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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. John Derbyshire here, ladies and gentlemen, with another installment of Radio Derb.
The week in a nutshell: boring. No disrespect to Elizabeth Edwards or Tony Snow, but other people's illnesses are not interesting to me.
The Gonzales scandalette is taking us into regions of boredom and pointlessness that even the fandango about that guy Scooter Plame and his wife Libby Wilson didn't explore.
I was interested in Anna Nicole Smith's death for about 15 minutes, but that was a month ago. The other headlines are the kind of things the newspapers have set up as permanent macros.
North Korea Nuclear Talks Break Down
… and that sort of thing.
Ah, well, the poor journalist must do his best. Let's see what we can scrape from the bottom of the barrel.
|02 — Iran kidnaps Brit sailors. I'm even sanguine about the kidnapping of
the fifteen British sailors and marines in the Persian Gulf the other day.
What's so surprising here? Iran kidnapping hostages without any regard for diplomatic norms or niceties? Hel-lo?
Note to Tony Blair: If you don't have either the will or the resources to fight a war against an Iran-sized country at an Iran-sort-of-distance from your shores — which, by the way, you don't — then don't go putting your guys in harm's way around Iran's territorial waters.
Sooner or later the crazy savages who run Iran will yield to temptation and there you'll be with a bunch of your people getting their fingernails extracted in some Tehran dungeon, and you with no meaningful move to make. Which is what just happened.
Your Pal George might rattle a few sabers to give the illusion of support. George, however, has his work cut out keeping the Iraq war going. He sure isn't going to be invading any more countries.
Not that I'm altogether unsympathetic, Tony. Ever since the hostage-taking in the Carter administration I've felt that we — we, the West — owe one to the Mullahs, and I'd love to see us give it to them.
We're not going to, though: not us, and definitely not you. The savages have the upper hand right now. They can poke a finger in Britain's eye because they know that Britain is a toothless lion with a population sunk deep in hedonism and civilizational guilt. They can poke a finger in America's eye because America blew all its chips on the Iraq fiasco and has no reserves of national will or Presidential authority left. They can do what they like.
Sooner or later they'll push us too far and we'll hit back, but till then we just have to suck it down. So suck it down, Tony.
|03 — Ted Turner disses persons of Chineseness. Addressing an audience of
local notables in San Francisco the other day, Ted Turner took a question about how to win China's cooperation in reducing greenhouse gases.
Replied Ted, quote: "The Chinese are very smart. Just think, have you ever met a dumb Chinaman?"
He then went on to say, quote: "Very seldom do you see Chinese restaurants close. I'm in the restaurant business and it's very tough. They work very hard." That was apparently a reference to some chain of upscale eateries that Ted owns.
Well, you can imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed those remarks. Imagine a public figure insulting the Chinese by calling them clever and industrious! Where will this end? Next thing you know, we'll have Presidential aspirants slandering each other as clean and articulate.
Worst of all was the word "Chinaman." For reasons totally unfathomable to me, and also I would guess to anyone else who does not have a Ph.D. in Diversity Awareness, the word "Chinaman" is nowadays considered criminally abusive, used only by sneering racists in SS uniforms preparatory to kicking a person of Chineseness off the sidewalk.
Ted Turner, or anyway his people, issued the routine groveling apology to, quote, "the Asian Pacific American community."
"Asian Pacific American"? So Americans of Pakistani ancestry, or Mongolian ancestry, or Tibetan or Japanese or Sri Lankan or Samoan or Melanesian, Filipino, Nepalese, Hindu, Tajik, Uighur, Samoyed, Bangladeshi, Tongan, Malay, Thai, Laotian, and Guamanian ancestry were also offended by Ted's remark? Why?
I guess I really don't get this political correctness stuff.
|04 — The toothless Absconder Apprehension Program. If you are an illegal
alien — or even, as a matter of fact, if you are a legal alien — you can, for all sorts of reasons, be apprehended by
the Homeland Security Department and ordered to leave the country.
Will you do so though? Homeland Security has no place where they can detain you while you gather up your impedimenta and make travel arrangements. All they can do is issue the order. "You must leave the country! Okay? Be sure you do!"
Under these circumstances, gentle listener, you will not be terrifically surprised to learn that many of the aliens ordered to leave the country … don't. Many, many: actually 623,292 as of last August.
That is, to use the proper jargon, the number of fugitive aliens on the books of the Absconder Apprehender [sic] Program, a little knot of tissue deep in the bowels of the Homeland Security Department.
Six hundred and twenty-three thousand, two hundred and ninety-two. If you stood them all in a line a yard apart, the line would be 350 miles long.
Furthermore, notwithstanding the valiant efforts of those sleuths at the Absconder Apprehension Program, this number is increasing every year; as is our realization that nobody in Washington D.C. really gives a fig about homeland security.
|05 — Bolivia's navy steps up. The land-locked South American nation of
Bolivia has a navy.
I'm going to pause here so that you can gasp, "I don't bolivia!"
Well, it's true. In fact, not only does Bolivia have a navy, that navy is the focus of intense national emotion.
You see the nation of Bolivia, as originally constituted when they won their independence from Spain in 1825, included a coastal province named Litoral, which is just the Spanish word for "coast." Then Bolivia got into a war with Chile and came out second — if not actually third, I think, as Peru was also involved.
Chile got the coastal province, Bolivia got the grievance. That was one hundred and twenty years ago, but the loss of their coastline still rankles with Bolivians.
They keep up their navy even though it has nothing much to do but chase drug smugglers round Lake Titicaca in patrol boats. Sailors in dress whites are prominent at every public ceremony in Bolivia. The annual Ms Bolivia beauty pageant includes a contestant from the lost province. If you look up Senorita Litoral on Google Images you'll see a very fetching young lady in a pink bikini, though something seems to have got stuck in her belly button.
Well, Bolivians have been rejoicing recently because at last the navy has had to respond to a national emergency. The country's eastern plains have flooded, turning several hundred square miles into a shallow, muddy inland sea. The bold matelots of the Bolivian navy set sail on that sea, rescuing stranded peasants and their livestock.
And all this just as the country was gearing up to celebrate Day of the Sea, which occurs every March 23rd!
It looks like the Bolivian Navy is getting better support from their people and their government than Britain's Royal Navy is from theirs.
|06 — Sorry! The fashion for apologizing for the misdeeds of one's
ancestors shows no signs of fading. Doesn't the phrase "cheap grace" ring a bell with anyone? Perhaps not.
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apologized to the comfort women — the women, that is, from other Asian countries who provided sexual services to Japanese troops in World War Two under degrees of coercion that are much disputed.
Meanwhile, the state legislature of Maryland has formally apologized for the practice of slavery in that state. The state of Missouri has a resolution up before its legislature along the same lines.
In related developments, the NAACP has issued a formal resolution of thanks to the descendants of white soldiers who died fighting in the Union armies so that the slaves could be freed.
|07 — Mass-scale multiculturalism's a bust. Here is an interesting poll
result from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: Half of the Jewish population of Israel believe that the state should encourage Arab emigration. This is a
sharp increase from last year.
The Israeli Jewish pollees were also asked to tick boxes against words describing how they feel when they hear Arabic spoken around them. Fifty percent ticked "fearful," forty-three percent "uncomfortable." Thirty percent said that they feel hatred.
The recent attacks from the Lebanon obviously have a lot to do with it. I do think there is a worldwide trend here though, and this poll is a straw in the wind.
If you read official propaganda — I mean things like the New York Times or the speeches of Tony Blair — all the old racial and tribal rancors of the past are melting away under the warming sun of multiculturalism. We are marching forward into a radiant future, the whole human race united: black, white, brown, and yellow, Christian and Muslim, Arab and Jew, all onward! onward! into the sunlit uplands of universal peace and harmony.
Yet in fact when you look around you with your own lying eyes, levels of intergroup conflict and ill feeling are rising almost everywhere.
Three or four times a week I hear someone say something rude about Muslims. Ten years ago, nobody in America said rude things about Muslims. Nobody said anything about them. They occupied no space at all in the national consciousness.
The great waves of mestizo and Indian populations from Central America have irked lot of Americans as we watch our towns and neighborhoods filling up with people who don't look, act or speak as we do.
Over in Europe the waves of African and Middle Eastern immigration are now issues on the political front burner, with entire new parties coming up to protest them.
And in Israel — established 60 years ago with such hopes of a secular, socialist, multicultural nation — half of the Jewish population would like to see the country's Arabs leave.
Let's face it, multiculturalism on the scale envisaged by the leftist dreamers of the past few decades is a bust. It's popular with the boards of big corporations who want cheap foreign labor; with universities hungry for foreign students and their money; with churches trawling for souls; with liberals who think that guilt is the highest form of morality; with a Bohemian fringe, always wanting to be stimulated by something exotic; and with no one else at all.
|08 — Miscellany. Here's a wee miscellany of items to see us out.
Item: An environmental group in Australia has captured a toad the size of a small dog. The toad — it's technically a cane toad — was picked up outside Darwin last Tuesday.
I'm waiting to hear that the environmentalists are being treated for warts the size of tennis balls.
Item: A Harris poll revealed that fifty percent of us would not vote for Hillary Clinton if she were to be the Democrats' presidential candidate. Fifty-six percent of men wouldn't vote for her; forty-five percent of women wouldn't, either. Fifteen percent of Democrats wouldn't.
Don't get your hopes up though. Bill Clinton only got forty-three percent of the vote back in 1992.
Item: Barack Obama has accused the Bush administration of, quote, "Social Darwinism." I guess his own economic policies will be more intelligently designed.
Or perhaps this was some oblique reference to the place where they found that giant toad. Who knows? Who cares?
Item: Over in Paris the main commuter transport hub, Gare du Nord station, was trashed by rioting — and here I quote from the Associated Press report — by rioting "youths."
Quote: "Bands of youths shattered windows and looted shops."
Further quote: "Officers and police dogs charged at a group of marauding youths, some of them wearing hoods."
Yet another: "Some of the youths threw trash cans."
Altogether I logged five occurrences of the word "youths" in a 200-word report. It seems that the French really have a problem with those "youths."
Item: A chap in Shrewsbury, England hanged himself on-camera while logged into an internet chat room. Apparently his wife had recently left him. His father had just died and he himself was in pain from a car accident.
The News report says, quote: "Kevin was logged into a private chat room called the Insult Room, where users jibe and pick at each other mercilessly."
A note to Radio Derb listeners. When your life has taken a really bad turn and you're feeling depressed, do not log into an Insult Room. Bad idea!
Item: From the murder files.
A young British woman teaching English in Japan was found in a bathtub full of sand in the apartment of one of her students, who fled the scene. The young lady was dead.
Meanwhile, over in Texas, a 19-year-old female student was killed by her boyfriend who then disposed of her remains by burning them on a barbecue grill over several days, to the great annoyance of his neighbors.
Sand, Barbecue: I guess those long winter nights have just had people yearning for summer.
|09 — Signoff. Okay, Radio Derb fans. It was an early broadcast this week.
I'm off to Pittsburgh to a conference where we're all going to talk about opera.
Pittsburgh, home of the H.J. Heinz Company. Who knows, perhaps I'll bump into Teresa.
In any case, I shall be back on NRO next week with more lunacy and laughter on Radio Derb.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]