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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 June 25, 2009 / 3 Tamuz 5769

Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter

By Michael Smerconish


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When a 45-year-old grandmother doesn't take kindly to jokes about a pregnant daughter, a murder victim is dismissed as a mass murderer, and the nation's first Latina nominee to the Supreme Court is herself deemed a racist, it's time for the Muzzle Meter.

Recall that the Muzzle Meter (MM) is my measuring rod for evaluating speech with possible PC implications. A high score indicates truly offensive speech (like Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic drinking binge — a 10 on the MM), while a low score means the outrage is unwarranted (as when then-Sen. Joe Biden called Barack Obama an "articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" — a zero on the MM and a comment Obama obviously forgave).

It's all gut-based. No science here and no political litmus applied. Like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once wrote about pornography: "I know it when I see it. …"

Sarah Palin and David Letterman. The saga began after the Palins spent a weekend in New York. Soon afterward, Letterman dedicated part of his opening monologue and his entire Top 10 List to the Alaskan first family's visit.

At the show's outset, he noted "one awkward moment" from Palin's attendance of a Yankees game: "During the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez." The problem? Willow Palin, 14, had accompanied her mom to the game.

Then came the Top 10 List, which featured purported highlights of the Palins' weekend in the Big Apple. Number two: "Bought makeup at Bloomingdale's to update her slutty flight attendant look."

This calls for a multitiered scoring. With regard to the "slutty flight attendant" joke, Palin is a national public figure who was subject to this ridicule on a late-night comedy show. She should be able to handle such irreverence as it comes with the celebrity profile she herself has cultivated. MM Reading: 2.

Worse was the joke about impregnating her daughter. Letterman insisted that he was referring to Bristol Palin, who's 18 and already a mother. But as delivered (he didn't specifically mention either daughter by name), the "knocked up" joke garners an MM Reading of 8. If Letterman had made clear he was referring to the 18-year-old, that score could be halved, but it was the 14-year-old at the game.

Most insightful has been the reportage of the Washington Post's Paul Farhi, who tabulated the number of times late-night comedians made light of the Palin pregnancy last fall during the campaign. Some jokes were in worse taste than Letterman's, which begs the question: Why did this one draw such a reaction? Letterman's timing was waaaay off.

(Am I the only one wondering what A-Rod thinks?)

Leon Panetta. The CIA director, discussing Dick Cheney's frequent public criticism of the Obama administration's approach to the war on terror, told the New Yorker that "it's almost as if" the former vice president was "wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point." John McCain called that comment "really out of bounds," and the former VP said he hoped "his old friend Leon" was misquoted. Then, a CIA spokesman sought to defuse the controversy by saying Panetta was "simply expressing his profound disagreement with the assertion that President Obama's security policies have made our country less safe."

The "clarification" by the CIA was warranted. Political opponents can disagree over the tactics employed to prevent terror, but it crosses the line to say a public servant wishes for such a result. MM Reading: 7.

Randall Terry. The founder of the antiabortion group Operation Rescue said George Tiller, the abortion doctor shot and killed at his church several weeks ago, was "a mass murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed."

Whatever Tiller did while alive, he did within the bounds of the law. The same cannot be said for the man who gunned down Tiller. Terry offered an unwarranted legal (and moral) equivalency between Tiller and Scott Roeder, the man charged with the murder. MM Reading: 9.

—Newt Gingrich. Gingrich, the former speaker playing footsy with a run for president in 2012, tweeted his displeasure: "White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw." (He has since admitted, "The word racist should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person.")

No doubt both had Sotomayor's 2001 speech, "A Latina Judge's Voice," on their minds when they invoked the r-word. That's the now-infamous address during which Sotomayor said she would hope that a wise Latina judge "would more often than not reach a better conclusion" than a wise white male.

Gingrich was correct in his retraction. Criticism of the 2001 speech is, of course, within bounds. Labeling her a racist is not only wrong and appalling, but it also demeans real discourse as to her fitness to serve on the court. MM Reading: 8.

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.

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Previously:

06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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