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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 Oct. 7, 2013/ 3 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

How Low Can You Go? DC's Limbo Principle

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The feud between Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and David Vitter, R-La., doesn't have the import of the federal government shutdown, but it does shine a light on the Beltway's partisan rancor. If there is a lesson for Washington politicos from this mud fight, then it is this: Don't try to be clever. There will be blowback.

The story begins when Democrats were pushing President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, inserted language into the bill to require that Congress and staff get their health insurance through Obamacare exchanges.

Grassley's amendment didn't explicitly address the government's contribution — about 75 percent — toward its employees' health premiums, which is standard practice in employer-paid health plans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner asked the White House to protect the employer contribution. The administration obliged.

Here Vitter saw an opportunity to seem more anti-Washington than his pals in the anti-Washington posse. To the dismay of staffers from both parties, Vitter proposed an amendment to require that White House personnel and appointees get health insurance through Obamacare and to do away with the employer contribution, leaving these federal employees to pick up the full cost.

Maybe Vitter thought that it was good politics to propose what effectively is a $5,000 to $11,000 annual pay cut for Capitol Hill staff members. But if I were in his shoes, I'd be careful walking around corners.

Next it was Senate Democrats' turn to be cute. Anonymous Democrats leaked tit-for-tat phony "draft" legislation to Politico's website. Manu Raju and John Bresnahan reported that Dems were considering three options, starting with an amendment barring the employer contribution to the health insurance of any lawmaker or staffer who a congressional ethics committee has "probable cause" to believe "engaged in solicitation of prostitution."

Say what? The story explained: "Such a hardball move could bring back uncomfortable memories of the 2007 'D.C. Madam' scandal in which Vitter's phone number turned up in a Washington-based prostitution ring. Vitter apologized for committing a 'very serious sin' but did not elaborate."

The second option would deny employer contributions to those involved in "improper conduct" that reflects badly on Congress, and the third would deny the same to lawmakers who voted for the Vitter amendment.

The prank shows why Rutgers University political science professor Ross Baker calls Politico "the bathroom wall of choice" in Washington, where "the Sharpies come out and the nasty graffiti are written."



Democrats could have stuck to the high road and hit Vitter for mandating a backdoor pay cut for the people who keep the Capitol running. Instead, some unknown cut-ups ratcheted up the rancor with a fictional and counterproductive salvo against Vitter.

Next, Vitter soiled the swamp by asking the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, chaired by Boxer, to investigate whether Boxer, Reid or their staff broke Senate rules. (As Vitter requested, Boxer recused herself in the matter.) It's not clear why Vitter fingered Reid or Boxer.

Vitter's complaint argued that by tying votes to benefits, the Politico ghost amendments constituted "attempted bribery." Vitter also argued that if Reid, Boxer and staff deny that they were involved in "this Democratic intimidation and payoff scheme," the committee should force them to answer questions under penalty of perjury.

Vitter presented no proof that Reid and Boxer were behind the Politico story; nonetheless, after the committee rejected his complaint, Vitter filed a second letter calling for a probe, even as he recognized the "off-chance" — read: possibility — that Reid and Boxer had no role in the Politico prank.

Boxer dismisses Vitter's charge as "baseless." In a statement, she noted, "This whole matter has gone from bizarre to surreal. I believe a senator using the Ethics Committee to launch political attacks is unprecedented and outrageous."

It's also not very bright. You can't read Vitter's complaints without reading about the "D.C. Madam" scandal.

"How low can you go?" asked Baker, as he recognized "the limbo principle of American politics."

Baker, a former House Democratic consultant, has dedicated his academic career to studying how congressional committees operate and how chairmen and ranking members work together. Boxer chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee; Vitter is the ranking Republican. How does Vitter work with Boxer after demanding she be questioned under penalty of perjury on his unsubstantiated accusation?

Said Baker, "The cat is out of the bag, and it's very hard to get it back in again."

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© 2013, Creators Syndicate

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