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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. That was one of Franz Joseph Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is John Derbyshire bringing you seasonal cheer on Radio Derb.
Yes, National Review Online fans, here is news you can use with a conservative twist. That's "conservative" as in "reactionary Tory pessimist," I'm afraid. None of your absurd cheery uplift here! We are doomed, doomed, and the best we can hope for is to go down laughing.
On with the motley! And to diffuse any tension right up front, let me assure you that the following podcast contains no mention whatsoever of Britney Spears.
|02 — Iraq Study Group report. The George W. Bush presidency is just about
at seventh-inning stretch, but over there in Iraq it looks like bottom of the ninth.
The report issued this week by the Iraq Study Group only made it plainer than it already was that nobody has a clue what to do about the situation.
No patriot wants to see our country do a humiliating cut-and-run. On the other hand, no politician wants Iraq to still be looking like this in 2008.
Republican politicians don't want that because they'd take all the blame. Democrats don't want it because they'd be obliged to come up with some solution and they haven't got one.
It's so hopeless that even the George W. Bush approach — which is basically just keep on doing what we're doing for ever — doesn't look too bad; but that won't work either. We, the American people, have this annoying preference for our politicians to solve problems, not just perpetuate them.
In any case, if we just keep staggering on like this, sooner or later there will be some major setback: a big bomb in the Green Zone or another 9/11 here on our own soil. And then Americans will start to mutter that even a cut-and-run is preferable to the status quo aeternae. Oh boy.
Do I have a solution? Sure. If you put me in charge, I'd up troop levels to half a million, get really careless about civilian casualties — I'd flatten Sadr City, for example — launch a couple of nasty destructive incursions into Syria and Iran, get a good vigorous program of targeted assassinations going, and then another program of serious bribery to buy everyone who can be bought (which I suspect would include all but the hardcore jihadist troublemakers). Then I'd recognize an independent Kurdistan with guarantees to Turkey that we'd cooperate in stomping on Kurdish troublemakers in the country.
Would that work? No idea, but it's worth a try. At this point pretty much anything is worth a try.
|03 — Gwyneth Paltrow ♥ Brits. Gwyneth Paltrow says that "the
British are much more intelligent and civilized than Americans," end quote.
Right on Gwyneth! I distinctly felt my IQ drop 20 points when I took my oath of citizenship; and I noticed as I left the courthouse after the oath ceremony that I had lost a couple of teeth and my knuckles were dragging on the ground.
Of course, there may have been other explanations for those phenomena. For example, that prolonged contact with the U.S. immigration service fries the brain and softens the bones.
Our Gwynnie also praised Madonna, who lives near her in London. Quote: "She gives me good advice, like for example, not to try to get through the airport security scanner wearing one of those pointy steel bras."
But back to this business about the Brits being so smart and civilized. I wonder if Gwynnie has ever met a Scottish soccer fan?
|04 — Jimmy Carter's 21st book. Jimmy Carter's in the news.
Remember Jimmy Carter? Twenty-five percent inflation; the hostage crisis; the débacle in the desert; killer rabbits; "I can't believe that nice Mr Brezhnev lied to me"; Billy Beer; the Panama Canal giveaway; "lust in my heart"; the teacher unions getting their very own bought-and-paid-for government department; yep, that Jimmy Carter.
Well, ol' Jimmy has a new book out, his twenty-first. According to Wikipedia the book's title is Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid, and it argues that there would be peace in the Middle East if only the Israelis would stop being beastly to the Palestinian Arabs.
Thank you, Mr President. Incredible that no-one has thought of that up to now. Here we've been struggling along with the Palestine problem for sixty years or more and the solution was right there under our noses. It just took someone as smart as ol' Jimmy to point it out to us. Boy, this guy is so super-smart, I wonder they didn't include him in the Iraq Study Group.
Jimmy, now 82 years old, has also been having thoughts about his own demise and the proper funeral arrangements for such a great world-historical figure as himself. He wants to be buried in Plains, Georgia, he tells us — the town where he was born. However, he also tells us there are plans for a funeral service in Washington D.C. and for his body to be briefly on display in Atlanta.
Let's hope the display is really brief. It gets awfully hot down there in Atlanta. I'm reminded of another southern gentlemen who foresaw his own passing. Sing it, Derb![Clears throat.]
Poor Jimmy's daid, poor Jimmy Carter's daid.
|05 — John Bolton not nice enough for U.N. John Bolton has resigned as our
Ambassador to the United Nations on the very reasonable grounds that there was no chance of Congress upgrading his current recess appointment to a
Why is Bolton so unpopular with Congress? Well, he's unpopular with the new Congress because he's a Republican and the new Congress is Democrat. That's a no-brainer.
He was unpopular with the old Congress, too, though, including some Republicans like George Voinovich. Why was that?
Basically because Bolton isn't nice enough. The U.N., you see, is a nice place filled with nice people striving mightily to make the world a nice place. You don't want a fellow like Bolton going in there telling them they're corrupt and inefficient.
Corrupt? Inefficient? The U.N.? Plainly this guy needs some training in manners.
Give or take a few billion oil-for-food dollars; give or take the occasional child prostitution ring; give or take a human rights watchdog run by fingernail-extracters like Syria and Cuba; the U.N. is the hope of the world. We need to have a really nice, nice person there to help them with their work, not a loose cannon like Bolton, criticizing them.
Suggestions for a replacement to Bolton have been coming thick and fast, with Harriet Miers leading the pack.
|06 — More money for suicide belts! Get your checkbooks out, folks; there's
a heart-rending appeal coming up.
Headline on the BBC news website: U.N. appeals for Palestinian funds. The story goes on to tell us that the United Nations has launched an appeal to raise $450,000,000 in humanitarian relief funds for the Palestinian territories next year.
Two-thirds of Palestinian Arabs live in poverty, a U.N. spokesman said. The Palestinian economy has been in crisis since international sanctions were imposed on the Hamas-led government earlier this year.
You see, once the voters of Arab Palestine had made clear their preference for a Hamas government — one that promotes terrorism and swears to destroy Israel — those wicked Americans and Europeans stopped shoveling money into the Swiss bank accounts of Palestinian leaders. Now those poor Palestinians have no funds to buy suicide belts and illustrated copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion for their school classrooms.
Here's a suggestion guys. When Yasser Arafat died two years ago, he was worth at least a billion dollars. His wife Suha lives on about $100,000 a month. Try tapping into some of that loot before you start passing the begging bowl around among American taxpayers.
Oh, and if you still want any of our money, just one further word of advice. Next time some Arab terrorists blow up a couple of U.S. skyscrapers and murder three thousand of our people, try to hold off on dancing in the streets. Okay?
|07 — New splatter flick from Mel. Mel Gibson's got a new movie out. Guess
what substance it's awash with?
I'll give you a clue: red, liquid, spurts out from severed arteries. Yep: ol' buckets-o'-blood Mel is at it again, spoiling your supper.
Now, I know I'm hopelessly out of date here, but when I was a lad, the main point of movies was to invite girls out to them. I just don't see Apocalypto working in this context.
"Hey, Susie, do you want to see a movie? The new Mel Gibson flick's on at the Odeon. It's got people being impaled, a guy's face getting ripped away by a Jaguar, severed heads bouncing down temple steps, and human chests being hacked open to have their beating hearts ripped out. And all the dialogue is in Mayan! You want to do it, Susie? Hello, Susie? …"
Of course, if she won't go for it you can always suggest a trip to Taco Bell instead.
|08 — Don't make Chihuahua angry! A few weeks ago the United States Congress
passed a law allowing, but not funding, the building of a wall along part of our country's southern border. If you think that wall will ever be built,
you're just the kind of gullible sucker the congressmen and the President hope you are.
The campaign against building the wall has already opened, with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson saying the other day that a border wall, quote, "gets in the way of U.S.-Mexico relations.
It would also get in the way of foreigners trespassing on our sovereign territory, Bill, which was meant to be the point.
Bill wants the new Democratic Congress to reverse the wall legislation. "Mr Speaker, tear down that wall!"
Meeting with leaders from the Mexican state of Chihuahua — famous for feeble, tiny, ineffectual little dogs — Richardson made the case for a feeble, tiny, ineffectual border security policy. "The fence is very unpopular on the border in Texas and New Mexico and in Chihuahua," said Richardson.
Any chance we can get the state of New Mexico renamed to Pit Bull Terrier? It might not do anything to improve border security but at least it would scare the bejesus out of those runty little Chihuahuans.
|09 — Miscellany. A little miscellany to finish off with.
Item: If I say "Playboy magazine," what comes to mind? Probably the thought: "Good Lord, is that thing still around?" Well, yes, it is: still promoting the stylish bachelor lifestyle, still publishing pictures of unclothed young women in improbable poses.
It's all too much for the authorities in Indonesia, who are prosecuting the editor of the local edition of Playboy. Says the news report: "Muslim groups in particular were worried about its effect on local morals." Worried that Playboy might insult the dignity of Muslim women, I guess
Item: A mother in South Carolina has had her son arrested for opening his Christmas presents early.
Amazing! This mother has got her Christmas presents wrapped already? I want her arrested for making me realize what a lazy, ill-organized parent I am.
Item: Speaking about spoiling your supper: Günther Verheugen, the 62-year-old German Vice President of the European Commission, is in a spot of bother after being photographed sunbathing on a Baltic beach with his Chief of Staff, 48-year-old Petra Erler, also a German. The two über-Eurocrats had only a baseball cap as clothing for the both of them.
You can just hit the pause button at this point if you want to take a bathroom break.
Item: Having made you feel queasy, I'm now going to make you feel old.
Some of the costumes from the first three Rocky movies are to be displayed at the Smithsonian in that museum's "Treasures of American History" exhibition.
Oh boy. Rocky's red, white and blue shorts are a historical artifact apparently — along with, it says here, one of Louis Armstrong's trumpets, one of Ray Charles's Tuxedos, and perhaps one of George W. Bush's policies.
History moves so fast nowadays, doesn't it?
Item: A landscaping firm in Houston, Texas, was asked by a homosexual couple to do some work on the couple's garden. One of the owners of the firm replied politely by email that, quote: "I need to tell you that we cannot meet with you because we choose not to work for homosexuals." The owners of the firm are devout Christians, you see.
Quote from the news item: "Houston, unlike Austin and Dallas, has no ordinance prohibiting businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation." End quote.
You can guess how long that will last. We can't have businessmen choosing who they do business with, can we? Why, that would be liberty. We don't want any of that in multicultural America.
|10 — Signoff. That's all for this week, listeners. Christmas is looming
up, so get dressing that tree if you haven't already, and sending out cards and wrapping up presents.
I hope you've got some chestnuts roasting on an open fire and I hope Jack Derb has been nipping at your sense of the ridiculous.
Tune in again next week for more seasonal joy from Radio Derb.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]