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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 June 26, 2008 / 23 Sivan 5768

We've Become a Nation of Hamlets

By Victor Davis Hanson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We have become a nation of second-guessing Hamlets.


Shakespeare warned us about the dangers of "thinking too precisely." His poor Danish prince lost "the name of action," as he dithered and sighed that "conscience does make cowards of us all."


With gas over $4 a gallon, the public is finally waking up to the fact that for decades the United States has not been developing known petroleum reserves in Alaska, in our coastal waters or off the continental shelf. Jittery Hamlets apparently forgot that gas comes from oil — and that before you can fill your tank, you must take risks to fill a tanker.


Building things is a good indication of the relative confidence of a society. But the last American gasoline refinery was built almost three decades ago. As "cowards of our conscious," we've come up with countless mitigating reasons not to build a new one. Our inaction has meant that our nation's gasoline facilities have grown old, out of date and dangerous.


Maybe Americans can instead substitute plug-in, next-generation electric cars that can be charged at night on the nation's grid powered by nuclear power plants? Wrong again. We haven't issued a single new license that actually led to the building of a nuclear power plant in over 30 years.


Shakespeare's Hamlet again would warn second-guessing Americans that, "A thought, which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom/And ever three parts coward."


But the problem of inaction extends far beyond the present energy crisis.


Whatever one thinks about the wisdom of a border fence with Mexico, President George Bush signed into law a bill passed by both houses of Congress authorizing over 700 miles of fencing at key junctures. This was back in 2006.


Environmentalists and private property owners tried to legally challenge the fence. And the Mexican government — the same government that publishes comic books instructing its citizens on how to sneak across illegally into the United States — cried foul. As a result, nearly two years later, the fence is barely half finished.


We are nearing the seventh anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center. Its replacement — the Freedom Tower — should have been a sign of our determination and grit right after September 11.


But it is only now reaching street level. Owners, renters, builders and government have all fought endlessly over the design, the cost and the liability.


In contrast, in the midst of the Great Depression, our far poorer grandparents built the Empire State Building in 410 days — not a perfect design, but one good enough to withstand a fuel-laden World War II-era bomber that once crashed into it.


Despite unsophisticated 19th-century architectural and engineering science, not to mention legions of snooty French art critics, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was finished in a little over two years and is as popular as ever well over a century later.


In my home state of California, we spent a decade arguing over the replacement for portions of the aging and earthquake-susceptible San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Now that the design has finally been agreed to, it will be several years before it is finished. That's quite a contrast to the original bridge that was completed in just over three years.


California is also in yet another predictable drought and ensuing water shortage. Despite strict conservation and new water-saving technology, we simply don't have enough water for households, recreation, industry and agriculture. Building new dams, reservoirs and canals, you see, would apparently be considered unimaginative and relics of the 20th century.


The causes of this paralysis are clear. Action entails risks and consequences. Mere thinking doesn't. In our litigious society, as soon as someone finally does something, someone else can become wealthy by finding some fault in it. Meanwhile a less fussy, more confident world abroad drills, and builds nuclear plants, refineries, dams and canals to feed and fuel millions who want what we take for granted.


In our present comfort, Americans don't seem to understand nature. We believe that our climate-controlled homes, comfortable offices and easy air and car travel are just like grass or trees; apparently they should sprout up on their own for our benefit.


Americans also harp about the faults of prior generations. We would never make their blunders — even as we don't seem to mind using the power plants, bridges and buildings that they handed down to us.


Finally, high technology and the good life have turned us into utopians, fussy perfectionists who demand heaven on earth. Anytime a sound proposal seems short of perfect, we consider it not good, rather than good enough.


Hamlet asked, "To be, or not to be: that is the question." In our growing shortages of infrastructure, food, fuel and water, we've already answered that: "Not to be!"

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.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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