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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Sep 13, 2013 / 9 Tishrei, 5774

THE IMPROBABLE 'G0D IN THE MACHINE'

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The latest Syrian crisis broke just as the children, like Congress, were returning from the long summer vacation. Our brightest (if not always the best) are redeeming all that money their parents spent on tutors to read their application essays, having been coached about how to impress college interviewers with tales of adventure walking the Great Wall of China, writing avant-garde plays in Urdu, or explaining the importance of a gluten-free diet.

The class of '17 is settling in seriously, many on posh campuses with luxurious gyms, huge playing fields and Olympic-size swimming pools. Their dorms provide places to recycle the abundant student beer bottles, to save the planet if not themselves. The college commons offers organic, vegetarian, fat-reduced fare to insure the lean and hungry look. Congress is its usual satisfied self, relieved that Vladimir Putin has relieved them of the responsibility of putting themselves on the line.

But what do our future leaders learn? Will they soak up the important clues of history and literature the present governing generation often miss? The liberal arts have been eviscerated to temper them as required courses, dumbed down not to disturb the fashionably correct. Few will be trained to analyze and criticize an argument because the stuff of poetics and rhetoric has been dropped from the curriculum. Such learning does not pave the path to Wall Street or Silicon Valley — or to the ruling precincts of Washington.

I suggested to a young graduate of an elite school that if the latest turn of events behind the president's speech over what to do about Syria was a theater with a stage, if not a theater of war, audiences would recognize John Kerry's gaffe, inviting an improbable rescue by the deus ex machine . He looked at me, puzzled. "Say what?" was written in his eyes.

Aristotle warned budding playwrights against using the deus ex machine , "G0D in the machine," because it lacked credibility. Presidents, like playwrights, shouldn't count on such G0Ds, either but find a better way out of a painted corner. Such a miraculous rescue, aboard a chariot like the one dispatched by the Sun G0D to rescue Medea from the punishment of death for killing her children, is more than a playwright can manage or a president can expect.

Vladimir Putin is no sun G0D, but he's Barack Obama's hero, having dispatched the chariot to rescue him from the shrinking Syrian corner he painted himself into. His predicament could only get more dire when Congress took its votes on whether to authorize missile strikes on Syrian stocks of poison gas. He was likely to lose, and his humiliation would have been without an end in sight.


The secretary of state dared the Russian leader to ride to the rescue, and the Russian leader took his dare. The White House can claim all it wants that it was Barack Obama's "toughness" that forced the favorable turn, and Vladimir Putin will smile his snake-like KGB smile and let it pass. The world knows who won this one. John Kerry, the author of the dare, learned a hard lesson: never match wits with someone as clever as yourself and maybe tougher besides. Never assume that the improbable is impossible.

The president and his friends are working hard to make Obama the improbable hero. Nancy Pelosi proclaimed the Putin rescue operation a "victory" for the American president, but Washington and the West can't afford another victory like this one. Putin, as the improbable G0D in the machine, is entitled to his laugh. "If Obama wants to see it like a Christmas miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue," writes Lee Smith in The Weekly Standard, "that's fine with Putin, because Putin won."

So what difference does it make whether my college graduate missed the reference to deus ex machine ? It's but a reflection of what he didn't learn. The Greek and Roman classics no longer form the roots of a Western education to frame the common cultural knowledge. Thinking with the help of analogies and metaphors, a lost skill, testifies to the ability to reason together (though Vladimir Putin has lately done well enough with neither metaphor nor analogy).

Putting off a vote, the president is grateful to a dissembling onetime KGB agent who delayed the debate of the Syrian atrocity with a clever power play. The chief international supporter of Bashir al-Assad, and his most reliable supplier of guns, will take control now of the civil war and events in the Middle East, delaying help for the rebels who had hopes and promises of something better.

The debate that President Obama said we should have is effectively over, decided by who best exploited and manipulated John Kerry's gaffe. Deus ex machine indeed. Say what?

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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