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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 16, 2014 / 16 Iyar, 5774

'Fossil free' isn't folly free

By Jeff Jacoby




JewishWorldReview.com | If Oklahoma prison authorities had been able to carry out Clayton Lockett’s execution using sodium thiopental, his death on April 29 would likely have been swift and relatively painless. The powerful sedative used to be part of the standard lethal-injection drug combination, but when its only American manufacturer stopped production in 2010, European governments barred pharmaceutical companies on the other side of the Atlantic from exporting sodium thiopental to the United States.

As the British business secretary, Vince Cable, made clear at the time, the point of the ban was to strike a moral pose. “This move underlines this government’s and my own personal moral opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances,” he said. The practical effect, however, has been to drive death-penalty states to devise new lethal injection protocols, sometimes with gruesome results.

Many Americans would say that Lockett’s prolonged death was no less than he deserved for the vicious murder of 18-year-old Stephanie Neiman in 1999. But justice for murder victims isn’t what the Europeans have in mind. They just want to demonstrate their antipathy to capital punishment. Refusing to sell the drugs that can make lethal injections the most humane form of execution enhances their self-image. It also turned Lockett’s death from a rapid act of euthanasia into a grimacing, teeth-clenching ordeal that finally ended with a heart attack after more than 40 minutes.

There is a lesson here about the unintended consequences of economic boycotts that backers of the fossil-fuel divestment movement would do well to contemplate.

On college campuses across the country, activists have been urging administrators to adopt “fossil-free” investment policies and rid their endowment funds of shares in coal, oil, and gas stocks. Last week, Stanford became the first major university to join the boycott, announcing its intention to stop investing in “companies whose principal business is the mining of coal.” Though Stanford’s endowment, about $19 billion, is substantial, its actual investments in coal stocks are minimal. Divesting them will have no real financial impact on either the university or the companies. But it strikes a moral pose, and adds to the pressure on other universities to do likewise.

The biggest target of the divestment movement is Harvard, with its $32 billion endowment and outsize reputation. A student group, Divest Harvard, is pressuring the school to get rid of its fossil-fuel holdings. So far the university has said no, on the grounds that the endowment’s purpose is to earn the income on which many Harvard priorities rely, and that “barring investments in a major, integral sector of the global economy would . . . come at a substantial economic cost.”

Students clamoring for divestment may be convinced they’re on the side of the angels. But are they convinced enough to risk the consequences of a weaker endowment? Such as less of the financial aid with which Harvard helps 70 percent of its students?

You don’t have to be an especially savvy investor to realize that divestment for ideological reasons doesn’t increase your leverage; it eliminates it. Sell your profitable fossil-fuel stocks to show your concern about climate change, and the odds are they’ll be snapped up by investors who care much less about the issue than you do. “It’s like believing that pornography is evil,” writes economist Todd Hirsch, “so you sell your stash of nudie magazines to the teenager next door.”

Using economic weapons for ideological reasons so often leads to unintended and unwanted consequences. Prohibition triggered a host of negative outcomes that its promoters never anticipated, from a wave of restaurant failures to the elimination of thousands of blue-collar jobs to an explosion of crime and corruption.

To stigmatize fossil fuels and the corporations that extract them is to stigmatize the energy on which the modern world runs. This is moral preening, the hypocrisy of activists who want to strike a noble pose without paying a real-world price. Were they to get their way, the consequences would be disastrous, above all for the planet’s poorest human beings, still mired in energy poverty, with all the misery it entails. A “fossil-free” future is a chimera, and the divestment campaign can’t make things better by pretending otherwise. But don’t be surprised if it makes things worse.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist.

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