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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 Sep 17, 2013 / 13 Tishrei, 5774

A state of paralysis: Congress, Obama need to act

By Michael Gerson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Recently overheard from a senior House Republican, commenting on prospects for a budget agreement: “At this point we’re hoping Vladimir Putin comes up with a plan.”

It is a summary of the state of Barack Obama’s second term.

The president’s near-humiliation on a Syria use-of-force resolution indicated a dangerously shallow reservoir of trust and good will on Capitol Hill. Democrats were amazed that Obama had forced a major political battle with no plan for winning it. The White House operation seemed badly off its game. Congressional relationships that had gone untended for years could not be suddenly strengthened in a final push. In Obama’s fifth year in office, the legislative base of his party seemed prepared to participate (along with Republicans) in the devastation of his presidency.

Putin threw Obama a lifeline, which has come with Russian strings attached. But it is the domestic implications that concern us here. The president enters a season of congressional confrontation fresh from an ill-conceived legislative effort that left even his supporters in disbelief.

The remainder of legislative time and attention that hasn’t been spent on Syria this year will now be consumed by the budget and debt-ceiling debates — in which the best possible outcome is the avoidance of self-inflicted wounds. Republican leaders seem prepared to combine the continuing resolution and debt-ceiling increase, extend both for a year with the budget at level spending and impose a one-year delay in implementing Obamacare. They won’t get the last part — Obama would veto anything including it — but the Republican base insists.

The Obama administration, in return, offers . . . nothing. It is continuing the practice of starting a negotiation process by refusing to negotiate.

Coming to an eventual compromise between one side that demands the moon and the other side that demands and offers nothing at all won’t be easy. The protection of Obamacare is the one thing the administration holds absolutely sacred. But conservatives sense opportunity in a weakened president and a deeply unpopular law. And Speaker John Boehner’s room to maneuver is extremely limited by a small faction of his party that is just big enough to paralyze him. It is a recipe for confidence-shaking, market-spooking, down-to-the-wire confrontation.

In the shadow of this conflict, little else will grow. According to Yuval Levin of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, “only things that have to pass — or else the government shuts down or the economy crashes — are going to pass this year.”

Immigration reform is a likely casualty. Technically the bill does not die until the end of 2014 and could be taken up at any point during the current Congress. But the chance to conduct a debate this fall was probably ended by Syria.

And what of the president’s other second-term priorities? Climate-change legislation? Tighter federal gun-control laws? Increasing the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour? Read back over the 2012 State of the Union address. It is the compelling description of an agenda now in ruins. The most notable policy developments of the past few months have been the start of the budget sequester and the delay of Obamacare’s business mandate. Economic growth remains so anemic that it is unable to lift the percentage of Americans going back to work.



Obama can blame Republicans who want to “accelerate” income inequality. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can warn that “the anarchists are winning.” But month after month of executive enervation begins to strain public patience and confidence. According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, “Republicans are now rated higher than Democrats on handling the economy and foreign policy, and the GOP’s lead has strengthened on several other issues, including dealing with the federal deficit and ensuring a strong national defense.”

This is good news for Republicans in the 2014 midterms — unless overconfidence leads them to actually shut down the government and offer the president another lifeline.

But there is little upside for the country in the meantime. If Republicans were in a position to capitalize on Obama’s weakness, it might lead to serious, long-term budget reform. If Obama were strong enough to capitalize on Republican weaknesses, it might lead to additional short-term stimulus and investments in human capital. As it stands, they are paralyzed at the same time — and so is the nation.

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Previously:



09/12/13 In full retreat on Syria
09/10/13 Obama misunderstands wartime leadership
09/09/13 Rallying around a gesture
08/30/13 The preacher and the politician
08/27/13 Is Obama's oft-cited best-case scenario in Syria still even possible?
08/23/13 Jordan's wary welcome
08/20/13 The hardest goodbye: A parent letting go
08/16/13 For GOP, opposition shouldn't only mean obstruction
08/13/13 Crazy, humane determination creates breakthrough for millions
08/09/13 America's bubble of complacency
07/01/11 The GOP's ideal America
03/04/11 The last doughboy and the emergence of a great nation
03/01/11 Conservatives shouldn't be so surprised by freedom
02/22/11 The progression of pain
02/18/11 The seriousness primary
02/11/11 Do Egypt's protests mean American decline?
01/27/11 No-bend Obama
01/21/11 Two good arguments for civility -- and passion -- in politics
01/11/11 Obama's staff changes give him a second chance
01/11/11 Is Arizona shooting an empty search for meaning?
01/07/11 WikiLeaks gives dangerous ammunition to a tyrant
01/04/11 Michael Vick: Symbol of the second chance
12/28/10 Social Security reform is the answer to Obama's problems --- and the nation's
12/21/10 When foreign policy realism isn't realistic
12/17/10 When it comes to politics, Obama's ego keeps getting in the way
11/26/10 Libs resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems
11/19/10 With Holder at the helm, detainee policy is a disaster
11/12/10 Blue-state budget crises spell even more trouble for Dems
10/19/10 Obama the snob
10/12/10 Seeds of victory in Afghanistan
10/05/10 Believers' remorse
10/04/10 Pound-foolish on national security
09/28/10 Babylon on the Potomac
09/27/10 Our reluctant commander in chief
09/21/10 Blue strongholds are becoming Democratic graveyards
09/17/10 For the GOP, a bittersweet brew from the Tea Party
09/15/10: Insanity's great enablers
09/13/10: The lost communicator
09/08/10: Will 2010 midterms be 1994 all over again?
09/01/10: Obama's economic wandering
08/27/10: Miracles from abroad
08/25/10: Address these issues in order to strengthen the Tea Party
08/20/10: The lost promise of Barack Obama
07/23/10: Obama's greatest nightmare
02/04/09: The Reality of Innocence
01/07/09: The Risks in Obama's Ambitions
12/31/08: Support Obama Will Need
06/13/08: Prince Charles, Organic Conservatism Icon
06/11/08: No longer a bankrupt political joke but still overshadowed
04/23/08: McCain's anger management
04/10/08: A Country for Old Men
03/06/08: Does the America Need a Hug?
03/06/08: Obama's First 100 Days
02/29/08: Words Aren't Cheap
02/22/08: He Said, They Said
02/20/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/15/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


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