»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, October 19th, 2007

—————————

•  Play the sound file

—————————

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

01 — Intro.     Greetings once again, Radio Derb listeners! That was one of Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is your genial yet fearless host John Derbyshire, bringing you all the best of the week's news.

On with the motley!

[Permalink]

02 — Running for President of Mexico … at 26 mph.     You pretty much know where you are with Mexican politics when you know that the country was governed for seventy years by a party named the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Seventy years in power makes a party pretty darn institutional. To what degree it can be revolutionary, I leave you to discuss among yourselves.

Anyway, this party lost the 2006 presidential election big time, pulling in only 22 percent of the vote. The flag bearer for the party in that election was Roberto Madrazo, one of those weird Mexicans who looks a lot like a Frenchman and not the least bit like the Mexicans who come to mow your lawn.

Anyway, Mr Madrazo, as well as being a failed Presidential candidate, is something of an athlete. At age 55 he recently ran in the Berlin Marathon, clocking up an impressive time of two hours and forty-one minutes. Even more impressive, he crossed the finish line looking fresh and cool, wearing a windbreaker, a hat, and full-length speedo pants.

The other contestants staggered over the finish line in T-shirts and shorts, sweating and gasping. The race organizers got a bit suspicious. They found that an electronic chip tracking Madrazo's time and course showed no result for the checkpoints at 25 and 30 kilometers.

Investigating further, they found that according to these electronic monitors, Madrazo took only 21 minutes to cover the 15 kilometers between the 20 and 35 kilometer marks. That would be an average running speed of about 26 miles an hour — faster than the world record for a 100-meter dash. Mr Madrazo was disqualified.

As I began by saying, Mexican politics isn't really hard to figure out.

[Permalink]

03 — D.C. sends expedition to Flyover Country.     We all know, of course, that the political classes loathe us. They loathe Americans, their loathing tempered only by their fear of us, since we still — for a little while longer — have the power to vote them out of their soft jobs and chauffeured limousines.

It's not often that their contempt for us breaks through the surface, but it did so the other day. What happened was, the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee planned a fact-finding trip about public health preparedness at mass gatherings. They thought a couple of NASCAR events would be just the ticket, so they sent off some of their flunkies to NASCAR venues in North Carolina and Alabama.

The flunkies … I'm sorry, let's have a little respect here, Derb: the congressional aides were warned to get immunization shots before venturing into these dark regions. Shots for Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, and influenza were recommended.

I didn't see any mention in the news reports of shots for beri-beri, blackwater fever, sleeping sickness, or yaws, but perhaps I missed something. Oh, nor did I see anything about the aides being issued with solar topees or with phrasebooks so they could communicate with the natives. Obviously some oversight there.

Anyway, your fearless public servants are now safely back in salubrious Washington, D.C., though of course they have to do a spell in quarantine before they can once again associate with our political masters.

We wouldn't want anything untoward to happen to them would we? Heaven forbid! Where would our country be without the Washington elites to guide, soothe and nourish us?

[Permalink]

04 — Eighty million years without sex.     Here's a headline to catch the eye of every married man: 80 million years without sex. That's the headline. Boy, that guy must really be in the dog house. Eighty million years way beats my record.

Well, as it happens, this is not a guy at all. It's a wee freshwater invertebrate called the bdelloid rotifer. That's "bdelloid" with a "b-d" at the front, from the Greek word bdella meaning "a leech." "Bdelloid" means "shaped like a leech." There's one for your next Scrabble game.

Anyway, bdelloid rotifers gave up sexual reproduction eighty million years back in their evolutionary history. How the species has kept going since then has been a bit of a mystery. The new story says that scientists have now solved that mystery. A genetic trick lets the rotifers fake the business of having two copies of each gene, which is the main point of sexual reproduction.

Quote from Dr Allen Tunnicliffe of Cambridge University, the lead researcher here, quote: "Evolution of gene function in this way can't happen in sexual organisms, which means there could be some benefit to millions of years without sex after all." End quote.

You know, I bet he's right, there is some benefit: like, for example, you get more sleep, and you save a lot of money on restaurant bills.

Let's hear it for the bdelloid rotifers!

[Permalink]

05 — California goes full GLBTQQI.     The good citizens of the state of California have not yet followed the example of the bdelloid rotifers and altogether ceased from regular old sexual reproduction, but it's increasingly frowned on over there.

The Governor of that benighted state, one Arnold Schwarzenegger, has just signed a bill that will outlaw words like "mother" and "father," or "husband" and "wife" from all materials used in California public schools.

Since California is a huge market for school textbooks and publishers will not likely bother to tailor their material on a state-by-state basis, these words will now disappear from all public school textbooks nationwide. Pretty soon they will be "hate speech."

This, of course, is all in aid of the GLBTQQI agenda. That, for those of you not current with the ever-evolving language of diversity, stands for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, and intersex.

The Governor of California also signed another bill that prohibits state funding for any program that does not support a range of alternative sexual practices, including state-funded social services run by churches.

So if your local daycare center doesn't have zoophilia-oriented programs, you can kiss your state dollars goodbye. Hey Timmy, let go of that puppy, please — the lesson hasn't started yet.

Nonprofit organizations like hospitals will now be open to lawsuits in the Golden State if they exclude members that engage in homosexual, bisexual or transsexual conduct. So if Larry shows up to work in a dress, or Ralph and Tony decide to have a little tryst in the storeroom, you'd better pretend not to mind.

Whatever that genetic trick is that the bdelloid rotifers have, we'd better learn it fast or else our own species will die out … at any rate in California.

[Permalink]

06 — Not a New York Times kind of person.     Meanwhile, over here on the left [sic] coast, we've been honoring Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy. Well, at least some of us have.

Lt. Murphy, 29 years old, was a lieutenant in the Navy SEALs. He died in June 2005 when his unit came under heavy fire from the Taliban in Afghanistan. Lt. Murphy was badly wounded but he still managed to crawl out into the open to radio for help for a wounded comrade. Well, last Thursday it was announced that Lt. Murphy has been posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest battlefield decoration.

The Medal of Honor is given very sparingly. This is the first award for service in Afghanistan. Two medals of honor have been awarded, both posthumously, for service in Iraq: one to Army Sergeant Paul Smith for heroic action in the 2003 invasion, and one to Marine Corporal Jason Dunham, who threw himself on a grenade to save his comrades. Well, now Lt. Murphy's name has joined this roll call of heroism.

Lt. Murphy was a native of New York State — of Patchogue, Long Island, in fact, just down the road from me here. You would think, therefore, that the New York papers would be all over this award, with big news stories praising our local son. Some of them have been, but not the New York Times. The Times printed nothing: nothing, nichts, nada, rien — nothing about the award. Not a word, not a peep.

Well, you can understand why not, can't you? Lt. Murphy's Medal of Honor isn't, like, newsworthy, is it? Not to New York Times readers. I mean, he clearly doesn't belong in the Style section with those frightful clunky boots he wore. No room for him in the social pages, since he didn't marry an heiress or another guy.

No space on the op-ed pages in between Paul Krugman's column deploring President Bush's effort to wrench life-saving medicine from the hands of helpless little children and Maureen Dowd's 125th column on how nobody wants to marry her. The news pages are chockablock with stories about global warming and the latest hate crime hoax … Oh, sorry: I mean … outrage.

No, sorry. No room for this Murphy person. He doesn't sound like our kind of New Yorker anyway. I mean, where is Patchogue? Do people really live there? New York Times kind of people, I mean — like the sleek androgynous Yuppies in the Times's TV commercials? I don't think so.

[Permalink]

07 — Tall pale Mexican guy writes book.     Back to Mexico for a moment. Here's another one of those tall, pale-skinned Mexicans that look nothing at all like your lawn guy: ex-President Vicente Fox.

The tall pale-skinned folk obviously have a good thing going over there — a very good thing in Fox's case. A celebrity magazine has been publishing pictures of his various huge estates and claiming that they were paid for with money looted from the Mexican Treasury.

Well, Fox has written a book — I mean he's had one written for him — called Revolution of Hope.

Oh, come on, listener: You can stay to hear the end of Radio Derb. You don't have to rush off to the bookstore to buy it right away. There'll be plenty left when you get there, don't worry.

Anyway, Ol' Vinnie has been going around the TV talk shows pushing his book. One thing he wants to tell us is that anyone opposed to unlimited immigration from Mexico is a racist. Quote: "The xenophobics, the racists, those who feel they are a superior race, they are deciding the future of this nation." End quote.

Whereas in all righteousness and justice, the future of this nation, the United States, ought to be decided by elite Mexicans. It's shameful, isn't it?

And what about all those charges that Vinnie practiced wide-scale corruption during his time in office, looting the Mexican Treasury to build himself extravagant haciendas? No evidence for that, scoffed Vinnie. Quote: "It's just yellow journalism." End quote.

You know yellow: That's the color of those American politicians and pundits who are so scared of being called xenophobes and racists they will hand over our country to crooks like Vicente Fox and his drug-trafficking pals.

[Permalink]

08 — ChiComs send the Party into space.     Communist China now has an astronaut corps fourteen strong. It goes without saying that they are all Communist Party members.

Now under Party rules, three members is sufficient to start a Party branch. Three is, if you like, a minyan. So with fourteen astronauts, it's high time to get a Party branch going in outer space.

That, it says here, is exactly what they're going to do. China's commie-nauts will, quote from the Xinhua news agency, "carry out the regular activities of a Communist Party of China branch in space, in the way we do on earth," end quote.

Right, so what would those activities be, the typical activities of a Chinese Communist Party branch? A struggle session perhaps, where an astronaut found to have been concealing his landlord family background is yelled at and beaten continuously for several hours? Or self-criticism sessions where each astronaut is sealed into a space capsule for a month or two until he has uncovered all his incorrect thoughts and committed them to paper?

Or perhaps a proper torture session for the occasional astronaut discovered practicing Falun Gong meditation in the shuttle bay? Pulling out fingernails in zero gravity shouldn't be that difficult.

And at the end of all these arduous tasks, the commie-nauts could all get together and sing that fine old number "Without the Communist Party There Would Be No New China."

Come on, all together now — you all know the words: [Sings] 没有共产党就没有新中国 …

[Permalink]

09 — Duck and cover!     So when do we get nuked? Sitting here right under the fallout plume from New York City, I'd really like to know, just for planning purposes

I read Bill Langewiesche's book, but I came away very little wiser — although somewhat reassured, as Bill makes the manufacture, or even the stealing, of nukes sound really hard.

Now, here's Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a Director of Intelligence at the Energy Department. He's been briefing the administration on the threat that a terrorist group will attack our country with a nuclear weapon.

It's all a bit wearying, isn't it? I mean, we went through the nuclear scares of the 1950s; and then there was that rash of nuke-war novels and TV specials in the 1980s. We're sort of scared out on all this.

We shouldn't be, though Mr Mowatt-Larssen has been carefully gathering the evidence since 9/11 and he's pretty sure that a nuke attack is all too possible now.

It figures. Any kind of technology gets cheaper and easier with time. The Manhattan Project at its height was using one-eighth of the entire U.S. power supply. Nukes could be made much more efficiently now, and nuke-making is a manageable project even for a basket-case nation like North Korea.

My guess is there's a mushroom cloud in our future. It's coming, folks, and the one thing we can't afford to do is nothing.

Let's at least keep our own nukes in order, and up-to-date, and plentiful; and let's make it plain that they're for use against any state that even looks as though it might be responsible for a nuclear attack on our soil.

But I'm dreaming, of course. Before we used a nuke the action would have to be approved by nine separate Congressional subcommittees, who'd want to be sure that there was no racial profiling, homophobia, or gender discrimination involved, and no adverse consequences for global warming.

We are doomed, doomed.

[Permalink]

10 — Signoff.     With that, ladies and gentlemen, I leave you. I hope you are suitably refreshed. I hope I have swept away all that wretched sniveling optimism from your souls and replaced it with high-grade gloom. There's no hope. Our civilization is coming to an end and we face a new dark age.

On the upside though, to help you manage the transition to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in a radioactive wasteland, Radio Derb will be here with helpful tips on gathering berries, making flint spear-heads, and dressing flash burns.

So until next week this is your host John Derbyshire, signing off for Radio Derb.

[Permalink]

[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]