SITUATION COMEDY

:

Norman Lear

, who transformed the way American television addresses political issues, didn’t really have time to think when asked at a writers’ strike event what his most famous character,

Archie Bunker

, would say to the studios. Lear was at the event to support Writers Guild of America members seeking fair compensation for DVD and new-media sales and distribution. Excessive talk of royalties could easily have driven All in the Family‘s most contrary character bonkers. But still Lear managed to intone, “You’re killing my Dancing With the Stars” in a complete Bunker growl.

Unfortunately, Lear’s ingenuity failed to rub off on the Fox television reporter who interviewed him next. Covering an event in which 4,000 WGA members and supporters espoused the need to respect writers for their material, the reporter didn’t see the irony in essentially copying the same question or the dilution of its meaning, asking Lear with a straight face, “What would the Jeffersons say?”   TIBBY ROTHMAN

SEXUAL SIDE EFFECTS

: A recent study by University of Virginia researchers found that teens who lose their virginity early are less likely to end up delinquent than their abstaining peers–contrary to popular opinion and abstinence-only boosters. Tell that to Democrats who on November 1 approved a $28 million increase for Bush’s abstinence-until-marriage programs.

POWER OF ATTORNEYS

: On November 13, hundreds of dark-suited lawyers rallied on the steps of the New York County courthouse in a show of support for their beleaguered Pakistani colleagues. Thousands of Pakistani lawyers have taken to the streets (and been arrested) since Gen.

Pervez Musharraf

imposed a state of emergency on November 3. Reports indicate that many are being held in solitary confinement and even tortured.

Ali Ahsan

, a New York attorney and son of

Aitzaz Ahsan

, president of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, who was arrested in Islamabad, was one of he speakers. “US Congressmen have more influence in Pakistan than my father or other Pakistani intellectuals,” said Ahsan. “We must mobilize. Call Congressmen. E-mail senators. The international community has to put the Pakistani government on notice–we are watching.” It took the suspension of the Constitution and the removal of the courageous Chief Justice

Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

to get Pakistani lawyers protesting, when once they had “bent their knees before military rulers,” as Ahsan put it. What will it take for American lawyers to follow their lead, to protest their own government’s tampering with the Constitution?   JAYATI VORA