»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, September 2nd, 2016

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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]

01 — Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, this Labor Day weekend, from you laboriously genial host John Derbyshire.

This week's podcast is naturally oriented towards issues of immigration and citizenship. I shall find time, though, to offer some thoughts on the education of our children, and some tips on English usage for you language mavens out there.

And, in response to overwhelming demand, I offer a passing mention of the Miss Bum Bum contest, which now seems to be spreading — yes, spreading — worldwide.

On with the show! [Clip:  Ethel Merman.]

02 — Trump hits a homer.     How about that Donald Trump, eh? Our man pulled off two — count 'em, two — big political moves in one day this week. He went to Mexico and met with that country's President as an apparent equal, and he then hopped over to Arizona and gave a fine thundering speech on immigration, packed with policy specifics.

The policy specifics of that speech were presented as ten bullet points. Executive summary:

  1. Build a border wall and make Mexico pay.
  2. Illegal border crossers will be detained and repatriated.
  3. Zero tolerance for illegals who commit further crimes.
  4. No federal funding for sanctuary cities.
  5. Enforce all immigration laws.
  6. Suspend issuance of visas to any place where adequate screening can't be done.
  7. Ensure that other countries take their people back when we order them deported.
  8. A visa tracking system for entry and exit to end the visa-overstay problem.
  9. E-verify, stonger and better and more rigorously enforced, to turn off the jobs magnet.
  10. Reforms to legal immigration, orienting it to the interests of Americans.

End summary.

This speech could almost have been written by us here at VDARE.com. I'll get back to that "almost" in just a minute. First I'm just going to bask a while in the warm, wonderful glow of hearing a serious presidential candidate talk about immigration as a policy — not a moral obligation, not an advertisement to the world of our profound national beneficence, not a key founding principle of our Republic (which it never was), not a tune played with the mystic chords of memory on a grand church organ — just a policy, to be worked out and implemented for the best interests of us, the American people.

It wasn't just we knuckle-dragging Neanderthals on the Alt-Right who liked the speech, either. National Review's Rich Lowry, a voice for the genteel Right, praised it, though with minor qualifications. Quote from him:

This was the soundest immigration speech ever delivered by a presidential nominee, and a total policy victory for restrictionists.

End quote. Hey, when was the last time that Pat Buchanan and the editor of National Review agreed about something?

OK, I said that the Phoenix speech "could almost have been written by us here at VDARE.com." Let me just cover the "almost."

There are two parts to my "almost" — two expressions that didn't show up in the speech. Don't bother to check with a Ctrl-F on the transcript; I already did. The two expressions are, one, "birthright citizenship," and two, "moratorium."

The birthright citizenship issue is a major leak below the waterline for any policy to control illegal immigration. You come here illegally; you marry and have a child; the child is a U.S. citizen. He is now your conduit into the publicly-funded welfare and educational systems. You can't deny those services to a citizen.

Then, after eighteen years pass, your child can sponsor you for citizenship. What, are you going to deny citizenship to the parents of a citizen? As a matter of fact, I personally would; but I don't think it would play well politically or in the courts.

We have to end this boondoggle, as other nations have done. Why didn't Trump raise it?

For sound strategic reasons, I believe. There is nothing directly that a U.S. President can do about birthright citizenship. It rests on jurisprudence — on an interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, whose framers surely did not have illegal immigration in mind. All a President can do about it is lobby Congress for some clarifying legislation, and promote judges who seem hostile to the current interpretation.

Since this is a zone where the Executive can't actually do much, Trump left it out of a speech stressing Executive authority and action. Strategically, that is probably sound; though the issue must be confronted sooner or later if we're to have a rational immigration system.

And then, "moratorium." One of the most heartening things about the Phoenix speech was its reference to reforming legal immigration, which badly needs reforming. If you don't know how badly, get a copy of Michelle Malkin and John Miano's book Sold Out, which spells out the folly and corruption of our current legal immigration system in grisly detail.

The reform we would prefer begins with a moratorium. The U.S.A. has all the people it needs. There is no reason to accept any new settlements.

As always, there are sensible exceptions: foreign spouses and children of U.S. citizens; accredited geniuses at the Einstein level; foreigners who've put their lives on the line for U.S. interests; brave dissidents under serious persecution by governments hostile to us; maybe one or two other categories. That gets us a few thousand a year, as against the million-plus legal immigrants and half-million-plus illegals we currently take.

This one I think Trump should have mentioned. For one thing, a blanket moratorium kills stone dead all the lobbying and pleading by special groups claiming priority on settlement. It means a major de-politicization of the immigration issue. What's not to like about that?

For another thing, the one word "moratorium" handily encapsulates a good policy on legal immigration: that we have all the people we need, and should get to work assimilating the Great Wave of the past fifty years, as we assimilated the 19th-century Great Wave after the restrictive 1924 Act.

It's de-politicizing; it's straightforward; people can understand it; and there's a one-word summary for people to know it by, right there: "moratorium." I regret Trump didn't find room for it.

Those quibbles aside, I join in the general applause for the speech, along with Pat Buchanan, Rich Lowry, and immigration patriots everywhere. Go Trump!

03 — The stakes get higher.     Just a couple of follow-ups to that.

First follow-up: Trump has really, unmistakeably nailed his colors to the mast on immigration. That's great; it's what I want; it's what the presidential contest needs; it's what the country needs.

It has a downside, though. I'm going to quote my old boss Rich Lowry again here, if you don't mind. Quote:

If Trump loses, this agenda will be discredited and restrictionists will instantly be as embattled as ever, once again fighting a desperate rear-guard action against a political establishment and opinion elite that considers its priorities bizarre and hateful.

End quote. I'm sure that's right. Donald Trump's campaign and patriotic immigration reform are now fused as a single biological entity. If the one goes down, so does the other. The stakes in this election just got a lot higher.

If Trump loses, it won't just be back to square one; it'll be back to square negative fifteen. A triumphant Democrat will claim a mandate for truly open borders and unlimited settlement. Hispanic supremacists in Congress and the media — people like Luis Gutierrez and Jorge Ramos — will be massively energized. Treason Lobby businessmen like Mark Zuckerberg and the Koch brothers will be throwing banquets for their congressional stooges. We immigration patriots will be eating dirt.

No, we won't quit. We shall recall our Kipling:

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
        And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
        Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
        And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools …

We'll stoop and rebuild with worn-out tools, if we have to.

We'd rather not have to, though; so after the Phoenix speech, it is more than ever important to get Donald Trump elected. I shall do anything I can think of to help. I urge Radio Derb listeners to make the same resolution.

Second follow-up: Victor Davis Hanson — yes, I'm having a fire sale on neocon commentary this week: stopped clocks and all that … Someone reminded me of Professor Hanson's piece in Townhall.com, July 18th 2013, title "The Strange Case of Mexican Emigration."

The piece is typically cautious and equalitarian, as it has to be in a neocon outlet; but it's a good reference point for Mexico's own attitude to illegal immigration. Sample quotes:

Mexico has zero tolerance for illegal immigrants who seek to work inside Mexico, happen to break Mexican law or go on public assistance — or any citizens who aid them …

In Mexico, legal immigration is aimed at … denying entry to those who are not healthy or would upset the, quote, "equilibrium of the national demographics."

End quote, end quote. Idea for a future Trump speech on immigration, the next time he's invited to Mexico, perhaps: Take a leaf from Prof. Hanson's column. Insert a few barbed quotes from Mexico's own immigration laws.

Third follow-up: At this point, with immigration patriotism in the news, our open-borders elites should probably be taking cover — trying, at least, to pretend that they give a damn about citizenship and our national sovereignty.

Like the scorpion in Aesop, though, they just can't help themselves. They keep blurting out their contempt for our immigration laws.

Case in point: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, on his WNYC radio show this week, thanked a caller for hiring illegal immigrants. Our nation's immigration laws are, said de Blasio, quote, "fiction."

So much for our Republic and its Constitution. So much for our votes, for our elected representatives and the laws they pass. Fiction!

This is the authentic voice of the elites. Listeners, they hate us.

04 — Free Puerto Rico!.     Last week I pondered the question: What will be the first nation to be entirely emptied out by emigration?

Worldwide, the favorite has to be the Pacific Island nation of Niue, the homeland of more than five thousand persons fifty years ago. There are now somewhere north of twenty thousand self-identifying Niueans, but only a thousand of them still live in Niue. The rest live mainly in New Zealand.

I speculated that the lead contender for the Western hemisphere may be El Salvador, whose inhabitants are packing up and heading to El Norte in battalions and regiments. This is not as bad as the Niue situation. I'm pretty sure there are more than a thousand Salvadorans still left in El Salvador, but that may not be the case fifty years from now.

El Salvador is at least a foreign country, though. If we expand our definitions somewhat, the first distinct foreign territory to empty out in the Western Hemisphere will likely be Puerto Rico.

This prognostication was inspired by Steve Sailer's August 31st piece in Taki's Magazine, with the memorable title: "Puerto Rico: All Banana, No Republic." Sample quote from Steve:

In 2014 alone, a net of 1.8 percent of Puerto Rico's population left for the mainland. The cumulative decline from its peak population in 2004 is now approaching 10 percent.

In contrast, the Puerto Rican population of the 50 states grew about 50 percent from 2000 to 2013.

About three-fifths of all Puerto Ricans now live on the mainland.

End quote. OK, Puerto Rico isn't a nation. It's a U.S. colony, although of course it's considered bad manners to say so. And it is a sort-of nation for some purposes. Puerto Rico fielded its own team at the Summer Olympics this year, for example: 41 athletes. One of those athletes, tennis player Monica Puig, took home Puerto Rico's first ever gold medal.

For immigration purposes, though, Puerto Rico is like a state. Puerto Ricans can enter the U.S.A. freely, with no formalities, so it's a little field test of what happens when backward, corrupt Third World polities have open borders with orderly, prosperous countries. What happens is, the people leave in droves. Wouldn't you?

Puerto Ricans have been leaving for a while — over a hundred years, with major surges when cheap air travel came in after WW2, and another surge going on now, as the place sinks into bankruptcy. So we can pose a Trumpian (Trumpish?) question: What is the benefit to the U.S.A. of this particular immigrant inflow?

There are of course some single and particular benefits. Like any other population, Puerto Rico has a Talented Tenth that do useful work; although if they stayed in their own country and did it, the place might not be such a corrupt slum.

Against that you have to set the Untalented Ninety percent, and the burdens they've imposed on Americans.

Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland have average IQs in the mid-80s, only a tick or two above American blacks. A report from the Pew Center last year showed high levels of poverty and illegitimacy, low levels of earning and educational attainment. I can't find recent numbers on welfare usage by Puerto Ricans on the mainland, but a study in the late 1980s found, quote:

Of all Hispanic origin groups, Puerto Ricans had the lowest labor force participation rates, the highest unemployment levels, the highest incidence of poverty and of welfare utilization, and the lowest average levels of education of Hispanic groups in the 1980 Census.

I very seriously doubt that Puerto Rican settlement in the U.S.A. has been a net boon to Americans. I very strongly suspect that it has, to the contrary, been a net burden. As always, I am open to persuasion by better facts and data.

So here's another policy recommendation for President Trump: Independence for Puerto Rico!

05 — Continents without borders.     These issues of border control and settlement need to be seen in the larger, worldwide context of the great movements of peoples that more and more characterize our time.

As noted last week, the current center of this storm is Italy. Here's a news report from that country dated September 1st, quote:

Three corpses were recovered as some 1,800 migrants were rescued off Libya on Wednesday, taking the total number of people saved since Sunday to nearly 12,500, Italy's coastguard said.

End quote. Twelve thousand five hundred in four days; that's 3,125 per day. By way of comparison, at current birth rates, Italians bring forth an average 1,336 babies per day. And you think the phrase "population replacement" is hyperbolic?

A thing that's coming into clear focus here is how utterly unprepared the First World is to cope with this swelling tsunami.

The people smugglers, flush with success and money, are raising their game: bigger boats, better strategy. These huge numbers the Italians are taking in mostly get picked up just a few miles from the north shore of Africa. One huge operation this week, rescuing 6½ thousand people, took place just 12 miles from the Libyan coast. The rescuers were, we are told, quote, "Italian naval ships, the European Union border agency Frontex and several NGOs," end quote. NGO stands for "Non-Governmental Organization," in this case mainly humanitarian groups like Doctors Without Borders.

So the Italian Navy, whose mission you would suppose to be to protect Italy from invasion, is acting as a free ferry service for illegal immigrants into Europe. Likewise the so-called EU border agency. Border agency? This is, to all intents and purposes, a continent without borders.

The people smugglers know that the Europeans will always yield to their humanitarian impulses. That's why Italy's navy is patrolling the Libyan coast instead of the Italian coast. Understanding this, the smugglers are sending out bigger and bigger boats that are less and less seaworthy. The boats only have to go twelve miles; and for tugging those humanitarian heartstrings, the less seaworthy the better. The boat's sinking! The people are in the water! They're drowning! Can you imagine the future career of a naval officer who stood his boat off and did nothing?

You see the same clueless helplessness, and helpless cluelessness, all over the First World. For anyone living in a Third World sinkhole country, it's now possible to get into some place better; and once you're in, you're in.

The so-called asylum system is a joke everywhere: I recently posted here at VDARE.com an exposé of the farcical British system by a whistle-blowing immigration judge. For those who bother to apply for asylum, the process can take years, by which time the applicant has likely got married and fathered a citizen. If you can't be bothered to apply, or if your application is rejected, it's easy to survive doing odd jobs for cash, or with a false name and stolen Social Security number.

And so they come; and so the frog slowly boils.

The consequences are in the news every day of the week. Outside the city of Calais, France, there is a huge camp — currently ten thousand inhabitants and increasing — of Africans and Muslims who got into France with no difficulty and now hope to make it to Britain, where the welfare benefits are better. These invaders are fed and nursed by humanitarian volunteers and British leftist agitators, while Britain's worthless politicians flap their arms and squeal: "We're not racist!"

The Brits, as it happens, had a little preview last weekend of what their country will be like after a couple more decades of arm-flapping and squealing. The fiftieth Notting Hill Carnival took place in London.

Readers of the novels of Colin MacInnes will know that Notting Hill was filling up with black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean far back in the 1950s. In the sixties they started this carnival, billed of course as "a celebration of black culture." Notting Hill itself has since been gentrified, but the Carnival still takes place every year; the gentry just board up their windows and leave town for the duration.

The Carnival is of course a crime spree, just barely not a riot. This year there were 450 arrests. Forty-three police officers were injured; eight needed hospitalization. There were four stabbings. The number of pockets picked has not been reported.

It's the same all over Europe. In the Swedish city of Gothenburg last week, an eight-year-old boy was killed when a hand grenade was thrown into the apartment of some relatives he was visiting.

Can you believe it? A hand grenade! In Sweden! That poor kid! Poor little Nils, or Björn, or Erik! Er, no, actually; the unfortunate infant's name was Yuusuf. He's Somalian; the grenade seems to have been in furtherance of a feud among Somali immigrants. Quote from the BBC:

Sweden generally has low crime rates but police have had difficulty addressing violence in poorer neighbourhoods in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo. Over the course of the summer, cars have been set alight on an almost nightly basis in some neighbourhoods.

End quote. So it goes. Note the mealy-mouthed refusal to face the facts. "Poorer neighbourhoods" … "some neighbourhoods" … God, how I hate our lying media!

The politicians flap their arms and squeal; the Italian navy picks up another couple of thousand Nigerians; and the frog slowly boils.

06 — Out of Africa.     The people smugglers, constantly revising their business model, must be thinking hard about bringing Africans to North America.

As I pointed out five years ago, the U.S.A. has already received its first African boat people. That was four years previously, in 2007, when a boat full of Senegalese were rescued 900 miles east of Cape Cod. I haven't heard of any others since; but with GPS and modern electronics, the Atlantic isn't that formidable a barrier. If I were in the people-smuggling business, I'd be thinking hard about this.

And if boat people are not much in evidence yet, plane people are showing up. Most just fly into the States and overstay their visas, of course. One more reason to cheer Donald Trump's speech, with its call for a visa tracking system. But what if you can't get a U.S. visa?

Well, you can get a visa for Brazil or Ecuador. Breitbart News, August 31st, headline: Mexico Gives Hundreds of African Asylum Seekers Visas to Reach U.S. Border. Story, quote:

Mexican immigration authorities say 424 migrants from African countries arrived at the southern state of Chiapas over two days last week.

The National Immigration Institute said Tuesday that it has issued them 20-day transit visas that will allow the migrants to reach the U.S.-Mexico border, where they plan to request asylum.

Officials … say most of the migrants first went to Brazil or Ecuador to start their journey through Latin America …

Immigration support staff in Tijuana has been aiding migrants from the Congo, Somalia and Ghana to arrive at the U.S. port of entry at San Isidro.

End quote. Native population of Africa: 1.1 billion, and growing fast. Native population of Europe: half a billion, and declining. Native population of the U.S.A.: three hundred million, and static.

The politicians flap their arms and squeal; the humanitarians rush forward with food parcels and medicines; the immigration romantics smile and coo; the Cultural Marxist nation-wreckers chuckle and gloat; and the frog slowly boils.

07 — Unschooled and happy.     I'm a little slow on the uptake here, I know, but I have only just this week heard about the unschooling movement.

For listeners even further behind the curve than I am — I'm trusting to Heaven that there must be some — unschooling is a sort of marriage between homeschooling, which I'm sure we all know about, and the radical fringe of the progressive education movement.

That fringe was represented, back in my own days as a trainee teacher fifty years ago, by the figure of A.S. Neill, who had founded Summerhill school in England in 1924. Neill was a Progressive's Progressive. His ideas were a weird blend of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Sigmund Freud. (The Summerhill school magazine was called Id) … although in fairness I should add that Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy, in his book The Public School Phenomenon, says that, quote, "of all the progressive writers [on education] the only one you'd read for pleasure is A.S. Neill," end quote.

The keynote at Neill's school was freedom. Within certain necessary restrictions — no air guns, no sliding down the school roof — the students were allowed to do as they pleased. There were lessons, but they weren't compulsory.

Summerhill got mixed reviews. Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy spoke to a lady who had sent her kids to Summerhill. He quotes her thus, quote:

Terrifying. Doors ripped off their hinges and replaced by blankets. Furniture destroyed by the little sods. A horde of psychopaths — they stole everything. If you took in food you had to hide it. They'd kick in a box to get it. We went there on November 5th. There was a huge bonfire. No staff. We rescued several little kids from the flames. When I learnt they were going to build a swimming pool I pounced and took the children away.

End quote. That lady did allow, however, that Neill had cured her daughter of bed-wetting.

Well, the unschooling movement borrows some of that. You let your kids stay at home, usually by pretending to home-school them, but in practice you let them learn or not, as they please. If they come to you wanting to know something, you give them a lesson. If they don't, you leave them alone. The idea is that children are naturally curious, and will pick up for themselves most of what they need to know.

One academic, Professor Peter Gray of Boston College — who, I should say, is sympathetic to unschooling — surveyed 75 adults who'd been unschooled to find out what they thought of it. Would they, for example, recommend unschooling to parents? Only five said they definitely wouldn't. Two-thirds said they would, while the others were to some degree ambivalent.

At the risk of being blacklisted from the Alt-Right for associating with Progressives, I must say I'm moderately sympathetic to the unschooling idea. A great deal of time spent in traditional schooling is utterly wasted. Some persons known to me — no names, no pack drill — spent four years in twice-weekly Spanish classes, at the end of which they barely knew a word of Spanish. And those were bright kids — above average, at any rate. I am sure than millions of dull kids sit in high-school classes day after day, year after year, learning essentially nothing at all.

As always with something as complex as human nature, there need qualifications. During my own teacher-training days the theoretical controversy was all about "teacher-centered" versus "child-centered" education. Should kids sit in neat rows of desks all facing the front, chanting the multiplication tables in unison for rote learning; or should they work in groups around four desks pushed together, figuring out for themselves that six times nine equals fifty-four by manipulating colored wooden blocks?

My own experience as a teacher left me believing that the one style was best for some kids, the other was best with others. I'd guess it's the same with unschooling. It probably works great for a lot of kids — more than most of would suspect, I suspect. For others, it's a simply terrible idea.

The trick of course is to figure out which kid is which …

08 — Miscellany.     And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.

Imprimis:  Following that last, here's my favorite anecdote from those years — a story that was going around among teachers in England when these ideas about teacher- versus child-centered education were all in flux.

A schools inspector is strolling around a classroom where the child-centered, "exploratory" style of teaching is being tried out. He stops by a desk where a little girl is laying out three rows of seven colored blocks each row. When she has the three rows laid out, she steps back with a happy smile.

"That's very good, Mandy," says the inspector. "So now, can you tell me what three times seven makes?"

Mandy frowns, then chants out: "One seven is seven, two sevens are fourteen, three sevens are twenty-one. So it's twenty-one."

"Well, that is certainly correct," says the inspector. "But why were you laying those blocks out like that?"

"Because Teacher told me to!"

Item:  The Infantry Officer's Course at the U.S. Marine Corps is under way. It started July 6th; it'll finish September 20th. It's a really tough course. Of a starting class of 97, 34 had already dropped out by mid-August.

Among those 34 dropouts was the only female Marine on the course. She dropped out after failing to complete two conditioning hikes in July.

The senior brass are of course trying to put a smiley face on it. Said Gen. John Paxton, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps, quote: "I think the Marines who happen to be women, who are going into those units, are committed to live up to that standard and contribute to unit efficiency and unit success," end quote.

Is it just me, or do other people hear an alarm bell go off in their heads when someone used that locution "happen to be"? It carries the implication: "The thing I'm mentioning could not possibly be more trivial or less consequential." So why is he mentioning it?

The idea is that while you may think the thing is mightily consequential, he wants you to know that he doesn't think so, probably for purposes of virtue signalling. So you hear things like: "My best friend Jamal, who happens to be black …"

What does Gen. Paxton care, anyway? — he retires this month.

No, wait, let me rephrase that: he happens to be retiring this month. The fact that he just has to coast trouble-free for a few more days to his big fat retirement package could not possibly have been a factor in deciding him to extrude a mouthful of PC gibberish. Not at all! Shame on you for thinking so!

Item:  Somewhere in this podcast I uttered the word "Neanderthal." Here's the thing, though: Should it be pronounced "Neander-Thal" or "Neander-Tal"?

The formal scientific name of the species — sub-species, whatever we think it was this week — is Homo neanderthalensis, always spelt with a "t-h" but always pronounced as just "t," since Latin doesn't have a "th" sound.

The colloquial English name is sometimes written with a "t-h," sometimes just a "t." Dictionaries allow both. Pronunciation-wise, the colloquial is sometimes done with a "th," sometimes with a "t."

So what's the right way to spell and say the colloquial form? I'm going to hand you off to Bridget Alex's article on the August 25th Discover magazine blog.

And as a writer myself, one with a weakness for trivial miscellanea, I'm going to raise a toast to Ms. Alex for having squeezed 400 words — and a flow chart! — out of such unpromising material. Well done, Ma'am!

Item:  Finally, let me respond to listeners who have complained that I haven't been covering Brazil's Miss Bum Bum contest as diligently as I ought.

I'm sorry, there just hasn't been much going on in the Miss Bum Bum contest this year. Perhaps the fuss over the Summer Olympics in Rio caused it to fall … behind … I don't know. You can only expect just so much excitement out of one country.

I do, though, have a related item here from West Africa. The government of a certain country over there has banned an annual contest for the woman with the biggest buttocks. Such events are sexist, says the government.

Quote from Reuters, August 27th, quote:

Advertisements for this weekend's third edition of "Miss Bim-Bim," carrying an image of two fully clothed women with exaggeratedly large behinds, provoked an outcry on social media.

"Our role is to do everything to avoid damaging the image of women," said Minister Laure Zongo in a statement, adding that social media criticism had persuaded her to act.

So, no more Miss Bim-Bim contests in that West African country. Which West African country is it, though? Why, Burkina Faso, who capital city is — all together now — Ouagadougou!

We have to get that contest restarted. If I could persuade my dear friend President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan to referee the Miss Bim-Bim contest in Ouagadougou, we should have three of Radio Derb's minor obsessions all there in one news item!

I shall mention this to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov at our next meeting. Perhaps with his influence, a suitable gift of aid, and perhaps a donation to the Clinton Foundation, Ms Zongo could be persuaded to change her mind.

Ms Zongo's own buttocks, I am told, are rather meagre. No, sorry, I didn't say that right: Ms Zongo's own buttocks happen to be rather meagre.

09 — Signoff.     That's this week's ration of sanity, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and may you enjoy a relaxing Labor Day with family and friends, hurricanes permitting.

Ah yes, back to school. At the time of my own education, the Butler Act of 1944 was still in force in the mother country, with its provision for a "daily act of worship" in all government schools.

So we sang a hymn every morning — Anglican, of course. On the first and the last day of each school year we sang a hymn to the tune called "Sicilian Mariners," a very old tune of unknown authorship. (Hymn tunes, in case you don't know, all have names, not necessarily related to the content of the hymn.) The words we sang were slightly different at the two ends of the year. At the beginning of the year we sang:

Lord, behold us with thy blessing,
Once again assembled here;
Onward be our footsteps pressing,
In thy love and faith and fear …

At the end of the year it was the same tune but the words were "Lord dismiss us …"

I can't find "Lord behold us …" on YouTube; but for all you back-to-schoolers, here's the tune — one of my favorites from the hymnal.

More from Radio Derb next week!

[Music clip: Terry Chan, "Lord Behold Us."]