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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 Oct. 15, 2013/ 11 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

Profiting from the welfare state

By Rich Lowry




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | From one point of view, Eric C. Conn is an American success story. He opened his business in a trailer in tiny Stanville, Ky. With a keen eye on the main chance, he grew it into a juggernaut. It became one of the leaders in its field, employing dozens of people and even opening a satellite office in Beverly Hills.

All this would be very inspiring if Eric Conn's business didn't exist as a barnacle on the Social Security Administration. His law practice specializes in extracting (often dubious) disability benefits for his clients from the United States government, and enriching himself and people around him in the process. In his book on the excesses of the American welfare state, Nicholas Eberstadt remarks that loose government rules and generous benefits tend to make us "a nation of chiselers." If an exhaustive new Senate report on Conn's operation is to be believed, he is truly a lawyer for our age.

Conn spread the word of his services through that indispensable marketing tool of the American bar -- the highway billboard, supplemented by TV advertisements and "Conn Girls" who attended events wearing shirts emblazoned with his firm's logo. He marketed himself as Mr. Social Security.

In 1960, fewer than 500,000 people received disability payments. Now, the Social Security Administration disability program pays benefits to 12 million people. Many of these recipients are worthy and deserve help, and the aging of the population has been a factor in this growth. But an increasing number of claims involve subjective, difficult-to-disprove ailments, like mood disorders and back pain, obviously creating potential for abuse.

An administrative law judge told "60 Minutes," "If the American public knew what was going on in our system, half would be outraged and the other half would apply for benefits."



Counselor Conn would be happy to take their cases. He is to disability payments what Perry Mason was to criminal defense. He has had an amazing knack for getting his claimants approved, and making millions from it. The Social Security Administration pays lawyers for successful claims from the back-pay benefits. Conn got $3.9 million in fees in 2010 alone, when he was the third-highest-paid disability lawyer in the country. Not bad for a little ol' country lawyer in Stanville.

As the Senate report notes, though, Conn had friends in high places. An administrative law judge in the Social Security Administration's Huntington, W.Va., office, Judge David Daugherty, handled as many of Conn's cases as he could. The report found that Daugherty gave Conn's office a list every month of claimants he planned to bless. Conn's office reportedly filled out the medical forms that were signed by doctors paid by Conn, to the tune of $2 million over the past several years.

Then, Daugherty approved them -- every time. He never turned down anyone represented by Conn, and, as a general matter, was an approval machine. In 2009, according to the report, he approved 1,410 claims out of 1,415 total, and in 2010, 1,371 out of 1,375. The norm for such judges was to hear only about 600 cases a year and approve 60 percent of them. The last few years of Daugherty's career -- he has since retired -- he awarded $2.5 billion in lifetime benefits, the report estimates.

Oddly enough, the judge and his daughter received nearly $100,000 in unexplained cash deposits in their bank accounts from 2003 to 2011. When The Wall Street Journal wrote about the relationship between Conn and Daugherty a few years ago, the lawyer's office got multiple disposable cellphones so the lawyer and judge could keep talking and took a shredder to a warehouse of documents.

Eric Conn's legal fate is unknown. He is being sued for fraud, and he refused to testify at a recent Senate hearing. In the spirit of George Plunkitt, he seen his opportunities and he took them. Those opportunities came courtesy of the heedlessness of the contemporary welfare state.

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© 2012 King Features Syndicate

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