- The Washington Times - Friday, July 13, 2001

Making excuses
"By her own admission, Andrea Yates of Houston killed all five of her children. Not in a burst of gunfire, but by methodically drowning them in the bathtub.
"What we're dealing with here is a sickness. Not Andrea's, but everybody else's. The husband, Rusty, set the tone. 'I'm supportive of her,' he said. 'She wasn't in her right frame of mind.' You can say that again.
"Andrea had been not just on anti-depressants, but also on Haldol, a very strong anti-psychotic drug. To be just the teensy-weensiest judgmental about these things, if your wife's on Haldol, you probably shouldn't leave her at home all day every day, alone with five children under the age of eight. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out, though by strange coincidence Mr. Yates is: He's a computer expert at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"And, once he'd given the thumbs up to stick by the missus, everything else fell into place. And the media scrambled for their Rolodexes to get hold of the experts. It turns out the expert on postpartum depression is Marie Osmond. Appearing with Katie Couric, she was full of insights: 'She loved her children. She was a caring woman,' said Marie."
—Mark Steyn, writing on "It's all about her, isn't it?" July 3 in the National Post

Pretty is as
"Professors Daniel Hamermesh and Jeff Biddle estimate that if you're perceived as beautiful, you probably earn about 5 percent more than your ordinary-looking counterparts.
"As beauty is rewarded, so ugliness is penalized. Ugly women earn about 5 percent less than other women, and ugly men earn about 10 percent less than other men. That's right; the market punishes men more than women for being unattractive.
"Moreover, men's looks haunt them at every stage of their careers: Better-looking men get more job offers, higher starting salaries and better raises. For women, good looks will get you better raises, but usually not better job offers or starting salaries.
"But while men suffer more for being ugly, women — and specifically, white women — suffer more for being fat. In a paper from last year, Professor John Cawley found that an extra 65 pounds typically cost a white woman 7 percent of her wages. To put this another way, if you're a seriously overweight white woman, losing 65 pounds is likely to be as lucrative as an extra year of college or three extra years of work experience."
—Steven E. Landsburg, writing on "Hey, Gorgeous, Here's a Raise," Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

A 50-mile wall
"Some ideas **of the 1960s** were bad and the greatest producer of grief, of course, was abortion. I lose track of how many millions have died; when it passes 40 million, the mind begins to swim. We can cope with those figures only by ignoring them.
"Once I heard someone observe that a memorial similar to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, listing the names of all those babies, would have to stretch for 50 miles. But such a wall cannot exist, because those babies never had a name.
"Feminists defend abortion with desperate passion because the whole shaky structure of their lives depends on it. Indeed, Justice Blackmun in the Webster decision wrote that women had 'ordered their lives around' abortion, and the Casey decision was based on the assumption that abortion had become a necessary part of the social machine.
"There's a sad accuracy in that. When something like abortion becomes available, surrounding expectations regarding reproduction and child care subtly shift to accommodate it, and eventually it appears to be indispensable.
"That is why the fight against legal abortion cannot stand alone. If we could padlock all the abortion clinics tomorrow, we'd see the next morning a line 3,200 women long pounding on the doors. We wouldn't have solved the problems that make their pregnancies seem unbearable. We wouldn't have changed the context that normalizes promiscuity and undermines their power to say no."
—Frederica Mathewes-Green , writing on "What Women Need," in the July/August issue of Touchstone

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