• Appropriate…"The main health care center on Zanzibar is the stark V.I. Lenin Hospital. 'It's a place you go to die,' an islander said." (Los Angeles Times, October 21, 1977.)
• The last Indian election seems to have exchanged a coprocephalic for a urolagniac. Morarji Desai, India's new Prime Minister, says he drinks his own urine—"about 6 to 8 ounces every morning," according to the London Spectator. "It's very, very good for you," he claims. "And it's free." By the way, Desai wants to outlaw drinking in India. Drinking alcohol, that is.
• In the 1960's Secretary of Defense MacNamara wanted to save money by using a "stretched" version of his pet all-purpose fighter plane, the TFX, as a strategic bomber. The Air Force tromped on that; afraid they might lose their proposed Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft (AMSA), a far more elaborate (and expensive) plane. Well time passed, the TFX became the F-111, and the AMSA became the B-1. And now that the B-1 is gone, guess what the Air Force wants for a replacement? Why, a "stretched" F-111, with B-1 engines and avionics, to be called the FB-111H.
• Drug addiction is on the rise in West Berlin, and authorities claim East Germany is to blame. West Germany imports large numbers of Turkish "guest workers," and it is believed some of them buy heroin in Istanbul. They then take cheap charter flights on the East German airline Interflug to East Berlin, and pass through to the West. Why blame the East Germans? you may ask. West Berlin claims that the East German border checks are "almost exclusively" aimed at ID papers, foreign currency and "consumer goods" (which apparently doesn't include heroin.) Of course, the West could always rely on its own checks, but West Berlin has no border inspection, "to preserve the image of an open city in contrast to the East," according to the Washington Post (October 14, 1977). The West Berlin Senate is expected to ask the West German government to pressure the East for more repressive border control measures, which should protect West Berlin from the "menace" of heroin, if not from the menace of hypocrisy.
• Early in October the Supreme Court ruled that one James Gaylord, a Tacoma, WA high school teacher, did not have his rights violated when he was fired for "immorality;" said immorality being that he was as gay as a treeful of chickadees, as the saying goes, or, if you prefer, as queer as a Federal Reserve note. Yr hmbl srvnt is aware that some of his readers will be horrified at this, crying "a gay has as much right to teach in the public schools as the most macho stud" or words to that effect. Since macho studs have no right to teach in the public schools either how can I disagree? But petty squabbles over who gets to receive stolen property are hardly worthy of libertarian energies, which should be devoted to returning it to the long-suffering taxpayer, and abolishing "free" public education in favor of Chickenhawk Junior High or whatever the free market throws up. Incidentally, the Tacoma school officials learned Gaylord was homosexual when they asked him after they were "prompted by a former student." The New York Times (October 4, 1977) gave no more details than that.
• "Money Causes Cancer: Ban It." So says a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association (August 1, 1977.) In it, Drs. George E. Moore and William N. Palmer of Denver General Hospital tell how they inserted sterilized dimes into the peritoneal cavities of 35 rats, nine of whom developed sarcomas. "We estimate that malignant neoplasms will develop in more than 50 percent of the rats," say Moore and Palmer. They derisively suggest that "The FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission should convene an emergency meeting for the purpose of removing all coins from circulation." The authors don't speculate on how dimes cause cancer (but they note that the coins all bore the image of the malignant FDR. Perhaps they should have used Jefferson nickels for a control) but their cupro-nickel composition may be responsible. Silver (extensively used in prosthetics) probably isn't carcinogenic. And, of course, if the Federal Reserve System hadn't debauched our currency, we would still have silver coinage, and those poor rats would probably still be healthy. More blood on the hands of Big Government.…
• Just what is the neutron bomb really good for? Writing on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times (October 7, 1977) Mr. Alton Frye, a senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, suggests that NATO's nuclear weapons policy leaves much to be desired. "Existing US doctrine," says Frye, "permits the detection of a single Soviet tank to be interpreted as indicating the presence of many, calling forth a nuclear artillery barrage on entire areas. Compared to this notion, the free fire zones of Vietnam were local anesthetics." It's also expensive: "The proposed expenditure on neutron bombs for destroying tanks could buy over 100,000 precision-guided conventional munitions" which wouldn't harm civilian lives or property. Since libertarians (supposedly) oppose the initiation of force it would therefore behoove pro-NATO libertarians to also oppose the neutron bomb (indeed, all nuclear weapons) in favor of the conventional alternative. It would also behoove the rest of us not to hang by our thumbs waiting for them to do so.
• It certainly took long enough, but the Peanut finally seems to have worn out his welcome with the public. According to the Harris survey, 66 percent of the people think he's mismanaged the economy, 75 percent hold that he can't cut unemployment, and 76 percent believe his attempts to hold down inflation have flopped. On top of that, 58 percent disliked his late unlamented energy program. Tom Wicker, James Weighart and such pundits are already putting out the word that Carter may be a one-term President.
• The Philippines Bureau of Internal Revenue will now require its employees to pass a "neuro-psychiatric test," whatever that is. The IRS must not lag behind, of course, and we suggest they test every revenooer with Rorschach cards, before and after shooting them between the eyes. If only these matters were left to us.…
• Great Moments in Political Philosophy, No. 6: Mr. Earl F. Dodge of the National Statesmen Party (nee the National Prohibition Party) solemnly assures the New York Times: "We simply believe in the maximum amount of individual freedom possible." (October 25, 1977.)
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".