Brickbats

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• "Friends at the White House," says Richard Rovere in Esquire (August 29, 1978), "tell me Carter thinks he's going to be reelected in 1980." Why? "The ineffectual clod you know is preferable to the clod you don't," which is why "a 1980 Ford candidacy is greatly feared by Carter's strategists."

• Racial and sexual discriminationâ€"at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare? Yes, indeed; one George J. Borjas, of the University of Chicago's Center for the Economy and the State, found that (for example) the average black female working for HEW gets only 58 percent of the average white male's salary. Borjas estimates that 39.8 percent of this differential can't be explained by educational and other "objective" factors. He asks, "Is the next logical step to stop HEW's receipt of federal funds until HEW's discriminatory practices are remedied?"

• Everything Not Forbidden is Compulsory Dept.: Rhodesia's new biracial government has outlawed racial discrimination by hotels, restaurants, and other "public places." "The new law does not affect [state-owned] hospitals, state schools, or segregated [by law] urban housing areas," says AP.

• Gynecocracy marches on: 81-year-old Roy C. Washington told Chicago police that his daughter and her boyfriend beat him, robbed him of some $2,300, and chained him to a bathroom radiator for a week. But he refused to press charges, saying, "With women you have to overlook some things."

• Six months ago yr hmbl srvnt revealed how the CIA lied in blaming CounterSpy for the assassination of Richard Welch, its station chief in Athens, citing the Congressional testimony of Morton Halperin in late 1977. According to veteran journalist Daniel Schorr's book, Clearing the Air, the Senate Intelligence Committee first revealed this in April 1976 (despite "strenuous efforts by CIA Director George Bush" to suppress it). Indeed, "The chief of the CIA's cover staff [had] testified that by the time a CIA officer becomes chief of station 'there is not a great deal of cover left.'" So it is all the more droll that in August 1978 a certain organization should claim that "Richard Welch…was murdered in Athens in December 1975, after his identity was publicized in a rag called CounterSpy." The organization? Reed Irvine's…"Accuracy in Media."

• Solomon Come to Judgment: When 13-year-old Greg Dunn died of cystic fibrosis, his divorced parents went to court to decide who had the right to bury him. Judge George Cook ordered the child cremated and his ashes divided between them but rescinded his ruling when the boy's father agreed to let him be buried in Virginia.

• Winsome, lose some. The US International Trade Commission has voted to protect American consumers from Red Chinese clothespins, which are supposedly "disrupting" the domestic clothespin industry. Meanwhile, Congress is contemplating proposals to lower other trade barriers, including one to abolish the duty on red peppers.

• The shortest explanation of the Katangan affair ever written, courtesy of Lewis P. Lapham: "President Carter blames Fidel Castro for allowing the Lunda tribesmen to invade Katanga. Mr. Carter either doesn't know or chooses to forget that nobody, not even James Reston or Andrew Young, can reason with a savage. When the Lunda get drunk they like to kill people" (Harper's, August 1978). The Lunda were drunk on Cuban rum, no doubt. Perhaps Lapham was inspired by Ayn Rand's explanation of the Middle East conflict, which continues only because the Arabs are "savages" who "just do not want to use their minds" (see "Rand on the Middle East," Libertarian Forum, December 1973).

• North American Bait Farms, of Ontario, California, received 4,700 entries in its recent earthworm recipe contest. The winner: Pizza aux ver de terreâ€"Pizza with earthwormsâ€"which makes "the best pizza I've ever tasted in Los Angeles," according to one Angeleno.

• Daniel Yergin, writing in The New Republic (August 5-12, 1978), sheds new light on the etiology of the British Disease (also called the Pox Brittanica): "I sat in on a discussion," says Yergin, "among influential, committed individuals on the left side of the Labor Party. They were debating micro-processors. Was Britain to have its own micro-processor industry or not? If it did, then its very existence would involve the possible creation of new British millionaires. They didn't want any new British millionaires.…There was no question in the minds represented; better to prevent the rise of new British millionaires and let the industry remain in America."

• Great Moments in Political Philosophy, No. 8: On August 13, 1978, House Minority Leader John Rhodes tells Face the Nation, "President Nixon was very capable at foreign policy, there's no doubt about that." Or so the Associated Press quoted him. Perhaps he meant that the Mad Bomber was "very culpable."