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 April 20, 2005 / 11 Nisan, 5765

Seeking balance in an either-or world

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall catch hell from both sides." — Sign on the wall of Justice Department attorney Burke Marshall, 1964

In today's food-fight environment, where extremes dominate debate and choice is defined by either-or, finding a comfortable place to land is increasingly difficult. Like most people I know, I tend to run screaming from both ends of the spectrum. Too conservative for the left wing and too liberal for the right wing, I find myself scrambling for the center aisle.

Yet, people in the middle often are held in contempt as fence-straddlers. If you're an opinion columnist, you're forced to pick a side. People want to know: Are you conservative or liberal? "It depends" is considered a weak answer, morally relativistic, lacking in backbone.

Abortion provides a convenient if unpalatable example. I've written dozens of columns through the years, more or less urging a pro-life position — having a baby forces a review of one's assumptions — while clinging to a pro-choice conclusion. Abortion is a terrible thing, I say, the violent termination of a life and a decision many women (and men) regret with time and perspective.

Nevertheless, I can find no way to justify government-enforced maternity. Under penalty of what? By whom? Under what circumstances? The practical applications of the moral ideal become nightmarish as we extrapolate to the real. Thus, one might hope to seek compromise. Can't a female who's old enough to samba deduce that she's pregnant and decide within, oh, 6-8 weeks? This is, after all, not a "Gee whiz, I dunno" question.

In the spirit of compromise, I also can argue passionately in favor of tougher education standards when it comes to abortion. If we can demonstrate how to use condoms to high school students, surely we can make vivid the pros and cons of abortion as birth control. In time, given what can't be ignored when abortion is studied up close, we'd accomplish the goal supported by most Americans (64 percent, according to Luntz Research Companies, August 2003) and articulated by President Bill Clinton: to make abortion safe, legal and rare.

My middle road, of course, makes me equally contemptible to those who dwell in the peripheries — both to the pro-lifers who view all abortion as murder, and to the slippery-slopers who consider objecting to "partial-birth abortion" tantamount to embracing the Vatican's view of The Pill. Caught between extremes of community morality and individual choice — amid near-hysterical ideological partisanship from parties that have been hijacked by radicals — people like me are adrift.

Apparently, I'm not alone. Indeed, given current trends, we may declare that we have reached a perfect storm of political backlash. Americans who cleave to neither extreme — some 50 percent of whom identify themselves as "moderate" — are fed up with the Ann Coulter/Michael Moore school of debate and are looking for someone to articulate a commonsense, middle path. They may have found their voice in John P. Avlon, chief speechwriter for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a New York Sun columnist, whose 2004 book "Independent Nation" has just been released in paperback.

Avlon insists that centrism is the more patriotic political position because it adheres more strictly to American values and founding principles than to ideology. A balance between idealism and realism, centrism is a yin-yang proposition that rejects shrill extremes and embraces reason, decency and a practical perspective. To those who insist that centrism is the death of dissent, Avlon argues that centrism is dissent — from outdated political orthodoxies.

"Extremists and ideological purists on either side of the political aisle condemn compromise," he writes. "But inflexibility either creates deadlock or dooms a cause to irrelevance."

That's from the introduction to "Independent Nation." The balance of the book is a compendium of short biographies of several U.S. presidents, senators and governors and their personal journeys as they illuminate the theme of centrism. Avlon says his purpose in writing the book was to give today's centrists a framework for understanding their frustration with extreme politics and a place for the politically homeless to hang their iPods. Or their heart monitors, as the case may be.

Extremists won't agree with Avlon that centrism is a patriotic position, but who cares? They've held the nation hostage long enough. Meanwhile, Independents are the fastest-growing group of voters across the country, especially among the young, hundreds of whom have e-mailed Avlon since his appearance last week on "The Daily Show" with Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. A Pew Poll published last week in The Economist broke down voters as 39 percent Independent, 31 percent Democrat and 30 percent Republican.

Socially liberal and fiscally conservative, Independents could be a powerful reckoning force by 2008. Politicians better wise up and tone it down.

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