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 Dec. 29, 2008 / 2 Teves 5769

Don't believe everything you read

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken." So wrote Oliver Cromwell in 1650, and the world would be a better place if Cromwell's words were prominently posted over the desk of everyone who works in the pundit racket — those who get paid to tell the world what they think, but too infrequently pause to consider, let alone confess, that they might not always know what they're talking about.

Like weather forecasters and economists, those of us in the commentariat get paid even when we're wrong. If we didn't — well, just think of the political sages who would have been pounding the pavement after asserting confidently that Mitt Romney was sitting pretty in Iowa and New Hampshire, or that Barack Obama had no chance of defeating the Clinton machine. Fortunately, error — even egregious error — isn't usually a hanging offense in this business. Just ask Dick Morris, the Fox News/New York Post commentator, who wrote a book in 2005 called Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race. Or Shelby Steele, the Hoover Institution scholar and frequent op-ed essayist whose latest book, on the Obama phenomenon, was titled A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win.

BusinessWeek was chortling recently over a list of what it labeled "truly spectacular" wrong calls about 2008, such as President Bush's soothing analysis of the economy last March ("The market is in the process of correcting itself") and Jim Cramer's response on CNBC's "Mad Money" to a viewer who was thinking of dumping his Bear Stearns stock ("No! No! No! Bear Stearns is fine! Do not take your money out . . . Bear Stearns is not in trouble!").

But not every howler made the BusinessWeek list. For example, it didn't include this elaborate forecast, which proved to be mistaken in every detail:

"New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will enter the presidential race in February, after it becomes clear which nominees will get the nod from the major parties. His multiple billions and organization will impress voters — and stun rivals. He'll look like the most viable third-party candidate since Teddy Roosevelt. But Bloomberg will come up short, as he comes in for withering attacks from both Democrats and Republicans. He and Clinton will split more than 50 percent of the votes, but Arizona's maverick senator, John McCain, will end up the country's next President."

That impressive string of blunders was one of "Ten Likely Events in 2008" foretold by — yes — BusinessWeek back on Jan. 2. Anyone can make a bad call, of course, but it generally takes a professional — a paid journalist or expert analyst — to be wrong about something so comprehensively (and publicly).

Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, nicely illustrates the point in the November issue of Commentary magazine. He rounds up the reaction of much of the punditocracy to the 2007 change of strategy in Iraq — the "surge" that led to such remarkable progress in the war. As Wehner shows, one commentator after another expressed not just doubt about the surge, but utter contempt for it.

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post assured readers that the surge "could only make sense in some parallel universe where pigs fly and fish commute on bicycles." Time's Joe Klein derided it as "Bush's futile pipe dream." Former ambassador Peter Galbraith explained in the New York Review of Books that the surge "has no chance of actually working." And Jonathan Chait announced in the Los Angeles Times that there was "something genuinely bizarre" about anyone who would support the new strategy. "It is not just that they are wrong — being wrong happens to all of us from time to time. It's that they are completely detached from reality."

Do tell. (I was wrong, too. A month before Bush announced the surge, I wrote that his sagging approval ratings would surely revive if only he would "make it clear that he is serious about victory" in Iraq and "will do whatever it takes to achieve it." Two years later, Iraq is in vastly better shape, but Bush's approval numbers are even worse.)

"Think it possible you may be mistaken." My resolution for 2009 is to keep Cromwell's reproach in mind with every column I write. I'm not planning to get anything wrong, but it's been known to happen.

Caveat lector.

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.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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