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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 Nov. 26, 2010 / 19 Kislev, 5771

Chatting with ‘Big Sis’ about toughening up

By Diana West




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A few days ago, I got to do what many Americans would like to do -- ask Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano a thing or two. Before I report on what I asked and what she said, I must note there were "ground rules" in effect. The conversation itself between a small group of mainly conservative-minded journalists and Napolitano was free and even easy, but reporting on any aspect of the exchange required after-the-fact approval from DHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Sean Smith.

This rankles. It is also something new in my personal experience. Sure, I have conducted scores of one-on-one interviews "on background," a term which, in brief, I define as a means to acquire an understanding of a story from a source unwilling to be quoted directly, at least at first. Follow-up conversations may or may not be "on the record." But I have never participated as a member of a group so bound, and I have to say I don't like it.

First of all, it's a phony setup. Telling 15 or 20 people in a room a secret is obviously no way to keep one, no way to keep anything confidential. There are simply too many people involved, each with his own private pipeline to public access. Something else is afoot. Making the journalist into a kind of co-conspirator? Or, as bad, a supplicant begging for morsels of information?

The point, we are told, is to allow for a no-holds-barred exchange -- attractive on its face, maybe, but in the end, when you actually have to go back and ask for permission to print a government official's response to questions every American has the right to ask, the exchange is very much barred. In sum, the state is managing the news.

So why did I participate? Curiosity. I wanted to see "Big Sis" in person. I was curious also how an event billed as "off the record" -- which to my understanding means "total blackout, didn't happen, can't use it" -- could be selectively switched to "on the record" by government diktat. I wanted to see how our brave new world works.

I didn't "clear" my impressions of Napolitano the person, so I'll have to leave them "off the record." I did e-mail the press secretary for permission (gag) to report two particular points Napolitano made. What follows is how I played along with the state, almost as a lark. (PS. I don't claim it's pretty).

"Hi, Sean - Good to hear from you.

"Two main points I'd like to be able to write up:

"1) After the main discussion I had the opportunity to ask the Secretary whether she envisioned this security situation ever abating -- for example, whether she could foresee conditions under which the current scanners might be removed. Or whether, as she told us earlier, it would be necessary for Americans to toughen up, stay involved (indefinitely) … I would like to be able to report that I spoke to the Secretary on this topic and that she indicated that in the future the current scanner technology could someday be replaced by less obtrusive technology, including less obviously invasive security checks that might not require taking off shoes, etc. …"

The answer came back from on high: "Yes, but you should also put into context that there are no current plans to move off the current technologies and procedures."

Context so ordered.

(I will not convey my second question because the e-mailed answer -- "I'd like to see how you formulate it" -- ratcheted state control outside the bounds of my experiment.)

Napolitano's vision of our techno-future, however, is devastating. If, as she makes clear, our government has no conception of a plan to end this untenable security situation stemming from the jihad in progress, our government has admitted defeat, and is merely managing the aftermath of capitulation. In its colossal failure of imagination and responsibility, the government has abandoned its primary purpose -- to defend the citizenry. Thus, every time we the people go to the airport (now and apparently forever the nation's forward front) we are expected to "toughen up" and make up a pathetic first line of defense -- unarmed, unshod, de-toothpasted and, now, disrobed by scanners and violated by government workers -- until, happy day, the technology is "less obviously intrusive."

There's no managing that news. It stinks.

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© 2009, Diana West