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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. 15, 2013/ 5 Adar, 5773

The State of the Union: The good, the bad and the eloquent

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | First, the good parts. They stood out. Indeed, the president's general tone Tuesday night, despite the reflexive class warfare here and there, was much less fast and furious than his re-inaugural address -- as if now he wanted to work with the opposition rather than just excoriate it.

"We can do this," Mr. Obama assured the country. Just what we can do -- will it be for good or ill? -- may not always be clear, but at least Tuesday night he seemed interested in bringing us together instead of driving us further apart.

The partisan boilerplate that issued forth from the usual Republican sources after this year's State of the Union was all the less convincing after the president's resort to reasonableness, at least in tone and gesture -- which count for a lot.

Indeed, style can be all when it comes to getting things done, as Ronald Reagan well knew when cajoling even an old irascible like Tip O'Neill, the long-time leader of the opposition in the Gipper's day. Mr. Reagan's program may have been to the right of right, but he was always nicer than nice, personally likeable and even politically flexible after he'd done his rhetorical worst, or rather best. After all, why make enemies he didn't already have -- if he could further his principles, anyway? And he certainly did that.

This president struck just the right tone when it came to finally fixing this country's long-broken immigration system. Omitting the inevitable self-promotion ("we can build on the progress my administration's already made," and such), what the president said made good sense:

"Real reform means strong border security. ... Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship, a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally. And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy."

If only this president had included poets and seers and freedom-fighters, and the great dancers and musicians of our time, as meriting visas, too -- the Solzhenitsyns and Sharanskys, the Rostropoviches and Baryshnikovs. But who could argue with his general idea? Except of course the usual soreheads who would rather fight this problem than ever solve it. But there seem to be fewer and fewer of those these days, or at least they no longer seem to have as much support.

If only the president had fought, really fought, for this kind of reform his first term, and if only he'll get serious about it in his second, maybe all of us can finally put this nigh-eternal issue behind us. And get on with making the kind of history a nation of immigrants should.

The president also struck a reasonable note on gun control/gun rights, saluting the Second Amendment while recognizing that it's not a license for more Newtowns and Columbines and, here in Arkansas, Jonesboros.

Yes, let's finally have meaningful background checks at gun shows, instead of inviting felons, nutcases and dubious characters in general to start assembling arsenals all their own. Come, let us reason together.

Then maybe we'll find other such obvious reforms all law-abiding citizens can agree on. Even if it's clear we're just nibbling around the issue instead of recognizing that it requires what Rudy Giuliani did to clean up New York: vigorous law enforcement on the local level that ignores no breach of the peace, however minor the infraction. The Broken Windows approach to police work, it's called.

Then there was the bad. Here's a brief summation and (very) free translation of the president's remarks in an attempt to translate his instant cliches into plain English:

"I want you to know that I'm all for the middle class and for expanding it when I'm not taxing it to death, and that goes for small business, too, when I'm not loading it down with taxes and penalties and forms to fill out. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (none dare call it Obamacare in my administration), health-insurance premiums are increasing dramatically, and our entire approach to better medicine is being carefully wrapped in red tape, mountains of it. What's more, I promise there'll be more of it once we find out all that's in Obama -- I mean the Affordable Care Act.

"I want to assure you, as I go down the list of challenges facing this great nation, that there's not a one that more government spending won't fix. Why, the economy is already improving noticeably thanks to my ministrations. Pay no mind to those unemployment figures. I'm certainly not going to mention them tonight, just make a passing remark about the need for more jobs. I'm sure the next economic stimulus I get passed will be as effective as the first in getting this vibrant, improving economy started again.

"Why, under my administration, we're producing more oil and natural gas than we have for years. For decades. No need to mention a forgotten historical figure like George P. Mitchell, a wildcatter-engineer-entrepreneur out on the Barnett Shale who pretty much invented fracking, which now has made all the difference in our and the world's energy picture. The man persisted in his crazy idea for years, being just the kind of wicked capitalist we've got to tax and discourage more.

"I want to assure all of you that I'm as completely committed to Comprehensive Tax Reform as I was during my first four years in office. Which may be why it hasn't gotten anywhere, but never you mind all that. We've just got to stop creating the kind of manufactured crises every few months that I invented with a little help from my friends in Congress. As for the arbitrary, indiscriminate sequestration of government spending now hanging over our heads, that's the worst idea I've heard since I introduced it, confident nobody would be damfool enough to call my bluff."

"Let the word go out from this time and place: I stand with our brave troops and diplomats around the world, except maybe at Benghazi. And we will do everything in our power to support the rising tide of freedom throughout the Arab world, except maybe in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia....

"I don't know why we can't make it easier to vote in this country. Let's follow the example of my hometown, Chicago, that paragon of clean elections. Why, in Mayor Daley the First's time, or Boss Hague's in Jersey City, even the dead were voting. And nobody ever asked them for any steenkin' ID...."

Ibid., loc. cit., passim, etc., ad infinitum . . . till an hour seemed an eternity.

Finally, there was the downright eloquent in the president's speech. The old Barack Obama, the one who first came to national attention by reminding us that there are no red states or blue states but the United States of America, came back in his grand peroration.

What a contrast this year's State of the Union made with the one in which he chewed out the justices of the Supreme Court who dared show up to hear him. And with his second inaugural just a couple of weeks ago, with all its talk about The People -- as if we were all part of one great, amorphous blob spreading slowly across the continent and somehow anonymously inventing things and building great enterprises.

Instead the president spoke of The Citizen, a title far more majestic than King or Czar or certainly People's Republic. Or president, for that matter. For as Harry Truman commented on leaving the White House, he was now being promoted to the highest rank in the republic, Private Citizen. For the citizen is the ultimate depository of sovereignty in a true republic, where he is lord of himself, for good or ill. That's the essence (and burden) of freedom: personal responsibility.

Here's hoping this president will remember his paean to the citizen before the collectivist bug gets to him again. It can hold on forever, like a bad case of the flu, and be even more debilitating for a society.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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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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