»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Monday, March 14th, 2005

—————————

•  Play the sound file

—————————

[Music clip: Soaring chords, orchestra and chorus.]

01 — Intro.     Good morning National Review readers and welcome to Radio Derb this week of St Patrick's Day. Sláinte mhaith, céad míle fáilte, tiocfaidh ár lá, and may your shillelagh never rust.

Here is the Radio Derb weekly roundup of news from home and abroad. What's that? No, I'm not going to tell you the name of the broad. Go sit at the back of the class, Sir.

[Permalink]

02 — Atlanta courthouse shooter "never seemed violent."     Here's a story with a punchline. The moral of the story is: Political correctness will kill ya — a thing which every air traveler figured out three and a half years ago. Well, here's the story.

Brian Nichols, who stands six foot one and weighs 210 pounds, was being taken before a judge when he overpowered his guard, took her gun, shot her in the head, shot the judge and a court reporter dead, shot or pistol-whipped a couple of other people, hijacked a car, and got away.

A number of things come to mind. Why was this guy not handcuffed? Because, says the Atlanta Journal, the law requires that defendants on trial not be handcuffed as they enter the courtroom to make sure the site of cuffs doesn't unfairly influenced the jury. Oh, I see.

Well, why was he being escorted by only one officer? A female whose body mass, to judge from her picture, was around half of his. Oh, come on, Derb, what kind of bigot are you? Any job a man can do, a woman can do just as well.

Why was nickels in court in the first place? Well, he was accused of bursting into his ex-girlfriend's home, binding her up with duct tape, and sexually assaulting her over three days. He brought a loaded machine gun into the home, and a cooler with some food in case he was hungry. The day before the courtroom shoot-up he was found in court with two hand-made knives hidden in his shoes, said one of the prosecutors.

Not to keep you on tenterhooks. Here's the punchline. Nichols's attorney Barry M. Hazen told CNN that his client is, quote, "a very intelligent and articulate man," and, quote, "never seemed violent."

[Permalink]

03 — In the nature of an official euphemism.     This one isn't so much a punchline as just a bit of official-speak that I couldn't resist.

Last Friday a woman's head was found inside a bowling ball bag in her Jersey City home. Further inquiry found that some of her other body parts were hidden behind the walls of the house. Her husband was arrested last night and he's going to be charged with murder, said the county prosecutor.

The woman, who was nicknamed Pixie and was reported missing by her husband on January 17th, was on the verge of divorcing him, said this same prosecutor. He added, quote: "It appears to be in the nature of a domestic situation." End quote.

You don't say. Let's just be very, very glad this husband didn't forget what was in the bowling bag and head off for a night at the lanes. I mean, I see a gutter ball right there. This kind of thing could play havoc with your league average.

[Permalink]

04 — Don't buy green bananas.     Those three little words that terrify every single man: "Honey, I'm late," may be echoing through the Solar System right now. If so, the prospect is really terrifying. Here's the story.

The biologist John Sepkoski at the University of Chicago — he died five years ago — built up a huge database of information about marine fossils going back across 540 million years. Well, two scientists at Berkeley have just completed a data-mining exercise on this vast fossil record, and the conclusion, they tell us, is inescapable. There are mass extinctions of life on earth quite regularly, every 62 million years.

That's the bad news. Here's the really bad news. The last one of these mass extinctions was 65 million years ago. In other words, we're overdue for a massive species-annihilating event.

What caused these events? The researchers don't know. Their best guess is some deep, slow, rhythmic patterns in the Earth's liquid rock interior causing cyclic volcanic catastrophies. It might be something to do with the Sun's motion through the galaxy, though, or with the dynamics of the comet cloud that surrounds the solar system.

Whatever it is, you won't be able to duck this one by leaving town.

[Permalink]

05 — Banishing "not equal" from math.     What's the point of teaching mathematics to school kids? I guess we've all wondered that at some time or other, usually in our own schooldays.

Well, the school board of Newton, Massachusetts, described as "a wealthy liberal enclave," has figured it out. The district's benchmarks for math education declare that the top objective for the district's math teachers is to teach, quote, "respect for human differences," end quote.

So today we'll learn Pythagoras's Theorem. Here, boys and girls … Oh gosh, I'm sorry. I mean andro-, gyno-, gender-indeterminate and questioning Americans. No, no, sorry, I didn't mean to say Americans. I mean persons who might or might not be U.S. so-called "citizens," and if not, might or might not be formally documented.

Okay. Here is a right-angled triangle. Note that the other two angles are less than right angles, and that one of the sides of the triangle is longer than the other two.

This state of inequality among the sides and angles of our triangle is a regrettable legacy from the origins of geometry amongst slave-holding, wife-beating ancient Greeks like Pythagoras. You must not take it to imply that similar inequalities occur in the human world.

Absolutely not! Our school district is working hard to compile math textbooks that contain only equilateral triangles, who sides and angles are all equal. Then we shall no longer be beholden to the racist, sexist stereotypes of the ancient world.

Anyway, here is this right-angled triangle. Now just let me make something clear about that word "right" …

[Permalink]

06 — Dollar heads south.     I don't venture into the business pages much, but the following two back-to-back headlines on Google News caught my eye.

Headline number one: Dollar Under Fire from All Sides. The accompanying story was about a further slide in the value of the U.S. dollar on international currency markets following the Japanese Prime Minister's remark that, quote, "diversity in foreign exchange reserves" was "a good thing" end, quote.

Well, of course, any kind of diversity is ipso facto a good thing, but the translation here seems to be: "Japan is holding too many dollars. Time to replace a few with some currency that is not heading steadily south."

Headline number two, quote: Consumer Online Spending Grows 14 Percent Last Year, end quote. Well, it makes sense to me. Let's spend those poor old greenbacks while they're still worth something.

I think it's time I went for that boat I've been dreaming about.

[Permalink]

07 — No floor fights in the ChiCom Congress.     Relations between the Executive and the Legislature in a dictatorship are rarely as fraught as they sometimes get between our White House and Congress.

Witness the first reading last week in communist China's National People's Congress of a than law authorizing the commie dictatorship to attack Taiwan if the Taiwan government says what everyone knows to be true, that Taiwan is an independent state. This law is expected to be passed by the Congress on Monday, March 14th.

Leading commie stooge … Oh, I beg your pardon: I mean Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress Wang Bangguo, whose given name, by the way, means "help the nation," told the legislators that quote, "formulating the anti-secession law is a major event in China's political life," end quote. He went on, quote: "The national legislature is sure to fulfill the solemn mission, to do a good job in enacting the anti-secession law." End quote.

You bet they are. Don't be looking for any floor fights on Monday, any backroom horse trading between legislative factions, any desperate late night phone calls to swing-vote legislators from President Hu Jintao. His given name, by the way, means "elegant billows."

China's legislative process doesn't work like that. In this particular case, the Chinese legislators wouldn't buck the party even if they could. Bringing the people of Taiwan back into the warm bosom of the motherland, whether they want to be brought back or not, is now the first principle of modern Chinese nationalism — probably the only point on which the commies command widespread support from the people they rule.

Whether they can do it, and whether, if they try, there is anything we can or should do to stop them, are very interesting questions.

That the world would be a safer, better, and happier place if the mainland Chinese would give up their psychotic fixation on clubbing the poor Taiwanese into submission and stamping out their democracy, cannot be seriously doubted.

[Permalink]

08 — From rights to vetoes.     You remember the war on Christmas, right? Well, having got us all wishing each other "Happy holidays!" as we open our holiday presents around the holiday tree, the Christ-haters have opened up a new front in the war against America's traditions.

They want to get rid of the Easter Bunny. A Florida reporter found that the human-size bunny handing out eggs at his local mall was called the Garden Bunny.

God forbid — I mean, you know,God or Allah or Yahweh or Vishnu or Lord Buddha or Zeus or the Great Manitou forbid — that anyone should take offense at being reminded that this nation was founded by Christians and that 90 something percent of us are still Christians.

I'm fine with religious or irreligious minorities having rights, but when did they go from having rights to having vetoes?

[Permalink]

09 — Africa's peculiar institution.     The West African nation of Niger — or for the more exquisitely sensitive among you, "Nee-ZHAIR" — last year passed a law against owning slaves.

Trying to get with the program, one slave master declared that he would free all seven thousand of the slaves owned by himself and his clan at a great ceremony on March 5th. Alas, the affair did not go quite as advertised.

All that happened was the guy stood up and announced that contrary to anything he might have said or implied formerly, he did not in fact own any slaves. His fellow clansmen then did the same.

What had happened was, the government of Niger had got cold feet when they realized how much international publicity this projected event would generate, so they sent officials around the country advising slave owners that high publicity releases of slaves would be punished at least as severely as ownership of slaves. So now nobody in Niger admits to having any sleeves at all, no Siree.

Solving your country's problems by denying that they exist is of course an old favorite with politicians — by no means only West African ones — as witness the current debate here in the United States over Social Security, it does seem a bit extreme to apply this technique to an issue as dramatic as chattel slavery, though — a thing which is endemic all over the desert regions of Africa.

Said David Ould, Deputy Director of the pressure group Anti-Slavery International, quote, "We are depressed." So should the rest of us be, to know that this evil still stalks the earth — with the connivance of governments.

[Permalink]

10 — Signoff.     That's all for today, folks. Tune in again next week for more news and views from Radio Derb.

And just to sign us off today, here's a snippet of recorded debate that was smuggled out for me from the Democratic National Committee's recent closed-door discussions on social security reform.

[Permalink]

[Music clip: Groucho Marx, "I'm Against It."]