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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 Feb. 6, 2009 / 12 Shevat 5769

Deja vu all over again, Or; On being driven to distraction

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A bright new president announces he's going to have the most ethical administration in American history and, even before the new has worn off, has to accept the resignations of one after another of his top appointees when their ethical lapses come to harsh light.


Sound familiar?


It should. The calendar says 2009, the new president is Barack Obama, but it could be the false political spring of 1993, when Bill Clinton seemed almost as busy undoing his appointments as he'd been making them only days before.


Something else hasn't changed much, either: The distinguished former appointees almost uniformly explain that they're stepping down not because they've shown rotten judgment and/or complete insensitivity to the simplest ethical requirements, but because paying attention to such matters would be too much of a "distraction" from the great service they have and could still render an ungrateful public. (There is no limit to the egotism of political hacks when caught in a compromising position; it's as if they actually believed all the flowery introductions they've got at civic banquets over the years.)


Just read, if you can stand it, Tom Daschle's posturing, self-serving, glossing-over and generally beside-the-point statement on his decision to withdraw his nomination as the country's next secretary of Health and Human Services. In it, he says that "if 30 years of exposure to the challenges inherent in our system has taught me anything, it has taught me that this work will require a leader who can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people, and without distraction."


So that's what questions about ethics, probity, duty and whether a public official has ignored them all have become in our sophisticated time: just a distraction.


What a pity Mr. Daschle's 30 years of exposure to the challenges inherent in our system, not to mention inherent in being a citizen of the United States, did not teach him to report his taxes, pay them in full, and refrain from raking in the dough like a defeated majority leader of the U.S. Senate with his hand out to every special interest in sight.


At last incomplete count, the former senator had collected nearly a quarter of a million dollars in speaking fees (and he's not exactly a Winston Churchill on the platform), not counting the more than $5 million he took in as a consultant to real estate, telecommunications and energy corporations.


And the hospitals and insurers and pharmaceutical companies that would have fallen under his extensive domain as secretary of Health and Human Services.


Oh, yes, there was also the little matter of his not paying some $128,000 in back taxes on undisclosed income until his delinquencies came to light. But all that is just a distraction, to hear Mr. Daschle tell it. Just as it would have been "a distraction and delay" to delve into her ethical problems, explained Nancy Killefer, who until the day before yesterday was Barack Obama's choice for chief performance officer for the entire federal government — a Historic First, since President Obama just created that high-sounding post.


As it turns out, Ms. Killefer hadn't paid employment taxes for her household help until that same government whose performance she was going to monitor sued her for the back taxes. Chutzpah, thy name is Nancy Killefer.


Shades of Zoe Baird, one of Bill Clinton's successive picks as attorney general of the United States back in 1993. It turned out Ms. Baird hadn't paid her household staff's Social Security taxes, either.


There are few things lower than shorting the help, but somehow our presidents seem to find nominees who manage to do just that, and whose excuses when they are caught are even more annoying than the original offense.


To quote one aghast reader who took the trouble to e-mail me after Ms. Killefer's little problem hit the news: "Too bad someone who does wrong can't just come out and say they were wrong and apologize, rather than blame it on the unnamed critics who would rightfully criticize them for this.


"They don't seem to understand," Devoted Reader went on, "that when they don't pay the payroll taxes for their domestic help, they are not only depriving many other Americans of the advantages of funding Social Security and Medicare (which certainly need the money), but they are denying the lower-income people who work for them the ability to receive benefits one day. It's not fair, especially to millions of Americans who do the right thing by paying their taxes."


Beyond the fiscal ramifications of this kind of dereliction, what does it say about the culture of our new elite? Didn't there used to be an unwritten code in the best households about treating the help right? Wasn't that supposed to be the test of a true gentleman. And lady.


What ever happened to our sense of noblesse oblige, if anyone even uses the term any more? Once upon a time it didn't have to be used; it was simply understood. It was part of the fabric not just of the household but of society. Rank had not just its privileges but its obligations, and the best people were those who lived up to them. No more.


Now to inquire about such things is just a distraction.


In all this cloud of Clintonesque deja vu, there was one refreshing whiff of candor, and that came when our still new president — very new — made a point of going before the television cameras and talking straight. Barack Obama, who was still standing behind his appointment of Tom Daschle 24 hours before — "absolutely" — had seen the (klieg) light by yesterday, and was fessing up in one television interview after another: "I'm frustrated with myself, with our team ... I'm here on television to say I screwed up."


That was the one direct, unqualified apology in this whole farce. (It's too low, and the characters too ignoble, to call this a tragedy.) How refreshing. Also clear, concise and to-the-point. The president's comment gives one hope. For apology is the beginning of humility, and humility the beginning of wisdom. The education of Barack Obama proceeds apace, and his taking responsibility for his choices indicates he may yet prove an apt pupil.

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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