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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire Marches.]
01 — Intro. Another week of mayhem and confusion, listeners, brightened only by the appearance of our GOP vice-presidential candidate, the lovely and accomplished Governor of Alaska, carrying with her the entire sum of executive experience in this miserable race. How did the lady do? Let's see.
02 — Veep debate 1. Did you watch the vice-presidential debate? I thought our gal Sarah did fine. She spoke in generalities and platitudes, but confronted by two Obama supporters just dying to knock her glasses off and stomp on them, she had to play a safety game, and she played it very well. Even her slips were smile-making rather than cringe-making. Did I hear her refer to her opponent as "Senator O'Biden"? I hope I did! I guess I have to admit that Joe O'Biden did well too. If the peril for Sarah was that she might be made to look slow-witted or ill-informed — neither of which thing she is — the danger for Biden was that he might come across as an arrogant, none-too-bright, out-of-touch stuffed shirt who's been snoozing away in the U.S. Senate for 36 years, all of which things he is. Biden actually seemed almost human. I don't think he said the word "cloture" even once. He lost me when he did the catch-in-the-voice thing about losing his wife and child, a thing he's obviously practiced in front of a mirror for years now. I guess you might argue it was a wash with Sarah mentioning her Down syndrome child, but at least Sarah didn't do the catch-in-the-voice thing. In fact, she was cheerily upbeat about the whole situation … although I must say, I could have done without the suggestion that the federal government ought to spend more of our money on special needs children. My county is halfway bankrupt meeting special-education mandates, and I'd hate to see the whole nation go the same way. On the whole, though, a pleasant evening for Sarah's admirers, with just a few spasms of the anxiety I've aired before: the anxiety that Sarah is not enough of an instinctive gut conservative to resist the temptation to go native once she gets to Washington. I'd hate to see this beautiful, gutsy lady with that mellifluous Fargo accent turn into just another tax'n'spend Compassionate Conservative. That would be a true American tragedy. One more dose of Compassionate Conservatism might kill off this republic for good.
03 — Veep debate 2. On that last anxiety, there were a couple of warning signs. At this stage of the game, I don't know how seriously to take them; and this was a Vice-Presidential debate, after all. Vice Presidents are supposed to play the populist notes on their fiddles, while their senior partners go for the major chords. But look, Sarah, cut it out with the "corruption and greed on Wall Street," and the "predator lenders." Greed is what makes Wall Street work — didn't you see the movie? Greed is what drives capitalism. Wouldn't you like to be stinking rich, if you could do it without harming anyone? Of course you would, and so would I. People go to Wall Street to get stinking rich. Government's function is to surround Wall Street's activities with enough —just enough — laws and rules that people who want to get stinking rich by harming other people, can't. Of course some people will if they can. That's why we have banking laws and congressional banking and finance committees, that's why we have the SEC, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Futures Trading Commission and all the other regulatory bodies, that's why we have laws governing banking and lending and securities trading. Sure Wall Streeters sometimes break the law; sure there are sometimes plastic shopping bags full of cash exchanged in hotel lobbies, sure insider trading happens. Guess what: it's all against the law, and when it's discovered, people are harshly prosecuted. You could ask Ivan Boesky or Jeff Skilling. That's crime. That's fraud. That's breaking the rules. But corruption? That's the trading of political favors for money, and it's a thing that politicians do, not financiers. Greed happens on Wall Street, and Gordon Gecko was right: it's good. Crime sometimes happens on Wall Street, and it's pretty effectively prosecuted. Corruption happens in Washington DC. Lenders, like other business people, are as "predatory" as the laws and rules allow them to be. If predatory lending took place, it took place because the congresscritters and the agencies that report to them, wanted it to, and allowed it to, and benefited from it, in votes and kickbacks. That's corruption — not in Wall Street, on K Street and the Mall. Lay off Wall Street, Sarah. William Jennings Bryan is dead, and anyway he was no conservative.
04 — Palin & the media. It's pretty amazing that Sarah's still with us, given the fact that the entire mainstream media is trying to bring her down. It was bad enough watching Katie Couric hissing softly and flicking her little forked tongue in and out while addressing Governor Palin in the manner of a kindergarten teacher. Did you want to see Sarah kick Katie good and hard in the shins, the way I did? The same way you wanted to see John McCain sock Whoopee Goldberg on the jaw when she played the slavery card at him? And wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall when First Dude Todd Palin is sounding off with his friends in private after one of these media events? Oh boy. Somebody should sneak a hidden mike into the bar. McCain would win by a landslide. I'd even vote for him myself. Maybe. And then there was that little flap about the moderator of the Vice Presidential debate having a book coming out, title something like Barack Obama is the Savior of the World, the Wisest Man Who Ever Walked the Earth, and the Fulfilment of All My Dreams, and Joe Biden is His Prophet, Amen." In other words, she's a mainstream media lefty from Central Casting. This moderator had a broken leg, did you notice that? Perhaps she tried for a bit too much height when the Obama campaign said "jump." Or perhaps she took a nasty fall while running to kiss the hem of Obama's robe — who knows?
05 — Middleclassness. And isn't it going to be great being in the middle class this next few years? These guys are all promising us the earth. Nothing's too good for the middle class! It all reminded me of something, but for a while there I just couldn't put my finger on it. Then I did a bit of googling, and up it came. Here's the quote, long quote: "Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must be able to identify the "talented tenth" of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor's control. Those so identified are separated from the rest of the people by: (A) Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another. (B) Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons. (C) Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which, while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others. So, while it is permissible to chase "middleclassness" with all our might, we must avoid the third separation method — the psychological entrapment of Black "middleclassness." If we avoid this snare, we will also diminish our "voluntary" contributions to methods A and B. And more importantly, Black people no longer will be deprived of their birthright: the leadership, resourcefulness and example of their own talented persons." End quote. A fair précis of that would be: "Smart black people should stay among their own to provide leadership. They shouldn't join in white society. If they do, the white devils will be free to do as they please with all the less-smart black people left behind." That was part of the mission statement of Trinity United Church, the church that Barack Obama attended for twenty years. It used to be on their web site, but they took it down a few months ago. How strange! After twenty years of listening to that sort of thing in the pews every Sunday, you have to wonder how deep Barack Obama's affection for the middle class really is.
06 — Teacher Unions heart Obama. If you do find yourself wondering that, or anything else negative about Senator Obama, you'd better watch out. The Obama people are organizing for total societal control. First thing you do is, indoctrinate the schoolkids. My wife grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution. When I showed her those clips of the kiddies in powder-blue T-shirts singing about hope and change, she knew exactly where she was. Of course, to get the kids in line, it helps a lot if you organize the teachers. The Obamarrhoids have been busy at that, too. Here in New York the United Federation of Teachers has distributed thousands of Barack Obama campaign buttons to its members, urging them to wear them in class. That woke up somebody at the New York City Department of Education. The Schools Chancellor Joel Klein sent an e-mail to principals reaffirming a long-standing policy that forbids teachers from wearing political emblems in schools. That got the teacher union president, Randi Weingarten, mad as hell. She told the Chancellor her members would do as they darn well please, and if he didn't like it he could try getting elected or appointed to anything without teacher union support. The Chancellor hasn't been heard of since. Now the teachers are flaunting their Obama buttons, the kiddies are lining up to sing their loyalty song for the Dear Leader, and no American child will be left behind in the effort to put a hard Left community organizer in the White House. Then he will be able to organize us all, and the sun of hope and change will rise at last over this dark land. [Clip of "East Is Red"]
07 — Financial crisis. First day of every month, I go through a little exercise with the family finances. We have a sheaf of mutual funds left over from 401(K) plans back in the days when I pretended to work for a living as a salaried employee. Well, first day of the month I go through our positions and add 'em up to see how we're doing. We have a pretty good mix of funds — stocks, bonds, money market, real estate. Well, guess what. When I crunched the numbers on Wednesday, we're down nearly 14 percent on the quarter, over 14 percent on the year to date. Asking around, I'm hearing that this is about average. In fact, the New York Post had a hypothetical couple, Joe and Mary Investor, doing just the exercise I did, with Joe the more agressive investor, Mary more timid. [Klaxon] Oh, never mind that, that's the Larry Summers alarm. Anyway, Joe was down 16 point something percent on the year, Mary twelve percent, so my 14 point three percent is dead in the middle there. Listener, you are hearing the voice of Mister Totally Average Investor, wishing he'd got a job on the railroad. Or better yet, as CEO of Freddie Mac.
08 — Bailout plan. And then there's been this little fiasco with the Community Organizers' Indoor Relief Act, otherwise known as Leave No Investment Banker Behind. The first attempt went down in flames in the House, and a good thing too. The old saying is: If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting. The bailout plan was a way for politicians, lobbyists, and bankers to keep doing what they've been doing — i.e. shoveling loans into the pockets of people who have zero chance of repaying. It was a sort of financial Munich, an attempt to postpone something awful in the teeth of evidence that the attempt would cause something even more awful five years down the road. The money for all that shoveling mostly came from bond purchasers via the banks. Now nobody wants to buy the bonds, the banks are out of business and the politicians have nothing to offer their constituents, and nothing to pay off ACORN to refrain from breaking windows. What's the answer? Why, tap into the world's greatest pool of available money — the savings and investments of the American middle class … while, of course, at the same time going on TV to tell the middle class how much you love them. Well, as I said, the first effort went down in flames in the House, so the panjandrums of Washington did the only thing they know how to do: they loaded the bill up with pork and resubmitted it. So now this wonderful plan to stave off the Apocalypse has 400 pages of detail in it, with line items to subsidize nude rock climbing associations in the Adirondacks, worm farms in Wyoming, and poetry workshops for disabled Hispanic lesbians in the Marshall Islands. And then, to give the thing a better shot, they've put it through the Senate, instead of the House, since only a third of Senators are worried about reelection next month. Wonderful. "No man's life or property are safe when Congress is in session," opined Mark Twain, and he was right.
09 — Gilded Age. Speaking of Mark Twain, one of his lesser-known books was a novel titled The Gilded Age, which he wrote in 1873 in collaboration with a friend, Charles Dudley Warner. There's a scene in that where Colonel Sellers, a railroad booster, is laying out his plans for a new railroad line, boasting how it will cause new towns to spring up along its route. He's figured out where these towns will be, and even named them in advance. One of these towns he calls Corruptionville. Quote: "Corruptionville, the gaudiest country for early carrots and cauliflowers that ever — good missionary field, too. There ain't such another missionary field outside the jungles of Central Africa. And patriotic? — why, they named it after Congress itself."
10 — Term Limits. Having just last night watched Joe Biden, who might as well go around wearing a sandwich board advertising the cause of term limits, here's Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, a wealthy and successful man in spite of possessing the most irritating whiney voice since Uriah Heep. New York Mayors can only serve two terms, there's a local law to that effect. Mike is so pleased with his achievements in his two terms as Mayor, though, he figures the law should be repealed so he can run again. If you were to give me half an hour or so I could probably come up with one of those achievements … but let's be fair: Bloomberg hasn't actually done any great harm to the city, which is more than can be said of some of his predecessors in the post — notably the appalling David Dinkins and the unspeakable John Lindsay. This is a tough call for New York City voters. Should they strike down the term limits law and take another four years of nothing much delivered with a girly nasal whine, or should they stick to principle and open the door to a possible new Dinkins or Lindsay? Since, following the collapse of Wall Street, the main task for the next Mayor will be tumbleweed control, it's hard to see why anyone would want the job, but people do. Human vanity knows no limits … certainly no term limits.
11 — Somali pirates. I feel I should include at least a snippet of foreign news, just for listeners who give a flying falafel about the strange, turbulent, and deeply unattractive world beyond our borders, so here goes. Sorry, what was that? Borders? Oh, that's one of those quaint old 19th-century terms we reactionaries like to use. A border was the line where one nation's jusrisdiction stopped and another on'e began. The whole concept's now been discredited as nativist, racist, and hurtful, and I apologize for having used it. So let's see what's happening out there across the ocean, in places so remote that Dancing With the Stars isn't broadcast. Somalia, for example. The unfortunate people of Somalia were so brutalized by seventy years as an Italian colony, being forced to eat fettucini Alfredo and listen to Dean Martin records, they have not been able to recover in half a century of independence. Somalia has in fact had no functioning government since 1991. Those wicked Italians should bow their heads in shame. Well, one thing, very likely the only thing, that Somalia produces is pirates. The latest act by the pirates has been to hijack a Ukrainian freighter loaded up with military equipment, including 30 tanks, for shipment to some pointless war going on in some no-account African country, probably in flagrant violation of some futile U.N. resolution. Who cares? Anyway, the pirates are demanding a 20-million-dollar ransom for the release of the ship, which they boarded a week ago. Here's the thing that got my attention, though. Agence France-Presse reported that the pirates are negotiating with the ship's owners. They had a telephone conversation with one of the pirates, whom they reported thus, quote from the pirate: "I can't tell you when the issue will be resolved but the discussions are certainly encouraging." End quote from the pirate, who, said the news agency, "did not want to give his name." Now, I ask you, does that sound like a pirate? "The discussions are certainly encouraging." It sounds more like some State Department flunky talking about negotiations with Japan on restricting imports of Pokemon cards. Didn't the guy at least throw in an "Arrrrr!" or a "Yo ho ho!"? I guess piracy isn't what it used to be. What is? Well, here's my suggestion for controlling piracy off the coast of Somalia. Let's get together with a few other well-armed powers — Russia, China, Britain, India — and jointly announce that the coast of Somalia, for twenty miles inland, will henceforth be used as a training and proving ground for our air forces and navies to practice their shelling and bombing on, any time we feel like it. Somalia's only got two thousand miles of coastline, so a few years of continuous bombing and shelling should pretty well depopulate the place. Then Ukrainian mobsters could ship tanks to African warlords in peace and security. That's Radio Derb for you, always trying to improve the world.
12 — Signoff. The world is of course unimprovable, at least until Barack Obama steps into the White House with his miraculous powers of healing and organizing. Then everything will come right — swords will be beaten into plowshares under the soothing spiritual guidance of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the wise, learned counsel of Joe Biden. [Hank Williams clip] Until then the poor old world will have to struggle on under the burdens of war and depression, the horrible legacy of Italian colonialism, and Mayors with whiney voices. Fear not though, good citizens: Radio Derb will be here to bring it all to you with a smile, a song, and a closing clip from Franz Josef Haydn. Take it away, F-J.
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]