In this issue

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 May 24, 2013/ 15 Sivan, 5773

Talking points? Raise your voice in protest

By Reg Henry

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As these are anxious times, let me reassure readers that my column today is a talking point-free zone. Some space in modern life has to be available for people to sit down and read without being bothered by talk of talking points.

This is the season when talking points have descended on the nation like a plague of stink bugs. The principal reason is the controversy surrounding the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, much of which has centered on the Obama administration's talking points -- who said what, when and why.

My quandary here is that it is impossible to denounce talking points without mentioning them. And the prominent emergence of talking points in the national conversation cries out to be denounced.

Of course, code words might serve my purpose -- say, if I write "political armadillos" instead of the dreaded term "talking points" -- but that would lead to its own confusion. Some readers would then denounce me for hurting the feelings of armadillos, which possibly constitutes a capital offense in Texas.

So forgive me for calling a gardening implement a spade and a talking point a pox upon the land. Why do I hate the idea of talking points? Because they are the beastly pets of spin doctors and kindred political lowlifes and they have made a jungle of simple communication.

Amazingly, a simple time existed not long ago when people just asked other people for the facts. Can you imagine it? Just the facts, ma'am. What's the story, morning glory?

But then some chronically political person decided that the plain story would never do. It would be better to arrange the salient facts into a persuasive sequence in order to win arguments. The talking point, its hour come round at last, slouched toward Washington to be born.

Talking points are not neutral. They serve an argumentative purpose. If repeated enough, people's brains throw a tiny rope out of their ears and slide down to a less tedious environment. At that point, political victory can be claimed.

This is a problem, or should I say an issue, which is what problems are called now. Talking points are the similar fruit of degenerative language. Just as problems have become issues, freighted with social science nuance, so have facts become talking points, with their overtones of political hoodwinkery.

This stuff sneaks up on us. As recently as 20 years ago, writers felt compelled to put quotation marks around "talking points." How cute was that? Talking points then were like puppies of an unknown breed, so novel they needed quotation marks to show the wording was playful and new.

Ah, it was a naive time. Well, not too naive -- Bill Clinton was in the White House. But talking points were not so numerous.

I know this because curiosity drove me to do a search of my newspaper's electronic files. I apologize to all those of you who expect better of me than actual research, but the results are interesting. I found that the precise term "talking points" has occurred 530 times in the Post-Gazette's stories since 1992 -- wait, this makes 531. For the 10 years between March 1992 and April 2002, only 109 such stories were found.

In short, the use of talking points is reaching epidemic proportions -- and the quotation marks have long ago fled.

In recent years, various scolds have leveled against me the ultimate insult: They accuse me in my unrepentant liberal state of borrowing talking points from the Democratic National Committee.

Let me state that I do not recycle other people's talking point drivel. All the drivel you read here is original drivel. It comes with an Authentic Drivel Guarantee, which you can get by sending me $10 (proceeds go to the Home for Retired Columnists, R. Henry proprietor).

To the extent that what I write echoes anything else, that can be put down to great minds thinking alike (also mediocre minds). Read my lips: I raise no new talking points, I consciously repeat no old ones. I wish the Obama administration did likewise.

Surely this is a bipartisan position to be welcomed by all except those in the political armadillo community, armored as they are against speaking the simple truth.

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.

Reg Henry is a columnist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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