• Play the sound file
[Music clip: Peter Dawson singing "Auld Lang Syne."]
01 — Intro. A very happy new year, Radio Derb listeners, and a right gude-willie waught to one and all.
That was the magnificent voice of the late Peter Dawson, and this is your ever-jovial host John Derbyshire bringing you news and views from the 99th floor of National Review's glittering world headquarters, towering over midtown Manhattan.
The Christmas goose has been picked clean; the Christmas pudding has been consumed and all the threepenny bits extracted; the New Year's party and the subsequent hangover have been survived; and we face 2007 with spirits strong and hopes high.
Well, that won't last long.
|02 — Saddam Hussein drops. Saddam Hussein turned in his lunch pail, and
good riddance to bad rubbish.
As they positioned him on the gallows trapdoor, one of the hangman's crew shouted out: "Long live united Iraq! Long live liberty and democracy! Long live our eternal friendship with the United States!"
No, wait a minute … I got the wrong sheet there. That was the printout from the Fantasy News wire. Here is the actual AP report.
What the hangman actually shouted was "long live Muqtada al-Sadr," that being the name of the Iranian-financed Shiite tribal chief who pulls the strings of the current Iraqi government.
Don't worry, the the Iraqis will unite behind a nonsectarian national leadership any day now. They will assert their unity and national independence. They will stomp on the militias, round up the terrorists, and sign a treaty of perpetual friendship with us any day now. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after — any day now.
Hold on. What just fluttered past my window there? Looked awfully like a pig.
|03 — Strategy for Somalia. We all remember U.S. forces sweeping to swift
and magnificent victories in Afghanistan and Iraq four and five years ago, and of course we all know what followed.
Probably we've all wondered how things might have turned out if, instead of the victors being Western armies carrying with them all the humanitarian ideals and sentimental flapdoodle of nation building, hearts and minds, defeating evil, and so on — what would have happened if it had been a Third World army out for tribal revenge, punishment and plunder?
Well, we may find out in Somalia. That unhappy place — I hesitate to call it a country — was fought over by warlords for several years. Then jihadists came up with backing from Al Qaeda and the warlords united, sort of, against them. The jihadists seized a lot of the country though, including the capital Mogadishu.
Well, at the end of last year the warlord army, with strong support from the army of next-door Ethiopia, did a shock-and-awe run to the Somali capital.
They took the capital. They kicked out the jihadists and they are holding the capital right now, but they seized other towns too. The jihadists have retreated to the boondocks and got an insurgency started. Sound familiar yet?
My advice to U.S. policymakers at this point would be to make it plain to the Ethiopians that as long as they're hunting and killing jihadists, we will be their friend and financier, and not the least bit fussy about what methods they use.
Then we should pick the most ruthless and bloodthirsty of the warlords and say the same to him.
Then we should sit back and watch.
Of course, this is Somalia, which manages to embody all the worst features of both the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, so things will probably go horribly wrong, whatever we do. Still, if ever there was a case for funding a proxy war against jihadists, this looks like a pretty good one.
Of course we won't doing anything of the sort. Think what the New York Times would say!
|04 — Gerry Ford, RIP. Gerry Ford passed away, a decent man who did his duty
to his country cheerfully and conscientiously, even if not very imaginatively.
I have a soft spot for Ford myself,his presidency being the first one I lived right through here in the U.S.A. I recall conversations in my New York office during the 1976 election season, me trying to get people to vote for Ford — I think that was the first time it dawned on me that I was a Republican.
There was one guy in the office, I remember, an East European immigrant with a fierce hatred of communism, who declared his support for Ronald Reagan. We all shouted the poor guy down, of course: "Reagan, that crazy right-wing nut? You can't be serious!" Well, look, I was new to American politics and this was New York.
How should we have got along if Ford had won the election in 1976?
I don't know that the nation's economic problems would have been any better addressed than they were under Jimmy Carter. Pretty much all our decision makers, including Ford, were still stumbling around in the Keynesian fog; but it's hard to believe that Ford would have been as craven towards the Iranian hostage-takers or to Brezhnev's invasion of Afghanistan as Ol' Peanut was.
In fact, on the evidence of the Mayaguez incident, we know that Ford would have been a lot more forceful. I bet Gerry would have made short work of that rabbit, too.
Yes, we blew it in '76, but we made up for it in '80. That's democracy for you. Things generally come right in the end, but it takes a couple of tries.
|05 — Drug smugglers pardoned, border agents jailed. One of the happiest men
in the Western Hemisphere right now is surely Osvaldo Aldrete-Dávila of Mexico.
Mr Aldrete-Dávila is a drug smuggler by trade, shipping van loads of marijuana from Mexico into the U.S.A. He's crossing the border illegally, of course, on those little business trips.
On one of them he encountered two Border Patrol agents who shot at him as he fled back to Mexico. Mr Aldrete-Dávila ended up with a bullet in the glutes, though that didn't stop him from getting away. The two Border Patrol agents neglected to report the shooting, a procedural error for which an administrative reprimand would have been appropriate.
Then the George W. Bush White House and the Alberto Gonzalez Justice Department swung into action. They tracked down the drug smuggler in Mexico and gave him immunity from prosecution if he would testify against the agents. I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies: at least they didn't give him a job in the federal government.
Anyway, they then threw the book at the agents, who are scheduled to report to jail for eleven and twelve years respectively on January 17th.
These men's lives have been wrecked for doing their duty. Mr Aldrete-Dávila is laughing himself to sleep every night at the fool gringos, their stupid President, and his dimwitted stooge of an Attorney General.
President Bush pardoned sixteen criminals at Christmas — including five drug traffickers! — but he has maintained a stony silence on the two border patrol agents. Fifty-five members of Congress and tens of thousands of U.S. citizens have asked the President to pardon these agents. The president has ignored their petitions.
Here is plain evidence that nothing, nothing, nothing has higher priority to the Bush administration and its Justice Department than facilitating and encouraging illegal border crossing, pandering to the Mexican elites and the narco-lords who finance them, and using all the power of the federal government to wreck the lives of anyone who interferes.
If you fool with Mexico, or with the drug cartels that run Mexico, or with Mexico's policy of exporting its underclass to the great Welfare-istan north of Tijuana, a goon squad from the Gonzalez Justice Department will be breaking down your door in pretty short order.
This is pure Saturnalia — the inversion of all values. Our so-called government and our sick mockery of a Justice Department cheering on and rewarding alien criminals while harassing and persecuting U.S. Law enforcement officers.
Oh yes: and prosecuting companies for "discrimination" when they try to comply with federal immigration law.
Shameful, shameful, shameful.
|06 — U. Mich. may consider obeying the law. Back in November the voters of
Michigan approved Proposition
2 banning racial favoritism in college admissions and state contracting.
The state universities went nuts. They have these legions of diversity officers, you see, who are all going to be out of a job if the universities can't play racial favorites. So a couple of weeks ago the universities got a judge to allow them a six-month waiver before they had to comply with the law.
Well, now an appeals court has overruled that lower Court judge. Michigan's universities have to start complying with the law right now, said the appeals court.
Here's a nice headline from the Detroit Press, quote: Michigan Universities Consider Next Step After Proposition 2 Ruling, end quote.
Er, excuse me: wouldn't the next step be to, like, comply with the law?
No, no, no. Laws against affirmative action are not like other laws, laws that you just have to obey or else be punished.
Let a spokesman for the University of Michigan explain. This is Julie A. Peterson. Ms Peterson said on Saturday that the university is reviewing the recent decision by the appeals court. You see, in this area you don't comply with the law, you review it.
Try that next time the revenuers find that you're running an illegal still in your woodshed. "Yes, officer, I got that demand that the still should be shut down. Right now I'm reviewing it."
Anyway, back to Ms Peterson at U. Mich. Quote from the lady, quote: "We are not ready to announce our next step. We will do so soon." End quote.
I ask again — forgive my naivety please — but what exactly is the range of available choices for that next step, Ms Peterson? I make it either (a) obey the law, or (b) tell the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to go boil its head.
Doesn't that just about exhaust the possibilities? Hello?
|07 — Have yourself a merry little Congress. [Glasgow accent.] It's
a song ye're wantin', is it? [Normal voice.] Apologies to
Billy Connolly there.
Well, it's a little late, but never too late for a Christmas carol.
Here's one from my Christmas singalong on NRO.
Have yourself a merry little Congress,
|08 — Business as usual in the Vampire State. Approximately three times a
day I ask myself: "Why the heck do I live in New York?"
The answer, to be brutally frank, is that none of my rather thin portfolio of marketable skills is much use outside Manhattan. I don't know how to rope a steer or fell a tree or dig a well, so I'm stuck within commuting range of the Big Apple — soon to be the Big Mushroom, no doubt, when Li'l Squinty over in Tehran decides it's time to bring on the Apocalypse.
Well, anyway, here I am in New York state, which just got itself a new Governor, a chap named Eliot Spitzer.
Spitzer's background is pretty routine for a New York pol: limousine-liberal opinions on everything, the career path from lawyer to lawyer to lawyer to politician. His much-advertised boast that he is going to turn round our state's political culture of corruption, overspending, stupendous debt, Soviet-level regulation, and luxurious featherbedding of public employees brings a weary smile to the faces of New York conservatives … supposing you can find one.
There was a lot of gassy stuff about reform in his inauguration speech on January 3rd, but what really brought the audience of tax-eaters to their feet were pledges to increase "investment" in schools, Medicaid, and infrastructure.
Just pause for a moment to savor that word "investment." When a politician says "investment," grab your wallet and run like the wind. If it's a New York politician, dive headfirst through the window, nevermind the glass.
Let's just deconstruct that promise about "investment."
Investment in schools: That means "get the teacher unions on board for Spitzer's next election campaign."
Investment in Medicaid: That means "get the hospital porter unions ditto ditto." Non-New Yorkers may not realize this, but hospital porter unions swing about the same weight in the power structure of New York state as, say, the Saud family does in the power structure of Saudi Arabia.
To continue our deconstruction.
Investment in infrastructure: That would be getting the construction unions and companies on board with Spitzer's next election campaign.
And so on. In short, business as usual here in the Vampire State.
Will the last one out through the Holland Tunnel please switch off the lights?
|09 — Miscellany. Here is a miscellany of the odd and the weird.
Imprimis: In Cambodia a water buffalo gatecrashed a wedding, tossing and trampling several of the guests.
Here in Long Island, a fellow named Richard Meir gatecrashed the living room of Mr William Calhoun by the rather direct method of driving his car through the wall of Mr Calhoun's house. Mr Calhoun was killed sitting on his living room couch watching TV: killed by a lowlife on the run from police — a parole violator, in fact.
If an illegal immigrant doesn't get you a parole violator will. What happened to criminals serving out their entire sentences and illegal aliens being sent back where they came from? That's a rhetorical question, of course.
Oh, and still in the general gatecrashing zone over in Bergen Norway a woman has been sentenced to nine months in prison for forcing sex on a sleeping man.
Item: Last week came the Muslim feast of Eid Al-Adha, commemorating Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son. Devout Muslims sacrifice sheep, goats and bulls.
This isn't as easy as it sounds, apparently; and in the case of bulls, you definitely should not try it at home. Turkish authorities reported over fourteen hundred amateur butchers treated at hospitals after being cut, gored, bitten, or, quote, "crushed under the weight of large animals that fell on top of them."
Some things are best left to the experts
Item: I take a certain amount of flack for my pessimism, but I may be out in front on this. A telephone poll of a thousand Americans at year's end showed us thinking some pretty dark thoughts.
Sixty percent of respondents think the U.S. will suffer another terrorist attack in 2007; seventy percent predict a major natural disaster; thirty-five percent think the draft will be reinstated; and twenty-five percent took time off from sending me angry emails to declare that they anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ.
It all reminds me of an old story about a man who swallowed a live frog first thing every morning on the principle that after that, his day he could only get better.
Item: Here's the latest thing the peddlers of news want to get you thinking about: gay rights for farm animals.
You see, some scientists in England are working on a procedure that a pregnant woman could undergo — perhaps just something like a nicotine patch — to ensure that her infant would grow up heterosexual. Since approximately 99.9 percent of parents would prefer this for their kids, the scientists working on this procedure could make a ton of money.
Okay, but of course they have to do their experimenting on animals. Not many animals exhibit gayness, but sheep do. Quote from the news story: "Approximately one ram in ten prefers to mount other rams rather than to meet with ewes."
Now of course, homosexual-rights activists say that this scientific research is baa-a-ad. No less a luminary than Martina Navratilova has defended the right of sheep to be gay, and urged the public not to let these scientists pull the wool over their eyes.
Item: The President's brother Jeb Bush was Governor of Florida until last Tuesday when he stepped down with the unusually high approval rating of 65 percent in his state. He's ruled out running for President in '08, but he hasn't ruled out anything else.
Charming, honest and fiscally conservative, Jeb Bush would be an attractive candidate if only he didn't share the rest of the Bush family's desire to move our nation's capital to Mexico City, move Mexico's underclass population to the U.S.A., and get us all speaking Spanish instead of that racist, fuddy-duddy old English.
I think I'll go on promoting my own personal slogan for the '08 election, and for that matter, the 2012, 2016 and subsequent elections: No more Clintons, no more Bushes.
Heck, if I'd wanted to live under a hereditary dynasty, I could've stayed in England.
|10 — Signoff. That's it, folks: the first Radio Derb broadcast of 2007.
You'd think that things can only get better, but it's not likely they will manage to do so. We're in for another twelve months slog through absurdity, folly, wickedness and catastrophe.
Feeling worse now? Excellent! But don't worry. Radio Derb will bring it all to you with a laugh and a song.
Until next time: Keep smiling, keep working, and keep your peckers up.
Peter Dawson sang us in; here is a different voice, born about a hundred years later than Dawson, to sing this out. It's an unknown but very fine young singer named Brian Cheney: C-H-E-N-E-Y, but so far as I know no relation to the Vice President.
[Music clip: Brian Cheney singing "Che gelida manina" to piano accompaniment.]