- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2002

Porn patrol
"Utah's porn czarina, Paula Houston, says her most important job is to educate. This legislative session she's teaching the legislature that its 12-year-old indecent public display law is unconstitutionally strict.
"'I realized that you could not prohibit all nudity for anyone under 18,' says Houston, who became the country's first porn czar … last July. …
"The reaction has been mixed. 'Some citizens would like to prohibit all nudity for children,' says Houston, who reports getting far more complaints about Cosmopolitan and In Style magazines than Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler, since the fashion mags line supermarket checkout aisles. 'Others realize that [a proposed amendment allowing certain exemptions] makes sense. A postcard of the statue of David for sale in a store violates the current law.'
"Houston adds, 'Simple nudity is not, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, harmful to children. You can't protect children from everything.'"
Michael W. Lynch, writing on "Skin Show," in the April issue of Reason

Left out
"Leftist opposition to the war in Afghanistan faded in November and December of last year, not only because of the success of the war but also because of the enthusiasm with which so many [Afghans] greeted that success. The pictures of women showing their smiling faces to the world, of men shaving their beards, of girls in school, of boys playing soccer in shorts: All this was no doubt a slap in the face to leftist theories of American imperialism, but also politically disarming. …
"[A]mong last fall's anti-war demonstrators, 'Stop the bombing' wasn't a slogan that summarized a coherent view of the bombing or of the alternatives to it. The truth is that most leftists were not committed to having a coherent view about things like that; they were committed to opposing the war, and they were prepared to oppose it without regard to its causes or character and without any visible concern about preventing future terrorist attacks. …
"Many left intellectuals live in America like internal aliens, refusing to identify with their fellow citizens, regarding any hint of patriotic feeling as politically incorrect. That's why they had such difficulty responding emotionally to the attacks of September 11 or joining in the expressions of solidarity that followed."
Michael Walzer, writing on "Can There Be a Decent Left?" in the spring issue of Dissent

Double standard
"Women do not, by and large, make terrific criminals. In the United States, women commit only two crimes as frequently as men. The first is shoplifting. The second is the murder of their own children. … Somehow, women who commit less than 13 percent of all violent crimes in the United States commit about 50 percent of all parental murders. Why do so many women direct their most violent impulses toward their own children? …
"A 1969 study … found that while mothers convicted of murdering their children were hospitalized 68 percent of the time and imprisoned 27 percent of the time, fathers convicted of killing their children were sentenced to prison or executed 72 percent of the time and hospitalized only 14 percent of the time. …
"Perhaps it comforts us to believe that anyone who violates the sacred mother-child bond is simply crazy; it would be unimaginable if these mothers were making rational criminal choices."
Dahlia Lithwick, writing on "When Parents Kill," March 12 in Slate at www.slate.com


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