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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. I know, I know: I got my schedule all verpfuscht. Radio Derb wasn't there for you on Friday.
I'm sorry. My excuse is that I spent last week in our nation's capital, the fine old city of Washington D.C. It was a business trip mainly, but I don't get down to D.C. very often, so I take advantage of the opportunity for a little hobnobbing with the movers and shakers down there.
High point of the week hobnobbingwise was Laura Ingram's book party. Now at my book parties, we have to call in the janitor and the doormen to make the room look full. At Laura's book party … Well, I'll tell you: If a meteor had struck that house around eight o'clock it would pretty much have wiped out the American conservative movement.
In fact, Laura, if you don't mind my saying so, having two Supreme Court justices at your book party is a bit over the top, dangerously close to showing off. Just one Supreme is enough, honey.
Anyway, I'm glad to report that Laura is looking great and her book is selling well, even though she is wrong about Married with Children — one of the all-time greatest TV sitcoms. I shall pause here to let married guy listeners hum a few bars of "Psycho Dad" to themselves.
Okay. And, er, well, what else can one say? Only this: Please invite me on your show, Laura.
|02 — GOP '08 roundup. One of the depressing things about Washington,
D.C. — only one, mind — is what a rich town it is.
I was staying with friends out in Maryland, taking the Metro into town and passing through endless miles of lush suburbs, filled with huge spacious houses for which the humble Derb home would serve very nicely as a second garage.
Yes, I know: Plenty of private enterprise goes on in the D.C. area, but still there must be an awful lot of people there living very large on our federal tax dollars. Some of them I'm sure do important national work and do it very well. You can't help but wonder what the proportion is, though.
We now know from Tim Weiner's book, if we didn't know it already from the events of 2001 to 2003, we now know that the CIA has been doing essentially nothing for 60 years. Do you think the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce, or the Department of Education are any better?
The activities of the federal government are like steamed crab: Some little bits of nourishment come out of it along with a big heap of useless matter — broken up fragments of shell, some strange fibrous stuff you can't eat, and globs of puke-colored goo that you'd rather not even look at.
It's all paid for out of taxes, so naturally taxes are a big talking point for the Presidential candidates.
Uh, excuse me, Governor, but the federal line item veto has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. And what does "more than 844 times" mean? Like, 845 times?
Well, I hate to come on the cynic, you know I do, but this is all hot air. With the boomer generation heading for the golf course, our manufacturing industry headed for Bangladesh, the dollar headed for the Marianas Trench, and Mexico's underclass headed for our schools, hospitals and jails, there's a tax raise in your future, citizen. Trust me.
If you have kids, give them the only advice that will make sense in the decades to come: "Get a job with the government!" You'll be bored out of your skull, but you'll have a lovely house in Virginia or Maryland to go home to.
|03 — Democrats '08 roundup. While Republican candidates are promising to
tackle out-of-control spending — this is, by the way, twenty years and two Republican Presidents after Ronald Reagan left the White House,
and Republicans are promising to control government spending, uh-huh — while they're doing that, what have the Democrats got for
us? Well, let's see.
Here's Barack Obama speaking at DePaul University in Chicago, October 2nd, promising to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Well, lots of luck there, buddy. I'm reminded of that old bumper sticker joke that says: If we give up our guns, how are we going to kill all the liberals? I feel kind of the same way about nukes.
Oh, here's Obama again in Iowa two days later, promising to drop the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy towards homosexuals. This one brings out the headline writer in me, something like: Barack Backs Buggery in the Barracks.
So there you are. Obama wants to take away our nukes, leaving our troops naked to our enemies. Then he wants the naked troops to celebrate gay pride. Great idea. Has Barack ever been within ten miles of a barracks, I wonder?
Unless I'm mistaken, the only Democratic candidate who has is Chris Dodd, who served seven years in the U. S Army Reserve. The only one who didn't go to law school is Mike Gravel.
So there's your real choice Democrats: the guy who once set foot inside a barracks and the guy who never went to law school. It goes without saying that neither one of them has a chance.
Then there's John Edwards who, on his way from a twelve-hundred-dollar haircut to his 28,000 square foot luxury mansion, declared himself a man of the people, quote:
I don't want to live in a country just made up of a few rich people and everybody else. I don't.
Well, of course you don't, John.
Who else have the Dems got? Oh, Hillary, of course. Hillary wants to give forty acres and a mule to every newborn. No, that's not right … hold on a minute. Hillary wants to give ten thousand dollars to every adult at age 21 and abolish the welfare state. Er, no, that's not right either; that was Charles Murray's last book. Oh, Hillary wants to give each newborn child a bond for five thousand dollars — that's it.
Does she want to abolish the welfare state? [Hillary cackling.] I guess not. Given the likely rate of inflation under an administration of Hillary-style socialism, by the time you get to cash in your five-thousand-dollar bond, it'll just about buy you an early bird special at Arby's, but hey, it's the thought that counts.
|04 — Barry Bonds strikes out. Speaking of bonds, I have a little
"don't ask, don't tell" story for you from the wide world of sports.
The speaker here is 37-year-old Kimberly Bell, whose every last pore and follicle can be inspected in the current issue of Playboy magazine. Ms Bell did a ten-year tour of duty as girlfriend to baseball's Home Run King Barry Bonds. Here she is talking about Barry's relationship with his personal trainer, Greg Anderson. Quote:
There was this secretive thing between him and Greg. Him leaving the room with Greg; closing the door; have to, quote-unquote, "talk to him" every morning at spring training and go and lock the bedroom door. I thought it was odd. He'd go pick up his little satchel bag and walk in there with Greg.
Ms Bell further revealed that in their intimate exchanges, old Barry suffered a swing and a miss now and then. We're talking E-D, folks.
So let's put this all together. Barry picks up his little satchel bag and disappears into a room with Greg, the personal trainer. Then he strikes out in the sack with lovely Kimberly. Isn't it obvious what's going on here?
That's right: Our Barry's been taking steroids.
Why, what did you think I was talking about? Since Barry's on record as telling a grand jury under oath that he had, quote, "never knowingly used steroids," Kimberly's tale is something of an embarrassment to him — the more so since the aforementioned trainer has a conviction for handing out steroids.
Well, try to look on the bright side, Barry. Once you've been outed with the E-D stuff, other embarrassments are minor by comparison.
|05 — Latinos v. freedom of speech. Radio Derb, as you all know,
dominates the conservative broadcast scene, bestriding the airwaves like a Colossus.
Being in such a position of immense power and influence, it behooves us here at Radio Derb to give a helping hand to the small fry — to those less-well-known broadcasters struggling to find niches in the public forum.
In this spirit of patronage and noblesse oblige, I'd like to offer my support to young Michael Savage. Michael is mad as hell about illegal aliens and about the federal government's failure to enforce the people's laws. He has said so loud and clear on his radio show, on which — full disclosure here — I have occasionally deigned to appear as a guest speaker, just to give a boost to Michael's ratings.
Well, that has proved too much for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. One of them, Gerardo Sandoval has been pushing for a motion to condemn Michael Savage for Michael's outrageous demand that our laws be enforced.
Mr Sandoval first pushed for the motion back in August, trying for a unanimous vote from the board, but his resolution was vetoed by a board member of Chinese ancestry. Mr Sandoval promptly accused that gentleman of being a traitor to his race.
Now he's back with a new strategy that doesn't need a unanimous vote. You can see that this resolution is desperately important to Mr Sandoval. Nobody's ever going to call him a traitor to his race. He's up there fighting for his race like any red-blooded American should … Oh, sorry: I mean Latino American.
Quote from Mr Sandoval: "This attempt to vilify Latino Americans will not be tolerated." End quote.
If you want our nation's laws enforced, you see, you must hate Mexicans. Hm, where have I heard that before?
Anyway, Michael Savage is giving as good as he gets. Long quote from him, which I hereby award the Radio Derb stamp of approval, quote:
This is a dry run against free speech in America by the Islamists and the illegal aliens, who are now becoming one and the same. I am the target of this dry run. They want to see how far they can get in silencing a voice of freedom in the United States of America. They want to see which, if any, government agencies will stop them. Guess what they learned so far: that not only will no government agency stop them in their attempts to kill free speech, they will aid them in their attempts to kill free speech. We have lost our freedoms already.
End long quote.
Well, we haven't lost our freedoms entirely, not so long as there are fighters like Michael Savage out there. Go get 'em, Mike!
|06 — Vlad will take the Russian approach. Last Thursday was the fiftieth
anniversary of Sputnik One. Sunday was the fifty-fifth birthday of Vladimir Putin.
You can imagine how excited little Vlad must have been in that communal apartment in St Petersburg celebrating his fifth birthday in the afterglow of Soviet science's greatest triumph.
Well, it was pretty much all downhill from there for the old U.S.S.R. and now the whole thing is long gone, swept away into that old trashcan of history.
Or is it? [Jaws music.]
Vlad's Presidential term is up next March and the Russian constitution doesn't let him serve another term. So what will he do? Take the British approach and just slip away into quiet retirement at some seaside dacha on the Black Sea coast? Oh, wait a minute: Does Russia still have any Black Sea coast? A quick check in the atlas … Yep, just a wee bit. Or does he take the African approach, declare his constitution null and void and make himself President-for-Life?
Well, this is Russia — national game, chess. It looks as though what Vlad's going to do is take the Russian approach: run in the parliamentary elections in December, get himself made Prime Minister, and hold on to power from there.
It all sounds a bit wacky, the President running for parliament. It's as if our President were to run for Congress while still in office. But Russia is a funny place.
A lot of people are ventilating about how he's going to make himself a new Stalin, get the old imperial show up and running again, throw his weight around against us and Europe, and so on.
I don't believe a word of it. Russia's too much of a mess. They're going to be worrying strictly about their own stuff for a couple of decades. The army's a shambles; the economy is nothing but oil; demographics is in the pits; Chinese are flooding the east, and Muslims are flooding the south. I don't think we'll be seeing Russian tanks pouring through the Fulda Gap anytime soon.
That doesn't mean the Russians will be helpful to us. It just means they won't be homicidal, not to us. To their own people? Well, it's still Russia. Happy Birthday, Vlad.
|07 — The Amero and the QUID. Here are two items from the wonderful world of
First item: Here is bankintroductions.com, a Canadian company that, and I'm quoting from their press release, "specializes in global banking strategies and currency consulting." Well, doesn't that sound like fun.
Well, what does bankintroductions.com have to tell us? Quote: "The Amero may be the currentcy of North America within the next ten years." End quote.
The Amero: That's like the Euro, you see? — a single currency for the whole of North America.
The company says that with the successful implementation of NAFTA, quote: "The one dragging component for the Amero will be Mexico, but in time this will change." End quote.
I think we all know what they mean, don't we? In time … as the entire population of Mexico moves to the U.S.A.
Second item: Scientists from Britain's National Space Center — I guess they're the people who run Britain's thriving, envy-of-the-world space program — in cahoots with the foreign exchange company Travelex, have come up with the first interplanetary currency. It's called the QUID, which stands for Quasi-Universal Intergalactic Denomination.
A QUID coin is a sort of smooth plastic blob with no sharp edges to cause injuries in zero-gravity conditions. You can't use regular coins in zero-g, you see, and you can't use credit cards as the cosmic radiation would wipe out the information on their magnetic strips.
Quote from the BBC report:
National Space Center scientists predict that regular trips into space will be commonplace in the next five years and that tourist facilities on the moon are a distinct possibility by 2050. With an inflatable space hotel under development in the U.S.A. and Virgin Galactic developing Spaceship Two, there will be better access to space than there has been. In the fullness of time we will have to adopt a universal currency if we are going to carry out serious commerce in space.
You know, this is wacky stuff and I don't believe a word of this talk about orbiting hotels. If that cosmic radiation can my credit card strip, what's he going to do to my DNA?
Still, though it's a dream, it's one of the pleasant kind of dreams: people floating in space, not zapping each other with laser guns or light sabers, or writhing in agony while aliens burst out of their chests, but just, you know, spending money and enjoying themselves.
It's a happy thought. I wonder how many QUIDs I'll get for my Amero.
|08 — The Ig Nobel awards.
This year's Ig Nobel prizes were awarded at a ceremony in Harvard
University's Sanders Theater. The Ig Nobels are prizes awarded annually for serious scientific research programs that are just, well, silly.
One of this year's awards was for a paper titled "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects" published in the British Medical Journal. Do you want to guess what the most common injuries from sword swallowing are? Right.
Another award-winning study, this one from Quilmes National University in Argentina, demonstrated a hitherto unsuspected side effect from Viagra: It cures jet-lag in hamsters.
The Ig Nobel Peace Prize went to the effort by our own U.S. Air Force to develop a gay bomb. Gay bomb: No, that's not a Bible Belt production of Angels in America, that's an actual bomb that make enemy soldiers drop their weapons and hug each other.
A special Ig Nobel for Nutrition went to Cornell University Professor Brian Wansink for his experiments using a bottomless bowl of soup. The bowl was rigged up with hidden tubes that slowly and silently refilled it as the test subjects drank, just to see if they'd drink more that way.
They did, but without feeling any fuller: thus inverting your mother's warning about your eyes being bigger than your belly, while at the same time validating your father's observation that scientists are not quite right in the head.
It was creamy tomato soup, by the way, I forgot to mention that — creamy tomato soup. I guess Professor Wansink couldn't figure out a way to get matzoh balls through those hidden tubes.
And finally, what would a ceremony like this be without a couple of twitching, pop-eyed mathematicians gibbering away? Well, here they are: L. Mahadevan and Enrique Cerda Villablanca of Universidad de Santiago in Chile, with a formula that they've worked out to explain the wrinkle patterns on bedsheets.
Science marches on ever upward.
|09 — Miscellany. Okay, here's a handful of short items to see us out.
Item: Speaking of government jobs, BBC, China correspondent Wei Junchen tells us that when college graduates in the People's Republic were asked in a poll to name their ideal career, sixty percent said they wanted to work in the government.
This is not very surprising. At Lunar New Year Chinese people paste a big picture of Cai Shen, the God of Wealth, on their doors. Cai Shen is always shown wearing the robes of an imperial government official from the Tang Dynasty.
That's the place we're headed to, Americans: the place where the road to wealth lies through government employment. If you don't believe me, take a trip to Washington, D.C.
Item: A wee news item here from France via the Associated Press. Quote:
Dozens of hooded youths battered two police vehicles with metal bars, set fire to more than a dozen parked cars, and torched a community center in northeast France, officials said on Friday. Authorities were not sure what sparked the violence by thirty to forty youths late Thursday. The trouble began when firefighters escorted by police entered the Vert-Bois neighborhood in response to a fire alarm.
Boy, France is still having trouble with those youths. I'm sure glad we don't have youths here in America. It seems like wherever you have youths, you have trouble.
Item: The old joke around Europe used to be that if you collapse and fall down in a European city, what happens next depends on the city. In London, people will just walk around you. In Paris, they'll walk over you. In Berlin, they'll arrest you for littering. In Rome, they'll rob you.
Well, this little test of civility was played out for real in the town of Mesa, Arizona the other day.
An old man was standing waiting for a bus when a truck went out of control and hit him. The old man was sent flying, and so were his bags of groceries.
So here's this poor geezer lying unconscious in the street with his groceries scattered all around. How did the good citizens of Mesa react? They swarmed around to steal the groceries. One passer-by did go to help the old man, but he had his groceries stolen too.
Life in America today.
Item: Two weeks to go to the Swiss election, shaping up as one of the more interesting events this year. Who would ever have thought to see "interesting" and "Swiss election" both in the same sentence?
Well ahead in the polls over there is the SVP, the Swiss People's Party, which favors strict controls on immigration and a moratorium on the building of minarets.
It's no surprise to hear that these loathsome, knuckle-dragging immigration restrictionist types have resorted to mob violence in their nefarious campaign to bludgeon the Swiss people into voting for them. Rocks and bottles were thrown and police had to fire tear-gas canisters at a demonstration outside the Swiss parliament building on Saturday.
Oh no, wait a minute. The the rocks and the bottles were being thrown by left-wing groups protesting against the SVP. Sorry about that.
Item: Craig Venter, the DNA researcher who was one of the first people to have his genome sequenced, claims to have made a genome from scratch using laboratory odds and ends.
It's not a terrific genome. It's only got 381 genes, whereas you and I have around 25,000. It's not clear from the news reports whether Venter's team has succeeded in inserting this new genome into a cell, but that's obviously the intent. Then the genome will use the cell machinery to start happily reproducing itself, and we shall have the first artificial life form.
Well, at least Venter tells us it's the first artificial life form. Those of us who've watched the Presidential debates might be forgiven for nursing some doubts.
|10 — Signoff. There you are, Radio Derb listeners. Once again, abject
apologies for being late with the broadcast. I'm still a little jet-lagged — or, to be exact, bus-lagged from my D.C. trip, so I
shall go and root around in the hamster cage to see if there are any little blue pills left in there. I just hope Barry Bonds didn't get there
Radio Derb will resume its normal broadcasting schedule next week, Hitchens willin' and the Creek don't rise. Until then this is your ever-genial host, John Darbyshire, signing off for Radio Derb.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]