In this issue
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 Sept. 3, 2009 / 14 Elul 5769

Holder needs to explain dismissal of Philly case

By Kevin Ferris

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In February, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. noted that it was hard to talk about race, but cowardly not to try. In that spirit, he should answer questions being raised about the dismissal of a voter-intimidation case involving a hate group in Philadelphia.

If you missed the incident, it's understandable. It was a YouTube blip on a historic election day. On Nov. 4, two black men in paramilitary uniforms, one wielding a nightstick, were reported harassing voters at a polling place.

It had no effect on Barack Obama's landslide win in the city. He doesn't condone the hate group or its despicable agenda. So why, members of Congress and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission ask, dismiss such an egregious case? Doesn't that put out a welcome mat to hate groups? Is this about politics or justice?

The Justice Department wasn't reticent in its January complaint, which set the scene:

Samir Shabazz, head of the Philadelphia chapter of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and Jerry Jackson, a party member, were "deployed" eight to 15 feet from the entrance of a polling place in "military-style uniforms."

"Shabazz brandished a deadly weapon" — a nightstick, the complaint said. "Shabazz pointed the weapon at individuals, menacingly tapped it (in) his other hand, or menacingly tapped it elsewhere."

The complaint continued, "Shabazz and Jackson made statements containing racial threats and racial insults at both black and white individuals" and "made menacing and intimidating gestures, statements and movements directed at individuals who were present to aid voters."

"That would be intimidating to anybody," says Linda A. Kerns, an attorney who was representing the GOP city committee that day. The police were called and they escorted Shabazz from the polling place. Jackson, a credentialed Democratic poll watcher, was allowed to remain — and credentialed again for last spring's primary.

The Panthers and their chairman, Malik Zulu Shabazz, were also named in the complaint.

Bartle Bull, a former civil rights attorney and campaign aide to Robert F. Kennedy, witnessed the Panthers' actions, and called them "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" he had ever seen.

The Obama Justice Department apparently didn't agree. As none of the defendants had responded to the complaint, the case could have been won by default. But Justice dismissed the case against the Panthers, their chairman and Jackson in May. Samir Shabazz was banned from "displaying a weapon within 100 feet of any open polling location on any election day in the City of Philadelphia."

That slap on the wrist leaves too many questions unanswered.

"Does that mean he can go to Delaware County and do it?" asked Kerns. "I'm appalled by the Obama administration's actions on this."

Michael Barley, a spokesman for the Republican State Committee, said, "You have a guy with a nightstick intimidating voters and it's on tape and played nationally and you're not going to do anything about it? That sends a message that this behavior is acceptable."

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights questioned the "unusual" dismissal, and a Justice Department reply received in July said, "The facts and the law did not support pursuing those claims."

The commissioners tried again, writing on Aug. 10 that the reply was "non-responsive.…To the extent it is responsive, it paints the Department (of Justice) in a poor light." The commissioners added that another Justice letter, this one to a Texas congressman, "includes what we believe to be factual errors and asserts novel and questionable legal claims."

U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., has written to Holder four times since May. After reports in the Washington Times that career lawyers who wanted to pursue the case were overruled by political appointees, he wrote to Holder, "I can only conclude that the decision…was politically motivated."

Wolf's requests for more information, and to have the case refiled, have so far largely gone unanswered. But he intends to keep pushing, through Holder for now, to the president if necessary.

The congressman also worries about the message being sent to hate groups. Is it now OK for the Klan to show up at the polls, in uniform, to menace voters?

In June, in a separate letter to Justice, Abigail Thernstrom and Ashley L. Taylor Jr. of the Civil Rights Commission wrote, "We cannot understand the rationale for this case's dismissal and fear that it will confuse the public on how the Department of Justice will respond to claims of voter intimidation or voter suppression in the future."

Holder could end that confusion by either refiling the case or explaining how the decision was made. No matter how hard it is to talk about.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Kevin Ferris is commentary page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer.


08/19/09: Rage understandable, but what comes next?
08/05/09: A few words, and then some, from the Obama Center
04/29/09: Pity for ‘tortured’ terrorist?
04/22/09: For good or ill, to be a public figure is to have your image used and abused
03/11/09: GOP lacks leader but has potential
03/05/09: A dangerous naivete in foreign policy
02/25/09: Beware ‘dialogue’ on race
12/29/08: ‘Chicago II’: A governor's story
12/11/08: Operator: Welcome to transition hotline
12/03/08: How Obama will fight a growing front in Afghanistan
11/25/08: GOP ahead of curve for change
11/13/08: Prayers for President-elect Barack Obama
10/03/08: Obama's lowball attacks: Suggesting that McCain is a bigot runs afoul of the high-minded ‘unity’ tripe
09/06/08: It's unlikely that a President McCain would be driven by political ideology
09/04/08: Bold McCain will sharpen the contrasts

© 2008, Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services