»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Thursday, December 8th, 2005

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

01 — Intro.     [Muttering softly] Note to self: when blogging on neocon websites, refrain from suggesting that Gertrude Himmelfarb go boil her head … [Normal voice] Oh, there you are — sorry!

Welcome to Radio Derb, gentle listener. That was Haydn's Derbyshire March Number 2, which I would like to tell you was written for one of my ancestors, but which in fact was commissioned by the Derbyshire regiment. My ancestors were all disgracefully underappreciated.

Anyway, this is John Derbyshire here with all ye know on earth and all you need to know. Forward to the news roundup! — but not before. I give you my personal guarantee that none of the following items contains any references at all to intelligent design, Jennifer Aniston, or any prominent elderly neoconservatives.

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02 — Our brave troops.     Ten U.S. Marines were killed by a roadside bomb in Fallujah, Iraq. Eleven others were wounded by the blast; seven of them returned to duty after medical treatment.

The terrorists have to incentives to murder Americans these next few weeks. For one, there are the December 15th parliamentary elections in Iraq, which the terrorists would like to disrupt. For another, fifty or more dead Americans by year's end will make this year's toll worse than last year's — a nice propaganda point for the terrorists and their pals in the media.

Whatever you think of the war in Iraq — I myself am a grudging convert to the view that at this point we have no choice but to keep slugging on — every American should take time to reflect on the courage, professionalism, and spirit of our warriors, who can take this and can also dish it out.

I bet they dish out a lot more than they take. I certainly hope so. Radio Derb offers heartfelt condolences to the families of these brave men and deep gratitude for their sacrifice.

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03 — Saddam still alpha male.     You can argue all you like about troop levels and WMDs. I shall go on maintaining that the biggest single mistake we made in Iraq was not lobbing a few hand grenades down that spider hole when we knew who was in it.

There was no reason not to. We could have identified the remains by DNA analysis, and that would've been the end of it. Instead, we have the Saddam Hussein show from this Baghdad courtroom.

Old Saddam is showing us he's still an alpha male, and making the judges and lawyers look like a bunch of wussies with American dollars spilling out of their pockets.

I don't say that that's what they are. In fact, considering the prices on their heads, they are very brave people indeed, but that's how the Arabs will see it.

They're telling us so. Here's a quote from 49-year-old Baghdad housewife Jinan Mushrif in an AP report, referring to Saddam and his co-defendants, quote: "These are the real men of Iraq, not those who hide behind their bodyguards." Like it or not, that's how the Arabs see it.

For us, the trial is a self-inflicted wound and it will drag on for months. Next time please, please: a couple of grenades. That's what they're for.

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04 — Perceptions of U.S. strength.     Speaking of perceptions, listen to the Governor of Tokyo, whose name is Shintaro Ishihara. Quote: "U.S. ground forces, with the exception of the Marines, are extremely incompetent and would be unable to stem a Chinese conventional attack." End quote.

Now, Governor Ishihara, who by the way made that remark in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, has a track record of expressing himself bluntly.

He's also wrong. U.S. ground forces performed brilliantly in both the 1991 and 2003 Gulf wars. Furthermore, they currently have several million more man-years of combat experience than the ChiComs who last performed brilliantly against unarmed fellow Chinese in the streets of Peking 16 years ago, and against protesting monks in Tibet.

Analysts tell us though that Ishihara his opinions are widely shared around East Asia and that the countries of the region are quietly beefing up their own forces or looking to cut deals with the Dragon.

But where do these perceptions come from? From old movies in part, I suppose. Perhaps Ishihara's been watching too much Sergeant Bilko. From the world media, including the U.S. media, who love to play up things like the Abu Ghraib scandal and don't do much reporting on U.S.successes.

Mostly though they are not totally unreasonable deductions from the fact that a few thousand jihadis with small arms and suicide belts seem to be keeping a big part of the U.S. Army thoroughly busy.

That's how urban guerrilla war works, unfortunately. We were fools to get ourselves into this one.

I favored a brutal punitive in '03 — breaking everything the Iraqis had and killing their leaders, then a fast and unapologetic withdrawal. Unfortunately Donald Rumsfeld wasn't taking my calls.

Well, we're stuck with the darn thing and we have to win it somehow, but the damage to us and our interests is serious — and, as Ishihara's comments show, worldwide.

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05 — Hong Kongers march for liberty.     Tens of thousands of Chinese people marched through the streets of Hong Kong demanding more democracy in the territory.

They want direct elections to the territory's government instead of the system now in place, which is heavily jury-rigged to make sure the ChiCom leaders in Peking get the people they want running Hong Kong's affairs.

Anytime you feel despair about the prospects for freedom in China, take a look at the brave people of Hong Kong. China can be free under representative government and the rule of law. It's not impossible. Taiwan and Hong Kong prove it.

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06 — Cigarettes make a screen comeback.     Researchers at the University of California have been watching the movies. (Wouldn't you like to get one of these research positions?)

They have found an interesting thing: that cigarette smoking in the movies — on the screen, I mean, not in the movie theater — after declining for decades, is now back up almost to 1950s levels.

Eighty percent of PG-13 movies contained smoking scenes, said these researchers. In the Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman, they claim, nearly every major character lights up.

The researchers go onto claim that these smoky movies are a cause of the rise in teen smoking. I'd like to say I think they're just blowing smoke here, but my actual guess is, they're on to something.

But where do these movie characters find places to do all that smoking? The habit's been stubbed out in pretty much all indoor locations — including our own private houses, if we want to have any house guests.

I must go and watch some movies; though I doubt I shall ever again watch movies as I watched them in childhood, the projector beams two bright white shafts cutting through hundreds of rising filaments of smoke from the theater patrons.

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07 — Ed school only graduates lefties.     Why am I a conservative? Well, in part it's because I believe in free inquiry, which today's liberals don't.

Case in point: the College of Education — which is to say the teacher-training facility — at Washington State University. The faculty there won't graduate you with a certificate to teach unless you have passed a Professional Disposition Evaluation.

What's that all about? Well, "disposition" is a new buzzword at ed schools. Aspiring teachers are being evaluated not only on professional skills and knowledge, but on their "disposition."

Not to keep you in suspense, this means that students have to show what in Communist countries used to be called "a correct attitude," with a commitment to "social justice" and "diversity." In a nutshell, you have to be a lefty.

Back at Washington state, 42-year-old Edward Swann was not a lefty. He was a conservative. He expressed the opinion that white and male privilege do not exist. He jotted the remark, "Diversity is Perversity" — I rather like that — and he failed four of these Disposition Evaluations.

The college was going to kick him out, but the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education stepped in and Mr Swann will likely be allowed to graduate next year.

Quote from The New Criterion, where I picked up this story: "One naughty reporter asked the Dean of the college whether Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would pass a Disposition Evaluation were he a student at the college. 'I don't know how to answer that,' the Dean replied." End quote.

I kind of do know how to answer it, don't you?

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08 — Gayness and the Church.     I'll preface this segment the way I always do by saying that since the Roman Catholic Church is not my church, it's a bit of an impertinence for me to pass comment on its affairs. Having thus sort-of apologized, I'll pass comment anyway; and I hope Catholics won't mind too much because it's sympathetic comment.

I think the Church has got itself into a pickle over this business of homosexual priests. Now they have gone and done something which is unfair, which they surely know to be unfair, but which they had no choice but to do.

The Vatican has given a ruling that seminaries may not admit, quote, "those who practice homosexuality, show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so called gay culture." End quote.

Now a homosexual guy can make a very good priest. Ceteris paribus — a spot of Latin is not out of place here — a homosexual might even be a better-than-average priest. I have written on this site about one of my school masters back in England who was a homosexual but a superb teacher.

The problem in these situations isn't homosexuality, it's gayness: the modern conception of homosexuality not as an inclination, but as a way to live that is just as good as any other. That got into the seminaries, and it's been downhill from there, and now the Pope has done what he had to do — with regret, I'm sure,

It's a shame, and the Church will lose a lot of good priests, which it can ill afford to do. And the hierarchy knows all this.

I extend my sympathy, if anyone wants it, and blame it all on the rise of gayness — one of the blights of our age.

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09 — SCOTUS nominee makes Chuck Schumer scream.     Samuel Alito, George W Bush's nominee to replace Sandra Day O'connor on the Supreme Court, is in trouble.

Alito graduated from Princeton in 1972 and that was the very year that a club named Concerned Alumni of Princeton was founded.

This club was conservative — in fact, reactionary. If you're not sure of the difference: Rush Limbaugh is conservative, I am reactionary. Got it?

Well, the Concerned Alumni of Princeton complained, for example, about a proposal that forty percent of the student body at Princeton should be women and minorities. Trust me, this was pretty mild stuff back in 1972.

Anyway, when applying for a job in the Reagan administration in 1985, Alito mentioned having belonged to this club. This revelation has all the lefty nitwits like Chuck Schumer jumping up on chairs, shrieking and clutching their skirts.

Look out for revelations that back in elementary school Alito forgot to feed his goldfish.

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10 — Signoff.     That's all, folks. Tune in again next week for more news from Radio Derb, your infallible source for all the news that's fit to digitize, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with evolution, neoconservative icons, or the fine city of Bristol.

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[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]