»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, June 15th, 2007

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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]

01 — Intro.     Greetings once again, ladies and gentlemen. Radio Derb is on the air.

This is your mild-mannered host John Derbyshire bringing you a selection of news items gathered by Radio Derb's world-spanning team of reporters, and broadcast from our state-of-the-art studio here on the eighty-ninth floor of Buckley Towers in the heart of Manhattan.

Not to keep you on tenterhooks, whatever tenterhooks are, here we go with the week's news.

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02 — Judicial despotism in Massachusetts.     Back in 2003 a bunch of judges in Massachusetts decided that what the Bay State needed was gay marriage, so they ruled to make it so.

Judges can do that, you see. They just say that something should be so, and it is so. It's like Yul Brynner in The King and I. [Added when transcribingWrong movie. "So let it be written, so let it be done!" was The Ten Commandments.]  A room full of judges could probably suspend the law of gravity if they wanted to.

Well, some citizens of Massachusetts thought that the actual people of the state ought to have something to say in the matter, so they promoted a constitutional amendment to allow a public vote on gay marriage. This week, the Massachusetts state legislature voted to kill that constitutional amendment.

After all, if you allowed the people to vote, they might vote the wrong way, then judges would go crazy, they'd suspend the law of gravity across the entire state, and everything in Massachusetts that wasn't nailed down would go hurtling off into space … or something.

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03 — Gaza: What's the problem?     Reading reports from the Gaza Strip, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the wretchedness of the people there.

Some extracts here from an Associated Press report on Thursday. Long quote:

Hospitals were operating without water, electricity and blood. Even holed up inside their homes, Gazans weren't able to escape fighting that turned apartment buildings into battlefields.

Said one resident: "We spent our night in the hallway outside the apartment because the building came under crossfire. All we can hear is shooting and explosions. The world is watching us dying and doing nothing to help. God help us! We feel like we are in a real-life horror movie."

A nurse at nearby al-Quds Hospital said the facility had no electricity, water or blood, and that wounded were propped up on ward floors. Hundreds of bullets flew through windows and fighters ignored the hospital's appeals to hold fire just long enough to have the generator and the water pipes fixed.

"We are waiting here for our end," the nurse said.

The European Commission has suspended its humanitarian aid projects because of the escalating violence.

End long quote.

As I said, it would be a hard-hearted person indeed who was not moved by stories like that, and of course this barbarism is not just in Gaza, it's all over the Middle East.

On the same day as that AP report, over in Iraq the holiest shrine in Shia Islam was blown up for a second time by Sunni terrorists.

On the other hand, what can anyone do about any of it? Defeat all the terrorists and impose democracy on the region? I wouldn't say it's not doable, but it sure isn't doable by any methods we've yet shown ourselves willing to employ.

What's the fundamental problem with these folk anyway? Is it Islam? There are over a billion Muslims in the world, including a couple of million right here in the U.S.A. If it's Islam that's the problem, tell me what to do about it.

Is Israel the problem? But Israel is not going anywhere and they have a basement chock full of nuclear weapons and missiles.

Is American meddling the problem? We haven't been meddling in Gaza. That's a mess all of the Arabs' own making.

Is oil the big issue? You know how much of our oil we get from the Middle East? Seventeen percent and falling. We could likely do without it.

So what's the problem and how do we fix it?

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04 — Things are bad all over.     Well, here perhaps is a clue.

A youth soccer team from Haiti, eighteen strong, had a stopover at New York's Kennedy airport on their way to the youth soccer World Cup in South Korea. Thirteen of the players disappeared during the stopover. Some have been found, but at least seven are still missing at the time I'm recording this broadcast.

Why would these under-17 Haitians wants to trade the prestige of playing soccer for their country, for the life of illegal immigrants in the USA?

Well, let's look up some stats on Haiti. I'm going to read them off from the CIA World Factbook.

Mostly rough and mountainous … lies in the middle of the hurricane belt, subject to severe storms, occasional flooding and earthquakes, periodic droughts, extensive deforestation, soil erosion, inadequate supplies of drinkable water … median age 18.4, that's just about half of the U.S. median age … twenty-four thousand AIDS deaths every year … fifty-four percent adult literacy … fifty-four is also the percent living in abject poverty.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere … a quarter of GDP is remittances from emigrants … the GDP per capita is $1,800; that's about one-sixth of the figure for Mexico … there's pervasive corruption … Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Haiti for illicit financial transactions … the Haitian currency is called the gourde …

Well, look: You'd have to be out of your gourde to live in Haiti if you had any chance at all of living anywhere else, except of course the Gaza Strip, or Iraq; or one of the twenty-nine nations listed on Wikipedia as having even lower GDP per capita than Haiti.

Twenty-nine nations, listener — huge areas of the world, home to billions of people, are grossly messed up. Annual GDP per capita in Burundi is ninety dollars; in the U.S.A. it's over $44,000. How much misery would you like to hear about, listener?

Five billion people live in countries poorer than Mexico.

You want to hear more? There's plenty more. This is our world, listener, the world that the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal wants to open our borders to. It's a world full of misery, filth, disease, war, suffering, corruption, hopelessness, and lousy government.

Several billion people would, if they could, come to live in the U.S.A. Do I feel sorry for these people? Yes, I sure do. Would I let them all come live here? No, I sure wouldn't. If I did, then this country would be just as messed up as theirs currently are and civilization would have vanished from the face of the earth.

So there's the problem, there's the solution. Problem: stinking, rotten government in most of the world. Solution: Try to preserve our own country as an oasis of decency and sanity and hope that others will one day take us as an example.

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05 — How to enforce the border.     There, now: you knew I'd work it round to immigration eventually, didn't you?

Well, immigration is still a live issue. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly; and sure enough, here's George W. Bush riding up to Capitol Hill to try a little arm-twisting on Republican senators in hope of getting the immigration bill back in play.

That's the bill he cooked up with Teddy Kennedy: the bill otherwise known as the American Immigration Lawyers Enrichment Bill, the Forged Document Industry Support Bill, the Mexican Surplus Unskilled Labor Exportation and Relief Bill, the Democratic Party Voter Roll Enhancement Bill, the Republican Party Mass Suicide Bill, the Welfare State Indefinite Expansion Bill, the Kick A Lawful Immigrant In The Crotch Bill, and so on.

The President said that he hoped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who supports the bipartisan proposal, has, quote, "the same sense of desire to move the product … or the bill that I do."

Funny little slip of the tongue there, Mr President; but you can bet that, yes, Harry Reid definitely wants to move the product. Why would he not want to give citizenship to twenty million or so Democratic voters?

Then the President added, quote:

It's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of effort. We've got to convince the American people this bill is the best way to enforce our border. I believe that without the bill, it's going to be harder to enforce the border. The status quo is not acceptable.

End Quote.

Well, I think the American people are with you on that last one, Mr President. The status quo is not acceptable. We just disagree with you that this bill is the best way to enforce the border.

The best way to enforce the border, Mr President, would be to enforce the border using the powers you already have, the laws that are already on the books and the funds that have already been appropriated.

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06 — Normals v. elites on immigration.     It was a bit presumptuous of me to say "we" there, identifying the American people with my humble self, who doesn't even sound like an American, five years of citizenship notwithstanding.

Well, what do the American people think about it all? Here are some poll numbers reported by Rasmussen on Wednesday.

After the President held that much-publicized meeting with senators trying to refloat his amnesty bill, Rasmussen reported that his poll ratings had dropped to an all-time low of 33 percent. Just 20 percent of us want to see the bill passed. Sixty-nine percent favor an approach that focuses exclusively on, quote, "securing the border and reducing illegal immigration."

Among Republicans — the party that put George Bush in the White House — 84 percent favor enforcement only.

How about this proposal, quote:

Giving all illegal aliens up to three years to leave the United States. After leaving, the illegal aliens would have to get in line and wait their turn for legal entry into the United States.

End Quote. How about that? Fifty-seven percent of the public approved that. Among Republicans, sixty-seven percent.

What about the other amnesty-pushers? I can't give you a number for Teddy Kennedy as the only people in Massachusetts allowed to have an opinion on anything are the judges.

John McCain's numbers are headed for the basement with just 11 percent of likely GOP primary voters naming him as their top choice in his home state of Arizona. McCain is viewed favorably by just 47 percent of voters.

Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has gone from 26 percent favorable ratings to a wretched 19 percent just in this past month … though I don't know whether "undocumented Americans" are included in Reid's numbers.

Boy, you talk about this bill as suicide for the Republican Party; it's starting to look like suicide for the entire political establishment. Yet still they're trying to push it!

How they hate us — us, the people. How the elites hate us!

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07 — Illegal aliens, a new protected class.     While the nation's chief executive is pushing to amnesty millions of illegal immigrants, the nation's judiciary is striving to turn those illegal immigrants into a new class of protected persons.

Even if anyone in executive authority wants to deport foreigners living here illegally, the courts aren't going to let them.

Case in point: the quiet little town of Mamaroneck, New York. Mamaroneck has been plagued by illegals hanging around on streets and in parks looking for work, and in between times drinking, littering, fighting, relieving themselves and harassing passers-by.

When town police tried to deal with the situation, they got sued for their trouble by somebody fronting for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, who smelled a big settlement. A federal judge, Colleen McMahon, appointed by guess-which President, ordered the town to stop being so beastly to these poor folk who, through no fault of their own, found themselves in our country without documents, and were just trying to put food on their families.

She also told the town to pay half a million dollars to the brave, conscience-driven attorneys who had represented the scofflaws … Sorry, I mean — how had Harry Reid put it? — "Undocumented Americans."

Well, police may no longer bother illegal immigrants who are fouling up the streets of Mamaroneck.

Here's a suggestion for my male listeners. Gather a dozen or so of your buddies. Pick a sleepy little town or suburb somewhere and try hanging out on the main street drinking beer from cans, calling out at the girls who pass by, and relieving yourselves in the bushes. See how long you can keep it up before you find yourself inside a paddy wagon.

It's looking more and more as though the best strategy for success in the U.S.A. is to leave the country, renounce your citizenship and come back as an illegal. Then the police can't touch you; and you don't have to pay taxes.

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08 — Killing summer teen jobs.     One of the illegals interviewed at Mamaroneck said he was hoping to find work that would last through the summer.

A lot of American youngsters are hoping the same thing. Lots of luck, kids. Summer work for American teens is fading away.

Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies predicts that just 36.5 percent of teens will have jobs this summer. This is according to the Christian Science Monitor. That's down from 37.4 percent last year and 45.3 percent in 2000.

From 45 percent to 36 percent is a drop of nine points out of 45, so that's a drop of one fifth in just seven years.

The researcher who did the study calls the market for teen summer labor, quote, "extraordinarily weak" given that it comes after four years of solid economic growth.

What accounts for the weakness? The report offers a list. First item on the list, quote: "Immigrants are taking many jobs that used to go to young adults."

Now, that can't be right. As everybody knows, immigrants only take jobs that Americans won't do. Hasn't the President told us that time and again?

What's to worry about, anyway? Those jobs our teens aren't finding are lousy jobs that no self-respecting American should have to do. Karl Rove doesn't want his kids picking tomatoes and neither do you.

The solution to the summer job shortage seems obvious to me. Goldman Sachs just needs to hire more summer interns for their back office.

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09 — News from Lawn Guy Land.     Talking of summer work: One of my neighbors played the moral-superiority card against me the other day. I was walking my dog past his house, and there he was mowing his lawn with an electric mower.

Naturally he was pretty smug about it. "It's greener than a gas mower," he gloated. I would have strangled him with the power cord if there'd been one, but there wasn't. This was a rechargeable model.

I walked away trying to compute the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the power station that produced the electricity that charged his stupid mower, but I couldn't get a satisfactory number.

Then the next day I read in The Economist that your average domestic gas-powered lawn mower is, quote, "a remarkably dirty machine for its size."

In fact, there's a bit of a war heating up against lawn mowers. California has been phasing in regulations on small gas motors for some years. Something called the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which covers Los Angeles and Orange County, is offering residents electric power lawn mowers at a 75 percent discount if they trade in an old gas mower. The Economist article ends by recommending you pave over your lawn with concrete and paint it green.

Well, that's all very well, but think how many "undocumented Americans" it would put out of work.

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10 — Miscellany.     Okay, here's your traditional closing miscellany of short items.

Item:  Our President isn't unpopular everywhere. He got a hero's welcome on one trip the other day. Huge banners greeted him. Cannons boomed salutes. Throngs of people in the streets reached out to touch the President's hand, arms, and fingers as he passed.

The President reciprocated all the affection: kissing women on the cheek, posing for pictures, and signing autographs.

This of course was in … Albania.

There was a slight fuss when it seemed to appear that the President's watch had been stolen in one of these walkabouts. Bush's spokesman denied that this had happened, but some of us quietly recalled the old joke about an Albanian recipe: "First, steal two eggs …"

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Item:  The town council in Delcambre, Louisiana has approved an ordinance to give six months in jail and a $500 fine for being caught in pants that show "undergarments or unwelcome body parts."

Said Mayor Carol Broussard, signing the ordinance: "It's gotten way out of hand out here."

Yes, it's gotten way out of hand all over, Your Honor. I just hope your town isn't going to run into a shortage of plumbers.

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Item:  Over in Iran, meanwhile, the parliament has voted the death penalty for people who work in porn movies. No pussyfooting around with fines or jail time for these guys!

This follows a scandal in which one of Iran's most famous actresses was taped doing the nasty with a man, and the tape got distributed all over the country.

The man is in jail. The actress says that the gal in the movie is not her; she's been set up by a vengeful ex-boyfriend.

She's in trouble anyway. Even without this new death penalty law, which has to be approved by something called the Council of Guardians, this actress faces a public whipping.

Whipping, huh? I wonder if they'll tape that.

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Item:  Well, it finally looks like the Duke lacrosse team rape case is going to come to trial. Unfortunately for District Attorney Mike Nifong, the trial it's coming to is his.

Investigators from the North Carolina state bar have been grilling Ol' Mike, trying to find out why he pressed forward with the case for all those months when he had no evidence against the lacrosse players. Well, I think we all figured out the answer to that long ago.

Nifong faces nothing worse than disbarment, garnished with the knowledge that there isn't a living soul in the U.S.A. who will feel the least bit sorry for him.

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Item:  Okay, we're scraping the barrel here now.

I have, let's see … I have an election in Belgium, a coup in Laos, or a flareup of the civil war in Sri Lanka.

Which one would you like, listeners? Press one for Belgium, two for Laos, three for Sri Lanka, or stay on the line to speak with a customer representative. Prensa uno para Bélgica, dos para Laos, tres para Sri Lanka …

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11 — Signoff.     Well, there we are, Radio Derb fans; another week goes into the junk folder. I shall quietly accept your congratulations for having got through the broadcast without mentioning Paris Hilton, and I shall take a short break before dispatching my team of eager young reporters out to gather next week's news.

Meanwhile, summer is icumen in, the beaches are open, the strawberries are ripening, and life is still good here in the U.S.A., even if not so much elsewhere.

Tune in again next week for more merriment and madness from Radio Derb.

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[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]