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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 June 10, 2013/ 2 Tammuz, 5773

IRS couldn't survive one of its own audits

By Dan K. Thomasson




JewishWorldReview.com | J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, has noted in a revealing audit that the Internal Revenue Service's expenditures of $4.1 million for a training conference didn't "appear to be a good use of taxpayer funds."

Really!

Never let it be said that those government officials designated to watch over our best interests in their own agencies aren't perceptive. You can't fool old J. Russell. He went right to the point after his office's perusal of spending for just one of the 225 "conferences" that totaled $49 million between 2010 and 2012. Perhaps the fact that the schooling wasn't done in a place like Las Vegas but in plain old Anaheim, Calif., made him a little more suspicious or incredulous. Well, at least the 2,609 IRS managers who attended weren't gambling with U.S. money.

For this shindig alone -- the most expensive of them all -- 25 employees spent $36,000 to scope out the site. The bill for outside speakers alone was a tidy $135,350, including $27,000 paid to one speaker (not counting a $2,500 first-class air ticket) and $11,430 doled out to another for some workshops. George probably looked at the spending as more than enough evidence that government service in this instance might just have a few more benefits than it should.

Supporting this contention, at least in the eyes of some unfortunates who have been beset by steely-eyed tax collectors, were the free engraved pens, briefcases and baseball tickets generously supplied to attendees. That's not to mention a big-time conference reception that supplied free drinks. None of that tacky cash-bar nonsense so many other federal agencies offer.

The agency that not only diligently pursues our money also demands detailed proof that we don't owe more than we claim we do, but its inspector general had to admit that the IRS managers were unable to provide documents about how much actually was spent on the Anaheim fling. Some of those dedicated to ensuring taxpayer integrity were afforded two-bedroom suites with amenities that included billiard tables. Apparently, the rate was what the government allows, if that makes things more acceptable.

Whatever happened to the policy that requires trying to negotiate the rates down? That apparently didn't happen, according to the audit.

"The solicitation and use of hotel upgrades increases the perception of wasteful spending," George said. Well, didn't we tell you he knew his apples when it comes to stating the obvious? You don't get to be an inspector general if you rode in on a load of pumpkins, if you'll allow me to mix my metaphors for this salad.

Seriously, folks, you would have a hard time making up this stuff. The guy Barack Obama named to head up the beleaguered agency, Commissioner Danny Werfel, has assumed a tough stand on these kinds of junkets -- er, activities. He responded to the audit by saying that taxpayers should take comfort that a conference of this kind never would happen again. Why aren't we totally reassured by that? He, too, displayed remarkable perceptiveness by adding that many of the expenditures "were over the top."

You think?

Where do we go from here with an agency that is under fire? First, it was for questionable reviewing of applications for tax-exempt status by organizations linked to conservative causes -- those opposed by Obama. Now, it also faces a burgeoning scandal in profligate spending for what even a prudent man might regard as skating close to the edge of malfeasance. The dreaded Republican-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will try to find out. Here comes GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California. Look out now!

Then, have you heard the one about these tax boys and girls who dressed up in Star Trek outfits to make a training video that cost $50,000? That's their estimate, at any rate, because they don't have the supporting documents to help the IG inspectors. What a hoot -- tax auditors without backup.

Beam me up, Scotty!

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05/31/13: Higher ed gaining more support from states

05/24/13: Does Obama have Plausible Deniability?

05/20/13: Google Glass is progress at a cost

03/25/13: NCAA's March Madness still scores points

02/27/13: School safety radicals make things considerably worse

02/21/13: Wrestling needs a firm hold on Olympics

02/18/13: Obama may be able to do little about gun violence

12/17/12: When is a majority not a majority?

12/12/12: Government snooping's historical precedent

11/13/12: Petraeus learns a lesson the hard way

10/26/12: High court must settle affirmative action

10/16/12: Report confirms SATs flawed indicator

08/20/12: All the news fit to tweet?

07/27/12: Economic disillusionment marks young voters' views

07/20/12: Will Postal Service follow Pony Express route?

07/13/12: Paterno's statue should be covered up

07/10/12: 8.2 jobless rate endangers Obama's job

07/03/12: It's still the economy, stupid

06/19/12: Mitt Romney's chances look better

06/08/12: Pakistan not an ally worthy of the name

06/05/12: Americans have a right to be bloated

06/01/12: Quota system would dilute school's quality

05/27/12: Even now, Memorial Day means summer camp

05/18/12: Is there a public right to know too much?

05/09/12: American exceptionalism --- exceptional generosity

05/04/12: The Edwards trial is a sorry affair

05/02/12: Common sense needs to be taught . . . to school administrators

04/30/12: We must deal with college student debt rate

04/10/12: At least Ryan has a deficit-cutting plan

04/05/12: Celebrate one-year rent-a-teams?

03/12/12: A kinder, gentler day when fists settled disputes

03/05/12: Do conservatives want a victory or a statement?

02/27/12: Hillary vs. Jeb?

02/17/12: Why wait for the until GOP nominating convention?

02/17/12: Prez is not a god, just a cause of O.G. D.: Obama Governmental Dysfunction

02/13/12: Minor tardiness doesn't warrant court action

02/08/12: College rankings aren't always reliable

02/01/12: Millionaire Fans Watching Millionaire Players

01/30/12: Kiriakou case may plug leaks, stifle democracy

01/09/12: Feds need to find if Brit hackers targeted 9/11 families

12/23/11: NIH flu-strain decision endangers us all

12/09/11: U.S. Postal Service may be beyond saving

11/30/11: Do-gooder gets deserved earful

11/24/11: Lawmakers should pledge to think on their own

11/22/11: Iowa: Vital to GOP now, irrelevant later

11/16/11: Pentagon's ‘senior mentor’ service takes hit

11/14/11: With Congress, expect more intransigence

11/08/11: Paterno's illustrious career faces tarnished end

10/31/11: The FBI is burned by its Boston informants

10/18//11: President Inexperienced again picked style and enthusiasm over caution. He must pay

10/10/11: Prosecutors routinely abuse plea bargaining

10/04/11: In Christie,shades of William Howard Taft

09/27/11: One word for Obama's prospects --- ‘bleak’

09/26/11: Obama quickly running out of time

09/23/11: Big-time college football is now all about the money

09/22/11: A trip to the dentist cleans out your wallet

09/06/11: College rankings a useless exercise

08/31/11: Thankful a mother isn't alive to see this hungry mess

08/30/11: ‘Supercommittee’ should meet in secret

08/22/11: Is college still worth it? Some majors are

08/15/11: Pray for miracle from debt committee

08/09/11: S&P mixes credit ratings with politics

08/08/11: Politics again takes precedence over common sense

08/04/11: In modern society, a distinct pattern of senselessness

07/29/11: A debt solution: Throw the rascals out, all of them

07/21/11: Campaign finance reform --- you're kidding, right!?

07/08/11: Casey Anthony jury did its job

07/05/11: Nailing a prominent figure or institution should come at a heavy risk — and an even greater price if proven a hoax





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