And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Newdow Went After Another Prayer
Michael Newdow, the man who sued to have the pledge of allegiance declared unconstitutional, also filed suit to have the Christian prayer said at the Bush inauguration last year declared unconstitutional. Newdow complained that the Christian prayer by the Rev. Franklin Graham "showed a preference for a particular religious belief" and made him feel like an outsider. He wanted an injunction to keep the president from drawing his faith into his duties. The court threw the case out, saying it had no authority to do what Newdow wanted.
Serving It to America
Martina Navratilova, the Czech-born tennis great who once said she was "born to be an American" is now having second thoughts about the country to which she defected 21 years ago. Navratilova, who is openly gay, told a German newspaper in an interview published today that "I have exchanged one system that suppresses free speech for another." She added, "The republicans in the United States manipulate public opinion and sweep any controversial issues under the table."
The Truth Comes Out
American conservatives have complained for years that the news media, and in particular the broadcast TV networks, consistently label conservative public figures as such, but rarely do so with liberals. Now the conservative Media Research Center has run some numbers to make that case. Here is what the center says it found after reviewing the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from 1997 through 2001. Conservatives were so labeled 997 times, while the liberal label was applied only 247 times. That's an 80 percent to 20 percent differential, with the biggest gap between national political candidates, who were labeled liberal only four times, to conservatives, who were so identified 96 times.
The Risks of Spanking
Newspaper headlines proclaimed today that a new study shows, as the Washington Post put it that "Harm Outweighs Benefits of Spanking." The problem is that the study, done by Columbia University researcher Elizabeth Gershoff, is not new and does not quite say what the headline suggests. In fact, it is not really a study. It is an analysis of 88 other studies that was finished last summer, and publicized at the time. What it says is that spanking can be "associated with numerous risks" of harm to children, such as making them defiant, antisocial and aggressive. It also found that spanking made children more immediately obedient.