»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

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

[Added when archiving, October 2018:  This was the first time I used Haydn's Derbyshire Marches as intro music.]

01 — Intro.     Here we are once again, NRO readers. This is Radio Derb with all the news that's fit to hear, brought to you direct from National Review world headquarters.

Let's see what's been happening.

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02 — I'll confess my atrocities if you'll ….     The traditional reply of the Latin American student when you asked him where he lived, was: "Just a stone's throw from the American embassy."

Well, in Shanghai last week 20,000 rioters, some shouting "Kill the Japanese!" threw stones, eggs, and plastic bottles, and broke windows at the Japanese consulate, and damaged Japanese restaurants and cars. Chinese police stood by and watched.

What was the occasion for all this rage? Well, in the first place, Japan is seeking a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council alongside current members Britain, France, America, Russia, and China.

And in the second place the Chinese are miffed that Japanese school textbooks don't teach Japanese children to feel ashamed of their ancestors, the way school textbooks in, say, the United States do. It seems that the Japanese have never gotten the hang of this collective guilt business.

But then, neither has the Chinese Communist Party. Perhaps some enterprising Japanese diplomat could offer a solution along the following lines.

Japanese school textbooks could go into full detail about the atrocities that were committed against Chinese people from 1931 to 1945 if Chinese school textbooks were revamped to fully describe the numerous campaigns of mass murder carried out by the Chinese Communist Party against Tibetans, Turkestanis, Mongolians, landowners, intellectuals, religious believers, "counter-revolutionary elements," etc., etc., etc., etc., …

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03 — From tax hell.     I hope you got your tax returns done in time. I got mine to the post office April 14th: my 1040, my Schedule A, my Schedule B, all four pages of my Schedule C, my Schedule D, my Schedule E, not forgetting my Schedule SE, er, my form 1116, my 8283, my 8829, my 4562, and my three pages of worksheets. That's just for the feds of course. For New York State I sent in an IT-201 with a supplementary worksheet, a Schedule C and a Schedule D. That's only to speak of my regular taxes. I'll have to send in estimated taxes for the first quarter too, state and federal.

Total 33 pages. This is for a lower-middle-class guy who gets checks from magazines and newspapers in return for stuff he writes, and whose wife is a retail sales assistant.

The National Taxpayers Union estimates that Americans work 6.6 billion hours to do their taxes. I feel I've accounted for about a billion of those all by myself.

This of course has been going on for awhile. Adam Smith wrote about, quote, "the unnecessary trouble, vexation and oppression that people suffer at the hands of the tax gatherers." That was back in 1776 though. A lot of stuff has improved since then. We have paved roads, anesthetic, air conditioning, and underarm deodorant. Why are we still stuck in the 18th century with our taxes?

Could it be something to do with our increasingly dysfunctional political system? Surely not.

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04 — Swedes get a women's party.     The pale, hygienic people of Sweden, always ahead of the rest of us with ingenious social and political innovations like ninety percent rates of income tax and extravagant cradle-to-grave welfare, have done it again. Next year's elections are going to be contested by a women's party, and pollsters are saying the party could win several seats.

This news comes just too late for Andrea Dworkin, who died last week, but it should gladden the hearts of feminists everywhere.

The driving force behind the party — I'm reading here from an article in The Economist — is Gudrun Schyman, former leader of the Left Party, who once accused Swedish men of being "no better than the Taliban," end quote.

I note en passant that there is a lot to be said for a party upfront enough to call itself the Left Party. Still, I hope Hillary Clinton isn't getting any ideas.

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05 — Save the cats!     This week's award for memorable remark by a state governor goes to Jim Doyle, governor of Wisconsin. Here's the quote: "I don't think Wisconsin should become known as a state where we shoot cats."

Well, I wouldn't want that either, Jim, if I were one of your constituents. Being known as a Cheesehead is as heavy a cross as any person should have to bear through life, I feel. But what was the occasion of the remark about cats?

It seems that there are two million feral cats roaming around the Dairy State, killing off songbirds and pestering the cows for free milk. A conservation group adopted a proposal that would have allowed hunters to shoot them; although I can't resist adding they only adopted this proposal by a whisker.

Cat-lovers thereupon screeched, a couple of state Senators unsheathed their claws, and Governor Doyle — never one to let the cat get his tongue — came out against. The proposal has now been well and truly … scratched.

It's too bad in a way. Selling all those state hunting licenses could have put a few dollars in the state kitty.

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06 — Back to nature.     Did you ever feel like just going feral, yourself? I suppose most of us have. Well, apparently it's been done, and successfully, too.

Most anthropologists assume that human societies in the most primitive state have a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. You know, the men go out with spears to bring down a woolly mammoth, while the women stay home and pick berries. That sort of thing. Then as they get more sophisticated they turn into farmers, settle down, build towns and cities, and develop the income tax and reality TV shows.

Well, a bunch of german anthropologists have found a tribe in the jungles of Thailand that went the other way. They started out as farmers, then took to the woods and became successful hunter-gatherers. They look pretty happy about it, too, to judge from the pictures.

Doesn't this get you thinking? We don't have too much jungle here on Long Island, nor much in the way of megafauna either; but there's a blackberry patch a couple of streets away that Mrs Derb could get started on while I fashion some spears and stone axes. Anything to get out of paying income tax.

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07 — Al Qaeda does Mexico.     Did you hear about flight KLM685? A couple of weeks ago this commercial flight took off from Amsterdam, Holland headed for Mexico City. It was a direct flight, Holland to Mexico, but because it was scheduled to cross U.S. airspace, some helpful person in Mexico forwarded the flight manifest to our Department of Homeland Security.

It turns out that two of the passengers were known al Qaeda associates from Saudi Arabia. One of them had actually attended flight school in Arizona with one of the 9/11 hijackers.

Taking a break from bureaucratic infighting to look out for the U.S. public for once, Homeland Security denied overfly rights. The Canadians denied landing rights, so KLM685 with its two terrorists and 276 other passengers on board had to head back to Amsterdam.

Now, why would two al Qaedists want to go to Mexico city?

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08 — Trans strangler.     Offbeat story of the week: A woman named Corriana Thompson, 45 years old, of Albany, New York has been charged with murdering her mother by strangulation.

Nothing very surprising about that. There isn't much to do of a weekend in Albany. However, when the police got to scrutinizing Ms Thompson's records, they discovered that she has killed before. Back in the 1980s she actually did time for strangling a nurse.

The twist is that back in the eighties Ms Thompson was a man, name of Corey Wayne Balashek. This is believed to be the first time a person has been charged with murder twice, once as a man and once as a woman.

"The seas and the mountains change," goes the Chinese proverb, "but not a man's nature." Not even when the man becomes a woman, apparently.

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

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[Music clip: Richard Griffiths, "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester," last six lines.]