»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Wednesday, June 29th, 2005


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

01 — Intro.     Greetings, ladies and gentlemen. That is one of Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, and this is John Derbyshire with Radio Derb, voice of the vast right wing conspiracy, bringing you yet another foam-flecked mean-spirited rant about the topics of the hour. Here we go.


02 — Long Island's Indian reservation.     If I get in my car and drive east for an hour or so, I'm in the Hamptons out at the east end of Long Island. That's serious real estate out there: movie stars, business tycoons, TV newscasters … Don't ask me how you can get so rich by reading some script off a teleprompter for half an hour a day, that's just the world we live in.

Anyway: In there among the big spreads and exclusive golf courses is the Shinnecock Indian reservation, eight hundred acres with five hundred people living on it — descendants of the first Long Islanders, so they tell us. The reservation's kind of shabby and poor, but apparently there's something in the rules about being a Native American that says you're not allowed to do anything to improve yourself or your life by education, entrepreneurship or relocation. So there they sit.

Well now the Shinnecocks have got themselves some new friends, a couple of casino developers from Detroit. The Indians have filed a claim to 3,600 acres that their ancestors signed away freely for money back in 1859.

The radio and TV stations around here are all featuring soft-focus ads backed by moody pan-pipes music pleading for fairness towards the Shinnecock, who by the way are not even a federally-recognized tribe.

So if you own real estate and you think your title's secure, think again. Some pinky-ring types from the casino industry, a crew of shyster lawyers, and a bench full of judges stuffed up to the tops of their robes with white liberal guilt could dispossess you faster than David Souter can say "eminent domain."


03 — The right place for Saddam.     The US troops assigned to guard Saddam Hussein have been telling us about their conversations with him. He longs for the days when Ronald Reagan was in power. He is proud that his sons died for their country. He thinks it's an important life goal to find a good woman. He prefers Raisin Bran Crunch to Fruit Loops.

Sounds like a Republican to me. Still, I can't see why this bloke is walking around breathing good air. Why did we let him out of that spider hole? What are hand grenades for?

It's nice that old Saddam is so chatty and down to earth, but personally I'd like him a lot better if his vertical coordinates with respect to the earth were negative. Negative six feet would be fine.


04 — Limousine liberals take over Ground Zero.     We've learned that among New York State's plans for Ground Zero, the site where the World Trade Center once stood, is an International Freedom Center with an exhibition celebrating freedom. So far so good, but who've we got in charge here?

Head honcho in the IFC project is one Richard Tofel who explained himself thusly in the Wall Street Journal, quote: "The International Freedom Center will host debates and note points of view with which you and I will disagree." End quote.

The thing I would like to know is whether it will note any points of view with which conservative Republicans like me will agree. I'm not betting on it.

Other movers and shakers in the IFC project are Tom Bernstein and Michael Posner, leading lights of Human Rights First, a group funded by … Oh, who's this? Why, it's George Soros! ACLU head Anthony Romero also has a key role in the project. You getting the picture here?

Families of 9/11 victims have been mobilizing opposition to the whole wretched scheme and they absolutely have my support. Key decisions are in the hands of New York Governor George Pataki, though; and Spurious George, when he can stir himself to do anything at all nowadays, generally does the thing that raises the least noise from the limousine-liberal crowd he knocks back most of his cocktails with.

So my guess would be that the working definition of the word "freedom" at the International Freedom Center will be the thing that rich white Christian heterosexual males seek to withhold from the rest of humanity.


05 — The Democrat worldview.     Senator Dick Durbin calls the U.S. military no better than Nazis, Stalinists, and the Cambodian mass murderer Pol Pot. Democrats yawned and turned to something more interesting.

Then a few days later, commenting on 9/11, Karl Rove said that conservatives saw the savagery and prepared for war, while liberals saw the savagery and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Democrats went nuts at that, demanding Rove's resignation and throwing sputtering tantrums all over the TV news programs

So there you have the Democrat worldview. "U.S. troops are Nazis"? Ho hum. "American liberals are bleeding-heart surrender monkeys"? Shrieks of outrage.


06 — Jeb wants to reopen Schiavo case.     Governor Jeb Bush of Florida has asked a state prosecutor to look into the circumstances of Terry Schiavo's collapse back in 1990.

Now I got into trouble back in March with NRO readers, and even some of my colleagues, for taking Michael Schiavo's side in the legal endgame. Even those colleagues who took issue with me back then, though, are frowning and shaking their heads over this move by Jeb Bush.

Nobody in fact seems to have a good word for this investigation. It's hard to see how it could uncover anything that was missed in fifteen years of litigation and media coverage, or what action the state could take on anything that is discovered.

There are two theories about the governor's motivation: one, that it is a cynical play for the support and funding of right-to-life groups in his next political campaign, and two, that he's driven by personal conscience to leave no stone unturned in finding out what happened to Mrs Schiavo.

Holding as I do a low opinion of human nature in general, and politicians' natures in particular, I was inclined to the first view. Prolife colleagues and friends, though — people who have been tracking the governor for years — have persuaded me that the second is more probable.

Whatever. This seems to me to be a very ill-judged move and a total waste of Florida taxpayers' money.


07 — Paris disses Oprah.     On the very rare occasions that I think about Oprah Winfrey it is with passionless detachment. I don't care about her one way or the other. I feel about Oprah and her adherents the way I feel about snake-handling cults, barbershop quartets or Zen Buddhism: a harmless way for people to spend time and seek meaning in their lives, though one in which I feel no inclination whatsoever to join them.

The story about Oprah being turned away from the Hermes store in Paris therefore did not make me leap to my feet and howl in outrage. It's hard to muster much sympathy anyway when a person who makes $225,000,000 a year suffers some minor indignity.

I did smile though, but one of the explanations offered for Hermes turning away Ms Winfrey. Quote: "We've been having a lot of trouble with North Africans lately."

Setting aside the fact that Oprah Winfrey resembles the average Tunisian or Algeria and about as closely as I do, it's oddly comforting to know that racial insensitivity is not the exclusive property of us tobacco-chewing hillbilly Americans and ignorant, arrogant leader, le cowboy Boosh, but can even be found among upmarket Parisian retailers, whom I have hitherto supposed to be the most sophisticated, enlightened and cosmopolitan human beings yet evolved … as I'm sure you have.


08 — Block China's bid for Unocal.     The Chinese white-goods firm Haier has made a bid for Maytag, and a Chinese state-controlled oil and gas company has made one for U.S. energy producer Unocal.

I think I'm cool with the Maytag beard. Since every toy in my kids' rooms, every item of apparel in our wardrobes, and half the tools on my workbench are made in China, it's hard to see why I should keep Chinese firms out of the laundry room. The Unocal beard is another matter though. The ability to cut off our supply of new tumble dryers is one thing; control of our energy resources is another.

The Chinese oil company has hired a slick PR firm who have put out the following soothing message, quote: "This is a commercial deal, a commercial bid from one New York Stock Exchange-listed company to another New York Stock Exchange-listed company, designed to improve shareholder value for both." End Quote.

Yeah; but wouldn't you feel a little better about it if controlling interest in the bidding firm were held by someone other than the apparatchiks of a fascist militaristic dictatorship that preaches an ideology of fanatical nationalism and historical grievance to its people?

Our regulators should block the Unocal bid.


09 — Soap up with Berlusconi.     I've had a little fun on Radio Derb in the past with some of the idiocies and absurdities of the contemporary art scene. This one takes the cake though — a cake of soap, actually.

You need to know that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi got his start in politics with an anti-Mafia campaign called Operation Clean Hands back in 1990. You also need to know that he's been in a spot of bother recently with accusations of corruption in his administration.

Well, an enterprising artist, one Gianni Monte, has exhibited and sold a most unusual item: a bar of soap which he claims to have made from Signor Berlusconi's own body fat via the intermediary services of a liposuction clinic the Prime Minister once patronized. Naturally, the exhibit was titled Clean Hands. It fetched over $23,000.

I don't know whether the purchaser intends to display this object in his living room or to take it into the shower with him, and frankly I find it all too disgusting to think about.

Back in old Tibet the Dalai Lama was so revered that little pills were made from his stools and sold for high prices as medication. Let's just hope things don't go that far with substances extracted from our politicians' bodies.


10 — Signoff.     That's all, folks. Tune in again next week for more shock and awe from Radio Derb. Remember shock and awe? Ah, well.

And by the way, many thanks to all who came to Chicago last week. Great crowd, lots of fun.


[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]