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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. [Sings] Summertime, and the livin' is easy … [Normal voice] Yes, folks, I've been having a lazy time out in the sticks, sitting on the river bank with one eye on my line and the other on dragonflies courting.
Very restful. However duty calls and I have a nest full of hungry chicks to feed. So I have sped into Manhattan, ascended to the 95th floor of glittering Buckley towers, assembled my crack team of producers, script-writers, editors, sound engineers, and technicians to bring you another broadcast of Radio Derb from here in National Review's state-of-the-art sound studio.
Here we go with the news of the hour.
|02 — M.D. terrorists. M.D. terrorists — what's that all
about? The guy who treats my ingrowing toenail spends his off-duty hours putting car bombs together?
A story here on Drudge says, quote: "Forty-five British doctors planned terrorist attacks on the U.S.A."
Boy, talk about Médicins Sans Frontières. I mean, if it was lawyers, it would be easier to understand. Nobody trusts lawyers. We're all supposed to trust doctors, though. So how do we explain these jihadi M.D.s?
I think Barry Rubin got to the heart of the matter in his New York Post column. Doctors go to college and they breathe in all that campus air — you know, the air that is tangy with crackpot ideologies of oppression, victimization and historical wrongs. Bin Ladenism isn't such a bad fit.
If students at American universities get Michel Foucault, Cornell West, and Andrea Dworkin hammered into their poor little heads, why should we be surprised that students in the Middle East get Osama bin Laden and Sayyid Qutb?
Stop grumbling about the Middle East being backward, listeners. In the matter of intellectual Gibberish, they are completely up-to-date.
|03 — Terrorists try FAEs. Just a technical point on those British car
They were set up as a type of munition called fuel-air explosives, or FAE for short, also known as thermobaric weapons. The idea here is that you fill some volume of air with an explosive vapor or powder and then you ignite it.
An old-fashioned iron bomb, you see, carries its oxidizing agent inside its casing along with the explosive. With an FAE the oxygen in the air is the oxidizing agent; and because the entire volume of air is being detonated, the results can be sensational, comparable in blast effect to a small nuclear weapon, though of course without the radiation.
The downside of FAEs, as the London and Glasgow bombers discovered, is that it's tricky to get them to perform. There is an ideal mix of vapor and air, so that's a matter of timing; and then your ignition device has to work, which thank goodness the ones in the London bombs didn't.
Well, one of two things is now going to happen. Either British terrorists will get FAEs properly figured out or they will switch back to the more basic Iraqi model of car bomb.
The thing that will not happen is that terrorist attacks will cease. There are just too many jihadis in Britain. The security services simply can't watch them all.
What fools the British were to let so many Muslims settle in their country! Plenty of people said so while it was happening, but of course those people were shut out of the national conversation and vilified as nativists and racists.
That's what you get for being right.
|04 — Fighting terror with a consensual tone. So what does the new British
government — the one formed by Tony Blair's successor, Gordon Brown — what does it have to say about these atrocities?
Quote from Mr Brown's spokesman:
There is clearly a need to strike a consensual tone in relation to all communities across the U.K. It is important that the country remains united.
End quote. The spokesman went on to say that the phrase "War on Terror" would no longer be used by organs of the British government.
Mr Brown's Home Secretary — that's roughly equivalent to Attorney General — the Home Secretary, whose name is Jacqui Smith, added the following, quote:
Let us be clear. Terrorists are criminals whose victims come from all walks of life, communities and religions. Terrorists attack the values shared by all law-abiding citizens. As a government, as communities, as individuals, we need to ensure that the message of the terrorists is rejected.
Presumably, Ms Smith, you especially need to ensure that it is rejected by the 83 percent of British Muslims who don't believe that Arabs were involved in the 9/11 attacks. I think you also need to ensure that it is rejected by the 13 percent of Muslims polled a year ago by the London Times who agreed that the subway bombers of July 7th, 2005 were martyrs.
Thirteen percent said "martyrs." There are 1.6 million Muslims in Britain. Thirteen percent of 1.6 million is over 200,000.
But of course Mr Brown is right. What we need is a consensual tone, and to stop all this silly cowboy talk about a War on Terror.
|05 — Fundraising for '08. Second-quarter fundraising reports are in for the
Rudy Giuliani raised more and spent less than Mitt Romney and John McCain. McCain, in fact, has been struggling, laying off campaign staffers and cutting salaries for those who remain.
Even Giuliani and Romney, however, look pale compared to the leading Democrats. Giuliani pulled in 15 million dollars in the second quarter, more than any other Republican. Hillary Clinton, however, raised 27 million and Barack Obama 32 million.
Remember how your Uncle Joe explained to you that the Democrats are the party of the little guy chipping in his thirty-five-cent union dues every week, while the GOP is the party of big, rich corporations? Well, Uncle Joe was missing something.
What's really going on here seems to be an enthusiasm gap between Democrats, who are all fired up by dislike of our current President, and Republicans, who are, well, not fired up at all in the President's defense, nor so far by any of the possible replacements.
Giuliani has the Second Amendment and antiabortion people scowling. McCain has the immigration activists scowling and Romney has everyone's scratching their heads and saying, "Governor of Massachusetts, how conservative can he be?"
No doubt it'll all shake out over the next few months as someone catches a mood or says something memorable and someone else falls flat on his face.
Meanwhile, rumors that Ron Paul was going to raise five million dollars in the second quarter have proved a tad optimistic. Dr Paul seems in fact to have pulled in less than two million. That's still a lot for a bottom-tier candidate, though.
Dr Ron is still in the game with all that weird eccentric talk about constitutionality and limited powers that makes political sophisticates groan. Take it to the next level, Ron.
|06 — Our pharmaceutical Nanny State. Al Gore's 24-year-old son, whose name
is also Al Gore, was pulled over for speeding on the freeway south of Los Angeles.
Little Al was doing 100 miles an hour. To his credit he was doing it in a hybrid vehicle, thereby minimizing his carbon footprint. However, this didn't cut any ice — even though the lad was helping to preserve our planet's ice caps — it didn't cut any ice with the sheriff's deputy who pulled him over.
Then things got worse. The sheriff thought he smelled marijuana and he searched the vehicle. There was indeed a small amount of marijuana present. Also a bunch of prescription drugs including Valium, Xanax, Vicodin, Adderall and Soma, but no prescriptions.
Boy Gore was booked on suspicion of drugs possession. It was around that point in the story that I stopped smirking and started fuming. This whole business of prescription and nonprescription drugs is nothing but a racket. Why can't we just buy the drugs we want without having to get some chickenpoop prescription filled out by a doctor … who is probably working on car bombs in his spare time anyway?
If you want to be a high flier in current American society you'd better be on Adderall because most of the people you'll be competing with are and it gives them an edge.
So how do you get on it? Well, you sign up with one of those doctors who, for a modest retainer — say, you know, a few thousand dollars a year — will write you prescriptions for it.
What's that? You say you'd like to be on Adderall but you can't afford a society doctor? Sorry, pal. You're out of luck.
Same with Human Growth Hormone, which is wonderfully rejuvenating and which all the beautiful people are on. Same with half a dozen other performance-enhancing drugs. They don't seem to do anyone any harm; and even if they did, so long as possible dangers are spelled out to us in advance, why shouldn't we take a chance?
Why? Because we are children, that's why, who can't be trusted with such decisions. Only Nanny Government can decide what we should put into our bodies. If you don't do it Nanny's way, Nanny will make you go stand in the corner … and also, in Al Gore Junior's case, post $20,000 bail.
|07 — Mexico's not poor, but lots of Mexicans are. You know, of course, why
all those Mexican peasants are pouring into the U.S.A. across the southern border. It's because Mexico is poor, so poor, right?
Well, not exactly. As nations of the world go, Mexico isn't that poor. If Mexico — GDP per capita eleven thousand dollars — had a border with, say, Ethiopia — GDP per capita one thousand dollars — the Ethiopians would be breaking their necks trying to get into Mexico.
However, this needs a lot of qualifying. That eleven thousand dollars per capita figure for Mexico is an average. Mexico is one of those countries where the rich are really, seriously rich and the poor are hopelessly, desperately poor. Mexico actually has more billionaires than Switzerland — ten against Switzerland's eight.
According to Forbes it may also, as of the latest reporting, have the richest man in the world. Carlos Slim ranked number three on the Forbes list, but those figures are from earlier this year. A Mexican financial website now says that Mr Slim is worth 63 billion dollars versus Bill Gates' 59 billion.
Remember when making this comparison that Slim gets his money just from Mexicans, while Bill Gates sells his products all over the world. Slim's business is telecoms. He basically owns telecoms in Mexico.
Down at the other end of Mexican society, ten percent of the country's population live on less than a dollar a day. That's not a problem for the Mexican elites so long as all those no-hopers at the bottom of Mexican society can hop across the border into Los Estados Unidos — which, as every Mexican knows, is really Mexican territory, anyway.
|08 — ChiCom victimology. A couple of American filmmakers have produced a
documentary for the Chinese government about the 1937 massacre at the Chinese city of Nanking, commonly known as the Rape of Nanking.
The imperial Japanese army had taken Shanghai in November of that year after some very savage fighting. They then marched the 150 miles up the Yangtze River to Nanking, entering the city on December 13th, after the Chinese army had retreated.
There followed several weeks of well-documented atrocities by units of the Japanese forces. It's in the nature of this kind of incident that the death toll is only known very approximately. It's not likely to have been less than 150,000 and it may have been as high as 300,000.
The Chinese communists have settled on the higher figure, and the Rape of Nanking is a major feature of modern Chinese propaganda, used by the Communists to whip up xenophobic nationalism among their own people and to win sympathy abroad.
The Japanese are just as unscrupulous about the incident in their own different way, leaving any mention of it out of government-approved school history textbooks; and prominent figures in Japanese political and cultural life make dismissive statements about the matter from time to time.
Both the Japanese and the Chinese wallow in historical victimology. For the Japanese, incredible as it might seem to us, the whole of World War Two is seen through a victimological prism. For the Chinese, pretty much the entire modern period is, from the Opium Wars of the mid 19th century down to the Korean War one hundred years later.
In the case of the Rape of Nanking, the Chinese clearly were victims of something horrible. The endless rehashing of the incident by the Communist Party would be a bit easier to swallow, though, if once in a while they would make a movie about the untold millions who perished as a result of Mao Tse-tung's crazy policies.
The famines that followed the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s seem to have seen off thirty million Chinese just by themselves. So even if you accept the Chinese number of 300,000 for the Rape of Nanking, that's still only one percent of the death toll in Mao Tse-tung's famine.
Why don't the ChiComs commission a movie about that?
|09 — Miscellany. Okay, here's a closing miscellany of some short items.
Imprimis: July Fourth came and went: the birthday of our nation, and also of Calvin Coolidge, the second greatest conservative President of the 20th century.
The weather messed up celebrations here and there. Our traditional fireworks displays were canceled in the northeast and Texas by rain, and in the south, east and west by drought that left grass and woodlands tinder dry.
We put our flags out, fired up our barbecues, and had a good time anyway. For all our squabbles and disagreements, you can't keep America down and nothing divides us on the Fourth.
Item: The threats from Red China just keep multiplying. First it was satellite-destroying missiles and ICBMs. Then came the pet-food scares, followed by the people-food panics.
What next? Exploding cell phones, that's what.
A fellow named Xiao Jinpeng, working as a welder in Gansu province, was killed when the battery in his cell phone exploded.
In related news, Chrysler has inked a deal to import the first Chinese-made cars into American show rooms. Lots of luck with the sales there, guys.
Item: A young woman in Nepal has been stripped of her title for disgraceful behavior. This is pretty bad because her title is God.
Yes: Ten-year-old Sajani Shakya was discovered at the age of two to be a Kumari, which is basically a kind of goddess worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists.
What did the poor lass do to be stripped of her title? She went on an unauthorized visit to the U.S.A. to promote a movie, that's what.
Good thing she didn't go to Mexico. They would have booed her.
Item: I like this one. Reuters reports that in Nigeria, the price of machetes has halved since the end of general elections in April because demand from thugs sponsored by electioneering politicians has subsided.
"A Nigerian government agency surveyed machete prices in the northeastern state of Gombe and found that a good quality machete was now selling for 400 Naira — that's about $3 — compared with 800 Naira before the elections, which were marred by politically motivated violence in many states."
"Machetes" — and I'm still quoting from Reuters here — "machetes are primarily used as a tool for farming in Nigeria, but they are also popular among political gangsters."
Item: Finally, a Piranha story. Ichthyologists have discovered that the Piranha fish isn't that deadly, after all.
You know all those stories about how the little blighters will strip all the flesh from an animal that falls into the water among them? No, not so, say the scientists.
Piranhas don't crowd together in a feeding frenzy, they only do it to defend themselves against other predators. Furthermore they don't even eat meat; only insects, plants and other fish.
Don't you feel just a little bit poorer for knowing that?
|10 — Signoff. Well, that's it, folk.
July 7th falls this weekend, the centenary of Robert A. Heinlein, who wrote Starship Troopers, one of the best sci-fi novels ever, and All You Zombies, one of the best sci-fi short stories ever.
After being a lefty in his youth, Heinlein became a conservative and coined some memorable apothegms. Samples:
Or how about:
Obviously a Ron Paul voter. Well, happy Heinlein centenary, everyone. And there will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]