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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 June 7, 2011 / 5 Sivan, 5771

Custom-Tailored History

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Want to know what a major theme of our president's re-election campaign will be, at least in the rust belt? His vice president and running mate unveiled it just the other day. Here's the gospel according to Joe Biden:

"Because of what we did, the auto industry is rising again. ... At the time, many people thought the president should just let GM and Chrysler go under." But the president "certainly wasn't going to abandon an industry that had meant so much to our economy...."

What?

Can the vice president have forgotten that both GM and Chrysler did go under on this administration's watch and at its urging? Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of April 2009, despite an earlier $4 billion loan from the federal government, and General Motors followed it into bankruptcy a month later. To quote that noted economist Casey Stengel, you could look it up.

The reorganization and revival of both those corporate giants might have been cleaner and quicker, and certainly easier on the taxpayers, if Chrysler and GM had been allowed to fail sooner, and then had been reorganized without all that government help/interference/general mucking about.

I say might have been. Because we'll never know for sure -- hypotheticals are only hypotheticals, and history can't be rewound and played again with a different ending to see what an alternative policy might have produced.

But that's still no reason to obscure the history we do know, tossing any inconvenient facts down the memory hole lest they interfere with the smooth flow of a campaign speech. In this case, the omissions include those two bankruptcy filings Mr. Biden seems to have forgotten -- or assumes the rest of us have.

By the time this column appears in print, the president will have done his own variation on the same theme; these campaign strategies are well orchestrated. Even if the administration's ever-changing policy as Chrysler and GM collapsed wasn't.

This much is common knowledge: Both these automakers, whatever their size and connections and importance, all of which are considerable, richly deserved to fail -- as the millions of Americans who bought all those Japanese and German imports over the years can testify. Which is how a competitive market is supposed to work -- for the benefit of the consumer and the competitors themselves, who are obliged to improve their product in order to survive. (Anybody in the newspaper business these days ought to know how that works.)

Instead of improving their product, GM and Chrysler improved and expanded their dependence on government -- till even the government lost patience and ushered them into bankruptcy, albeit at still more public expense.

Those bankruptcies, contrary to the conventional wisdom at the time, were good news. That way, the companies got a chance to start anew and do better.

That's the purpose of bankruptcy: to clear the books and the air and allow folks a second chance, a chance to do better. It's hard to imagine the better products Detroit is turning out these days without the spur of foreign competition. By treating GM and Chrysler as too big to fail for too long, Washington did them no favor. It just put off the inevitable and made it all the more painful when it did arrive.

Now both companies are demonstrating that they can compete very well with foreign products, but it took letting them fail to get their attention.

Failure is not without its benefits; it can be a most educational experience.

In the end, the administration had to follow Mitt Romney's counsel and let both these corporations file for bankruptcy. But in the alternate universe Joe Biden inhabits, GM and Chrysler never went under. Why let an historical detail or two stand in the way of a rousing campaign speech? Like a bespoke historian, he will happily tailor history to suit the customer. (Orders now being taken for the fall season of 2012).

Despite all Mr. Biden's handiwork, his final product may not convince.

Even if his tucked-and-fitted history shines with the sharkskin splendor of a Beirut business suit, the customer cannot escape the uneasy feeling that there's a rip down the back, and it's widening with his every step. Consumer confidence drops and the uneasy feeling grows that the country is going in the wrong direction. Indeed, that feeling begins to take on the solidity of a firm conviction. And the American voter, like a driver who suspects he's made a wrong turn, begins to hear an inner voice he can no longer ignore:

Turn around!

Mr. Biden's politic history of corporate bankruptcies in 2009, which was much too politic to emphasize any corporate bankruptcies, brings to mind a little label spotted on a display case in a Midwestern art museum years ago:

The authenticity of these artifacts is now under review. As the presidential campaign of 2012 gears up -- indeed, you can hear the gears grinding -- perhaps a similar label should be attached to any and all campaign speeches still in the development stage:

The authenticity of these facts is now under review.

Or should be. Because any similarity between the "facts" cited in these partisan recitations and what actually happened may be only coincidental.

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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