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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 Oct. 29, 2012/ 13 Mar-Cheshvan, 5773

Making hay in Iowa

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | DES MOINES, Iowa -- In every presidential election season, Iowa is a political stage set. With its sprawling farms, literate voters, unforgettable fried pork tenderloin sandwiches, wild-eyed liberals and devout religious conservatives, the state and its caucuses provide a picturesque setting for candidates scrambling for a moment of attention and hoping to be transformed by prairie dust from improbable to inevitable.

Then everyone zips out of here as fast as possible and promptly forgets about the state for another four years.

Not this time. Iowa has emerged as one of about 10 swing states in the general election, and this time the nominees are returning -- not once, but often -- for an encore turn on the Iowa stage.

This fall, the farmers working late at harvest time aren't the only Iowans whose lights are illuminating the wide night skies here. The campaign workers are working late, too.

Seldom has so much political activity been invested by so many political activists for what would seem to be so little political payoff. But suddenly Iowa's six little electoral votes are the electoral version of blue ribbons at the state fair. They're big prize

s. The election is that close -- and was long before the first presidential debate catapulted former Gov. Mitt Romney into a virtual tie with President Barack Obama.

"The debates affect donors and mobilize activists here," says Barbara Trish, a political scientist at Grinnell College, some 60 miles east of Des Moines. "But I bet on Election Day the state will still be uncertain. We won't know who won Iowa until late that night."

Which is why this month Mr. Romney visited teeny Van Meter (population 1,073), best known as the home of fireballing pitcher Bob Feller, and Mr. Obama paused in Mount Vernon (population 4,506), where ordinarily the biggest thing in town in October is the chili cook-off.

Iowa isn't used to causing late-night jitters for presidential campaigns. Early 20th-century Sen. Jonathan Dolliver once proclaimed with confidence that "Iowa will go Democratic when Hell goes Methodist." In fact, until recently, Republicans ruled with little challenge in presidential elections, even after Elmer Carlson shoved a mule into the elevator of Chicago's Palmer Hotel at the 1952 Democratic National Convention. Dwight Eisenhower took 64 percent of the Iowa vote that year.

Now, Iowa is a classic swing state, befitting a territory that was one of the first in the nation to practice crop rotation.

Iowa sends one senator of each party to Washington. The House delegation consists of three Democrats and two Republicans. One chamber of the state legislature is controlled by Democrats, the other by Republicans -- and the state Senate has 25 Democrats and 24 Republicans.

Retired Iowa state historian Dorothy Schwieder titled her 1996 book "Iowa: The Middle Land" and sketched Iowa as conservative in politics but liberal in social outlook -- and always choosing a middle ground.

"Iowa, unlike Midwestern states to the east, has not become predominantly industrial, and unlike Midwestern states to the west, has not remained mostly agricultural," she wrote. "Rather, in politics, in economics, in social values and social actions, Iowa can still be defined as the middle land."

The middle ground is a recurrent theme in this state, whose 55,869 square miles of land provide fully a quarter of the top-grade agricultural land in the country.

Indeed, the 1938 WPA Guide to Iowa, noting "the rich land, remarkably uniform diffusion of the population, traditions of culture and tolerance," spoke of a "successful experiment in living" that has been achieved "in this fertile middle ground between the congested districts of the East and the more sparsely settled West."

Social movements have moved across Iowa like the glaciers that shaped it -- recurrent farm revolts, the Social Gospel, Prohibition, modern liberalism, and then a surging religious conservatism that has surpassed mainline Protestantism in its political if not its social influence.

The result is the unpredictability in Iowa politics that we are seeing this autumn.

In 1962, Harold Hughes, with a history of alcoholism, was elected governor on a platform of liquor by the drink. He was only the second Democratic governor in a quarter-century. In three terms he brought what James Larew in his history of the Iowa Democratic Party described as "'Great Society' attitudes toward taxes and social services." Later, Republican Terry Branstad served four consecutive terms as governor and then returned to office last year for a fifth after a dozen years of Democratic rule.

Though many pioneers settled here, Iowa was marked by great waves of migration, first by Native Americans who roamed south and west from the Great Lakes, and then by whites -- Irish, Scots, Swedes, Germans and Dutch, even Danes -- who traveled east across prairie grass that often was higher than the wheels of the wagons carrying their provisions.

Immigration peaked in the 1890s, but a 21st-century wave is breaking over Iowa, drawn to the state by its reputation for civility, its celebration of education and its small industries, with the new Iowans more likely to settle in small cities than in rural crossroads. There are, to be sure, migrant workers here, though Iowa today is shaped more by permanent settlers employed in meat-packing. Iowa no longer is a state only of "corn, cattle and contentment," the sardonic description Ray Stannard Baker applied in a late 19th-century article in Harper's Weekly.

The state boasts a unique political character, where voters meet candidates easily and casually but study their positions slowly and seriously. Its political culture is grounded in the land -- steak frys and hog-judging contests, debates about prize roosters, pictures in front of the annual butter cow -- and in the personal ties that flourish in a small state with a rural culture.

This year the campaign has gone digital, with both campaigns mounting social media efforts. The other day Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin sent a mass email urging Obama supporters to back the president in early voting, which began Sept. 27. Some went to people who had already voted.

Four years from now those sorts of snafus won't happen. But four years from now a genuine general election campaign might not happen here either. Iowans are making hay now (and baling wheat straw) -- tons of it, and some of it is political.

Comment by clicking here.

David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Previously:



10/15/12 When two men confronted each other from afar as civilization hung in the balance
10/08/12 If you look at the election a certain way, things don't seem so terrible
10/01/12 Debating the debates
09/24/12 Pessimists R Us
08/20/12 Obama remains a puzzle even as he asks the American people for a second chance
08/13/12 With Ryan, Romney upends the conversation
08/06/12 The real Romney remains hidden behind other people's opinions
07/30/12 What summer is for: How August can matter, and how Romney might use it
07/23/12 The Independent son of independent Maine promises to shake up Washington
07/16/12 The Rambler American
07/09/12 The Telstar revolution: Fifty years ago, a 3-foot orb was sent aloft and spawned a new era in communications
07/02/12 It's got only four electoral votes, but Romney and Obama will be fighting for them
06/25/12 A little noted rebellion over a lonely stretch of land helps tell the American story
06/18/12 You're nothing special: Luck is what you make of it . . . and what it makes of you
06/11/12 Anybody can talk authoritatively about the presidential election. Here's how
06/04/12 Candidates love to ally themselves with admired presidents, in sometimes unexpected ways
05/29/12 Americans aren't in a new burst of patriotism but they are in a new burst of appreciation for the military
05/21/12 Inside out: Almost nothing about this year's presidential election conforms to conventional analysis
05/14/12 Lugar grew into an elder statesman, which is why he'll be leaving the Senate
05/07/12 50 years later, MacArthur's farewell to arms continues to inspire
04/30/12 The likability factor: We're going to find out how important it is in these troubled times
04/23/12 Romney's four battles: With the nomination essentially in hand, he must turn to new challenges
04/16/12 For GOPers, expect the frustration to build, not abate
04/09/12 The political battles you cannot see
04/02/12 Romney's roadmap: Doing better in Democratic states may complicate his fall campaign
03/26/12 Romney struggles with same GOP forces his father faced long ago
03/19/12 The writer and the president
03/12/12 Romney could learn from his rivals after Super Tuesday
03/05/12 The GOP race continues, and Republicans continue to grouse about their choices
02/27/12 The turnout threat: when voters vamoose
02/20/12 The Winter's Tale: Republicans are engaged in a 'problem play,' full of psychological, and real, drama
02/13/12 Which Ike to like?
02/08/12 A tale of two elections: Voters today are making their most profound choice since 1912
01/30/12 Whither the GOP establishment?
01/23/12 The Democratic coalition is breaking up
01/09/12 The verdict that wasn't
01/02/12 These are the keys to who will persist
12/19/11 Another Gingrich rebellion
12/12/11 A defining fight for the GOP
12/05/11 A distinct lack of enthusiasm
11/28/11 For GOPers, the winds are beginning to pick up, the horizon is darkening
11/21/11 Today's polarized politics . . . blame FDR and the political scientists
11/11/11The sporting life
11/07/11 Ron Paul, true believer
10/31/11 Why Cain isn't able
10/10/11 GOP starting over
10/03/11 The Forgotten War of 1812
09/26/11 The way we live now
09/19/11 The crisis this time
09/11/11 But what will it mean?
09/05/11 A horse race column: Who might win the GOP nomination and how it might unfold
08/29/11 The vacuum calls
08/22/11 Passion and politics: How Barack Obama and Mitt Romney got crowded into the same dangerous corner
08/15/11 Eleanor's little village
08/08/11 The agony of August
08/01/11 The politics of the impossible: What a country this might be if the political class served the broad interests of the majority
07/25/11 Pennant fever grips 'Burgh
07/18/11 Exemplar of an era
07/11/11 On summer
07/04/11 The soul of the party
06/27/11 What the Secretary said
06/20/11 Romney has big advantages over his rivals, but they will be coming after him
06/06/11 One question each
05/30/11 The 14-week challenge
05/23/11 Delay tactics
05/16/11 Republicans are waiting
05/09/11 Bin Laden is dead. What does it mean?
05/02/11 From nobodies to nominees
04/25/11 The founders left slavery for future generations to settle, and we still haven't fully come to terms with it
04/18/11 From audacious to cautious
04/11/11 Dreaming of space
12/12/10 The GOP takes control
12/06/10 DECEMBER 7
11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar





© 2011, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.

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