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 Sept. 26, 2006 / 4 Tishrei, 5767

Insanity on a Global Scale

By Niall Ferguson

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's a mad world.

I was wondering why the antics of world leaders at the United Nations seemed so familiar last week. Then I realized it was just like a university faculty meeting. Extravagant, long-winded denunciations of the president are what professors do, not politicians. Sure enough, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez couldn't resist brandishing a book by Noam Chomsky — the United States-hating darling of all campus lefties.

Of course, all that drivel about the devil and the smell of sulfur — quite apart from the tedious cliches about the evils of American imperialism — wouldn't matter if Chavez really were just a professor of sociology. Unfortunately, he is president of a country that possesses more than 6.5% of global oil reserves and just under half of all the oil left in South America.

But that's nothing. Compared with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Chavez is just a clown. By contrast, Ahmadinejad's speech the day before was seriously scary. Sure, he also heaped scorn on President Bush, not to mention the U.N. Security Council. But whereas Chavez cites Chomsky, Ahmadinejad has evidently been reading the works of Holocaust denier David Irving, imprisoned in Austria.

How else to explain the Iranian leader's crazy comments in last week's Time magazine? "As to the Holocaust," he said, "I just raised a few questions…. Why only 6 million? And if it had happened, then … why do they not allow independent research? … They put in prison those who try to do research…. Where did it take place?"

Great. We have a Holocaust denier as president of a country with 10 times the population of Israel,11% of proven global oil reserves and a thinly veiled program to build nuclear weapons.

In other news, there was a military coup in Thailand against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who made the mistake of attending the U.N. shindig. In Hungary, meanwhile, there was rioting in the streets after a tape was leaked of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany telling his Socialist Party colleagues that he and they had "lied morning, evening and night" to win April's election. And let's not forget that, only 10 days ago, Andrei Kozlov, the deputy chairman of the Russian central bank, was shot dead by a hit man in Moscow.

All of which might lead you to think that this must also have been a disastrous time in the world's financial markets. There was a time when just one of those stories would have sent a spasm through emerging markets. Oil prices would have jumped. The Thai baht would have collapsed. Hungarian bond yields would have soared. The Russian stock market would have tanked.

Not a bit of it. The price of crude oil for November delivery fell 5% last week. On news of the coup in Bangkok, the Thai currency declined by little more than 1% against the dollar — nothing compared with its spectacular gyrations during the Asian crisis of 1997. Investors in the Hungarian stock market are not having a great year, but recent political events have barely registered. To see just how far politics and economics have parted ways, just consider which of the world's stock markets have done best so far this year. In pole position is Morocco (up 58% in dollar terms since Jan. 1). Next is none other than Chavez's Venezuela, up 49%. In third place at 34% is Indonesia, where three Christian men were executed Friday for their part in sectarian violence, sparking riots. Russia — where it is bankers who get the bullet — is not far behind at 32%.

In January, a prudent investor aware of the many political dangers that beset this mad world might have elected to invest in secure, developed markets. But the U.S. stock market has risen by less than 5% this year. That of the world's next largest economy, Japan, is down more than 1%.

There are two ways of explaining this mystifying disconnect. One is that everything is going according to the dastardly plan of the infinitely cunning capitalist imperialist running dogs. In perfect unison, wacko demagogues from the developing world have been wrecking the credibility of the U.N. and making George W. Bush look like a model of sweet reason. What more could Republican Party strategists have asked for in the run-up to November's midterms?

Well, maybe. The other possibility is that investors are continuing to mistake liquidity for security. Despite the much-trumpeted tightening of interest rates by the world's principal central banks, the reality is that monetary expansion has barely slowed. That seems to be encouraging a rather cavalier approach to risk assessment.

Just where such an approach can lead was vividly illustrated last week by the calamitous losses suffered by the hedge fund Amaranth, which lost about two-thirds of its $9.2 billion in assets by making one-way bets on natural gas futures. Who entrusted their money to these guys? Investors included a London-listed Goldman Sachs fund and — wait for it — the San Diego County Employees Retirement Assn.

So much for the infinitely cunning capitalist imperialist running dogs. Like I said, it's a mad world.

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.


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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.

09/19/06: The GOP will hang on
09/13/06: Long Live Royal Bloodlines!
09/05/06: Red-state Republicans and blue-faced liberals are starting to agree: Green is the way
08/29/06: What if the London Bombers Succeeded?
08/15/06: Testing the Limits of the U.N.: Who seriously expects Kofi Annan to stop Al Qaeda terror attacks?
08/08/06: The coming tsunami of trash
07/18/06: Forget the '60s and ‘Make Love, Not War.’ Today's world is facing a Summer of Rage
07/11/06: When will China pull the plug on North Korea?
06/20/06: Hedge funds vs. central bankers: Will inflation, deflation or recession win in the coming months?
06/13/06: Britain's economy is just like America's — minus the entrepreneurs and growth
06/06/06: The X-Men have taken over Washington
05/30/06: Quit protesting, profs!
05/23/06: World markets' wild ride: Economic volatility is back with a vengeance
05/16/06: The Cold Wars are coming
05/09/06: Many commentators are missing dangerous political shift
05/02/06: Put some sugar in your tank
04/25/06: Hu and the dog that didn't bark
04/18/06: Should Americans be less optimistic?
04/11/06: Globalization's second death?
04/04/06: So many ‘special’ friends
03/28/06: Let's get it right about what has gone wrong
03/21/06: Congress is trying to give the world a globotomy
03/14/06: Lame ducks can still bite back
03/07/06: A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president
02/28/06: The crash of civilizations
02/21/06: Not the president, but close
02/14/06: Want historic trouble? Look south
02/07/06: Greenspan advising Britain? It's housing bubbles, deficits and potential meltdowns all over again
01/31/06: Missing the Cold War
01/24/06: It's a sick, Thick World
01/17/06: Tomorrow's world war today
01/03/06: Scotland, it's over, but keep the accents
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
11/22/05: Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair
11/22/05: Can it happen in Britain too?
11/15/05: Red plus blue equals purple
11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate