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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 12, 2013/ 4 Tamuz, 5773

Just follow the numbers

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Data-mining is the sophisticated mathematical analysis of large masses of numbers in search of telltale patterns. I won't pretend to know how it works. At the first mention of algorithms, to borrow a phrase from the late great Sam Goldwyn, that master of the malaprop, include me out.

I do know there are historical patterns as well as mathematical ones, and the current foofaraw over the use of Big Data to prevent terrorist attacks on this country fits right into an old and familiar one: In the first rush of fury after a sneak attack on this country, Americans stand united behind our president and commander-in-chief. And back his every move.

But as the struggle continues year after year, as sacrifices mount and doubts multiply, national unity begins to fray.

In the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, a galvanized nation came together. (Remember Pearl Harbor!) But as the years wore on, and Gold Stars began to appear in window after window, a different mood began to set in. When the casualty reports started filtering in from Okinawa, the bloodiest landing in the Pacific campaign, public support for the war took a dramatic dip in the opinion polls. How long could this go on?

The same pattern emerged during the Korean Conflict, a war by a different name. Harry Truman, who had just won a stunning victory in the 1948 presidential election, an upset that still inspires every political underdog, would leave the White House in 1953 as one of the most unpopular presidents of his century. His historical rehabilitation, as the deep divisions and suspicions of those times slowly faded, would take years.

Note the rise and fall in political support for George W. Bush. The country rallied behind his leadership in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, this generation's December 7th. His wartime policies, once overwhelmingly supported, were overwhelmingly rejected in the presidential election of 2008, and a junior senator from Illinois who had been one of his chief critics would become his successor as president.

Whatever doubts about those policies Barack Obama had voiced as a senator, once he became president and commander-in-chief, he would adopt almost every one of them -- from drone warfare to data-mining. Power can breed responsibility.

Yes, our president still pays lip service to some of the views he embraced as a senator: He still wants to close Guantanamo, though without offering a better or even clearer alternative to holding unlawful combatants there. And just the other day he was recommending repeal of the Patriot Act, even as he was pursuing the War on Terror (if not by the same name any longer) under that act.

Naturally enough, our president is loath to admit he's changed course. He's not a man who can readily admit he was wrong. About anything. Rather, he explains that his position on this war has "evolved."

Fine. What does it matter how the president explains his change of heart so long as he's adopted the right course now? As he has when it comes to data-mining, which is just the kind of intelligence operation that might have prevented September 11th. And may have prevented more than one terrorist act since.

Republicans should resist the temptation to pile on this president (and commander-in-chief) when he is defending the country by every legitimate means at his disposal.

The loyal opposition needs to avoid doing to President Obama what Sen. Obama and partisan company did to President Bush. This issue is too important, and the danger to the country too real, to make cheap points.

Some senators still display their old knee-jerk tendencies when a president seeks to protect us under the Patriot Act. See the reaction of the Hon. Charles Schumer, the distinguished senator and nudnik from New York. He calls data-mining an "invasive" technique and complains: "One thing I have not heard is what the explanation is for needing this."

If the senator really wants to know the reason for all this data-mining, he need only go over to lower Manhattan and look at the site that was occupied by the Twin Towers before September 11, 2001. At the time, data-mining, like the Surge in Iraq and then Afghanistan, had not yet been tried, let alone succeeded.

As the hubbub over data-mining bubbles on (newspapers do have to have scandals to write about even if they're non-scandals), here's hoping everybody will calm down soon enough and try to see this issue in perspective.

Lest we forget, data-mining reveals only the location and duration of phone calls, not their content. Just as your phone bill does. So the government can spot suspicious activity. In much the same way, some little old lady innocent in Peoria or Schenectady is likely to get a call from his credit-card company if it notes that she's suddenly spent $10,000 on diamonds and surfboards in Miami. Any departure from the usual pattern may sound an alarm. And should.

In order to listen to the content of a call or get the text of an email, the government still needs the permission of a court. The court proceedings may be secret -- why alert the bad guys? -- but they're an additional safeguard against government's abusing its authority to protect us.

This little flare-up in the news, or what passes for news in this case, will surely fade soon enough. And should. For data-mining has been with us for years. Perspective should return once folks understand what data-mining is and what it's not. It's a sophisticated way to spot incipient threats to our security. It's not an unrestricted license to read American citizens' emails or listen in on our phone calls. There's nothing scandalous about this "scandal."

Besides, with this administration mired in real scandals that seem to erupt every day, senators like Chuck Schumer and Rand Paul, his right-wing mirror image, have no cause to get all worked up about a non-scandal. And neither does the American public.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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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