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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 April 20, 2005 / 11 Nisan, 5765

Going nuclear

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In Washington parlance, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's attempt to change the Senate's rules so that Democrats cannot block up-or-down votes on judicial nominees is called "the nuclear option." If the Republicans use their ability to stop judicial filibusters, the thinking goes, then that would nuke any chance of bipartisan cooperation.

Next follows threats from the Dems' side of the aisle to retaliate with "nuclear winter" — in other words, obstructionism so that nothing gets done.

Too bad Senate rancor didn't get this ugly before the wrongheaded bankruptcy bill made it through both houses of Congress.

Anyway, if the Republicans had been more savvy, they would have named their anti-filibuster move: "Let every vote count."

That name would remind the citizenry of the patent unfairness of the current way Washington operates. That is, when the Democratic leadership doesn't like a particular judge, but it realizes that its complaints aren't sufficient to get enough Democrats to vote against the judge, it uses the Senate rules to prevent taking a vote. The rules allow a minority to stop a vote unless 60 senators vote to bring a matter to the floor. So 41 senators can prevent a vote from ever happening. Thus, 10 of President Bush's 52 nominees for federal appellate courts lost a shot at the post without a vote ever being taken.

Filibuster aficionados say they are part of a long and noble tradition — citing a fictional character, Mr. Smith, played by Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," who bravely stuck out his neck for a good cause. Nice image, but today's maneuvers are anything but courageous. Rather than stick out their necks, obstructionists have pulled into the their shell and rely on arcane rules to shut down the process — a process that they can't win in a fair fight.

In San Francisco last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman smelled opportunity. He noted that a prominent victim of the Dems' obstructionism is a local hero, Janice Rogers Brown, a California Supreme Court justice nominated by Bush for the federal appellate court, but snubbed by the U.S. Senate.

Mehlman noted that Brown is a "victim" of an "unprecedented double standard" that allows the Senate to defeat a nominee without voting on the nomination. Brown enjoys the "support of the majority of the Senate," he added, and still she cannot expect a confirmation vote.

Before, you would have a vote by the Senate, and you'd lose. But Brown had been eliminated without a vote and now Bush has brought her back for another pass at confirmation. Why was she not approved? Mehlman wouldn't say so, but I think it is because Brown is black, the daughter of a sharecropper, and if there is anything Democrats in Washington want to stop, it is the progress of black conservatives. They could not stop Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice, but they can torpedo a lesser known figure such as Brown.

I should note that some GOP senators, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, oppose the "nuclear option." They look to the day when the Dems are in charge, and Republicans might want to torpedo a liberal judge on a technicality. That's civility, D.C.-style. Fair enough. Frist should not use the nuclear option for lower-court appointments and instead should save the big gun for the big fight. That is, only if Democrats refuse to allow an up-or- down vote on a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, there is another battle brewing in Washington, and here President Bush might care to be constructive. Mehlman complained about "activist judges" — that is, judges who ignore laws they don't like.

But going after activist judges is a big mistake — the right is ignoring the other half of that equation — an activist Congress that wants to play judge. For example, Congress played judge when it voted to take away judicial discretion by passing laws such as the G-d-awful bankruptcy bill and imposing mandatory minimum sentences. So the war between the courts and Congress is escalating.

President Bush ought to convene some sort of confab where both sides can suggest where to draw the line to prevent judicial and congressional overreach. After all, the nuclear element of the nuclear option and nuclear winter is a lack of respect for the other branch of government. More dirty tricks are not going to heal wounds, but talk in the open light of day could make both branches do something they haven't done in too long — listen.

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© 2005, Creators Syndicate

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