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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 July 29, 2013/ 22 Menachem-Av, 5773

There oughta be a law? Don't be so sure

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Among the chattering classes these days, it is a popular lament that the 112th Congress has passed fewer bills than any in the last 60 years. But not everyone is joining in the breast-beating. When CBS newsman Bob Schieffer asked House Speaker John Boehner last week how he feels about presiding "over what is perhaps the least productive and certainly one of the least popular congresses in history," Boehner rejected the planted axiom that making laws makes lawmakers productive.

"We should not be judged on how many new laws we create," he said. "We ought to be judged on how many laws that we repeal."

To those of us who regard "Don't just do something, stand there!" as an excellent rule of thumb, above all for politicians, Boehner's response was refreshing. Complaints about "gridlock" and "dysfunction" are neverending, but getting things done in Washington was never supposed to be easy. Nor is it what voters want: That's why they returned a Republican majority to the House of Representatives last November, while keeping the Senate and the White House in Democratic hands.

"We've got more laws than the administration could ever enforce," Boehner said on CBS. "We deal with what the American people want us to deal with. Unpopular? Yes. Why? We're in a divided government. We're fighting for what we believe in."

Needless to say, the notion that Congress ought to be doing less and undoing more immediately drew flak.

"Did Speaker Boehner really say that the Congress should be judged on the number of laws they repeal not the number they pass?" tweeted White House aide Dan Pfeiffer. The speaker's remarks were "just embarrassing," the pro-Obama activist group Organizing for Action said scornfully; members of Congress weren't elected "to sit there and wind back the clock." The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly moved to exploit Boehner's comments in online ads aimed at 19 Republican incumbents Democrats hope to unseat.

Joe Gandelman, editor of The Moderate Voice, a political website, could barely contain his contempt: "Welcome to the new age of spin where you take a rotted, fetid, smelly, almost poisonous lemon and try to sell it not just as lemonade, but the best lemonade ever made."

Actually, Congress gets even lower marks when judged by Boehner's preferred metric. So far this year Congress has passed 15 laws; it hasn't actually repealed any. While the House has voted more than 30 times to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act, there is no chance that the Senate will go along. "Stop taking meaningless repeal votes," President Obama needled Republicans in a speech on Wednesday. "Repealing ObamaCare and cutting spending is not an economic plan."

Calvin Coolidge, shown here at the 1924 World Series, was one of the most successful political leaders in Massachusetts history. "It is much more important," he once wrote, "to kill bad bills than to pass good ones."

ObamaCare remains highly unpopular, more Americans than ever want it repealed, and only 13 percent think the law will personally help them, while three times as many expect it to hurt them. A key Senate Democrat warned months ago that the law's rollout would cause "a huge train wreck," and the White House this month put off for another year the enforcement of a key ObamaCare provision. As you contemplate this legislative dog's dinner, is it really so absurd to suggest that repealing laws may be a better test of congressional effectiveness than passing them in the first place?

"There oughta be a law!" is more likely to be an emotional reaction than a considered judgment, but we live in an age that has turned worship of government into an unofficial state religion, so resisting demands for more laws is treated as heresy. The belief that whenever there is a problem more government must be the cure flies in the face of experience especially the experience of all the problems governmental cures made worse. It was "There oughta be a law!" that gave us the Fugitive Slave Law and Prohibition, uncommonly silly bans on contraception and out-of-control drug laws, tuition subsidies that make tuition more expensive and immigration "reforms" that caused an illegal immigration crisis.

On becoming president of the Massachusetts Senate in 1914, Calvin Coolidge offered his colleagues some timeless advice: "Don't hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation." Making laws, Coolidge knew, is no proof that lawmakers are productive. As he wrote to his father, a Vermont legislator: "It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones."

He was right. And so, on this score, is Boehner. Action isn't the same as accomplishment least of all in Congress, which often does its best work when it does nothing at all.

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.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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