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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 Feb. 5, 2007 / 17 Shevat, 5767


By Mitch Albom

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Joe Biden thought he was giving a compliment.

He says it was a compliment.

He promises it wasn't an insult.

And all this only shows that in America, you hear what you want to hear.

Let's examine exactly what Biden told the New York Observer when asked about Sen. Barack Obama as a presidential candidate. This is how it was widely quoted in the press from New York to New Delhi.

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," Biden said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

This quote brought a hailstorm of criticism upon the Democratic senator from Delaware who was actually tossing his own hat in the presidential ring — and prompted headlines like "Biden's Campaign Over Before It Starts?"

Now, I have heard the tape of this interview, and there are actually a few subtle but important differences. What was actually said was this:

BIDEN: "I mean, you got the first sort of ... mainstream African American ..."


BIDEN: "... who is articulate and bright and ... and clean and a nice-looking guy. ..."


BIDEN: "... I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Now, you may not think there is a difference. But as any director, playwright or political spinmeister will tell you, it's all where you put the pauses and the commas.

For example, Biden saying Obama as a candidate is "the first sort of ... mainstream African American" — and the reporter saying "yeah" — is different than Biden saying Obama is the first articulate, bright or clean African American. But if you don't include the pause, or the reporter saying "yeah," which breaks the sentence, you could certainly read his comments as meaning Obama is the first of all those things.

And I don't know why all these top-notch news agencies didn't include the words "sort of" in the quote, since Biden clearly said them. If a guy's going to get crucified over words, we should at least hear all of them, right?

Then again, it likely wouldn't make a difference. America has become such a tinderbox of our own particular interests we don't need much to ignite.

Let's consider Biden's statement from three camps. White. Black. Cynic. I'm not suggesting this is how all whites, blacks or cynics feel, but for purposes of discussion, let's have the categories reflect the most sensitive and vocal corners of each.

BIDEN: "You got the first sort of mainstream African American ..."

WHITE: What's wrong with that? Obama is mainstream. He's not radical. He talks about unifying people and parties. He has a best-selling book, he does Oprah. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton weren't mainstream, Obama is. What's wrong with that?

BLACK: What's wrong with YOU? Mainstream is just a code word for white people accepting him. What about Shirley Chisholm or Carol Moseley Braun? They ran for president, too. Weren't they mainstream?

CYNIC: Biden didn't mean any of it, anyhow. He's a politician. He probably hates Obama.

BIDEN: "... who is articulate ..."

WHITE: Well he is articulate. That's a good thing. If only the current president could be described that way.

BLACK: We all know what articulate means. It means white people can understand him. It's a putdown to all other black candidates.

CYNIC: Who cares? Biden's lying.

BIDEN: "... and bright ..."

WHITE: Uh, hello? Obama went to Harvard Law School. Bright may be an understatement.

BLACK: We all know what bright means. It means white people are amazed. They think most black candidates are stupid.

CYNIC: He said bright because he didn't want to say brilliant. Biden's hoping someone will use that word on him.

BIDEN: "... and clean ..."

WHITE: Biden was referring to his mother's expression, "clean as a whistle, sharp as a tack." It's a compliment. Since when is clean a dirty word?


CYNIC: He meant no criminal record.


WHITE: Don't be so sensitive.


Well, you get the drift. For what it's worth, Biden apologized, and Obama said no big deal. But there's no such thing as no big deal in the world of politics, media and the Internet.

One of the most famous phrases in Americans history begins "we hold these truths to be self-evident." But what's true and self-evident these days all depends on where you sit.

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