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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. 13, 2005 / 12 Kislev, 5766

The GOP's culture of corruption

By Rich Lowry


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Democrats complain of a "culture of corruption" in the Republican-controlled Congress, and they are right in one respect: The spending process has been so twisted by the Republican majority that it has become inherently dirty.


The instruments of this perversion are "earmarks," special provisions attached to spending bills that direct federal money to specific projects. Earmarks are how Congress diverts spending to pork-barrel local priorities and to other special interests. This practice has long existed, but Republicans have made it part of the fabric of their governing.


In 1994, there were 4,126 earmarks in the 13 appropriations bills. In 2004, there were 14,040. This year's highway bill alone had 6,371 earmarks. An industry has grown up around this specially designated money.


The number of firms registered to lobby members on the appropriations committees increased from 1,865 to 3,523 between 2000 and 2004, according to Knight Ridder. For relatively small fees to lobbyists and donations to congressmen, corporations and localities can get a big payoff. Ronald Utt, a transportation expert at the Heritage Foundation, points to an example in Virginia that demonstrates the calculation. Culpeper County wanted to build a $3.5 million community sports complex. A lobbying outfit approached the county and said that for a mere $5,000-a-month for 18 months ($90,000 total), it could get the feds to pick up the $3.5 million tab for the complex.


Amazingly, Culpeper County declined, but this sort of offer is often accepted. When it comes to the Army Corps of Engineers, Utt argues that "many of its projects are bought and sold in a marketplace controlled by members of Congress, lobbyists and clients, who work together to divert taxpayer dollars to pet projects." He points to Marlowe and Co., a Washington lobbying outfit that specializes in funneling Corps money to beach communities. The firm takes credit for 170 earmarks since 1998. This is a corrupting process because it depends on congressmen prioritizing special interests, slipping earmarks into bills with no debate, and getting rewarded for it with campaign contributions. In the case of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., who has resigned following bribery charges, the sleaze slid into outright criminality. Defense contractors who had almost no business got smart and began larding Cunningham with contributions and under-the-table payoffs. Suddenly, the firms won federal contracts funneled to them through earmarks championed by Cunningham.


Cunningham might have been exceptional in his lack of subtlety, but other congressmen work much the same way. Last week, it was revealed that Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Mich., inserted an earmark into a transportation bill that forced Amtrak to haul additional private freight cars or forgo $8.3 million in additional federal dollars. The freight cars in question belonged to ExpressTrak, a company whose owner is a big Knollenberg donor. Knollenberg now says he is going to rescind the earmark, showing that some members of Congress are still capable of being shamed.


This trading of contributions for official favors is ingrained in the appropriations process. It is part of the scandal around former GOP superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. A Washington Post analysis shows that eight of the 20 top recipients of contributions from Abramoff and his team sit on appropriations committees. One e-mail exchange between Abramoff and an associate, Tony Rudy, has Rudy asking whether a Native American tribe can fund a hunting trip for congressional staff as a "thank you ... for the approps we got."


It is hard to imagine a practice or culture more inimical to the spirit of the Republicans who took over Congress in 1994. A decade later, the GOP has embraced the tactics of the corrupt, free-spending Democrats they overthrew. Meet the new appropriator, same as the old appropriator.


Now it is the minority Democrats who are talking reform. One bill sponsored by liberal Reps. David Obey, D-Wis., and Barney Frank, D- Mass., features an attempt to tamp down on earmarks. Republicans would do well to run with that idea, and clean up the House before someone else does it for them.

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© 2005 King Features Syndicate

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