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December 2, 2014

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 August 3, 2005 / 27 Tammuz, 5765

Space Shuttle America

By Tony Blankley


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As an old space cadet, I continue to follow the missions of the space shuttle with both hope and foreboding. Its current plight seems to provide a metaphor, in some ways, for the plight in which the United States finds itself in the world today.

The Shuttle is the most complex moving machine ever built by man. Conceived in the 1960s, the current machines are up to 25 years old and weigh 4.5 million pounds at launch. The program has cost over $145 billion as of early 2005. It was built with America's typically unrestrained confidence that it would function virtually flawlessly and with safety for its crew.

Despite the age of the machines and the technology, no other people on the planet yet have had the skill, wealth and will to build such a thing. It is a triumph of engineering to assemble millions of parts into the necessary complexity that permits the machine to function with only two failures in a quarter of a century under the extreme pressures of launch, space, reentry and re-use.

And yet. The safe functioning of this whole magnificent contraption is, at this writing, possibly threatened by the unintended extrusion of a few square inches of material from between a couple of thermal tiles.

Our top aeronautical engineers cannot predict whether such a small extrusion of material may create wind friction, and thus heat, upon reentry that might destroy the shuttle on its return to Earth. So, one of the astronauts has been assigned to take a space walk and try to cut off the material with a small hack saw — without pulling loose any of the tiles which might, itself, threaten the mission.

It is ironic that such a complex piece of modern engineering might have to rely on an essentially bronze age technology — the small hand saw — for its very survival.

But the essential vulnerability of the shuttle — and perhaps the vulnerability of our American civilizational enterprise itself — lies in its very nature. In order to be capable of its massive effectiveness, it must be complex. But in its complexity is its vulnerability. So many things must work to keep the leviathan functioning.

Moreover, the growing confidence in our own capacity that emerged within us as we successfully constructed and launched such a complex, powerful and wonderful device may have given us the false confidence that we could continue to operate it indefinitely — and increasingly on the cheap.

So, too, America since the end of World War II has grown ever more masterful and dominating on the planet. By the fall of Communism at the end of the last century, we stood as the colossus of the ages — with a sense of ineffable safety and mastery of all we beheld.

It was not always thus. While we have always been a strong and confident country, until the great rise of our affluent middle class after WWII, millions of Americans lived hard scrapple lives unaided by the taxpayer's relief. It was only at the culmination of WWII that we came into our full military domination of the world. And it was only in the last 40 years that we came to assume a college education and health care for virtually all our citizens who want them. We have come to take for granted that we can protect ourselves from all dangers and even most inconveniences.

But on Sept. 11, we were disrupted, at least briefly, from our slumbering dreams of mastery and safety. While the barbaric act was seen clearly by all, for many Westerners the extent of our vulnerability was not — and is not — fully appreciated.

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A Bronze-Age mentality — primitive and yet cunning — may be able to disrupt or even bring to a halt our entire complex enterprise by disabling the smallest pieces of our leviathan. But most Americans (and most of our politicians and journalists) still live in a comfortable, if unjustified, sense of overall safety. Despite the continuing warnings — most recently in London — the mortal threat of Islamist insurgency and violence remains for most people only a theoretical danger. We will be disabused of that illusion.

The NASA team, caught unprepared once again for the contingency of catastrophic vulnerability, is forced to improvise with an un-practiced space walk and with makeshift tools that may or may not fix the problem. All praise the brave astronauts, but surely unjustified pride, overconfidence (and under-funding) back at headquarters plays a part in the current space shuttle danger.

At least the space shuttle fleet can be grounded, if necessary, after this flight. But we cannot remove America from the dangerous world we are in.

America should stay in space and we should stay firmly atop the world we have done so much to make and make civilized: still ambitious but vastly more wary and attentive to protecting both our magnificently complex machines and our necessarily complex civilization.

As we cannot return to simplicity, we must diligently learn to survive in complexity.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Tony Blankley is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


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