? In what television buffs might label a socialist sequel to ABC's popular "Love Boat," the Sea of China currently teems with tens of thousands of so-called Boat People. Seeking refuge from the global visions of Southeast Asia's Marxist liberators, this commudrama features mass starvation, raging epidemics, and frequent bouts of free-lance piracy. And an endless supply of customers. There appear to be millions more who would prefer such modest accommodations (and pay bribes of $2,000 for the privilege) to the joys of Uncle Ho's Land of Progress.
In deference to its wealthy class of theoretical socialists, the Western SuperPowers have slept through most of this grotesque obscenity. When the humanitarian Malaysian regime offered to alleviate the overcrowded conditions in its refugee camps by shooting the arriving émigrés in the surf—and pushing the 70,000 already landed back into the waters—the West seemed to grudgingly extend half a hand to the relocation process. Public opinion in these States still seems partial to the view of the labor unions and trembles that acceptance of the Asian Solzhenitsyns would endanger the prosperity of the middle class. As Professor Friedman has alertly spotted, this view is a distinctive prejudice of the welfare state; in the days of old, when guests and natives alike were expected to pay their own way, newcomers were welcomed as the contributors they can be. But in these heavy days, when the State is both Giver and Taker and individuals are simply its clients, bringing in more industrious souls only adds up to so many more public burdens. As Neil Sedaka nostalgically hummed: "There was a time when strangers were welcome here."
? Bella Abzug has joined hands with fellow underemployed congresspersons Yvonne Braithwaite Burke and Patsy Mink to invent "Women U.S.A." According to Ms. Abzug, the new front group will organize "grass roots, middle-American women who are not in organizations or involved in politics." Bella's popularity amongst the middle-class housewife population has always been phenomenal, and great results for this latest endeavor are anticipated. As for more personal concerns, like when her next paycheck will be issued from the public trough, the modest Ms. Abzug blurts, "There isn't a day when I don't get people calling, writing, begging me to run." Given her stunning record of 3 electoral defeats in the past 18 months, such requests might be pouring in from potential opponents. But the multi-hatted Bella insists that they are from people who "feel a certain vacuum right now." Apparently so: they have obviously been sucked in.
? American women were no more emotional in greeting Bella's campaign on their behalf than were American blacks thankful for their recent acceptance as priestly timber by the Holy Mormon Church. In a direct communique from God, the 84-year-old "prophet, seer, and revelator" of the church, Spencer Kimball, was informed that black men are okay for purposes of the church's lay priesthood. Religious experts described the switch as "the most significant change in Mormon thinking since the end of polygamy in 1890." The ruling eases the burden for the Negro race of the bothersome "curse of Cain," under which Mormons held all blacks to be descendants of the notorious Biblical hit-man.
? A new book by Robert S. Menchin, "Where There's a Will," provides some of the best relief in hours. In this collection of witty last testaments, Menchin reports that in 1908 Garvey B. White thoughtfully stipulated that "before anything else be done, 50 cents be paid to my son-in-law to enable him to buy for himself a good stout rope with which to hang himself, and thus rid mankind of one of the most infamous scoundrels." Mr. John Davis set aside 5 shillings for the Mrs.: "It is sufficient to enable her to get drunk for the last time at my expense." The late William Shakespeare left his better half his "second best bed." A US casualty of 1958, Adolph Heimbeck, willed "nothing to my two sisters Hazel and Katherine as they revered Franklin D. Roosevelt and the taxes caused by him more than equalled their share." And while Patrick Henry left a sizable portfolio to his wife on the stipulation that she not remarry (she did anyway), the German romantic poet Heinrich Heine did precisely the opposite. His motive for giving this incentive for remarriage to his dearest was adroitly fashioned: "Then there will be at least one man to regret my death."
? And finally, there is the miracle story of one Mr. Love. A 44-year-old Virginian, James Love was napping betwixt railroad tracks when he was tragically run over by a 47-boxcar train, hauled by 3 locomotives. It so happened, however, that the fortunate Mr. Love was tucked in an opportune posture and emerged from the seeming tragedy without a mark. Not only was the snoozing victim unhurt; in fact, he was unawakened. Local authorities had to slap and shake the sound sleeper in order to tell him of his brush with death and then to inform him of his constitutional rights while booking him on charges of public drunkenness. Investigative journalists are still prying into government documents to determine precisely which federal agency Mr. Love currently heads.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".