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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 Feb. 3, 2014 / 3 Adar I, 5774

Obama Dons 'I'm a Lame Duck' Sign

By Robert Robb


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was apparently intended to demonstrate his continued dominance of the political agenda. That presumably was the point of the chest-beating his aides did before the speech about the in-your-face unilateral actions the president was going to announce.

The speech itself, however, demonstrated what a spent political force Obama has become. He might as well have been wearing a sign saying: I’m a lame duck.

When, before the 2012 election, Obama compared his accomplishments to those of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, conservatives and even some liberals scoffed. But it was an earned boast. In terms of output, Obama’s first-term record was comparably beefy.

Obama inherited the Troubled Asset Relief Program, but he twisted it into a bailout fund for the auto industry. The official stimulus program was only part of the massive countercyclical financing he superintended. In all, there was over $5 trillion in deficit spending stimulus during Obama’s first term.

The federal government’s regulation of financial institutions was completely overhauled and strengthened. A financial consumer protection agency, a dream of liberals since Ralph Nader was a pup, was enacted.

And of course, there was Obamacare, fulfilling an even older liberal dream of a federal guarantee of universal access to health care.

The problem for Obama is that things haven’t turned out that well. Despite unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, the economy is still sluggish. Financial institutions are bigger and still too big to fail. The rules designed to make them safer are still being written, nearly four years after Dodd-Frank was signed into law.



Obamacare nearly crashed upon takeoff. The website didn’t work. Consumers are unhappy with changes in premiums and coverage. There is now a growing fear that Obamacare will bankrupt health insurance companies. A federal bailout of at least the exchange plans is all but inevitable. The question is whether a broader bailout will be necessary.

This, of course, isn’t what Obama expected or led the American people to expect. The economy was supposed to be humming by now. Banks were supposed to be lending rather than waiting for additional regulatory shoes to drop. Those who already had health insurance were supposed to be enjoying broader coverage and lower premiums. The country was supposed to be basking in pride at finally making health insurance available to those previously denied it.

The failure of Obama’s first-term agenda to produce anticipated results has left him gasping for a second-term agenda. His second-term economic agenda consists of small-ball stimulus measures: an infrastructure bank, manufacturing innovation hubs, community college based job training programs. Nothing with leverage sufficient to meaningfully change the trajectory of a $17 trillion economy.

On Obamacare, the president is just holding on, waiving many of its provisions, hoping that it will gain some kind of grounding before financially imploding or becoming so politically toxic that substantive dismantling becomes realistic.

Obama bashing Republicans for favoring the wealthy and declaring income inequality the issue of our time is a second-term political agenda, not a governing one.

While a president is always very relevant, Obama no longer is in a position to dictate or dominate the political agenda. He could nevertheless have a productive second term if he concentrated on where bipartisan agreement might be possible.

Immigration reform and trade are the most obvious examples. Reforming the myriad federal job training programs might be another. A bipartisan reform of the corporate income tax code might be possible, if Obama didn’t insist that it produce more money for him to spend.

To succeed, Obama would have to drop his pretense of being an inspirational and aspirational leader capable of bending other politicians to his will. Instead, he would have to be a roll-up-the-sleeves negotiator getting sweaty and grimy with the other pols.

Don’t expect this to happen. In fact, in retrospect, what stands out about Obama’s first term is how little involvement he had in the legislative details of even his own accomplishments.

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