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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 July 19, 2005 / 12 Tammuz, 5765

North Pole, Alaska

By Rich Lowry


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | NORTH POLE, Alaska — As I was driving through this town of less than 1,600 people just outside of Fairbanks the other day, an overwhelming sensation came over me — of safety. Or at least that's what Congress wanted me to feel. Thanks to a senseless, but sadly typical, formula for spending federal homeland security dollars, North Pole has been awarded more than half a million dollars for homeland security rescue and communications equipment. This just in case the terrorists decide to try to shut down Santa Claus Lane.

Fortunately, I am in a position to make a frontline report — all seems quiet.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is irritating certain U.S. senators by insisting that how federal homeland security spending is allocated should have some relation to the risk of a terrorist attack in any given area. Where he has the authority to act on his own, Chertoff has pushed his department toward rationality. He moved, for instance, to limit the cities eligible for port-security grants to 66 from 366, thus eliminating Martha's Vineyard from the list (and exposing the extended Kennedy clan to attack by terrorist yacht). But Congress controls how homeland security grants are doled out to the states, and its attitude is, "Unless we waste money, the terrorists will win."

Immediately after 9/11, Congress wrote a homeland security spending formula into the Patriot Act, one of the provisions of that law that actually is a mistake. It says that every state gets .75 percent of the funding from two enormous federal grant programs that spend well over $1 billion a year. That eats up 40 percent of the funding. The other 60 percent is allocated on the basis of population, which is one risk factor for a terror attack, but only one. In other words, in a homeland security effort that should be built on intelligence and risk analysis, Congress has created a system that is almost entirely random and beholden to the dictates of logrolling and pork-barrel spending.

This is a boon not just to North Pole, but to places like Wyoming. According to Veronique de Rugy of the American Enterprise Institute, the Equality State has only .17 percent of the nation's population, but gets .85 percent of federal homeland security grants. That works out to $37.74 per capita for Wyoming, while New York state gets $5.41 per capita. De Rugy reports that Washington, D.C., is the only location that is both among the top 10 grant recipients and on a list of the 10 most at-risk localities.

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Throwing around money in absurd fashion has resulted in, naturally enough, absurdities — $300,000 spent in Outagamie County, Wis; $30,000 in Lake County, Tenn., to buy a defibrillator to have on hand at high-school basketball games; $98,000 on training courses in Lenawee County, Mich., which no one bothered to attend. And on it goes. Billions of dollars in the grants haven't been spent on anything because they are gummed up in the bureaucratic pipeline, partly because some localities don't have the foggiest idea what to do with the money.

The House recently passed a bill to rationalize the funding formula, basing it almost entirely on risk-assessment by DHS. States would have to submit applications for grant money to address specific risks, and DHS would evaluate them accordingly. This is the basic approach advocated by the 9/11 commission. But the Senate has balked. Small-state senators have a disproportionate sway there, and last week they rejected the House approach, preferring a barely improved version of the status quo. These senators can't imagine any reason for being in Washington other than to shove lucre back to their home states — for whatever reason.

If Congress can't straighten out the funding formula, maybe it will have to try a different approach, and relocate people, such as moving people from threatened urban areas to places like North Pole. We can be certain they would be well-secured here.

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© 2005 King Features Syndicate

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