In this issue

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 May 26, 2005 / 17 Iyar, 5765

Humor and responsibility

By Andrei Codrescu

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Can a chief-of-state allow himself to have a sense of humor? And if so, what kind of humor is it? These questions came out of hanging out briefly with a man who once had a great deal of power.

The former President of Romania, Emil Constantinescu, is a handsome and melancholy man who lives obsessed by his legacy and by the malevolence of his enemies.

Can't say I blame him.

He was the first non-communist leader elected after the military coup of 1989 which brought to power, like elsewhere in Russia and Eastern Europe, an ambitious gang of thieves determined to carve between them the corpses of their socialist economies, to get rich quick, and to "join" the world economic system. They succeeded very well, but they made mistakes in the process, one of which allowed Constantinescu, a geology professor, to ride a wave of popular discontent to the highest office in the land. But once there, he told me, "the wave that took me up receded and I was left up there all alone." All alone, it goes without saying, with all the bad guys installed there by the former occupant.

The new President (1996-2000) did all he could to stop the thieves and tried also to bring to justice the murderers who created the fake revolution of 1989 in Romania, an event during which more than a thousand people were assassinated at random to give the world the illusion that an actual revolution was taking place. This is a long and sordid story, told in many books, including one by me, and unresolved to this day. The new President jailed some of the killers (most of them escaped) but none of them did any time when he was voted out of office and the bad old guy came back.

Now one would think that someone who had such experiences and is now walking down Bourbon Street in New Orleans with yours truly, wouldn't have much of an appreciation for a multi-colored pile of vomit on the sidewalk or a drunk college student baring her breasts while oversized beads are being dangled in front of her by an equally drunk middle-aged businessman from Ohio whose family will be mortified to see him (as they will) on the Bourbon Street webcam.

You'd be wrong: the former chief-of-state, preoccupied with betrayal, global politics, and secret mafias, did indeed find these things (somewhat) amusing.

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And this without taking a break from a story he was telling, pretty amusing in itself in a certain way, about the leaders of certain former Soviet republics who stood up at their first NATO meeting and declared themselves "100 percent behind NATO and the U.S.," a percentage that elicited smiles and raised eyebrows from leaders of Western European democracies who had never seen such percentages and knew them only too well to be old myths of the supposedly-dead dictatorship of the proletariat.

The former President has cojones, I'll grant him that. We were having this conversation in the absence of his bodyguards, who'd gone either shopping or girl-watching (they were pretty good-looking muscular guys), and there was a touching humanity about the man.

I felt sorry for him because he was so full of knowledge about evil things and so weighed down by thoughts he couldn't help having.

I was glad to see that he didn't miss the insanity of our permanent circus. I was glad he didn't step in that puke, either. He did a last minute save that could have been the fruit of many years' experience.

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

JWR contributor Andrei Codrescu is a poet, commentator and author, most recently, of "Wakefield". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.


© 2005, Andrei Codrescu.