This is a report to those of you who fled from Our Town for the weekend.
Everything is just fine here. There is nothing to worry about.
The city is filled with tourists who behave in strange ways, but we're accustomed to that. We can cope.
District Liners drive 10 miles an hour faster than the speed limit and go through red lights. Visitors drive 10 miles an hour slower than the speed limit and stop when they see a green light. They hope the signal will turn yellow so that they will have a chance to restudy their maps.
Just as you left town to enjoy the first long weekend of the season, your government announced that during April the cost of living index had gone up 0.4 percent. In March it was up 0.6 per cent, so this was a one-third drop in the inflation rate. The Washington Star's headline said, "Rate of Inflation Drops Slightly."
If it goes from 0.4 percent back to 0.6 next month, the headlines will of course say that it "soared."
Elsewhere in the news, Roy L. Williams, interim president of the Teamsters union, was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to bribe a United States senator. Williams, who has been indicted three times on federal charges but never convicted, called the charges "a damn lie." Two former presidents of the Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa and Dave Beck, also said the charges against them were lies, but were found quilty and sent to prison.
Politicians were also in the news. Earl L. Butz, former agriculture secretary in the Nixon Cabinet, pleaded guilty to tax evasion of significant magnitude. For 1978, Butz reported income of $97,814 instead of $245,928.
To his credit, Butz did not claim he had made an innocent error in addition. Instead, he filed amended returns, paid his back taxes and penalties, admitted that what he did was wrong, and said he was truly sorry. He became the sixth member of the Nixon Cabinet charged with a felony.
In the seventh of his series of articles in The Washington Post, Joseph A. Califano Jr. informed us that although the Carter Cabinet managed to stay out of jail, it lacked "cohesion" almost from the start.
When Califano appeared on Larry King's all-night talk program, he was asked whether his opposition to the Youth Camp Safety Camp Safety Act had been his own idea, a staff decision he routinely approved or something imposed upon him by the White House. Califano replied that in previous government service he had favored such a bill but by the time he had become boss at HEW, he changed his mind. He felt that national saftey standards for the summer camps to which we entrust our children was something the government "shouldn't get into." The decision was his own.
I hate to inflict any worrisome news on you while you're trying to enjoy a few days of vacation, but I feel duty-bound to let you know what's going on with the criminale element.
In England, the Yorkshire Ripper was sent to prison for carrying out what he called his "divine mission" of killing 13 women. The mother of one of the victims said she hopes the other prisoners will hang him.
Here at home, Bernard C. Welch Jr. was sentenced to 143 years for killing Dr. Michael Halberstam and robbing hundreds of homes, but he was quoted as saying he would escape and wouldn't serve out his term.
On Sunday we learned that one of every four persons arrested here for a major crime is a juvenile. However, of the juveniles we locked up in the past two years, 896 promptly escaped. Thereafter, many committed other crimes.One 17-year-old has been indicted for committing four murders and 45 other crimes after his escape.
Terrorists kept busy throughout the weekend. In Jackson, Miss., two men were charged with mailing bombs and diseased ticks to various companies in a scheme to extort millions of dollars from them. They were also charged with conspiring to poison food and medicinal products.
In Barcelona, Spain, heavily armed terrorists took about 200 people hostage in a bank and threatened to begin shooting them, one by one. No sooner were those hostages freed than a Turkish airliner was hijacked by terrorists who, on Sunday evening, threatened to begin shooting their captives, one by one.
There were also a few other frightful incidents, but don't worry. Enjoy your vacation and don't bother to hurry back. By Tuesday, we should have everything straightened out.