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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 Dec. 3, 2008 / 6 Kislev 5769

Obama's BlackBerry blues

By Clarence Page

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article | It has not taken President-elect Barack Obama long to learn what his predecessors quickly discovered: his new job is a gilded cage.

Or, as Harry Truman nicknamed the White House in a bitter diary entry, a "great white jail."

Truman enjoyed taking long walks near the White House. Obama similarly bristles uncomfortably inside of the bubble of security and executive power that envelops him wherever he goes. Like an Internet-age Truman, Obama is pushing back.

He wants to keep his BlackBerry.

In an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, he talked about the importance of breaking through the isolation faced by presidents. The trouble is, he wants to keep his BlackBerry, despite government concerns about security and record-keeping rules.

"I'm negotiating to figure out how can I get information from outside of the 10 or 12 people who surround my office in the White House," Obama told Walters. "Because, one of the worst things I think that could happen to a president is losing touch with what people are going through day to day."

Well, yeah. In fact, losing touch is a thing bad enough to lead to even worse things for a president like, for example, losing re-election.

Even so, I think Obama might be better off without his BlackBerry. His wish to stay in touch with voices outside of his "bubble" is admirable. But the tricky irony of the BlackBerry, a handy tool for staying in touch, is in how much the little gadget also isolates us.

In fact, as a longtime user of cell phones and portable e-mail devices, I suspect that handhelds are popular partly because they do such a good job of helping us to lose touch with the people around us.

We use handhelds to help us communicate with our social and professional contacts. That effectively expands our echo chamber of people who think pretty much the way we do, while shrinking our interaction with people who don't, whether we want to hear them or not.

If you really don't want to know, for example, what the guy standing next to you in the line at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts is going through from day to day, just pull out a BlackBerry, take a glance, and say, "Oh, excuse me, I've got to holler back at this message."

No wonder "CrackBerry" addiction is reported to be an epidemic. "Reality," an old hippie-era bumper sticker declares, "is for people who can't handle drugs. "BlackBerrys, I would argue, are great for people who don't want to handle too much reality.

I suspect our incoming president may suffer a CrackBerry jones. If so, I sympathize. He already has admitted to falling "off the wagon" a few times in his well-known quest to quit smoking. It's hard enough to quit smoking and keep your weight down. It's probably even harder to quit smoking and quit your CrackBerry, too.

The government has different concerns. The biggest arguments against Obama's handheld gadget concern security and accountability. But those are challenges that can be solved by intelligent people and they should put their minds to it.

E-mail has been secured well enough for the Pentagon to use. Why not the president? The real problem for the incoming administration to think about is the sloppy protection that has been placed on everyone's private data in the civilian world. Obama need look no further for evidence than the scandalous reports that his own mobile call data, stored by his mobile phone company, were accessed by Verizon employees.

Another concern is the Presidential Records Act, which requires storage of all White House correspondence as part of the official record. That includes e-messages that the nation's E-Mailer-in-Chief might thumb tap on his BlackBerry. But that law probably could be accommodated simply by storing the president's handheld e-mails on the server and filing them later with his other mail.

It seems rather preposterous that Obama, the candidate who ran the most technologically sophisticated campaign in history, would now be restricted by outdated laws or outdated government security technology from using mobile technologies.

But if he wants to stay in touch with real people outside his narrow circle of contacts, he should consider going cold turkey on his handheld. Besides, if his addiction comes on too strong, he can always borrow one.

(Psst, hey, buddy. Can I bum a BlackBerry?)

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