Jeff Jacoby
Jeff Jacoby
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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The right choice

October 10, 2019  •  Mishpacha

"NOW YOU are a bochur," I said to my son when he turned bar mitzvah. "You have the power of bechirah — of choice. I hope you will be influenced by the choices that were made by those you come from.

"I hope you will follow in the footsteps of your grandfather — my father — a survivor of the Nazi death camps who chose to live as a Torah-centered Jew. So many of those who came out of the camps went the other way, and nobody would have blamed Saba had he decided to have nothing more with being Jewish. But he made a different choice.

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The autobiographical fictions of Elizabeth Warren

October 10, 2019  •  Arguable

When Elizabeth Warren's claim to be American Indian came crashing down so spectacularly and embarrassingly last fall, more than a few observers wondered whether her presidential hopes had been irrevocably damaged. Clearly they weren't. Warren has emerged as the most formidable candidate in the Democratic field, and is currently the bettors' favorite to win the nomination.

But while the Native American DNA fiasco didn't torpedo her campaign, it impressed upon her how scrupulously honest she must be when talking about her life story. Or did it?

The Massachusetts senator no longer refers to herself as Cherokee, but in other ways her autobiographical revisionism continues.

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Impeachment is as legitimate as the Electoral College (and vice versa)

October 9, 2019  •  The Boston Globe

AS DEMOCRATS in the House of Representatives edge closer to impeaching Donald Trump, the president and his supporters roar in dismay and outrage. Impeachment is nothing less than an attempted coup d'etat, they argue over and over. It amounts to an assault, writes Tucker Carlson, on the "fundamental cornerstone" of American democracy: "respect[ing] the will of the voters." Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, describes the House impeachment inquiry as "an end run around the ballot box." In a piece for The Hill, Trump ally Jenna Ellis Rives warns that all Americans should be appalled by the Democrats' bid "to undermine a free and fair election."

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Blessed are the retractors

October 6, 2019  •  The Boston Globe

THE TITLE of the study, published in the journal Current Biology in November 2015, was on the dry side: "The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children's Altruism across the World." The text was even drier. But the findings, by University of Chicago neuroscientist Jean Decety and his colleagues, proved irresistible to journalists, who gave them wide play under headlines likely to grab readers' attention:

"Religion doesn't make kids more generous or altruistic, study finds" (Los Angeles Times)

"Are religious children more selfish?" (Slate)

"Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds" (The Guardian)

"Study: Religious Kids are Jerks" (Daily Beast)

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Instead of resurrecting the 'People's Pledge,' let's bury it for good

September 29, 2019  •  The Boston Globe

REPRESENTATIVE JOE KENNEDY, the youngest member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, announced last week that he would run against Senator Ed Markey, the oldest member, because, he said, "I've got new ideas and a new approach." Really? In nearly seven years in Congress, Kennedy has emitted few whiffs of originality or unconventional thinking. Why would that change if he replaced Markey in the Senate? In any case, as skeptics promptly pointed out, on political issues there are no meaningful differences between the two left-wing Democrats.

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