Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "When liberals seize a state," Aug. 31, 2002

The other guy's playbook

Is it time to turn a liberal weapon against liberalism? Lawyer Kenneth Lee argues in The American Enterprise that conservatives should use the threat of anti-discrimination lawsuits to break the liberal dominance of academia.
Surveys by the magazine show that at major universities, professors who belong to parties of the left vastly outnumber professors who belong to parties of the right. At Stanford, for instance, humanities and social-science departments have 151 professors registered as members of a liberal party (Democrat, Green, and so forth) and only 17 professors registered as members of a conservative party (Republican, Libertarian). At UCLA, it's 141 to 9. At some universities, entire departments have no Republicans.
"These stark statistics do more than just confirm what conservatives have always suspected," reports Mr. Lee. "They potentially may allow Republicans to pursue legal action against universities by using the logic and law of the civil rights movement." In lawsuits against companies, plaintiffs claim that a relative lack of minority employees proves discrimination. By that logic, he writes, "the gross under-representation of conservatives in university faculties lends credence to the view that schools have in plain fact discriminated against Republican academics."

Old gray lady

The New York Times plans to start running gay "commitment ceremony" announcements alongside wedding announcements.
"In making this change, we acknowledge the newsworthiness of a growing and visible trend in society toward public celebrations of commitment by gay and lesbian couples-celebrations important to many of our readers, their families, and their friends," said the paper's executive editor, Howell Raines.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced an effort to double the number of newspapers listing same-sex unions by next year.


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Martha Black discovered her phone number was listed in a Kansas City phone book under the category "Abortion Provider." She provides no such thing, however, and she and her son are suing the publisher.
Tony Rizzo of The Kansas City Star reports that Ms. Black's attorney might seek class-action status if more errors turn up. The suit alleges that the Blacks were held up to ridicule due to a mistake that was "highly offensive to a reasonable person."
The publisher, Feist Publications, is investigating a fact-checker assigned the job of verifying its listings. The directory listed Martha Black's address under the name of her deceased husband, Don Black, who died in 1996. He was a doctor but never performed abortions. Son Carl Black joined the suit because the phone book listed him as a pet groomer even though he works as a legal consultant.

Apparently, they can go too far

Two New York shock jocks thought it would be funny to coax a couple into having sex in a vestibule just a few feet from worshippers inside St. Patrick's Cathedral. Radio personalities described the spectacle live on WNEW's Opie and Anthony show.
Police arrested Brian Florence and Loretta Lynn Harper and charged them with public lewdness. They also arrested Opie and Anthony producer Paul Mercurio and charged him with acting in concert.
Now the FCC will decide whether to let the station keep its license to broadcast.
The Catholic League wants the station off the air. "Nothing would make us happier than for WNEW's license to be revoked," said the league's William Donohue. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps told the New York Daily News that he received hundreds of e-mails about the stunt. "If the complaints and press accounts prove true, this commission should consider the strongest enforcement action possible against this station, up to and including revocation of the station's license."

Losing money

Ben Stein must take his money and go home. Comedy Central has canceled his game show, Win Ben Stein's Money.
Hollywood knows Mr. Stein as a deadpan comedian who had a famous bit part in the hit movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Conservatives know him as a regular columnist in The American Spectator. Mr. Stein, a 57-year-old former Nixon speechwriter, also wrote a classic appraisal of the media world called The View from Sunset Boulevard in 1980.
The New York Post's Don Kaplan reports that the game show's final season is already in the can and will air this fall. "A source close to the situation said production on the show halted when the ratings for the new episodes were about the same as repeats."


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