»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

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01 — Intro.     Welcome listeners to Radio Derb, your dependable source of news and views, brought to you by the good people of National Review Online and read by turncoat Englishman, John Derbyshire.

Let us spread our wings and span the world to see what's been happening./p>

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02 — John Paul II, RIP.     Pope John Paul the Second died on Saturday.

For those of us who are not Roman Catholics, the death of a Pope is normally like a death in someone else's family. This Pope was different, though. He was one of the great figures of the modern age. He, with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, showed up to rally the Western world when our collective spirits were at their lowest.

His voice helped to speed the downfall of the horrible Soviet empire, repaying Stalin's cynical jest when told during World War Two that the Pope had offered his services in the allied cause. "How many divisions has he got?" said Stalin.

The dogmas of the Roman church may not be your cup of tea, and I'll admit, with no offense to anyone, they're not mine either; but John Paul the Second stood up for them with courage, conviction, and well chosen words, and with malice towards none.

A good man, an honest man who had lived a life of struggle and adventure; and who, at the age when most of us are getting ready to retire, took on a huge despotism bristling with nuclear weapons, and helped to destroy it. We don't see many like him.

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03 — Cap'n Bob re-elected!     Congratulations to Robert Mugabe over there in Zimbabwe. They had an election and — guess what? — Cap'n Bob's party won!

He's won all the previous elections in that country, too, and he says he hopes to go and being president till he's a hundred years old. The way things have been going in Zimbabwe, there won't be any voters left by that time, except of course for Cap'n Bob and his family, and the couple of hundred thousand dead people who voted the other day.

In the annals of nation wrecking our Bobby-boy is up there with Lenin, Pol Pot and Idi Amin.

When someone told Adam Smith that something or other would be the ruin of Britain Smith replied sagely: "There's a deal of ruin in a nation." Well, it's not that big a deal. It can be done. Look at Zimbabwe.

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04 — Alabama's little star.     My congratulations also go out to Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, Kavanaugh, who has been elected Republican State Chairman of the beautiful and hospitable state of Alabama.

I know next to nothing about the political affairs of that state, except that Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore may be getting ready to run a primary contest against governor Bill Riley next year, if Riley tries for re-election. I'm just glad, though, to have someone in my party named Twinkle.

Maybe she should run for governor. How could you not vote for someone named Twinkle?

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05 — Nork soccer riot.     Is there trouble in paradise? It was bad enough when Bruce and Demi split up. Then came — I mean, then went — Brad and Jen.

Now here go long time pals and collaborators in nuclear research, Iran and North Korea.

As is always the case, it started with something trivial, in this instance a soccer game. The Norks, you see, are trying in their cauche way to rejoin the rest of the world. In this spirit they have re-entered competition for the soccer World Cup, the final rounds of which will be held in Germany next year.

Well, there was a qualifying game in Pyongyang the other day. The Norks were playing a visiting team from Iran. They lost, their third straight loss, and the fans weren't happy. They threw cans and bottles at the referee, who is — get this — a Syrian, and also at the visiting players. It took Pyongyang's finest two hours to make the stadium safe before the Iranians could leave.

Readers of Chol-hwan Kang's book The Aquariums of Pyongyang, which is about the author's experiences in a Nork labor camp, will recall that one of Kang's fellow inmates was a member of the national soccer team doing 25-to-life for having missed a penalty kick or something. That guy ended up being shot, as I recall.

If there are any national soccer players still alive in Kim Jong Il's gulag, they may soon find themselves being joined by a stadium's-worth of fans.

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06 — Rancor in victory.     You can always depend on a World War Two anniversary for display of rancor.

Coming up on May 9th: Victory Day celebrations in Moscow at which the Russians will be celebrating the defeat of fascism sixty years ago. Having defeated the Nazis, of course the Soviets went on to impose brutal communist dictatorships on Eastern Europe.

These celebrations therefore put the East Europeans in a bind. Should they accept an invitation to send their Presidents to Red Square or not?

Lithuania and Estonia say no. Latvia's President, former Canadian citizen Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga said yes, stirring traditional grumbles among Russians and other Balts about the number of prominent Latvians in the high levels of Lenin's and Stalin's regimes.

The Polish President said he might go if Russia apologizes for the Hitler-Stalin Pact under which his country was divided between the two dictators. Some hope of that! Sniffed the Russian foreign ministry, quote: "Poland is being dishonest, tearing historical events out of their context," end quote.

Well, it's an advance on tearing human eyeballs out of sockets, which is the kind of thing Stalin's security guys used to do to recalcitrant Poles.

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07 — Weiner's Walmart whine.     New York City is an odd sort of place: a collaboration between Wall Street financial firms, who produce the tax revenues, and labor unions, mainly of the public-sector variety, who consumed them. Pretty much everyone else is merely tolerated in the five boroughs, like the Christian and Jewish dhimmi in traditional Islamic lands. Ordinary commercial enterprise is hardly tolerated at all, and the city's byzantine zoning codes are especially hostile to retailers.

The latest illustration of this peculiar style of municipal socialism has come with the campaign to keep big-box retailer Walmart out of the city. Leading the charge is Congressmen and city Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Whines Weiner: "My case against Walmart isn't against its size, it's against their behavior. They're not just a big-box store: They're a very bad big-box store."

Representative Weiner, you see, wants a moral audit of companies doing business in the city.

What about competition bringing lower prices for consumers? What about more retail activity bringing entry-level jobs for young workers?

As they say in Representative Wiener's bailiwick: Fuhgeddaboutit.

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08 — Less taste, more filling.     You know that aisle in the supermarket where the breakfast cereals are on display? Coco Pops, Frosted Krispies, Honey Nut Cheerios, Count Chocula, Peanut Butter Toast Crunch, and all the uncountably infinite host of others.

Well, there's a new trend down that aisle. See, the cereal companies are worried that parents might think their children are having unhealthy nutrients thrust on them via gaudy packaging. Imagine! Why would anyone think that?

People will get these ideas in their heads though; so now the cereal companies are marketing low-sugar cereals The catch is, those wildly cereal-makers having reduced the sugar in their product, maintain essential crunchiness by increasing the carbohydrates.

Reading about this in a newspaper report, a California mom named Jennifer Hardy, who had been diligently feeding her offspring with low-sugar cereal in the certainty that she was improving their health by doing so, reached for her yellow pages, turned to the sanction headed "Attorneys," and got lawyered up. A class action lawsuit is now underway.

A spokesman for General Mills explained calmly that, "consumers wanted less sugar, so we gave them less sugar."

Well, that won't do. Mrs Hardy, through one of her regiment of lawyers, declared herself, quote, "extremely upset." And we all know that no corporation in modern America may cause extreme upsetness to any citizen, least of all a doting mom.

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09 — Signoff.     That's it for now, boys and girls. Tune in again next week for all the news that's fit to hear from Radio Derb.

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