- The Washington Times - Monday, April 3, 2006

Aborted legacy

“Hugh Hefner turns 80 [April 9] and the [Playboy] Mansion is once again the place to be. ‘A major pajama party’ is planned … along with other observances equal to the dignity of the occasion. …

“We’re to think of him as Hugh Hefner, social philosopher and cultural revolutionary. … Anything, please, but the truth about Hugh Hefner, pornographer. …

“For good reason has the Playboy Foundation long been a benefactor to NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood: The Playboy Philosophy has always been for the ladies, too, all right — just so long as they remember what they’re good for, don’t get too sentimental and feel grateful when the playboy in their own life offers to pay for the abortion.”

— Matthew Scully, writing on “The Playboy Legacy,” March 31 in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

Counting poverty

“In the summer of 1963, Mollie Orshansky, a 49-year-old statistician at the Social Security Administration, in Washington, D.C., published an article in the Social Security Bulletin entitled ‘Children of the Poor.’

“‘The wonders of science and technology applied to a generous endowment of natural resources have wrought a way of life our grandfathers never knew,’ she wrote. … ‘Yet there is an underlying disquietude reflected in our current social literature, an uncomfortable realization that an expanding economy has not brought gains to all in equal measure. It is reflected in the preoccupation with counting the poor — do they number 30 million, 40 million or 50 million?’

“Orshansky’s timing was propitious. … In early 1963, [economic adviser Walter] Heller gave [President John F. Kennedy] a copy of a review … of Michael Harrington’s ‘The Other America: Poverty in the United States,’ in which Harrington claimed that as many as 50 million Americans were living in penury.”

— John Cassidy, writing on “Relatively Deprived,” in the April 3 issue of the New Yorker

European questions

“In ‘The Force of Reason,’ the controversial Italian journalist and novelist Oriana Fallaci illuminates one of the central enigmas of our time. How did Europe become home to an estimated 20 million Muslims in a mere three decades?

“How did Islam go from being a virtual non-factor to a religion that threatens the pre-eminence of Christianity on the Continent? How could the most popular name for a baby boy in Brussels possibly be Mohammed? Can it really be true that Muslims plan to build a mosque in London that will hold 40,000 people? That Dutch cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are close to having Muslim majorities?

“How was Europe, which was saved by the U.S. in World Wars I and II, and whose Muslim Bosnians were rescued by the U.S. as recently as 1999, transformed into a place in which, as Fallaci puts it, ‘if I hate Americans, I go to Heaven, and if I hate Muslims, I go to Hell?’”

— Brendan Bernhard, writing on “The Fallaci Code,” in L.A. Weekly March 15

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