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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 May 29, 2012/ 8 Sivan, 5772

When Will Obama Reform Presidential Pardons?

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As a candidate for president in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to "immediately" review federal mandatory minimum sentences "to see where we can be smarter on crime and reduce the ineffective warehousing of nonviolent drug offenders." Obama also had written memoirs, in which he admitted to using marijuana and cocaine — "maybe a little blow when you could afford it" — as a teen. And he's the first black president.

Linda Aaron, a black Alabama grandmother, voted for Obama. For years, Aaron had been hoping that President George W. Bush would commute the obscenely long prison sentence of her son, Clarence. Because of Draconian federal mandatory minimum sentencing, a federal judge sentenced Aaron when he was 24 to three sentences of life without parole for a first-time nonviolent drug offense.

Linda Aaron fully expected that if Bush didn't use his presidential pardon power to commute her son's sentence — and Bush did not — Obama would do so. It still hasn't happened. Clarence Aaron is now 43.

The candidate who pledged to look at sentence reductions for nonviolent drug offenders became the president who, after rejecting nearly 3,800 requests, has commuted only one sentence while in office.

This column is not simply about Clarence Aaron. It is about a justice system that cannot correct itself when it knows that it has gone overboard.

Aaron broke the law in 1992, when he connected cocaine dealers for two very large drug deals. He deserved to go to prison. But what country puts first-time nonviolent 20-somethings behind bars for the rest of their natural lives?

There is nothing just about a system that metes out shorter prison time to co-defendants who are drug dealers (all but one of whom are now free in this case), than to a college student with no criminal record.

There is something perverse about a system that rewards drug dealers for pleading guilty and testifying against others, while it shows no mercy toward amateurs who don't know how to game the system.

I've heard the arguments as to why Aaron doesn't deserve a pardon. Drug deals are inherently violent. In refusing to plead guilty, Aaron refused to accept responsibility for his criminal actions. (That's true, and because Aaron lied on the stand, the judge lengthened Aaron's sentence.)

If you believe those arguments, as some people of good faith do, you still have to acknowledge that the system punished Aaron more for not pleading guilty and lying on the stand than it did for his brief role in the drug business.

There is no sense of proportion here. Aaron is serving the same sentence as Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent turned traitor.

In 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice pardon attorney recommended that the president not commute Aaron's sentence. ProPublica recently reported that in a push for more favorable recommendations, the Bush White House had asked the Office of the Pardon Attorney to reconsider Aaron's application.

Unfortunately for Aaron, current pardon attorney Ronald Rodgers passed along his predecessor's recommendation that Aaron's petition be denied. Rodgers failed to disclose that the U.S. attorney's office had reversed its position so that it supported a presidential commutation from life without parole to 25 years — so that Aaron would be released in 2014. Samuel Morison, who used to work in the pardon attorney's office, believes that Rodgers ill-served Bush, who would have commuted the sentence if his pardon attorney had passed on case facts.

On Thursday, Families Against Mandatory Minimums held an event to urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate the pardon attorney's office in light of Rodgers' failure to pass on that key bit of news. Linda Aaron spoke at the event. Over the phone, she told me she is "puzzled" over Obama's failure to commute her son's sentence.

By any objective measure, Aaron's life without parole sentence is a cruel anomaly. I've been writing about his case for more than a decade because the criminal justice system won't accept responsibility and correct its pernicious excesses. Normally when something's broken, people who care for it fix it. But not the justice system.

Obama was supposed to bring sanity to a federal sentencing structure that over-punishes nonviolent drug offenders. But I guess he's just too busy to get to Clarence Aaron.

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© 2012, Creators Syndicate

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