In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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

'Do Nothing' Congress

By Mona Charen

JewishWorldReview.com | "Meet the Press" featured a segment this week that illustrates the planted liberal axioms that dominate our political culture. The topic was Congress's failure to "get anything done" this term. Political director Chuck Todd set the stage:

"New polling from NBC News, The Wall Street Journal and Marist ... shows that three out of four voters agree that Congress hasn't done much this year ... And guess what? The public's right. Congress hasn't been productive. In fact, this Congress ... is on track to be the least productive in history."

Todd then cued the hoary Harry Truman clip about the "Do Nothing" Congress of 1948 before inviting the panel to discuss the "problem" of congressional inaction.

It's fitting "Meet the Press" chose the Truman quote, because the liberal approach to government has not changed since then. More legislation is viewed as an obvious good, whereas failure to pass laws is something that requires explanation. President Barack Obama expressed the same idea (a shock, I know) when he disdained Congress for failing to "do its job."

That isn't true — even accepting the government-centric assumptions of the Democrats and the press. Some 195 pieces of legislation have passed the Republican House of Representatives only to be buried in the Democratic Senate. Among those are at least 31 authored by Democrats.

The Senate passed an immigration overhaul in 2013 that has not passed the House. Though the president characterizes this as gross negligence on the part of Republicans, it's just possible that there's a difference of opinion. Other presidents would have sought compromise, or attempted to bite off smaller pieces of their agenda and pass them sequentially. But Obama is impatient with the rule of law and has been threatening to "do things on my own." Thus do we slide, every day of this administration, a little closer to banana republic status?

On the subject of legislation generally, we badly need to rid ourselves of the notion that the nation is in need of more laws. We are straightjacketed with laws as it is. In fact, the best use of Congress's time would be to review laws that are ineffective, wasteful, duplicative or outmoded and repeal them. (We'd need to distribute smelling salts to the press first, of course.)

Actually, the Republican House did attempt as much last week with the immigration bill. The reform that passed would have overturned the 2008 law that had the unintended consequence of encouraging unaccompanied minors from Central America to attempt entry across the southern border. (Those fleeing persecution would still be eligible for asylum.)

Humans are fallible, and it should be taken as read that laws will require revision and often outright repeal.

Our laws, and particularly our criminal statutes, have metastasized to the point that civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate estimates the average American could be unwittingly committing "three felonies a day." His book of that title cites examples such as the parent charged with "obstruction of justice" for destroying drugs he found in his son's bedroom and a snowmobiler lost in a blizzard who was charged with violating the Federal Wilderness Act.

Congress can contribute to public welfare just by keeping tabs on federal officials who themselves violate the law — like IRS officials who revealed confidential taxpayer information to outsiders and harassed citizens based on their political or religious views, and Veterans Affairs officials who falsify records to cover up poor care. Or it can investigate the scandalous expansion of SWAT teams by government agencies, including NASA and the Department of the Interior. (See Radley Balko's book.)

The truth is that government at all levels has been promiscuously legislating at a furious pace for decades. Laws are almost never repealed but simply layered over one another like sedimentary rock — with about as much flexibility.

Steven Teles, in an essay for National Affairs, calls this process "kludgeocracy," and while the word is funny, the results are not. Just complying with the dizzying complexity of the IRS code costs Americans an estimated $163 billion every year, along with 6.1 billion man-hours. Even more damaging is the opportunity all this kludge offers for corruption. The more complicated, and therefore opaque, a legal regime is, the easier it is for special interests to manipulate, and our system is putrid with rent seeking.

With rare exceptions, we need fewer, not more, laws. Lift your glass to gridlock — while it remains legal.

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Mona Charen Archives

© 2014 Creators Syndicate.