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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Welcome to Radio Derb, listeners. This is your ever-cheerful host John Derbyshire bringing you news and views from National Review's lavishly-equipped sound studios high in Buckley Towers at the heart of Manhattan.
It's been a busy week, so let's get down to it.
|02 — POTUS gives SOTU. The first time I saw the word "SOTU" in
print I thought it was some East Asian vegetable product, like Tofu.
Nope. It's the latest way to refer to the State of the Union Address. The rule nowadays is: If there's a pronounceable acronym to be made out of any function, department or ceremony of our national government, it must be made.
First, back in the Clinton administration, it was "POTUS" and "VPOTUS." Then, after the 2000 election kerfuffle, we were all talking about "SCOTUS." Down in Florida at that point they were talking about "SCOFL," too, but that didn't catch on, I can't imagine why.
Now it's "SOTU." Tuesday night there was the POTUS with the VPOTUS and the SOTH — the SOTH: that's Speaker of the House — sitting behind him.
What did the POTUS say? Oh, I can't remember. Look it up for yourself. Healthcare, energy, all that good stuff.
With his poll ratings headed for single digits, the Dems in charge of Congress, and the Iraq effort looking ever more FUBAR — that's another acronym: I'm having a special on them this week — nothing the President wants is likely to get done anyway, so it's all a bit academic.
The main thing everyone was talking about afterwards was the tremendous differential in blink rate between VPOTUS and SOTH, with SOTH running about one blink per two seconds and VPOTUS hardly blinking at all. John McCain opted out of the blinkathon by keeping his eyes closed; as, it seemed to me, did Teddy Kennedy.
Hillary Clinton's eyes were open in a basilisk stare as she muttered spells at Barack Obama sitting right in front of her.
Then, once the big show was over, the Dems wheeled on a cigar-store Indian wearing a toupée to tell us something or other about Eisenhower and Truman and some other stuff I forget.
What an evening that was! Politics doesn't get any more exciting than this.
|03 — Rev'm Al in '08! Here's a thing that's pretty well known to everyone
York City, but not much known elsewhere: You really, really don't want to be in a position where Al Sharpton owes you money. The Reverend Al
is, shall we say, not best known around the Big Apple for diligent attention to his Accounts Payable.
The latest illustration of this comes from Al's Harlem landlord — the landlord, that is, of the building up there on 125th street where Al's National Action Network was based. This landlord is suing the rev for $40,000 in back rent, according to court records.
Says the landlord's attorney, quote: "Sharpton usually comes up with the money after we get a marshal and threatened to kick him out." He also said that the office was left a shambles when Al's people vacated it.
Now I hear that the Reverend Al is contemplating a run for President in 2008.
Hmm, let's see. Wallowing in debt and turning a place into a shambles? Sounds to me like Al would do just fine as custodian of our federal government.
|04 — More '08 candidates. Actually, you can't go out for a burger and fries
nowadays without tripping over somebody who's running for President in 2008.
On the Democratic side: Bill Richardson has just declared, Obama's in for sure, and Hillary has made her own candidacy official.
That's one half-Hispanic, one half-African, and one … er, Gyno-American, I guess. A real diversity slate — the rainbow effect somewhat spoiled by the entrance of John "Tribune of the People" Edwards and that bloke nobody can remember whose name begins with "V" from one of those states beginning with "I."
Both of these interlopers are unacceptably white and male. What's the Democratic Party coming to, running white males for President?
The Republican slate is shaping up as McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Brownback, and now Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter.
My heart says Tom, but my head says Rudy. When was the last time we had an opera fan in the White House?
|05 — If ChiComs make war. Early this month the Chinese Communist government
shot down a space satellite with an anti-satellite missile.
A few days later the ChiComs blockaded Taiwan, assassinated the Dalai Lama, sent an army of a million men to occupy Siberia, sank the Japanese navy, established a military base on the moon, and destroyed the city of Seattle with a barrage of thermonuclear missiles.
Asked to explain their actions, a Chinese government spokesman said indignantly, quote: "The Chinese people will not tolerate interference in our nation's internal affairs." End quote.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described the Chinese response as, quote, "disappointing." The Commerce Department said that export controls on defense technology to China would be, quote, "premature."
Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the new Secretary General of the United Nations, warned against a to judgment and said that the U.N. would establish a committee to study the possibility of forming a committee to consider economic sanctions.
|06 — Alien criminal deported! Sun rises in West! Okay; follow closely
here. Back in 2002 a chap named Luis Alexander Duanes-Alvarez, born in Peru but
a legal resident of the U.S.A., was convicted by a California court of helping someone to steal a car. He was sentenced to three years porridge.
Now under a law passed by Congress in 1996 aliens, including legal ones like Mr Duanes-Alvarez, can be deported if convicted of, quote, "theft offenses." The Homeland Security Department thought that helping someone to steal a car sounded pretty much like a theft offense, so they moved to get Mr Duanes-Alvarez deported.
Enter the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Yes, that Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the one in San Francisco.
After some diligent searching they found a teeny-weeny technicality and triumphantly ruled that Mr Duanes-Alvarez couldn't be deported after all.
This story has a happy ending though. The government took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Supremes overturned the Ninth Circuit court. Mr Duanes-Alvarez is on his way back to Peru.
So the good news here is that criminal aliens can be deported. The bad news is that it takes the Supreme Court to make it happen.
|07 — New era in Venezuela. Hugo Chávez won a new six-year term as
President of Venezuela last month with a landslide sixty-three percent of the vote. "A new era has begun," declared Chávez as his new
term of office officially began.
What kind of an era? A socialist kind, that's what kind. The President urged his countrymen to embrace, quote, "21st-century socialism."
When bishops of the Catholic Church in Venezuela asked what 21st-century socialism consists of, Chávez told them to read Marx, Lenin and the Bible.
One hopes that the bishops already have some acquaintance with the Bible, but why Marx and Lenin? El Presidente explained, quote, "Christ was an authentic communist, anti-imperialist and enemy of the oligarchy." End quote.
So that's what Christ was. None of that nonsense about the Kingdom of Heaven: What the Savior was really talking about was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Yes! — it's right there in the New Testament … or it will be as soon as Chávez and his pals have published their revised version.
Actually a better insight into Chávez's vision of 21st-century socialism can be gleaned from his having closed down his country's main independent TV channel, stripped Venezuela's Central Bank of its constitutional protections, removed constitutional term limits on the Presidency, and publicly told the United States to go to Hell.
Just like Jesus Christ would have done.
|08 — Princeton does sensitivity cringe. Friends keep telling me that my two
kids, who are half-Chinese, will have a better shot at getting into good colleges if they play down their Chinese ancestry, omitting mention of it
altogether if they possibly can.
Elite colleges, so these folk tell me, are all worried that their student body might get too Asian. Got to keep it looking like America!
My friends may have a point. The New York Times reports that while Asian Americans account for five percent of the population in the United States, they are fourteen percent of the current freshman class at Princeton, eighteen percent of the student body at Harvard, twenty-four percent at Stanford, and forty-six percent at U.C. Berkeley.
At Princeton, in any case, the college authorities are striving mightily to make students of Asian ancestry feel at home. Following a recent civil rights lawsuit by a Chinese-American applicant who claims that Princeton rejected him because of his race, the Princeton student newspaper printed a parody of that complaint. Quote:
Hi, Princeton! Remember me? I so good at math and science. Perfect 2400 SAT score! Ring bells? Just in case, let me refresh your memories.
Well, naturally this caused an uproar. The Princeton authorities, besieged by throngs of weeping, howling, suicidal students whose self-esteem was irreparably shattered by the parody, have gone into a full sensitivity cringe, dragging the newspaper editors in for self-criticism sessions, forcing them to march around the campus in dunces' caps while students and faculty pelt them with rotten fruit, and so on.
So it goes here in multicultural America.
|09 — Miscellany. Finally, folks, here's a miscellany of short items worth noting.
Item: London's Metropolitan Police Force is going to, a quote from the BBC, "share intelligence and information with Muslims before launching anti-terror operations."
This is apparently part of a larger plan to, quote again, "engage more with British Muslims whose support police need in fighting terrorism."
Well, that's okay; but if plans for an anti-terror operation are passed onto the local imam in advance, isn't there perhaps the teeniest possibility that those plans might leak onward to actual terrorists?
Good Heavens, no! That would involve some British imam somewhere violating his trust. No imam would eve do such a thing because, well, it wouldn't be cricket, would it?
Item: Last month, the State Bar Association of North Carolina charged Durham County D.A Mike Nifong with violating the rules of professional conduct. Nifong is the guy who brought sexual assault charges against three Duke lacrosse players.
Now the state bar has added ethics charges to the complaint, accusing Nifong of withholding DNA evidence and misleading the court.
It's all very satisfying, even though this farce was allowed to go on much too long.
The mills of justice grind slow, but they grind exceeding small, and Mike Nifong is getting ground at last
It's a good thing they've made duelling illegal or my seconds would be calling on this McAuliffe character right about now.
Lady Thatcher — whom God preserve! — was a champion of liberty and self-support, a serious danger to her country's enemies and the devoted wife of a devoted husband.
Hillary Clinton is none of the above; though she'll gladly fake all of the above, or anything else, if her pollsters and handlers tell her to.
Item: Murder of the week. A lady named Els Clottemans has been charged with murder in Belgium. She is charged with murdering her friend, Els Van Doren. I can't keep track of these Flemish names so I'll just call them Els Killer and Els Victim.
Els Victim was having an affair with Els Killer's boyfriend, and Els Killer found out. All three of them, the two Elses and the boyfriend, were skydivers.
The three of them went skydiving together one day, but only two of the parachutes opened.
Moral of the story: Be very, very careful who you jump out of a plane with, especially if you're doing the Tennessee Waltz with your friend's sweetheart.
Item: A three-year-old girl was thrown off a plane in Orlando, Florida after refusing to take her seat. The infant was apparently busy having a tantrum at the time. Her parents were thrown off the flight, too.
A passenger on the flight, Mr Mohammed Musef Death-to-the-Great-Satan Jew-Slayer al-Jawahiri of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia expressed his satisfaction with the airline's action and urged U.S. airlines to tighten up their screening procedures.
Quote from Mr al-Jawahiri: "The shrieking of the infidel brat was disturbing my midday prayers. This should not be permitted in America; and when we take over, it will not be!"
Item: Across the Atlantic in Blairistan, the government is preparing new laws to ban all and every kind of discrimination against homosexuals. If you don't agree that gay is just as good as straight, then it'll be off to the death camp of tolerance with you.
Both the Roman Catholic and the Anglican churches have protested that they won't be able to run their adoption agencies under the new laws since they will not, on scriptural principle, give children for adoption by homosexual couples.
The Blair junta has told them that they are cruel, homophobic fascists and enemies of the people and that their bishops should be reading Marx and Lenin …
No, wait a minute, that's the other story, the one about Venezuela. I got my papers mixed up here. At least I think I did; sometimes it's hard to tell.
|10 — Signoff. Well, there's a slice of life in this world today, NRO fans. Tune in again next week for more of the same, if not worse, from Radio Derb.|
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]