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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 March 18, 2012/ 25 Adar, 5772

Who's Obama sneering at?

By Mark Steyn



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Our lesson for today comes from George and Ira Gershwin:

"They all laughed at Christopher Columbus

When he said the world was round

They all laughed when Edison recorded sound

They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother

When they said that man could fly

They told Marconi wireless was a phony..."

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sang it in the film "Shall We Dance?" (1937) Seventy-five years on, the president revived it to tap-dance around his rising gas prices and falling approval numbers. Delivering his big speech on energy at Prince George's Community College, he insisted the American economy will be going gangbusters again just as soon as we start running it on algae and windmills. He noted that, as with Wilbur and his brother, there were those inclined to titter:

"Let me tell you something. If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail – [Laughter] – they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society [Laughter]. They would not have believed that the world was round [Applause]. We've heard these folks in the past. They probably would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who said, 'Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan' [Laughter]. One of Henry Ford's advisers was quoted as saying, 'The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a fad' [Laughter]."


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The crowd loved it. But President Algy Solyndra wasn't done:

"There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don't believe in the future, and don't believe in trying to do things differently. One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, 'It's a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?' [Laughter]. That's why he's not on Mount Rushmore – [laughter and applause] – because he's looking backwards. He's not looking forwards [Applause]. He's explaining why we can't do something, instead of why we can do something."

It fell to Nan Card of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Ohio to inform the website Talking Points Memo that the quotation was apocryphal. Hayes had the first telephone in the White House, and the first typewriter, and Edison visited him to demonstrate the phonograph.

But obviously Rutherford B. Hayes isn't as "forward-looking" as a 21st century president who believes in Jimmy Carter malaise, 1970s Eurostatist industrial policy, 1940s British health care reforms, 1930s New Deal-size entitlements premised on mid-20th century birth rates and life expectancy, and all paid for by a budget with more zeroes than anybody's seen since the Weimar Republic. If that's not a shoo-in for Mount Rushmore, I don't know what is.

I was interested in the rest of Barack Obama's yukfest of history's biggest idiots. Considering that he is (in the words of historian Michael Beschloss) "the smartest guy ever to become president," the entire passage sounded as if it was plucked straight from one of those "Top Twenty Useful Quotes for Forward-Looking Inspirational Speakers" websites. And whaddayaknow? Rutherford B. Hayes, the TV flash in the pan, the horse is here to stay – they're all at the Wikiquote page on "Incorrect Predictions." Fancy that! You can also find his selected examples at the web page "Some Really Really Bad Predictions About the Future" and a bazillion others.

Given that the ol' Hayes telephone sidesplitter turned out to be a bust, I wondered about the others. The line about television being a "flash in the pan" is generally attributed to "Mary Somerville, pioneer of radio educational broadcasts, 1948." She was a New Zealand-born lass who while at Oxford wrote to the newly founded BBC with some ideas on using radio in schools. By the Seventies, the educational programming she had invented and developed was used in 90 percent of UK schools, and across the British Commonwealth from the Caribbean to Africa to the Pacific. She apparently used the flash-in-the-pan line in a private conversation recounted some years after her death by her fellow BBC executive, Grace Wyndham Goldie, a lady I knew very slightly. It was in the context of why she was pessimistic about early attempts at educational television. Mary Somerville would not have been surprised by "American Idol" or "Desperate Housewives," but she thought TV's possibilities for scholarly study were limited. If you remember Leonard Bernstein giving live illustrated music lectures on Beethoven on CBS in the Fifties, and you've lived long enough to see "quality public television" on PBS dwindle down to dreary boomer nostalgia, lousy Brit sitcoms, Laurence Welk reruns and therapeutic infomercials, you might be inclined to agree that TV as an educational tool certainly proved "a flash in the pan." And that's before your grandkid gets home from school and complains he's had to sit through Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" again.

What was Obama's other thigh-slapper? Oh, yes. "The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a fad." The line is generally attributed to "the president of the Michigan Savings Bank" in 1903. That would be George Peck, born in 1834 on a hardscrabble farm in Connecticut. Due to a boyhood accident, he was unable to use one arm and so was no good for agricultural labor. So at the age of 16 he started as the lowest-paid clerk in a Utica dry goods store. From this unpromising start, Peck built one of the largest dry-goods businesses in Michigan. Was he, as the president said, one of those men "who don't believe in the future"? Not at all. He was president of the Edison Illuminating Co., named for the guy who invented that light bulb the United States Government has banned. Henry Ford was Peck's chief engineer. Peck set his son and Ford up in a shop on Park Place in Detroit to work on their prototype horseless carriages. After Ford departed, the first porcelain spark plug was baked in Peck's shop.

Christopher Columbus? Once upon a time, your average well-informed high-schooler, never mind the smartest president in history, understood that Columbus was laughed at not because everyone believed the world was round: Educated Europeans of his day accepted that the Earth was spherical and had done so since Aristotle's time. They laughed because they thought he was taking the long way round to the East Indies. Which he was.

So let's see. The president sneers at the ignorance of 15th century Spaniards when, in fact, he is the one entirely ignorant of them. A man who has enjoyed a million dollars of elite education yet has never created a dime of wealth in his life sneers at a crippled farm boy with an eighth-grade schooling who establishes a successful business and introduces electrical distribution across Michigan all the way up to Sault Ste Marie. A man sneers at one of the pioneering women in broadcasting, a lady who brought the voices of T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton and others into the farthest-flung classrooms and would surely have rejected Obama's own dismal speech as being too obviously reliant on "Half-A-Dozen Surefire Cheap Cracks For Lazy Public Speakers." A man whose own budget officials predict the collapse of the entire U.S. economy by 2027 sneers at a solvent predecessor for being insufficiently "forward-looking."

A great nation needs successful self-made businessmen like George Peck, and purveyors of scholarly excellence like Mary Somerville. It's not clear why it needs a smug over-credentialed President Solyndra to recycle "Crowd-Pleasing For Dummies" as a keynote address.

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus, they all laughed at Edison... How does that song continue? "They laughed at me..."

At Prince George's Community College they didn't. But history will, and they will laugh at us for ever taking him seriously.

.


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