Following a lawsuit by Jeremy Rifkin's Foundation on Economic Trends, the EPA has allocated funds to measure how much methane gas flatulent cows pump into the atmosphere. The foundation contends that methane emitted by livestock contributes to global warming. You can bet that the children of the people who measure cow gas aren't going to bring their parents to school on career day.
"It's a morbid observation, but if everyone on earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem," says Newsweek Senior Writer Jerry Adler. What do you want to bet that that's next on the EPA agenda?
The National Coalition on Television Violence has asked George Bush to remove Arnold Schwarzenegger as chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness. The group charges that Schwarzenegger is an inappropriate role model because his films promote violence. Arnold responded, "They're just a bunch of girly men who are jealous of my pumpitude."
After years of research, the DEA claims to have come up with a scientifically valid profile of the typical drug carrier. The DEA is loath to reveal the traits that will lead them to search someone, but Mother Jones scoured court documents and found that the following forms of behavior have triggered actual searches: carrying new suitcases, carrying old suitcases; appearing nervous, appearing calm; buying a round-trip ticket, buying a one-way ticket; traveling alone, traveling with a companion; deplaning from the front of the airplane, deplaning from the middle of the plane, and deplaning from the rear of the plane. If I were carrying drugs, I'd try to be a little less obvious.
And the U.S. Customs Service is training Boy Scouts to help airport inspectors frisk suspect travelers. Whatever happened to helping little old ladies across the street?
Mike Webel owns a business in Chicago that employs 26 people. Twenty-one of his employees are Latino; five are black. So he didn't worry when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asked to see his records. He should have. The EEOC told him that based upon their formulas, he should be employing 8.45 blacks. The agency has ordered him to "spend $10,000 on newspaper ads to find black people who didn't work for me so I can pay them $123,000 for not working for me."
In San Francisco, Latino firemen have demanded that the Civil Service Commission declare Frank Cercos—who finished third on a recent test for battalion chief—ineligible for affirmative action benefits. Cercos is of Spanish descent but not Mexican-American. The firefighters want the definition of Hispanic changed to include only those of Mexican or other Latin American ancestry. This may be a little radical for San Franciscans, but has anyone heard of promoting solely on the basis of merit?
The BBC has advised its stations to avoid playing certain records because of the fighting in the Persian Gulf. On the list of 67 songs are John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine," "War" by Edwin Starr, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" by Elton John, "I'm on Fire" by Bruce Springsteen, and ABBA's "Under Attack" and "Waterloo." Unfortunately, everything else by ABBA can still be played.
Finally, George McGovern has announced he is thinking about running for president in 1992. First the Grateful Dead have a comeback, then America gets involved in a war in a country that most of us didn't know existed last June. Now McGovern. I'm waiting for Rod Serling to step out from behind a curtain.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".