Quickies

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As somebody said in the Los Angeles Times, "That's one small step for Gary Gilmore; one giant leap for mankind."

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Lord have mercy on us all…the New York Daily News claims that ex-Congressthing Bella Abzug wins their poll of 12 possible candidates for Mayor of New York. Abzug says, "I'll have to give the decision to run very serious thought."

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A study by the Brookings Institute reports that the United States has used its armed forces "to influence the behavior of another nation" short of war no less than 215 times since the end of World War II. American strategic nuclear forces were deployed (e.g. put on alert for effect) on 33 occasions. The study also reveals that during the same period the Soviet Union resorted to force 115 times—or barely half as often as the Policeman of the World.

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Reports of the "fall" of Angola have been greatly exaggerated. A year after Congress allegedly handed the country over to the Marxists the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) controls most of the southern half of the country. UNITA has beaten back five major offensives by the government forces and their famous Cuban allies. UNITA's leader, Dr. Jonas Savimbi, claims his forces inflicted 10 times the casualties they suffered and captured huge amounts of enemy weapons. The government is reduced to destroying or forcibly relocating entire villages ("strategic hamlets"? Sound familiar?) in an attempt to cut the guerrillas off from their peasant supporters. Meanwhile, to the north, Holden Roberto's National Front is also stirring. Says one observer, "They're fighting like soldiers now that they know U.S. jets aren't going to come pouring in to aid them." And those 15,000 Cuban soldiers? 3000 are tied down in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda—protecting the operations of Gulf Oil! Cabindan secessionists reportedly fill two 737s a week with Cuban wounded. Supposedly Castro is deducting his Angolan expenses from Cuba's debts to the Soviet Union; which might well be wishing they had a Congress to cut off aid to Angola, as our Congress was kind enough to do for us.

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The House Select Committee on Assassinations may face a budget cut from Congressmen who think that reopening the investigations into the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King will not, really, require $6.5 million a year for maybe two years. But the Committee will need every penny, says its Chief Counsel, if it is to investigate all the theories of the two assassinations. (Our theory: JFK was shot by a cuckolded husband.)

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On January 24, transsexual Liz Carmichael, aka Jerry Dean Michael, was convicted of 27 counts of grand theft, three counts of violating corporate securities laws, and one count of conspiracy in connection with peddling the Dale, an alleged economy car of Carmichael's own design. For a while Carmichael frequented California libertarian circles, looking for investors to help build the car and reviling the government regulatory agencies that were supposedly persecuting him/her. No Dales were ever produced, but those who should know (e.g. Road & Track magazine) seem to agree that the car could not have performed as specified; the only question being whether Carmichael was a con-person or just incompetent. If either possibility occurred to any libertarian while Carmichael was posturing as Dagny Taggart, nobody spoke up. As it was, gullible investors lost an estimated $250,000 in (get this) the "Twentieth Century Motor Car Corporation."

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What does James T. Lynn, outgoing director of the Office of Management and Budget, think about government "reorganization?" "You can take garbage out of an old can and put it in a new can," says Lynn, "and it will still stink just as much."

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A Conservative Government Is An Organized Hypocrisy Dept: The new government of Sweden, which was supposed to save the nation from the fell hand of socialism, has offered Parliament a record-breaking $30 billion budget. According to wire-service reports, a small proposed cut in the income tax is more than balanced by tax boosts on cars, tobacco, liquor and electricity. A pack of cigarettes will cost 14 cents more, or almost $1.90. Foreign aid goes up 13.5%. Disraeli was right.

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According to our former Ambassador to Chile, the Soviet Union "helped destroy Allende." In early 1973, when inflation in Chile topped 300 percent a year, Secretary Brezhnev supposedly told Allende that the Soviets would not bail Chile out, and, as Newsweek put it, "urged Allende to make peace with Nixon"…and whatever will the Chile-haters make of that?

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Any institution that gets money from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (which is just about everybody these days) is not allowed to discriminate against the handicapped if they are "otherwise qualified" for their jobs. Now HEW proposes to define alcoholics, drug addicts, and the mentally-ill as "handicapped." Less than thrilled by the thought of drunken surgeons, junkie teachers, and deranged social workers? HEW swears those visions will never be realized because drunks, junkies, and raving lunatics are not "otherwise qualified." Except, of course, to work for HEW.

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Great Moments in Political Philosophy, No. 3: On January 9, 1977, the New York Times refers to "Richard M. Nixon, probably the most ardent free-market advocate of all postwar presidents.…"

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