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The American Spectator, April 1974 Issue PDF - Previous Issue / Next Issue
21 Articles, 32pp

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FEBRUARY 1974 AND across the width and
breadth of America a concerned citizenry
celebrated Ground-hog Day. In Hinsdale,
Illinois, a ground hog living just off the
Illinois Tollway was reported shot by irate
truckers. And in Washington, D.C., the
ground hog apparently saw his shadow, but
was unable to distinguish it from the other
shadowy figures that abound in those environs,
for the city was promptly blanketed
in its worst snow fall since the Harding
Administration. And while on the subject
of shadowy figures, the President unveiled
a $300 billion budget, a prodigy of shadowy
figure' , and slithering proposals that remindeo
one pundit of a kind of gigantic life
insurance policy. Whether it will insure the
President's life is still dubious.
• A Gallup Poll did indicate that support
for Mr. Nixon's performance in and around
the White House has risen 3 percent, unfortunately
there were less palmy indicators
for the Administration to muse upon.
In a vote extending broad power to the
House Judiciary Committee's impeachment
investigation, Mr. Nixon's forces
were turned back 410 to 4, indicating a
discernible mushiness in the Administration's
support in the lower chamber. And
Administration strategists are still perplexed
by an apparent setback in the race
for Vice President Gerald Ford's seat. After
sixty-four years of dominance over the district,
Republicans were mauled by Mr.
Richard F. VanderVeen, a political ne'erdo-
well who had lost every race he had ever
entered, including the Saginaw County
sack race.
• On February 4 Mr. Egil (Bud) Krogh
became the first of Mr. Nixon's law-andorder
energumens to go to jail. The former
White House aide whose imaginative anxieties
about security had induced him to
lead a mysterious White House cabal, since
dubbed "the plumbers," left for jail just
days after an obscure social justice organization
in California, the Symbionese liberation
Army (SLA), spirited off the
daughter of Mr. William Randolph Hearst,
Jr. and threatened mayhem upon her
unless Mr. Hearst provided California's
needy with $400 million of victuals. Little
is known about the SLA save that its selfstyled
information officer, Mrs. Nancy Ling
Perry, was once a topless blackjack dealer
in San Francisco and an orange juice
squeezer at a Berkeley juice bar. As this
magazine goes to print, details for ransoming
Miss Hearst are being worked Qut between
her father and six public-spirited
radical groups that have agreed, ever so
hesitantly, to serve as negotiators and recipients
of the Hearst ransom money. On
February 21 another idealistic group, the
American Revolutionary Army, kidnapped
the editor of the Atlanta Constitution, Mr.
Reg Murphy. Finally that lonely struggle
of California's Congressman Moss to end
Secret Service protection of Mr. Spiro
Agnew met with success, it having become
obvious that in a country like the United
States such armed security is utterly unnecessary
and uneconomical.
• Back in Washington, Pfc. Robert K.
Preston became the first American ever to
lead an aerial assault on the Presidential
Palace. Mr. Preston, a hauntingly articulate
helicopter mechanic, commandeered a
"Huey" helicopter from Maryland's Tipton
Airfield and began a daring two-hour flight
to Washington (a trip generally taking 15
minutes) which ended when his craft was
brought down on the White House's south
lawn in a hail of shotgun pellets and weird
music. Fortunately, the President's
daughter, Julie, had earlier undergone
emergency surgery in Indianapolis, so her
mother and her husband were not in the
executive mansion when Mr. Preston's helicopter
arrived. Mr. Nixon was of course
floating in Key Biscayne with his distinguished
chum, Mr. Bebe Rebozo.
• Predappio, Italy, witnessed one of the
most dastardly acts ever committed in that
famous city when a cowardly fiend made
off in the dark of the night with two offering
boxes from the tomb of Mr. Benito
Mussolini, the former Italian statesman
and efficiency expert. Congratulations are
in order for Mr. Lysander Small of Port
Elizabeth, South Africa, who, after bungling
suicide attempts that entailed shooting
himself in the head, slashing his wrists,
ingesting overdoses of sleeping pills, and
throwing himself into an oncoming train,
finally accomplished his life's ambition by
imbibing a copious draught of hydrochloric
acid. Back in the States, Mrs. Vincent Ostrowski
of Chicago, Illinois, was beaten to
death by the fins of a washing machine
when her bra strap became entangled in
the drum. Within hours Chicago's Consumers'
Emergency Investigating Unit
(CEIU) was on the sce"ne, but to little avail
—Mrs. Ostrowski is a goner, and her
washing machine is a wreck, a fact that
will not go unmentioned in CEIU's report.
Finally a tale of singular sepulchral
grimness comes from Fort Lauderdale
where local beach boy, Sudsie Sautier, died
violently on a beach after consuming a
pound of unpopped popcorn, two quarts of
beer and then stretching out in the sun.
• Perhaps it is another example of the
confusion brought to Washington by the
Watergate scandals, but Professor G. Etzel
Pearch's visionary proposal to recast the
map of America into thirty-eight renamed
states is hopelessly flummoxed in red tape.
There seems little likelihood that the proposal
will be adopted in this session of
Congress, though the University of California
geography professor persuasively
argues that the savings to state government
alone would amount to $4.6 million.
And unexpected move by San Francisco
policemen pleasantly surprised anxious
civil libertarians when police refused to
close one of that enlightened city's most
advanced cultural attractions, its encounter
parlors. Until otherwise stated,
these famed salons will remain open to
discriminating clients of either sex who pay
one dollar a minute to talk to naked hostesses.
If clients wish to pay a bit more,
nude hostesses will talk back to them, and
the more intellectually gifted hostesses will
even read from pornographic books. Buds
of cultural freedom were even seen in
Spain where the supreme court held the
possession of Playboy magazine tasteless
but licit. On the other hand the struggles
of two of America's leading political liberals,
Rupert Vance Hartke and Vincent A.
Hill, for the preservation and dilation of
American freedom received stunning setbacks.
Mr. Hartke, who has been affectionately
tagged as "the Jackass of the Senate,"
struck out when his suit to exempt
members of Congress from airport searches
was dismissed out of hand, and Mr. Hill,
a city council candidate in Santa Maria,
California, whose sole issue is to legalize
marijuana, was sent to the hoosegow for
possession.
• Women's Liberation continues to work
marvels. The fiancee of Mr. Randy Steven
Pigg refused to marry him until he changed
his name to the more elegant name of
Kendric. Wholesale prices soared at a 37.2
percent seasonally adjusted annual rate.
And that plan for castrating rapists was
rejected in the Georgia Senate by a vote
of 33 to 19. In London, Mr. Basil Brown
became the world's first victim of carrot
juice addiction. The English scientist, who
was known to ingest almost one million
units of Vitamin A per day, collapsed in
a London produce market. The pathologist
who performed the autopsy stated that the
effect of Mr. Brown's enormous intake of
Vitamin A and carrot juice was indistinguishable
from alcoholic poisoning. When
he died his skin was bright yellow. On
February 15 one of the three whooping
cranes bred in captivity passed away. He
would have been nineteen in June. And in
Berkeley, public health officials closed the
Rolling River Health Foods Shoppe when
as yet unidentified bacteria growing on a
shelf of oatmeal bread began grabbing customers.
Rolling River officials promised to
consider putting preservatives in future
loaves.
• Finally some twenty-four hours after
his arrest in Moscow, Mr. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,
the Russian author, was flown to
West Germany in the first known case of
forcible exile from Russia since Leon
Trotsky. Later in the month, after Mr. Solzhenitsyn
moved to a temporary residence in
Zurich, speculation grew as to if and when
the Soviets would release the author's
family and files. Less serious but equally
lively speculation arose in America concerning
how the New York Times would
finally describe the philosophical position
of this deeply religious advocate of traditional
Russian life. Mr. Sakharov, the
Times has described as a "twentieth century
scientific liberal," and Mr. Medvedev is
a "reform-minded Marxist-Leninist" but
how to describe an anticommunist whose
first public act in Switzerland was a visit
to Mass? Presently the Times refers to him
as a "classic Slavophile novelist," but some
day the music will have to be faced. •
The Alternative April 1974


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