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It may be that, as Americans, we are the victims of a cultural disconnect. At the height of Terence Rattigan's fame, the Brits invested a good deal of admiration in his attempts to extend the reign of the carefully constructed prewar "problem" play into the postwar era. We need to see some joy from the adulterers, some sense of the world well lost for love.

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Here's an algorithm from the Annals of the Obvious: Conservative women commonly identify as values voters, responding to like-minded candidates and campaigns and bringing what are referred to in certain circles as traditional morals into the booths. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, while purporting to run on a family-friendly platform, has some blots on his personal record that would appear to contradict these ideals.

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The plight of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, is resonating in Italy, a country that does a lot of business with Iran. The story has gained enough notoriety that the Vatican has indicated it might intervene diplomatically.

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Enough with dividing the world between moral, family-loving Christians on the one side and supposedly permissive, corrupt, family-destroying secularists on the other.

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Jenny Sanford was my role model, until I read her book. I once wrote that the wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford offered "a new and improved version of the betrayed political spouse -- neither enabler nor victim." I was wrong.

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