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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 Dec. 9, 2008 / 12 Kislev 5769

Stunning surprises in unlikely places

By Wesley Pruden

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Email this article | NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana, the late A.J. Liebling discovered when he ventured south for New Yorker magazine a generation ago, is not Southern at all, but Middle Eastern, riven with intrigue and studded with the unexpected. He would relish the latest returns from the state that only a few years ago sent a Klansman to Congress.

Over the weekend, a nine-term black congressman whom the feds have been trying without much success to send to prison for bribery, stealing and other civic endeavors once merrily practiced in Louisiana, was turned out of Congress.

The author of the stunning upset is a mild-mannered Vietnamese-American immigration lawyer. He was brought to New Orleans from Saigon when he was 8. He asked his new constituents in his victory speech to excuse his broken English and forgive him for "being bashful." He promised to work on his shyness when he gets to Washington, where bashful congressmen are rare and almost nobody cultivates mild manners (when they cultivate manners at all).

Anh Cao, who wants to be called Joe, effectively ended the career, at least for now, of William J. Jefferson, 61, a Harvard lawyer distinguished mostly for the circumstances of his arrest four years ago, when FBI agents, conducting a sting, found $90,000 in marked bills stored in his freezer. He's awaiting trial in New Orleans on charges of bribery and public corruption. Several relatives were charged with him, inspiring a lot of the joshing ("the family that steals together stays together" and "the colder the cash, the hotter the party") with which the natives traditionally celebrate great entertainers.

Mr. Cao still hasn't quite measured the size of his unexpected luck. He ran for office only once before, finishing fifth in a field of six in a race for the state Legislature. He minded his mild manners against Mr. Jefferson, mindful that he was an Asian running against a black man in a New Orleans district that is 62 percent black, or was, before Hurricane Katrina dramatically shrank the city's population and rendered such estimates suspect.

He rarely mentioned the incumbent's stash of cold cash. He didn't have to, since the congressman's magic freezer have become a cherished part of Louisiana lore. When he won, he seemed to share Mr. Jefferson's disappointment: "I know he went through two hard primaries. And that must have been hard. Never in my life did I think I could be a future congressman. The American dream is well and alive."

Louisiana is lately particularly kind to immigrants and children of immigrants. But Mr. Cao, following in the path blazed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, should probably enjoy his good fortune now; local oddsmakers put the chances of his surviving the next election as between scant and scarce. When most black voters stayed home to savor Barack Obama's success, Mr. Jefferson was bushwhacked by waiting Republicans. Considerably fewer than half of the 166,000 Orleanians who voted in November returned for the runoff.

The future looks considerably brighter for the other unlikely Louisiana success story. Mr. Jindal, only 38, not yet halfway through his first term as governor, already has his eye if not his hand on bigger things. He has been a success in Baton Rouge, getting an ethics code through the Legislature that should put a large and permanent dent in the festive attitude of the good-time Charlies who have dominated Louisiana politics. He's called "the Republican Obama" for his eloquent talk of "reform" and "change," and, like the president-elect, he has a funny name and an unfamiliar religious heritage. He was born to Hindu parents and converted to Roman Catholicism in high school. He testifies to his born-again faith often in Baptist and Pentecostal churches in the rural hard-shell counties in northern Louisiana, where Catholics are rare and Hindus an exotic curiosity.

He has the credentials to satisfy the educationist snobs (an Ivy League education at Brown, and his choice of Harvard Medical School or Yale Law School; he chose the law) and the views on the social issues (opposition to abortion, stem-cell research, same-sex marriage, gun control) to please the party base and the common folk.

Before all the votes were counted on Nov. 4, he hurried off to Iowa, where the caucuses of 2012 are barely three years away - merely the blink of a pundit's eye - to see whether the cards are marked.

"It signals to activists 'deal me in,' " says David Yepsen, the columnist for the Des Moines Register who has made a career of handicapping of the Iowa caucuses. "[His appearance] says, 'I'm not sure I want to play, but let me see some cards.' "

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2007 Wesley Pruden