• Play the sound file
[Music clip: Georgia Brown singing "La Route est Dure."]
01 — Intro. Welcome, Radio Derb listeners. This is your host John Derbyshire, and that was Georgia Brown singing "la route est dure mais je suis forte," which means something like "the road is hard but I can handle it so long as I have National Review Online and Radio Derb to guide me over the really difficult stretches," something like that.
So if you've been finding the road exceptionally hard recently, just sit back and taste the cool, clear wine of truth for a few minutes.
|02 — Being a good ex-President. You can say what you like about Poppy Bush
as President, but you can't deny that he's been a model ex-President; by which I mean, he's mostly kept his mouth shut and stayed out of
In fact, if you compare the four living ex-Presidents, it's clear that Republicans make far better ex-Presidents than Democrats do.
Barely a peep out of Gerry Ford and Poppy Bush while Jimmy Carter keeps lurching into the spotlight like the monster out of the black bog and Bill Clinton seems to be there every time you open a newspaper or switch on TV, like something unpleasant stuck to your shoe that you can't get off. Most recently Bubba has been showing up in a before-and-after ad for anger management therapy, representing the "before."
Nine-eleven was preceded by eight months of George W. Bush's presidency, then eight years of Bubba's. Seen with hindsight, did either chief executive do as much as might have been done to neutralize al-Qaeda?
Seen with hindsight, I think the answer has to be no. To see the matter without hindsight, you might try asking yourself how much time you spent thinking about al Qaeda prior to 9/11.
Of course, our intelligence and military are paid to worry about future threats, while you are not. Did they worry inexcusably too little about this one? I'm not clear.
I'm clear about one thing, though: The Clinton White House and its staff, and the staff of those agencies it populated, was the most anti-military and anti-intelligence in U.S. history. They didn't care for military people or military matters, and they inhibited or actually dismantled the central intelligence operations.
Their disdain for national security was reciprocated. If you talked to military or national security people during the Clinton years, you know how they felt about the White House and what went on there. No amount of sputtering or protesting by Bill Clinton can erase that essential truth.
|03 — Virginia is for issue-evaders. There haven't been many more depressing
political spectacles in recent years than the current contest to be junior U.S. Senator from Virginia.
Republican incumbent George Allen is fighting Democrat James Webb, and the main issue in the campaign so far seems to be which candidate can stick the worst charge of political incorrectness on the other.
The Webb people want you to know that Alan left a decapitated horse's head in Sammy Davis Jr.'s bed, or something. The Allen people want you to know that Webb once proposed that female cadets at the Naval Academy be lashed to the masts of ships so that male cadets could violate them at will.
Everybody is accusing everybody of having used something called "the n-word," an offense so unspeakably shocking that the American public can't even be permitted to hear the abominable word for fear we would all go berserk on run out into the streets to slaughter each other.
You have to feel sorry for the people of Virginia, who would probably like to hear something about actual issues, not disputes over what someone might or might not have said at a fraternity house kegger back in 1970.
You have to feel a bit sorry for the United States at large, too: a nation that in the matter of race relations no longer has the illusion that anything can be done to improve matters and masks its consciousness of failure with petty witch hunts and acts of cheap grace.
|04 — What is a university for? What is a university for? John Henry Newman
gave the most famous answer to this question, back in 1852.
A university training, said Newman,
aims at raising the intellectual tone of society, at cultivating the public mind, at purifying the national taste, … at giving enlargement and sobriety to the ideas of the age, at … refining the intercourse of private life. It is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them.
Well, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since 1852. We all know what a university is for nowadays. It is for the promotion of diversity, which is to say the amplification and manipulation of imaginary grievances for political ends.
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that Washington State University now has a Chief Diversity Officer with a full-time staff of fifty-five and a three million dollar annual budget. Other universities have been similarly busy in building up diversity bureaucracies.
One spur to all this was the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2003 that diversity has educational benefits as well as being healthful, life-enhancing, and effective in treating male-pattern baldness.
Another spur has been the spread of diversity consciousness in American business enterprises, which have mainly given up on making anything or providing any services and now occupy themselves with counting how many disabled black lesbians they employ.
How all this contributes to "refining the intercourse of private life" and the rest of Newman's laundry list, is anyone's guess; but it sure provides lots of employment for dimwitted talentless bureaucrats.
|05 — Culinary diversity. The downside of learning to read Chinese is that
restaurant menus no longer have any secrets. Do those characters really say "blood clot soup"? you ask yourself, flipping frantically
through your pocket dictionary. Yup, that's what they say.
The Peking correspondent of the BBC recently went further down this road, tracking down that city's one and only Penis Emporium. This place will serve you donkey penis, sheep penis, horse, ox, or seal penis, snake penises — apparently each lucky snake has two — or, if you are very affluent and don't mind ordering a few weeks in advance, even tiger penis.
You can have the item raw, pickled, braised, baked, or grilled, or you can have it served up in a penis hot pot.
Our intrepid correspondent tried some slices of pickled ox penis. He described them as "cold, bland and rubbery." Should your conscience be pricked [sic] at the thought of all those noble male animals being deprived of their members for the delectation of chinese gourmets, I note that this same establishment also serves reindeer fetus.
Well, that's culinary diversity, for sure. I wonder if the University of Washington might consider serving penis hot pot in the student refectory. I bet the Women's Studies crowd would go for it.
|06 — Kazakhstan's image problem. Some foreign visitors have been passing
through Washington D.C.
President Musharraf of Pakistan showed up, though he seemed to have got his White House call mixed up with his book tour. He claimed that he brought his country in on America's side in the War on Terror only after war-gaming the consequences of not doing so. Quote:
I war-gamed the United States as an adversary. The question was, if we do not join them, can we confront them and withstand the onslaught? The answer was no. Our military forces would be destroyed. The Americans would undoubtedly have taken the opportunity of an invasion to destroy Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Our economic infrastructure, built up over half a century, would have been decimated.
Ah, the days when people were actually scared of offending the U.S.A. Doesn't it make you feel nostalgic?
The actual government of actual Kazakhstan is now so spooked by Borat, they seem to have an entire government department working on anti-Borat propaganda. After Borat's appearance at the MTV Europe awards last year a spokesman for the Kazakh foreign ministry said the comedian may be, quote, "serving someone's political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way."
In fact, it's not easy to distinguish the things Borat says about Kazakhstan with the things Kazakh spokesman say. Probably millions of Americans are now confused about whether the national drink of Kazakhstan is fermented horse milk or fermented horse urine.
Whatever it is, I bet it tastes better than penis hot pot,
|07 — Spy satellites, $49.99 at Walmart. Just about the only manufactured
artifacts that do not have Made in China stamped on them nowadays are U.S. military spy satellites.
We heard this week that this may soon change. At any rate, we learned from Defense News, a military affairs publication, that the ChiComs have been firing high-powered laser pulses at our spy satellites, apparently to see if they can blind them.
At the same time, says Defense News, China is engaged in a full-court press espionage effort against American high-tech firms working on military projects.
All this is no doubt in aid of the big swift military move against Taiwan that the Red Chinese plan to make as soon as the 2008 Olympics are over.
Or could it be that the ChiComs just resent the fact that we still manufacture some of our own stuff, and want to knock out our satellites so they can sell us theirs — copied from our designs of course, but much cheaper.
Perhaps five years from now you'll be able to walk into your local Walmart and ask, "Which aisle is spy satellites?" "Oh, that's aisle 45, between housewares and electronics …"
|08 — Cop killed by serial illegal immigrant. Down in Houston, Texas, a
certain Juan Leonardo Quintero has been charged with the shooting to death of a city police officer, Rodney Johnson.
Quintero is an illegal immigrant from Mexico. In fact, he's a serial illegal immigrant, having been deported in 1999 after an arrest for child molestation.
Officer Johnson had pulled Quintero over for speeding, then arrested him when he couldn't produce any documentation. Quintero was driving a pickup truck belonging to the landscaping company he worked for — illegally, of course.
Houston is a sanctuary city whose police are not allowed to enforce federal immigration law, or even to pay any attention to immigration offenses. Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Representative for Texas' 18th district, which includes Houston, said that, quote, "the incident should not detract from efforts to reform current immigration laws."
I guess she means that if Quintero had been amnestied as the Democratic Party wants — and, come to think of it, as our President also wants — then Mr Quintero's bullets would have bounced right off Officer johnson.
I guess it's too late now to do anything but grieve for Officer Johnson; but I'd feel better if the proprietor of that landscaping firm had been arrested along with Mr Quintero and been charged as an accessory to the murder.
|09 — Border security: Mexican elites trump American voters. The United
States Senate has voted cloture on a bill to build seven hundred miles of fence along our southern border.
Voted what? Cloture. Cloture. This little snippet of inside-the-beltway jargon was one of Bob Dole's favorite words back in the '96 presidential campaign and he lost a hundred thousand votes every time he used it.
"Cloture" means the Senate agreed to stop talking about the damn thing and scheduled an up-or-down vote on it.
It looks like we'll get a sorta-kind-of partial border fence; though of course all the noble Senators are insisting that this is only a first step and that "comprehensive immigration reform" — that's spelled A-M-N-E-S-T-Y — will definitely, absolutely follow.
Yeah, right. What you are seeing here is the wonderful, heartwarming spectacle of the people's elected representatives being dragged, kicking and screaming against all their elite instincts, to do something that the American people overwhelmingly insist they do. It's almost enough to make you think that democracy still works.
Of course, whether our President will sign the bill, knowing that to do so might mean his being dropped from the guest list for Vicente Fox's pool parties, is another matter entirely.
Which should prevail: the will of the American people or the will of Mexican elites? Nobody said being President was easy, George.
|10 — Signoff. Well, there you have it, listeners: the state of the
nation and the world as the leaves are falling and the days are shortening up here in Long Island.
Having opened this broadcast with one lady singing, I'll close it with another, to take your mind off of this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Here is Edita Gruberova telling us how wonderful it feels to be a virgin in the spring.
Tune in again next week for more from Radio Derb.
[Music clip: Edita Gruberova singing "Son vergin vezzosa."]