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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 May 22, 2009 / 28 Iyar 5769

The News That Didn't Happen

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sometimes what says most about a country, a society, and an age isn't what happens in the news but what doesn't. For example:


When the president of the United States spoke at Notre Dame the other Sunday, he didn't so much speak about abortion as around it. He finessed the whole troubling issue by saying he hoped we could all agree to find common ground between … what, exactly? Pro-choice and pro-life? Abortion and opposition to it? Good and evil?


Barack Obama settled for suggesting that we all do the best we can, like supporting adoption and new mothers. Who would take issue with that? There's no way to disagree with a stand not taken. And yet what he said seemed to strike a chord. Never underestimate the power of the platitudinous.


People really don't want to be troubled by all that business anyway. When a president declines to take a stand on some great issue, it may come as a kind of relief. Especially if he can make moral neutrality sound elevated, statesmanlike, above-the-fray. Let's all just calm down and put this issue in perspective. It's only a matter of life and death.


Many a politician has had a highly successful career avoiding the basic issues in the most appealing, articulate way. Some manage to get by with it their whole lives, and are even acclaimed for it. Why not just put off the really tough questions forever? Maybe they'll go away.


Consider how long Stephen A. Douglas, the Little Giant of American politics in his time, managed to evade the moral ramifications of the slavery issue, which threatened to tear the Union apart (and eventually did). Sen. Douglas dodged the issue with verve and style year after year — till events and an ungainly Whig lawyer out of Springfield, Ill., caught up with him. Some questions just will not be evaded forever.


But some politicians are very good at soft-pedaling the great questions of their time. Only after the applause had died away at Notre Dame and the president was on the way to his next photo-op might it have occurred to anyone to wonder why, if his speech there had been so effective, it left behind a vague sense of dissatisfaction. As if he hadn't really addressed the question. Indeed, that's the rhetorician's term for this technique: begging the question. And it can be done in style.


The president did the politic thing at Notre Dame. Sidestepping the issue, he took refuge in Bill Clinton's smooth old formula about just wanting to make abortion safe, legal and rare. Even though that kind of passive acquiescence in abortion has resulted in its becoming anything but rare in this country. At least among poor black and Hispanic women. They tend to have abortions out of all proportion to their numbers. But that is not the kind of fact likely to excite the interest of the country's political elites; indeed, they may be all in favor of population control, at least for certain minorities.


Meanwhile, despite his outward neutrality on the issue, the president's actual policies encourage abortion by financing it under cover of popular euphemisms like Family Planning or Women's Health or, on the Chinese mainland, the One-Child Policy. Abortion's supporters have learned not to be too specific about what is actually going on. Why go into the graphic details?


The president was anything but specific at Notre Dame, and — at least politically — his approach worked out well. There may have been a few protesters here and there, but most were politely tolerated rather than directly engaged. The casual observer might even have wondered what they were protesting. It wasn't as if the president were actually saying anything. If Lincoln was the Great Emancipator of his time, Barack Obama is proving the Great Equivocator of his.


The net result of the president's appearance at Notre Dame was to make him appear quite sensible — and abortion quite acceptable, or at least no reason for alarm, or maybe even for concern. Can't we all just get along, or at least agree to avoid the hard questions? After all, if one of the country's leading Catholic universities can honor a president whose policies promote abortion, what could be so bad about taking innocent life?


Abortion now becomes just one more debatable question among so many in politics, like how much the government should spend or whether labor unions should be allowed to organize plants without a secret ballot. Why all the fuss?


If the American presidency really is what Teddy Roosevelt called it — a bully pulpit — it might as well have been empty last weekend. The church stilled its voice and the president said nothing at length with all due ceremony. And everybody could be at ease in Zion.


The surest way to win acceptance for any morally or ethically dubious practice is to accustom people to think of it as no big deal, just politics. Which is why the most significant aspect of the president's appearance at Notre Dame is that it had no moral significance at all. Beyond all the handshakes and nice gestures, nothing was happening. The moral numbness of American society remained undisturbed. And that may have been the only real news.

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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