- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2000

'Robed masters'

"It is time, and past time, to be blunt about the rule of [federal] judges. Many of them bear less resemblance to judges than they do to commissars.

"How else would you characterize men and women who have assumed the power to decide the most serious cultural and social issues facing America, who will be in place long after the president who named them leaves office, and who are accountable to no one, particularly not to voters or elected representatives?

"The only accountability these 'robed masters' should have is to the meaning of the Constitution, a meaning discerned by study of its text, structure, and history. If justices ignore those constraints, as many of them do, they govern according to their own tastes, and we have no way of resisting or altering the ukases they hand down.

"Whatever else may be said of it, the rule of judges without any plausible reference to the Constitution can hardly be called legitimate in a nation that was designed to be basically democratic… .

"What would be the consequences of a Gore judiciary? … On abortion issues, [National Abortion Reproductive Rights Action League President] Kate Michelman would be in effect the Supreme Court."

Robert H. Bork, writing on "Here Come the Judges," in the Aug. 14 issue of National Review

TV kids

"A majority of U.S. kids have TVs in their rooms: around 65 percent, according to several recent studies. Even toddlers are tuned in. Some 26 percent of 2- to 4-year-olds can watch 'Teletubbies' from the comfort of their own beds.

" 'Almost every parent will face the decision about TV in the bedroom,' says David Walsh, head of the National Institute on Media and the Family, which just released a study on the issue. 'Most parents are deciding "yes." ' …

"None of this means 'every child who has a television in her or his bedroom will stop reading or any of those things,' Dr. Walsh says. 'But it raises the likelihood that those kids will watch more television without supervision.'

"His study, which is among the first comprehensive pictures of how a TV in the bedroom affects children, found that those kids spend significantly more time in front of the tube and perform worse in school than children without their own TVs… .

"Children who have TVs in their bedrooms engage in fewer family activities and tend to watch programs without parental supervision.

"These findings lead some experts to conclude that, when it comes to children and media, parents' actions contradict their concerns. 'Parents are greatly concerned that their kids are being exposed to too much sex and violence through the media,' says Vicky Rideout, director of a 1999 Kaiser Family Foundation study of children's media use. Yet, 'many parents aren't exercising much control over their kids' exposure to media.' "

Kimberly Y. Masibay, writing on "And for every child, a TV in the bedroom," in yesterday's Christian Science Monitor

Offending everybody

"Not since Anita Bryant has a morality-minded woman been the target of as much vitriol as Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the conservative radio talk-show therapist.

" 'Dr. Laura,' whose audience is estimated at 18 million, is best known just now for having stated her belief that homosexuality is wrong, to which gay rights groups have responded by lobbying corporations to pull their advertisements from her radio show and upcoming television series.

"She is a woman of many opinions, however, and has managed to offend everybody from librarians and psychologists to witches and vegetarians. In the process, she has spawned a virtual industry of Web sites haranguing her often with the same blunt mean-spiritedness they complain of regarding the good doctor.

Thomas Vinciguerra, writing on "Talking Back to Talk Radio: Dr. Laura Attracts a Crowd," in Sunday's New York Times

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