Brickbats

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? Farsighted, broad-minded, and deep-thinking actress Joan Hackett has hosted a Hollywood gala that could very well signal the dawning of an entirely new way of life for every single one of us—or, at the very least, a new government program to study a new way of life for every one of us. The scientifically inclined Ms. Hackett was the hostess of a "solar celebration" at her fashionable hill-top home recently, where enough stars were in orbit to power Skylab II. The celebs pigged out on zucchini, toast, and quiche—all browned, of course, in solar-ignited ovens. With the help of a government-subsidized Solar Lobby, the gathered solarities were discussing their strategy for getting American citizens to voluntarily pay several times as much money for energy production. The group, in addition to eating quiche with actresses, promotes their philosophy of radiation-worship mostly through meetings with writers of game shows and by appearing on academic panels hosted by TV personality Mike Douglas. "Movie stars and celebrities can get people to investigate technology," observed solar-promoter Ty Braswell. And that is exactly what Pam Dawber, star of the popular sit-com Mork and Mindy, aims to do. "It's so damn obvious," said the formerly sighted actress while looking at the sun. "And we're not using it." Thank you, Mindy, for bringing the sun to our attention.

? A new federally funded study for the National Center for Education Statistics (a franchise of the Department of Education) reveals that "Catholic and other private high schools provide a better education than public ones do, and in some respects are less racially segregated." The research was conducted by the eminent James S. Coleman, a University of Chicago sociologist whose earlier work was used by federal courts to justify orders for mandatory school busing to achieve racial integration. "The evidence," claims Coleman today, "is that private schools do produce better cognitive outcomes than public schools. When family background factors that predict achievement are controlled, students in Catholic and other private schools are shown to achieve at a higher level than public-school students." The Coleman report was instantly attacked by many scholars who work for the public schools—or sell them studies on a commission basis.

? Reba Malamud, what kind of thoughtless person are you, anyway? You may have a big heart in continuing to work at age 66 and supporting your son who is 40 years old and suffers from irreversible brain damage. But, selling candy, tobacco, and newspapers? It might be your road to riches, but think about the disadvantaged.

Well, it's good to know somebody does. Because that spot taken up in that Michigan-owned Detroit office building will soon be taken by a more worthy individual: the state of Michigan has evicted Reba Malamud as of July 31, 1981. State law prohibits her profiteering in such a way, for Ms. Malamud is not blind. So you can go poke your eyes out, Reba, but you'll just have to reap your monopoly profits elsewhere until you do. Because somebody cares about the less fortunate. Justice is blind—but you're not.

? An alarming statistic has been uncovered in the recent crime epidemic: "65% of young women in this country own guns and keep them in their households," according to the women's publication Glamour. No comment (just a warning).

? Those crafty little devils in the IRS enforcement division have nabbed yet another innocent American citizen. James L. Coburn, of Chicago, Illinois, was pinned with a $15,000 fine and three years' probation by the taxacrats—and only his advanced age (70 years) precluded sterner measures. The trouble for this American patriot began in 1977, when the then 66-year-old Mr. Coburn filed his first income tax return. He was soon investigated for a file-cabinet full of violations and convicted of understating his income by $81,000 during the 1974-76 epoch. But Coburn may get the last smile, for his income was easily several multiples of such a sum, his employment being of the most rewarding sort. Jimmy Coburn was "assistant state's attorney" for Cook County, prosecuting criminal tax fraud.

? Criminal behavior plagues still another American institution: the US Postal Service. In an embarrassing blow to post office professionals, Mr. Robert Handelsman (27 years of "service") was busted in New York City for taking payoffs to speed mail deliveries. A federal court heard all about the bribes from such corporate customers as Westinghouse Broadcasting, Revere Copper, and the law firm Dreyer and Traub. The practice is highly illegal, and authorities quickly stepped in to eliminate the extortion and freeze delivery time to its normal pace.

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