Balance Sheet



Ritually Obtuse. The state of Illinois considers whether to revoke the medical license of Bennett Braun, whose claims about satanic ritual abuse helped spawn countless TV reports and a cover story in Ms. The state's action stems from Braun's $10.6 million settlement with a former patient who charged that he made her believe she had 300 personalities, ate human flesh meatloaf, and was a high priestess of a satanic cult.

Stamped Out. Plentiful jobs help shrink food stamp rolls across the country. The Department of Agriculture reacts as any bureaucracy would, wondering why its "services" go untapped. Its defenders in Congress promise hearings.

Switch Off, Eh. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was supposed to be all things to all Canucks, and it got plenty of tax money to pursue its mission. But recent government budgets have cut back on CBC funding as Canadians tune into more and more private-sector fare. The network now gets less than 10 percent of English-speaking viewers, 20 percent among Francophones. The CBC could be trimmed down even more if some government officials have their way.

Womyn Only. Boston College refuses to allow a feminist professor to ban male students from her classes. Mary Daly, author of such influential tomes as Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism and Outercourse: The Be-Dazzling Voyage, opts to go on leave rather than teach men.


Disturbed Seating. Sudden fretting over the way kids are buckled in brings forth wacky directives. A new federal standard would raise the cost of new child car seats by about $60 and render old ones incompatible with new cars. Meanwhile, Connecticut tells cabbies they must provide kiddie seats. Hacks say they have a better idea: They'll just refuse to take passengers under 40 pounds. Good plan.

Radio Waves. Another band of outcasts feels the heel of the federal boot deep in the heart of Texas. U.S. marshals and FCC cops raid low-power radio operators in Canyon Lake and cart away electronic gear and music. FCC Chairman William Kennard says he favors low-power radio, but high-dollar license holders hate it, claiming the low-wattage stations mess up the frequencies the FCC has licensed to them.

The Tax Card. When the Granite State cracks, you know you are in trouble. Faced with a court order instructing it to find a more equitable way to fund school districts across the state, New Hampshire is set to impose an income tax. Many other states are in similar straits.

Why-Fly Zone. American fighters and Iraqi gunners play cat-and-mouse games in the U.N.-mandated no-fly zones as anti-Saddam policy falls apart. U.N. weapons inspection teams will never be allowed in Iraq again, and Saddam is reaching out to old enemies, saying, "See, I told you the Americans use the U.N. to spy on me."