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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Aaaand Radio Derb is on! the! air! Yes, listeners all over the world, this is your empiriologically genial host John Derbyshire with news of this weeks' follies, failures, and felonies.
Before proceeding with this week's broadcast there is one thing I need to clear up. Like all powerful men, I have enemies, and my enemies do not hesitate to mock and slander me. One such recently put out an accusation on what I believe is called a "blog" that the entire Radio Derb operation is fake, that I have no state-of-the-art studio, no expensive recording equipment, no trained technicians, and no skillful, dedicated, and nubile young research assistants; that I am nothing but a lonely and frustrated guy with a Radio Shack microphone operating from a seedy attic room somewhere in the New York suburbs. The occasional interjections heard from my research assistants are, says this person, merely audio-shopped from YouTube clips.
Scurrilous talk of this kind needs to be dealt with as soon as it appears. I have no time here to deal with all these insults in detail; but I can at least offer photographic evidence for the existence of my buxom assistants. I urge ye of little faith to go to the transcript of this broadcast at the johnderbyshire.com "Opinions" pages, where you will find a recent photograph of Mandy, Candy, and Brandy in all their professional elegance. So there; let these foolish rumors subside.
With that out of the way, let us proceed!
02 — When will the college bubble pop? I'm a fan of the blogger Randall Parker, whose blog is named ParaPundit. The other day Randall was chewing over a couple of reports in the mainstream press about the value of a college degree.
You know how college has been oversold this past few decades. You have to go to college for four years and get a degree, or your life is over — that sort of thing. Randall thinks the college bubble is about to pop, and quotes one of those reports, from Bloomberg.com, quote:
Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has predicted that as many as half of the more than 4,000 universities and colleges in the U.S. may fail in the next 15 years. The growing acceptance of online learning means higher education is ripe for technological upheaval, he has said.
End quote. Randall points out, as many others have of course — including me — that a big driving force behind the college fad was the 1971 Supreme Court case Griggs v. Duke Power, which made it extremely difficult for employers to give IQ tests to job applicants to see how smart they are. So employers use the Bachelor's degree as a proxy. You stuck out four years of college and got a degree in Art History? Hey, you must be smart enough — you're hired!
What caught my eye here was a couple of the comments to Randall's post. First comment, quote:
It's a touchy thing giving IQ tests to prospective hires, but what if the prospective employee volunteers their IQ score (with documentation)? Is that legal? Which would you rather hire, a fresh out of high school applicant with a documented 140 IQ or a B student college grad with a soft degree?
End quote. Darn good questions, and I know my answer to the last one. But is it legal?
Second comment, quote:
I'm beginning to wonder if the best way for a young person to proceed is to work hard in high school, and then apply to as many top colleges as possible. Then, don't go to college. Instead, take your acceptance letters around to businesses as proof of your ability.
End quote. I'd like to know if anyone's tried that, and what the results were. If I was the prospective employer facing someone working this strategy, I'd hire him on the spot, just for his out-of-the-box thinking. Give it a try, kids!
Here's a different but equally sound blogger, Dennis Mangan, on the same subject, quote:
The education bubble is completely out of hand. The bubble serves as employment for leftists and liberals, and the universities where they're employed serve as propaganda centers for the spreading of Cultural Marxism. Besides the putative benefit of fewer job opportunities and patronage slots for the left, the popping of the education bubble may finally bring some sense to American thought about higher education.
End quote. That last may be too much to hope for, but we can dream.
Here's my question: When the college bubble does pop, what shall we do with all those college buildings? Forty years ago we might have turned them into bowling lanes, but nobody goes bowling any more.
Perhaps, like the stately homes of old England, they'll turn themselves into conference centers and meditation retreats. Or perhaps, like English monasteries after Henry the Eighth's commissioners had swept through, they'll just fall gently into decay, so that poets of the 23rd century can write melancholy poems about them. I think that would be my preference: "bare ruined choirs," yes.
03 — A forgiveness too far. This story is about a homicide that took place in Indianapolis, April 1st. The victim was a young man named Nathan Trapuzzano, a computer programmer. Mr. Trapuzzano would have been 25 years old May 17th. He was coming up to his first wedding anniversary May 11th; and he and his wife Jennifer were expecting their first child, due May 7th — a baby girl they had already named Cecilia.
Trapuzzano was shot in the abdomen while out for his regular early-morning walk. He was found lying in the parking lot of a tire store, still alive, wearing just his track suit bottom; he'd been stripped of his sneakers, sweater, and T-shirt. He was rushed to hospital but died under surgery.
Security footage shows Trapuzzano being followed by two men. One of them accosts him and takes him into the parking lot while the other stands lookout.
Mr. Trapuzzano and his wife were devout Roman Catholics. At the April 5th funeral service their priest, Father Christopher Roberts, told the congregation of several hundred that they should forgive Nathan's killers, adding, quote: "I have no doubt that Nathan forgave his murderers. That was the type of man that I knew him to be." End quote.
April 8th prosecutors announced they'd charged one Simeon Adams with the shooting. Mr. Adams also has a life milestone coming up in May: he'll be 17 years old on May 3rd. It will have been a busy 17 years: Adams has a long rap sheet showing handgun violations, marijuana possession, theft, auto theft, burglary and resisting arrest. It appears Adams shot a different person, a teenager named Erick Douglas,two days before he shot Nathan Trapuzzano, after Douglas accidentally bumped into him. Douglas's wounds were not fatal.
That same day, April 8th, on a Facebook page, the widow, Jennifer Trapuzzano, expressed herself as follows, quote:
Today has been extra rough. It's been one week and I still can't comprehend that this is all real. The police have reported the suspect of my husband's murder was only 16. Oh how my already wounded heart aches to hear this. Nate always said one of the greatest crimes in the world today is how many babies grow up without their father. I don't know this man's circumstances but it hurts to hear that such a young man could turn to such violence. Please pray for his conversion.
Simeon Adams is black. So is his accomplice in the Trapuzzano shooting, Martez McGraw — at least I'm assuming that's the other defendant seen in the TV news clip with Adams coming into the courthouse for arraignment April 10th. The two of them seem to be joking together; Adams is smiling broadly.
Now, I need to vent very briefly here. I shall try to be sensitive. I don't want to give offense to anyone, though I suppose I shall. Poor Jennifer Trapuzzano, in the state of grief and shock she must be in, should not be begrudged any consolation she can find, wherever she can find it. Presumably the congregation at that funeral service found the priest's words acceptable. At any rate, there were no reports of anyone storming out of the church in disgust; although I have to believe some of the mourners must have felt like doing so, but restrained themselves out of respect for the widow's feelings.
For myself though, I have to say, this talk of forgiveness sticks in my throat. I said I was going to vent, I said it would be brief, and I said it might give offense, so cover your ears if you offend easy. Ready for the vent? Here goes: What the hell is wrong with white people?
04 — Bloomie wants you to be safe. So what's Michael Bloomberg doing now, now that he's no longer Mayor of New York? Well, he's campaigning against guns, trying to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to own guns.
This is through a new group he's funding, Everytown for Gun Safety. By all means check it out if you're a fan of whiny-voiced northeast liberals who begin every second sentence with: "Let's get real …"
I must say, I don't quite get the name. "Everytown for Gun Safety"? It doesn't really make a snappy acronym, does it? E-G-S … EGS? Anyway, they had a rally in Golden, Colorado on Wednesday, asking Americans to, quote, "join the fight to reduce the gun violence that kills 86 Americans every day."
Quote from the Daily Caller, quote: "Bloomberg has made no secret that he plans to go toe-to-toe with the NRA," end quote. Oh yeah, that'll reduce the gun violence. I have not the slightest doubt that Simeon Davis was an NRA member. That's what's causing all the gun violence: the NRA, see.
The one nice thing about Bloomie's campaign is, if you want to support it, you don't need to send in any contributions. Bloomie's got more money than Switzerland, he can fund the whole thing.
The NRA on the other hand depends on member contributions, so if you want to support them, you'd better write a check. Which is what I'm going to do.
05 — Our tasteless elites. Our political elites are really strange people.
You know who Jay Carney is, right? He's the President's Press Secretary, the young-looking guy — he's actually 48 — who comes out to pacify reporters when Obama himself isn't available for them to fawn over. Carney is married to 51-year-old Claire Shipman, a TV anchor at ABC. They have two kids and live in, of course, Washington, D.C. Your basic power couple.
Well, there's a monthly magazine called Washingtonian, catering to these yuppie governmental elite types — a sort of New York Times Style Section for the D.C. smart set. Last fall Washingtonian spawned an offspring magazine, a quarterly called Washingtonian MOM, for the matrons of the capital — people like Claire Shipman.
In the Spring issue of Washingtonian MOM there was a big feature spread on the Carneys — Carney-Shipmans, whatever. The feature was headed up with a page-wide color photograph of Ms. Shipman in her kitchen with the two kids. What caught people's eyes — well, the eyes of people with dark suspicions about the Obama administration — was two pictures decorating the kitchen walls on either side of a big window bay. They were reproductions of Soviet-era propaganda posters.
One of the posters shows a Red Army soldier pointing out of the poster at the viewer, with the legend, in Russian: "Have you enlisted yet?" The other is of a woman factory worker, taking the place of a guy who has enlisted, legend: "Women! Learn production, replace workers who went to the front!"
Carney and Shipman were both journalists in Moscow in the 1990s, and Carney was a Russian major at college. For people with that background, this is the kind of ironic kitsch they'd bring home from a spell over there. Look, I have no illusions about Mao Tse-tung's horrible dictatorship, but I'll confess that I brought home with me from China a cassette tape of Cultural Revolution songs, and I think I have a copy of the Little Red Book somewhere in my attic.
I'm not one half of a power couple in D.C., though, having my kitchen photographed for an upscale style magazine. If I was, I would not have the execrable bad taste to show off, as my household decorations, advertisements for a government that used mass murder of its own unarmed citizens as an instrument of peacetime social policy.
Lenin's revolution was a disaster for Russia — a human, economic, and environmental disaster, from which it's going to take the Russians a century to recover. Persons of power in our capital ought to know that, and they ought to make sure that we know they know it. There are people alive today, some of them American citizens, whose loved ones disappeared into the Gulag, never to be heard from again. The power elites of Washington, D.C. should show some respect to those people.
06 — Suicide by jellyfish. Here's a story you'll be reading much more about in the newspapers and internet equivalents. Most of you will be able to say: "I first heard about that on Radio Derb."
The subject here is ICD-10. Say what?
"ICD" stands for "International Classification of Diseases." It's a system of codes set up by the World Health Organization for every kind of bodily or mental ailment, dysfunction, injury, or cause of death — not merely diseases.
You have Dry Eye Syndrome? That's a 375.15. Dyspepsia? 536.8. Traumatic amputation of a toe? That would be 895.0 … unless there are complications, in which case it would of course be 895.1. Are you afflicted with dendrophilia, which is to say, erotic attraction towards trees? That's a 302.89. Should you then, as a consequence of a too-ardent encounter with that lovely young sapling in the park, find yourself afflicted with a splinter in your tenderest member, that's a 939.3.
Well, the WHO, that's the World Health Organization, set up these ICD codes decades ago. Every so often they come out with a new version of them that medical professionals all have to get used to. What then happens is that different nations extend the base codes to suit their own medical systems — they set up dialects, if you like, of the basic international code system.
Those codes I just quoted you, all perfectly real, are from the ICD-9 system currently used in the U.S.A. That's our dialect of the ninth issue of the ICD codes.
You keeping up here? Good. So we're using ICD-9, which allows us to classify around 17,000 diseases, conditions, and injuries. Pretty much anything that the Fickle Finger of Fate might throw at you, one would suppose.
Wrong! The ICD Version 9 was cooked up back in 1977, before we all had computers and databases, and when there were lots of diseases and conditions we didn't know about. Now, almost forty years later, it's kind of creaky and clunky.
No prob.: The WHO has stayed on the case, and in 1990 — note that date, listeners: 1990, 24 years ago — they brought forth a tenth version, imaginatively named ICD-10. That, as I began by telling you, is the subject of this segment.
ICD-10 is a much expanded code system. It allows for not a mere, petty 17,000 classifications, but 155,000. Everything you could conceive of happening to you is in there, and then some. For instance, actual codes:
And my personal favorite:
OK, that's the ICD-10 system of codes, cooked up by the World Health Organization in, once again, 1990.
I've used up my segment allowance here, so I'm going to break and continue in a new segment. There is a political point here, trust me.
07 — The monkey and the football. OK, so we have this international code system, the ICD-10, came out in 1990, superseded the previous system, the ICD-9.
But wait a minute: didn't I say the ICD-9 system is the one currently used in the U.S.A.? Yes I did. So what's up with that, if this spiffy new computer-friendly system ICD-10 has been out for twenty-odd years? Shouldn't we have implemented ICD-10 by now?
So what's been holding us up? Well, there are some fair excuses you can make. As I said, each nation has to develop its own "dialect" of the basic ICD-10, to suit its own medical system and way of financing hospitals and doctors. And then, this is a big country with a lot of jurisdictions. Medicaid, for example, is both a state and a federal responsibility, so there are fifty sets of accommodations to be made right there.
Even so, being nineteen years behind Britain is a bit embarrassing. They haven't even figured out indoor plumbing or how to chill their beer over there, yet they're twenty years ahead of us in medical billing? What's going on here?
If you look up close, it's even more embarrassing. The original deadline for U.S. healthcare providers to start using ICD-10 was October 1st, 2011. In January 2009, with that date still almost three years away, the federal government pushed the deadline back two years to October 2013.
In October 2012, with that deadline a year away, the feds pushed it back another year to October 2014. That's this coming October, folks. Doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, drug firms, insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid, and First Aid squads were all burning the midnight oil to learn the ICD-10 codes — from great thick books, let me mention, that cost $100 for the paperback version. Billions are being invested in retraining.
Now here finally comes the news item: On March 31st Congress passed a bill delaying implementation of ICD-10 for one more year, to October 2015. All over the country, millions of medical professionals and support staff have been learning the new code system, but now … they won't be needing it, not for a year and a half anyway. This, in spite of the fact that the feds had been assuring everyone as late as this February that the October 2014 deadline was rock solid.
Why did the government do this? Well, in part it was political. Congress wants to rein in Medicare costs, which is not popular with doctors, so postponing ICD-10 implementation, which doctors were saying they weren't going to be ready for, what with all the ObamaCare-related changes going on, was a sweetener.
And then, it was dawning on politicians that the feds themselves were no way going to be ready in time. The DHSS was planning just one week of testing for the new system. Four Republican senators rang the alarm on that back in February.
Not to tax your patience with any more of this dismal tale, listeners: Bottom line here is, even aside from ObamaCare, our federal government's dealings with the nation's healthcare system bear a striking resemblance to the proverbial monkey trying to get intimate with a football.
Not to worry, though: Version eleven of the ICD is due from the World Health Organization in 2017. A couple more postponements and we can forget about ICD-10 altogether, just go straight to Version 11. That's the way to do it!
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I thought I had a really good story for you here. The headline on Drudge Report was: Widows Dropped from Planes in Alabama. I read that and thought: Wow, they sure do play rough down there in Dixie.
Then I read it again and saw that what it actually said was: Widows Dropped from Plans in Alabama. In other words it's another ObamaCare story: Widows of Madison County employees lost their health insurance because of some wrinkles in the new law.
I'm sorry for those widows; I hope they get their coverage back; and I'm glad they're not being dropped from planes.
Item: The Pew Research Center, which is a polling firm, did a fascinating little study recently. They asked a sample of Americans of all races whether they thought of Barack Obama as black or as mixed-race. Only a quarter of whites said Obama is black, but over half of blacks said so.
Interesting, huh? I'm not quite sure what to make of the poll myself, but here's what I think.
I think Steve Sailer got it right: Obama is a black wigger. You know about wiggers, right? No, not that nationality in Central Asia that the ChiComs have so much trouble with. Those are Uighurs. This is wiggers, which is to say, young white kids who wish they were black.
That's Obama. His black Dad disappeared when he was a baby. He was raised mainly by his white Mom and her white parents — a normal middle-class white American upbringing. He was a middle-class American white kid who desperately wanted to be black — in other words, a wigger. The strange wrinkle is, he actually was black. He's a black wigger.
It's one of those weird recursive psychic conditions, like autogynephilia, which I'll leave you to look up. You could define a wigger as a black person trapped in a white body. Obama's a black guy trapped in a black body. That's the best I can make of it, anyway.
Item: Stupid story of the week is one about over-the-top environmentalism.
This is from Portland, Oregon, which is one of the whitest big cities in the nation — 72 percent non-Hispanic white — and also one of the most liberal. Funny how that works.
Being liberal, Portlanders tend to environmental extremes; hence the story. I'll just read it to you off the USA Today website, quote:
Portland water officials are discarding 38 million gallons of drinking water after a 19-year-old was caught urinating into one of the city's reservoirs.
End quote. I guess it's up to me to remind Portland water officials of the W.C. Fields quote, when someone offered him a glass of water: "Water? That's what fish copulate in, isn't it?" It's also what birds and small rodents take dumps in, and amphibians lay their eggs in. Leastways, I'm assuming that if the reservoir fence is not sufficient to keep out a teenage human being, it probably doesn't keep out sparrows, rats, and frogs.
That's straightforward logic, though; and we're talking liberals here — people who don't have much use for straightforward logic unless it affirms their moral superiority over the rest of us.
10 — Signoff. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen: More strange and regrettable goings-on in our beautiful republic.
I shall actually be in the republic next week, at a conference in Tucson, Arizona. Any listener down in Tucson wants to buy me a drink, I'm totally open to suggestions. In the meantime, all listeners wherever you are: Take care of yourselves and those you love, keep your peckers up, and don't take any wooden nickels. I'll let Franz Josef Haydn see us out for once.
More from Radio Derb next week!
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]