»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

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

01 — Intro.     Dum da dum, bum, bum … Yes, Radio Derb is on the air once again, boys and girls, and all human life is here.

Yes, folks, this is John Derbyshire bringing you the choicest items of news from the past week: the good, the bad, and the irredeemably silly.

Let's start with the silly.

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02 — New York makes its subways worse!     This one I couldn't resist, though it's a bit local.

If you've ever lived in New York you know that the people who staff the subway token booths are rigorously selected for their foul personalities, their offensive breath, their gross repellent ugliness, and their hatred and loathing of the public they are supposed to serve.

Well, since subway ticketing is pretty much automated now, the Transit Authority is ordering these trolls and gorgons out of their booths and onto the subway platforms to serve as, quote, "Roving Information Agents." They will, says the Transit Authority, walk the station to do inspections and respond to problems on the platform.

Whoa! If you thought the New York subway was a scary place before, wait till you see it now! It's bad enough being jammed into a subway car up against that guy with terminal body odor and the handle of a meat cleaver sticking out of his jacket. Now, when you get off the train, you walk right into the token booth clerk from Hell. No-o-o …

Time to buy a bike.

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03 — Danish gratitude.     Danish movie director Lars von Trier at the Cannes film festival Thursday was asked why his movies take such an anti-American position.

Replied the Dane, quote: "Bush is an a**-hole. So much in Denmark is American. We are a nation under influence. America fills about sixty percent of my brain; so in fact, I am American. But I can't go there to vote and I can't change anything because I am from a small country. So that is why I make films about America." End quote.

Well, yes, so much in Denmark is American. Their freedom and their national independence, for example, which wouldn't exist if the U.S.A. hadn't fought to rescue them 60 years ago.

Excuse me for a moment, would you? I'm just going to break for a cup of coffee and A FREEDOM PASTRY.

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04 — The Senate's one rule.     When Calvin Coolidge, in his capacity as Vice President, was presiding over the U.S. Senate, someone asked him something about the chamber's procedural rules. Replied Cal: "The Senate only has one procedural rule, which is, that the Senate does what it darn well pleases."

The Senate did what it darn well pleased this week and agreed to go ahead with floor votes on three of the President's nominees for senior appeals court positions while reserving the right to filibuster two others.

The hallowed tradition of filibustering to prevent a floor vote on nominees, which goes far back into the mists of the Lyndon Johnson administration, is therefore preserved.

I have only made the personal acquaintance of one of the three judges whose votes will go forward; but if the President's other pics are as thoughtful, well-read, and civilized as Bill Pryor, the country will be a measurably better place after the confirmation of these three judges.

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05 — Torpid majesty meets parliamentary chutzpah.     Also in the Senate last week, or at any rate in the Dirksen Senate office building, British member of parliament George Galloway testified to the Senate subcommittee investigating the Oil for Food scandal.

Galloway is one of those Armani Leninists the British come up with now and again: a guy whose views are so far left, they're out of sight around the curvature of the earth, but who patronizes only the swankiest hotels, the most exclusive restaurants, and the best tailors. He just got himself elected to a House of Commons seat from a constituency in East London heavily populated by Muslim Bangladeshis, on a platform of getting Allied troops out of Iraq and re-installing Sadam Hussein, a person on whom Galloway once heaped oily flattery.

Well, this nasty little toad came into the subcommittee hearing and stomped all over the dignified gentleman of the Senate. Christopher Hitchens said of this performance, quote:

In a small way, an exceedingly small way, this had the paradoxical effect of making me proud to be British. Parliament trains its sons in a hard school of debate and unscripted exchange, and so does the British labor movement. The torpid majesty of a Senate proceeding does nothing to prepare you for a Galloway — who is, in addition, a man without embarrassment who has stayed just on the right side of many inquiries into his character and his accounting methods.

End quote. There are politicians in the USA who could handle a George Galloway — Rudy Giuliani comes to mind — but there aren't many, and none them was in the Dirksen building that day. So Galloway got away with his little stunt and went away chuckling, no doubt to splash some more of Saddam's money on a slap-up meal at the priciest restaurant he could find.

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06 — The biter bit.     Outrage of the week: Disneyland has started advertising that it will serve shark's fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy, at its new theme park in Hong Kong. Environmentalists were outraged.

Shark fin soup is made from the softened fibers of the fin, and tastes of nothing much in particular, though the Chinese believe it has wonderful nutritive properties.

Well, a Greenpeace representative in Hong Kong said: "We were very shocked and incredulous when they said they have put it on the menu."

Oh, for Heaven's sake, man, these are sharks. They eat us every chance they get, don't they?

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07 — A tyrant in his knickers.     Did you see those pictures of Saddam Hussein in his BVDs? Whatever you think about the morality of printing the pictures — I couldn't care less myself — you have to admit the whole story raised the general merriment level.

The commentary I liked best was in Saturday's New York Post. The Post asked some local fashion people to comment. The general opinion was that Saddam's choice of underwear was the fashion faux pas of the decade.

Said Joseph Cardi, designer of a menswear line called Joseph's Cloak, quote: "I recommend he were long loose boxers. The key to looking your best after becoming a deposed tyrant is to cover up as much as you can." End quote.

Jason Scarletti, head designer at a men's underwear firm called 2(X)IST opined thus: "If you're wearing great underwear you feel like a million bucks. Clearly Saddam must feel like crap. What purpose are his briefs serving him?" What purpose or his briefs serving him? I'm not even going to think about that one.

Scarlatti then threw in a little plug for his own firm, quote: "If I was in jail for the rest of my life, I'd wear 2(X)IST Pima cotton briefs because they're luxurious and really comfortable." End quote.

Well, I don't know about that. It depends on the location of the jail. If I was going to be in an American jail for the rest of my life, I think I'd go for something in kevlar personally.

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08 — Too good to check.     "Too good to check" is the Fleet Street term of art for a new story that is so irresistibly newsworthy, it must be rushed into print without any nonsense about fact checking.

What makes a story too good to check? Well, if you work for the elite US media, anything that dumps dirt on the Bush administration, the United States armed forces, or the War on Terror will do.

So it was with the Koran-in-the-toilet story. It was just too darn good for these lefties to check. Now they have egg on their faces. Not that they seem aware of it; they're too busy trying to prove that the whole fuss is the Administration's fault.

It's always fun to see elite media types make idiots of themselves. In this case, though, my pleasure was tempered somewhat by all the jokey pictures of toilets used to illustrate the story

Picking up a magazine and seeing a picture of a toilet in the same week as the Post is running photographs of Saddam in his Y-fronts is a bit much.

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09 — Don't mention the war!     Next month marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar where British national hero Horatio Nelson, commanding 27 ships, defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet of 33 ships off the coast of Spain.

The British are holding a re-enactment of the event in the Channel off Portsmouth on England's south coast. However, the battling fleets will be identified only as red and blue.

Said a spokesman for the Royal Navy, quote: "The event should not be an opportunity for French-bashing." End quote.

Perish the thought! Official literature for this event refers only to, quote, "an early 19th-century sea battle" instead of the Battle of Trafalgar. As Basil fawlty would've said, "don't mention the war!"

In related news, celebrations continue in London to commemorate the events of sixty years ago, when an episode of unpleasantness between certain countries and certain other countries was ended by mutual agreement among the countries concerned, all of whom it would be grossly insensitive to name.

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10 — Signoff.     That's all for now, folks. Tune in again next week for all the news that's fit to make you squirt coffee out your nose, from Radio Derb.

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[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]