• You want to know what the new Soviet constitution means, when it guarantees free speech? It means foreign correspondents have the right to speak—in KGB interrogation rooms. Next question.
• Lies in the Congressional Record are about as newsworthy as the sunrise, but you might care to know that Congressional junkets cost a total of $2.5 million last year, according to US News & World Report, rather than the $1.4 million the CR claimed. One of the grossest distortions: the Pentagon says it spent $1.1 million, not $243,000, schlepping Congress-gypsies to the far corners of the earth in 1976. Worst of all, half of that was to bring them back.
• Eight months after the quadrennial circus, the Federal Elections Committee wants three clowns, Reagan, Ford, and Sen. Henry Jackson (D-WA), to return an estimated $691,000 in unspent campaign subsidies. But not just yet, you understand; the FEC must audit the clowns' books first, and their 27 auditors have a "heavy workload." Ronald Reagan is probably in no hurry to return the estimated $349,000 he owes; he's got it in government securities paying 5% interest—which he doesn't have to return. Ronzo is expected to use the interest (which amounts to between 20 and 25 grand) to stump the country denouncing the bums on welfare. Pennsylvania governor Milton Shapp, for his part, has "promised" to return some $300,000 in subsidies he got because "false information" was submitted to the FEC. Although the wire service report did not elaborate, that does sound like Shapp (or somebody) is guilty of fraud. Do let us know if anyone gets arrested.
• In fiscal year 1974 the Federal Government paid out $267 million in compensation for job-related injuries; last year it was $475 million; in 1980 it may reach a billion dollars. The largest number of claims went to the employees of the US Snail. Why? J. Joseph Vaca, president of the letter carriers union, told a Congressional panel "the rapid rise in injury claims by postal workers came because management is forcing employees to work faster." (UPI; June 29, 1977)
• Mr. Henry Kyemba, Uganda's ex-Minister of Health who recently defected to Britain, reportedly told a London Sunday Times interviewer that Ugandan dictator Idi Amin has "self-confessed cannibalistic tendencies. I have no doubt he was serious when he told me that he had eaten human meat on a number of occasions. He remarked emphatically that it was salty." He suggested that Amin dined on Brigadier Charles Arube in 1974 (who was killed when Amin suspected Arube of plotting against him) when he inspected the Brigadier's corpse alone in the Mungalo Hospital mortuary. Indeed; as Minister of Health, Kyemba reports, several doctors told him that bodies delivered to other mortuaries "had been tampered with in mysterious ways." Some readers may recall the time that William F. Buckley suggested that black Africans were not yet ready for self-government. Challenged to say when they would be ready he replied, "When they stop eating each other."
• Who says detente is one-sided? Last year, Soviet diplomats in Washington got 12,270 parking tickets and failed to pay any of them, which saved them $245,400. But the State Department begs to report that for their part "Soviet police don't ticket diplomatic cars parked within two blocks of the American Embassy in Moscow." (UPI; June 19, 1977)
• Our Mobil Award for the most unprincipled ally of free enterprise goes to Mr. William F. Rockwell, Jr. of Rockwell International and the Tax Foundation, Inc., who warned a group of Denver businessmen that "government planners are working to take over the US economy and…business leaders must resist such changes." Rockwell International was the prime contractor for the B-1 bomber. "In addition to its other activities, Rockwell operates the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant northwest of Denver for the Federal Energy Research and Development Administration." (AP; June 23, 1977)
• "Where the devil is the guy who set the Reichstag fire when we really need him?" As you might expect, that appeal to the shade of Berlin brownshirt Karl Ernst (who was murdered in the 1934 purge of the Sturmabteilung, by the way) was written by columnist Patrick Buchanan. Pat would like to torch the United Nations (wouldn't we all?) and claims that "an estimated one-third of the 401 Soviet nationals working at the UN is said to be tied directly to the KGB. Since U.S. taxpayers foot 25% of the UN bill, Americans are thus paying one-quarter of the princely salaries paid to the scores of Soviet Police."
• Amite County, Mississippi, used to have racially segregated, coeducational public schools. Eventually the Supreme Court objected, of course, and now the county segregates its schools not by color but by sex; the better to ward off dat ole debbil miscegenation. The Mississippi NAACP wants a Federal court to order a return to coeducation, claiming that the present system has led to, among other things; "homosexual incidents" in the schools. Would you want your son to marry a black man?
• Joe Rauh called it "a national tragedy." The ACLU said it was "among the worst decisions by a Supreme Court generally insensitive to individual rights." But the Court ruled 6 to 3 that the states can refuse to pay for Medicaid abortions. Said Justice Powell; "The Constitution imposes no obligation on the states to pay the pregnancy-related medical expenses of indigents, or indeed to pay any of the medical expenses of indigents." Such heresy! Someone ought to tell the ACLU about a taxpayer's right to control his own body.
• The Way We Live Now: The Shreveport, Louisiana, police are exhorting the populace not to feed the alligators, who have grown bold and have started to eat stray dogs and geese. The mayor of Hondo, Texas, wants 180 idlers to come boost the town's unemployment rate so it can get federal aid. The California State Assembly unanimously voted to define bees as livestock. The US Army is trying to discharge Spec4 Marie Bode for "homosexual tendencies," on the grounds that her transsexual "husband" used to be a WAC. And in Norristown, Pennsylvania, miniature pinscher Curly Bonner was assessed $484 in school taxes. Not obedience school.
• Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead. On Thursday, June 30, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, the chief excuse for America's Indochina debacle, finally died after 23 bloodstained years; driving one more nail in the coffin of "collective security." And taking those right-wing libertarians, who haven't the cojones to forsake their imperialist creed, off one more hook.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".