»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

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

01 — Intro.     Greetings, ladies and gentlemen! John Derbyshire here spanning the world — nay, the universe! — with Radio Derb.

Here is all the news you need to know from week number two A.K; that is, After Katrina.

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02 — Lessons from Katrina.     Well, Katrina has left us a lot wiser about several things.

Most important for our own self preservation is that in the event of a big horrible disaster, you'd better be ready to take care of yourself, because depending on the authorities to take care of you is, shall we say, something of a lottery.

Another thing we all learned — and I think I can claim to have called this one in my last broadcast — is that things are never as bad as the newspeople tell you. Here we are two weeks after Katrina and the levees are repaired, the city's drying out, and — guess what? — the ten thousand or so corpses we were told we'd find have dwindled to a couple of hundred.

That's bad enough, and God bless them every one, but you really, really mustn't believe half of what you read in the newspapers.

What else did we learn? Do not go to live in a city of which Ray Nagin is Mayor, nor a state of which Kathleen Blanco is Governor, nor a jurisdiction of any size at all in which Michael Brown holds any public position at all.

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03 — How not to be poor.     Shooting his fool mouth off on the Ellen DeGeneres show, Kanye West said what a terrible thing it was that there are so many poor people in New Orleans and that it was all the fault of white folk like George W Bush.

Well, it's a terrible thing, sure enough. I've been poor and it's no beach party. Still, the present-day, U.S.A. is not a country that makes it easy to sink into poverty. You really have to try hard.

Dropping out of school will get you started. If you're a woman, having a baby out of wedlock boosts your chances tremendously. Woman or man, any kind of substance abuse habit will grease the downward slide.

Likewise, not getting a regular job, or getting one but showing up late and with an attitude, will also help you to attain those bottom-most rungs of the socioeconomic ladder.

So here's a suggestion. While we're rebuilding New Orleans, let's put these simple truths that I just spelled out on billboards all around the city, so no one has any excuse for not knowing them — not even Kanye West.

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04 — FEMA aid's secondary market.     FEMA, the federal agency that helps poor people left homeless by natural catastrophes, helped out the New Orleans refugees — evacuees, whatever — by giving them two thousand dollar debit cards to use to buy food and essentials.

It didn't take but a couple of days for the cards to start showing up in shopping malls as far away as Atlanta. The Louis Vuitton store in an affluent suburb of that city reported that these debit cards had been used by two women to purchase signature monogrammed handbags in the eight hundred dollar range.

Ladies, you're going to have to boil those handbags up for quite a while before you can really chew down on them. Don't forget to keep the water you boiled them in, too. It makes a very nourishing broth for the little ones.

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05 — Heroic self-control from Judge Roberts.     Up before a panel of Senate blowhards for confirmation as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge John Roberts has done a superb job of keeping a straight face while the crazier members of our nation's upper chamber bloviated off at tangents having nothing whatsoever to do with jurisprudence.

Dianne Feinstein seemed to want to know whether Roberts approved of the Holocaust, and whether he understood that it all happened because people took religion too seriously. Yeah: great churchgoer, that Adolf Hitler guy.

Then Joe Biden asked the judge if he'd stopped beating his wife … No, wait a minute, that wasn't what he asked. He asked if the judge thought it was okay for guys in Minnesota to beat the wives of guys in New York … No, that can't have been it either. Oh, the heck with it. Who knows what these pompous dipwads are gassing on about?

If the judge can just keep from laughing out loud at the spectacle of a bunch of middle-aged unemployables making Donald Duck noises at him, he'll get confirmed.

So far, not so much as a twitch of the lips. Now I call that great self control.

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06 — Low-wage labor … union.     If you're hanging loose in Las Vegas and looking for unskilled work, there's a temp agency called Labor Express that can help you out.

It's outdoor work in a grueling 104-degree heat and the pay is lousy: six dollars an hour for five-hour shifts. There's no opportunity for a meal break, and the only restroom facilities are in a nearby gas station. Still, if you need the money, give it a try.

But who's the employer exploiting minimum-wage labor like this? Er, that would be the United Food and Commercial Workers Labor Union.

See, the work you'll be doing is picketing outside a local Walmart store for six dollars an hour in the noonday heat, toting a big heavy sign.

This particular Walmart store has a pay scale starting at 6.75 an hour, and the place is air-conditioned. So you might want to take a quick break from picketing for the Union to slip in and fill out a job application.

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07 — Take care what you say in Singapore.     Two bloggers in Singapore have been arrested and charged with sedition for passing anti-Muslim remarks on an Internet forum.

The charge says that the two young guys, both of them Chinese, quote, "promoted feelings of ill will and hostility between the races in Singapore," end quote. To give you an idea of how seriously the authorities are taking this, it's the first time in ten years that anti-sedition laws have been invoked.

The forum that the bloggers were on was not even political. It was for dog lovers, and they were discussing some local Muslims' attempt to get dogs banned from taxes.

So there's another thing to remember if you go to Singapore, along with getting your hair cut short and not chewing gum: Don't post rude remarks about Muslims on the Internet.

Best of all, unless you really like the minor control-freak sort of petty despotism, stay away from Singapore altogether.

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08 — Flat tax creeps westwards.     Some Europe news. Germany is having an election on Sunday and the Christian Democrat candidate for Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is looking good. The Christian Democrats are the more conservative of Germany's two big parties.

You need to take the word "conservative" in a European context there. Most of Mrs Merkel's opinions on social matters would be happily at home in our own Democratic Party. Not so with economics, though. The fellow that Frau Merkel will likely put in charge of the Treasury if she wins favors a twenty-five percent flat tax on income.

The flat tax has been creeping westwards across Europe from the smaller ex-communist countries to the east, with Poland the most recent convert. If Germany takes up the flat tax, it will be the first really major economy to do so — no offense to the Russians.

A heartening development for us flat-tax fans. Yeah, yeah, I know: You libertarians want to do away with income tax altogether and just tax spending; and I'm okay with that too, except that it isn't going to happen.

The flat tax just might. If Germany, why not the U.S.A.?

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09 — Mass desecration of holy places, zzzz.     The Israeli pull-out from the Gaza Strip left behind twenty synagogues built by the Israeli settlers.

There had been a debate in Israel about whether to demolish the synagogues or not, the government saying that demolition would prevent the synagogues being vandalized by Palestinians, religious groups saying the demolition was a form of desecration and so against religious law.

Well, the rabbis won this one and the synagogues were left intact — with the result, naturally, that as soon as the Israeli army had left Gaza, Arabs moved in and burned those synagogues to the ground, whooping and hollering with joy as they did so.

Reading about this, I just found myself wondering: If Jews or Christians torched 20 mosques anywhere in the world, partying up around the flames, wouldn't that be front-page news for weeks and weeks?

Wouldn't those bearded mullahs in Riyadh and Tehran be issuing fatwas till they were hoarse? Wouldn't every nutcase Islamofascist from every cave in Pakistan … Oops, sorry, we're not supposed to say that. I mean, from every cave in any place that has lots of caves with Islamofascists hiding in them, wouldn't they all be calling for endless jihad against the desecrators of their precious holy places? Wouldn't they?

You bet they would, but these are only, you know, synagogues for Jews. So who cares?

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10 — Signoff.     That's it for now, folks.

Having taken credit for calling out the media on all those exaggerated stories about hecatombs of corpses, I may as well fess up to having gotten one thing wrong about Katrina week: It was not an unmitigated disaster for George W Bush. I should've listened to my colleagues who've been telling me for years: Don't misunderestimate this guy.

All right, W: You're recovering pretty well from Katrina. Will you now please get us the heck out of Iraq, authorize enforcement of the immigration laws, and for Heaven's sake veto something?

All right. Take it away, Franz Joseph.

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[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]