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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

Surprising advocate for spy groups

By Evan Halper




To the dismay of many liberals, powerful California Democrat has fought to preserve the National Security Agency's massive data tracking programs


JewishWorldReview.com |

W ASHINGTON— (MCT) Dianne Feinstein got out of her chair, grabbed a 54-page federal court opinion and poked her finger at the bullet points buried inside, insisting a visitor read each carefully as the busy senator watched and waited.

The opinion described terrorist bombing plots — aimed at New York's subways and stock exchange and at a newspaper office in Denmark — that, according to the judge, had been foiled by the government's collection of data on billions of American phone calls.

To many, the findings are in dispute. But not to Feinstein, the San Francisco Democrat who, as chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has emerged as one of the Capitol's staunchest defenders of the nation's spy agencies.

"Let me ask you," she said. "Supposing the program is knocked out and, God forbid, a year down the pike something happens? I'd never forgive myself."

In more than 40 years in public life, Feinstein, 80, often has zigged as other Democrats zagged. In her unsuccessful run for governor in 1990, for example, she famously departed from liberal orthodoxy of the day to support the death penalty, drawing sustained boos at a state party convention.

But her crusade to preserve the National Security Agency's massive tracking programs stands out. Rarely has a senator fought so hard for something that dismays so many of her erstwhile supporters.

President Obama on Friday announced plans for the NSA to continue most of its data collection and surveillance programs, while calling for some new privacy protections. The administration is leaving it to Congress to sort out many of the details.

Feinstein praised much of Obama's speech, but expressed misgivings about a portion that would give judges more authority over some actions by intelligence analysts. The statement exemplified how Feinstein will be a key ally to intelligence officials resisting limits on their operations.

It is a rugged assignment for a California Democrat.

A nearly unanimous state Senate recently called on Congress to halt the "blanket, unreasonable, and unconstitutional collection of all Americans' telephone records."

The state Democratic Party decreed that telephone tracking efforts must stop "before they move us even further towards a totalitarian state."

Then there's the state's business community. Some of the most prominent companies in Silicon Valley, worried that customers wary of NSA snooping will take their business abroad, back legislation to unravel the NSA's collection of so-called telephone metadata, and limit its surveillance of the Internet.

After years of being routinely described as the most popular politician in the nation's most populous state, Feinstein, who is one year into her sixth term, has seen her approval rating plunge to a record low. For the first time in the more than 20 years she and the more liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer have served together, Feinstein's job approval — 43% in a Field Poll released last month — has fallen below that of the junior senator.

There is "no question" that her defense of government surveillance has driven her ratings down, the veteran senator said in a recent interview. "Numbers go down, numbers go up," she added.

"I don't think people understand it," she said of the NSA's work. "The sophisticated groups do, and they made a decision to oppose it."

On issues such as same-sex marriage, banning assault weapons and exposing harsh CIA interrogation techniques, Feinstein for years has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with many of the groups that now criticize her. Recently, she has sided with them in trying to restrict the use of drone surveillance on Americans, telling fellow senators last week about spotting a tiny drone floating outside the window of her home during a protest there. (The antiwar group Code Pink suggested she was referring to a toy helicopter it had once launched while gathered in front of the Feinstein residence.)

Even though Edward Snowden has become a hero to many of her constituents, Feinstein denounces the former NSA contractor, saying he deliberately endangered the country by releasing the spying data that caused an international uproar.

"Enormous harm has been done," she said. "This was a man who went into a company with the intention of doing this, of scraping everything he could get ahold of — and he has admitted that."

As she sees it, Feinstein has more experience with terrorism than the average American. And not just because she is chairwoman of the intelligence panel. Pressed by a reporter, she recalls, matter-of-factly, the night in the 1970s when a radical leftist group targeted her.

"They put a plastic explosive in a flower box in front of my home," she said. Luckily, it was a bitterly cold night. "This particular explosive didn't explode if the temperature dropped below freezing."

Then, the windows were shot out at the family beach house. Feinstein began packing a .38, only to give up her permit after the 1978 assassination of her colleagues George Moscone and Harvey Milk at San Francisco City Hall. She was in the building and was the first to discover Milk's body.

But she scoffs at the idea that those experiences may have colored her thinking on domestic security.

"You mean, am I paranoid? No. I am not that type," she said.


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Whatever her motivation, a broad spectrum of activists on the left and right complains, saying she is a parrot for the intelligence agencies. A "Shame on Feinstein" campaign, demanding she resign from the Intelligence Committee, has been joined by tea party activists and socialists alike.

Former state Sen. Tom Hayden, a dean among leftist California Democratic activists, says the secrecy that surrounds the Intelligence Committee's activities has prevented it from effectively providing a check on the NSA.

"She is sworn to secrecy to such a level that it becomes a de facto coverup," he said. "She has been so unpersuasive. Anybody who thinks she is conducting oversight is in a very different world."

"It is very frustrating," said Mark Jaycox, legislative analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "She is supposed to take the oversight gavel, not serve as a surrogate for the intelligence community."

Feinstein is frustrated, too.

"Everything changes after an attack," she said. "Before the attack, nobody believes the work that goes into preventing it."

"I've seen some things I think you ought to know," she added. But, of course, she didn't share — the knowledge is classified.

Intelligence Committee members are typically briefed about bombing plots, terrorist cells, drone strikes and other matters in a secure room lined with lead, where phone lines are scrambled and the concrete on the floor is 8 inches thick. Officials say the elaborate security precautions are needed to protect vital secrets; critics say they help seduce panel members into sharing the worldview of the agencies they are supposed to oversee.

For whichever reason, the majority of the intelligence panel's members share Feinstein's thinking. The committee recently voted 11 to 4 in favor of a Feinstein proposal to continue the NSA's collection of telephone metadata.

Among those supporting her was Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), who was heralded by privacy activists during the George W. Bush administration for aggressively pursuing disclosure

of NSA surveillance activities. He said the current data collection efforts are different.

"This is all done by machines, and they don't listen to conversations," he said. "They just record where a phone call came from, where it went and if it hooked up with a third one. Virtually nothing else takes place."

But, he conceded, "we can't convince anyone of that."

In addition to battling privacy advocates, Feinstein finds herself contending with the Silicon Valley heavyweights who fear rebellion by their customers. She said she has had four conversations with Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook about the company's concerns and hopes to meet privately with several executives of major technology companies. Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL have endorsed legislation that would end the bulk collection of records.

"We have put the tech companies in an impossible bind," said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), who serves on the House Intelligence Committee. "I have been hearing from them.... Their whole international business model is threatened."

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation concluded the tech industry stood to lose as much as $35 billion in business over the next three years to foreign competitors promising more privacy. The firm Forrester Research warns of potential losses closer to $180 billion.

Schiff is among those pushing for more significant changes in the NSA's collection of phone records but, like many others in Congress battling Feinstein on the issue, won't say a negative word about her.

Colleagues like her, respect her, fear her. They also empathize. Snowden's constant disclosures have the intelligence committees on their heels.

"You get set to defend one thing, get the facts, and it is something else," Feinstein said. "It just keeps coming out.… And one day the impact will be known."

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