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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your sumptuously genial host John Derbyshire with news of the hour.
Just a couple of housekeeping points here. Some listeners, I have learned, shirk their citizenly duty to listen to Radio Derb, and instead read the transcript. I can't say I approve of this, but anyway some of these listeners have grumbled that the transcript is awfully thin on hyperlinks. For goodness' sake, what do these people want, egg in their beer? Like the mighty Jeeves, though, I endeavor to give satisfaction, so I shall try to add more links to the transcript. No promises there, but I'll try.
And then, many readers have asked whether Greece's economic troubles have impacted us at all here on our wee island in the Aegean. I can't really say so. The island is owned by our proprietor, Taki Theodoracopulos, and he looks after his tenants in the grand old feudal style, keeping us well provisioned and asking only a modest tribute in return. Without going into details about the tribute, I will just say that when Taki's yacht is moored in the bay here, I don't get much help from my research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy for a few days. Ah, well; droit de seigneur, I suppose, or whatever that is in Greek. All in all, though, I must say, I rather like feudalism. It sure works better than what Greeks have over on the mainland.
OK, let's get up to date with the week's news.
02 — Faster and More Furious. We're a little early on the political scandals this presidency. In the American tradition, scandals in the federal apparatus are a second-term affair. You know: the Lewinsky business, Iran-Contra, Watergate.
Well, Barack Obama may yet get in under the wire with a scandal in these last six months of his first term. There are actually two scandals a-brewing here: a big one, and a little one. I'll leave the little one to my closing miscellany of brief items. The big one probably has a smaller corpse count, but is more important politically, as it may well make Barack Obama's first term his only term.
That big one is Fast and Furious. That was the operation run from 2009 to 2011 by the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which reports to the Department of Justice, current proprietor Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. Over two thousand guns were "walked" from legitimate U.S. gun dealers to Mexican narco-criminals. That is to say, ATF allowed the purchase of these guns by Americans who could lawfully buy them, then watched and kept track as the buyers unlawfully sold them on to the Mexicans.
Except that ATF did not watch and keep track; they snoozed and lost track. This was not the fault of ATF field agents, but clearly followed from higher-level political decisions in the Bureau and probably in the Justice Department. ATF agents were in fact whistle-blowing all over, in many cases being punished for so doing by their supervisors in the Bureau.
Matters came to a head in December 2010 when U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed by a Fast and Furious gun. The whistleblowing by ATF agents became loud enough to wake Congress from its dogmatic slumbers, the whole issue came into the public arena, Fast and Furious was abruptly terminated, and the program passed into the realm of congressional investigations, where it has remained for the past year and a half.
Matters seem to be coming to some sort of a head, though. In the House of Representatives, Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa has scheduled a vote for next Wednesday, June 20, on whether to cite Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Conress.
Meanwhile, in the other place, Senator John Cornyn on Tuesday delivered a long and blistering attack on Eric Holder in person — Holder was testifying before the committee — telling him he should resign. [Clip.]
And the case against the administration here is not just bureaucratic sloppiness. There are strong reasons to believe that Holder and Obama never intended Fast and Furious to accomplish its stated purpose of nailing Mexican drug bosses and their front men. What they really wanted to do was to strike a blow against our Second Amendment liberties by creating a situation where they could point at the legitimate gun dealers involved and say: "Look, current gun laws make it easy for the Mexican gangs to arm themselves. We need stricter gun laws!"
If you think that's far-fetched, get your hands on a copy of Katie Pavlich's book titled Fast and Furious, subtitle Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up, which came out this spring. It's a simply brilliant piece of investigative reporting, with everything documented and cross-referenced up to the hilt.
To see Ms. Pavlich talking about her book to Glenn Reynolds at Pajamas Media, go to Youtube and put "reynolds pavlich" into the search box, that's P-A-V-L-I-C-H. During the War Between the States, Abraham Lincoln credited the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin with being, quote, "the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war." You can't say "little woman" nowadays; but Katie Pavlich may one day be known as the author who wrote the book that brought down the rotten, corrupt, and useless Obama administration.
03 — New York, New York, it's a wonderful town. When I first lived in New York City back in 1973, living there presented real challenges: challenges to one's threshold of disgust, challenges to one's faith in the probity of law enforcement, and challenges to one's survival skills.
That was the New York of, to put it in movie terms, of Death Wish, of Serpico, of The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. If you knew what was good for you, you talked fast, moved fast, avoided eye contact, and when in the subway tried your best to look like you were the one with the meat cleaver under your jacket.
The city is much tamer now, but I always get a frisson of nostalgia when I read stories like this one, from the June 9th New York Post.
Headline: A-Train Rodent Mayhem. Sub-head: Runs Up Gal's Leg.
The gal being referred to is 40-year-old Ana Vargas, who works at a hotel in Times Square. Ms. Vargas was riding a rush-hour subway train — an A-train, of course — from Harlem to midtown last Friday morning, listening to her iPod and minding her own business, when she felt a scratching on her leg. Ms. Vargas, I should explain, was wearing pants. She started yelling: "Help me! There's something on my leg!" Thus alerted, fellow passengers noticed a large, wiggling lump in her pants.
It was a rat, and a big one. Let the New York Post, America's Newspaper of Record, take up the story, quote:
No amount of yanking could loose the writhing rodent, so Vargas had no choice but to pull [her pants] down in public. "It was the most embarrassing moment of my life," she said. The scared rat scurried out onto the subway-car floor — and pandemonium broke loose. "It was huge with a long tail," Vargas recalled. Riders started screaming, with many jumping on seats to avoid the vile varmint.
Now that's more like the New York I remember so well!
The manners of New York municipal employees have softened somewhat, though, at least for public consumption. In The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, when the police lieutenant says that his only priority is saving the lives of the passengers in a hijacked subway train, the subway supervisor replies, quote, "Screw the goddamn passengers! What the hell did they expect for their lousy 35 cents — to live forever?"
Here in kinder'n'gentler 2012, the subway authority spokesperson could only tell the New York Post reporter that, quote, "We have a lot of people out there trying to make sure it doesn't happen again," end quote.
Is it wrong of me to hope that the Post reporter edited that down from something … saltier? Perhaps something like: "What the hell did she expect for her lousy $2.25 — personal rodent control?" Perhaps prefaced with that traditional New York City greeting to a stranger: "Hey, jackass!"
04 — Not enough government workers! I know, I know, I quote this a lot. It's one of my favorites, though, and reveals so much about the inner life of our president. Let me just quote it one more time, please.
This is the bit in Dreams from My Father, where 22-year-old Barack is enduring his one brief taste of work in the private sector. Quote: "Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office and sat at my computer terminal …" End quote.
That's our president, and that's what he thinks of the private sector: they're the enemy.
This aspect of Obama's mentality broke through the surface again last Friday when he told a White House press conference that, quote: "The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government." End quote.
That was the week the official unemployment rate went up from 8.1 to 8.2 percent. It was also probably the week when the percentage of Americans who believe the official unemploymennt rate accurately reflects the state of the job market went from some small number to some yet smaller number. It was certainly the week I gave up on finding a summer job for my large, strong, and willing 17-year-old son. And it was also of course the week, like every other week currently, when we admitted sixteen thousand or so foreigners of working age for permanent settlement and many thousands more on temporary worker or summer worker visas.
But what do Obama and his people care about any of that? For them, the public sector's the thing. It's where they get their best voter support. Increased numbers of public sector workers enhance the power and authority of government at every level, and stuff the coffers of public-sector unions — which means, at one short remove, the coffers of the Democratic Party. What's not to like about increased public-sector employment?
If you're Barack Obama, there's nothing not to like. We private-sector drones, however, who have to pay for it all, can't quite shake out of our minds the classic statement by Margaret Thatcher, quote: "The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money."
"The president must be on another planet," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell when he heard of the president's remarks. Yes, indeed: the president does live on another planet — the planet he was born and raised on, the planet his Mom and all his youthful mentors told him was the only right and proper place to live: Planet Socialism.
05 — Obama's poll numbers sliding. Poor old Barack is losing support all over, though.
Weekly Standard, June 12, quote: "President Obama's support among Jewish voters in the state of New York has dropped 22 percentage points in only a month, according to the results of a just released poll." End quote. Better fish out that yarmulke and start doing the rounds of the synagogues, Mr. President.
And then this from the Washington Examiner. They say that according to a Gallup poll, support for the president among union members is weaker than it was on Election Day, 67 percent then, only 58 percent now.
Obama still has the blacks, though, right? Not necessarily: Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning outfit, says that in North Carolina, Obama polls at only 76 percent of the black vote, against 20 percent willing to vote for Mitt Romney. Given that Obama typically polls in the mid-to-high 90s among blacks, that's practically a Romney landslide.
Worse yet, lefty white-hating black supremacist movie producer Spike Lee has publicly expressed doubts about an Obama victory in November. Quote: "It is not a lock that President Obama is getting a second term and people have to really rekindle the enthusiasm that we had the first time," end quote. Mr. Lee does generously allow, however, that not all the people who are unhappy with Obama are racists. I thought he might add: "Only the white ones …" but somehow he restrained himself.
And speaking of white folk, wasn't I arguing on Radio Derb three weeks ago that Obama is one of our whitest presidents ever? So surely the white vote should be a lock for him, right? Ng-uh. Another report from Gallup, this one from the actual Gallup web site:
Gallup Daily tracking indicates Barack Obama is receiving less support in the 2012 presidential election from some of the white subgroups that gave him the strongest support in 2008. These include non-Hispanic white registered voters who are 18 to 29 years old, female postgrads, and the nonreligious, among others.
Oh, Barack: You lose those female white postgrads, pal, you're toast. So, while you're hunting for that yarmulke, see if you have any blue stockings for Michelle.
06 — Oh, those wacky Kennedys! I have an America friend of the older generation who so detests the Kennedy family and all its works, he refuses to refer to New York City's main airport by its official name. He persists in calling it "Idlewild."
Reading Newsweek the other day, I kind of see his point. The backstory here is the May 16 suicide of Mary Kennedy, wife of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is third of the eleven children of sometime U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and his wife Ethel.
Mary's suicide came two years almost to the day after Bobby, her husband, filed for divorce from her. Well, Laurence Leamer of Newsweek got hold of the divorce affidavit, and it's as self-serving as only a Kennedy could make it.
Mary ran over the family dog when drunk, he says. She was mean to Bobby's daughter from his first marriage, he says. She kept threatening to commit suicide, he says.
Oh, and Mary regularly beat him up, Bobby claims. For a male reader, any sympathy for Bobby evaporates right there. Your woman beat you up? I understand that standards of manliness have changed somewhat since my salad days, but if you can't restrain an out-of-control woman, you need to get to the gym more. Even stranger, Bobby's affidavit claims that, quote: "Mary's violence and physical abuse toward me began before we were married." Well, there's a guy who can't take a hint. Either that, or a guy who enjoys being hit by a woman.
Now look: Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, and it's clear from Leamer's well-researched Newsweek story that Mary herself was, from quite an early stage, one brick short of a load. She certainly did have a drinking problem, with DUI convictions and AA membership to prove it.
Still, on a word-association test, if the tester says "Kennedy" and you come back with something like "sordid," or "sleazy," or "loathsome," I'd say you're not far off the mark.
07 — Our ten most dangerous cities. A report here on a financial website called "24/7 Wall Street," but nothing to do with finance. It's a list of the ten most dangerous cities in the United States. Here's the list, from most to least dangerous:
08 — No patriotic songs, please. Back to New York City again here.
It's hard not to get the impression that when the city needs a new school principal, they raid the local clown academy. Consider for example Amoye Neblett, a 17-year veteran of the city's Department of Education and former principal, who was most recently in charge of an adult learning center in the Bronx.
The center had a grand piano — a Weber, which is a pretty good one. Mr. Neblett liked the look of it, so he hired a private moving company to haul it out of the school and into his home across the city in Brooklyn.
After this act of Grand Theft Piano was discovered, Mr. Neblett was obliged to return the instrument and pay a $1,000 fine, and was forcibly retired. However, because he was not convicted of a crime, he can collect his full, taxpayer-funded pension.
Here's another one: Greta Hawkins, principal of a school in Coney Island, Pre-K to Grade 5. The kindergartners had a graduation ceremony scheduled, including a song concert. The finale of the concert was supposed to be Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A.," which has been putting lumps in our throats for thirty years now, but especially since 9/11. The kids were to wave little American flags as they sang.
When Principal Hawkins got to find out about this, she was vexed. She marched in to a rehearsal of the show while a CD of "God Bless the U.S.A." was playing, ordered the CD to be shut off, and told the teachers to drop the song from the program. They quoted her as saying: "We don't want to offend other cultures."
Strangely, Principal Hawkins herself doesn't seem to have much problem with offending other cultures. The city Department of Education reprimanded her two years ago when teachers complained that she had called the school "racist," and declared, quote: "I'm black. Your previous principal was white and Jewish. More of us are coming." End quote.
I'm not sure Principal Hawkins has even got her demographic projections right. Her school, according to GreatSchools.net, is only 17 percent black. The majority of her students, 54 percent, are actually Hispanic. Hmmm.
Anyway, city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who by coincidence is also black, has upheld Principal Hawkins' decision. The kindergartners will not now be singing "I'm proud to be an American."
They will, however, still be singing, quote, "Are we an item? Girl, quit playing," from Justin Bieber's hit song "Baby." But who could possibly be offended by 5-year-olds singing that?
09 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Imagine a sphere completely covered with hair. If I give you a hairbrush and tell you to brush the hair so it lies down flat everywhere, guess what? — you can't. There will always be one point where the hair just whorls around and won't lie flat. There's actually a rigorous mathematical theorem to prove that. Something similar applies to political correctness. You can make it work here and you can make it work there, but you can't make it work everywhere.
Case in point: Muslims are a designated victim group deserving of special breaks, privileges and favors. Homosexuals likewise. Unfortunately, Muslims don't approve of homosexuality. So here's one designated victim group who think that another designated victim group should have walls pushed over on them. This is not a hypothetical situation: It's a lawsuit.
The plaintiff here is known to us only as "Farhan Doe." He lives in Brooklyn, New York. He's a devout Muslim, and he thinks homosexuality is sinful. So far so good: but when Mr. Doe, who's been working as an auxiliary cop, applied to the Police Academy in hopes of becoming a real cop, he found himself looking at an application form that included the question: "Do you believe that homosexuals should be locked up?" Mr. Doe, who is obviously a truthful chap, ticked the Yes box. That disqualified him.
Mr. Doe got lawyered up, and we have an interesting discrimination lawsuit under way. I should add that Mr. Doe seems to have backed off some from his original position. He no longer thinks homosexuals should be arrested. No word on what he thinks about pushing a wall over on them, though.
Item: George Zimmerman's wife has been arrested for perjury. I don't quite get that: When asked the critical question in court, she had replied "I don't remember." That's only perjury if she actually did remember, and how do you prove that? She's a Zimmerman, though, and that's good enough for the Florida prosecutors. Search warrants are also out for George Zimmerman's brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and grandparents.
Item: My aforementioned 17-year-old son is nuts about the military. If his wishes come true, he will be stepping on to a pair of yellow footprints at some recruiting station just about a year from now. We're fine with it. It's a noble profession. My brother was career military, and so was my wife's father.
We'd be even finer with it, though, if we didn't keep reading news reports suggesting that the U.S. military is turning itself into a branch of the welfare services.
Here's the latest one: The Army is debating whether to admit women to Ranger School. Rangers are the elite unit of the U.S. Army, with the fiercest training and the boldest missions. Only about half of those who enter Ranger School every year graduate. Fitness standards are very high.
I'm not going to mince words here: This is insane. A Pentagon report in 2002 found that, quote, "In terms of physical capability, the upper five percent of women are at the level of the male median. The average 20-to-30 year-old woman has the same aerobic capacity as a 50 year-old man." Also that, another quote: "On the push-up test, only seven percent of women can meet a score of 60, while 78 percent of men exceed it." Also that, yet another quote: "Adopting a male standard of fitness at West Point would mean 70 percent of women … would be separated as failures at the end of their junior year … and not one would receive the Army Physical Fitness badge."
As ex-Ranger Stephen Kilcullen asks very pointedly in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece: "Do individuals serve the military or does the military serve them?"
Item: News here from our friendly neighbor to the north. Conservatives in the lower house of Canada's parliament have passed a bill to greatly reduce the scope of Canada's laws against so-called "hate speech," which of course means speech that left-liberals disagree with. The new rules take away the authority of the country's human rights commissions, like the one that famously hauled up magazine publisher Ezra Levant for running those Mohammed cartoons four years ago.
It's a small step forward for free speech in the world's most boring nation. Among the more interesting reactions was one on the Huffington Post website by someone named Daniel Tencer. Mr. Tencer thought the change was very bad news. His story ran under the headline: Hate Speech Clause's Repeal Gives White Supremacists Rare Moment Of Glee.
So now I guess we know what Huffington Post thinks about the First Amendment.
Item: What date is it? Let me tell you: It's September 10, 2001. At any rate, that's the date so far as the State Department is concerned. The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India has re-implemented the Visa Express program. That's the one that allows a foreigner to get a U.S. visa without having to submit to an interview at a consular office. The Visa Express program is the one that gave us the 9/11 hijackers, you'll recall.
But hey, this is India. Hindus aren't scary. I mean, really, how many Muslims are there in India? Wait a minute, let me look it up … ah, 177,000,000. Nothing to worry about there, then.
Item: Back on May 25th, Radio Derb introduced you to 33-year-old Desmond Hatchett of Knoxville, Tennessee, who has 30 children with 11 women, none of whom he has ever married. Well, this week meet Terry Turnage of Memphis, Tennnessee. Mr. Turnage only has 21 children, but he's ahead of Mr. Hatchett on Baby Mommas: He claims 15, none of whom he has ever married. Like Mr. Hatchett, Mr. Turnage wants some relief from child support payments: he has filed a suit to that effect in Shelby County Juvenile Court. So what is it about Tennessee? Something in the water down there? Or what?
Item: This story about African illegal immigrants in Israel is the gift that keeps on giving, at any rate for this philosemitic immigration restrictionist. Here's the latest.
You know the expression "mugged by reality"? It applies pretty precisely to the case of Israeli journalist Guy Maroz. Two years ago Mr. Maroz was in the forefront of Israeli liberals against deporting illegals and their families. He actually claimed back then that conservative members of the Israeli parliament who wanted a crackdown on the Africans were trying to create, quote, "labor camps" for them.
Well, that was then, this is now. Apparently the illegals have been flooding into Mr. Maroz's home town. What was formerly an abstract issue for him is now a concrete one. He has reacted accordingly, writing an open letter to the newspaper Maariv begging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take action against the surge of illegals. Quote: "No More. No more flooding of the streets and lives of Israel's poorest citizens," end quote. Mugged by reality.
Part of me would actually like to see the invasion of Israel by illegal Africans continue for a while longer, until there are no more Israeli liberals left at all.
Item: Something happened in Egypt.
Item: I mentioned when talking about the Fast and Furious business that there is also a lesser scandal a-brewing. That's the leaks of national security information coming apparently from the White House. We're told that U.S. agents were involved in developing the computer virus that disabled Iran's nuclear program. We're told that the U.S.A. has moles in the Al Qaeda organization in Yemen. We're told that the CIA staged a fake polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan so as to get DNA from Osama bin Laden's family. Of course, terrorists and hostile nations like Pakistan are also being told these things.
Why? This stuff is in the realm of national security. It ought to be kept secret. Why isn't it? Quote from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday, quote: "Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible." End quote.
Of course it is; grossly irresponsible. Who could imagine that this administration would put military and intelligence lives at risk just to score political points? Perish the thought!
10 — Signoff. A fast signoff today, listeners, as it's been a newsy week and I'm way over time.
Having given you that story about the New York principal banning her kids from singing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A.," there is only one possible choice for music to see us out. More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A."]