Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee "Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?" Iacocca is the originator of the nation's most aggressive "Buy American" campaign. So why is it that Chrysler recently bought a Canadian-made plane as the firm's only corporate jet? Hypocrisy? Nah. Lee just meant we should all buy North American.
If you can't beat 'em, tax 'em. That's the philosophy of the Arizona legislature, which voted to license and tax drug dealers. The law requires pushers to pay a $100 license fee and luxury taxes of $10 to $125 per ounce on drugs in their possession. To get around the self-incrimination clause of the Constitution, the tax collectors are barred from turning over information about license-holders to police. And anyone, dealer or not, caught with drugs and lacking tax stamps would be automatically liable for the back taxes. To the shock and dismay of legislators, no one has signed up for a license yet.
Remember that old Henny Youngman joke: "A man said to me he hadn't had a bite in a week. So I bit him!" It's turned into reality in New York City. Officials are quite concerned because, while instances of dog bites decreased substantially last year, human bites were up by almost 10 percent. The Health Department adds that the chances of infection from human bites are greater, because humans have more germs than most dogs. Of the 1,557 human perpetrators, six were recorded as sexual biters—love munches that were a bit too enthusiastic. What an agnawing habit!
Up against the wall, IBM Selectric! Stung by anti-government leaflets, Communist Romania is banning possession or use of typewriters by citizens who possess a criminal record or counterrevolutionary concepts. The decree also requires that all typewriters—and typefaces—be registered with the police. Elementary school children, however, will still be allowed to keep their crayons and finger paints.
It's difficult to restrain one's glee at the news that three women who worked as Nautilus instructors at Jane Fonda's Workout in San Francisco have filed a $3-million sex-discrimination suit against the egalitarianese film star. The women say they were paid at least $1 less per hour than two men who did the same work at the exercise studio. There were also some problems with unpaid overtime, which Fonda's lawyers say were merely "unintended oversights in a brand-new business." The lawyers also say the women have been mailed a total of $2,500, representing an additional dollar for each hour they had worked at the studio "in an attempt to have all employees feel positively about the Workout." But the women aren't buying the pay-off. They want to see Jane get a workout in court. And now Ms. Fonda will know what it's like to be in business in "capitalist" America.
Hawaiian police are enlisting private citizens to have sex with prostitutes and then testify against them in court. Honolulu hotel manager Steve Fox testified that police gave him money and instructed him to drive around until he picked up a prostitute. He exchanged $70 with hooker Francine Tookes for sexual intercourse in his parked car and then drove her to a spot where police were waiting. Fox says he took on the assignment out of a sense of "civic pride." The waiting list for volunteers is not to be believed—"civic pride" hasn't been so aroused in years.
Is there anything on earth slower than a snail stuck on a piece of flypaper? Try the New York City Transit Authority. City Controller Harrison Goldin charges that at the rate the authority is repairing the city's run-down fleet of subway cars, all 6,400 cars won't be fixed for at least 725 years. After three years and $104 million allocated under the city's Car Overhaul Reconstruction Enhancement program, the authority has only just started a pilot project that includes 20 cars—16 of which will be sent to private vendors outside of New York. "This is like a skit out of Saturday Night Live," Goldin said.
The spirit of liberty is nowhere to be found in New York City's newspaper unions, which are spitting mad because USA Today, the national nonunion newspaper published by the Gannett chain, is installing vending machines on city streets without government approval. City attorney Jeffrey Friedlander says there's no law regulating vending machines. Union attorney Theodore Kheel whines, "The city is saying you can peddle without a license—and that just can't be!" What's this country coming to, anyway? Pretty soon, people will think they can buy and sell goods without some bureaucrat as a middleman.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".