Brickbats

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? Even after "a massive surprise Soviet nuclear attack aimed at destroying US nuclear forces," say recent studies released by the Congressional Budget Office, the United States would still have some 5,000 nuclear warheads with which to retaliate. The US retaliatory second-strike would destroy 80 percent of the Soviet Union's industrial base, 90 percent of her military facilities, and "between 20 million and 95 million people"—and still leave the US with 1,000 nuclear weapons in reserve. The secret is the American advantage of better than two-to-one in nuclear warheads: about 9,000 to the Soviets' 4,000. For some reason, this is called "parity" between the two superpowers (they call it "Soviet superiority" or even "supremacy" out in the fever swamps) even though, as the reader may have noticed, the United States would have more weapons left after a Soviet first strike than the USSR had started with. More, in fact, than the United States would have started with in 1970; when she had an estimated 3,854 warheads to the Soviets' 2,155; before eight years of detente and what those in the fever swamps are pleased to call American "unilateral disarmament."

? Underreacher: Idi Amin has announced the formation of a new Ugandan security organization, the SSS-Amin Operation. "They are even better trained than the CIA or Congressmen," he boasts.

? So what else is new? Back on April 3, HEW Secretary Joseph Califano announced that his department had "misspent" between $6.3 billion and $7.4 billion in fiscal year 1977 because of "fraud, abuse and waste." This sum is roughly equal to the Gross Domestic Product of Ireland or to the income taxes paid in 15 states combined or by 5 million households earning $15,000 a year. The figures were provided by HEW's Office of the Inspector General, which called them "conservative" and "no more than an initial inventory."

? Syndicated columnist Kevin Phillips points out that the November elections will provide a test of Republican dreams of unseating Jimmy Carter in 1980. Whenever the party out of power has captured the presidency, says Phillips, the feat was preceded by gains in the off-year elections. He sets a "power threshold" of 1) half the nation's governorships and 2) either a majority in Congress or coming "reasonably close" to one, which the out-party must cross before it can hope for the presidency. Current punditry has it that the GOP will get nowhere near these limits in 1978, and Phillips claims, "Throughout this century, an out-party unable to muster 'threshold' strength in the off-year elections has never been able to win the subsequent presidential election."

? The village board of Hempstead, New York, has outlawed "for sale" signs on local lawns. The ostensible reason is to prevent "white flight." The ordinance is about as far as the board can go, but why not an act of Congress, forcing whites to move back to Hempstead? They could call it the Fugitive Honky Act.

? On June 27, a 24-year-old Soviet man attacked three foreign tourists with an axe outside the Intourist Hotel in Moscow, killing two. After he was arrested, a Soviet spokesman opined that he had been inspired by the "Son of Sam" murders in New York. Or maybe by Jacques van der Dreschd, who was recently made a Hero of the Soviet Union after serving a long Mexican prison term for assassinating Leon Trotsky—with an axe.

? "It is now estimated that the Federal government does more in one week to slow down our national production than all of the German saboteurs did during World War II"—Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mike Royko.

? Hyden, Kentucky, is so far back in the hills that "most radio stations do not reach it," according to the New York Times. But not, of course, so far that the federal government couldn't find it and provide funds for the $2.6 million Richard M. Nixon Recreation Center. The Tricky One attended the dedication and spoke to a "wildly enthusiastic" crowd of 6,000. That's probably enough to nauseate the reader right there, but I must also report that the Monster Milhous (so shameless is he) "rose to the defense of…the free enterprise system." Rather like Lizzie Borden defending filial piety.

? Our second Doublespeak Award goes to Mr. James Loucks, president of Crozer Chester Medical Center of Chester, Pennsylvania. Loucks got a court order allowing his hospital to give a Jehovah's Witness a blood transfusion. The woman had requested in writing that the hospital respect her religious beliefs and not give her a transfusion under any circumstances, but Loucks says he ignored her wishes "out of respect for her rights."

? More triumphs for the Supreme court! In a 5-to-4 decision, that august body upheld an FCC ban on broadcasting "indecent language." The case grew out of a George Carlin monologue on seven "filthy" words "that will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe even bring us, God help us, peace without honor." Justice Stevens, for the majority, justified such censorship, not on osteopathic grounds, but on the assertion that "the broadcast media have established a uniquely pervasive presence in American life." Almost as pervasive as statism.

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