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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. Greetings, ladies and gentlemen! It's been a while since you heard my mellifluous tones over Radio Derb, and I'm sorry. I spent two weeks touring Europe with the rest of the Derbs and then a week in Book Hell. Only now have I emerged onto the sunlit uplands of late August with time to catch up on the events of the day.
Here we go.
|02 — Justice Roberts does have a mean streak. I'm still looking
for evidence of a streak of mean in Judge John Roberts; some sign that he's opinionated and cranky enough to resist the heady intoxicating vapors of
liberal activist jurisprudence that waft through the chambers and corridors of the Supreme Court Building.
In this frame of mind, I perked up considerably when I read the judge's comments on Michael Jackson. Writing back in 1984 to oppose a Presidential award to the glove fruit cake for his efforts to discourage drunk driving, Roberts said, quote:
If one wants the youth of America and the world sashaying around in garish sequined costumes, hair dripping with pomade, body shot full of female hormones to prevent voice change, mono-gloved; well, then I suppose Michael, as he is affectionately known in the trade, is in fact a good example.
End quote. Hey, that's not bad. Perhaps we can make something of Roberts.
Of course I'd rather he'd been a little blunter. You know, something like: "Michael Jackson is a self-loathing freak who belongs in a padded cell." But in politics you have to take what you can get. All right, I'll take Roberts.
|03 — San Francisco votes pacifist. One of the touristy things that I liked
to do around the U.S.A. is visiting the fine old war ships that are moored here and there: the USS Intrepid in New York City, the
Alabama and the Drum in Mobile, and so on.
Well, it looked for a as if I might have had the USS Iowa to call on in my next visit to San Francisco. That's the World War Two battleship that carried President Roosevelt home from the Tehran Conference in 1943 and later saw service in the Korean War.
The plan, supported by Senator Dianne Feinstein and veterans' groups, was to moor the old lady — uh, I mean the battleship, not the Senator — at Fisherman's Wharf as a tourist attraction. However, the San Francisco city supervisors voted eight to three against taking in the ship because of local feeling against the Iraq war and the military's policy against enlistment of open homosexuals.
Now the Iowa is going to be towed eighty miles inland, up the San Joachim River to Stockton, which is badly in need of a tourist attraction. And I do mean badly: The only thing Stockton has going for them at the moment is the annual Asparagus Festival.
So thanks to their city council, the peace-loving people of San Francisco won't have their eyes offended by a reminder that in human affairs push does sometimes come to shove in a way that can't be settled by any number of "pride" marches or diversity workshops.
|04 — The 1960s were dumb. Could it be that the 1960s are finally over?
Well, we can hope.
Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson, the counterculture's favorite writer who shuffled off this mortal coil six months ago by firing a bullet into his drug-addled brain, has finally been laid to rest in an appropriate style. His ashes were shot into the sky by a rocket over his Colorado farm, then scattered across the landscape with the aid of red, white, and blue exploding fireworks.
Present at the event were boomer idols, John Kerry and George McGovern. The distribution of Mr Thompson's remains was only the high point of a day-long celebration of countercultural dopiness, with Bob Dylan wailing from speakers, an oration delivered in Tibetan and a 153-foot monument decorated with a Dayglo peyote button "visible for miles around," according to the newspaper.
Those of us who were actually around in the 1960s were embarrassed to be reminded how dumb it or was. The rest of you, I imagine, are just baffled to know what the heck it was all about.
You're better off not knowing, believe me.
|05 — Iraq: Let 'em fight it out. Meanwhile, over in Iraq, they are cooking
up a Constitution.
Why can't I get excited about this? Possibly it's something to do with my belief that the Constitution will survive about a week after the last US soldier leaves that horrible place, a point in time that can't come soon enough for me.
Once the Iraqis had given us every good reason to think that they were making dangerous weapons, I was glad when we went in there and smashed up their stuff. Why we are still there two and a half years later, has me baffled.
It's obvious there will be a civil war after we leave. Indeed U.S. policy seems to be premised on that. Why are we training an Iraqi army? "To defeat the insurgents," goes the official line.
I suppose there is some lawyerly difference between an insurgency and a civil war, but it looks to me like a civil war; and their business, not ours.
Let's just figure out which side we'd prefer to win, arm them to the teeth, and pull out.
|06 — New York State ethics. Governor George Pataki of New York took a short
break from jacking up taxes and inviting hate-America leftists to set up exhibitions at the World Trade Center to protest about some of his phone
conversations having been tape-recorded.
The recordings, published in the New York Post, mainly featured a chap named Thomas Dougherty, whose title, to judge from the newspaper reports, seems to be Chief Patronage Dispenser to Pataki's patronage-riddled political operation. Do a favor for the Governor and you'll get a nice pretend job in Albany at two hundred grand a year.
Curious George is grumbling that it was unethical for the Post to publish these recorded conversations. There is, of course, nothing unethical about loading up the public payroll with friends, relatives and donors — not in the Empire State, anyway.
Pataki has been airing plans to run for President in 2008. Given what he's done to New York, electing Pataki to be President of the United States would be an act of national suicide. Lucky for us, there is not the remotest chance it will happen.
|07 — Misreported on the Border? A report from Yuma, Arizona says that a
gang of undocumented workers who'd just crossed the border from Mexico brought down a Border Patrol helicopter by throwing rocks at it.
This story is so obviously false, I think we can dismiss it with the contempt it deserves. These undocumented workers are cheerful, industrious people who just want to come here to do the jobs we won't to and put food on their families. Doesn't everyone know that?
Those rock-throwers must surely have been some loathsome hate group, probably those awful Minute Men vigilante redneck types masquerading as undocumented workers just to get publicity for their racist and unAmerican cause.
I await truthful news reports of this appalling incident.
|08 — Busy Swazis. I have had occasion before to report on King Mswati of
Swaziland, Africa's last absolute monarch. A little background on Swaziland.
It's in southern Africa, landlocked and very poor, population one million. Seventy percent of Swazis live on less than a dollar a day and the unemployment rate is forty percent. The main form of economic activity, in fact, is collecting food handouts from aid agencies.
Amongst Swazis aged fifteen to nineteen 29 percent — that's nearly one in three — are HIV positive. Among pregnant women the rate is 42 percent.
Those are pretty dire statistics; but back in 2001 the King with proper Kingly concern for his people, decided to do something about it. He issued a decree that girls under the age of eighteen should not engage in sexual intercourse. He then unfortunately spoiled the effect by taking a 17-year-old girl as his eighth wife; though in fairness, I should add that the King punished himself for breaking his own law by paying a fine of one cow.
Well, now the King has ended the sex ban altogether. The BBC reports that thirty thousand Swazi girls danced in the national stadium in front of the King before feasting on slaughtered cattle. King Mswati meanwhile is up to twelve wives and a fiancée.
Fun place, Swaziland … if you're the King, anyway.
|09 — Signoff. That's all, folks. Sorry about the hiatus there. It's nice
to know on returning to my post here on the 88th floor of National Review world headquarters, that the world is still going to the dogs just
as determinedly as when I left.
We are doomed, doomed; but if the human race survives another seven days, I promise to be back with more news and views on Radio Derb.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]