Who says the IRS isn't responsive to public sentiment? After suffering severe embarrassment from several well-publicized instances of children's life savings being seized to pay their parents' overdue taxes, the IRS says it will cease taking candy from babies: It will no longer ask banks to seize any account with a balance of under $100. In the cases in which children's accounts have been commandeered because their parents owed taxes, the accounts have included the name or Social Security number of a parent, said the IRS. This prevented the banks from identifying the real owners. The new procedure, claims IRS Commissioner Lawrence B. Gibbs, is "in keeping with our initiative of trying to treat taxpayers like customers." Yeah, customers who get screwed.
Poor Daniel David Candelario was minding his own business and robbing the Oakland branch of the California Savings and Loan, when all of a sudden his pants caught fire. Seems a bank employee slipped a smoke bomb into a bundle of cash the thief was stealing. Daniel stuck the packet (and the bomb, which is supposed to help police locate bank robbers) into the pocket of his pants. The bomb exploded, and Daniel suffered severe burns in his genital area. Now he's suing the bank and the city for $2 million for intending to injure him. He also claims medical treatment was withheld and police officers made unkind remarks about his fate. He charges that the bank and the manufacturer of the bomb knew or should have known the bomb was "inherently dangerous." And robbing a bank isn't?
The public agency that provides much of the drinking water for northern New Jersey buys bottled water for its own offices. The North Jersey District Water Supply Commission spent over $400 for bottled water in the first six months of 1987. The practice has been going on for more than three years. Officials at competing water companies say they use their own water in office coolers. "Anybody who drinks bottled water around here should be fired," says James F. Egan of the Passaic Valley Water Commission. "It's a heresy."
It was a close vote, but the California State Assembly turned down a bill to guarantee Benji the dog, Morris the cat, and other animal stars a comfortable retirement when their glory days are over. The bill would have forced owners of mammals used in movies, TV, or advertising to pay 1 percent of their pets' revenues into a state Animal Trust Fund. Grants would have been made to individuals or government agencies that run shelters for the ex-performers.
Didn't President Reagan promise to abolish the Department of Education a couple of campaigns ago? Well, the bureaucrats are still at work. Their latest mission has been to order school officials in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, to remove the word girls from the reference to pompon girls in the student handbook and to allow both sexes to participate in the activity. And the agency has told the Aldrich Junior High School in Beloit that it will have to change the symbol of its "Warriors" sports teams from a savage warrior to a "more majestic brave." The districts have 30 days to file a plan of compliance before they lose federal funds. Parents of school children can rest easier knowing the educrats are on the job.
Italians elected porn actress Ilona Staller to parliament on the Radical Party ticket. As a victory thank-you, Staller invited her supporters to Rome's Piazza Navona to kiss and fondle her breasts. The well-wishers became frenzied with delight, and riot police had to disperse the crowd. Three pillars of the piazza's famous fountain were damaged in the ruckus. The Radical Party requested that Staller resign, but she refused. Now in parliament, Staller has immunity and can't be prosecuted for charges of obscene behavior in public. And we thought the Gary Hart campaign was hot stuff!
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".