? For all the foam and fizz about the Iranian mess, the Ayatollah has come up with a few clever thoughts. For instance, regarding President Jimmy: "He is a politician, not in the healthy sense of politics [sic], but in his own way. He commits any treachery to fulfill his personal interests, under the illusion that he is serving his country's interest." This shrewd holy man also must sport a fancy array of high-priced attorneys, for he has filed suit against his predecessor, the Shah, for $56.5 billion. Only $20 billion of this represents money actually stolen from the public coffers, the remainder being for "punitive" damages—which should surely serve as a disincentive for this sort of activity in the future. (Can you imagine asking a collection agency to go out and round up a $30 billion award for punitive damages?) This legal action, while yawned at by the nation's press, could easily prove a landmark. What are the possible effects of a legal finding that politicians are liable for monies they chisel from the public dole?
? Speaking of which, Senator Kennedy is outraged by Carter administration bigwigs who are threatening to "punish the people of cities whose officials do not endorse the president." The concern was over a comment by Secretary of Transportation Neil Goldschmidt, that Kennedy-backer and Chicago mayor Jane Byrne "would not be at the top of my list" when a whopping $2 billion in transportation bribes is distributed. (Given the ineffectiveness of federal programs, one interesting point is that incumbent presidents may soon have to pass out promises to withhold "help" from Washington in order to buy votes.) The administration insisted that the Honorable Mr. Goldschmidt was simply "jesting," yet Kennedy remained incensed. How is he going to get into the Oval Office and be able to wield enormous powers to buy his own votes if this sort of thing goes on today?
? Internal Revenue agents have joined the libertarian bandwagon and are suing the IRS itself for investigating their tax returns before properly informing them of such details as, for example, their constitutional rights. The auditors have good reason to be offended, for they would be just the ones to know how effective such federal strongarm tactics can be. Government officials were considerably more friendly in the northeastern region of China. There, in a remote coal-mining settlement, the State has provided 59 lonely miners with one wife per person. The men were having trouble in the dating scene because of their dangerous occupation and the fact that their village is considered the pits—even by Chinese standards. The New China News Agency reports, "The Party's warmth inspired the miners, and since 1977 this team has topped its annual quota each year"—further proof that Communism works, of course.
? On the down side, however: a discouraging report that "ultraleftist Party officials killed thousands of local authorities and others in China's Nei Monggol autonomous region during the early 1970's," if UPI is to be believed. According to a Communist Party newspaper, "Cadres of the Chinese and Mongolian nationalities affected amounted to several hundred thousand. Dozens of thousands are dead. It wreaked unprecedented havoc in the Mongolian autonomous region." Oh, well. Every system has its drawbacks. Under capitalism, we must put up with Howard Cosell on Monday night football.
? Fidel Castro, the popular Cuban dictator, has surprisingly condemned the Cuban working man. Suggesting that "slovenliness, cronyism, and lack of worker discipline" are foiling the plans of hard-working central planners and embarrassing the socialist experiment in general, he attacked specifically the suboptimal performance of the nation's railway system. Yet the Marxist sex symbol made clear that the nonalienated socialist supermen are goofing off not only in "the public transportation sector," but in "the food industry and educational system," and are symptomatic of "the shortcomings of our system, of our socialism." Castro was mystified by the fact that Cubans show such zest for foreign assignments of great danger: "Hundreds of thousands turn up wanting to go to Ethiopia, or Angola, or wherever, demonstrating their revolutionary political consciousness in some things. But when it is required on a daily basis, it fails to appear." Only that sort of intellect which really, really believes in the communist heaven could fail to solve the "mystery" of why the only time the citizenry shows great zeal is when it is about to gain an exit visa to "wherever."
? And here's a fellow you'll be wanting to invite over for your next social gathering: a plaintiff has sued the maker of Raleigh cigarettes because of severe burns suffered when he took a snooze while smoking one. How much could he get, do you think, for pigging out on your avocado dip and party mix and proving increased obesity?
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".