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In Brief

"In Brief" Continued...

Issue: "BMOC: Big mandate on campus," Sept. 14, 2002

A pol who plays one on TV

Fred Thompson will go from being a real senator to a fictional district attorney. The retiring Tennessee senator is the newest cast member on the NBC franchise crime drama Law & Order. "And you thought I wouldn't find work," Mr. Thompson joked on NBC's Meet The Press about his return to acting.
Mr. Thompson's new role is especially interesting because the character, named Arthur Branch, is supposed to be more conservative. Executive producer Michael Chernuchin admitted that the addition was a reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"His political leanings are a little more to the right than former DAs on the show," he said. "He is a 'strict constructionist,' that is, for him, the Constitution is what it says it is and nothing more."
The 60-year-old politician entered the national scene three decades ago as chief minority counsel on the committee investigating the Watergate scandal. He already has a plum dramatic resumŽ, including movies like The Hunt for Red October, In the Line of Fire, and Die Hard 2. In the early 1990s, he was a familiar screen face playing authority figures.
Mr. Thompson served eight years in the Senate before announcing his retirement last March. The decision came soon after the death of his 38-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Thompson Panici. | Chris Stamper

Money or job

Kathleen Klamut started this school year wondering whether she'd be forced to pay dues to a leftist teachers union. The Ohio public-school psychologist filed a complaint last March with the state Civil Rights Commission, saying that joining the local NEA affiliate would violate her religious freedom. She objects to the union's view of abortion.
Now she's waiting for a response. "I've heard nothing," Ms. Klamut, who works for the Ravenna City School District, told WORLD. "I'm not sure what to expect."
What makes Ms. Klamut unique is that she wants to protect a previous agreement she made with the teachers union. Back in 1999, she was teaching in another Ohio district and took her religious freedom complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She won a settlement that let her direct the $300 annual dues to the American Cancer Society: "The money is a pittance, but it's the principle."
When Ms. Klamut moved to a new district, she was ordered to pay dues to the local Ohio Education Association affiliate. When she informed a local representative of the previous settlement, she was told it wasn't binding on the district.
The union threatened to sue her and her school if she didn't pay. So Ms. Klamut filed a complaint: "I told them, it's ironic that you're pro-choice but I'm choosing to follow my religious faith." | Chris Stamper


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