»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, June 30th, 2017

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

01 — Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your anacoluthically genial host John Derbyshire, bringing you highlights from the past week's news this July 4th weekend.

Seeing as it is the July 4th weekend, love of country should be at the front of our minds. I shall therefore cleave as closely as this week's news permits to the National Question: not just our own National Question, but other countries', too.

Let's start with another country, in fact: the Friendly Giant to Our North — from whence, according to Peter Brimelow (who's written a book about the place) all modern political diseases originate.

I'm guessing that's a slight exaggeration on Peter's part, but … let's see.

02 — Authoritarian Progressivism for beavers.     In my end-of-the-podcast Miscellany last week I ran a brief item about the June 15th passing of Canada's new law criminalizing misuse of pronouns.

If, in Canada, I refer to you as "he" when you have made it known you wish to be referred to as "she," or "ze," or "they," or "ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay," I shall have committed a hate crime for which, in Canada, I can be jailed, fined, and made to take anti-bias training.

Well, I didn't know the half of it. In common with most other arrogant imperialist Americans, I pay very little attention to Canadian affairs, smug in the belief that nothing that happens up there on the frozen tundra beyond Niagara Falls could be of much importance.

Au contraire! (I thought I should showcase my francophone sensitivities when talking about Canada.) Au contraire, mes amis, this pronoun law is a huge story up there, with repercussions that will likely find their way back down here, if they haven't already. The passing of this law has released major passions, or as close to major passions as our stolid, fur-clad, igloo-dwelling northern neighbors are capable of.

And the story has a hero. The hero's name is Jordan Peterson, 55 years old, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. Soon after the pronoun law was brought before Canada's parliament last summer, Prof. Peterson published a series of YouTube videos declaring he would not use the made-up pronouns the law requires him to use, and railing against political correctness in general.

For those hateful acts, Prof. Peterson's employer, the University of Toronto, seems to have contemplated disciplinary action against him, but then thought better of it. So far as I know he is still teaching at the university.

And now he is a hero, a leader of the cultural counter-revolution up there among the moose and the beaver. The commanding general on the other side is of course Justin Trudeau, Canada's winsome 14-year-old Prime Minister, who declared the passing of the pronoun law, quote, "like, totally awesome."

Jordan Peterson has a quality I like very much in my culture heros, which is: He doesn't suffer fools gladly. Watch the YouTube clip of him confronting a campus loony — it's the clip titled "Dr. Jordan Peterson gives up trying to reason with SJWs."

Or, to be more VDARE.com compliant, listen to him talk about borders in the clip titled "Strategy (1): 12 principles for a 21st century conservatism." It's a long clip; this is 1h01m40s in:

[Clip:  Borders are reasonable — How about that! (Applause.) The law is the border that stops someone from stealing your laptop. If it's an Apple laptop, it's the sort of laptop a Social Justice Warrior would carry. (Laughter.)

And then the Social Justice Warrior is going to be very irritated if you happen to purloin their laptop. And then you might point out to them: "You know, it's a border that protects you from having that thing taken," and they say: "Well, the border should be open."

It's OK, man, no problem, you hand over that laptop right now, and everything else you own, too. If you don't like borders you can get rid of the damn walls in your house. And you don't need doors on your bedroom, either, and we can keep an eye on you whenever we want. And so much for borders!

One of the things that really differs between liberals and conservatives, between the left and the right, is, the right likes tight borders between things. It's part of being conscientious … at every level: conceptually, sexually, familially, provincially, nationally.

The right says: "Look, let's keep the borders between things pretty distinct," and the left says: "Yeah, maybe not, because some of those borders are in the wrong place and a little bit more free flow of information wouldn't be a bad thing." And the thing is, they're right, but so are the conservatives, and that's why you have to talk.

It's like, well, we've got some borders, that's a good thing, maybe some of them need to be moved around a little bit, and that's what the political dialogue is for. But that doesn't mean that borders themselves are a bad idea. They're a great idea; because without borders everything mashes into the same untenable state of undifferentiated chaos, and you can't live in that …]

Prof. Jordan Peterson, fighting the good fight, striving to dispel the darkness up there in the land of the midnight sun. Strength to your arm, Professor!

Footnote here. This footnote comes with a haughty raise of the eyebrows aimed at my pal Gavin McInnes over at TakiMag.

Another quality you want in your culture heroes is self-restraint. Note please my admirable exercise of that quality. I got through a whole segment about Canada without once yielding to the temptation to end a sentence with "Eh?"

Pretty good, eh? … Oh, darn it.

03 — The artillery barrage we dodged.     That footnote was actually what we professional wordsmiths call a segue. Self-restraint, yes.

If you followed the news this week, you know what I'm talking about. Here's my take.

Every time our President allows his inner nitwit to escape from its cage, I console myself by reflecting on what a huge, lethal bullet the U.S.A. dodged last November.

By way of illustration, here's something I picked up from the Twitter thread of anonymous tweeter "tcjfs" — that's his Twitter handle — who is one of the most prolific and insightful tweeters on the Dissident Right.

Content of tweet, tweet: "Reminder that before Trump, prominent Harvard progs were planning to treat conservatives like [quote] "Nazis after 1945."

End quote, end tweet … except that there's a link to a blog post at the blog of Jack Balkin, who is a Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. This particular post on Prof. Balkin's blog is not by him, but by a different constitutional scholar, Prof. Mark Tushnet, who teaches at Harvard Law School.

So we have a Harvard law professor writing on the blog of a Yale law professor. Dodged a bullet? What we dodged here was a heavy artillery barrage.

The blog post is dated May 6th last year, six months before the election, when all reasonable people — and who could be more reasonable than a couple of Ivy League Law School professors? — all reasonable people assumed that Mrs Clinton would be the country's next president.

Looking forward to that blessed prospect, Prof. Tushnet contributed this post at Prof. Balkin's blog, title of post: "Abandoning Defensive Crouch Liberal Constitutionalism." Opening four sentences, quote:

Several generations of law students and their teachers grew up with federal courts dominated by conservatives. Not surprisingly, they found themselves wandering in the wilderness, looking for any sign of hope. The result: Defensive-crouch constitutionalism, with every liberal position asserted nervously, its proponents looking over their shoulders for retaliation by conservatives (in its elevated forms, fear of a backlash against aggressively liberal positions).

It's time to stop.

End quote. Prof. Tushnet then lays out a program for liberals, once they have swept to power in last November's election, seizing all the commanding heights of constitutional jurisprudence.

The whole thing is too long to quote, and written in law-school-professor-speranto, so I'll just pick out some highlights.

With a solid liberal majority on the Supreme Court, justices should, Prof. Tushnet tells us:

  1. Overrule key cases. Prof. Tushnet offers a list. Head of the list is the 1978 Bakke ruling, that imposed some slight, cautious restraints on affirmative action in college admissions, ruling out blatant racial quotas for example. According to Prof. Tushnet, the ruling amounted to, quote, "rejecting all the rationales for affirmative action that really matter."

  2. Deal sternly with what Prof. Tushnet calls "the losers in the culture war." Quote: "The war's over, and we won." Further quote: "Taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945," end quote. Just to remind you, this is a professor of constitutional law at the nation's most prestigious law school.

  3. Quote: "Exploit the ambiguities and loopholes in unfavorable precedents that aren't worth overruling," end quote. The assumption here is that with Mrs Clinton in the White House, liberal justices would be able to overrule anything at all; but where it's too much trouble, a precedent should be interpreted with maximum progressive spin.

  4. Be more ideological! Conservatives are too dimwitted consciously to practice ideological jurisprudence, although the results of their rulings are anti-progressive none the less. Progressives should have their ideology always in mind.

  5. Be bold and triumphalist, like Justices Brennan and Marshall, not timid and accommodating like that squeaky little mouse Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose — quote here — whose "work as a judge has been shaped more than it should be by defensive crouch constitutionalism."

  6. Stop pandering to Justice Kennedy, whose vote won't be crucial any more.

That's an executive summary of Prof. Tushnet's prescriptions last May at Prof. Balkin's blog. He closes with the following, quote:

Of course all bets are off if Donald Trump becomes President. But if he does, constitutional doctrine is going to be the least of our worries.

End quote. Oh, I do hope so, Professor!

And a sidebar note here: On that sixth bullet point, the one where he tells liberals to stop pandering to Justice Kennedy, Prof. Tushnet doesn't actually use the words "stop pandering." He actually uses an obscene four-letter verb with Justice Kennedy as its object. That apparently is how Ivy League law-school professors speak about their ideological opponents nowadays.

Further confirmation there of one of Radio Derb's running themes: That progressives are the potty-mouth party. They are the faction that can't speak or write a sentence — or at any rate, to be perfectly fair to Prof. Tushnet, a blog post — without a four-letter word in it.

These types can't carry out connected thought for long without the reptilian brain stem breaking through to bark an obscenity. Their grip on reasoned discourse is not strong.

Self-restraint again: not always in evidence on the right, to be sure, but well-nigh extinct on the left, even among Ivy League law professors.

04 — Underwhelming victories on immigration.     Still on the Supreme Court beat: Monday this week the Court unanimously decided to allow President Trump's ban on entry of travelers from six dangerous countries, with qualifications, pending a full consideration of the ban by the Supremes later this year.

The White House was crowing about this as a victory, but in fact it's underwhelming. As Mark Steyn wrote on Tuesday, all the decision amounts to is "the reversal of (most of) a court-ordered stay on an attempt to control immigration from five failed states plus the biggest state sponsor of terrorism on the planet (Iran)."

Further quote from Mark:

In 2017, in order to impose even the most modest, footling and temporary restraints on unrestricted Islamic access to a western nation, you have to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

End quote.

And the decision came, as I said, with qualifications — loopholes that anyone who'd passed his Jihadi Terrorism 101 class could drive a coach and four through without touching the sides.

The Supremes ruled, for example, that the ban must exclude persons with a "bona fide relationship" to an American individual or entity.

What does that mean? Bring in the lawyers. As Justice Thomas wrote in a separate opinion, with which Justices Alito and Gorsuch mostly concurred, quote:

Today's compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding — on peril of contempt — whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country …

The compromise also will invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved on the merits, as parties and courts struggle to determine what exactly constitutes a "bona fide relationship," [and] who precisely has a "credible claim" to that relationship …

End quote.

Not sufficiently remarked on here is the vast, gaping gulf between First World standards of jurisprudence and Third World standards of administration.

Mohammed from Somalia claims to be the brother of Yasmin living in Chicago. How do we check that? Take a DNA sample? I bet the lawyers would have something to say about that.

Oh, Mohammed's got a printed birth certificate in proof? How watertight in Somalia are the procedures for registering births, marriages, and deaths? More to the point: How much is the bribe to a provincial government clerk in Mogadishu to print out a fake certificate? My guess: Ten bucks, or a dime bag of khat.

Doesn't anybody remember how in 2008 the State Department had to suspend its refugee family-reunification program from Africa when some spot DNA testing revealed massive fraud? For the countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Liberia, eighty percent of the claimed family relationships were bogus.

Doesn't anyone remember that? No, no-one remembers anything.

The Supreme Court justices look very grand and impregnable in their robes, but to Third World hucksters, they are easy marks. The con men of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Liberia — and, where the travel ban is relevant, also of Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — these Third Worlders laugh at our tissue-paper rules and our delicate porcelain laws. Rip goes the tissue paper when it meets the Third World; Crunch goes the porcelain.

So yes, I'm underwhelmed. I feel much the same about the administration's other victories on immigration this week, when the House of Representatives passed two bills, one increasing penalties for illegal aliens who return after deportation, the other withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities.

I'd rather the House passed these laws than didn't pass them, but they'll likely die in the Senate; or, if they actually become federal laws, they'll be strangled at birth by the federal courts, or sink in the swamp of administrative neglect.

Why is the administration fiddling around like this with picayune micro-adjustments to federal laws, when real reforms it could get under way are neglected?

Why are we still handing out work permits to illegal aliens — the so-called "Dreamers"? Peter Brimelow, here at VDARE.com on Thursday, wondered whether Trump has been playing a sly back game on the "Dreamers," waiting for the courts to put the kibosh on Obama's DACA order the way they did on DAPA. Eh, maybe; but a bold stroke back in January would have been better, and legally unassailable as far as I can tell. And that was what he promised.

And why have we not started into motion a challenge to birthright citizenship? Sure, that may end up needing a Constitutional Amendment; but we won't find out unless we get the ball rolling.

And on the cultural front, can we please get some rectification of the language? The word "immigrant," for example, does not mean "a foreigner living in the U.S.A." An immigrant, in the language of federal law, is a person to whom our government has granted the right of permanent settlement, with the option to apply for naturalization as a citizen.

Every other foreigner here is a nonimmigrant. It says so, for example, right there on the H-1 visa stamped into my British passport in 1985: NONIMMIGRANT VISA, in bright red letters so that it stands out. If you didn't get permanent settlement rights, you're a nonimmigrant.

Including nonimmigrants under the word "immigrants" is like including nonferrous metals as ferrous metals, or invertebrates as vertebrates, or silence as noise. It's not even borderline, like calling Pluto a planet. It's a flagrant violation of logic.

If you're not an immigrant, you are a temporary resident alien, or else an illegal alien. The first category should be monitored to make sure they don't violate the terms of their visas, which is absurdly easy to do. Their numbers should also be massively reduced. We don't need to be bringing in hundreds of thousands of JavaScript programmers from Bangladesh. An average-IQ American can learn JavaScript in a week.

The second category, illegal aliens, should be deported.

Those are the most elementary basics of immigration law. If we don't get our thinking straight — which starts with getting our language straight — then we are, as Jordan Peterson told us two segments ago, living in an "untenable state of undifferentiated chaos." And that's no way to live.

We don't need picayune tinkering around the edges of our immigration laws; we need major reform. That's what we voted for, Mister President. When shall we see it? Or at least, some visible progress towards it?

05 — Is the SPLC losing respectability?     One evening a couple of weeks ago I was watching the ten o'clock news on the local Fox channel. It was midweek; I'd had a couple of glasses of wine too many over dinner; so I was drowsy and not really paying much attention.

That channel has the usual newsreader arrangement: one male, one female, both easy on the eye, both careful to avoid any opinionating as they read off the news, occasionally adding some sympathetic or jokey asides to each other to humanize the operation.

I was going to add that the only unusual thing about these two is that both are white. Then, looking them up on Google for due diligence, I learned to my surprise that the female one, Dari Alexander, is in fact black. Who knew? I've been watching her read the news for years — with fairly close attention, as she has a sort of MILF-ish sex appeal — and I always assumed she was white. I guess this is the one-drop rule in play, so Fox can claim diversity at their news desk. What a lie it all is!

The male announcer, name of Steven Lacy, looks totally white. I've lost my nerve after finding out about Dari Alexander, though, so I'm not going to swear there may not be a touch of the tar-brush in there, too. If there isn't, I can't see any diversity angle to Steve at all. "Lacy" doesn't sound the least bit Hispanic. He's married to a female, so presumably not homosexual. Perhaps he's an illegal alien, I don't know …

Where was I going with this? Oh, right, the SPLC.

So I'm watching these two newsreaders, and they covered a story about the auctioning, at a New York charity concert, of Jerry Garcia's favorite guitar.

Jerry Garcia, if you didn't know, was lead guitarist, and a co-founder, of the 1960s rock'n'roll band The Grateful Dead. He himself became dead twenty-two years ago, at a drug rehabilitaion clinic in California. Whether he also became grateful, I cannot say.

So this favorite guitar of Jerry Garcia's was auctioned off May 31st in New York. The owner, who of course gave permission for the auction, was billionaire Dan Pritzker, whose family founded the Hyatt chain of hotels. Like most people who are rich beyond the dreams of avarice, Pritzker is progressive, in fact a Social Justice Warrior. He specified that all proceeds from the auction should go to the Southern Poverty Law Center. I guess Mr. Pritzker thought that the SPLC's current endowment, a meager $200 million, was not enough to keep the fight against poverty going.

So I'm watching Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander tell me the news story about this auction, and processing it slowly with my Chardonnay-fuddled brain. They close off the story by telling us that proceeds from the auction — $3.2 million — will go to the SPLC.

Then Steve Lacy adds an editorial note. "That's a very good charity," he says to Dari Alexander (or words to that effect). "Indeed," replies Dari, nodding, "Couldn't be better." (Or words to that effect.) They then breeze on to the next story — cat stuck up a tree in Central Park, or something — I don't know.

And I'm sitting there fuming … as much as you can fume when three sheets to the wind. Don't these morons KNOW what a cynical money racket the SPLC is? I ask the world at large, who is sitting on the couch scanning WeChat on her iPhone, WeChat being the Chinese equivalent of Facebook. She makes a grunt of agreement to shut me up.

The point here is that they don't know. These two well-trained professionals — I'll give them their due in that regard — who would never let a word of partisan rancor taint their presentation of the news, blithely assumed that the SPLC is a public-spirited outfit to which no-one, of any political persuasion, could possibly object. Just look at their name: They're fighting poverty! In the South!!

That's the cultural water we swim in, listeners. These are the default assumptions of ordinary, not-very-attentive people. I have no reason to doubt — I'm not speaking sarcastically, I truly have no reason to doubt — that Lacy and Alexander are good people and honest citizens.

There you see Morris Dees' achievement. He has attained both fabulous wealth and respectability by systematic campaigns of slander and misrepresentation. He's Mister Hate. If you want to know who the hate-mongers are, you ask Morris, and he'll tell you.

Most of the people Morris has listed as purveyors of hate don't hate anyone at all. They — actually, we — are just dissidents from the Progressive consensus.

The SPLC is a political organization, a mouthpiece for Cultural Marxism, open borders, and white ethnomasochism. Behind that — actually in front of it, so far as the SPLC principals are concerned, but somehow kept out of sight of casual observers and the mainstream media — SPLC is a money-making scheme.

Yet they are respectable! Low-information Americans like Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander can praise them without thinking that they are making any political statement at all. It's like praising the Fire Department or the Salvation Army — totally non-political! Dees, you have to admit, is really a genius — an evil genius, but a genius none the less.

There are signs, though, that the SPLC's respectability may be fading. There have been negative stories about the SPLC for ever — Harper's Magazine did one way back in the last decade, and I think the Weekly Standard did one, too, around the same time. Our own Patrick Cleburne, here at VDARE.com, did a devastating analysis of SPLC's finances six years ago.

Lately, though, the stories have been coming thick and fast, and from further and further up the journalistic food chain.

Mike Sabo at American Greatness did a nice short-but-deadly stiletto of a piece back in March. June 21st no less an organ than the Wall Street Journal ran an SPLC-hostile op-ed by Weekly Standard writer Jeryl Bier. Mr. Bier notes that the SPLC did not respond to three inquiries he made while writing his article. Ah, the sound of silence!

The PowerLine blog, Politico, and the Daily Beast have now all run anti-SPLC columns. None of those outlets is on the Dissident Right, nor even within several miles of us. PowerLine is generally Conservatism, Inc. Politico is center-left. Daily Beast leans CultMarx, with some light Conservatism, Inc. seasoning.

It's probably too much to hope that the SPLC will ever go away. It's not too much to hope, though, that their respectability will soon decline to below the level at which carefully apolitical newsreaders will speak of the organization approvingly. It won't be the Salvation Army any more.

06 — Will Italy go Roman on illegals?     The great Völkerwanderung of our time, the equivalent of the barbarian invasions that brought down the Roman Empire, is the flood of blacks and Muslims from high-fertility, low-IQ regions of Africa and the Middle East into Europe.

It's been setting new records recently. A couple of news stories here. First one, from the New York Times, June 29th, edited quote:

More than 20,000 migrants have reached Italy in the last week, a sharp spike …

The number of migrants risking the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean from Libya often increases in warmer months, but this week's surge is extraordinary even compared with the already high summer numbers of recent years.

End quote. Here's another story, from MailOnline, June 28th. This is a British news outlet; you need to know that to the Brits, the Spanish word "Costa" indicates the popular Mediterranean vacation beaches of southern Spain. Quote:

Watched by horrified holidaymakers on a sun-drenched beach, a police speedboat carries the body of a drowned migrant into a pretty Spanish tourist port.

The 30-year-old Algerian was shipwrecked in perilous seas when he set out, like hundreds of others, on an armada of rickety craft from North Africa to Europe.

He was tragically unlucky. Last week, 1,025 migrants arrived illegally on the Andalusia coast, where millions of Britons holiday each year in the famous Costa resorts. Every day, more come on what is now the fastest-growing migrant sea route from Africa to Europe.

End quote.

There doesn't seem to be an end to it. Indeed, if you read Steve Sailer's posts, with all those horrifying graphs showing Europe's population flatlining to the end of this century while Africa's zooms up through the stratosphere, Europe's future looks grim indeed.

Nothing grows to the sky, though. There were municipal elections in Italy last weekend, and parties of the right did surprisingly well. The continuing flood of illegals was a major issue for voters, according to a different story in the New York Times.

Those were municipal elections, for mayors and such. The Italians have a general election coming up next year. Politicians are shuffling into position; and the position they all want to be in, is to be seen as doing something to stop the invasion. The numbers of illegals have been backing up in Italy as neighboring countries close their borders.

Wednesday this week, Italy's Ambassador to the European Union tweeted that other EU states must take more of the illegals off their hands.

Lots of luck with that, pal. As Radio Derb's been reporting, the eastern half of the continent has set its face firmly against taking in the illegals. As the Italian election results show, the worm may be beginning to turn in Western Europe, too.

The Romans weren't always in decline. The Roman Republic, and the Empire too, when it was young and vigorous, dealt very ruthlessly with perceived threats. We still talk about "going Roman" in that context. Perhaps the Italians still have it in them to "go Roman" in defense of their country.

Spain's a somewhat different story. Those beaches the Brits like so much are in Andalusia, which ISIS calls "the land of our forefathers." Before there was ISIS there was Al Qaeda. Remember Osama bin Laden talking about "the tragedy of Andalus"? For radical Muslims, this is their lost land. They mean to reclaim it.

So the Italians need to go Roman; the Spaniards need to bring forth another Cid.

Is either thing really likely to happen in the soft, hedonistic, welfare-tranquillized, low-fertility states of old Europe?

Well, nothing's impossible when History means business. You have to think they're leaving it kind of late, though.

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

Imprimis:  Here's a diversity story for youse. June 18th in Fairfax County, Virginia an illegal alien from El Salvador murdered a young Muslim girl, born in the U.S.A. to parents from Egypt. He beat her to death with a baseball bat, apparently as a result of a road rage incident.

The murderer was 22 years old; his victim only 17. The most popular comment at the New York Times website blamed this horrible killing on … yes, President Trump. The logic there seems to be that the killer somehow got infected with our President's Islamophobia.

In fact, as Daniel Greenfield pointed out on his blog, the true culprit here is not the Islamophobia of our current president but the Illegalophilia of the previous president, and of Fairfax County.

Absent Barack Obama's policy of open borders for "unaccompanied minors," the killer wouldn't have been here. Absent Fairfax County's sanctuary policy for illegals, the county wouldn't be such a magnet for Central American gangbangers.

What caught my eye was the murderer's name: Darwin Martinez Torres. Darwin? Are the News Gods trying to tell us that there is some vigorous natural selection going on down there among the Diversity? I mean, Darwin? Really?

Item:  Thursday this week was Heterosexual Pride Day. I hope you were out there with the rest of us in your town's Straight Pride Parade, chanting: "Three, five, seven, nine, / Normal sex will suit us fine!"

Item:  This item is a follow-on from my earlier comments about the ease with which Third Worlders game Western countries' rules on entry and settlement.

Listeners will no doubt recall the London Bridge terrorist attack on June 3rd, when three Muslims drove a van into people strolling on the bridge, then jumped out and started stabbing at random. Eight people were killed and more than forty injured. The three attackers were shot dead by police.

Turns out that one of the attackers had entered Britain using a false name and claiming to be five years younger than he actually was.

"Is it THAT easy?" asked the Daily Express headline. Yes, it's that easy. Britain's borders are wide open.

And this is an island nation, for crying out loud. America's border controls are lackadaisical, too; but at least we have long borders through remote areas as an excuse. What's the Brits' excuse?

They don't have one, unless gross stupidity counts. Perhaps they should send a study group to Japan to find out how it's done.

Item:  It's a few months to go yet to the Miss Bum Bum contest in Brazil, but I have some encouraging news for fans of the well-endowed female heinie. Apparently the contest is going international.

Last weekend in Shenyang, Northeast China, there was a Miss Bum Bum contest held in a shopping mall. Local ladies, all Chinese of course, lined up to show off their rear assets. For fans of this kind of thing, the New York Post website has some well-rounded coverage.

To judge from those pictures, it seems to me that while the Brazilian ladies easily win on quantity, the Chinese have the edge on quality. Although I must say, somewhat to my surprise, that even on quantity the Chinese are not far … behind.

The striking thing for this Old China Hand, though, was that this competition was taking place in Shenyang, which I remember from 35 years ago as a gritty industrial city. It's like hearing that the Miss Universe pageant is being held in Gary, Indiana.

China sure has changed.

08 — Signoff.     There you have it, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and a very happy July Fourth to one and all.

In hopes of stirring some patriotism in Italian breasts, here's something from a great Italian: the immortal Giuseppe Verdi, or Joe Green as we Anglo-Saxons know him. This is "O patria mia" from Aida, sung here by my great favorite Montserrat Caballé.

There will be more from Radio Derb next week.

[Music clip: Caballé, "O patria mia."]