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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan 24, 2012/ 29 Teves, 5772

Changing States of the Union

By Roger Simon




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Remember the stirring words from Barack Obama's State of the Union address last year?

Liar. Hardly anybody remembers SOTUs (as the press calls them), including, perhaps, the presidents themselves.

Not that they are casual affairs. The White House is thrown into a state of frenzy — more so than usual, that is — before SOTUs, because every branch, department and niche in the vast executive branch wants to add something to the final speech.

Yet Obama's last address is not remembered much for its soaring rhetoric, though it did contain some: "The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it's because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward and the state of our union is strong."

Instead, if it is remembered at all, it is for its seating chart.

Because of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., in Tucson on Jan. 8, a moderate think tank urged members of Congress to abandon the usual divided-by-party seating and all sit together. And about 60 members did commingle.

Noticeable by their absence, however, were three members of the Supreme Court — Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who were boycotting apparently because Obama had criticized the court — a rarity — in his SOTU the previous year.

"Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said, as the black-robed justices looked on uncomfortably from their front-row seats and Alito was caught by the cameras mouthing the words "not true."

It is not known who will boycott this year, as not even President Obama really has to be there.

The Constitution requires only that the president "from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

George Washington delivered his SOTUs in person and decided "from time to time" meant once each year. But Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was not a good orator, tended to mumble — his first inaugural address was inaudible except to those in the front rows — hated pomp and decided that a president addressing Congress was too much like the British monarch addressing the opening of new parliaments.

So Jefferson wrote out his SOTUs and sent them to Capitol Hill for a clerk to read aloud.

This practice continued until 1913, when Woodrow Wilson, wishing to stress the personal relationship between the presidency and the people, delivered his SOTU in person.

This did not establish a tradition, however. According Gerhard Peters of the American Presidency Project, the history of oral delivery of SOTUs then became a spotty one, as presidents skipped some for health reasons, because they wanted to go back to the tradition of Jefferson or just because they didn't feel like it. While Franklin Roosevelt went a long way in re-establishing the oral tradition, presidents delivering them in writing included Harry Truman's first (1946) and last (1953), Dwight D. Eisenhower's last (1961), Jimmy Carter's last (1981) and Richard Nixon's fourth (1973).

Today, they are made-for-TV events, and no president, especially in an election year, would skip the free airtime. Unlike inaugural addresses, which are delivered outside and often in cold temperatures, SOTUs are delivered in the (relative) warmth of the House of Representatives chamber, and, therefore tend to run on a bit.

Obama's three addresses (his first one in 2009 was technically not a SOTU but was like one in everything but name) have averaged one hour, eight minutes and 20 seconds. George W. Bush never cracked an hour, and Bill Clinton always went on for longer than 60 minutes, and finished just shy of 90 minutes in 2000.

Everyone remembers when Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted out, "You lie!" at Obama at his SOTU on 2009 — but they remember it wrong. It was an Obama speech to a Joint Session of Congress on Sept. 9, 2009, to outline his health care reforms that Wilson rudely interrupted, and so we will have to wait to see if anyone dares shout anything this year.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan group No Labels wants members to sit together once again this year. "Of course, they should sit together. It makes perfect sense," the group said in a press release. "Unfortunately, the fact that an idea makes sense doesn't make it any more likely for Congress to act on it."

Because it is an election year, Obama's speech can be considered the semi-official start of his re-election campaign, and he will have to juggle the reality of a still-struggling economy with a sense of optimism.

Speaking in 1790 from Federal Hall in New York City, the provisional capital of the United States, George Washington delivered the nation's first SOTU.

Times were somber. Though the United States had won its revolution, the 100-month war had left the infant nation $54 million in debt — the equivalent of about $4.1 trillion today, according to one expert — and only the personal stature of Washington himself was keeping partisan division from tearing the country apart.

"The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed," Washington said, "and I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient and equal government."

Free, efficient and equal government. Some 222 years later, that is still not a bad promise for a SOTU.

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