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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 August 3, 2011 3 Menachem-Av, 5771

Government on autopilot

By Dana Milbank




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We are in one of those awkward interludes in politics when leaders stop pummeling each other long enough to congratulate themselves on what fine statesmen they are.

“I want to thank my friend the majority leader for his work in getting this agreement over the finish line,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said of Harry Reid on the Senate floor Tuesday. “We may disagree a lot, but it’s never, ever personal, and . . . we’ll get together when the greater good is at stake.”

The Republican’s gushing extended to the man whose defeat he has made his top priority. “I also want to thank the president,” McConnell went on. “It’s a testament to the goodwill of those on both sides that we were able to reach this agreement.”

Reid stood to return the praise. “I appreciate the kind words that my counterpart, Mr. McConnell, has stated on the floor,” he said. “I appreciate my friend the Republican leader putting his arms around this idea I came up with.”

Not to interrupt this mutual back-patting session, but what have these gentlemen done to earn the kudos? Certainly, the debt-ceiling deal they struck was better than allowing the United States to become a deadbeat. But the thrust of their agreement is the opposite of leadership: They put the ship of state on autopilot.

Entitlement programs, tax-code reform and other big decisions will go to yet another quasi-independent panel, this one a “super-committee” of lawmakers. In the likely event they can’t agree, government spending would be dictated by automatic “triggers” and across-the-board cuts, known as “sequestration mechanisms,” that take decisions out of lawmakers’ hands. The balanced-budget amendment contemplated in the compromise could mean that lawmakers would permanently surrender power to formulas. The compromise, in other words, only confirms that the government is ungovernable.

Lawmakers in both parties defied their more ideological peers to endorse this plan by an overwhelming 74-26 in the Senate and 269-161 in the House, where Gabby Giffords’s surprise return added bipartisan warmth and fuzziness. Leaders took this as validation of their chaotic course.

“I know there are all kinds of pundits and commentators who talk about how the system is broken,” Reid said, celebrating his “remarkable” achievement. “But we did send a message to the world and to the American people that our great democracy is working.”

In this, McConnell concurred. “The push and pull Americans saw in Washington these past few weeks was not gridlock,” he maintained. “It was the will of the people working itself out and a political system that was never meant to be pretty.”

McConnell, who has denounced the Democrats loudly and daily, incongruously quoted Churchill’s line that “courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent, went further back than Churchill, claiming allegiance with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. He read from a column claiming that “the Framers would be pleased at the ‘spectacle.’ ”

But the Federalist Papers make no mention of the sort of hostage situation that unfolded in recent weeks. The Founders were silent on the rights of a small group of lawmakers, claiming they received marching orders from God, to bring the nation to the edge of default. The Constitution doesn’t specifically mention negotiating walkouts, Satan sandwiches and deeming budgets into law without votes.

It’s equally possible Madison and Hamilton would have thought today’s lawmakers weak for postponing their argument over tax increases by hiding behind a committee, or that the framers would be puzzled by lawmakers’ goal of $2.1 trillion in deficit reduction over a decade – when Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the Bowles-Simpson commission had agreed to nearly twice that much.

Certainly, the Founders would have been amused by their successors’ habit of denouncing legislation before supporting it. “Everything is not okay, and it won’t be okay until we have the courage and leadership to institute tax reform,” said Sen. Mark Udall (D-N.M.) before casting a “yea” vote.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) denounced part of the compromise as “reckless” and “close to violating our oath of office” — before voting in favor. That was nearly as courageous as presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s denunciation of the compromise — after passage was assured.

Despite all this, Reid still pronounced himself “hopeful that the spirit of compromise that has taken root in Washington over the last several days will endure.”

Senators then prepared for a five-week congressional recess, leaving unresolved a dispute that has shut down the Federal Aviation Administration and put 75,000 people out of work. It is a fitting coda: The federal government is on autopilot, and the FAA is grounded.

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Previously:



08/02/11 Dems mourn debt deal like death
07/27/11 Life imitates sport
07/26/11 Obama and Boehner take on Washington
07/21/11 Why Americans are angry at Congress
07/20/11 The new party of Reagan
07/18/11 Rob Portman, the boring Midwesterner who could bring sanity to the debt debate
07/13/11 John Boehner's bind
07/04/11 Stephen Colbert, Karl Rove and the mockery of campaign finance
07/01/11 President Puts Up His Dukes, As He Ought To
06/28/11 Rod Blagojevich verdict: All shook up
06/27/11 Progressives voice their anger at Obama
06/24/11 ‘Mission accomplished,’ Obama style
06/22/11 Jon Huntsman's first step toward oblivion
06/21/11 Scott Walker finds making bumper stickers is easier than creating jobs
06/20/11 A day of awkwardness with Mitt Romney
06/06/11 Hubris and humility: Sarah Palin and Robert Gates on tour
06/02/11 The Weiner roast
06/01/11 Congress clocks in to clock out
05/30/11 Hermanator II: No More Mr. Gadfly
05/24/11 How Obama has empowered Netanyahu
05/24/11 Pawlenty bends his truth-telling
05/20/11 Default deniers say it's all a hoax
05/18/11: Gingrich gives voice to moderation
05/17/11: Donald Trump and the House of Horrors
05/16/11: The medical mystery of Mitt Romney
05/12/11: The body impolitic: Schock photos should tempt lawmakers to cover up
05/10/11: Muskets in hand, tea party blasts House Republicans
05/09/11: The GOP debate: America -- and the party -- needs the grown-ups
05/05/11: Mitch Daniels, an alternative to scary
05/03/11: Obama's victory lap
05/02/11: How the journalist prom got out of control
04/28/11: Obama's birther day: Why did he lower himself by appearing in the briefing room?
04/27/11: Obama, lost in thought
04/24/11: Andrew Breitbart and the rifts on the right
04/22/11: Ten Commandments for 2012
04/21/11: Obama likes Facebook. Facebook likes Obama.
04/18/11: Without Nancy Pelosi, Obama is adrift
04/15/11: If progressives ran the world
04/14/11: Faith in political apostasy
04/13/11: One man's revolution is another's political expediency
04/11/11: Shutdown theatrics
04/06/11: Paul Ryan's irresponsible budget
04/05/11: Robots in Congress? Yes, we replicant!
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


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