ANOTHER ONE of those puzzling minor lies from Jimmy Carter: After only three months of jogging, he says his pulse rate has dropped from 60 to 40. As experienced runners know, your pulse might decline 10 points - but not more - after five years of steady jogging.
Is there a movement toward candor among business publications, a tendency to shed the kid gloves and say, "All right, men, here's what you really want to know"? I can't say for sure, of course, but I can tell you that Boardroom Reports now promises inside tips on "How smart businessmen are winning tax deductions for money they spend on hobbies and the cost of getting to work each day" and Legal ways to keep union organizers off your premises." My favorite, from the Expatriate Investor, is a special section of advice entitled "Extradition, Deportation, and Asylum."
A company in California, Applied Hydroponics, is selling a product called the Hydropot, which, according to the company's owner, one Dave Berkman, makes it possible "for anyone to grow as much marijuana for their personal use as they want in a space the size of a closet." If you think Berkman may be partaking excessively of his own product, consider this recent bulletin from UPI in Saramento: Assemblyman Willie Brown Jr.'s home cultivation bill . . . cleared the Criminal Justice Committee on a 5-4 vote March 12 and is awaiting a hearing date before the Ways and Means Committee."
I do not smoke marijuana, but I am a consumer of alcoholic beverages, and as such want to protest the conversion to the metric system. When the idea was first proposed, my world federalist sympathies had led me to conclude the switch was a harmless step, toward world order. Now it is clear that the whole things was engineered by the wine and liquor industry as part of its plot to give us ever less at ever high prices. You now pay the same, or more, for a measly 1.5 liters as you used to pay for a half a gallon.
There is one simple reform that I think would restore some candor to America government: Put under oath all congressional testimony by executives branch witnesses. Ninety percent of such testimony is not under oath today, and 90 percent is removed from the precise truth in degree varying from the subtlest unconscious nuance to the grossest and most deliberate distortion.
The Department of Energy has been requiring states to allow right turns on red lights in order to save gas. The District of Colmbia convinced the DOE that only a small percentage of its intersection were suitable for the "right turn on red" rule. But then came the tough decision. Would the District pay for 600 signs saying "Right Turn on Red Permitted," or 6,000 signs saying "No Right Turn on Red"? If you have followed the DOE and the D. C. government, you will already have guessed which choice was made, after several years of haggling between the two bodies: The District will buy the 6,000 signs, to be posted at 85 percent of the city's intersections, at the cost of $375,000.
The State of California pay its legislators up to $220 a month to they can lease cars to drive on "state business." They are allowed to order new cars every two years, and this year's lineup may give an indication of how seriously the California representatives are taking the energy crisis and the threat of higher gasoline prices. Among the cars they chose for the state subsidy, according to a survey by the San Jose Mercury News, are: a 1979 Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham (12 mpg); a 1979 Lincoln Continental Versailles (10 mpg); a 1979 Chrysler LeBaron (14 mpg); and a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, with optional 403 cubic-inch engine (13 mpg). Only one lawmaker chose a car that met the average 19 mpg fuel economy required of manufacturers. He drove a Honda Accord (24 mpg), but said he would have to turn it in because the legislature has a firm policy forbidding the leasing of foreign-made cars.
I've long admired the skill of those who write the annual reports of our great corporations. Here is the way Citicorp handled the accusations of an employee regarding the $100 million in profits it earned from pushing the dollar down and other foreign exchange dealings:
"Early in 1978 Mr. David Edwards, a former Citibank employe, alleged that Citibank was conducting its foreign exchange operations in a manner inconsistent with the exchange control and tax laws of several European countries. The Citibank board of directors requested outside counsel, Shearman & Sterling, to review Mr. Edwards' allegations and Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., as well as local counsel in various European countries, were retained to assist in the review.
"After approximately eight months of investigation, Shearman & Sterling submitted an extensive report which found no pattern of violation of foreign exchange tax laws in the various countries reviewed, but that certain transactions had been identified which could be viewed as being in possible violation of local foreign exchange regulations or tax laws."
They really let it all hang out, don't they?
How little writers understand about themselves was illustrated in a recent interview with Mario Puzo, in which he described "The Godfather" as an attack on the American capitalist system. He should read Khruschev Remembers" for evidence that "The Godfather" was equally true of the Russian communist court under Joseph Stalin - or that, to the extent it was untrue, it was only because Vito Corleone had a benign and loyal side that Stalin did not possess. In any event, Puzo wrote a fine novel that was made into two movies that are even better than the book at depicting the paranow that rules the world today.
Repeal the jaywalking laws - that's my latest cause. I'm against crossing at intersections, where those cars coming around the corner from your left or right can get you before you have a chance to react. In the middle of the block, if you wait until all cars are at least a block away and then run like hell, you have a chance of surviving. There's only one safe form of intersection - where all the traffic stops while the pedestrians have the green light.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is the highest paid agency in Washington, with about 30 percent of its employees GS-15s or higher, averging better than $40,000 in annual income. Another indication of the declining relationship between pay and performance.