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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 Feb. 19, 2009 / 25 Shevat 5769

The Celtic Tiger Hits Bad Times

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | DUBLIN, IRELAND — "The bold encroachers on the deep
Gain'd by degrees huge tracts of land,
Till Neptune, with one gen'ral sweep
Turns all again to barren strand."

"This poem" — ("The Run Upon the Bankers") — "was printed some years ago, and it should seem, by the late failure of two bankers, to be somewhat prophetic," wrote Jonathan Swift in 1720.

The poem is somewhat prophetic again. The Celtic tiger — the Irish economy that boomed in the 1990s — no longer roars. It whimpers. The great engine of high employment for good jobs has fallen. The Press Association reports that unemployment applications in January were 80 percent higher than a year before. The unemployment rate in Ireland is 9.2 percent and expected to climb, perhaps as high as 15 percent. A real estate market that, according to Bloomberg, quadrupled from 1997 to 2007, is crashing.

Who will meet the mortgages for all the country's new tract homes? Neptune? Of course, there's a banking scandal. The government pumped 7 billion euros (U.S.$8.79 billion) into the country's two largest banks this month. One of the banks had engaged in sleight-of-hand loans to disguise its sorry finances last year. There have been sweetheart loans made to well-connected richies.

As in the United States, Ireland's politicians don't emerge smelling like roses. Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan was forced to admit that he did not read the entire report he had commissioned to examine the banks' situation before pushing for taxpayer-funded relief for them. Approval ratings for Prime Minister Brian Cowen's Fianna Fail Party have fallen to a historically low level of 22 percent, according to the Press Association.

The once-respected job of banker has the taint of shame. On the flight across the pond, I heard two business travelers introducing themselves. One man offered that he worked for a well-known U.K. bank, one only marginally discredited in the news. It didn't used to be a bad thing to mention his bank, he sighed.

In Dublin, I met a man who works with banks. How do you feel about them? I ask. "I don't trust them at all," he blurted. But then, he added, Ireland has its solid banks, the ones that didn't throw around money as if they couldn't lose.

This being Ireland, there are plenty of folk who look at the bankers and the Taoiseach (say tee-shack) — that's Irish for the prime minister of the Irish Republic — and the Dail (say doil) — Irish for the lower house of the parliament of the Irish Republic — and pronounce all bankers and politicians to be crooks and thieves. You hear that in San Francisco and New York and Boston, too.

Corruption certainly has a hand in this cookie jar. But also, the picture that emerges is all too universal in the modern world. When economic growth meant good living for middle-class families, the rewards came from riding the tiger. All the smart people were on board, so it seemed sour to speak against the good times.

When the bubble burst — as bubbles always do — then the good times are called bad names. Like "Greed." Sadly, it is the new homeowners and young parents working to carve out a good life for their families who will forfeit most dearly because these bank failures are huge. The Irish Independent reported the cost of this bailout could reach 138,000 euros (U.S.$173,301) for every man, woman and child. That's like an extra mortgage.

Old and young wonder if the end of boom times will allow Ireland to shed some of its newly acquired excesses — and bring back a slower, sweeter life. They hope fewer toys can mean more quality time.

"We survived the famine," an Irishman-turned-Californian told me before I came here, but we're not sure we will "survive the feast."

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© 2009, Creators Syndicate

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