In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 Dec. 24, 2009 / 7 Teves 5770

A law to mandate college football playoffs?

By Michael Smerconish

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "We can walk and chew gum at the same time," U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, assured me during a phone conversation last week. Others might disagree — especially when they hear what question prompted his remark:

Should Congress be involved in revising college football's postseason?

Yes is the short answer.

There appears little disagreement among the public as to whether there should be playoffs. A 2007 Gallup survey found that 85 percent of college football fans favor changing the current system. Everyone from President Obama to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has said he'd prefer a playoff. A more active debate surrounds whether a House subcommittee should recently have approved legislation encouraging the NCAA to move in that direction.

Right now, a combination of two so-called human polls and a series of computer rankings (which take into account everything from who wins to where the game was played to a team's strength of schedule) determine which teams play in college football's national championship game. And every year at this time, the legions of reporters, observers and fans wishing to move to a single-elimination playoff — like the NFL, for example — take their shots at the Bowl Championship Series system.

The BCS thinks Congress has better things to do.

Citing his own consensus — the 120 major universities that believe the current system is the best postseason scenario for college football — BCS executive director Bill Hancock said to me: "I feel that with all the serious matters facing our country, surely Congress has more important issues than spending taxpayers' money to dictate how college football is played."

Letter from JWR publisher

He's right, obviously. But nobody is saying that passing cap-and-trade and prodding college football are mutually exclusive. Congress would be wrong to litigate the BCS like they do cap-and-trade.

Green said as much during our conversation last week. He's a member of the subcommittee on commerce, trade, and consumer protection, the body that recently approved the College Football Playoff Act of 2009. The bill would bar college football from promoting an event known as a "national championship" game unless it is the end result of a single-elimination playoff system.

"Congress' job is not only to pass legislation, but shine light on issues that people are concerned about," Green told me. "And the reason our committee in Congress has any oversight at all over professional baseball, football, or the BCS is they enjoy an antitrust exemption."

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, made a similar point in an e-mail exchange last week. While college football's postseason isn't "the most important issue," he acknowledged, it is "a multibillion-dollar-a-year operation and it is interstate commerce."

"If Exxon Mobil and ChevronTexaco did in the oil industry what the BCS has done in college football," Barton told me, "they would be prosecuted for violating antitrust laws."

Hence the hearings and subcommittee action on the legislation — the kind of fleeting congressional intervention that has worked in the past. Indeed, Congress' treatment of baseball's steroids scandal over the last five years produced some of Major League Baseball's most damaging episodes.

Mark McGwire refusing to "talk about the past." Rafael Palmeiro wagging his finger as he denied taking steroids. Sammy Sosa sitting sheepishly as his attorney read a prepared statement. Those images forced baseball into adopting a strict ban on performance-enhancing drugs where they had previously been reluctant to look under the tarp that apparently had long-hidden baseball's steroids culture.

The examples go beyond sports. In 1994, executives from seven of the country's largest tobacco companies testified before a House subcommittee in what George Washington University political scientist Sarah Binder called the "coup de grace" in a slow-burning political and cultural movement against smoking. After the executives said under oath that they didn't believe cigarettes to be addictive, public sentiment turned sharply against them.

"The hearings basically forced executives from the big tobacco companies to talk under oath before Congress and to release loads of internal documents from the tobacco industry," Binder told me in an e-mail. "(Congressman Henry) Waxman was able to use Congress' investigatory powers to blow the lid on tobacco-company behavior — all without actually legislating at the time."

Congress is right to similarly spend a little time nudging college football toward a playoff. No need to call the Congressional Budget Office for a cost estimate. Hold a hearing or two, draft legislation, and hope that motivates the BCS to alter its postseason format.

Critics will no doubt view such efforts as another example of the federal government's growing influence where it ought not to be. Some may chastise a Congress that hasn't passed health reform for throwing a Hail Mary.

But college football and the BCS is a rarity in an otherwise starkly red/blue, liberal/conservative political time: a billion-dollar-a-year operation whose overhaul is supported by a bipartisan cadre of legislators and Americans from all walks of life (and athletic conferences).

Like an offense starting on its own goal line, there's much to be gained from moving the ball forward.

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.


12/17/09 Cheney's abuse of freedom of speech 11/26/09 The true cost of freedom from anxiety 10/27/09 If GOP wants to win in 2012, it must reshape its primary process
10/08/09 It's time to get smarter on extended school day
09/03/09 What a summer of eulogizing flawed public figures reveals about society
08/12/09 It's time for cyclists and motorists to reconcile
08/05/09 Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word

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