The Farmer's Plight. Subsidies of $2.2 million, the largest support payment to any farm in Texas last year, went to a $70-million partnership owned 50-50 by International Paper Co. of New York and Crown Prince Hans Adam of Liechtenstein. The partnership controls 76,500 acres of Texas farmland-more land than all of Liechtenstein. Don Mathews, who manages farm and ranch land for the prince's company, said he took part in the federal subsidy program because he had to. "In 1985, we didn't participate because we could operate outside the government program," he said. "But last year, we were forced in. By forced, I mean the government started selling rice at half price. Either you join in the program or go broke." Sounds like a deal worthy of Don Corleone.
U.S. Immigration authorities are hard at work shipping home illegal aliens and protecting American industry at the same time. Their latest target: foreign fashion models. The Immigration and Naturalization Service refuses to grant work permits to most foreign models who want to work in Los Angeles, according to model agency head Nina Blanchard. According to the INS, the foreign models would be taking jobs away from equally qualified U.S. models. "Ridiculous," says Blanchard. "The good models have nothing to fear from their foreign counterparts." Sounds like a model attitude.
Peeling paint on West Virginia's license plates may be caused by the inmates who make them. "We've had reports that the prisoners urinate in the paint when they get mad," says Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Lee Bechtold. Just give thanks the prison system doesn't operate a bakery.
What's good for General Motors won't fly in Georgia. A couple, the manager and owners of Snorkel's bar in Camden County, and a radio station disk jockey were charged with sodomy after the bar ran a promotion to see who could have the most erotic encounter in the back seat of a '57 Chevy. The winning couple performed what the local sheriff called a "lewd and lascivious sex act," which was videotaped and shown at Snorkel's three times during sessions emceed by the deejay. Number Four on the Hit Parade and rising fast?
Talk about shotgun weddings! A couple ordered by officials of the St. Louis suburb of Ladue to stop living together finally got married. But their lawyer still plans to appeal the case-right after the honeymoon. "No, it didn't have anything to do with the court battle," says E. Terrance Jones. "We're getting married on our timetable, not any timetable set by Ladue." The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld zoning laws that bar people from living together if they are not related by blood, marriage, or adoption. St. Louis County Circuit Judge Robert Hoester had ordered one of the two to move out within 90 days if they remained unwed. Jones and new wife Joan Horn have owned the house together since 1981.
Who says civil servants are ungrateful? Sewage plant worker James Pieper took out $1,311 worth of ads in Toledo, Ohio, newspapers to thank the city for his $25,471-a-year job. "Thanks, Toledo. For 18 years of generous wages, very liberal working conditions, and much more at your sewage plant," the ad reads. Why is Pieper so grateful? "Over the years I've had four partners that have slept on a regular basis on the shift. I come in, make a half-hour round, and I still have seven and a half hours left to do nothing," says Pieper. Is he worried that his candor might cost him his job? Not in the least. "They won't fire anyone out there for not working," he says. "Why should they fire me for talking about it?"
Jorge Bartlett, a 29-year-old Miami street performer, was convicted of disorderly conduct and fined $77 in court costs. The offense? He gave a convincing performance as a monkey aboard the city's mass transit system. Bartlett claims his monkey imitation is art. But Dade County Court Judge Arthur Winton disagreed. "Usually a clown doesn't run among people," the judge said. No passengers at the Metrorail station said the performance scared them. But police officer John Dolan testified there were "wide-eyed looks of concern." The judge's decision sounds like monkey business to us.
-Mark Edward Crane