Dec. 6, 2013
Dec. 2, 2013
Rabbi Moshe Grylak: Attack on Chanukah's scholar-warriors an affront to all people of faith
U.S. boxes in Israel, not Iran: Surrender in Geneva
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Vanessa Bayer & Jacob, the Bar Mitzvah Boy; Adam Levine, nickname "the Bear Jew," is People's Sexiest; Eastwoods Need to Say "Kinehora!"
The Kosher Gourmet by Kim Ode:
Fried and gone to heaven: Dense, fried Slovenian doughnut-like rolls, krofi, on Chanukah is a treat you'll want to eat all year long
: Tracking babies' eyes, scientists find signs of autism in 2-month-olds
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Hunger Games: Jewish Connections; A 'Minyan'of Jewish Celebs Recite the Gettysburg Address On-line; Walter Matthau's Reaction to JFK's Death
Nancy A. Youssef :
Christians too afraid to complain as treatment in new 'democracy' worsens
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Jewish MLB managers; Past and Present; Movie News and Dancing W/the Stars Shocker; Paula Abdul's Israeli bat mitzvah and bio facts rarely reported
Jewish World Review
April 17, 2012/ 25 Nissan, 5772
You knew government bureaucrats were living large when they hired a medium.
And this mind reader who helped government workers communicate with the dead was just the beginning of the scandal involving the General Services Administration’s $823,000 spending spree in Las Vegas.
There was also the $75,000 bicycle-building exercise, the clown show, 1,000 sushi rolls at $7 a pop, $6,325 spent on commemorative coins, $8,130 for souvenir books and 300 helpings of “Boursin Scalloped Potato with Barolo Wine Braised Short Ribs” at $5 each.
The official responsible for the 2010 soiree — Jeffrey Neely — said he wanted his conference to be “over the top.” By all accounts, he achieved his goal — and now the party’s over.
Neely was hauled before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday afternoon for the first of several congressional hearings about the GSA scandal. He listened as lawmakers and former colleagues denounced his activities — Indefensible! Intolerable! The gall! — and then answered by taking the Fifth.
“Mr. Neely, what is your title at GSA?” asked Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Neely, who had demanded “theatrical talent” at his conference, got to demonstrate his own. “Mr. Chairman, on the advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer based upon my Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege.”
“Mr. Neely, did you attend the 2010 Western Regional Conference in Las Vegas?”
“Mr. Chairman, on the advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer based upon my Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege,” repeated the witness, who sported a lavish gray mane.
Issa continued to press, assuring Neely “just a few more” questions, as though he were a dentist completing drilling on a patient. He excused the witness and asked him to “remain for the remainder of the hearing” in a back room. But Neely had no interest.
Instead, the witness slipped out a back door — and reporters and camera crews gave chase. A CBS soundman, tangled in wires, fell and was taken to a hospital with a head injury. Fox News’s Chad Pergram and other reporters followed Neely into an elevator and, ignoring his lawyer’s demands that they disperse, continued to pepper him with questions. Among them: “Will you apologize?”
“No comment” was all Neely said.
He had rather more to say when planning the conference. According to e-mails discussed at the hearing, Neely had offered to pay for personal friends to come have a “blast” on the government’s dime. “I know. I am bad,” he wrote. “But Deb [his wife] and I say often, why not enjoy it while we have it and while we can. Aint going to last forever.”
He had that right. “Well, Mr. Neely, it stops now,” thundered Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the committee’s ranking Democrat, who was particularly offended that Neely’s wife, a private citizen, “ordered thousands of dollars’ worth of food at taxpayer expense.”
Committee Democrats and GSA officials portrayed Neely as a bad apple (albeit one who received a $9,000 bonus after his conference contretemps). Cummings said the episode gives government workers “a bad name.”
Meanwhile, Republicans labored to turn what happened in Vegas into an administration-wide scandal. They distributed documents with titles such as “GSA spending skyrockets under Obama administration” and GSA “convention spending soars under Democrat control.”
“As I look through this, there’s no wonder that the American people have lost faith in their government,” harrumphed Rep. Mike Kelly (Pa.).
“I want indictments!” bellowed Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.). With a preacher’s fervor, he compared the bureaucrats unfavorably with their biblical forbears. “The tribes of Israel sent 12 scouts into the Promised Land before they decided to invade, and GSA has to send 15 to Las Vegas to check out a hotel? Do you not see the outrage?”
This outrage was undercut by a fellow Republican, Rep. James Lankford (Okla.), who argued that “there was something that was happening that was very unique” at the Las Vegas event.
Indeed, it is not every government event where the “artisanal cheese” is $19 per person and the commemorative coins cost $20 apiece. Or where they make a rap video joking about what their congressional overseers would have to say about their excess (the rapper, summoned before the committee, apologized profusely).
Why did they do this? Neely, who once boasted that he “wanted to make a statement” with his soiree, wasn’t talking. And none of his GSA colleagues wished to speak for him.
“I have no idea what Mr. Neely was thinking,” said one witness.
“I don’t know what Mr. Neely was thinking,” said another.
“I do not know what he was thinking,” said a third.
Maybe they should hire a mind reader.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on Dana Milbank's column by clicking here.
• 04/12/12 Rebuffing Obama's gimmicky 'Buffett Rule'
• 04/11/12 Santorum's Gettysburg surrender
• 04/09/12 The facts vs. Mitt Romney
• 04/06/12 Mitt Romney, talking to the press, keeps the press at a distance
• 04/05/12 From tracking al-Qaeda to tracking the wayward spouse
• 04/04/12 Budget cuts as back-door deregulation
• 03/26/12 My pet Mitt
• 03/22/12 Mitt Romney's latest gaffe may be etched in history
• 03/20/12 Supreme Court conceives of life after death
• 03/15/12 Conservative for Obama: The British PM as campaign prop
• 03/14/12 In Section 60, a silent search for meaning
• 03/13/12 Super Friends, unite
• 03/12/12 It's time to believe: Romney's a winner
• 03/07/12 Settling in to Washington's ways
• 03/06/12 AIPAC beats the drums of war
• 03/05/12 Did Republicans forget the women's vote?
• 02/29/12 Mitt Romney's acceptance speech, in (mostly) his own words
• 02/28/12 Common ground becomes a great divide
• 02/27/12 An expert witness for the GOP gender gap
• 02/21/12 Where Romney shines
• 02/15/12 A Republican death wish?
• 02/14/12Obama's budget games
• 02/13/12 Are GOPers playing right into Obama's hands?
• 02/08/12 Obama pumps the compressor of Joe Hudy's Extreme Marshmallow Cannon
• 02/07/12 Abramoff's atonement
• 02/01/12 Why we in the media just love Newt
• 01/31/12 The end of the road for Newt Gingrich?
• 01/25/12 Gingrich is Obama's best surrogate
• 01/24/12 Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney's attack dog
• 01/16/12 Mitt Romney's Al Gore problem
• 01/12/12 Kamikaze Gingrich, on the loose in South Carolina
• 01/11/12 Journalists' campaign trail secrets revealed
• 01/10/12 Mitt Romney's money problem
• 01/09/12 Newtonian exceptionalism
• 01/05/12 Mitt Romney out of control
• 01/04/12 Indecision 2012: In Iowa and the GOP
• 01/03/12 Rick Santorum's curious closing argument
• 12/28/11 A few cracks in my crystal ball
• 12/23/11 A few cracks in my crystal ball
• 12/20/11 Strange brews and views?
• 12/19/11 Cellphone ban would be a distraction
• 12/15/11 Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and the Malfunction Minuet
• 12/14/11 The presidential auction of 2012
• 12/12/11 Newt's tactics comes back to haunt him
• 12/06/11 Can an anthem save Occupy non-movement?
• 12/05/11 The winner of the GOP campaign: Washington
• 11/30/11 Barney the bully: Congressman Frank's other legacy
• 11/23/11 Jon Kyl's search-and-destroy mission
• 11/21/11 Pay to play, brought to you by Washington
• 11/17/11 Big enough to save the supercommittee?
• 11/16/11 Why Newt Gingrich won't last
• 11/08/11 The 2012 campaign gets seedier
• 11/06/11 A Machiavellian model for Obama
• 11/03/11 The Herman Cain crack-up
• 11/01/11 Cain can --- he will survive
• 10/27/11 Stuntmen of the supercommittee
• 10/26/11 Democrats on the sidelines
• 10/24/11 Rick Perry's birther Parade
• 10/24/11 The birthers eat their own
• 10/19/11 The GOP's middle man
• 10/17/11 The waiting for nothing Congress
• 10/12/11 Sparsely occupied D.C.: Why the movement hasn't caught on
• 10/10/11 Can Obama strike an alliance with Occupy Wall Street?
• 10/06/11 Chris Christie, such a presidential tease
• 10/05/11 Obama and his foot soldiers go toe to toe
• 09/28/11 Cain could deliver
• 09/26/11 Republicans? Mr. Nice Guys?
• 09/22/11 Why Ron Paul is winning the GOP primary
• 09/21/11 I am a job creator who creates no jobs
• 09/20/11 Obama launches a revolution
• 09/19/11 Dems for Romney?
• 09/14/11 ‘Supercommittee’? More than stupor committee
• 09/07/11 Mitt Romney finds his (corporate) voice
• 09/01/11 The infallible Dick Cheney
• 08/31/11 This liberal says Perry is the ultimate conservative candidate
• 08/29/11 Wanted: More bite from Obama the Great Nibbler
• 08/10/11 How Rep. Austin Scott betrayed his Tea Party roots
• 08/09/11 The most powerful man on Earth?
• 08/08/11 The FAA shutdown and the new rules of Washington
• 08/04/11 Lt. Col. Allen West fires a round at the Tea Party
• 08/03/11 Government on autopilot
• 08/02/11 Dems mourn debt deal like death
• 07/27/11 Life imitates sport
• 07/26/11 Obama and Boehner take on Washington
• 07/21/11 Why Americans are angry at Congress
• 07/20/11 The new party of Reagan
• 07/18/11 Rob Portman, the boring Midwesterner who could bring sanity to the debt debate
• 07/13/11 John Boehner's bind
• 07/04/11 Stephen Colbert, Karl Rove and the mockery of campaign finance
• 07/01/11 President Puts Up His Dukes, As He Ought To
• 06/28/11 Rod Blagojevich verdict: All shook up
• 06/27/11 Progressives voice their anger at Obama
• 06/24/11 Mission accomplished, Obama style
• 06/22/11 Jon Huntsman's first step toward oblivion
• 06/21/11 Scott Walker finds making bumper stickers is easier than creating jobs
• 06/20/11 A day of awkwardness with Mitt Romney
• 06/06/11 Hubris and humility: Sarah Palin and Robert Gates on tour
• 06/02/11 The Weiner roast
• 06/01/11 Congress clocks in to clock out
• 05/30/11 Hermanator II: No More Mr. Gadfly
• 05/24/11 How Obama has empowered Netanyahu
• 05/24/11 Pawlenty bends his truth-telling
• 05/20/11 Default deniers say it's all a hoax
• 05/18/11: Gingrich gives voice to moderation
• 05/17/11: Donald Trump and the House of Horrors
• 05/16/11: The medical mystery of Mitt Romney
• 05/12/11: The body impolitic: Schock photos should tempt lawmakers to cover up
• 05/10/11: Muskets in hand, tea party blasts House Republicans
• 05/09/11: The GOP debate: America -- and the party -- needs the grown-ups
• 05/05/11: Mitch Daniels, an alternative to scary
• 05/03/11: Obama's victory lap
• 05/02/11: How the journalist prom got out of control
• 04/28/11: Obama's birther day: Why did he lower himself by appearing in the briefing room?
• 04/27/11: Obama, lost in thought
• 04/24/11: Andrew Breitbart and the rifts on the right
• 04/22/11: Ten Commandments for 2012
• 04/21/11: Obama likes Facebook. Facebook likes Obama.
• 04/18/11: Without Nancy Pelosi, Obama is adrift
• 04/15/11: If progressives ran the world
• 04/14/11: Faith in political apostasy
• 04/13/11: One man's revolution is another's political expediency
• 04/11/11: Shutdown theatrics
• 04/06/11: Paul Ryan's irresponsible budget
• 04/05/11: Robots in Congress? Yes, we replicant!
• 04/04/11: Robert Gibbs, Facebook and the White House corporate placement service
• 04/01/11: Haley Barbour, the fat cats' candidate
• 03/31/11: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
• 03/30/11: Coburn and Durbin, the dynamic duo of the debt crisis
• 03/28/11: The Obama doctrine: A gray area the size of Libya
• 03/24/11: Dems as Weiners
• 03/23/11: Obama's quick trip from tyrant to weakling
• 03/17/11: Who's afraid of Elizabeth Warren?
• 03/15/11: The underwear flap over Bradley Manning
• 03/10/11: In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap
• 03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
• 03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
• 02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
• 02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
• 02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group