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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 June 4, 2009 12 Sivan 5769

‘Out of Context’: Part III

By Thomas Sowell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As part of the biographical preoccupation with Judge Sonia Sotomayor's past, the New York Times of May 31st had a feature story on the various New York housing projects in which she and other well-known people grew up — including Whoopi Goldberg, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Thelonious Monk and Mike Tyson.


There was a map of New York City and dots pin-pointing the location of the project in which each celebrity grew up. As an old New Yorker, I was struck by the fact that not one of the 20 celebrities shown grew up in a housing project in Harlem!


The housing projects in which they grew up were different in another and more fundamental way. As the New York Times put it: "These were not the projects of idle, stinky elevators, of gang-controlled stairwells where drug deals go down." In other words, these were public housing projects of an earlier era, when such places were very different from what we associate with the words "housing project" today.


Just the reference to unlocked doors on the apartments there, so that children could more easily visit playmates in nearby apartments on Saturday mornings to watch television, creates an image that must seem like something out of another world to those familiar only with the housing projects of today.


There were standards for getting into the projects of those days and, if you didn't live up to those standards, they put you out. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was quoted as saying, "When kids played on the grass, their parent would get a warning." That seems almost quaint when you think of what has gone on in the housing projects of a later era.


Since there has been so much talk of putting some of Sonia Sotomayor's inflammatory words "in context," perhaps we should put her personal life in context, if the media insist on making her personal life a factor in her nomination to the Supreme Court. While she grew up in a public housing project, the words "housing project" in that era did not mean anything like the housing projects of today.


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A relative of mine lived in one of the housing projects back then — and we were proud of him, as well as glad for him, because such places were for upright citizens in those days — working class people with steady jobs and good behavior. Clever intellectuals had not yet taught us to be "non-judgmental" about misbehavior or to make excuses for vandalism and crime.


While Sonia Sotomayor was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, let's not make her someone who rose from such depths as those conjured up by the words "housing projects" today. It is bad enough that biographical considerations carry such weight in considerations of nominees for the Supreme Court. But, if biography must be elaborated, let it at least be done "in context."


It has always made me a little uneasy when generous well-wishers have discussed my educational background as if it was something almost miraculous that I came out of the schools in Harlem and went on to Ivy League institutions. But any number of other people did exactly the same thing.


The Harlem schools of that era were no more like the Harlem schools of today than the housing projects of that era were like today's housing projects. They had classes grouped by ability and, if you were serious about getting a good education, you could get into one of the classes for kids who were serious and receive an education that would prepare you to go on in life.


There is a lot to ponder about why both the schools and the housing projects degenerated so much after the bright ideas of the 1960s intelligentsia spread throughout society, leaving social havoc in their wake.


Too many people who rose to where they are today because of a foundation of traditional values have become enthralled by the very different ideas prevalent in the elite intellectual circles to which they moved. Judge Sotomayor seems to be one of those, with her ideas about race and the policy-making role of judges.


It is bad enough that so many of those "advanced" ideas have undermined for others the foundation that Sonia Sotomayor had as she grew up, despite being raised in a home with a modest income. There is no need to let her use the Supreme Court to destroy more of those traditional American values.

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.

Comment on JWR contributor Thomas Sowell's column by clicking here.

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