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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 April 5, 2011 1 Nissan, 5771

Robots in Congress? Yes, we replicant!

By Dana Milbank




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, has worked with robots for years. During the 2000 presidential race, she was a close ally of Al Gore.

Now she is taking her affection for things robotic to Capitol Hill. "ROBOTS INVADE CAPITOL!" proclaimed the headline of a news release from her office dated April 1.

It was no joke: On Monday afternoon in a Senate hearing room, she and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) stood watching four robots, each about 12 feet tall from the tips of their wheels to the tops of their claws.

The four creatures made an awful racket, crashing into one another and spinning in circles — whining as they moved and releasing gas with pneumatic pops. It was, in other words, very much like the floor of the Senate. Only with one obvious difference: "There's a purpose here," Shaheen explained.

The purpose was to highlight a national high school competition, founded by the inventor Dean Kamen, in which kids build and operate robots to see whose can hang the most inner tubes on a pole. The robots are sponsored by corporations such as Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Exxon Mobil — just like members of Congress.

But the robots, at least, performed their task well, so much so that voters might consider sending more of them to Washington in place of flesh-and-blood lawmakers. "What's nice about robots," Kamen said, "is they are rational."

Certainly robots could do no worse at governing than their human counterparts. While human lawmakers spend most of their time at home raising money, robots would not complain about being in Washington to do the people's business.

Many legislative activities could be handled better by robots. The Republicans' reflexive and contradictory criticism of President Obama's Libya policy — Too fast! Too slow! Too weak! Too aggressive! Not enough consultation! Too much consultation! Too limited! A quagmire! — could just as easily be generated mechanically. Menial tasks such as filibusters, or applauding at the State of the Union address, also could be handled by robots, with less showboating. Robots could develop algorithms to reach compromise on the budget — and if not, they could fight it out the way they did on the old TV show "Robot Wars."

The robots may have already reached further into government than people realize. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has some striking similarities to Linguo, the know-it-all robot from "The Simpsons" who corrects grammar. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has much in common with Rosie, the Jetsons' robotic housekeeper: She's obsolete but still beloved.

Henry Waxman (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House commerce committee, might see himself in WALL-E, a diminutive movie robot who tries to save the world but is befriended only by a cockroach. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is as menacing to Democrats as fembots were to Austin Powers.

Other humanoids on Capitol Hill are plagued by chronic malfunction. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) takes a long time to warm up. The Senate president, Joe Biden, won't respond to operator commands. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) requires excessive maintenance, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) frequently overheats and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has spambot tendencies.

On the other side of the dome, CantorBot is constantly trying to jam the electronics of BoehnerBot, which is rusty from overexposure to the elements. Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), who wrote the House Republicans' budget plan, is well-oiled but prone to dangerous maneuvers that endanger his colleagues.

Americans might find it efficient to scrap such problematic models and replace them with specimens such as those on display at Shaheen's robot festival in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

These machines, created by high school kids, have names such as "Junkyard Warrior," and they performed their tasks without protest and without ceremony. Robot 768 quietly racked up inner tubes until it was called to the sidelines for a battery change. Robot 2377, whose parts include a mousetrap, put forth full effort even after dropping three inner tubes and crashing into a pole. Robot 888 did not complain even when its "minibot" malfunctioned.

"Are we really going to get to drive?" Shaheen asked.

The kids handed the senator the controls. Under her guidance, Robot 2377 swung suddenly to the left. Kamen ducked to get out of the way of its claws.

It was more evidence that lawmakers should step aside and let the robots handle things. Shaheen was asked whether she and her colleagues run the Congress better than robots would. "I doubt it," she admitted.

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Previously:



04/04/11: Robert Gibbs, Facebook and the White House corporate placement service
04/01/11: Haley Barbour, the fat cats' candidate
03/31/11: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
03/30/11: Coburn and Durbin, the dynamic duo of the debt crisis
03/28/11: The Obama doctrine: A gray area the size of Libya
03/24/11: Dems as Weiners
03/23/11: Obama's quick trip from tyrant to weakling
03/17/11: Who's afraid of Elizabeth Warren?
03/15/11: The underwear flap over Bradley Manning
03/10/11: In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap
03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation


© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group