Home
In this issue
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 27, 2014 / 27 Adar I, 5774

What is it about dictators and bad taste?

By Ann McFeatters




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Let's ruminate about dictators and their stuff. Specifically, the things they leave behind when they flee, die, are ousted or captured.

We have been seeing pictures of the huge palace and gardens of Ukraine's president Viktor Yanukovich, who fled after Ukrainians revolted under his repressive leadership. While the political situation is intense, we're all fascinated by Yanukovich's zoo, cages of rare pheasants with iridescent red tails and his pirate ship dining room, "The Galleon."

What is it about dictators and bad taste?

You will of course remember Imelda Marcos and her amazing collection of shoes reputed to have numbered 3,000 pairs. She also had a lot of dresses with poufy sleeves. When she and her dictator husband were forced to leave the Philippines in 1986, she left behind 1,220 pairs of shoes. If she had worn a different pair every day for three years, she still couldn't have worn them all.

(Sadly for fashionistas, many of the shoes and dresses have been damaged by termites, floods and neglect while stored in the Philippines. It happens.)

Then there was Saddam Hussein, whose many garish palaces in Iraq were filled with great treasures and great quantities of junk. Just about every U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq has a picture of himself/herself sitting on one of his plastic thrones. Or one of his many toilets.

Saddam also was known for owning rare animals; his sons kept a 20-year-old Siberian tiger and a blind brown bear.

Alas for Saddam, all that stuff did him no good in the end. He was found in a dirty hole, with a filthy beard and a makeshift toilet.


Zimbabwe's tyrant Robert Mugabe has one of the most nightmarish bedrooms ever seen outside of the Poconos. It is immense, filled with a crystal chandelier, red velvet upholstered furniture and enormous oil paintings framed in gilt surrounding a bed on a platform. He also has a sitting room done entirely in gold, for which the phrase "ostentatiously, hideously ornate" was coined. Mugabe, 90, compares himself to both Jesus, who had no possessions, and Hitler, another dictator who loved stuff.

Tiny Romania's short dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had a 12-story palace with 1,100 rooms in Bucharest, which made him and his small wife seem even more minuscule. It is decorated in pink and white marble with handmade decorations and carpets and lace curtains. It is now the Palace of Parliament, and tourists flock there.

Ceausescu, a communist, caused food shortages in his country by exporting its agricultural products so he could build his sumptuous digs, where he once hosted Richard Nixon. While Ceausescu lived stunningly well, under him the Romanian standard of living plummeted to one of the worst in Europe.

Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's palace featured many large bathtubs and huge indoor tiled pools including one with floating plastic inner tubes. Fittingly, perhaps, he was found hiding in a large drainage pipe. Soon thereafter, he was killed by rebels.

Back to Yanukovich. Not only did he have a sensational house full of chandeliers and expensive furniture, he had stables, a golf course, tennis courts, swimming pools, a shooting range and his own private marina. On beautifully manicured grounds with great views of the Dneiper River, he kept pens of goats and rare pigs.

What is it with dictators and their need to collect exotic animals?

Yanukovich should not be singled out among politicians for living well although Ukrainians are stupefied at just how well he lived. (He claimed his generous friends "invested" in his house.) Actually, many politicians do well but usually after leaving office. Former President Clinton and his wife are worth millions, which they have earned from books and speeches. Of course, they also tried to take some of the White House furniture when his term expired, saying they had been given many pieces by generous friends.

It's interesting how many of the mighty and powerful insist they come to do good and end up doing so very, very well.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.


Previously:


02/21/14: As easy as 1, 2, 3, proof the government is nuts
01/21/14: Where doubletalk is lingua franca
11/29/13: Time for governmemt to encourage mouthiness in kids again
11/22/13: Blame Canada? Or should we merge instead?
11/14/13: Out of the mouths of politicians --- huh?
10/14/13: American adults lack life skills, tests indicate
10/07/13: Finally sometyhing America is No. 1 in
06/21/13: Obama is guiding us toward a slippery slope in Syria
06/14/13: Summer '13 offers rays of sunshine for Americans
03/13/13: Democratic Party, stuck in a sorry state
03/13/13: In Washington, signs of civility emerge
02/22/13: The start of World War III? Why China's cyber hacking is frightening to the United States
02/01/13: Buy American and rebuild an economy
01/18/13: There should be a (nother) law: No super-whoopee inaugurations for second-term presidents
11/29/12: Congress hates us
11/16/12: A holiday gift guide for our politicians
08/10/12: Rise in independent voters imperils moderates
07/23/12: Looking forward to the presidential debates
07/13/12: A do-nothing Congress exacts high costs
06/25/12: Take a vacation: It's your duty
06/19/12: Dems: 'Do something'
04/30/12: Will Mitt Romney finally let a hair down?
04/23/12: Warning: Nasty presidential race ahead
04/02/12: We need to talk about aging
03/26/12: A Clinton-Bush matchup in 2016?
03/19/12: Autumn presidential debate topics lining up nicely
03/12/12: Unpacking presidential campaign myths
03/05/12: Time for Romney's vision, not goofiness, gaffes
01/13/12: Romney makes life difficult with many flubs
11/24/11: Obama has most to fear from Huntsman
10/04/11: Romney looks like ‘The One’
09/28/11: At last some good news on energy
09/21/11: Time to make pols squirm
08/29/11: America still shows the power of the individual
08/17/11: Like us, Lady Liberty in disrepair, but still strong




© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast