? "Grand Prize for calling a spade a spade: To Gerald R. Ford for referring to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in a private meeting as 'a goddamn horse's ass.'" Former White House press secretary Ron Nessen made the award in his recent book It Sure Looks Different from the Inside. In addition, says Nessen, "Ford complained that the dissident Russian writer wanted to visit the White House primarily to publicize his books and drum up lecture dates."
? Let's hear it for the CIA! They were so sure that Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko was a KGB double agent that they confined him in a secret underground vault for over three years while trying to force him to "confess." CIA spokesman John Limond Hart told the House Assassinations Committee that the agency considered (1) killing Nosenko, (2) driving him insane and having him committed, or (3) getting him committed while still sane. Ex-CIA chief Richard Helms promptly denied that the CIA had ever planned to kill Nosenko.
? "The US Government no longer considers membership in the Communist Party to be a bar to federal employment." Such was the Senate testimony of Mr. Alan K. Campbell, chairman of the Civil Services Commission, who says the CSC no longer cares about a would-be federal employee's politics unless he has committed "an overt illegal act." Naturally this set conservative columnist M. Stanton Evans to frothing about "the ongoing lunacy that has virtually destroyed the nation's internal security program." Since one must still prove his political wholesomeness (and even that of his friends and relatives) to get a security clearance, Evans must think the nation's "internal security" is imperiled by Communist infiltration of (say) the Bureau of Weights and Measures. The libertarian Frank Chodorov had the answer to that. At the height of the McCarthy era he argued that the way to get rid of Communists in government jobs was to abolish the government jobs.
? Rhode Island certainly has its priorities straight. Even though the schools were closed for two weeks last winter, the kids' summer vacation started on time. "The school departments and the teachers' unions in the state," says the Washington Monthly, "decided that the kids didn't need 180 days of school, only the teachers did. So they worked out a schedule whereby teachers—but not students—stayed an extra hour and a half at school until the time was made up."
? As one might expect, the weapons used by Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza to crush (at least temporarily) the rebellion against him came mostly from the United States. The 8,100-man Nicaraguan national guard (created by the US Marines when they installed Somoza's father as dictator in 1933) has four Sherman tanks, about 40 American-made armored cars, and 15 helicopters. They also have 5,000 M-16 rifles, "purchased from Colt," according to the Knight wire services, "under a US government license that prohibits their use for domestic police action"—which prohibition, of course, has been ignored. And arms from our Freedom Loving Allies are not lacking; the guard has several hundred Belgian FAL assault rifles, plus about 1,000 Israeli-made Uzi submachine guns and Galil rifles (a very fine weapon; comes with a built-in bottle opener). So Somoza is well equipped to carry out his threat to "give this country peace if I have to kill every other man in Nicaragua." He's already made a good start.
? Let's hear it for the FBI! In 1961, members of the Ku Klux Klan attacked two busloads of Freedom Riders in Alabama. FBI documents obtained by the ACLU show that the FBI told the Birmingham Police Department when the buses would arrive, and the department told the Klan—and agreed to stay away from the bus terminals while Klansmen attacked the civil rights workers. "We found," said one ACLU official, "that the FBI knew that the Birmingham Police Department was infiltrated by the Klan,…that they knew a person in [police] intelligence was passing information directly to the Klan, and they also knew that their undercover agent had worked out an agreement with the police department to stay away from the terminals. They knew all that and yet they continued their relationship with the police department." Mr. Walter Bergman, now of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was crippled for life in the attack the FBI didn't stop.
? The heirs of Edgar Rice Burroughs are suing the producers of Tarzoon, Shame of the Jungle, for besmirching Tarzan's image. They claim that the X-rated cartoon portrays the jungle lord as "weak, stupid, physically unattractive, cowardly, lewd, and"—horrors!—"sexually inadequate."
? And Mr. Nick Belluso, who was defeated in the Democratic primary race for governor of Georgia, is suing an Atlanta TV station for refusing to run a commercial designed to hypnotize Georgians into voting for him. (An Augusta station did run the ad, but Belluso still finished fifth in a six-man race.)
? Let's hear it for the National Security Agency! They ordered the inventors of an inexpensive new anti-eavesdropping device to keep silent about their invention or face prosecution. The device, which was developed without a penny of government money, apparently scrambles radio and telephone transmissions to prevent eavesdropping or wiretapping. It would cost less than $100 and was meant "for individuals, for private use," which the NSA considers "detrimental to national security."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".