? The Hollywood trial of Marvin v. Marvin has terminated in as bizarre a fashion as it began. While Judge Arthur Marshall bounced Miss Triola-Marvin's claim of an explicit (or implied) contract, he awarded her a consolation prize of a grand-a-week for two years. The $104,000 nonalimony is "for rehabilitation purposes,…to reeducate herself and to learn new, employable skills." This prompted many to wonder why she should ever want to switch from utilizing her old ones. Also mysterious was the position taken on the trial by the professional liberation crowd. NOW officionados expressed vitriolic support for the lady in the case, untroubled by the seemingly embarrassing spectacle of a female so helpless she could not negotiate a contract during her tour of service and so child-like that she could not care for herself thereafter.
? In a related but less-heralded breakthrough for the notion of sexual liability, it has been revealed that a male patron of Garner Ted Armstrong's popular Church of God feels entitled to a $180,000 bonus for his six years spent in sexual abstinence on the suggestion of church officials. Because one church doctrine forbade sex outside the bonds of holy wedlock and because another eliminated the possibility of remarriage, the divorced Gary Bagley, 45, spent six years in a cold shower. Bagley's statistical calculations must be considered quite ambitious; they break down to $30,000 per year, about $600 per week, or (taking Sundays oft) a C-note per sexless night. That must be a handsome remuneration for striking out; many of us might be wealthy if so rewarded.
? If your Easter vacation was uncharacteristically pleasant, it just might be explained by the lack of governmental supervision. Seemingly, the entire US Congress was out of the country. Traveling on $240,000 of "free" money, the D.C. statespersons boogied all across the globe with the knowledge that their "fact finding" will contribute to world peace and prosperity in the immediate future. A full 115 House and Senate servants dedicated themselves to this arduous mission, "visiting at least 18 foreign countries, whose capitals" according to UPI "are noted for pleasant weather at this time of the year." Top choices: Peking, Moscow, Geneva, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Prague, Dublin, Tokyo, Cairo, and Jerusalem. Unfortunately for the health of our nation, Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker was unable to partake of the springtime orgy. His Air Force-chauffered plane to China was canceled "two hours after Baker made a speech demanding a special prosecutor to look into President Carter's peanut warehouse finances." Which is so very stupid. Does the White House really believe that a leading US senator would be influenced do any less than his democratic duty just to fly on government jets?
? The Department of Health, Education and Welfare attempted to "cover up" the true cost of its birthday party. The festivities were to "celebrate" HEW's 25th anniversary in 1978, an event you might have seen millions of thankful Americans rejoicing over all across the nation. Responding to a Freedom of Information suit filed by the Associated Press, HEW would reveal only $15,000 in tax monies devoted to the cause. Yet an inside leak claimed the true amount to be over $100,000. After waiting 10 months for the information it had requested, the AP broke this news on April 9; on April 10 we got the HEW admission. HEW had indeed squandered six figures in taxpayers' blood on the gala event, which featured booths, exhibits, concerts, and a special guest appearance by Sesame Street's Big Bird. Which, from the viewpoint of the rest of America, was exactly what we got for our money as well.
? The Three Mile Island Nuclear Catastrophe, as the press so dutifully informed us, has indeed contributed to the premature deaths of thousands. By providing the intellectuals in the communications media with a piggyback news extravaganza to the highly promoted talkie The China Syndrome, starring nuclear expert Jane Fonda, it has panicked the politicos into closing several safely functioning nuclear plants, thus stoking the flames of the alternative: fossil-fuel air pollution plants. As you may have heard, burning oil tends to favor cancer of the lungs; burning coal, not to mention the cruel fate of those who must chisel it from the earth, tends to do even worse. But the Harrisburg Holocaust, which distributed the radiation of one or two dental x-rays (without charge) on the population immediately surrounding the "near-meltdown," only superficially appeared without victims. What its physical fallout could never damage, its political fallout will surely destroy. Within four weeks of the "disaster," California newspapers were running headlines of predicted summer black-outs; the nuclear-fueled Arroyo Seco plant outside of Sacramento had been closed as a "precaution." To add further insult to the pygmy-brained press coverage was the startling fact that the actual issue was so rudimentary that even the preposterous National Enquirer managed to get the straight scoop. Its headline trumpeted the "THREE MILE HOAX" and, in-between stories on dogs with E.S.P. and the truth about Farrah Fawcett's personal creme rinse formula, assailed "legitimate" news sources such as Newsweek, which was burping up innuendos such as: "the episode came precariously close to turning into Everyman's nuclear night-mare—an out-of-control reactor spewing radioactivity into the countryside." Strangely, a concurrent news item of far greater bodily harm didn't even make its way into Newsweek: on April 10, 1979, 50 people (45 students, 4 teachers, and a driver) were killed in a school bus near Zamora, Spain. The event merited a mere three inches on the sixth page of the Los Angeles Times and prompted no "precautionary" shut-downs of school busing programs here in the land of the free.
? It will hardly take this column to inform that the exquisite energy policies of the past eight years have finally gone belly-up. Project Independence, President Nixon's most obnoxious legacy, gave us tremendous mandates and mountain-moving goals. And price controls. The end of today's road is complete impotency in the face of Arabian whim. With his back to the wall, President Carter has now admitted the hopeless inanity of price controls on oil (which were a fundamental plank of the "moral equivalent of war") and offered to decontrol. Yet the ragamuffin has attempted to stuff Senator Kennedy's screaming larynx with a "windfall profits tax." The president giveth and the president taketh away. This can only be explained as a sort of neurotic delight; it is much the same as prescribing foreplay without sex. You acquire all of the incentives but none of the rewards. Little wonder Billy's brother spends so much of his time silently lusting.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".