• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Welcome to Radio Derb, ladies and gents. This is your Radio Derb host John Derbyshire with news and comment to heat up your blood in these midwinter frosts.
I'm going to start off this week on home turf here in the Empire State.
|02 — Pataki won't run. Republicans nationwide were
thrown into despair by the news that former New York state Governor George Elmer Pataki will not be running for President in '08. Speaking at a
private dinner in Manchester, New Hampshire, Pataki said that he wanted to focus on policies, not politics.
Presumably those will be the policies he championed as Governor: massive hikes in state spending and taxes, turning the upstate region into a slightly more depressed, slightly more poverty-stricken condition than Chad, falling to his knees and banging his forehead on the floor every time the boss of a public-employee union enters the room, pandering to ethnic lobbies and pseudo-Native American casino interests, thwarting the reform of rent control, mandating health coverage for voodoo exorcism ceremonies, ignoring public opinion on rebuilding zones destroyed by terrorists, making sure that every member of his extended family down to the ninth degree of kinship is on the state payroll, and using state funds and equipment for private purposes.
Even as Republicans nationwide were weeping and tearing their hair at the news that Pataki will not run, one of his spokesman said the ex-Governor has not completely closed the door on an '08 Presidential bid.
Oh, let it be so! Keep hope alive! Keep hope alive!
|03 — Border tunnels: a lesson from the Great War. The Los Angeles
Times reports that several big, well-constructed tunnels under the U.S.-Mexican border remain unfilled long after being discovered by U.S.
In one case an exceptionally grand tunnel has been unfilled for thirteen years. Another tunnel discovered only in January '06 is half a mile long, going from a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico to another warehouse in San Diego.
Why aren't these tunnels being dealt with? Because the U.S. government is just too indifferent and too incompetent to deal with them, that's why.
This year's budget for Customs and Border Protection is 7.8 billion dollars — that's "billion" with a "b" — yet, the bureaucrats in charge are whining that they can't afford to fill these tunnels. Well, guys, here's a tip from the descendant of a long line of English coal-miners.
Back in World War One one of my grandfathers was conscripted into the Royal Engineers to dig tunnels under the the German trench lines. When the tunnels had been dug they were packed with high explosive, which was then detonated. It was nasty and dangerous work, though probably not as dangerous for the miners as for the people in the trenches above them.
The Germans, of course, were doing the same thing under our lines and I believe there were cases where the tunneling parties actually met each other under No Mans Land.
Anyway: Once that high explosive had been detonated, there wasn't much left of the tunnels. Just a thought.
|04 — Hillary caught out. If you liked Slick Willie you're going to love
Mrs Clinton — or Rodham Clinton, whatever she is this week — was caught out at a public meeting the other day when someone asked if her track record showed that she could stand up to evil men around the world.
Replied our foremost Gyno-American: "We face a lot of dangers in the world and, in the gentleman's words, we face a lot of evil men and what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"
Laughter broke out at that point and Mrs Clinton, realizing what she had said, went into deer-in-the-headlights mode for a few seconds. Then the spin cycle clicked in. Quote: "You guys keep telling me to lighten up, to be funny," she complained. "I get a little funny and now I'm being psychoanalyzed."
Well, psychoanalyzing Presidential candidates is a national pastime, Mrs C. get used to it.
Later the lady weaseled her way deftly through questions about her vote for war in Iraq. Bush misled Congress, she said. Now she wants a cap on the number of troops and a quote "phased deployment of troops out of Iraq."
Personally, I want a cap on the number of Democratic Presidential aspirants and a phased deployment of all wives, brothers and sons of mediocre ex-Presidents to somewhere remote and inhospitable — Novaya Zemlya, perhaps. Don't suppose I'll get it, though.
|05 — David Cameron, Social Justice Warrior. Here in the U.S.A. we have
RINOs, Republicans In Name Only. Across the pond in Blairistan they have TINOs, that's Tories In Name Only. The head TINO right now is David Cameron,
leader of Britain's Conservative [laughter] Party.
Well, the other day this stalwart upholder of tradition and Tory values, this heir of Squire Western, Disraeli, Lord Salisbury, Churchill, and Thatcher unbosomed himself of what I think is called a major policy speech.
In this speech, Cameron identified five barriers of division — he actually called them "five Berlin Walls of division" — that inhibit social cohesion in Britain.
What are they? Extremism, multiculturalism, uncontrolled immigration, poverty, and education.
Cameron elaborated on these five evils. To explain what he meant by extremism. He excoriated the British National Party, a right wing splinter group that wants Third World immigration curtailed.
Turning to immigration, Cameron explained the problem as, quote, "people coming into Britain at a faster rate than we can cope with." In other words, leaving the actual policy issue one of perfect subjectivity in which the opinion of the British National Party is just as good as his.
Multiculturalism: Cameron opined that the proliferation of public documents in foreign languages ought to be, quote, "about helping people to access essential public services." Well, of course it should. Heaven forbid anyone might be unable to make himself understood at the local welfare office!
Poverty and education: It's all about the little kiddies, says Cameron and fairness and — and yes, he actually used the phrase — "social justice."
The leader of Britain's conservative [much laughter] policy stopped just short of calling for the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and for a Dictatorship of the Proletariat, but you could see the temptation tugging at him.
Take note of these ideas, my fellow Americans. They'll be coming soon to a Republican Party convention near you.
|06 — Biden says Obama is "clean." A chap named Joe Biden, who
comes from Delaware and has some kind of government job in Washington D.C., joined the other two hundred thousand people running for the Democratic
Party nomination to be that party's Presidential candidate in '08.
Asked for some comments about the leading contenders, this Biden fellow remarked of Senator Barack Obama, that, quote: "You got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean, and a nice-looking guy." End quote.
Right-thinking Americans from coast to coast shrieked, clutched their skirts and leapt onto the nearest kitchen chair.
The Biden guy had to perform a ceremonial grovel. While heaping ashes on his head and lacerating himself with a multi-pronged whip, he whimpered:
Barack Obama is probably the most exciting candidate that the Democratic or Republican Party has produced, at least since I've been around. And he's fresh, he's new, he's smart, he's insightful. And I really regret that some have taken totally out of context my use of the word "clean."
Hey, that's all right, Joe. We know what you meant. You meant Senator Obama doesn't call himself "Reverend," hasn't been making a living running race-guilt shakedown schemes against rich corporations, doesn't have any illegitimate children that we know about, and didn't lead any boycotts of Korean grocery stores or Jewish-owned fashion malls. That's what you meant, right?
Al Sharpton responded to the controversy by telling the New York Times: "I take a bath every day."
Yeah … Too much information there, Al.
|07 — Où sont les Gitanes d'antan? This week a nationwide
smoking ban went into effect in France.
This is yet another blow to the stereotype of the French as a nation of louche but intellectual libertines: Jeanne Moreau and Alain Delon lounging in bed discussing Heidegger through a fug of cigarette smoke. Ah, où sont les Gitanes d'antan?
Before the health fascists tighten their grip on La Belle France to a stranglehold, I should just like to remind everyone that the oldest person who ever lived — at any rate, the oldest person whose dates of birth and death are so impeccably chronicled that nobody can doubt her age — was a Frenchwoman, Madame Jeanne Calment of Arles, who lived to be 122; and that Madame Calment was — gasp! … and you can add a couple of coughs to that gasp — a lifelong cigarette smoker.
Well, not quite lifelong. She actually quit smoking at age 117, but then after her 118th birthday allowed herself an occasional puff.
Madame Calment died in 1997, leaving behind her a faint whiff of cigarette smoke and several memorable apothegms. For example: "I've only got one wrinkle and I'm sitting on it."
God bless Madame Calment, wherever she is; and may health fascists everywhere choke on their own preening virtue.
|08 — Good marches, bad marches. There have been two big marches in
Washington, D.C. this past few days.
Monday the 22nd of January was the March for Life when several thousand Right to Life people protested the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Then six days later there was a march against the Iraq war, also involving several thousand. (A parenthesis here: I'm sticking with "several thousand" in both cases as claims for numbers in events like this are highly unreliable and our spun like crazy by everyone concerned. Several thousand, okay?)
Neither event in itself aroused any political sympathy in my stony breast. On the one hand, I don't care about embryos and fetuses. On the other, I don't want to see my country humiliated by a withdrawal from Iraq, however dumb it may have been to get stuck there in the first place.
On the level above that though, I'm glad to see people demonstrating for what they believe and I'd like to see fair media coverage of any big marches like these.
No such luck. According to the Media Research Center the big three TV networks offered five full reports and six anchor briefs on the anti-war rally against zero reports and two briefs for the Right to Life rally.
You wouldn't get me out on either of these marches, but both their topics have huge support around the nation — the Right-to-Liferss probably even more than the Bush-bashers. Was it too much to ask that the networks give them fair coverage? Yes, of course it was.
|09 — Miscellany. Here's a closing miscellany of short items to see us out.
Item: Paul Wolfowitz, who as head of the World Bank pulls in an annual salary of $400,000, wears socks that have holes in them. This was revealed when Wolfie took off his shoes while visiting a mosque in Turkey.
Whatever happened to the fine old wifely skill of darning socks? The modern woman, pah!
Item: Off-putting headline of the week: Sex Scandal Rocks San Francisco City Hall.
Do I really want to read about this? Well, duty calls … Hey, this is heterosexual sex! There are still some straight people left in San Fran, apparently. Who knew?
The scandal-raiser here is met Gavin Newsom, famous for advancing the cause of gay marriage. Hizzoner's own deepest convictions about the sanctity of marriage, gay or otherwise, were revealed this week when his campaign manager resigned on account of the Mayor having had a municipal sex affair with the manager's wife — who, I'm very glad to say, is a female.
Item: Satan … Er, sorry; let me start again. The Microsoft Corporation has launched the latest version of its operating system, known as a Vista.
Vista incorporates all those Microsoft features you know and love: the Blue Screen of Death, End Program buttons that refuse to end your program, invitations to your grandma to debug ten thousand lines of C++ code, and all the rest.
Don't ask me. I've gone back to running DOS 2.0, the last decent operating system Microsoft made.
Item: Al Gore has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to global warming.
No, wait a minute … That can't be right. Oh, never mind.
Item: In Austria a boy of twelve has begun hormone treatments preparatory to a sex-change operation. Formerly Tim, the lad wishes henceforth to be known as Kim.
Tim or Kim is going to have to wait until age eighteen for his surgical trim — the one required to get to a her from a him — because that's the law over there.
Let's just hope this isn't a passing whim on the part of Kim or Tim.
Item: Finally, note the current fashion in TV thriller dramas for nuclear explosions.
Let's just hope life isn't going to imitate art here. My house is right under the fallout plume from New York City.
|10 — Signoff. That's all, folks. Tune in again next week for more misery,
folly, and despair from the world-spanning researchers of Radio Derb.
And if you're going outside, don't forget your scarf and mittens.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]