned before the German apothegm Auf ewig wird die Dummheit auf Erde herrschen — "Stupidity will rule on earth for ever." You better believe it.
A fair amount of the stupidity in this case has concerned Stand Your Ground laws. These are laws, in force in various states — though not, as mentioned a moment ago, in New York — that say if you are somewhere you have a right to be, and if you are threatened with assault, or reasonably suppose yourself to be so threatened, you are not obliged to retreat to a place of safety. You can stand your ground and defend yourself.
Well, on Tuesday this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, addressing leaders of the NAACP — that would be his people — said how concerned he was about the Zimmerman acquittal. Then, with his next breath, he said this, quote:
Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation's attention, it's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.
End quote. Notwithstanding that "separate and apart" bit at the beginning, Holder was obviously linking Stand Your Ground laws with the Zimmerman prosecution. Why? Lying on the ground with Trayvon Martin on top of him, as the evidence overwhelmingly confirmed, Zimmerman had no power to retreat. Florida's Stand Your Ground law is irrelevant, and Zimmerman's defense did not invoke it.
Stupider yet, it's common knowledge to anyone who's bothered to acquaint themselves with crime statistics — statistics gathered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over which Eric Holder presides — it's common knowledge that self-defense killings are overwhelmingly carried out by blacks — 73 percent, last time I looked.
So any law that strengthens self-defense disproportionately benefits black people — Eric Holder's people! So why does the A-G want to, quote, "question" those laws? The answer can only be: stupidity.
In jurisdictions where Stand Your Ground laws are in force, they apply to some subset of self-defense pleas, so you'd expect them disproportionately to benefit blacks, too. So they do. Investigative reporter Patrick Howley, working from statistics gathered by Florida's own law enforcement, finds that black Floridians have made about a third of the state's total "Stand Your Ground" claims in homicide cases. That's twice the proportion of blacks in Florida's population. The Stand Your Ground defense was successful 55 percent of the time for blacks, which is higher than the rate of success for white defendants.
Those damn statistics are so racist, aren't they?
More stupidity came from pop singer Stevie Wonder, who interrupted a concert he was giving on Sunday to tell the world he won't perform in Florida until the state repeals its Stand Your Ground law — the law that, just to say it once again, disproportionately benefits blacks. That aside, Mr. Wonder seems not to have noticed that it was the state of Florida — the very same entity that Mr. Wonder will be boycotting — that decided to prosecute George Zimmerman when the local police saw no reason to. Nice way to show gratitude, Stevie.
Auf ewig wird die Dummheit auf Erde herrschen. And see how deft I am: I got through a whole segment on stupidity without even mentioning Rachel Jeantel! … Oh dear, that was a bit insensitive and unkind, wasn't it? I know: so as not to give offense to the lady, I'll post the transcript of this week's Radio Derb in cursive. Then she won't be able to read it.
05 — Immigration bill roundup. The immigration bill remains in limbo, but there have been some developments around the edges.
On Tuesday the President gave an interview to Univision in which he told them regretfully that he is, quote, "probably not" able to just legalize all the illegals by executive order. Obviously this is what he'd like to do, and maybe he'll yet find some loophole way to do it.
On Wednesday House Speaker John Boehner, dabbing a tear from his eye, whimpered that immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children — or who can plausibly fake having been so brought, though he didn't say that — these so-called DREAMers, sobbed Boehner, should be offered citizenship as a matter of, quote, "basic fairness."
Further quote [with sobbing noises]: "These children were brought here of no accord of their own, and frankly they're in a very difficult position," end quote.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, whose job is to follow behind Boehner with a mop and a satchel full of spare Kleenex boxes, backed up his boss, quote: "These in many instances are kids without a country if we don't allow them to become full citizens of our country. It is not only an issue of fairness, as the Speaker said, it's an issue of decency and compassion. Where else would these kids go?" End quote.
Where else would they go? That's one of those questions that begs for a facetious answer; but the non-facetious answer is, they should go back to the countries they are citizens of. What's indecent or un-compassionate about that?
Also on Wednesday, at a Capitol Hill presser, Gang of Eight member John McCain revealed, to nobody's surprise, that he didn't know what's in the bill he's been trying for months to jam down the national throat.
A cheeky reporter hit John-John with a pop quiz, quote: "Senator McCain, under the bill, how many passports can someone forge before it becomes a crime?" McCain replied, quote: "You're going to have to ask our folks that, I don't think that we stand for any forgeries."
[GONG!] Section 1541 of the bill, title "Trafficking in Passports," says explicitly that a person can be charged for a crime if they forge, quote, "3 or more passports." Forging one or two is OK, according to the bill as written.
Goodness, what's the world coming to, when a Senator's supposed to know what's in his own bill?
Meanwhile, the buzz around the Congressional coffee lounge is that House Republicans might put forward legislation to give work permits to the illegal aliens, but not citizenship. This is a stupid idea even by Republican standards. Democrats want those illegals as voters, so they are determined to give them citizenship. Ergo, this GOP plan would never get past the Senate or the President.
Representative Paul Ryan stuck with this work-permit-but-no-citizenship plan, though and tried his best to make it sound nice for the benefit of that large segment of the electorate who think it's cruel to enforce the law. Quote from him on Thursday, quote: "We don't want to push people into citizenship. Most people just want to have a legal status so they can work to provide for their families." End quote.
Listening to Ryan, you could see the light slowly dawning on the GOP's collective pea-sized brain that the demands on them coming from the Chambers of Commerce and software billionaires for more cheap labor can only be satisfied by giving the Democrats fifty million new voters. How to square the circle? I know — let's allow them to work but not allow them to vote! Brilliant! And yes, sad to say, by Republican standards it actually is brilliant.
Not in this week's news was any administration official or congresscritter calling for strict enforcement of the immigration laws, universal E-verify at workplaces, and a contract to the Israeli government to build a fence along the Mexican border as good as the one they've built across the Sinai Desert. Perhaps next week.
06 — The Naked and the Bread A news item here from Long Island, where the Derbyshire estates are located.
This is the local newspaper, Long Island Newsday. Dateline Hempstead, Long Island, July 9. Hempstead of course has a school district, and the school district wants the kiddies to read some good nourishing literature over the summer vacation. So they have produced a reading list, a list of good books the kiddies should read.
For the 11th and 12th grade, for example, recommended books include The Canterbury Tale (singular) by Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bonte, Animal Farm by George Ornell, The Great Gypsy by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas (spelt with one "s") by Frederick Douglas (spelt with one "s").
Quote from a different edition of Long Island Newsday, this one July 2nd, quote:
Hempstead consistently has been one of Long Island's worst-performing school systems. Its 2011-12 graduation rate of 38 percent was the lowest of the Island's 124 public school districts.
End quote. The Hempstead school district Superintendent is Afro-Gyno-American Susan Johnson. Ms. Johnson's contract expired recently, and on the basis of her district's dismal performance, the contract was not renewed.
Aw, just kidding. Of course Ms. Johnson's contract was renewed! In fact she was rehired in at a salary of $265,000 per annum, which is at the high end of the range for Long Island school districts. Her present contract runs to June of 2016. Oh, she also gets supplemental pay up to $40,000 annually based on her performance, which I'm sure will be stellar.
To save you looking up the demographics of Hempstead on city-data.com, I just did it for you: black 46 percent, Hispanic 44 percent, whites and Asians together 8 percent. That darn racism, holding the kids back! When will we get rid of it? Perhaps Ms. Johnson has the solution.
Meanwhile, if you've finished chuckling about The Great Gypsy, here is a reading recommendation of my own for you.
If you subscribe to the excellent magazine Literary Review, as I keep urging you to, you will know that a regular feature in the magazine is Illustrations to Unwritten Books — a little one-frame cartoon drawn by Chris Riddell, with a caption that is a slightly twisted version of a famous book title: The Apes of Wrath, for example, or A Tale of Two Cuties, or Ben Hurnia. The picture wittily illustrates the twisted title. The July 2013 issue of Literary Review, which is the latest I have, features The Dairy of O, illustrated by a pretty young woman chained and manacled to a milkmaid's yoke and buckets.
You need to know your literature to get the point, but if this is your kind of thing, here's the suggestion. Chris Riddell's been doing this feature for a dozen years and more. In 2005 he brought out a book of them, which you can find on Amazon, title: The Da Vinci Cod: and Other Illustrations to Unwritten Books. Treat yourself. Then, when you've finished chuckling over the book, donate it to Hempstead school district, care of Ms. Johnson.
07 — Miscellany. Who's this coming up the path? Why, it's Miss Ellany with our closing ratatouille of brief items.
Imprimis: An astronomer working for NASA has spotted a hitherto-unknown moon orbiting the planet Neptune. That's the fourteennth known moon of Neptune. It's twelve miles across, 65,000 miles out from the planet.
I must say, I've always had a soft spot for Neptune, way out there on the furthest edge of the Solar System. It's actually the furthest planet from the Sun. Oh, yeah, yeah, I know, there's Pluto, but … Pluto, you know … Pluto's just what they call down in Florida a planet wannabe. Not a real planet.
Now of course we have to come up with a name for this moon. Neptune was the god of the sea, and also of natural disasters; so the choice of name seems clear to me. I have submitted "Sharknado" to the International Astronomical Union. Seems just right to me, though of course you never know how the bureaucrats will decide. Just so long as we don't end up with "Trayvon."
Item: Another one from the wonderful world of science: British scientists have developed a way to generate electricity from urine. They claim to have developed the first urine-powered mobile phone. That's "phone" with a "p."
One advantage of this new power source, say the boffins, is that it, quote, "does not rely on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun." I guess not. Of course, you'd need to resist the temptation to recharge your iPhone right there in the street.
Item: And yet another. My favorite science headline of the week, out of Boise State University, quote: "Hawkmoths jam bat radar with ultrasonic blasts from their genitals." You don't see headlines like that too often.
What's going on here is that bats eat small flying critters, which they locate with their echo sonar. The critters can jam the bats' sonar by making loud confusing noises, though. That's what these hawkmoths do, by, quote, "grating modified scraper scales on the outer surface of the genital valves against the inner margin of the last abdominal tergum," end quote. Whether it makes the earth move for lady hawkmoths, the article doesn't say; but it keeps the bats away, that's the main thing.
Item: Here's one I missed, from the week before last. July 6th, Asiana flight 214 crashed at San Francisco airport, killing three and injuring dozens of the 307 people on board. Asiana is a Korean airline.
The following week, San Francisco TV station KTVU ran a news item announcing the names of the four pilots on board, thus: Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, Bang Ding Ow. The news presenter, a young lady named Tori Campbell, delivered the names with a straight face, obviously unaware that somebody was having a little fun. The culprit seems to have been a summer intern at the National Transportation Safety Board.
I guess that story burst the bubble for those of you who thought TV newsreaders were hired for their intelligence. All eight of you.
And let no bad-taste story about Korean names be allowed to pass without a respectful mention of the Foreign Minister of South Korea who died in the Rangoon bombing of 1983, Mr. Lee Bum Suk.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gentlemen. A slow news week, I'm afraid, but entirely appropriate to the hot, lazy weather we've been having all over the northern hemisphere this few days.
As I've mentioned before, we go to tape late Thursday night here at Radio Derb, but the date stamp on the broadcast is the Saturday. So this week's broadcast officially belongs to July 20th, 2013. That's exactly forty years to the day since the great Bruce Lee left us.
I had a very slight passing acquaintance with Bruce Lee, which I wrote up ten years ago. Thinking of him now brings up all kinds of sad, sentimental, and nostalgic reflections from my wayward youth — from the chronicle of wasted time, to quote the Bard again.
Here's a fragment of the song they played at Lee's funeral in Seattle: From Laura Nyro's "And When I Die."
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: From Laura Nyro's "And When I Die"]