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 June 8, 2007 / 22 Sivan 5767

Burn a log, go to jail

By Greg Crosby

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Well, the Eco-Gestapo has struck again. As reported by the Los Angels Times, Southern California air regulators have approved a plan that if implemented will "place stringent restrictions on home fireplaces." The plan includes a complete ban on wood-burning fireplaces in all new homes in Los Angeles county, Orange county, and parts of San Bernadino and Riverside counties. It would ban wood-fueled fires in ALL homes in some areas during what they call, "winter pollution spikes." And it would require homeowners in some areas to remove or permanently close off fireplaces before they can sell their house. Either that, or install costly pollution control devices on them. Welcome to yet another example of liberal big government legislation taking a bite out of personal freedom.

Out of a total of 5 million homes in Southern California almost 2 million of them have fireplaces. Besides missing the obvious aesthetics and enjoyment of having a nice cozy fire on a cold wintry night, there are numerous businesses that would be hurt by the new regulations. Chimney sweeps would go the way of the village blacksmith and girdle makers, people who work in the brick and mortar sectors of home building would be hurt as well as the real estate business. The only business that would profit from this will be the companies who manufacture and install those new "pollution control devices" for the fireplaces.

"A fireplace - especially a beautiful fireplace, and what people normally mean by that is a wood-burning fireplace — it's the thing people like to have" when they buy a home, said real estate agent Barbara Burner, who works for Century 21 in Thousand Oaks. Yeah, no kidding. Try to snuggle up in front of a forced-air wall heater with your best girl you can pretty much kiss off any romance for the night, my friend. And don't tell me about "natural gas logs" — there's nothing "natural" or "log" about having a hunk of painted cement surrounding a pipe comprised of 6 gas jets which emit that steady blue/yellow front burner glow and run up your gas bills like crazy. And spending an evening in front of that thing would be about as sexy as cuddling up in front of my mother's O'Keefe & Merritt kitchen gas range.

An estimated 5,400 people in the region die prematurely due to exposure to fine particles, generated largely by diesel exhaust, according to state estimates. I would seriously question how the powers that be came up with that number, but for the sake of argument let's accept the statement on face value. Now, what did it say again? "An estimated 5,400 people in the region die prematurely due to exposure to fine particles generated largely by diesel exhaust." Did you get that? GENERATED LARGELY BY DIESEL EXHAUST — not fireplace smoke.

So let me get this straight — because trucks on the California freeways are spewing out crap that kills people, the government shuts down private home fireplaces? That makes sense. How about trying this instead — how about curtailing all those 18 wheelers coming up across the boarder from Mexico? Any restriction on those? No? Any regulations? No? I thought not.

And if you think the smog generated from those trucks is bad now, just you wait, Henry Higgins. According to a report by the California Air Resources Board released this past March, 50 tons of new smog - the equivalent of that produced by 2.2 million cars — will be pouring into California's skies because 17,500 Mexican trucks will be crossing into the Golden State each day under NAFTA's rules. Today, that number is only 3,500 trucks. You do the math. And no, folks, Mexico does not require installation of any sort of pollution control devices on their trucks.

It wouldn't surprise me to hear that banning outdoor barbequing is next up on the agenda for the Eco-Gestapo. No kidding, just think of all that charcoal smoke polluting the air. I'll bet someone is working on a barbeque version of the catalytic converter right now. Then every barbecue will be required to have this device installed. And every year the state will require people to bring their barbeques in to a certified barbeque smog check representative who (for a nominal fee) will make sure your barbecue passes a smog test before you can use it that year. Of course the state will get their piece of the action, too, in the form of license fees for every barbecue in California. What a cash cow!

But let's get back to fireplaces. I guess you get the idea by now that I am against government regulations on my fireplace. I'm also against government regulations on smoking, seatbelts, bicycle helmets, and transfats. I want the government out of my personal life. The government's job should be to protect me from bad people who want to do me harm and to fill potholes in the streets — period. I don't want the government telling me what I should eat or where I can smoke or what I should wear on my head if I choose to ride a bike. The government needs to keep terrorists off our shores — and I'll decide what kind of fat should be in my hamburger.

If you own a fireplace, better enjoy it while you've got it because you may not have long to use it. If you don't have a fireplace, well, you can still put on your bicycle helmet and peddle yourself over to get a tofu burger. But be careful — don't breath in any of that nasty smog from the unregulated Mexican diesel trucks on the way. That could kill you.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2006, Greg Crosby