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

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JANUARY, THE END of the first year of Mr.
Nixon's second administration, and it
seems that the President's traditional honeymoon
with the press and the loyal opposition
is about over. Early in the month
Operation Candor was canceled when the
Senate Watergate Committee became gluttonous
and asked for more than six
hundred White House tapes and documents.
But by the end of the month misery
was,in the air.
• For one thing the Internal Revenue
Service, fresh from a triumph over the celebrated
miser, Mr. Jack Benny, had
reopened its investigation of Mr. Nixon's
tax return and promised to look into Mrs.
Tricia Nixon Cox's returns as well. Then
a panel of high-fidelity experts reported
that not even the buzz of H.R. Haldeman's
pet housefly could have caused that eighteen
and one-half minute embarrassment in
the tape of his conversation with the President
on June 20, 1972. It was the result
of deliberate erasures, disclosures which
proved too much even for an old sport like
Judge Sirica, who turned his collected evidence
over to the grand jury and recommended
that it consider possible criminal
•charges. Worse still, special prosecutor
Leon Jaworski, after ordering the FBI into
the case, stated publicly that his office was
engaged in plea bargaining with at least
one quondam public official and that indictments
would be forthcoming in a matter
of weeks. Newsweek, after publishing
a January 14 cover story on Mr. Ronald
Ziegler that implicated Brooks Brothers,
Disneyland, J. Walter Thompson, and the
University of Southern California, followed
it up with a cover story implying that
it was only a matter of time before Mr.
Nixon resigned or was indicted. And on
January 21 one of the most awesome symphonies
of shrieks and whoops ever heard
in Washington resounded from Capitol Hill
indicating that though not all the boys
were back yet, the historic Ninety-third
Congress had reconvened. Mr. Nixon's hour
was at hand.
• The Minnesota Vikings woke up late on
the afternoon of January 13 to discover
that they had lost the Super Bowl to the
Miami Dolphins. Mr. William Saxbe was
sworn in as Mr. Nixon's fourth attorney
general in one and one-half years. And top
executives in the dog food industry became
uneasy when Mr. Ralph Nader's dog passed
• Zaire continues its wave of reform.
From Kinshasa, Zaire's Minister in Charge
of Political Affairs and Coordination of
Party Activities announced that the
twenty-one gun salute will be replaced by
the less expensive twenty-one drum salute.
But while the spirit of reform energizes the
civic life of Zaire, it threatens with extinction
one of Swaziland's most colorful pageants,
its incomparable fertility rite. For
years Swazilanders have believed that the
limbs of a freshly slaughtered human,
when planted in a farmer's field, will increase
his land's yield.. Now philistines
high in government are demanding an end
to these local customs before they spread
to California. And Uganda's famous president,
General Idi Amin, has initiated a
"Save Britain" fund. Having heard of the
effects of the fuel shortage in Britain the
Napoleon of Uganda kicked in $5000 and
signed a magisterial decree urging his
countrymen to help "save our former colonial
masters from economic catastrophe."
• Apparently marijuana will remain illegal
in America despite a UCLA scientist's
findings that it may aid asthma, but at
least the Agricultural Department is dropping
its ban on the use of swine blood in
sausages and puddings. The grim business
of liberating America is being made a bit
easier by courageous educators at the University
of California at Davis, who are finally
recognizing the personhood of dogs.
Dogs will now be allowed to reside in dormitories
provided the question has followed
the course of democratic process. Further,
the old myth about the supposed inferiority
of canine intelligence was given the boot
when dogs were admitted to classes with
no apparent depression in the curve. What
is even more promising is the fact that this
great university has initiated a prototype
Canine Studies Department by offering two
credit hours for a class called "Companion
Animals" in which students discuss their
pets' experiences and their individual
hang-ups in dealing with pets on a person
to person basis. Guest lecturers discourse
on the psychology of canine companionship
and on the legal responsibilities of pet
ownership—you've come a long way, Spot!
• On January 19 Egypt and Israel signed
an agreement to disengage their delicately
intermingled armies along the Suez Canal,
and President Nixon gave a generally optimistic
account of the energy situation in
a nationally broadcast radio address. Three
hours later UCLA lost its first game in
eighty-nine starts. On that same day the
theory that an American presence in Vietnam
would induce Red China to attack was
somewhat tarnished when Chinese troops
swarmed across South Vietnamese outposts
in theParacel was a sad moment
for the South Vietnamese, but the diplomats
of that nation did not do their cause
any good when they distracted delegates at •
the United Nations from the far more crucial
matter of dealing constructively with
Representative Patricia Hutar's proposal to
hold a worldwide conference on women's
problems with special attention to women
in India.
• Meanwhile the Soviet Union has
planned a thousand-mile ski trek from the
Taimyr Peninsula to the North Pole, apparently
for the purpose of testing survival
foods and ski wax. And there were some
unusual robberies this month. On January
3 a gunman fleeing from a hold-up in
Miami jumped into the wrong getaway car,
which happened to be an unmarked patrol
car. And in Richmond, California, a woman
dressed in "a fashionable green pantsuit"
walked into the local branch of Bank of
America, seized $2,974 from the teller, and
drove away in a new gold Cadillac with a
chauffeur at the wheel. Who knows? She
might even get caught now that the Burger
Court has decided by a vote of six to three
that the "exclusionary rule" does not apply
to many cases of unsought evidence. Another
debacle for civil liberties occurred in
Manila, where a young man shouted fire
in a crowded theater and found to his
amazement that one girl was killed and
fifty others injured in the ensuing stampede.
The saddened idealist has not yet
been identified.
• All in all, it was a lackluster January.
The energy crisis kept the sophisticated
natives of Albion groping for candles and
torches and Prime Minister Heath's neck.
And millions of early morning insomniacs
combed the heavens in vain for a blazing
streak, some expecting the Comet Kahoutek,
others the Second Coming. What is
worse, psychologist Dr. Susan Schiffman
informs us that we simply cannot get along
without light. After blending a wide variety
of foods down to the same texture, Dr.
Schiffman found that if we can't see the
food, we have almost no idea what we are
eating. She also tells us that as we grow
older our sense of sweetness and saltness
deteriorates long before our sense of bitterness
and sourness—though this has
been common knowledge for millenia. But
none of this seems to bother Marty Snyder,
a blind Republican committeeman in New
York who helps review X-rated movies and
votes on whether they are obscene/Tomography
isn't a case of seeing," he insists,
"it's a case of feeling." Yes, on Mr. Snyder's
advice mankind will survive this long,
wintry gloom. Three people, however, will
not: Dr. Alice Chase, author of Nutrition
for Health, died in London of malnutrition,
Tex Ritter, former singer and cowboy
movie star, whose hits included "You Are
My Sunshine," of a heart attack, and Glen
Jackson of Melbourne, Australia, who was
fatally stabbed on the beach by an uprooted
umbrella which the wind carried for fifty
yards in the air.
• As the Western world teeters over the
abyss of decadence all eyes are on Chicago
where Alderman Edward Burke introduced
a resolution prohibiting topless manicurists
with the philosophical observation
that "I think people who would be silly
enough to get an $11 shoeshine and manicure
need the protection of the city." In
Detroit eight indignant employees of a
topless massage parlor complained to the
State Employment Security Commission
when their employer would not allow them
to eat submarine sandwiches. And in Great
Britain the government took a hard line
against a gentleman from Roachdale who'
wanted tax-exempt status for his "temple
of love" which turned out to be little more
than a counseling service for floozies.
• But all of this effort at uplift may have
come too late, for it seems that the communist
world is giving up on the West. By the
end of the month China had purged both
Beethoven and Schubert. Russia had found
Mr. Solzhenitsyn without literary merit.
And Pravda expressed "serious concern"
over the appalling growth of "tasteless imitations
of Western folk songs," crammed
with "false pathos or sweet sentimentality."
In a plea for revolutionary moral
sentiment Pravda called for lilting melodies
for "use in civic demonstrations and
in tight friendly circles around campfires."
Who says there is no joy in communism!

The Alternative March 1974

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