? Another strike has hit Great Britain. Workers are upset that company bosses have hauled down 40-75 percent pay boosts, while staff laborers have been tossed a meager 21 percent. What's more, the big-shot managers refuse to meet with the four striking unions except at the managers' convenience, leading outraged strikers to brand them "positively Dickensian." Put away that yawn, because this strike is against the British Labour Party, and the fat 75 percent payroll windfall went to union demigod James Callaghan. The workers, irate over management plans to lay off staffers and hand out generous bonuses to unorganized management personnel, have succeeded in slowing party operations so much that phone calls to headquarters are dismissed by a recorded message apologizing for "internal difficulties." The strikers' biggest problem, according to the Christian Science Monitor, is that they "are up against a management of seasoned union negotiators.…The Party's 29 executive board members are affiliated with boilermakers, railwaymen, computer operators, seamen, and a broad range of British union labor."
? Some things are so obvious it disgusts. Take the recent FCC brainstorm report that "more TV stations may be needed to give viewers greater programming variety"—this from the very bureaucratic bunch that handed monopoly rents to the three major syndicates to begin with. But then look at why they might be willing to come out for more competition: "So long as one accepts the existence of three, and only three, networks operating at any given time, there will be severe limitations on the use of the regulatory process to alter the programs which viewers can watch," the well-funded study revealed.
? Other things are so obvious as to be not only disgusting but dangerous. So it was in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Erwin Charles Simants was acquitted, on the grounds of insanity, of shooting six family members to death and then sexually assaulting the female victims on October 18, 1975. Perhaps this particular crime should be entirely decriminalized: can one seriously suggest it ever being committed by a normal sort of fellow? Bring back the ayatollah!
? From the "Sorry about that" file of Don Adams comes word from the prolific Dixie demagogue George Wallace that he "was wrong" and those who lust for a return to segregation "ought to have their head examined." Wallace, who once ran his first wife for governor when he had played out his eligibility (she won) and later wiretapped his second wife's bedroom to guard against opportunistic Alabama state troopers, became nationally famous in 1963 for standing "in the schoolhouse door." The stance, which brought the three-term governor closer to an academic institution than he had ever previously ventured, was to prevent two young black taxpayers from joining their white brethren in pursuit of a college diploma. This radical move by the minority troublemakers prompted the one-time boxer to pledge "segregation forever" and allowed Wallace to claim in subsequent campaigns, quite correctly, that he was not one given to the obfuscation or "pussyfootin' " of more devious vote-getters. Yet now the perennial Democratic presidential aspirant meows: "I never intended that…the things I said would seem racist." He sheepishly concedes, "I was a little brash then." Is there no national hero worthy of our trust?
? The national press corps has gone into hysterics over increases in oil company profits for the third quarter of 1979—nearly as hysterical as they have become over Chrysler Motor's well-deserved losses. The eminent Tip O'Neal plunged so deeply into the cameras' spotlights as to pronounce the profits downright "sinful." This should prove a mighty blow to the petrol conglomerates, for if ever there was an expert on the question of sin, the shifty House Speaker is indubitably the one.
? By the landslide vote of 81 to 15, the US Senate maintained its high honor in the eyes of Americans everywhere by "denouncing" Georgia statesman Sen. Herman E. Talmadge for tainting that august body with "dishonor and disrepute." Strangely, Senator Talmadge's worldview must be quite unique, for he quickly thanked his colleagues and adjudged the condemnation "a personal victory " (one wonders what the man feared.) Talmadge, who managed to chisel the taxpayers out of $43,435 in false office expenses, forthrightly warbled, "I accept the committee's criticism because I believe that senators should be held to much higher standards than is commonplace." Eager Americans are now anxiously waiting to discover exactly how they may, if not currently in the US Senate, steal tens of thousands from the public treasury and not end up breaking bricks in a striped suit.
? The John F. Kennedy Library has been opened after long delays that seem fitting for such a public monument. Joseph Kennedy, III, the bright-eyed young son of the late Robert Kennedy, delivered a stinging dedication speech concerning the all-pervasive evils of great concentrations of wealth—a fear that his family has, when all is said and done, made an excellent case for being concerned with.
? In a demonstration of the realities of economic forces far beyond the comprehension of the FTC's antitrust division, 500 Lima, Peru, prostitutes have gone on strike, complaining that increased fee schedules will reduce the quantity demanded. The young lovelies have taken a walk on management, so to speak, and have set up picket lines outside their bordellos. Send your placard suggestions in care of REASON. (How about, "When prices go up, customers go down," or "More Bucks, Less ____"?)
? And in the spirit that made American labor unions the envy of workers 'round the world, negotiations betwixt six large motion picture studios and New York Local 644, a cameraman's union, were broken off when the union negotiator referred to the studios' representative as "you kike." The union hero, Walter Diehl, "let loose a string of expletives and threats at representatives of the individual companies and the industry's negotiator, culminating in referring to him as a kike." An apology was demanded but not forthcoming. The strike continued. Enlightened union leadership poured forth on the political front as well. In a brave attempt to steer our nation straight, union leadership has urged its members to "close ranks to defend the government from assaults by the cranks, the nuts, and reactionaries." W. Howard McClennan, chief executive officer of the client, AFL-CIO Public Employee Department, issued calls for his flock of two million to resist the inhuman attack of "ultra-right-wing outfits, tax-cut advocates, and other union enemies." Those "kikes" are everywhere!
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".
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