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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 Sept. 13, 2005 / 9 Elul, 5765

A perspective on disaster

By Robert Robb

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With the Katrina floodwaters beginning to recede, perhaps there's room for critical thinking about some difficult issues:

  • There are undoubtedly important lessons to be learned about the response to Katrina by all levels of government: federal, state and local. Somehow, the poisonous politics need to be put aside so a clinical critique can be conducted and improvements made. The politicians appear incapable of this, so it will probably fall to private think tanks to do the job.

    But the lachrymose reality is that, regardless of how good the preparation, the initial response to a disaster that wipes out an entire major American city is likely to be inadequate to the circumstances and the needs. It's in the nature of the event.

  • After 9/11, the federal government needed to reorganize how it protects the country against terrorist attack, but the creation of the Department of Homeland Security was a mistake.

    What needed to be consolidated were the core functions involved in detecting and disrupting a terrorist attack. These functions, however, remain scattered throughout the federal government, principally in the CIA, FBI and the Defense Department.

    Instead, the Department of Homeland Security consolidated functions peripheral to preventing a terrorist attack, combining agencies whose primary responsibilities are elsewhere, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    Some of us warned at the time that the proposed Department of Homeland Security was creating more bureaucracy without any likely gain in security.

    Yet Congress nearly unanimously approved it, and the administration wasn't willing to take the political heat of resisting it.

    Now the consolidation is being partially blamed for FEMA's sluggish response to Katrina.

    In creating the Department of Homeland Security, Congress ignored a fundamental rule of governmental organization: If a more nimble and flexible capability is the objective, don't build a bigger bureaucracy.

  • The question raised by House Speaker Dennis Hastert as to whether it should be the federal government's responsibility to rebuild New Orleans was too quickly ridiculed and dismissed.

    Certainly Congress is breezing right by it. "Money is not going to be the question," House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis has said.

    With respect to helping those who have been displaced by Katrina, that's perhaps an understandable and even admirable attitude. With respect to rebuilding New Orleans, however, it's irresponsible.

    The government has a responsibility to people, not to buildings or particular geographical locations. The federal government should assume responsibility for giving the evacuees a new start and cleaning up Katrina's damage to remove any health hazards.

    But the extent to which, and how, New Orleans is rebuilt shouldn't be a federal decision. It should be the result of decisions made by state and local governments and private actions and investments.

  • The way in which the government is helping those displaced by Katrina is more cumbersome and less effective than it could be. Basically, the government is trying to provide evacuees with things (shelter, food and clothing) and sign them up for services (welfare and Medicaid).

    It would be far more effective, and probably less expensive in the long run, to give evacuees at least a few months of living expenses, and let them begin to get their lives together on their own initiative. The $2,000 debit cards being issued is a step in the right direction, but grossly inadequate to the task.

  • There needs to be a sorting out of responsibility between the federal government and state and local governments regarding disaster prevention and response.

    Responding to a disaster of Katrina proportions requires the resources of the federal government. But investing in prevention should be a state and local responsibility.


There's been a lot of back-and-forth about whether the Army Corps of Engineers was building strong enough levees quickly enough. But building a levee system to protect New Orleans shouldn't be a federal responsibility.

By taking various measures to mitigate local risk — through construction programs, flood insurance, homeland security subventions, even high-rise terrorism insurance — the federal government actually increases risky behavior and reduces the incentive for local governments to take protective action on their own.

Although well-intentioned, these federal programs make catastrophes, when they occur, larger than they otherwise would be.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

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