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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 24, 2010 / 11 Teves 5770

Mr. Spock-like president morphs into Marvin the Martian

By Jonathan Gurwitz




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For "Star Trek" fans, the Bush administration was hard enough to endure. Bush's national security team was supposedly populated by Vulcans, an apparent reference to the humanoid race to which the USS Enterprise's first officer, Mr. Spock, half belonged.

In fact, other than former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's passing resemblance to Spock's father, the Bush Vulcans had nothing whatsoever to do with the final frontier. The appellation — popularized in James Mann's 2004 book "Rise of the Vulcans" — derived from a famous statue of the Roman god of fire in Birmingham, Ala., hometown of Bush National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Now we have a president who many people believe actuallyis a Vulcan — the extraterrestrial kind. And no, this isn't some concoction of the birther movement alleging Barack Obama is a space alien.

The first well-known reference to Obama as a Vulcan came in a June 2008 NPR interview with Henry Jenkins, then a professor of humanities at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "There's something in the mythology that surrounds Barack Obama that seems, to me, echoes some of our assumptions about Spock," Jenkins said. "He's someone who's been able to bridge worlds."

This fascinating commentary chugged along on impulse power until March 2009, when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd gave it warp speed. "Mr. Obama has a bit of Mr. Spock in him (and not just the funny ears)," she wrote. "He has a Vulcan-like logic and detachment."

The release of a new "Star Trek" movie two months later transported the comparison to a Newsweek cover story. "Spock's cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we've put a sort of Vulcan in the White House," acclaimed Steve Daly.

Thus, the Obama-is-Spock legend was born. Obama was endowed with supremely logical, analytical abilities. These he would boldly bring to bear on the problems of the universe, launching an age when "the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal ... when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth."

That last quote wasn't from Spock. It was from Obama himself after he secured the Democratic presidential nomination.

It turns out, however, that there's more to leadership than cold logic, thorough analysis and sagacious powers of observation — something true fans of "Star Trek" know well. It's a subject the original series plumbed in many memorable episodes.

Having placed Spock in the Oval Office, some people are now disappointed to discover that there's no Vulcan death grip for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, that a mind meld won't prevent fanatical extremists from trying to blow up the United States or that logic won't convince Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions.

Responding to calls from everyone from Spike Lee to the once logically-enthralled Maureen Dowd to show more emotion, Obama recently had his amok moment about the gulf gusher. "I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar," Obama told the "Today" show's Matt Lauer. "We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick."

Memo to the science officer in chief: Having experts advise you on whose ass potentially to kick will not be widely viewed as competent leadership. Rather than making you look like a cool commander, it causes you to resemble a cartoon character.

"This makes me very angry — very angry indeed!" is the declaration of a famously detached "Looney Tunes" character. That's not Spock in the Oval Office. It's Marvin the Martian.

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.

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JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.

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© 2009, Jonathan Gurwitz

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