»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, August 4th, 2006

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

01 — Intro.     Yes, my fellow Americans, once again Radio Derb is here to set you right on the issues of the day.

This is your indefatigable host John Derbyshire with a roundup of this week's news: the good, the bad, and the stuff that makes you choke on your McVitie's digestive biscuit.

Let's start with the Middle East, where civilization itself started … and looks like ending pretty soon.

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02 — An aria for bin Laden, Jr.     I see that Osama bin Laden has sent his 27-year-old son off to join the Jew-killers in Lebanon. The young bin Laden was previously under a mild form of house arrest in Tehran, the Shiite mullahs of Iran being slightly wary of Sunni terrorists.

Now, opera fans all know that scene in The Marriage of Figaro where Figaro sends young Cherubino off to war with a jolly song. Here, with apologies to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is that song, specially adapted by me for young Sa'ad bin Laden.

[Clears throat.]

No more flirting with burkaed young nurses,
No more fun chanting Koranic verses,
No more banquets of goat's flesh and couscous,
No more torturing Christians and Jews.

No more leisure to watch Al Jazeera.
No more torturing Christians and Jews.

[Dum, diddle-dum, diddle-dum.]

Now you'll be living in a cave just like your dad.
[Diddle-dum, diddle-dum.]
If you find that you are feeling blue or sad,
Just remember
What waits for the martyr,
Heaven's blessings
And virgins Galore.
Then at last you'll be able to score!
[Da da dum, di da da dum …]

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03 — Mel malfunctions.     The other big news story of the past week was movie actor and director Mel Gibson getting pulled over for speeding with a skinful of liquor and then badmouthing the cops.

This would have been just a routine celebrity "Do you know who I am?" minor embarrassment except that Mel took the opportunity to get a few things off his chest that he really would have been much wiser to keep there.

Personally, having a low opinion of the human race — and not even being totally sure that celebrities should be counted as members of it — I'll give Mel a pass. Not too many of us would get through the Pearly Gates if everything we said and did when we were drunk was remembered.

And hey, Mel, look on the bright side. They're putting up statues to you all over the Muslim world right now.

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04 — Our nation's virtual borders.     Meanwhile, President Bush went down to our nation's southern border — known to our elites as "God's answer to the servant problem" — to see how his plan to pretend that he's doing something about immigration law enforcement is coming along.

He found that it's coming along just great. Quote from the President: "We're going to help build a virtual border." That's what he told a cheering crowd of drug smugglers, terrorists and Democratic Party recruiters.

For those of you not clued into the language here, "virtual" is the opposite of "real." Yep. A virtual border is just what the administration wants. They sure as heck don't want a real one.

The president said he had fulfilled the promise he made back in May to put six thousand National Guardsmen on the border by August. A spokesman for the National Guard Bureau begged to differ, saying that only half that number were actually, in point of fact, anywhere near the southern border.

To say the same thing in Bush-speak: There are three thousand real guys on the border and three thousand virtual guys.

Still, three thousand's not a number to be sniffed at. On the basis of eight-hour shifts, that's a thousand at any one time — about one National Guardsman every two miles.

Well, that should seal off the border okay. We can all sleep easy in our beds now. Ain't nothing going to get through that kind of coverage — except, you know, a few hundred thousand illegal immigrants. Oops, sorry: I mean "virtual citizens."

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05 — Iraq is in safe hands.     Britain is sending a new ambassador to Iraq. The old one returned to London with a warning to the British government.

Civil war, he said, is a more likely outcome in Iraq than democracy. The retiring ambassador predicted the breakup of Iraq along ethnic lines.

Meanwhile, top U.S. military commanders were testifying to Congress. General Abizaid said, quote: "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it." End quote. Then he said that Iraq could move towards civil war if the violence can't be stopped.

Then General Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stepped up to tell us that, quote: "We do have the possibility of that devolving into civil war." He added, however, that this need not happen, and stressed that it depends on the Iraqis more than on the U.S. military.

Oh, that's all right, then. Just so long as it's all in the safe hands of the Iraqis, there's nothing to worry about.

Civil war in Iraq, with our guys stuck in the middle being shot at by both sides? No Way. Totally impossible. All is going on in Iraq is just a few foreign terrorists making trouble.

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06 — Muslim fun day bombs.     A Muslims-only day at Britain's biggest theme park has been cancelled because not enough tickets were sold. The organizers, an outfit called Islamic Leisure, had hoped to attract twenty-eight thousand people to the event in September, but less than one thousand tickets were sold.

The fun day would have excluded non-Muslims from the park — good practice for the day when non-Muslims are excluded from the whole of Britain, I would have thought. To enhance the quality of the fun, there would've been no mixed-sex rides, no smoking, no alcohol, and no gambling. Hard to imagine why people wouldn't be flocking to buy tickets.

An inside source told me that some special events and sideshows were scheduled too. You know: camel races, stone the Jew, crush the queer, watch the Buddhist statues get blown up, and so on.

Well, you have to feel sorry for the merchants who are going to be out of pocket — like that guy with the concession stand selling fried sheeps eyeballs.

Another cruel blow against multicultural harmony.

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07 — It's hotter in Baghdad.     Oh boy. The hottest day of the year — in fact, I think it was the hottest day of the decade — and I had to go into Manhattan in a business suit.

Was I hot and bothered? You bet I was. Then I read the lead editorial in the August 2nd New York Post and I felt downright ashamed of myself.

Here is that editorial. It's all a long quote.

It could be worse. You could be in Baghdad where it'll hit 116 degrees today and where the heatwave lasts all summer.

You could be in the Army or the Marine Corps, walking the highways and byways in something a little more substantial than a summer-weight suit or a flouncy cotton frock.

Work clothes for a soldier or Marine in Iraq comprise a kevlar helmet, a thick camouflage uniform, a heavy flak vest, sapi plates on the back and chest to protect against AK47 fire, kevlar crotch protector, knee pads, elbow pads, and neck guards, plus a personal weapon and a full load of ammunition, and assorted utilities like water rations or medical kit or radio and other electronic gear. That adds up to in excess of seventy-five pounds of dead weight.

And it doesn't stop there. Some, like the Marines, carry even more. Operating on the move with no Humvees in which to stash equipment, Marines carry extra water, ammo, and other essentials, reports Sergeant Jeremy Pitcher, Press Officer at the multinational force base in Baghdad.

And soldiers and Marines assigned to crew-served weapons like machine-guns, mortars, and automatic grenade launchers hump the heavy weapons and ammo in addition to their personal gear.

Soldiers in Iraq report that taking a shower during the day is impossible because the solar-heated water burns the skin. They say that spilt water evaporates almost instantly, and their boots melt into the soft, malleable asphalt highways.

Riding in military vehicles without air conditioning is worse. For security reasons, windows don't roll down, making the interior like a sauna.

And you're complaining about that taxi with the busted a/c? Tsk, tsk.

Seriously, it's not easy navigating New York City on a day like today, but thousands of young Americans — volunteers all — know what "hot" really is. And that's before the shooting starts.

God bless them. So should the opportunity arise, flash a soldier a smile and say "Thank you!" out loud.

That's the end of the New York Post editorial, and here's one American who doesn't need telling twice. Thank you, guys!

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08 — Cuba: The torch has been passed.     On account of a medical condition, Fidel Castro, the 200-year-old dictator of Cuba, had to let go of the reins of power that he's kept a firm grip on since the second Grover Cleveland administration.

Under the advanced superior political system of developed socialism, there is of course a smooth mechanism to cover the transfer of power from the wisest and most capable person in the nation to the second wisest and most capable.

And who did that turn out to be? Why, Fidel's brother! Eleven million people, and the only one fit to take charge when the Jefe's out for the count is the Jefe's brother.

Boy, that family must have some set of genes. So much wisdom in just one family! and the Cuban constitution must be a document of great subtlety and sophistication to allow them to manage such a smooth transition of power from one Castro to another. Sure makes our own constitution, with all that wonky checks-and-balances stuff, look pretty crude, doesn't it?

The only thing that bothers me is what happens when they run out of Castros. Perhaps Kim Jong Il has a relative to spare.

"Socialism in one country" declared the ideologues of Stalin's Russia when they decided to postpone the world revolution for a while so they can have some fun massacring their own people. Well, the way it's turned out is more like "socialism in one family."

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09 — The great ChiCom dog cull.     Oh, here's some more news from the shining, progressive world of advanced socialism.

In Communist China the government is having a huge cull of dogs. There have been some cases of rabies, you see; and in that straightforward way they have, the ChiComs have decided that the solution is just to round up all the dogs and kill them.

This started a few days ago when fifty thousand dogs were killed in southwestern China. Now rabies has showed up in the east of China, and half a million dogs are going to be sent off to the big kennel in the sky.

Fans of the great TV show Married with Children may recall the episode when Buck, the family dog, gets shipped off to the pound by mistake, and one of the other doggy inmates of the pound tells him: "This time tomorrow you'll be drinking from God's toilet."

Anyway, I tell you, it's not easy being a dog in China. You used to have to keep yourself real skinny, the alternative being to find yourself the main dish at someone's wedding banquet. Then Chinese society loosened up a bit and dogs became a fashion accessory. Now, some peasant starts frothing at the mouth and suddenly you're looking Natural Selection right in the face.

Still, look on the bright side here. China is making progress. Fifty years ago they were culling people.

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10 — Signoff.     That's all, folks. I leave you shaking your heads with dismay at the depths of folly, cruelty, and inanity that the human race will no doubt plumb over the next seven days.

Meanwhile, I note that August 3rd was the fortieth anniversary of the death of comedian Lenny Bruce, who was famous for using taboo words in his act; you know, words like [shrill whistle] and [random electronic noise] and [ship's foghorn]. By way of a small tribute, instead of playing you out with Haydn this week, here are Michael Flanders and Donald Swann with a song about liquid waste, chamber pots, abdomens, rear ends, and underwear, which they render in the true Lenny Bruce spirit as "pee po belly bum drawers."

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[Music clip: Flanders & Swann, "Pee Po Belly Bum Drawers."]