Back in the days when I was a youngster, my parents put their savings in a bank that went belly up during the Depression. As recent immigrants, they were not very savvy about our banking system, and so they chose a bank called Bank of United States because it sounded very safe. Had they been aware of what was happening on Wall Street they would have put their money in one of the Rockefeller institutions, which never failed.
Are the American people willing to give up the comforts of the Nanny State in exchange for self-reliant individualism? Before the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Americans did indeed rely on their individual efforts to maintain home and family. My parents came to this country in the 1920s, before there was a welfare state, and my father had to support his wife and five children without the aid of the government. And so, with the help of a nephew, he got a pushcart and started selling vegetables at the open-air market under the New York Central railway el on Park Avenue.
This coming Christmas promises to be a little more joyous than the last, which reminded me of Christmases during the Great Depression. Although the holiday is as commercialized as ever, we can expect the response of the public this year to be as cautious and frugal as ever. Eighty-five percent of the work force still have jobs, and sales are up a bit. Many retailers are offering big sales and discounts to encourage more buying. Nevertheless, for many Americans, economic survival is still on their minds, which might lead many worried Americans to start thinking of the real meaning of Christmas.
We are all waiting to see what happens come January 2011 when the Tea Party, a.k.a. the Republican Party, assumes power in the House of Representatives. We all know what the Tea Party movement stands for: smaller government, less spending, lower taxes, and a return to the principles of constitutional government espoused by the Founding Fathers.
For years now, efforts to create peace between Israel, the Palestinians, and the other Muslim countries in the Middle East, have foundered on the rocks of hatred and intolerance. For example, the Obama government favors a two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But what he so obviously omits is a demand that the new Palestinian state be as democratic and open as the Jewish state. Obama seems not to care if the Palestinian state becomes just another jihadist haven for continued attacks against Israel.
Many parents wonder why American primary schools don’t teach children to read in the proper phonetic manner. The answer is that high literacy is not part of the system’s social or academic agenda. Neither is good cursive handwriting and basic arithmetic. Have you noticed the decline in handwriting? I recently gave a birthday gift to a 13-year-old boy, and got back a thank-you note written in chicken scratches. He had attended the public schools of an affluent suburban community.
The world has been waiting for the Israeli Air Force to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities for several years. Iran has threatened to wipe Israel — a nation of over seven million people — off the map, and it has embarked on a program to produce a nuclear weapon to do the job.
My column on the "Limits of Evolution," in which I wrote of the enormous gap that exists between apes and humans, has brought forth a number of very interesting comments from readers. One pro-evolutionist wrote: “In the last 42 years, we have in fact learned that the neural architecture associated with language acquisition, is shared with other primates. This illuminates the larger error of thought made by Blumenfeld, that the significant comparison is a perceived ‘gap’ between modern humans and other primates. This gap is just as large between our selves and our Mesolithic ancestors as it is between them and other apes.”
Although scientists use the theory of evolution to explain many natural phenomena, they cannot explain the gap that exists between the highest jungle primate swinging in the trees and the human being attending an opera at La Scala, having flown in a jumbo jet from New York to Milan in about seven hours.
Most informed Americans have heard of the town of Sderot in southern Israel that has been the target of Gazan rocket attacks for years. In fact, the reason why the Israelis mounted a full-fledged military operation against Gaza in 2009 was to stop these attacks on Sderot and other towns in southern Israel.